Welcome to the BroBible New Music Round-Up, where I’m currently live streaming the writing of this because everyone else is live streaming stuff and I didn’t want to feel left out. For more follow me on Twitter: @ryanoconnell79
Hey, let’s see how the Best of 2020 Playlist is looking these days.
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This Week’s Releases
Pearl Jam Gigaton
When Pearl Jam dropped their first new single in seven years, the 1980’s Berlin feeling “Dance Of The Clairvoyants” back in January, I was a little concerned. I have been a fan of Pearl Jam for nearly three decades now and here I was confused by something they had produced.
It was a strange feeling.
Then they released “Superblood Wolfmoon” and “Quick Escape” and I started feeling better about this new album of theirs, Gigaton. I felt even better after reading something Stephen Hyden wrote at UPROXX, where he said that given the current state of the world (i.e. NOT GREAT,) the new Pearl Jam album was reliable in all the best ways.
“If I listen to Gigaton three months from now, when (maybe?) I’m able to see live shows and go to record stores again, perhaps I’ll feel differently. But for now, my main takeaway from this album is that I am grateful for how familiar it sounds. Yes, Gigaton sounds like a Pearl Jam record. Especially like the last three Pearl Jam records, which are probably not your favorite Pearl Jam records. But I like how normal life feels when this album is on.”
Normal. What a concept.
Spin calls Gigaton Pearl Jam’s best album since the late ’90s and Rolling Stone says that the band “combine fury and maturity” on the album. “The youthful fury that fueled PJ’s golden-age grunge has grown with him (frontman Eddie Vedder,) turning into a finely burnished middle-age indignation.”
Are there references to Trump on the album? Yes, but they aren’t over-bearing. It’s not nearly as in your face as the band’s critiques of George W. Bush were back in the early part of the century.
In Hyden’s piece, he writes about how the band has operated in this unique space where they are still popular, but not mainstream popular. Their milkshakes aren’t bringing anyone new to the yard and they seem fine with that. That comfortability with where they stand allows them to make an album like Gigaton, an album that both sounds like Pearl Jam should and how Pearl Jam wants too.
I need to listen to it some more before figuring out where it goes in my rankings of Pearl Jam albums, but early indications have it in the top five, which is pretty damn impressive for a band who has been around as long as they have.
Like with everyone else, Pearl Jam have canceled all of their upcoming shows for the spring and summer because in case you forgot, everything is terrible right now.
Well, except for this new Pearl Jam album.
And ice cream.
But besides that? Terrible.
Run The Jewels feat. Greg Nice & DJ Premier “Ooh, La La”
Run The Jewels new album, Run The Jewels 4, can’t get here fast enough. It’s been a long time since they dropped RTJ3 in 2016 and if there were ever a time for El-P and Killer Mike to give the world something new, it’s now.
This week, as if on cue, the duo dropped two new songs.
The first song, “The Yankee and The Brave,” came earlier this week via El-P’s Instagram with El-P adding on Twitter that “i should have said it louder sorry HERES A SONG OFF #RTJ4. THANK YOU FOR BEING SO PATIENT WE HOPE IT BRINGS YOU A LITTLE JOY.”
A few days later, they dropped “Ooh La La,” a song featuring Greg Nice (of Nice and Smooth)’s verse from the 1992 Gang Starr track “DWCYK.” The duo joked on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 Radio that now that they have some money behind them, they’re able to start using high profile samples, something El-P clarified a bit on Twitter later on.
“Ooh La La” definitely has an old school vibe to it and not just because of the Gang Starr sample. The old school sound is just baked into Run The Jewels’ DNA.
“Listen, Run The Jewels, we don’t intentionally do old school music,” El-P said while talking to Lowe. “To us, we’re just making dope ass new rap music. But our influences and who we are come from an era that is very real and that we really agree on, and there’s a feeling that comes from that era that we know exists. If you can grab it and put it out there, then it’s undeniable.”
As of now, there is still no release date for the new Run The Jewels’ album. However, if they wanted to drop it like, soon, that would be pretty sweet.
Just throwing that out there.
Brian Fallon Local Honey
Here’s the thing about these rock ‘n rollers, they grow up.
Yes, it happens. Not even the most rocking of rock stars are immune to the passage of time.
What usually comes along with them as they start to age out of their wilder days are an annoying hearing problem, quite a few tattoos that may or may not seem regrettable and an album whose subject matter is the rising tide of maturity.
Such is the case with the Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon’s third solo album, Local Honey. Now 40 years old and a father, Fallon has elected to chart a course on his new album that heads more towards introspective, quieter tunes as opposed to the barn-burners he broke out with while playing with Gaslight.
“I had to listen and say, ‘There’s no explosions. Does this hold its own?’ I started to feel that it really did, and that emotionally it was hitting me harder by itself,” Fallon said recently in an interview with The Asbury Park Press. “And then I had to just jump off the cliff and say, ‘OK, this is time. I’ve been wanting to make this record for 12 years, so let’s just do it.'”
Initially, you could easily think that Fallon’s solo material might not be what long-time Gaslight fans are hoping for. But then when you consider that actually, most people who have been fans of the band for a while now are most likely also pushing 40 and encountering the same life changes Fallon has, it actually kind of makes sense.
As my man Jeff Goldblum once said, “life finds a way.”
However, if you are missing Gaslight Anthem, you can check out a playlist of 20 of their best songs here.
Conway the Machine & The Alchemist “Shoot Sideways”
The Alchemist has been working with Griselda, the Buffalo-based crew to which Conway the Machine is a member of for years, so when it came time for Conway to branch out of his own, The Alchemist was an easy choice for a partner in crime.
“Shoot Sideways” is gritty and plodding, echoing the raw street rap of the late ’90s that Alchemist helped create. The track features a guest spot from Schoolboy Q.
The track is the first single that the duo has released off of their upcoming EP LULU. The EP is scheduled to be released next week.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real Naked Garden
Lukas Nelson and his band are following up their excellent 2019 album Turn Off the News (And Build A Garden) with Naked Garden, an album comprised of B-sides and alternate versions of tunes that was recorded during the recording of the last album at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La Studios.
Like with most artists right now, the band saw their schedule open up courtesy of the Coronavirus outbreak and as a result, Nelson has been at home jamming with his dad, Willie Nelson.
Nelson has been keeping busy with The Quarantine Sessions, the first of which featured him playing his father and brother Micah.
Cowboy Mouth Open Wide
You know how there are some songs from your past that you can’t just shake? They follow you around for your entire life, never leaving your side.
“Jenny Says” from the New Orleans band Cowboy Mouth is one of those songs.
God, I love that song.
Did you know that the band’s lead singer is also their drummer?
Yeah, it’s true. That kind of thing is a pretty big rarity.
Listen man, I don’t know what kind of music Cowboy Mouth is putting out these days but they wrote one of my favorite songs ever so based on that and that alone, I’m giving them a little bit of love this week.
You can learn more about the band and their new album here.
Now if you’ll excuse me, “Jenny Says” is calling my name.
Elsewhere in Music…
Down Goes Gov Ball
New York City’s Governors Ball is the latest summer music festival to fall victim to the Coronavirus outbreak. The festival announced on Thursday that this year’s event would be canceled.
Unlike other festivals such as Bonnaroo and Coachella, Gov Ball is opting not to reschedule and instead promised to be back in the summer of 2021.
“Over the past few weeks, we have gone to great lengths to find a postponement date that works for all parties involved, festival organizers said in a statement. “Due to a myriad of planning and logistical issues, we have come to the conclusion that there are no sufficient options available to us. We are pushing ahead, and are already jumping into plans for 2021.”
This year’s festival was to set to feature Vampire Weekend, Tame Impala, Miley Cyrus, and Solange among others.
You can keep up with all of the tours and festivals that have been canceled here.
This Week in Nailed It
Welcome To The Land Of Streaming Concerts
As you may have noticed, no one is really going out anymore. Like, no one. The outside is evil.
This would then pose a problem if you are a touring musician, especially if you are a touring musician who had shows booked during the next few months.
In response to this new world of ours, artists are turning to the wonderful art of streaming to get their music to the masses.
Verizon has unveiled its own streaming video series, Pay It Forward Live. Dave Matthews kicked off the series Thursday night with a thirty-minute performance from his home, a format that will be replicated by future artists who perform. The live stream, which will also raise funds for those affected by the Coronavirus, can be viewed via Verizon’s Twitter account and Yahoo Entertainment.
Austin City Limits, the legendary live music show, has opened up its vaults, giving people access to over 35 shows. Performances can be viewed at pbs.org/show/austin-city-limits. In addition, PBS will be re-airing some of the series most popular shows, featuring performances by Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem and more.
And none of this includes all of the live streams artists are doing while they do are trapped at home. You can find a full guide of these performances here.
And Now, A Word From President Cardi B
And there’s more!
That Time Kenny Rogers Sat In With Phish
Kenny Rogers passed away earlier this week and amidst the remembrances and tributes was this piece in Rolling Stone, shedding some light about the time Rogers sat in with Phish at Bonnaroo 2012.
“We had a great time backstage rehearsing,” Rogers told Rolling Stone a few days after the festival. “There seemed to be mutual respect. I got to learn how they were going to sound. Sometimes, doing a song without your comfort [zone], or your environment, you can get lost completely. But they were great. They knew the sound. We were off to the races.”
And lest we remind you that if they wanted to, Phish would be the best effin’ tribute band we’ve ever seen.
Rest in Peace, Kenny.
This Week In ‘Thanks, I Needed That’
And We’ll End Here
See you next week!