Antony and the Johnsons Hub

Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1181

AND NOW: Sh*t Chick-fil-A supporters say.

ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS: "Cut the World" featuring Willem Dafoe, Marina Abramović, and Carice van Houten (warning: graphic violence).


PET SHOP BOYS: "A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi". One of the B-sides to the new PSB single "Winner". Two more here.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.

MUSIC NEWS: Owen, Jamie xx, Rostam Batmanglij, Atlas Sound, Antony Hegarty, Amy Winehouse, Architecture in Helsinki



Guestblogger Norman Brannon is a pop critic, musician, and author based in New York City. He presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad and writes regularly at Nervous Acid.  

Follow Norman on Twitter at @nervousacid.


Owen-Ghost-TownOwen Ghost Town (Polyvinyl)

In the ten years since he began recording as Owen, Chicago native Mike Kinsella has managed to wage as idiosyncratic a career as reality will allow. His sixth album, Ghost Town, represents a synthesis of sorts — where complex folk and songs about fatherhood ("O, Evelyn") intersect with understated guitar solos and oddly innocent sexual suggestions ("Too Many Moons"). Kinsella's paradox, then, is not so much that he's conflicted as it is that he's integrated: Young male singers with acoustic guitars have a tendency to dwell in maudlin strokes of misanthropy, but Ghost Town is more playful than that. Even its tensest moment — on the vibraphone-assisted "No Place Like Home" — channels adult frustration through territorial playground innocence; its harshest pronouncement ("F*ck you and your front lawn") is too cute to generate any ill feelings. At a time when pop records mistake arrogance for empowerment, Ghost Town disarms us with a rare insightful humility.

Also out today: Atlas Sound — Parallax (4AD), Kaskade — Fire & Ice (Ultra), Etta James — Dreamer (Verve Forecast), James Blake — Enough Thunder (Universal), Tycho — Dive (Ghostly International), Various Artists — Gold Panda: DJ Kicks (!K7)


RostamRoad Vampire Weekend's prolific (and out) keys player Rostam Batmanglij offers up another new song via his Tumblr: "Don't Let It Get To You" crosses tribal tendencies and Eno atmospherics with tried-and-true pop hookery.

Road Drake's new album features at least one unexpected collaboration: The title track, "Take Care," features Rihanna on guest vocals and British dubstep associate Jamie xx on production.

Bradford-coxRoad Deerhunter's Bradford Cox releases a new album under his Atlas Sound guise this week, and in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Cox was decisive in his mission statement: "Hetero-centric, boring scruffy 20-year-olds are ruining the f*cking face of rock and roll," he said. So what's missing? "Queerness. Homoeroticism. Boyhood."

Road The Museum of Modern Art has tapped Antony Hegarty to write, produce, and perform a "performance event" at Radio City Music Hall early next year: "Envisioned as a meditation on light, nature, and femininity, 'Swanlights' includes songs from all four of Antony and the Johnsons' albums set to symphonic arrangements by Nico Muhly, Rob Moose, and Maxim Moston."

Chris-carrabbaRoad This week's essential new streams and downloads: Two songs from the forthcoming posthumous album by Amy Winehouse have leaked. Check out "Our Day Will Come" and "Like Smoke," which features a guest turn from rapper Nas. Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba is offering a free four-song download called Covered in the Flood. The EP consists of reworked material from Big Star, The Replacements, and more. The first song from Nada Surf's forthcoming seventh album, The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy, is called "When I Was Young." And Björk released a new clip for "Thunderbolt" as an exclusive video stream at Boing Boing.

AmandapalmerfergusonRoad Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer invited acclaimed out singer-songwriter (and Magnetic Fields mainman) Stephin Merritt — in addition to Moby and author Neil Gaiman — to perform a Rocky Horror Picture Show classic for her appearance on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. It's bizarre! But it was Halloween, of course.


Architecture in Helsinki — "W.O.W."

The latest single from Moment Bends is a stark, but effective electropop track that demands a stark, monochromatic video treatment. But don't interpret that to mean Architecture in Helsinki have gone dark: Nothing says feel-good like swimming with dolphins and coming in for the hug.

Matt Cardle — "Starlight"

Carpenter-turned-UK X Factor winner Matt Cardle recently performed at London's G-A-Y because, well, he knows the gays loved him from the second he showed up on TV in his plaid shirt and painter's cap. The video for Letters' second single, "Starlight," reads more like a counterpart to Katy Perry's "Fireworks" — sans the exploding bra — but the song is in the classic anthemic Britpop mold of Coldplay and Embrace.

Mates of State — "Sway"

"Sway" is the kind of ebullient indie-pop song you'd throw on at the beginning of a road trip, but for Mates of State, the song has something more to do with winding up in a Lewis Carroll–like world and meeting a moss-growing, blue-skinned man who is capable of giving you the prom you never had as a teenager. By the clip's end, you'll concede they have a point.

Simone Battle — "He Likes Boys"

The first US X Factor cast off to release a single, Simone Battle's "He Likes Boys" tells the story of a woman who has terrible gaydar, bathes in sequin singlets, and decides that having a "new gay best friend" is just as great as seducing him. It's convoluted! And awkward! But while I can't figure out whether or not the song is cute or condescending, I'm confident this won't be the last contemporary pop song written by people who watch way too much Will & Grace.

MUSIC NEWS: Florence and the Machine, Jay Brannan, Amy Winehouse, Rufus Wainwright, Westlife, Modeselektor, Jessica 6



Guestblogger Norman Brannon is a pop critic, musician, and author based in New York City. He presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad and writes regularly at Nervous Acid.  

Follow Norman on Twitter at @nervousacid.


Florence+TheMachine_CeremonialsFlorence and The Machine Ceremonials (Island)

The second album by Florence and the Machine is anything but a retreat: On Ceremonials, Florence Welch sacks subtlety for the kind of epic grandeur we normally associate with prog-rock or '70s AOR — the most significant difference being its sheer lack of pretentiousness and Welch's uncanny ability to transcend her own creation. In other words, despite the larger-than-life instrumentation and broad musical strokes, this album is clearly the vehicle of a vocalist. It's all an incredible balancing act, of course, and Adele producer Paul Epworth does his best to reign it in and keep it focused. Sometimes, the tension is almost inconceivable — "Never Let Me Go" is like the nonexistent lost collaboration between Sarah McLachlan and Siouxsie and the Banshees, while "What the Water Gave Me" sounds like Trentemøller got his hands on a PJ Harvey song — but when the elements come together for songs like "Shake It Out," you're almost shaken out of the experience of listening to an album and actually drawn inside of it. Ceremonials is more than simply expansive; it's inclusive.

Also out today: Darren Hayes — Secret Codes and Battleships (EMI Import), The Decemberists — Long Live the King (Capitol), Radio Slave — Works + Selected Remixes 2006-2010 (Rekids), Susan Boyle — Someone to Watch Over Me (Columbia)


JaybrannanRoad The long-awaited sophomore album from Jay Brannan has been given an early 2012 release date, and our first taste of the record is a song called "Greatest Hits" — which is streaming on Soundcloud and available on iTunes now. The as-yet-untitled follow-up to 2008's Goddamned features production by David Kahne, who has worked on records by Paul McCartney, The Strokes, k.d lang, and Kelly Clarkson to name a few.

Road The first posthumous album by Amy Winehouse is set to be released on December 5. Lioness: Hidden Treasures will feature 12 tracks including unreleased music, alternate versions, two new songs, and covers of material by Leon Russell and the Shirelles.

WainwrightsRoad The McGarrigle-Wainwright annual family Christmas show went on a two-year hiatus when Rufus Wainwright's mother, Kate McGarrigle, became ill and eventually succumbed to cancer in 2010, but the show is coming back for two nights in December. Also on Rufus Wainwright's docket: a new album with Mark Ronson producing and the Dap-Kings as his backing band. "I'm making an actual pop record," he says. "It's been a while since I've done that."

Road R.E.M.'s Mike Mills on the future of Michael Stipe: "I don't think that [music] is where his passion lies. I think he wants to be in the visual arts. I imagine Michael will do a lot of sculpture and photography. I think those are his big interests now."

Road Patrick Wolf recently recorded a live set for SHOWStudio's Café Concert Series in London. High-quality video from the concert is streaming online now.

The-goodnaturedRoad If you have yet to familiarize yourself with The Good Natured, do yourself a favor: The band — featuring 20-year-old singer/songwriter (and charismatic ingénue) Sarah McIntosh — releases the Skeleton EP this week and set out on their first American tour early next year. The new record is streaming on Soundcloud now, and features the irrepressible "Wolves" — produced by current Charli XCX producer and "Dancing On My Own" co-writer Patrik Berger.

Road Adele has been forced to cancel all of her remaining scheduled appearances in 2011 due to a vocal cord hemorrhage that has driven doctors to recommend throat surgery. "I have absolutely no choice but to recuperate properly and fully," the singer says, "or I risk damaging my voice forever."


Westlife — "Lighthouse"

Despite selling 44 million albums over their 14-year career, Westlife have always been somewhat of an easy mark in the English boy-band canon, but I've always liked them — and the fact that Mark Feehily has spent the last six years in the group as an openly gay singer in a female-dominated market speaks to their indifference to the capitalist boy-band stereotype. The group's forthcoming Greatest Hits collection will be Westlife's final album, and "Lighthouse" — written by Take That's Gary Barlow — is its lead single.

Modeselektor — "Shipwreck" (feat. Thom Yorke)

No one is making tuneful abstract techno like Modeselektor these days, and on their newest album, Monkeytown, the German duo has once again commanded the attention of Radiohead's Thom Yorke, who already provided vocals for their 2007 single "The White Flash." With "Shipwreck," the band invokes classic Aphex Twin while Yorke weaves his trademark falsetto in and out of the dense rhythm. It's not easy listening, but it sits right up there with anything from The King of Limbs.

Martin Solveig & Dragonette — "Big in Japan"

He's been confirmed as one of a handful of producers working on Madonna's new album, but until we get to hear those results, there's this: Martin Solveig teams up with Canadian trio Dragonette for the fourth single from his latest album, Smash, and another brazen round of broad-gestured, big-room French house.

Jessica 6 — "Prisoner of Love" (feat. Antony)

Former Hercules & Love Affair singer Nomi Ruiz formed Jessica 6 in 2008, but the band truly arrived earlier this year with the release of See The Light — an album whose flirtations with disco, R&B, and classic house reveal a sophisticated relationship with genre that leaves plenty of room for charismatic singularity. Antony Hegarty's guest turn on "Prisoner of Love" is only meant to remind you that even disco sings the blues.

MUSIC NEWS: Lykke Li, Those Dancing Days, Daft Punk, Adele, Sugababes, Justin Bond, Antony & The Johnsons, Take That

Lykke Li


Guestblogger Norman Brannon is a pop critic, musician, and author based in New York City. He presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad and writes regularly at Nervous Acid.  

Follow Norman on Twitter at @nervousacid.


Lykke-Li-Wounded-Rhymes-2011 Lykke Li Wounded Rhymes (XL)

If 2008's Youth Novels followed the more hopeful trajectory of yearning and discovery, then Lykke Li uses Wounded Rhymes — an album whose centerpiece is a song in which she declares that "sadness is my boyfriend" — to trace the bitter comedown. While songs like "Little Bit" and "Let It Fall," from Li's debut, paired disappointment with sweetness, the sentiment on Wounded Rhymes is comparatively harsh: On "Unrequited Love" — a sparse, country-tinged lament — Li seethes with an almost callous resignation to loneliness, while "Get Some" sees that fatalism to its hardened conclusion. "Don't make demands / I don't take none," she scowls at one point. "I'm your prostitute / You gon' get some." Which isn't to say that Lykke Li's second album is harrowing or unpleasant, but in fact, just the opposite. Like a younger Dusty Springfield — who somehow managed to sing "Every Day I Have To Cry Some" with a smile on her face — Li's reverb-drenched vocals recall a different era of music-making, wresting the Wall of Sound ambiance from Phil Spector in order to transmit a very modern conclusion: "You see pain like it is pleasure / Like a work of art." It's one of the final statements that Lykke Li makes on Wounded Rhymes, and perhaps, its most telling.

Those-dancing-days Those Dancing Days Daydreams & Nightmares (Witchita)

In their native Sweden, Those Dancing Days are proper "pop" stars, but what that means from a descriptive standpoint is a slippery proposition: On the one hand, Daydreams & Nightmares mines a more commercial territory than most indie rock albums — "Can't Find Entrance," for example, was penned by Max Martin and Shellback, who have previously written for Robyn, P!nk, and Britney Spears — but on the whole, Those Dancing Days take more inspiration from the all-girl vocal groups of the Northern Soul era and the propulsive energy of UK post-punk. An unlikely hybrid, for sure. But the result is inexplicably cohesive while also seemingly contradictory — pulsing with neo-Motown swagger ("When We Fade Away"), owing a debt to New Order ("I'll Be Yours"), and reframing the Ronettes as an indie-pop guitar band ("Dream About Me"). If Those Dancing Days are "pop" in the same sense of the word that we'd use with any other Max Martin collaborator, it's only in the sheer sense of joy this album brings: Where their debut album lacked the unhinged nature of teenage art, Daydreams & Nightmares makes up for it with a forceful, but frenetic maturity.


DaftPunk Road For a group that's been around for almost fifteen years and only have four albums to their name — discounting remix collections, greatest hits, and live albums — Daft Punk sure carry an insane amount of cachet. In fact, they may have set the standard: You're not anyone until you have your own limited edition Coca-Cola bottle.

Road As one of the earliest and most idiosyncratic female voices in contemporary music, Poly Styrene led the legendary X-Ray Spex as a teenager and gave punk rock its earliest feminist anthem with "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!" Sadly, the singer's official website announced this week that Poly has been diagnosed with breast cancer. A new solo album, Generation Indigo, is still slated for release on March 28.

Road Finally! A well-earned success story: This week, Adele is poised to take her first U.S. number-one album with 21. The album is projected to sell more than 300,000 copies in its first week out.

Keisha Buchanan - Under Control Road As the last remaining original member of Sugababes, Keisha Buchanan was controversially outed from the group last year just in time for them to release the horribly disappointing Sweet 7. But with her debut single "Gimme Pressure" having leaked, Buchanan is lashing out. Sample lyric: "I'm a graduate, you're a college kid / I wrote a book on the game that you been studying / Ready or not, here I come / I bet you're missing my voice on those records you're on." Musically, it sounds a lot like Tinie Tempah's recent UK hit "Pass Out," but that's not a bad thing!

Road Antony & The Johnsons have announced a new EP called Swanlights, to be issued as 10-inch vinyl and digital download only. In addition to two new songs (including the previously hard-to-find "Find the Rhythm of Your Love"), the EP will also feature the first-ever official Antony & The Johnsons remix by Oneohtrix Point Never.

JustinBond Road Justin Bond (of Kiki & Herb fame) is set to release a debut solo album later this month called Justin Vivian Bond: Dendrophile. Says Bond: "A dendrophile's a person who gets an erotic charge out of nature. I am one!" Among other things, the album will feature a duet with Beth Orton of the Carpenters' classic "Superstar."

Road Jessie J's debut album won't be out in America until later this month, but you may already know her from stints as a backing singer for Cyndi Lauper and songwriter for Christina Aguilera and Miley Cyrus. (You can thank or blame her for "Party in the U.S.A.," in case you're wondering.) Earlier this week, while promoting the album in England, Jessie J confirmed her bisexuality: "I've dated guys and I've dated girls," she told a radio show. "Get over it. It's not a secret."


Ron-sexsmith-long-player-late-bloomer-2011-front-cover-64643 Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith has earned accolades from everyone from Elvis Costello to Elton John, he's collaborated with everyone from Shonen Knife to Coldplay's Chris Martin, and his songs have been covered by everyone from Rod Stewart to Feist. On his twelfth album, Long Play Late Bloomer, Sexsmith steps up another incredible notch in an already enviable career.

Floetry's Marsha Ambrosius releases her debut solo album, Late Nights & Early Mornings, this week. As a songwriter, she's written for Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, and Jamie Foxx, but on her own, Ambrosius stays in the slow lane and never really picks it up: While lead single "Hope She Cheats On You" (With A Basketball Player) promises a modern R&B direction, several other key tracks like "With You" — a collaboration with Alicia Keys — are minimal to the point of barely there. Disappointingly, the album is not stripped down so much as it is underdressed.

Dumdumgirls L.A.'s Dum Dum Girls release the He Gets Me High EP this week, and this one is a somewhat game-changing follow-up to their distorted pop debut: Along with lead singer Dee Dee on production duties is Richard Gottehrer — who besides having written "My Boyfriend's Back" and "I Want Candy," is also responsible for producing the debut albums by Blondie and The Go-Go's. Also necessary: A fuzzy, ethereal cover of The Smiths' "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out."

Also out today: Lucinda Williams — Blessed (Lost Highway), Beady Eye — Different Gear Still Speeding (Dangerbird), Melissa Etheridge — Icon (Island), Stateless — Matilda (Ninja Tune), Harry Connick Jr. In Concert on Broadway (Columbia), Diplo vs. DJ Tiesto featuring Busta Rhymes — C'mon (Catch 'Em By Surprise) (Mad Decent/Violator)


Take That — "Kidz"

2010's Progress reunited Take That with Robbie Williams and repositioned the band into a more realistic place — where every day isn't the "Greatest Day" and everyone in the world doesn't always "Shine." For their second single, Take That bring on "Kidz," whose protest imagery angered Simon Cowell enough to ban the riot gear from their X-Factor performance in December, but not enough to stop this ominous clip.

Hurts — "Sunday"

Manchester's Hurts return with the fourth single from Happiness. True to form, their anthemic, but elegiac synthpop is just about as true to the format as you can get without actually being the Pet Shop Boys.

Cults — "Go Outside"

Having pretty much won the Internet, Cults came out of nowhere, scored a record deal with Columbia, and released this video for "Go Outside" — featuring James Franco's younger brother Dave and Julia Roberts' niece Emma — all before most bands have set up a Bandcamp page.

Rival Schools — "Wring It Out"

In some circles, Rival Schools frontman Walter Schreifels practically walks on water for his groundbreaking work with Quicksand and Gorilla Biscuits. But for their first new single in ten years, Rival Schools test that divinity and find themselves on the wrong side of projectile pea soup.

MUSIC NEWS: The Go! Team, The Joy Formidable, Kele Okereke, Ricky Martin, Björk, Lykke Li, Joan As Police Woman, Robyn



Guestblogger Norman Brannon is a pop critic, musician, and author based in New York City. He presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad and writes regularly at Nervous Acid.  

Follow Norman on Twitter at @nervousacid.


Rolling Blackouts The Go! Team Rolling Blackouts (Memphis Industries)

The Go! Team are somewhat impossible to describe in any sort of meaningfully categorical way. In fact, it's not an exaggeration to say that the last time I heard an album that drew equal influence from Fatboy Slim, the Beach Boys, Run-DMC, and the soundtrack to Shaft, it took Girl Talk something like 373 samples to construct it. Which is probably why Rolling Blackouts, the third album by the Brighton, England–based sextet, is something like a balance of skill and miracle: Album opener "T.O.R.N.A.D.O." does as its name suggests — coming off like an old school Boogie Down Productions record in the middle of a James Bond car chase — while the comparatively demure "Secretary Song" offers a sugary nod to '60s pop psychedelia featuring Deerhoof's Satomi Matsuzaki. But it's lead single "Buy Nothing Day" — with Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino on vocals — that provides the album's emotional center and lends the necessary third dimension to pull off this kind of stylistic free-for-all. For a band that prides itself on making self-proclaimed "schizo music," it's like a glimpse of The Go! Team on meds.

JoyFormidable The Joy Formidable Big Roar (Warner Bros.)

They only have three members, but you'll never hear The Joy Formidable being accused of minimalism. On their debut album, Big Roar, the London-based group revel in the kind of epic reverb-drenched big room anthems that bands like the Arcade Fire need twice as many members to execute. It's not for the weak of heart, mind you — the hyper-cranked decibel levels of My Bloody Valentine is an obvious reference point — but the payoff is, quite simply, remarkable. Singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan is already 2011's most compelling frontwoman, and it's a title she earns with the pathos-ridden "I Don't Want To See You Like This" and the inimitable Siouxsie-on-steroids delivery of "A Heavy Abacus." They've been incessantly linked to the '90s shoegaze movement by the British press, but Big Roar is far more complex than the analogy will allow. Because underneath the digitally-processed wall of sound, there are actually real songs here.


Kele Okereke Road Following the success of his debut solo album, The Boxer, Kele Okereke — the openly gay frontman of Bloc Party — has announced his plan to move to New York in order to write a "sexually-charged" memoir. "We can expect some naming names and shaming of celebrities," he claims. "It's gonna be hot."

Road TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek took time out from his current auxiliary duties as a member of Jane's Addiction to remix "I Follow Rivers," the second single from Lykke Li's forthcoming sophomore album. You can grab the free download HERE.

Road London's National Theatre has announced a line-up of its forthcoming productions and at least one name on the playbill is going to surprise you: A new musical written by Tori Amos is scheduled to open in April 2012.

Road Having just taken home a National Book Award for Just Kids — a memoir detailing her relationship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe — Patti Smith is already working on the follow-up. But hang on! It's a detective novel inspired by Sherlock Holmes.

Road Azure Ray's Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink reunited after six years to release last year's truly elegant Drawing Down The Moon, but the first song they wrote together following the separation never made it onto the album. "Silverlake," which features the late Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, was released earlier this week on iTunes, but Saddle Creek Records will send you the link to a free download in exchange for an e-mail address. It's worth it.

Road It’s been almost four years since Volta, but reports from Iceland have a new album from Björk already halfway to completion. Also: She claims to be collaborating with "eccentric people who had been in Africa for four years with lions and insects." Of course!

Road Shortly following the news that Big Audio Dynamite would reunite at this year's Coachella Festival, Boy George confirmed reports that the original members of Culture Club would be reuniting in 2012 to celebrate their 30th anniversary. "We'll be doing a proper huge worldwide tour," he announced. "And a new album."


Ricky Martin Musica Ricky Martin's first album since coming out is, umm, coming out today. All but two of the songs on Musica + Alma + Sexo are sung in Spanish — which will be a challenge outside the Latin market! — and while a surprising number of them take a turn towards tribal and progressive house, you're not likely to mistake this for a club album: With Desmond Child producing, classic power ballads like "Basta Ya" and "Te Busco Y Te Alcazo" still hold it down for the old school lighter-waving set.

Le Tigre's JD Samson returns this week with MEN, an electro-pop project also featuring members of New York indie favorites Ladybug Transistor and The Ballet. Talk About Body is as much a visceral collection of punk-disco as it is an authentic demonstration of art-as-activism — as you might expect. But it's also the most fun you'll ever have listening to expositions of wartime economy and critical gender theory.

Joan as Police Woman As a member of Antony & the Johnsons and a frequent collaborator with Rufus Wainwright and Scissor Sisters, Joan Wasser has certainly merited her favor with the gay community. But on The Deep Field her third album under the Joan as Police Woman moniker — Wasser goes at it solo and turns up an unpredictably soulful result.

Also out today: George Michael — Faith: Special Edition (Sony Legacy), Seefeel — Seefeel (Warp), Various Artists — Pop Ambient 2011 (Kompakt).


Savage Skulls & Douster feat. Robyn — "Bad Gal"

If you picked up the second installment of Robyn's Body Talk trilogy, then you've already heard the work of Swedish production duo Savage Skulls on "Love Kills." Here, Robyn returns the favor on this Chicago-flavored house track for Diplo's Mad Decent label.

The Thermals — "I Don't Believe You"

As the star of IFC's sketch comedy show Portlandia, a freelance music critic for NPR, and singer for the all-star indie band Wild Flag, it seems like Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein is everywhere these days. Which makes this video — in which she destroys her house trying to escape from The Thermals — just a little bit ironic.

R.E.M. — "Oh My Heart" (Live in Studio)

R.E.M.'s upcoming fifteenth studio album, Collapse Into Now, isn't set for release until March 7, but the band's latest self-imposed leak comes in the form of this gorgeous live performance.

Joan as Police Woman — "The Magic"

It might be that Joan Wasser put out a casting call on for the first video from her new album, The Deep Field. Otherwise, really, I'm not sure I have a good explanation for this!

MUSIC NEWS: Robbie Williams, Antony and the Johnsons, The Green Children, Duffy, Dave Koz, Sky Ferreira


Guestblogger MODERN TONIC

Modern Tonic — a free daily email delivering gay-approved pop culture gems before they get co-opted by everyone else — presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad.


Robbie Spanning 20 years — including his time in the massive U.K. boy band Take That — Robbie Williams' multi-disc set In and Out of Consciousness — The Greatest Hits 1990 – 2010 (out today) is two discs of his best-known songs and an extra CD of rarities, B-sides and covers. He declared his emancipation from boy band slavery with a cover of George Michael’s "Freedom" in 1996. "Angels," the heart-rending ballad that’s raised everything from lighters to cell phones since 1997, cemented his solo rep. Supernovas collided when he and Kylie Minogue collaborated on the funk-rock hit "Kids." And on his latest single "Shame" — with Take That mate Gary Barlow — he revisits his past with one eye on the future. (Oh, and that Brokeback Mountain-inspired video? Perfection). So here’s another chance to get to know the cherry-picked best of our boy Robbie before he embarks on a new album with Take That, Progress, slated for November, and a world tour to follow.
AntonyThough it’s full of the emotional warbling we’ve come to love from him, Swanlights, Antony Hegarty’s fourth album with his band the Johnsons, is a simpler affair than last year’s ornate, lushly orchestrated The Crying Light. The title single from an EP released in August, "Thank You for Your Love," announced the change — a piano-based, R&B-tinged mid-tempo ballad that’s a direct expression of gratitude. To its very end, the rest of Swanlights follows suit. "The Great White Ocean" is delicate chamber pop. Darkness undercuts the swelling "I’m in Love." And then just to remind us what a strange, wondrous and freaky artist he is, Hegarty invites fellow free-spirit Björk to shadow his vocal pyrotechnics on the Icelandic-language "Flétta," followed by the gender-switching religious parable "Salt Silver Oxygen." "She’s a selective Christ," sings this proud transgender artist while flutes and violins and bassoons ebb and flow across the shimmering surface of its melody. Whether touching us with his straightforward love songs or engaging us with more challenging fare (including a special edition with a 144-page booklet of artwork and writings), Swanlights proves again that there’s no artist — gay or straight, earthly or otherworldly, male or female or somewhere in between — as original as this one. (See the new video for "The Spirit Is Gone" here.)

Green We're a little wary (and weary) of the [insert trendy charitable cause here] ribbon-wearing celebrities who are, well, celebrities first. But it's tough to be cynical about the Green Children. The European electro-pop duo put their name where their music is when their 2006 CD/DVD debut Hear Me Now in Norway raised money to build an eye hospital in rural Bangladesh. While most would-be pop stars are busy working on their gimmick, the English-born Marlow Bevan and Norwegian beauty Milla Sunde established the Green Children Foundation to help kids who can't afford education.
 All this would mean little if their U.S. debut Encounter wasn't such a breezy, pop-loving delight. The title track is like dance-pop Björk before she turned into an avant-garde swan. "Black Magic" is what Kylie would be if she slipped on some Lilith Fair Birkenstocks to channel Sarah MacLachlan. And the single "Dragons" is such a feel-good upper; we keep waiting for its cheerful melody to break into a chorus of "He's the Greatest Dancer." Between their selfless works and this unforgettable Encounter, we thank the Green Children. Now they can go ahead and have a diva breakdown and trash a 4-star hotel room — they've earned it.

Towleroad October 12, 2010 by


150x150_music_robyn_indestructible RoadRobyn's next single is "Indestructible." Like "Hang With Me" before it, the single will be a souped-up electronic version of what first appeared in a more sedate form. The third album in Robyn's 2010 trilogy, Body Talk, Pt. 3, being billed as "the complete Body Talk album," is scheduled for a November 29 U.K. release (U.S. date not announced yet). The album will feature five tracks each from Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 plus five new tracks.

RoadTeaser for the new Pet Shop Boys single "Together."

RoadRihanna covers Billboard.

RoadCee-Lo Green discusses "Fuck You."

RoadBryan Ferry talks Olympia.
Duffy RoadWelsh singer Duffy, whose "Mercy" (from debut album Rockferry) made major waves a couple of years ago, follows up with her second album, Endlessly, out December 7. First single is "Well, Well, Well."

RoadP!nk's new video for "Raise Your Glass" to take place at a gay wedding.

RoadDaft Punk's Tron soundtrack release date has been pushed back two weeks to December 7. Hear a snippet here.

RoadStream Elton John and Leon Russell's album The Union, out next week, in its entirety here.

RoadToday marks the 25th anniversary of B-52's guitarist Ricky Wilson's death from AIDS. We miss and remember him.

A Dave Grammy-winning saxophonist with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, out California boy Dave Koz gets help from Sheila E., Keb’ Mo’ and more on his 12th studio collection of smooth jazz, Hello Tomorrow.

Oh, the sexy undead of Vampire’s Creek, uh, we mean The Vampire Diaries, may not have a pulse, but they know their dark alt-rock. The Vampire Diaries: Original Television Soundtrack eclipses the Twilight series with tunes from Bat for Lashes, Goldfrapp, Silversun Pickups, Sky Ferreira and more. (And check out a dance mix of Sky’s track "Obsession" in our player above).
No longer ‘tweenagers, Glasgow septet Belle & Sebastian still explore heartache with youthful passion on Write About Love. The tempos are (mostly) quick, the hooks aplenty, and the title track — featuring vocals by actress Carey Mulligan — is the best '60s pop rip they’ve done yet.

Styrofoam On Disco Synthesizers & Daily Tranquilizers, Arne Van Petegem’s Belgian one-man band Styrofoam gets its groove on for 10 insinuatingly happy tunes, like the clubby "What’s Hot (And What’s Not)" and the single "Get Smarter."

The first in a series that celebrates New York’s dance night Fixed, U.K. electro duo Simian Mobile Disco hand-picked and mixed 16 hardcore club tracks for Simian Mobile Disco is Fixed.

Also out today: Sufjan Stevens — The Age of Adz; The Postelles — The Postelles; The Orb featuring David Gilmour — Metallic Spheres; Wilson Phillips — Christmas in Harmony; Katherine McPhee — Christmas Is a Time…(To Say I Love You); Duran Duran — Notorious / Big Thing (remastered); Olivia Newton John — Christmas Collection; Shelby Lynne — Merry Christmas; Various Artists — The New Dance Mix USA; Old 97’s — The Grand Theatre Vol. 1; Indigo Girls — Holly Happy Day

Music Videos and More New Releases after the JUMP

Continue reading "MUSIC NEWS: Robbie Williams, Antony and the Johnsons, The Green Children, Duffy, Dave Koz, Sky Ferreira" »


Towleroad - Blogged