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MUSIC NEWS: Adele, Hercules & Love Affair, Beyoncé, James Yuill, Ciara, Moby, Grizzly Bear, Radiohead, Ex-Boyfriends

Adele

NORMAN BRANNON

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.

ESSENTIAL NEW MUSIC:

Adele21 Adele 21 (XL/Columbia)

It could be construed that by naming her 2008 debut album 19, after her age at the time of its writing, Adele also established a critical lens for it — with her emphasized youth becoming one part disclaimer and one part I-can't-believe-it-either. We couldn't believe it, of course, because the very timbre of Adele's voice invokes a kind of maturity we tend to associate with world-weary soul singers twice her age. But it was also impossible to ignore that the delivery sometimes outweighed the content, and when it did, we could always point to that disclaimer: 19 introduced Adele as an articulate, but ultimately inexperienced teenager — forming a paradigm where songs like "First Love" are literally about first loves, and where wounds feel fresh because they are. Such reasonable shortcomings are essentially wiped clean from 21, in which Adele finds herself expressing a more even-tempered notion of love and loss from a woman on the cusp of adulthood; it's an album in which the ability to assert her own self-empowerment finally catches up with her unrivaled ability to sing about it. So if Adele's newfound confidence is what allows her to move skillfully between genres — dabbling in country ("Don't You Remember"), gospel ("Rolling In The Deep"), and even bossa nova (on a somewhat unnecessary cover of The Cure's "Lovesong") — it's even more radiant when she shares the room with spotlight-grabbers like Rick Rubin and Ryan Tedder and outshines them all. With the release of 21, the critical lens has been tweaked: It's all wonder, no disclaimers.

Hercules_love_affair-blue_songs Hercules & Love Affair Blue Songs (Moshi Moshi)

If the 2008 debut by Hercules & Love Affair was a revelation, it probably had something to do with our collective dance music amnesia: Andy Butler had successfully tapped into the classic house music zeitgeist pioneered by producers like David Morales and Frankie Knuckles — most notably constructing a near-perfect piece of contemplative disco with "Blind" and making a diva out of Antony Hegarty in the process. Hegarty is absent on Blue Songs — as is DFA producer Tim Goldsworthy and vocalist Nomi Ruiz — but Butler's vision persists with a new supporting cast: Shaun Wright's performance on "My House" recalls Robert Owens in his prime and Bloc Party's Kele Okereke takes his turn on "Step Up," for what sounds like an ode to Chicago house legends Virgo Four. But somehow, the album's strongest statement is a cover of Sterling Void's "It's Alright," which eschews the dancefloor direction of the original for a plaintive, almost mournful rendition — perhaps confirming the suspicion that Blue Songs is not an attempt at genre revivalism, but an accomplished exercise in the recontextualization of house.

THE DISPATCH:

Beyonce Pictures Road Beyoncé is currently in the writing stages of her next record, and if this is an indicator, her new list of collaborators might just surprise you: The singer recently completed work with Diplo and Sleigh Bells guitarist Derek Miller. "I actually have no idea if the collaboration will ever be released," Miller says. "Beyoncé works with whoever she wants to work with… It's just a totally different world from what I'm used to."

Road Death Cab for Cutie have announced the follow-up to 2008's gold-certified Narrow Stairs — which also scored the band their first Billboard #1 album. Codes and Keys will be released on May 31, with bassist Nick Harmer promising, "this is a much less guitar-centric album than we've ever made before."

Road In a post to her Facebook page called "My Time To Speak," Ciara surprised her fans with a public plea to be released from her contract with Jive Records and alleged that she spent "more than one hundred thousand dollars out of my pocket" to promote a record "only to hear the radio [program directors] tell me my label didn't want the song played." Jive has yet to respond to the accusations.

Road Björk is, indeed, releasing an album this year, but it's not the one she hinted at: The singer is teaming up with Syrian artist Omar Souleyman for "the first-ever major Western pop release to feature Syrian dabble and Iraqi choubi music." I have no idea what that means, honestly, but we can expect to hear it before the end of the year.

SP Road In one of the more bizarre bits of news this week, Billy Corgan alleged on Twitter that The Smashing Pumpkins' current bassist, Nicole Fiorentino, is actually one of the two girls featured on the cover of his 1993 album Siamese Dream. She neglected to tell him this before, Corgan says, "because she thought maybe we wouldn't let her be in the band." Maura Johnston at Popdust, however, says not-so-fast — and lays out the evidence for a hoax.

Road It's been a busy week for Moby, who announced the release of a new album called Destroyed for May 17, an accompanying book of photography, three new music videos, and a teaser EP called Be The One — which is available as a free download HERE.

Road Lykke Li has leaked a fourth track to lead up to the March 1 release of her sophomore album, Wounded Rhymes, and dare I say it's the best one yet: "Love Out of Lust" is streaming at the singer's Soundcloud page now

COMING OUT:

Jamesyuill James Yuill's 2008 breakthrough, Turning Down Water For Air, was one of those albums that crystallizes the successful possibility of an idea that hasn't quite been tapped. Before Yuill, "folktronica" was code for bleepy folk songs; after, it was possible to write four-on-the-floor tech-house tracks with an acoustic guitar. Which is why the first thing you'll notice about his third album, Movement in a Storm, is the near-total absence of guitars. Yuill just went ahead and made a pop-techno record, and it may be months before you realize how game-changing this is: Because when it comes to combining this level of dancefloor credibility with classic pop songcraft, it's not even that no one else is coming close. It's that no one else thought it was possible.

Radiohead's eighth studio album came out on Friday, and if you're still holding out for a return to their guitar-based rock roots, The King of Limbs won't do anything to feed your jones. This is an album driven by rhythm and textures, and despite their insistence on being a "band," the reference points that I feel most confident drawing all point to companionless studio programmers like Four Tet (in the rapid staccato of "Bloom") or James Holden (in the techno-glitch editing of "Feral"). It's not easy listening, but when you recall that even OK Computer's first single was a 7-minute song about suspicious robots, it becomes increasingly clear that the rewards are there if you're willing to collect them.

Blue-valentine-soundtrack The original motion picture soundtrack for Blue Valentine — the oscar-nominated film starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams — isn't so much a new album by Grizzly Bear as it is a new way to listen to them: Previous album tracks like "I Live With You" and "Lullabye" take on a new meaning as instrumentals, and Horn Of Plenty's "Alligator" appears here as a "Choir Version" featuring Beirut's Zach Condon with Dirty Projectors' Amber Coffman and Dave Longstreth. Ryan Gosling also shows up with a version of "You Always Hurt The Ones You Love," but that one might be for the diehard fans only.

Also out today: Toro Y Moi — Underneath The Pine (Carpark), Diplo — Riddimentary (Greensleeves), Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd — Bordeaux (Darla), Danielson Famile — Best of Gloucester County (Sounds Familyre), Bloody Beetroots — Best of: Remixes (Downtown), Gruff Rhys — Hotel Shampoo (Witchita)

SOUND & VISION:

Ex-Boyfriends — "Uh-Oh!"

San Francisco's Ex-Boyfriends have always been more than just "queercore" — if it's even fair to so narrowly pigeonhole them at all. On Line In/Line Out, the trio firmly establishes their acumen for writing finely crafted pop songs dressed in indie rock camouflage, while the video for "Uh-Oh!" is a chance for the Ex-Boyfriends to tell a story about ex-girlfriends.

Cut Copy — "Need You Now"

In the world of Cut Copy's "Need You Now" video, boxers wield swords, swimmers throw nunchuks, and sprinters carry baseball bats — presumably all for love. It's also the must-hear opening track from the recently-released and critically acclaimed Zonoscope.

Literature — "It's Cruel"

Austin's Literature play scrappy garage pop with a West Coast heart, which is probably why it makes total sense that they'd film a video that reenacts Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze's legendary foot-chase scene from Point Break. I don't call too many ideas "genius," but this would be a necessary exception.

Bright Light Bright Light — "How To Make A Heart"

Rod Thomas used to be an acoustic guitar-swinging singer-songwriter — and a great one at that — but these days, he's a new wave flame-keeper and UK gay-mag pinup. (The logical next step!) "How To Make A Heart" is the emotive first single from Bright Light Bright Light's forthcoming debut album Make Me Believe In Hope.



Watch: Radiohead's Thom Yorke Does 'Single Ladies'

Yorke

Footage of Thom Yorke dancing from Radiohead's new video for "Lotus Flower" gets mashed up with Beyoncé.

Watch the mash-up, and the original clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via popeater)

Continue reading "Watch: Radiohead's Thom Yorke Does 'Single Ladies'" »


MUSIC NEWS: PJ Harvey, Bright Eyes, Rihanna, Radiohead, Arthur Russell, The Sounds, Teena Marie, Oh Land, Adele, Green Day

PJ Harvey

NORMAN BRANNON

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.

ESSENTIAL NEW MUSIC:

Pj-harvey-let-england-shake PJ Harvey Let England Shake (Vagrant)

There's definitely something vaguely dystopian about the tone and tenor of Let England Shake, but that's not the discomforting part. On her eighth full-length album, PJ Harvey chronicles a dark and morally ambiguous history of England as a present-tense proposition: In other words, the dystopia is now. Of course, Let England Shake is not as much a polemic as it is a meditation on what it means to be English, so while this album has already found itself positioned as Harvey's first truly outward examination, the internal conflict still plays a role in its narrative: On "The Last Living Rose," Harvey mourns, "Take me back to England!" before noting its "grey, damp filthiness of the ages," while the narrator for "The Words That Maketh Murder" helms a first-person wartime lens for a truly relevant consideration of the personal cost of nationalist rhetoric. But the extent of Harvey's pop acumen is most clearly demonstrated by her seemingly effortless ability to convey these criticisms without the oppressive trappings of a so-called Serious Album, and it is, perhaps, that lack of explicit navel-gazing that makes it all the more profound. On some level, it could be argued that the rigorous introspection of Harvey's previous albums may have inevitably led up to this one — because you can't make sense of the world around you unless you know your place inside of it.

Bright-Eyes-The-Peoples-Key Bright Eyes The People's Key (Saddle Creek)

In the almost four years since Cassadega, Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst has become equally as recognized for his progressive political activism and newfound interest in spiritual mysticism as he was for being "the new Bob Dylan" when he was only 22. At 30, Oberst has clearly outgrown the comparison, and with The People's Key, he introduces a newly liberated version of his personal and musical identity: "I take some comfort in knowing the wave has crested," he sings on one song, "knowing I don't have to be an exception." On the surface, this is a deceptively complex album that draws from the wide spectrum of Oberst–related collaborations that have surfaced over the last several years — his electro-tinged work with The Faint, that shamanic folk of the Mystic Valley Band, and the fuzzy punk chaos of Desaparecidos among them. But instead of resigning itself to pastiche, The People's Key teems with a sense of cohesion that even his strictly acoustic records often fail to muster, and if there's a Conor Oberst album less maudlin than this one, I've never heard it: It's psychedelic, but crisp; rife with metaphor, but still sometimes hazy. Which — when it comes from a songwriter whose tendency to be literal once inspired him to write songs called "It's Cool, We Can Still Be Friends" — turns out to be a refreshing, game-changing surprise.

UP FRONT:

The Sounds: "Better Off Dead"

In preparation for the March 29th release of their fourth album, Something to Die For, Sweden's best-known new wave exports The Sounds are offering Towleroad readers a free download of their first single in over a year: "Better Off Dead" largely strips the band of its guitars for a dynamic, unambiguous four-to-the-floor club track which probably won't quell those persistent Dale Bozzio comparisons any time soon. But in my book, that's not a comparison you'd necessarily want to shake.

THE DISPATCH:

Rihanna Road Rihanna went through a bit of a censorship controversy this week when the BBC began airing a version of her latest single, "S&M," that had been edited of any references to "sex" or "chains and whips" and renamed as "Come On." Rihanna took to Twitter to express her displeasure, stating that she was "absolutely not" OK with the change, and really, she shouldn't be — especially when it was only a year ago that BBC Radio aired this rendition of the Velvet Underground's "Venus In Furs," as performed by Gary Numan and Little Boots. Sample lyric: "Kiss the boot of shiny, shiny leather … Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart." Rihanna's lyric is a cute metaphor in comparison.

Road Radiohead announced surprise details for a new album yesterday, and true to form, they're only giving us five days notice:The King of Limbs is being called "the world's first Newspaper Album," and will feature two 10-inch records on clear vinyl, a compact disc, digital downloads of all the music, and over 600 pieces of "tiny artwork." (You also have the choice to just download the digital album by itself.) The music will become available on February 19.

Road Her new album, 21, celebrates its official release next week, but until then, British songstress Adele has announced dates for an upcoming North American tour — which begins on May 12 in Washington, D.C., and aims to hit most of the major American markets. Adele's stunning sophomore album is streaming at NPR right now.

Road Muse, Foo Fighters, and, umm, Eminem have been announced to headline Lollapalooza in Chicago this summer, but my money is on the openers announced so far: Best Coast, Girl Talk, Crystal Castles, and Lykke Li are all slated to perform.

Road Nanna Øland Fabricius — better known as Oh Land — was discovered by minimal techno producer Kasper Bjorke in her native Denmark, but the singer eventually moved to America where she released an EP last fall that went criminally underrated. Apparently, Sony Music thought so, too: The label quietly rereleased Sun Of A Gun last week and they slipped in an extra track: "We Turn It Up" is the first collaboration between the Brooklyn–based singer and the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams. Is it too early to talk song-of-the-summer?

Arthur russell Road Before tragically losing his battle to AIDS in 1992, Arthur Russell had become one of the most respected and influential musicians of his century — leaving an indelible mark on avant-pop, disco, and even modern classical music. Earlier this month, a group of Russell's friends and collaborators released an album under the name Arthur's Landing featuring new arrangements of some his best work — including the Loose Joints classic "Is It All Over My Face?" — but for those unfamiliar with the originals, Strut Records has enlisted DJ/producer Pocketknife for an 80-minute mix of Arthur Russell classics available for free download HERE.

Road Fans of Björk and Sigur Rós will likely appreciate this beautifully shot 30-minute documentary about the Icelandic music scene, quite literally titled Iceland: Beyond Sigur Rós. The film features interviews and video clips from classical-electronica artist Ólafur Arnalds and longtime indie-pop advocates Seabear, among others.

Road Following the departure of Billie Joe Armstrong from his featured performance on Broadway with American Idiot: The Musical, it has been confirmed that AFI's Davey Havok will bring his gothic glam to the role of St. Jimmy for a two-week run. Also set to star with Havok: American Idol alum Justin Guarini.

COMING OUT:

Teena marie icon When news of Teena Marie's death surfaced in December, many Americans remembered her primarily for "Lovergirl" — the 1984 hit that signaled the second phase of her career following an acrimonious split with Motown two years earlier. But that first phase was incredibly significant, and Icon, which comes out today, celebrates Marie's tenure at the label with a comprehensive collection of material that leaves little doubt to the legitimacy of her "Ivory Queen of Soul" status — as if "I'm A Sucker for Your Love," featuring her late mentor, Rick James, or the truly unforgettable "Square Biz" couldn't do that on their own.

For their new EP, Derealization, The Forms recast a handful of songs from their 2007 self-titled debut for a considerable upgrade. The songs themselves do most of the heavy lifting — the swirling and rhythmic "Steady Hand" is a clear standout — but members of The National, Pattern is Movement, Shudder to Think, St. Vincent, and Dirty Projectors all lend a hand to make this revision truly necessary.

Trax Trax Records is to house music what Sun Records is to rock 'n' roll: Founded in 1984, the label didn't just release pioneering house records as much as it actually guided the genre's progression from American post-disco to Chicago acid and underground house. Trax Re-Edited harnesses 21 of the label's most classic tracks and hands the masters over to contemporary producers like Ray Mang, Toby Tobias, Swag, and Freaks' Justin Harris for a near-perfect compilation of modern dancefloor edits.

A couple of years back at the Merge Records anniversary festival in North Carolina, I watched Telekinesis leader Michael Lerner find out that his band was too sick to play, assemble a new band on the spot, practice once, and then go on stage and totally kill it with the kind of precision reserved for veteran artists — all within the span of a four-hour window. To say that his second album for Merge, 12 Desperate Straight Lines, is a virtuosic display of power-pop, then, may be an understatement. Also, it never hurts to have Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla on production duties.

Also out today: Mogwai — Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (Sub Pop), Ginuwine — Elgin (Notifi), Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx — We're New Here (XL), Mark Farina — Mushroom Jazz 7 (Om), Sonic Youth — Simon Werner a Disparu (SYR), Lifeguards — Waving at the Astronauts (Ernest Jenning Record Co.), East River Pipe — We Live In Rented Rooms (Merge), Twilight Singers — Dynamite Steps (Sub Pop)

SOUND & VISION:

Erykah Badu — "Baby, Don't Be Long"

For the third single from New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh), Erykah Badu enlists the video tricknology skills of Flying Lotus — whose own experimental hip-hop career on Warp Records likely informs the Jetsons-on-blueprint-paper aesthetic of this clip.

Mirrors — "Into The Heart"

They call what they do "pop noir," and there might be something to that: "Into The Heart" is particularly memorable as far as 21st century synth-pop goes, like a young Orchestral Manouevers in the Dark in need of antidepressants.

Toro Y Moi — "New Beat"

When your real name is already Chazwick Bundick, I'm not sure why you'd need a pseudonym. Whatever the case, Toro Y Moi's first single from the forthcoming Underneath The Pine reminds me of those lo-fi disco records that DJs used to play off of reel-to-reel machines back in the 1970s. This is, by the way, a ringing endorsement.

Sanso-xtro — "Hello Night Crow"

Australian ambient electronic artist Melissa Agate returns with Fountain Fountain Joyous Mountain, her first new album in five years. The gorgeous glitch of "Hello Night Crow" serves as a perfect soundtrack for this visually stunning exercise in stop-motion video.



Music News: Aimee Mann, Prince, Radiohead, Gavin Rossdale, Daft Punk, Austin City Limits

Aimee

GuestbloggerRobbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

Low alto vocals delivering bar-raising lyrics in a semi-monotone manner? Must be time for a new Aimee Mann album! Coinciding with the release of her latest LP @#%&! Smilers yesterday, Mann did an in-store performance at L.A.'s Amoeba record store. You can stream the show at the Amoeba website.

As well, Cafe Largo, long the somewhat resident Los Angeles venue of performers like Mann and Jon Brion, recently relocated from Fairfax Avenue to the 280-seat Coronet Theater on La Cienega Boulevard. Aimee performed at the new location Monday night with Brion accompanying her.

You can also check out Blackbook's feature on indie artists (including Mann) who are changing the sound of movies: " As Mann can attest, it is far more common for songwriters, especially ones with cult followings, to find themselves in the baffling quicksand of 'work-for-hire'.”

Gavinrossdale6road.jpg The cover of Radiohead's "Creep" that Prince rocked out at Coachella last month has now been removed from YouTube at the command of the purple, copyright-crazy one. Instead it's been replaced with this.

road.jpg Radiohead's two-disc Best Of, covering all the band's output on Capitol/EMI, was released yesterday along with an accompanying DVD. In addition, the British rock group's back catalog finally sees the light of day on iTunes this week. Now if only the Beatles' music would follow suit. And, er, Garth Brooks...

road.jpg Also out this week is WANDERLUST, the solo album from Gavin Rossdale (pictured right). And how is it, you might ask? Why, let's take a look at iTunes to see what the user Bob Dylan Rocks has to say in his one-star review titled "Crap": "Maybe someday Gwen will give him his balls back!!!!!!"

road.jpg The True Colors Tour kicks off with a bang...and a striped pantsuit.

road.jpg Pack your favorite T-shirt that you'll end up taking off at some point in the sweltering 95 degree weather -- the 2008 Austin City Limits festival lineup has been announced.

road.jpg Daft Punk are in no hurry while they work on their new album.

road.jpg And because you were probably worried about him, you should know that Kid Rock has sworn off celebrity relationships after Pam Anderson: "I got burnt too hard. I got completely thrown under the bus, no question about that. I don't want anything to do with the whole world she is in. It's a very dark place. I'm not going to get caught up in any of that [bleep] anymore ... those Hollywood relationships."

road.jpg Ending on a fun note, here's the Bimbo Jones remix video for Danish pop act Alphabeat's "10,000 Nights" single, out now in the U.K. (Catch the un-remixed version here.)

Red_albumroad.jpg OTHER NEW RELEASES THIS WEEK:

What is technically Weezer's third self-titled album (and their second record produced by Rick Rubin), also unofficially known as The Red Album.

The Declaration, Ashanti's first full-length set in four years.

Jewel's foray into country music, Perfectly Clear.

Indestructible, the fourth album from hard-rocking alt band Disturbed.

R&B/jazz singer Lalah Hathaway's new set, Self Portrait.


Music News: Matt Lauer Interviews Kylie Minogue, Plus Jesse McCartney, Fall Out Boy, George Michael

Kyliem

GuestbloggerRobbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

Between R.E.M., George Michael and Kylie Minogue, it's a gay ol' week as far as new music releases. Kylie's X finally officially drops in the U.S. today, after making a brief three-week appearance on iTunes back in February.

Australia's "singing budgie" is doing stateside promotion all week for X -- including performances of new single "All I See" tonight on Dancing With The Stars, tomorrow on the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and then Thursday on Ellen -- and yesterday she sat down for an interview with the Today Show's Matt Lauer.

During their chat, Kylie responded to rumors that she'll soon marry French actor Olivier Martinez, tried to explain her elusive chart success in America and instructed Lauer on how he'll have to greet her once she's awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) this summer by the Queen of England.

The U.S. version of X contains an extra mix of "All I See," featuring rapper Mims.

road.jpg SEEING DOUBLE: The pixelated cover of Jesse McCartney's new album Departure, due out May 20, might evoke some "rude" thoughts from Robbie Williams.

Jmccover1Rw

Amydrwhoroad.jpg Amy Winehouse to appear alongside David Tennant on Dr. Who? April Fool's!

road.jpg Following suit with Madonna, U2 have signed a 12-year deal with concert promoting firm Live Nation, though Universal will continue to distribute the Irish band's actual music. Says Bono of Live Nation, who has managed U2's tours for three decades: "We've been dating for over 20 years now. It's about time we tied the knot."

road.jpg U.K. gossip site Digital Spy finds Beyoncé, Limp Bizkit, Sugababes, Steps, Fiona Apple, Blink 182 and Michael Jackson all have one thing in common: they've got the worst album titles of our times.

road.jpg Think you've got what it takes to remix Radiohead? Five separate tracks from their new single "Nude" are up for purchase on iTunes, and buyers are encouraged to create and upload their own GarageBand creation to Radioheadremix.com. Net surfers have to May 1 to vote for their favorite mix on the site.

road.jpg Fall Out Boy's plan to gig on every continent within two weeks falls apart. FOB frontman Pete Wentz: “It’s an utter disappointment… I read [on the MTV Newsroom blog] someone compared it to Geraldo opening Capone's vault, but it's worse than that, because, like, Capone's stuff is in there, you just can't get the light on. There's no spin for it; we got two hours away from Antarctica and we can't go.”

road.jpg POP BLOG WATCH: Miss feeling like a clove-smoking, coffee-drinking teenage girl running rampant in the record store? Hit up Eurovision- and Swede-obsessed Poster Girl.

Accelerateroad.jpg TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:

George Michael's Twenty Five, a two-disc collection of various hits -- including four from Wham! -- and six songs previously unreleased in the U.S. The deluxe edition contains Michael's music videos.

R.E.M.'s 14th album Accelerate, produced by Jacknife Lee.

Moby's Last Night, which finds him returning to his dance roots.

A Town And Two Cities, the debut from British alt rockers Your Vegas. They also have a line of fashion accessories coming to U.S. Bloomingdale's.

Van Morrison's Keep It Simple, his 33rd studio album, and first since 1999.

Attack & Release, from Akron, Ohio blues-rock duo The Black Keys.


Music News: Sarah Cracknell And The Feeling Banking On Hits In '08, Plus Radiohead, Juno, Apple, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey

Thefeeling

GuestbloggerPlease welcome Robbie Daw, who will be penning weekly music posts for us here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own pop music site called Chart Rigger.

While everyone's currently bedazzled by Radiohead's In Rainbows and the new Janet Jackson video, here are a couple alternatives you might have missed when their clips popped up over the busy holidays.

Mark Brown featuring Sarah Cracknell - "The Journey Continues": Built around a piece of classical music composed by Elena Kats Chernin that's currently being used in commercials by U.K. insurance firm Lloyd's, DJ and dance label head Mark Brown wisely chose Saint Etienne frontwoman Sarah Cracknell to sing over the haunting track. It's already become a radio hit abroad, ahead of its February 4 single release. We stateside folk can download "The Journey Continues" from 7 Digital. Incidentally, The Sun reports that the video is made up of 30,000 still photographs. Cracknell herself makes a Hitchcockian, blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance during the second verse.

The Feeling - "I Thought It Was Over": Last month I posted a fan-made YouTube clip of the first single off The Feeling's upcoming sophomore album Join With Us, but here now is the official video. Openly-gay lead singer Dan Gillespie Sells has some fun with tongue-in-cheek wordplay during the chorus. While Interscope put out the band's debut album here in the States last year, there's no word yet on a domestic release for Join With Us yet. The album is out in the U.K. February 18, a week after "I Thought It Was Over" is made available digitally and in stores.

road.jpg Billboard reports today that Radiohead's In Rainbows has debuted atop the album chart after it was finally made available in retail outlets and on iTunes. The publication also points out that In Rainbows only sold 122,000 copies compared to the 300,000 first-week copies 2003's Hail To The Thief moved, though the new album has been selling untracked by SoundScan for two months already at Radiohead.com.

Mariah_4road.jpg Meanwhile, the Juno soundtrack, which has been dominating the iTunes download chart for a couple weeks, makes a somewhat official debut on the Billboard tally. Though it was only available digitally until yesterday, several retailers violated the physical CD's street date and put it out last week. The soundtrack enters the official Top 200 Albums chart at #8.

road.jpg Apple drops iTunes prices in the U.K. to avoid an expensive antitrust conflict.

road.jpg Mariah Carey to People on the reported J. Lo "pig" comment: "This is just some internet gossip and it's pathetic that people actually entertain the thought that this could be real. This is another sad example of two strong women being pitted against each other." She'll probably save the real zingers for this spring, when her new album is expected to drop alongside Madonna's.

road.jpg Former American Idols Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks have been let go from J Records, making Hicks the first winner not to make a second album while signed to a major label.

road.jpg The YouTube "teaser" clip for next month's 25th Anniversary Edition of Michael Jackson's Thriller contains lots of fluffy commentary by Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jean and Pharrell Williams, as well as some interesting tidbits from Quincy Jones.

road.jpg THIS WEEK'S NEW RELEASES:

Kate_nashIf you love Lily Allen, then Kate Nash's Made Of Bricks will be right up your alley. The 19-year-old Irish singer and her annunciated accent finally wash onto American shores this week, after having a major U.K. smash last year with "Foundations."

Sia's third studio release, Some People Have Real Problems, via Starbucks' Hear Music label. The album contains "Day Too Soon," which was initially put out in EP form last fall.

"The Silence Between Us," a new single from former Hüsker Dü and Sugar frontman Bob Mould.

The World's Top DJs compilation from dance label Ultra. If you haven't already, be sure to check out the retro-rave-y "I Found U" by Axwell.


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