MUSIC NEWS: Be still our hearts! Ben Gibbard announces solo album!
A year after the band’s last album Codes and Keys was released, frontman Ben Gibbard announced to Stereogum that his first solo effort Former Lives, to be unleashed October 16th on Barsuk Records (home of Death Cab as well as other indie notables like Nada Surf and Mates of State).
The record’s title couldn’t be more appropriate: it’s been almost a decade in the making. It comprises Gibbard’s lyrical odds and ends from the past eight years, including collaborations with alt-country pioneers like Son Volt and Uncle Tupelo. Don’t think of this as the next Plans, however; think of it more as a musical map charting eight years’ worth of band, media, and personal ups and downs. As with most famous-band’s-lead-singer-gone-solo records, the songs on it might not necessarily find a home under Death Cab’s name, nor would it fit with any of his other side projects like the Postal Service or Pinwheel. Gibbard has admitted this, saying Former Lives will sound more like 90’s power-pop groups Teenage Fanclub and Big Star. But the album will also provide an interesting glimpse into Gibbard’s personal songwriting process without the influence of a full ensemble, something fans rarely get to see.
So get pumped, because this collection is guaranteed to both shine all by itself and to tide you over until the next Death Cab release. And keep an eye out: though no dates have been confirmed yet, Gibbard will be embarking on a solo tour, which promises a perfectly intimate setting showcasing this musical phenom’s talents.
The first weekend of Coachella was highlighted by some amazing performances, mind-blowing reunions over a decade in the making, and the first live performance by the West Coast Hip Hop legend Tupac in over 15 years. The details started coming out two days before the Sunday night performance: Dr. Dre had approached award-winning special effects company, Digital Domain, to resurrect Tupac for Coachella. The ten-minute Tupac cameo took about four months to render and was rumored to cost around $100,000.
It definitely looks (too) realistic, but could that actually be a bad thing? Was anyone else just a little weirded out by the video? If you say yes, you’re not alone. I think even Snoop seemed a little uncomfortable during his verses on “2 of Amerika’z Most Wanted”. Overall the reactions seemed to fall into three main categories: excited, perplexed, and disturbed.
Conclusion: the Tupac hologram was polarizing. We’ll see if Dr. Dre has anymore tricks up his sleeve for the digital ghost of Tupac this weekend, but if rumors are correct Coachella might not be the last we see of the now infamous hologram. Sources have hinted that Dr. Dre may be taking his Coachella West Coast Party on the road…including Tupac. That’s right, we just might be seeing Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac on tour in the near future. Even a creepy hologram cannot dull my excitement for that possibility.
POP ETC is a name that’s getting a lot of buzz today. Why? Because The Morning Benders announced a change in name due to an unsavory connotation of the word ‘bender’ in the UK & Europe, unfortunately, learned while the band was on tour across the pond.
Say what you want about name changes, but we have respect for this bold move. The band’s official statement on the matter can be found here.
In addition, listening to the tracks off their new EP as POP ETC (free to download), a change in title doesn’t seem completely off base. While the overall feel is similar territory, the band seems to have taken a turn for a more synth-laden sound to pair with their shiny indie-pop. Check out their new tune ‘Halfway to Heaven’ above.
It seems appropriate that today is a rainy day. Here’s to the lovely spirit and talent of Davy Jones. Raise your lighters and reminisce with this delightful tune from the late Monkee who died today at the age of 66.
Since 2004’s nefarious Nipplegate incident, the Superbowl Halftime Show has indisputably attempted to remain as tame as possible. That’s not saying the performances for the past 8 years haven’t been captivating or exciting, and they have certainly continued to be a topic of conversation, but when you’re performing during an event that is consistently the most watched American broadcast of the year, you’re expected to have a little decorum. While producers hope everything goes smoothly, performing artists usually have a method or two of keeping things interesting (here’s looking at you, 2007’s penis-guitar shadow during Prince’s Purple Rain). This year was no exception, with guest artist M.I.A. stirring the pot during Madonna’s performance of her new single “Give Me All Your Luvin.” The 36-year-old MILJOWIHC (Mother I’d Like to Jam Out With, If I Had a Chance, naturally) not only dropped an s-bomb that was quickly bleeped out, but also threw up a quick middle finger-an image which has made its rounds throughout the internet since seconds after being broadcasted throughout the nation. Apologies and accusations of blame have been tossed around left and right following and regarding Ms. Maya’s stunt, and next year’s performance will probably be under extreme scrutiny once again, but at least we can say two things with confidence. One, M.I.A. is certainly badass, and Two, she has certainly made this year’s halftime show a lot more interesting.
After teasing fans at a recent show about a finished (and somehow still unreleased) album, we can now be certain of a 2012 arrival for Fiona’s follow up to 2005’s Extraordinary Machine. Happy Friday indeed!
Prepare to have this in your head for the foreseeable future as Brooklyn by way of Takoma wunderkind, Brad Oberhofer, tickles the ivory and sweeps you up into his whimsical pop tornado. The song retains the same youthful charm and catchy melodies of his previous lo-fi recordings, but with added polish in the details and layering. The new song (and download) comes on the heels of the announcement of his debut LP, Time Capsules II, due out in March from Glassnote (Phoenix, Mumford & Sons, GIVERS) and produced by none other than the legendary Steve Lillywhite (U2).
Clearly the talent of Oberhofer is in good hands, and we can’t wait to hear what his full album has to offer.
While At The Drive-In’s reunion cast a large shadow over news regarding Coachella this year, everyone’s favorite Swedish hardcore punk band have also returned to play the festival. After 14 years (11 years ain’t nothin’, ATDI), Refused have reunited and will be playing not only Coachella, but Sweden’s Way Out West Festival and Belgium’s Groezrock Fest as well. We can only hope that this reunion will lead to Refused’s appearance at festivals closer to home for us East Coasters, but in the mean time we should all just listen to The Shape of Punk to Come on repeat and dream about being in the pit at Coachella. - Bryce Gold