Thursday, June 27, 2013

Yum! New Hobbit Trailer

For the Desolation of Smaug, aka The Hobbit part 2. 

Let me be the one to say it: Richard Armitage makes dwarves look kind of hot. And OMG! Legolas!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sigur Rós Streaming New LP on Amazon

Aside from the music itself, the most interesting thing about the preview from the 7-album strong, ground-breaking, constant concert-sellout Icelandic band's pre-release promotion is the fact that, like Daft Punk, the National, and a small handful of others, its debut is not on NPR, NME, Paste, Pitchfork, PopMatters, or any of the usual suspects where the culture wars are being fought, but instead at the record store itself. That, and the fact they're coming to Nashville this fall! The date is 9/27, the place, The Woods at Fontanel. Tickets go on sale Saturday 6/22.

click image to go to stream

Friday, June 14, 2013

... and the boy: Tom Odell. A Tale of Two Videos

Who could blame serious music fans for putting the UK's Tom Odell in the "file under James Blunt" column, when this video for his first single, "Another Love" showed up last November?

It's a discrimination of sorts; you hit the "play" button, you see the ridiculously good-looking boy in close-up, you see the young girl draping herself on him, and — if you're the jaded type — you think, "Cheese alert! Abort mission!"  Because that's not what a serious artist would allow for a video. Right? And so, you're gone after 30 seconds and miss the bite of the remaining 3 or so minutes.

So it comes as no surprise that, when it became time (right now, actually) for Tom Odell's label to put him in front of American audiences, we got a fresh new video. The theme is similar. Like the original video, the below features the lovelorn 22 year old ignoring what's in front of his eyes, but we are spared the initial emphasis on Odell's dreeeeeeeeeaminess.

 You can't blame the UK Gaurdian for calling it this way:

"Odell's songs – combining his Jeff Buckleyesque golden voice and thumped piano – are so commercial you can almost hear the sounds of ringing cash registers behind the eerily layered backing vocals and pounding drums."

But then, the classically-trained pianist's bite shows through:

"Odell is full of such details that thrill mainstream audiences, but although he sings with his eyes closed to signify deep angst, he forgets to sustain the illusion when he opens them to peek at the front rows. In fact, that glint in his eye suggests he's more than another laboratory-created mainstream troubadour, unless sharing his tequila with the crowd is another fiendish move to roughen up his image."

Look for the rest of the Londoner (via Chichester & Brighton) and Brit Critics' Award winner's debut, Long Way Down, on June 24. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Girls of Summer: Lorde, Valerie June

Right now there are two young female artists in major rotation in the Bitchin' Granny Car™stereo ... one from the Deep South, and one from the Southern Hemisphere. Allow me to introduce you to ...


It's looking more and more like the song (or one of them) that's going to turn out to be this summer's smash is from New Zealand's teenage chart sensation, Lorde. Born Ella Yelich-O'Connor, she got signed at age 12 — and the payoff cometh with a song that spent 6 weeks at the top of the NZ charts. When Lightning 100, here in Nashville, started playing her song "Royals" about a month ago, radio listeners responded immediately. 

The commentary on the in-crowd, rapped over a minimal beat, obviously is striking a chord with the masses. “When I wrote Royals, I was listening to a lot of rap, but also a lot of Lana Del Rey, because she’s obviously really hip-hop influenced, but all those references to expensive alcohol, beautiful clothes and beautiful cars – I was thinking, ‘This is so opulent, but it’s also bulls**t.’”

How fast is she breaking? Last Thursday, a Google news search turned up a little over 400 results in the publications it monitors. Today that number is up over 1200. And here's something else that's turned up, on Lorde's Soundcloud account, of mighty interest to '80s alternative music fans:

Boom. Our teenage breakout turns out to be a Replacements fan. Or at least has someone in her camp who turned her on. Perhaps this could be the effective indie-hater block Del Ray could have used.

Valerie June

Wow. Damn. I received an advance of Valerie June's debut album last week and haven't been able to stop listening. 30 year old Valerie June Hockett was born and raised in Jackson, Tennessee and took a stop on the Memphis scene before landing in Brooklyn. In its own way, West Tennessee is as much a melting pot as NY, it's just the flavors that go in are a little different. On VJ's debut you can hear echoes of '60s girl groups & Nancy Sinatra, Stax/Volt, Link Wray, Howlin' Wolf, thrown in with bluegrass king Bill Monroe, Appalachian howlers.

The first single out got an assist from Black Key's Dan Auerbach ...

Very Memphis rave-up, but don't let its lightness fool you. This compelling album is chock full of deep blues, country soul and loneliness that will linger on your mind long after the party's over. Check out this heart-stopper: