New Music Monday: Patty Griffin, Natalie Maines, Vampire Weekend, and More!
Hey there hepcats and kittens! Welcome to another installment of New Music Monday, where we attempt to shake off the hangover that was the the weekend prepare to cope with another work week by looking at all of the great new music that's going to be released this week. Some of it you may have heard already, and some of it may come as a surprise, but I'll do my best to tell you what to seek out and what to avoid this week. So squeegee your third eye everyone, let's look into the future and see what you'll be listening to this weekend.
The Big News!
So far, I have yet to mention a contemporary country artist in this column, and that's for a very good reason - contemporary country music sucks. But something significant is happening this week in the world of country music and I feel compelled to mention it: the major releases this week are all from female artists. In addition to new releases from Lady Antebellum and the Miranda Lambert led Pistol Annies, folk singer Patty Griffin, whom I don't think has ever released a bad record, releases her first record of all new material since 2007, American Kid. The record is inspired by the death of her father and, as usual, is nearly flawless.
Natalie Maines, the former Dixie Chick who pissed everyone off for being right about the Iraq war in 2003, releases her first record since the Dixie Chicks hiatus began in 2006. Entitled Mother, it's one of the most aniticpated records of the year, mainly because I think everyone wants to see if she's going to release a song called "Fuck All of You Motherfuckers That Sent Me Death Threats for Saying I Didn't Support an Illegal War and an Illegal President (You Can All Eat Shit)". Unfortunately she didn't, but Mother is still a strong release. Maines has made it clear that this is a rock record and there are some great shit-kicking rockers and introspective ballads. The title track is a cover of Pink Floyd's "Mother" and also includes covers of songs by Maines' good friends Eddie Vedder and Ben Harper. It is a record that deserves to be heard.
Some great releases from a few high profile alternative bands are set to drop this week. Vampire Weekend's junior effort Modern Vampires of the City is probably the most hyped, and it is good, I've just never been a big fan. The new single "Diane Young" is catchy as fuck, though, and they're fun live.
The new Fitz and the Tantrum, More Than Just a Dream, is a blast, and if you found their debut Pickin' Up the Pieces even remotely interesting you're going to love the new one. The first single, "Out of My League", is a good example of the fun in store on this masterful slab o' wax.
Atlanta based weirdo indie rockers Deerhunter release their sixth full length, Monomania this week. Say what you want about them but Deerhunter never fails to surprise.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I feel compelled to warn you that Rod Stewart is releasing a new album this week. It's called Time so you can just imagine how terribly terrible it is. The least offensive songs have titles like "Picture in a Frame", "Pure Love", and "Finest Woman". But then there's songs like, um, "Make Love to Me Tonight" and, um, "Sexual Religion" that just creep me the fuck out. Plus, the cover is a picture of Stewart walking on the beach with a guitar. I haven't heard it, and if I'm lucky I'm never going to hear it, but I'm sure enough Target shopping, blush wine drinking, elementary teachers will buy it to make it profitable. Ugh. Instead of a Rod Stewart video here's a Mr Bungle video instead.
Prisoner of Conscious, the long awaited the new record from Talib Kweli will finally be released after a series of setbacks. A ton of cool people contributed to this record including Busta Rhymes, Nelly, and Kendrick Lamar.
The most interesting record being released this week is Hokey Fight by The Uncluded. The Uncluded are Kimya Dawson and Aesop Rock, two of the most original and vital voices in contemporary American music. If you're familiar with their work (Aesop is best known for being an integral part of alternative hip hop, while Kimya is best known for her work with The Moldy Peaches and the Juno soundtrack), it shouldn't be surprising that these two would hook up. What is surprising is the result. The album sounds a lot better than it sounds, if that makes any sense.