Kendrick Lamar

In the wee hours of midnight Monday morning, Kendrick Lamar released his brand new album To Pimp A Butterfly onto iTunes. At first only the clean version was released, but eventually the regular “explicit” version followed, and is also streaming on Spotify.

The album was released ahead of its original release date, and was taken off iTunes for brief moment around noon on Monday, but was soon put back up. The 16-track album features “Hood Politics” a song that samples Sufjan Stevens’ “All For Myself.” Album opener “Wesley’s Theory” also features a beat made by Flying Lotus.

The amount of great music we’ve gotten in the first quarter of 2015 has been, for the lack of a better word, insane. And now Kendrick has only added to that.

Find the tracklist posted below and read a great feature on the album that the New York Times recently published.

To Pimp A Butterfly:

1. “Wesley’s Theory” (Feat. George Clinton & Thundercat)
2. “For Free? (Interlude)”
3. “King Kunta”
4. “Institutionalized” (Feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Snoop Dogg)
5. “These Walls”
6. “U”
7. “Alright”
8. “For Sale? (Interlude)”
9. “Momma”
10. “Hood Politics”
11. “How Much A Dollar Cost” (Feat. James Fauntleroy & Ronald Isley)
12. “Complexion (A Zulu Love)” (Feat. Rapsody)
13. “The Blacker The Berry”
14. “You Ain’t Gotta Lie (Momma Said)”
15. “i”
16. “Mortal Man”

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Icelandic wonder Björk has used New York City as her personal performance space in many ways this month. From the retrospective exhibit of hers currently available to view at Museum of Modern Art, to her series of seven sold out concerts across prestigious New York City theaters (Carnegie Hall, The Kings Theatre, and New York City Center). Björk currently has a firm grip on the city.

The set of New York shows are a part of the exclusive tour for her beautiful new album Vulnicura. Yesterday Björk played her second show of the series at Carnegie Hall (where the first was also held), an usual matinee show that kicked off promptly at noon. This was my first time ever stepping foot in the historic Carnegie Hall, and I can’t possibly think of a better first artist to see there.

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Björk came out wearing a lovely long dress, with her faced concealed in the same headpiece made of quills found on the colorful Vulnicura album cover. She was joined by the 15-piece string orchestra Alarm Will Sound, as well as producer, and Vulnicura collaborater Arca (Alejandro Ghersi) and drummer Manu Delgado. Together they formed an incredible live team that majestically brought the sounds of Björk to life in stunning intimate fashion.

The performance was broken up into two sections, with the first being the first six songs from Vulnicura played in order. Arca and Delgado brought the electronic and rhythmic side to life, but it was the string orchestration from Alarm Will Sound that gave her performance an incredible amount of beauty and grace. Their presence made each song even more of an emotional wallop that often left the crowd on the verge of tears, especially with the 10-minute stunner that is “Family.”


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After a 20-minute intermission (I think LCD Soundsystem’s farewell show at MSG was the last show I went to with one) she returned to the stage without her mask and turned back the clock to some of her older beloved material such as “Harm Of Will,” “The Pleasure Is All Mine, “Undo” and “Come To Me.” She also returned to Vulnicura playing “Quicksand” and “Mouth Mantra,” leaving “Atom Dance” as the odd song out, probably because Antony Hegarty wasn’t able to make the show.

You go into seeing a big time performer such as Björk differently, with with weighty expectations that seem nearly impossible to be filled. But we go into these shows with a different mind set because they truly are unique excursions that take your mind, body, and soul, and transport them to a totally different place that only these artists can summon. For a large scale show it felt very personal and intimate, leaving me in a bewildered trance that I couldn’t shake. I don’t know if I’ll experience another show quite like it this year.

Björk Setlist:

1. Stonemilker
2. Lionsong
3. History of Touches
4. Black Lake
5. Family
6. Notget

Intermission:

7. Pleasure Is All Mine
8. Come to Me
9. Undo
10. I See Who You Are
11. Quicksand
12. Mouth Mantra

Encore:

13. Harm of Will
14. Wanderlust

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1_The Cribs_Mercury Lounge

Man was it good to finally catch The Cribs live again. Before last nights intimate showing at Mercury Lounge, the last time I caught the British trio was in 2007, a hearty eight years ago. A lot of time has passed since then, but The Cribs have stayed strong throughout, expanding their sound in more ways than I ever expected.

The Jarman brother trio are gearing up to release their brand new album (their sixth) For All My Sisters on March 24 via Arts & Crafts. The show at Mercury Lounge was their first show in New York in three years, and the first of a sold out three night run, with the other shows happening at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right and Saint Vitus, on Friday and Saturday respectfully.

1_Cold Fronts_Mercury Lounge

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[new]: Mew – “Water Slides”

By Will Oliver, March 11th 2015 Listen New Stream

Mew

Danish rockers Mew will return with new album +/- on April 28 via Play It Again Sam. It’s the first album from them in six years (since 2009’s No More Stories Are Told Today…).

Today they released a new album cut called “Water Slides.” They released an edited version of the a peaceful meditative track, one that captures a truly dreamy and mesmerizing atmosphere that is all around pleasant. This follows the previously released first single “Satellites” which was a bit more large-scale.

Find both “Water Slides” and “Satellites” posted below. Hopefully we’ll get some new U.S. tour dates soon, aside from their stops at SXSW.

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The Tins 1

The Tins are longtime favorites of ours here. We’ve been following the progression of their career for years now, and every new move and journey excites us even more than the last. We’re excited to learn that they are in the midst of creating their brand new album along with an accompanying documentary film. Only, they need a little help to get it finished.

They’ve launched a kickstarter campaign to help them get the two projects to completion at the best of their ability. The songs are mostly written, but they need some help covering the remaining studio time, filming budget, as well as the costs of final mixing and mastering. The album is being produced by Robby Takac, of a little band called the Goo Goo Dolls. You may have heard of them.

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Here’s the band’s description of the new album:

The new songs share themes of inner questioning. What is real? How have our expectations changed over time and how do they effect our reality? On the one hand, there is a romantic idea built up around an experience. On the other hand, there is the actuality of that experience. We often find ourselves stuck between both worlds as we long for the mythology that precedes the reality.

And a little bit about the documentary:

Our talented film crew, Jesse Deganis Librera and Thomas Etu, will be working on the documentary. They will be devoting an ungodly amount of time and energy towards shadowing this band for many months…. from the studio, to the tours, to the songwriting, to the everyday.. up until the release of this bad boy (the album). Easier said than done.

The filmmakers want to capture the reality of the band, and to show what is at stake when pursuing one’s passion. The film also plans to showcase Buffalo’s thriving music and arts community. The documentary will be submitted to film festivals worldwide.

You can read some more about the kickstarter at the campaign page, and by checking out the kickstarter video that they’ve shared (with some footage from their show at The Rock Shop last summer), which I’ve embedded below for you. If you’re feeling generous and want to support good honest independent music, head to the page and donate as much as you can.

Death Cab For Cutie

When I saw Death Cab for Cutie play a surprise show at Music Hall of Williamsburg in January, they played a few new cuts off their soon to be released album Kintsugi (March 31 via Atlantic Records). One of them was a song by the name of “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive.”

It stood out to be because of the amount of sharp bite that it had live, while interestingly also finding ways to trickle in a more airy atmosphere with the help of some electronic influences. I was excited to see how the recorded version turned out, and I’m happy to say that they were able to capture that same live energy on the recording.

Stream “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” below, along with “No Room In Frame,” the previously released album track. You can hear first single “Black Sun” here.

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Tame Impala

Today Tame Impala surprised us all with a brand new song called “Let It Happen.” The song was made available as a free download on their website and is the first song off their new album, which we can expect later this year.

“Let It Happen” is a nearly 8-minute extravaganza that goes off a funky 70’s-inspired psych groove that it’s constantly weaving in and out of. The band is leaning towards a more electronic sound, but that stoned Tame Impala glaze is still very much there. This one builds and builds, and when that big climatic break occurs, it’s total a blissful dream. It’s damn good to hear those dreamy Kevin Parker vocals again.

It’s exciting to see Parker pushing the boundaries of what Tame Impala can do as a band even further. This is just the album’s opener too…imagine what else awaits for us.

Stream “Let It Happen” below, and catch some newly announced tour dates below. Head here to check out photos + a recap of their show at The Beacon Theatre last November.

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1_Catfish and the Bottlemen_Bowery Ballroom

There’s nothing quite like catching a young band on the verge of some pretty major breakout success. Sometimes you have no clue that the band you’re seeing will someday become huge rock stars, but sometimes you go into a show fully knowing that you’re fortunate enough to see the band at a intimate showing, something that will soon be impossible to replicate. I’d say that was the case last night at hot-rising English group Catfish and the Bottlemen’s sold out gig at Bowery Ballroom.

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The Airborne Toxic Event

Tomorrow night The Airborne Toxic Event return to New York City for a smaller performance at Brooklyn venue Warsaw. The show is a part of a set of intimate-tour dates that the group are playing in support of their two new albums, Dope Machines and the online-only acousic album Songs of God and Whisky.

Tickets for the show at Warsaw tomorrow night are still on sale, but I got a pair of tickets to give away to one of you guys right now. To win, email me at weallwantsomeone@gmail.com with “The Airborne Toxic Event Contest” as the subject. I’ll pick a winner tomorrow and notify them around 3 p.m.

Good luck!

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