‘NYC Ghosts & Flowers,’ Sonic Youth’s 12th album, was shaped by several things. Since releasing their major-label debut 10 years before in 1990, the band had streamlined its sound, knocked it back around to its artsy/noisy origins and finally settled someplace in between. But they were getting antsy. But most of all, ‘NYC Ghosts & Flowers’’ brutal, abrasive sound was a result of the group’s gear being stolen during a 1999 tour. They had to make the best with what they had laying around, what they purchased as replacements and what they could borrow.
When Pearl Jam began working on their sixth album, ‘Binaural,’ in 1999, they went in with a different set of priorities. For starters, they weren’t using producer Brendan O’Brien, who helped shape every Pearl Jam album since their second, 1993’s ‘Vs.’ Instead, they recruited Tchad Blake, best known for the textured soundscapes he applied to records by Los Lobos and Tom Waits, to co-produce with them. And because of Blake’s experimental approach to record making, the band itself adapted a more probing tone on ‘Binaural.’
The most prominent emotion on 'Crawling Up the Stairs' is frustration. On the record’s second track, 'Someone Else,' vocalist Nate Grace growls out the line “You know I earned it / So, c’mon, and give me all your / love” like an unhinged lover shouting self-loathing into the dark. It’s one of most devastating and immediate moments in rock music this year. Grace’s voice roils into a teeth-gritted mess as the words seem to roar out of him from somewhere deep. By contrast, the music is cloudy, calm and isolated, causing the words to sound like they're being yelled into an uncaring void.
With their tightly woven 2009 self-titled EP, Brooklyn’s Small Black rode in with a wave of hazy synth nostalgia-ists like Washed Out, Neon Indian and Memory Tapes. They followed it up a year later with a full-length called 'New Chain. The album made it clear that they were more leaders than followers in the then-booming field of bedroom-pop pioneers. There was an edge to their lyrics and a depth of emotion in their sound that made all those slinky hooks stick. Now, with even the echo of that initial boom behind us and the stigma surrounding the scene still lingering, where does Small Black go?
Bestival organizers have been expanding this year’s lineup over the last several months, and now, they’ve announced a brand-new addition to the bill: Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim. He was one of the original headliners during the fest’s inaugural edition back in 2004, and he'll make a return for the highly anticipated 10th anniversary bash.
Queens of the Stone Age are on a roll. First, they released eerie, graphic videos for ‘I Appear Missing’ and ‘Kalopsia,’ and now, they’ve unveiled yet another creepy animated clip for their new tune ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled.’ The vid (watch above) depicts a monstrous character getting into a pretty nasty bar fight before lighting a cigarette and setting the room on fire.
Ty Segall has announced the release of a new album, ‘Sleeper,’ and rather than do so via a boring press release, the ambitious San Francisco-based garage rocker has unveiled a brief "commercial" to promote the forthcoming set. The 30-second clip (watch above) finds Segall dozing off around the house, on the ground and even in a tree — which is ironic, considering he seems far too busy to ever sleep.