Mandatory Music: Lana Del Rey, Sleater-Kinney, Purity Ring + More
It's apparently ladies night at the Mandatory Music complex.
While most of us are preoccupied with filling shopping lists and living in denial of the fact that Dec. 25 is creeping closer with each passing second, some of the coolest women in rock have been gracious enough to give us brand new music to soothe our increasingly shattered nerves. Three of the songs in this week's Mandatory Music are fueled by girl power, making for a much more nurturing but occasionally temperamental playlist than usual.
LANA DEL REY
'Big Eyes' from 'Big Eyes' Soundtrack
If you were directing a movie about Margaret Keane -- the artist and shy housewife in the '50s and '60s who was forced by her husband to let him take credit for her work -- you'd probably want new music from Lana Del Rey, too. While you probably couldn't afford her, Tim Burton can -- and he commissioned the sultry songstress to lend two new songs to the soundtrack for the upcoming biopic 'Big Eyes' starring Amy Adams. Both songs ('Big Eyes' and 'I Can Fly' -- which will reportedly play during the end credits) are quintessential Del Rey with melancholy-drenched vocals poured over lush, symphonic orchestration.
'Surface Envy' from 'No Cities to Love'
It's been a decade since Sleater-Kinney have played together, but from the sound of 'Surface Envy' -- a brand new track from the legendary riot grrrl trio -- everything is falling back into place nicely. Featuring guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein (who you probably recognize from putting birds on everything alongside Fred Armisen in 'Portlandia'), the ladies are set to release 'No Cities to Love' -- their long-awaited follow-up to 2005's 'The Woods' -- on Jan. 20. But you can listen to 'Surface Envy,' which they unveiled during a Reddit AMA earlier this week, right now.
'Hooker on the Street'
It isn't exactly new and it isn't exactly 'Everlong' either. During last week's episode of the Foo Fighters' HBO documentary series, 'Sonic Highways,' Dave Grohl shared his Nirvana-era solo recording 'Hooker on the Street.' Although the song borders on parody with Grohl adopting the singing voices of James Brown and Glenn Danzig, it also has a steady Chili Peppers-style funk foundation and foreshadows Grohl's prolific songwriting chops. Still, Grohl said he couldn't be in the same room with Kurt Cobain when he let him listen to it.
Fans of Canadian co-ed dream-pop duo Purity Ring received an early Christmas present this week when the pair unexpectedly dropped their first new song since their 2012 debut, 'Shrines.' Although it doesn't stray far from the ethereal, electronic sound we've come to expect from breathy singer Megan James and instrumentalist Corin Roddick, 'Push Pull' sounds patently fresh. Give it a listen and see if you don't immediately wish there was more.
THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES
'Energy Drink and the Long Walk Home’ from 'Sex Beat/Energy Drink...' split 7-inch w/the Coathangers
Possibly even more unexpected than a new track from Purity Ring, this week also brought about a "new" song from These Arms Are Snakes -- the beloved Seattle post-hardcore outfit who broke up in 2010. 'Energy Drink and the Long Walk Home' -- which is actually a cover of a song by Jay Reatard's early band, Lost Sounds -- will appear on an upcoming split 7-inch with their former Suicide Squeeze label mates, the Coathangers. Although bassist Brian Cook said the song may be the final release from the band, it still provides enough frenetic energy to last a good couple months.