Bon Iver. Photo by Eric Timothy Carlson & Graham Tolbert
Justin Vernon’s beloved indie-rock project Bon Iver will hit the road next year for an extensive tour of North America. The 23-date trek will feature opening performances from Dijon, a Bon Iver acolyte who’s got an album out this week that I’m very much looking forward to, and folk group Bonny Light Horseman.
An artist ticket presale begins Wednesday, October 27 with a general sale opening up at Bon Iver’s website on Friday, October 29 at 10:00 AM local time. Different charities will work with each date of the tour as part of Justin Vernon’s 2 A Billion, a campaign working to end gender disparity, domestic violence, and sexual abuse.
A$AP Rocky in 2012. Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images for Coachella.
It’s already been 10 years since A$AP Rocky dropped LIVE. LOVE. A$AP, his debut mixtape and still one of his best-regarded full-length efforts. To celebrate the anniversary, LIVE. LOVE. A$AP will finally be available to hear on streaming services this Friday, October 29. The mixtape will come with a brand new song, “Sandman.” The track is co-produced by Kelvin Krash and Clams Casino, who helmed five beats on the original release.
Snoh Aalegra‘s recent album Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies boasted two beats from Tyler, The Creator as well as a verse on the song “NEON PEACH,” which gets a set of flashy visuals today. The video almost feels like a glossy photo editorial starring Aalegra in a versatile set of outfits, from bucket hat-wearing slacker to futuristic tin foil librarian. Tyler, for his part, is dressed just like Tyler, but he’s clearly having fun performing over his Neptunes-meets-Kaytranada beat. Check it out above, and for another stellar Tyler feature, listen to Maxo Kream’s “Big Persona” featuring T.
Following the success of last year’s album Limbo (and the resurgence of his 2016 hit “Caroline” as a TikTok trend), Aminé has returned with a music video for a brand new song called “Charmander.”
Despite the song’s embrace of the homebody lifestyle, the beat on “Charmander” is fast-paced and clubby, with a hyperactive vibe that’s channeled in the music video. Adam Daniel & Jack Begert give the viewer a tour of Aminé’s Portland home base, with more than a few surreal twists. The best of which, arguably, is an enormous and adorable dog.
“After the release of Limbo,” Aminé said in a press statement, “I took some time to experiment and challenge myself to create in ways I hadn’t before — exploring different textures and tempos without any expectations. ‘Charmander’ was the first product of that period that felt natural while still being at a completely different BPM than any of my previous work.”
Majid Jordan, the resident pop artists at Drake’s label OVO Sound, released a new album today called Wildest Dreams. The project sports a feature from the Certified Lover Boy on the track “Stars Align,” his first collaboration with the duo since 2016’s “My Love,” streaming below.
Most who are familiar with Majid Jordan likely came their way thanks to “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” Drake’s 2013 smash hit. “Stars Align” is that track’s sequel with the magic hour ’80s synths and Lothario Drake turned up to 11 — though the verses are split evenly between Drake and Majid Al Maskati, Drizzy’s shadow looms large. Wildest Dreams is out now, and you can hear “Stars Align” below.
The Weeknd is the guest vocalist on a new song from Swedish House Mafia. “Moth to a Flame” is the name of their collaboration. Check out the music video, directed by Alexander Wessely, above.
“Moth To A Flame” marks the first time The Weeknd has worked with Swedish House Mafia. The electronic music trio, made up of Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso, returned with new music this summer, their first since splitting in 2013. “It Gets Better” and “Lifetime (feat. Ty Dolla $ign & 070 Shake)” both arrived in July. An album, Paradise Again, is due in 2022.
In addition to new music, Swedish House Mafia have also confirmed a huge raft of live dates for next year. The group will head out on the global tour after appearing at the 2022 edition of Coachella. See below for their full schedule.
Fri Jul 29 – Miami, FL – FTX Arena Sun Jul 31 – Orlando, FL – Amway Center Wed Aug 3 – East Rutherford, NJ – MetLife Stadium Fri Aug 5 – Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena Sun Aug 7 – Montreal, QC – îleSoniq Festival Tue Aug 9 – Boston, MA – TD Garden Wed Aug 10 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center Thu Aug 11 – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena Sat Aug 13 – Chicago, IL – United Center Wed Aug 17 – Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena Fri Aug 19 – St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center Sun Aug 21 – Denver, CO – Ball Arena Thu Aug 25 – Austin, TX – Moody Center Fri Aug 26 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center Sat Aug 27 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center Tue Aug 30 – Phoenix, AZ – Footprint Center Fri Sep 2 – Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena Sun Sep 4 – San Diego, CA – Pechanga Arena Tue Sep 13 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena Wed Sep 14 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena Fri Sep 16 – San Francisco, CA – Chase Center
Thu Sep 29 – Manchester, UK – AO Arena Fri Sep 30 – Glasgow, UK – OVO Hydro Arena Sun Oct 2 – London, UK – The O2 Thu Oct 6 – Dublin, Ireland – 3Arena Sat Oct 8 – Birmingham, UK – Utilita Arena Birmingham Mon Oct 10 – Paris, FR – Accor Arena Fri Oct 14 – Madrid, Spain – IFEMA Madrid Live Sat Oct 15 – Lisbon, Portugal – Altice Arena Tue Oct 18 – Milan, Italy – Mediolanum Forum Wed Oct 19 – Zurich, Switzerland – Hallenstadion Fri Oct 21 – Krakow, Poland – Tauron Arena Sat Oct 22 – Prague, Czech Republic – O2 Arena Tue Oct 25 – Cologne, Germany – Lanxess Arena Thu Oct 27 – Munich, Germany – Olympiahalle Sat Oct 29 – Antwerp, Belgium – Sportpaleis Mon Oct 31 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Ziggo Dome Thu Nov 3 – Vienna, Austria – Stadthalle Sat Nov 5 – Frankfurt, Germany – Festhalle Sun Nov 6 – Berlin, Germany – Mercedes-Benz Arena Tue Nov 8 – Hamburg, Germany – Barclaycard Arena Wed Nov 9 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Royal Arena Fri Nov 11 – Oslo, Norway – Telenor Arena Sun Nov 13 – Tampere, Finland – Uros Arena
Megan Thee Stallion will release a compilation of freestyles and unreleased material next week (Friday October 29). Something For Thee Hotties was announced by Meg on Instagram as “freestyles y’all been asking for plus a few unreleased songs from my archives to hold y’all over for the rest of the year 😈.”
In addition to the compilation news, Meg is also featured on DJ Snake’s new song “SG.” She lines up alongside fellow guest stars Ozuna and BLACKPINK’s Lisa. The track comes with a video by Colin Tilley, who previously directed the “WAP” video among many others. Check that out below.
Recent Megan Thee Stallion freestyles include “Tuned In” and “Outta Town.” 2021 has also brought the release of “Thot Shit,” plus remixes of Ariana Grande’s “34+35” and BTS’ “Butter.” Megan Thee Stallion’s most recent mixtape, Fever, dropped in 2019. Since then she has released Suga and her debut album 2020 Good News.
On Sympathy for Life, Parquet Courts won’t be outdone by nihilism
The band’s seventh album is defined by growth from previous releases: brash cynicism is sharpened into erudite criticism, and a search for community is fully embraced via sticky dance grooves.
L: Pooneh Gana via Pitch Perfect | R: Sympathy for Life cover artwork
It seems obvious on first listen that “Walking at a Downtown Pace,” the first song on Parquet Courts‘ seventh album Sympathy for Life, is about returning to some semblance of normality after a year and change of lockdowns. New York, the band’s adopted home, was terrifying in the depths of the early pandemic, its uncanny silences interrupted only by frequent sirens, its bars and venues barren and vacated. “I’m making plans for the day all of this is through,” Andrew Savage sings over an incessant groove. “Seeing my path and hearing the song I’ll sing and / Food that I’ll taste and all the drinks that I’ll consume / Return the smile on an unmasked friend.”
There’s something eerie, then, in learning that “Walking at a Downtown Pace” was, like the rest of Sympathy for Life, written before the pandemic. The band finished recording the bulk of the tracks in England and flew back a couple of days before the first wave of lockdowns. They flirted with the idea of writing more, of trying to reckon with life in isolation, but eventually decided to stick with the songs they’d written pre-pandemic and just delay the release.
Or maybe they just figured it’d be hard to write anything about this COVID-mandated anti-life that they hadn’t already articulated, inadvertently, on Sympathy for Life as it was. On the slippery “Marathon of Anger” Savage sings about a “discontinued 2020” before his bandmates sing, with the cold and disaffected chirp of a corporate motivational video, “it’s time everyone gone to work.” Or try the troublingly bright-sounding “Just Shadows,” when he sings, “Suddenly I am alone / In the truest sense of the word / With nothing else to hear or watch[…] Like an inmate that’s finished his term.”
In a way Savage and Austin Brown, the co-frontman with whom he shares the lyric sheet, really did have a premonition here. Difficult though it may be to remember what life was like before the air was trying to kill us, these songs aren’t necessarily elucidating shiny new concepts. Rampant capitalism was always a bitch, the pandemic just scrubbed off another layer of its sticky veneer; depression is ever-present, but being locked inside gave it the right conditions to fester; the inability to communicate, to feel close to friends or strangers or history or community or reality, was lurking long before we were all physically shut in. The anxieties that animated the cultural conversation before — in whatever sense that existed as a fixed thing — simply swelled exponentially.
Sympathy for Life is Parquet Courts’ most dynamic album, a concerted attempt to bring in Primal Scream‘s psychedelic fits and the sounds of New York nightclubs, a more potent concentration of the syncopated grooves they borrowed from Fela Kuti and David Byrne on their last album, 2018’s Wide Awake! It pushes them to fascinating places; the Madchester-inspired “Plant Life” is about as far away from “Stoned and Starving” as they’ve strayed, while the industrial “Application Apparatus” rattles around like a Devo song.
In recent interviews they’ve talked about going to more dance parties before writing the album, wanting to bring that atmosphere — the feeling of connection, the inclusive nature — to their own music. That’s a bold idea, especially for a band whose early albums buried whatever groove existed beneath howls and distortion. But it works here, not least on the genuinely fun “Zoom Out” when they sing together, “We got dancing / We got screaming / We got laughin’ / And we got feelin’.” (It’s important to note that Savage prepared for the writing process by traveling to a remote part of Italy, tripping on acid, and lifting weights. If you want to be at peace with the universe, “trippy lifting” — his words — sounds like a good route.)
In that respect Sympathy for Life is a different, perhaps more subtle, way to attack the same problem they encountered last time out. “Total Football,” the opener on Wide Awake!, nodded to the Dutch soccer teams of the 1970s, their fluid, positionless style of play, a collective spirit that meant everyone on the field had to understand how to fill in for a teammate at any moment. It was, Savage told the NME at the time, a way to express something that had made him feel hopeful in the depths of the Trump presidency: “This kind of new energy that I think is happening in America where young people are starting to have more of an inclination towards collectivism and less of the kind of hyper-masculine super individual cliché that America has emphasised.” The grooves on Sympathy for Life are a new way of communicating that need for community, another way of shouting, as Savage did so satisfyingly on “Total Football,” “fuck Tom Brady.” And, a little like hearing him shout “fuck Tom Brady,” it’s joyous and irrepressible.
That outsiderdom carried through to Parquet Courts. To take an extreme example, their atonal and jam-heavy 2015 EP Monastic Living had only one song with vocals, and that was just Savage rejecting everything, shouting that he didn’t want to be a poet or an influence or a memoirist or someone who could be “cited.” It wasn’t self-serious — the song was, they wrote in the liner notes, “self-righteous, preachy morality shouted by a pure-fool” — and they refused to do interviews around the project. It was an absurdist art-punk experiment from the smartest kids in the room. But however funny and well-deployed it may have been, “No! No! No!” is the sort of distant wiseassery you can’t imagine them pulling anymore.
The Parquet Courts of Sympathy for Life is altogether different. They yearn for connection and community and, above all, seem pretty convinced of the best ways to realize them. Some of that’s in the rhythms and Screamadelica allusions, but it’s present in the lyrics too. Over and over again Savage and Brown express a deep discomfort with pernicious technologies, algorithms that flatten the senses and dull lived experience. On “Just Shadows” he tears into doorstep deliveries “optimized for pleasure,” rifling off lines about a “police state / Fodder to a vast database,” heavy with sad irony when he sings, “Curated life agrees with me / Programmed to know when I should sleep.” On “Application Apparatus” a “friendly speaker tells me ‘in 1,000 feet’ / 5G signal, guides my hands to shift the gears.” “Homo Sapien” features a “TV set in the fridge” with “a voice that recites the news and leaves out the gloomy bits.” Up against this faceless, screen-lit dystopia, dropping acid and screaming (or lifting weights) isn’t just an outlet, it’s a weapon.
This has been a theme for Parquet Courts from the very start. The title track from their debut American Specialties had them rolling their eyes at “TV channels and computers / Facebook pages, boring, boring.” The title track from 2014’s Content Nausea, the name of which is a giveaway in itself, had Savage breathlessly trying to recreate the exhausting endless scroll with his voice: “In the grips of bad dimension / Too much data, too much tension.” They were righteously cynical and, as time went by, increasingly intent on diagnosing some cultural sickness.
But over the past half-decade in particular, Parquet Courts have turned that cynicism into erudite criticism, and they’ve done so without diluting the energy that made them so compelling in the first place. When Savage sang “I can’t count how many times I’ve been outdone by nihilism” on the Wide Awake! closer “Tenderness,” he seemed to have been directly rejecting the philosophy behind that opening song from Monastic Living — and the title of that EP too. Parquet Courts weren’t picking away at society’s ills from a safe remove anymore; they’d been dragged into the world and forced to reckon with its monotony first-hand.
In flashes, it’s even pushed Savage dangerously close to memoir, and that gives us Sympathy for Life‘s most beautiful moment. “Pulcinella,” the last track on the album, is a love song, stripped of the grooves and the bleeps that energize so much of the album. It’s the type of thing you couldn’t have imagined Parquet Courts writing a decade ago — though even through the lullaby the jagged edges still cut familiar shapes — and it’s proof that to them expansion means exploring in all directions, not just incorporating one new sound. Lyrically it’s about connection again, more personal this time but still familiar when Savage sings that he doesn’t want to be lonely anymore. That he’s pulling from Renaissance comedies doesn’t make the last line seem any less like a premonition: “‘Darling it’s me,’ as the mask comes off / ‘It always was.’”
For over a decade, dancehall producer, songwriter, and director Demarco has crafted a steady stream of hits for not only himself, but fellow Jamaican artists like Sean Paul, Charly Black, and Bounty Killa. Today, the dancehall mainstay has shared his debut album, Melody, a self-produced 16-track project boasting features from Sean Paul, Konshens, Sarkodie, Spice, Stephen Marley, Chronic Law, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Ky-Mani Marley, and Shaggy, who appears on the track “Do It Again.” The single’s visuals, premiering above, offer a nod to Shaggy’s 2001 hit “It Wasn’t Me.” The video follows previously released singles “Ryda,” the Konshens-assisted “Mover,” and “Dance My Stress Away” featuring Stephen Marley.
“It was great to focus without all of life’s distractions,” Demarco said of putting the final touches on the project over the last year and a half. “To cut out the noise and really fine-tune the project was a positive aspect of operating in a professional capacity during quarantine.”
Working with artists across genres from reggae to R&B, and reportedly landing a single on Rihanna’s upcoming album, Demarco says finally being able to focus on and share his own body of work was like a “weight lifted off his shoulders.”
“These tracks embody my development as an artist over the past decade,” he added. “Being a writer and producer for others has helped with my own body of work too. I see things from a variety of perspectives and that makes a difference when it comes to putting it all together.”
Watch the video for “Do It Again” above, and stream the album below.
The New York City post-punk band take a dancier direction on their seventh studio album Symapthy For Life, produced by Rodaidh McDonald and John Parish. “The purest expression of Parquet Courts is when we are improvising,” says co-lead vocalist and guitarist Austin Brown.
The soundscapes Liz Harris creates as Grouper have an everlasting quality to them, as weighty as hymns but with its own individual spirituality. The music of Shade was recorded over 15 years, and features “Unclean mind,” a favorite when it was released in July.
Experimental singer-songwriter Roberto Carlos Lange’s project Helado Negro exploded in 2019 with This Is How You Smile. Far In, its follow-up, was written during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Escape is never out there, you have to go inward,” Lange says. “Gemini and Leo,” the project’s lead single, dropped in June and was a fixture on our stereos over the summer.
Petunia is the 19th Tonstartssbandht album from Florida-based experimental duo (and siblings!) Andy and Edwin White. And wouldn’t you know it, the trippy luster of their compositions hasn’t even started to lose its shine. We premiered the album’s lead single “What Has Happened” back in August.
It’s been six years and one major label split since Wet covered The FADER ahead of their debut album Don’t You. The band took some time to regroup after 2018’s Still Run and return this year with Letter Blue and its Blood Orange-featuring single “Bound.”
Chris Stewart’s cold wave project returns with a new album just as the synth-driven subgenre finds a new audience with Gen Z TikTok fiends. “Fast Idol goes back to the songwriting on my early records,” Stewart says in a press statement, “where the themes were guided by intuition and instinct – often, their meanings only become clear to me after they’re written.”
The latest full length from Montreal’s Jacques Greene collects previously released tracks and hard-to-find 12″ releases from early on in his career. The anthology follows his 2019 LP Dawn Chorus, and you can read all about that one here.
If you want to get a sense of the stark tonal experiments the Philly band engage in on No Light In Heaven, play “Leona,” the first track from their 2019 album Remembering the Rockets, followed by No Light In Heaven‘s opening track “In Hell.” Jangle pop vs Black Dresses-esque death throes! The rest of the project embraces a new electronic sound, produced entirely by the band themselves.
A confession: almost any band that has an album with a song title as funny to me as “Yng_Shldn” will automatically get a spot on this album’s roundup. Fortunately for everyone involved, the Australian bedroom-indie duo’s sixth project also offers a rare and particular loveliness: raw yet considered, with an accessible intimacy.
Rising star ZAC JONE$ has shared his latest single, “The Weed Song,” alongside Jesse Royal via Easy Star Records. An obvious and aptly-titled ode to high grade, the pair vibe over the track’s fluttering flutes and thumping rap-tinged bassline. The single serves as the follow-up to his track “Lonely” from earlier this year.
“I wrote this song at a time when I was busy doing a lot of things outside of music and I remember feeling really overwhelmed”, ZAC said about the track in a statement. “Every night after work I’d sit outside in my garden and smoke and I’d feel good in that moment; like that was my escape. One of those nights I just wanted to put that feeling into song. I pulled up the beat from Io (Iotosh) and it all came together right there. I was saving it for the right feature, so when Jesse heard it a few months later and started writing his verse on the spot, I knew that was it.”
GENER8ION is the multimedia-spanning creative collaboration between filmmaker Romain Gavras and music producer Surkin. Their first new song in five years is out today, a track called “Neo Surf” with a feature from G.O.O.D. Music’s 070 Shake.
The song updates classic soul tropes with instrumentation ripped from the main stage of an EDM festival, and its Gavras-directed music video also looks to the future while bringing along vestiges of the past. The video follows a group of young people exploring the wasteland of Athens in 2034, hunting ostriches and riding hydrofoil boards. You might be familiar with Gavras’s music videos like “No Church In The Wild” for JAY-Z and Kanye West, M.I.A.’s “Born Free,” and Jamie xx’s “Gosh.” That should give you an idea of the cinematic, epic touch he brings to this new visual. Check it out above.
Young Thug fans will remember the sheer magic he made with “High,” a 2018 song that sampled Elton John‘s classic song “Rocketman.” John was more than happy with the collaboration, calling it “so cool and so good” when it dropped. The song is now ranked among Thug’s best, so it’s good news that Sir Elton and Young Thug have teamed up once more on “Always Love You,” a new song that also sports a feature from Nicki Minaj.
Both rappers sound very much at home on this kind of boombastic, heartsick balladry (see the aforementioned “High,” and Minaj’s single “Pills & Potions”). For Thug and Nicki, the presence of John — and each other — seem to be pushing them to flex different flows and dive deeper into the beat. It may not be a resounding success like “High,” but there’s still a high level of skill involved that’s impossible not to appreciate. Listen above.
The third episode of The FADER Uncovered Season 2, the series in which host Mark Ronson talks with the world’s most impactful musicians, is up now and available for download wherever you listen to podcasts. This week Ronson is joined by Japanese Breakfast a.k.a. musician and author Michelle Zauner. Together they revisit Zauner’s 2018 FADER cover, written shortly after the release of Japanese Breakfast’s second album Soft Sounds from Another Planet. Since then the band has released new album Jubilee while Zauner published her memoir, New York Times best-seller Crying In H Mart, written about losing her mother and establishing her own identity. Zauner guides new fan Ronson through her career to date, from her early forays into music through to the viral New Yorker essay that led to her book, and onto her most recent project; scoring indie video game Sable. They also spend time discussing their shared love of Japanese city pop and coming to terms with your artistic voice.
Between them, Ronson and Zauner bring up lots of music across the episode, referencing their shared love of Nine Inch Nails, Gorillaz, and Cat Power as well as Zauner’s obsession with South Korean rock guitarist Shin Jung-hyeon. To make that all easier to navigate, we’ve dropped all the artists they namecheck into a massive 76-song playlist, which you can check out below.
Follow and subscribe to The FADER Uncovered here, check out the previous episode with J Balvin here, and come back for new episodes every Monday.
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Lana Del Rey has released the video for her song “Blue Banisters.” The song is the title track from Del Rey’s eighth studio album, due for release this Friday (October 22). The video shows Del Rey acting out some of the lyrics from the song, including sitting on a John Deere and painting a wooden deck in a shade of blue. Check it out above.
Toro y Moi a.k.a. Chaz Bear has announced a new, as-yet-untitled album to be released in 2022 on his new label home Dead Oceans.
Each Toro y Moi solo album since 2010 has been released on Carpark Records, but in a statement, Chaz Bear said he was looking forward to a new collaboration. “I’m excited to begin this next chapter with Secretly / Dead Oceans! Throughout the years they’ve continually maintained a conscious eye on the state of independent music and are pushing the boundaries of popular music. Thanks again to all my fans and supporters in making it this far with my music, your love and time is appreciated!”
Nigerian-born, London based artist Obongjayar has been steadily increasing his profile over the last year or so, sharing the EPs Which Way is Forward? and the Sarz collaboration Sweetness as well as appearing on songs with Little Simz and Take A Daytrip. He’s currently preparing his debut album, and today we get “Message in a Hammer,” the first single from the project.
As the name suggests, nothing about “Message In A Hammer” is subtle. The experimental Afrobeat single rides distorted drums and synth sweeps to deliver an empowering broadside aimed at the exploiters and villains worldwide. “‘Message in a Bottle’ “about fight,” Obongjayar said in a statement, “and fighting against the powers that take and steal and rob from us, and calling them by their name—thieves and murderers.” To that end, Obongjayar stars in the song’s grisly video and plays a driver who takes bloody revenge against a gang leader. Check it out above.
Lawrence Matthews was ready to retire his musical alter-ego Don Lifted in late 2019. “I felt like I was at the end of what that body of work was,” he told his local alt-weekly, The Memphis Flyer, in an interview published last week. “I was just not where I wanted to be.” He’d booked a cross-country tour, hoping but hardly expecting that something would come of it, taking two albums worth of material — lo-fi rap and R&B that embraced shoegaze and experimental indie textures, promising and peculiar music that hadn’t taken him as far as he’d deserved — on the road for what he thought would be the final time.
Matthews would have been busy either way. A talented painter and photographer with a fine arts degree from the University of Memphis, he works as the Gallery Director at Tone, a Memphis non-profit built by and for Black artists, creatives, and communities. But Don Lifted wasn’t dead yet. Matt Ross-Spang, who’s produced albums for Margo Price and the Mountain Goats and engineered albums by John Prine and Jason Isbell, wandered into Don Lifted’s hometown show on that tour. Taken by the performance, he called a friend at Fat Possum Records, home to Spiritualized, Empath, and X, and told them to pay attention to Matthews’s music.
Two years on, Matthews is releasing 325i, his Fat Possum debut as Don Lifted. The album isn’t a radical departure from his earlier work; Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, and Radiohead are still Matthews’s clearest musical influences. But Matthews has sharpened his sound, maturing as a songwriter and producer. He’s not pushing his voice to dominate the mix anymore, instead content to dissolve into the liquid guitars that anchor most tracks.
The ten songs here sound painfully lonely, whether he’s trying to articulate unrequited love or obliquely referencing the protests that swept the country last year. Just about every album released in 2021 has been a product of the pandemic in some sense, but few seem to have been shaped by it so thoroughly, and fewer still capture the feeling of locked-down anxiety, dejection, and intimacy so viscerally. Even when the track cuts, as it does at the end of borderline-meditative standout “Lost In Orion” to the sound of what seems to be his family laughing, the songs still seem to be set inside Matthews’s head. That’s somewhere you’ll find yourself wanting to stay, despite the time the album was made and the challenges he clearly faced in writing through it.
“This record has been an exploration of self,” Matthews wrote in a statement to The FADER. “My love and how it shapes who I am… A series of abstract stories and extended metaphors airier and more poetic than my previous works; ending with a new understanding of what life and love are for me at this stage of my journey.”
Listen to 325i in full below ahead of its release tomorrow, October 22, via Fat Possum.
Chinese video streamer Tencent Sports will no longer broadcast Boston Celtics games after the team’s center Enes Kanter shared posts voicing support for Tibet’s independence movement. Tibet was seized by China in 1950, and in the following decades the “Free Tibet” movement grew around the world, spearheaded by the Dahli Lama.
In a video shared on Wednesday, Kanter directly addressed the Chinese government led by President Xi Jinping. “My message to the Chinese government is free Tibet,” Kanter says. “Under the Chinese’s government’s brutal rule, [the] Tibetan people’s basic rights and freedoms are non-existent.” A subsequent post revealed “Free Tibet” sneakers designed by Badiucao, a Chinese-born activist living in Australia.
Since the posts were shared, Tencent pulled the Celtic’s season opener game against the New York Knicks from live broadcast and indicated on their website that future games will not be live-streamed, according to a CNN report.
A Boston Celtics account on Weibo, a state-run equivalent of Twitter, indicated that it would stop posting about the team in the wake of Kanter’s messages. “From now on, our page will no longer report any information about the Boston Celtics,” the post reads, “and our Weibo will stop updating! For any behavior that undermines harmony of the nations and the dignity of the motherland, we resolutely resist!”
Dear Brutal Dictator XI JINPING and the Chinese Government
Here are the owners of the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin One Upon A Time In Shaolin was purchased by the “art collecting empire” PleasrDAO for $4 million, according to The New York Times.
Wu-Tang Clan. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Mountain Dew
In July, the United States government announced that it had sold Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album, to an unknown buyer. The project was initially purchased for $2 million in 2018 by “Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli; the album was seized by the government in order to fulfill a $7.4 million penalty against Shkreli after he was convicted of securities fraud in 2018 and sentenced to seven years in prison. Today, The New York Times has revealed the album’s new owner: a collective called PleasrDAO.
Once Upon A Time was purchased from the government for $4 million, the Times reports, “in a complex deal with multiple parties, one of whom remains unidentified.” PleasrDAO have secured the album in a vault “somewhere in New York City,” and will reportedly share the album in some fashion with the public if they can secure the approval of Wu-Tang founder The RZA and Cilvaringz, co-producer on the album.
On its website, PleasrDAO describes itself as “an art collecting empire.” “In essence,” the statement reads, “the DAO’s modus operandi is to buy and fund culturally significant pieces and then create something fundamentally additive to the soul of the piece before sharing it back with the community.”
On January 14, L.A.-based electronic artist Bonobo will share his seventh studio album Fragments. The project was announced this month with “Rosewood,” a groovy and orchestral deep house cut, and his latest track “Tides” takes things a little more pensive. Jamila Woods, the Chicago experimental soul musician behind 2019’s Legacy, Legacy, finds the ebb and flow of the beat immediately and delivers a gentle yet cathartic performance.
“I connected with the track as soon as I heard it,” Woods said in a press statement. “It felt like rain and waves to me before I even knew the project had a theme of cycles and tides, so it all came together very organically.” For Bonobo, he wrote that he considers “Tides” to be the “centerpiece” of the upcoming album. “Lyrically it captured everything the project was about. This track was a real turning point in the process of finishing the album and Miguel Atwood Ferguson’s incredible string parts at the end brought the whole thing to another level.”
Fragments is out January 14 via Ninja Tune. Below, you can find an absolutely massive number of tour dates for Bonobo’s upcoming jaunt across the United States, Canada, Europe, and the United Kingdom.
Bonobo tour dates
2/18 – Wildhorse Saloon, Nashville, TN 2/19 – PromoWest Pavilion at Ovation, Newport, KY 2/20 – EXPRESS LIVE!, Columbus, OH 2/21 – Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA 2/25 – Great Hall, Brooklyn, NY 2/27 – Royale, Boston, MA 2/28 – Echostage, Washington, DC 3/2 – Franklin Music Hall, Philadelphia, PA 3/5 – Higher Ground, Burlington, VT 3/6 – Mtelus, Montreal, QC 3/9 – History, Toronto, ON 3/10 – Royal Oak Music Hall, Royal Oak, MI 3/11 – Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL 3/12 – The Sylvee, Madison, WI 3/13 – Turner Hall, Milwaukee, WI 3/15 – The Palace, Minneapolis, MN 3/17 – Mission Ballroom, Denver, CO 3/18 – The Complex, Salt Lake City, UT 3/19 – Knitting Factory, Boise, ID 3/21 – PNE Forum, Vancouver, BC 3/22 – Showbox SoDo, Seattle, WA 3/24 – Roseland Theater, Portland, OR 4/20 – AFAS Live, Amsterdam, NL 4/21 – edel-optics.de Arena, Hamburg, DE 4/23 – UFO im Velodrom, Berlin, De 4/24 – Palladium, Cologne, De 4/25 – TonHalle, Munich, De 4/26 – Xtra, Zurich, CH 4/28 – Le Centquatre, Paris, FR 5/3 – The Brighton Centre, Brighton, UK 5/4 – O2 Academy, Birmingham, UK 5/6 – Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, UK 5/7 – O2 Academy, Leeds, UK 5/8 – Rock City, Nottingham, UK 5/16 – Royal Albert Hall, London, UK 5/17 – Royal Albert Hall, London, UK 5/18 – Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, E-40, and Too $hort are the kind of artists that are foundational to the story of west coast rap, not just chapters in its story, but whole books in and of themselves. That’s why their supergroup Mount Westmore, announced late last year, is so exciting. Today, they’ve shared their first single “Big Subwoofer,” a song that finds each artist firmly in their comfort zone but still sounding like the classics they are. The track comes with a very funny sci-fi-inspired music video where Mount Westmore blasts off in a spaceship to party across the galaxy.
“Big Subwoofer” will appear on The Algorithim, a new project helmed by Snoop Dogg showcasing artists from across Def Jam’s history. “There’s so much talent on this record,” Snoop writes in a press statement. “so many styles of music, it breaks the algorithm. Right now, the algorithm is telling us you have to rap this way, you have to sound this way, but they’re not telling you how it’s supposed to feel. My algorithm is going to give you a feeling, not a sound.” I’m down with that sentiment! Watch the “Big Subwoofer” music video up top.
SXSW will make its return to Austin, Texas next year, running from March 14-22. On Wednesday, the festival announced its first run of musicians: Maxo Kream, BLACKSTARKIDS, Ezra Furman, Y2K92, Aeon Station, Claire Rousay, Delta Spirit, DUMA, Horsegirl, Yard Act, Vitreous Humor, Poppy Ajudha, HOODLUM, TEKE::TEKE, W.I.T.C.H. (We Intend to Cause Havoc), ANAVITÓRIA, MC Yallah and James McMurty will all perform across the week.
Next year, U.K. rapper Dave will take his sophomore album We’re All Alone In This Together over to North America for some shows in the United States and Canada. The shows begin in San Francisco with stops in Vancouver, Chicago, Silver Spring, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Montreal, and Toronto. Would it be presumptuous to assume that the Toronto stop will have a Drake appearance? Dave did appear in the Drake-produced Netflix series Top Boy, after all. To find out, Toronto residents and everyone else can buy tickets this Friday at 10am local time.
Dave 2022 North American tour dates
4/26 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom 4/27 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Commodore Ballroom 4/29 – Chicago, IL – Metro 5/1 – Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore Silver Spring 5/5 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza 5/6 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club 5/8 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West 5/10 – Montreal, Quebec – Corona Theatre 5/13 – Toronto, Ontario – Rebel
Kacey Musgraves was the musical guest on The Late Show on Monday night. She performed “Breadwinner,” from new album star-crossed, for host Stephen Colbert. Check out her performance above.
star-crossed was released in September and made headlines this month when it was revealed that the album will not be eligible for the country music categories at next year’s Grammys. Musgraves came up through the Nashville music scene and took home Best Country Album for her previous albums, Golden Hour and Same Trailer Different Park. The new album will instead be eligible in the Pop Vocal Album category.
Musgraves recently announced a batch of North American tour dates set for 2022. The run of shows, titled “star-crossed: unveiled,” begins in January in Saint Paul, Minnesota and runs until late February with a final show in Los Angeles. King Princess and MUNA will open all dates.
Boston-based indie-folk songwriter Anjimile dropped an album last year called Giver Taker, an impressive and enrapturing project. It’s little surprise that the album caught the attention of the storied indie label 4AD, who today announced Anjimile’s signing with the new loose single “Stranger.”
The new song is a welcome return for Anjimile’s florid instrumentation and deeply felt lyrics. In a press statement, he described the song as “something of a confrontation between my past and present selves in relationship to my trans identity.”
I started testosterone about 3 or 4 years ago, and It’s been simultaneously liberating and alarming to note the changes to my mind and body over the years. ‘Stranger ‘is an admission to myself that, while I welcome all of those changes – especially the deepening effect of testosterone on my singing and speaking voice – it’s still scary and there is a degree of internal ambivalence to my transition. In transitioning I lost, or gave up, a part of myself. And that is hard to reconcile. ‘Stranger’ is an attempt at some semblance of reconciliation, I guess.
How many times have you listened to PinkPantheress’s to hell with it since it came out last Friday? With a slimline 18-minute runtime, the mixtape is custom-built to be played on repeat. The production on the tape, largely handled solo by the 20-year-old London film student herself, plays a large part in the loop-friendly project. Utilizing millennial nostalgia and filtering it for a Gen Z audience, PinkPantheress cherry picks early 2000s sounds from genres like nu-metal and U.K. garage as part of the texture of her tracks. Isolating these samples acts as something of a mixtape in itself, so read on for a rundown of to hell with it‘s backbone.
Sample: Sweet Female Attitude, “Flowers”
Sweet Female Attitude’s “Flowers” is a skippy and loved-up U.K. garage classic that remains as fresh today as it did when it was released back in 2000. “I’ll bring you flowers in the pouring rain” the duo sings over a two-step beat, subverting romantic cliches to make something fresh. 20-year-old PinkPantheress wasn’t even born when this song came out and flipped its sugary center on her mixtape opener “Pain.” Removing the euphoria opens up space to ruminate over the end of a relationship and how It’s “such a shame that we weren’t the same at all.” As one of the earliest songs PinkPantheress shared in 2020 it set a template for her use of sampling going forward.
“I Must Apologize”
Sample: Crystal Waters: “Gypsy Woman”
There’s a frantic energy to “I Must Apologize,” as if it exists in the moment after Sonic The Hedgehog gets hits and his rings spill everywhere. The 1991 original by U.S. singer Crystal Waters is a classic house staple, working off synth loops and some admittedly rather patronizing lyrics about people without housing.
Sample: Linkin Park, “Forgotten”
If you were young and angsty twenty years ago then the chances are you were moping to Linkin Park. PinkPantheress might not make music to slam doors like the nu-metal band but there’s a sorrow to her music that you’ll also find on “Forgotten,” a highlight of the band’s 2000 album Hybrid Theory. It makes sense then to hear it pop up on “Last Valentines,” even if it is probably the most disguised sample on the mixtape.
“Noticed I cried”
Sample: Signaldrift, “And Yet…”
The minimal, almost ambient synth line that runs through “Noticed I cried” comes courtesy of Signaldrift’s 2005 song “And Yet…”
Sample: Toco, “Outro Lugar”
This Italian bossonova tune is not really in keeping with the retro but on-trend samples elsewhere on to hell with it but it works regardless. First released in 2007, “Outro Lugar” appears on Toco’s album of the same name and uses cello and trombone to set the mood. It is the string section that PinkPantheress pulls from on “Nineteen,” though, using it as a dramatic backdrop to a song about boredom and flunking exams.
“Break It Off”
Sample: Adam F, “Circles”
First released in 1997, “Circles” was a top 20 hit in the U.K. for drum and bass producer Adam F. “Break It Off” was one of the first PinkPantheress songs to go viral on TikTok, inadvertedly bringing the sound of the U.K. underground in the mid-90s to a whole new audience.
Later this year, progressive house supergroup Swedish House Mafia will share their debut album Paradise Again. This week, they’ll drop “Moth To A Flame,” a new collaboration with The Weeknd, and on Tuesday, a snippet of the track emerged on Abel Tesfaye’s social media pages. The Mafia already indicated that they were aiming for a Daft Punk-level of pop chart dominance with the single “Lifetime” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and 070 Shake, and the brief hint of “Moth To A Flame” — with big, brooding synths that wouldn’t be out of place in a production from Weeknd collaborator Gesaffelstein — continues on that path. The track will follow “Take My Breath,” the first single from The Weeknd’s upcoming album.
Harry Styles. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy.
Warning: this post contains potential spoilers for The Eternals
Harry Styles is continuing to build his acting resume with a post-credit cameo appearance as Eros, the brother of purple supervillain Thanos, in the upcoming Marvel film The Eternals. Matt Donnelly of the L.A. Timesreported the news from the film’s premiere on Monday, as TMZ points out.
According to Marvel lore, Eros a.k.a. Starfox is a womanizing superhero who is able to manipulate the emotions of others. I imagine that ability will be changed to something that isn’t just “super gaslighting,” but who knows!
The Eternals is out on November 5. Styles’s first movie acting role came in 2017 with Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic Dunkirk. He’s currently filming a role in the upcoming drama My Policeman.
Since 2007, Adult Swim has staked out its own space in the music industry as a cheerleader for underground music from across genres. The late night programming block’s label Williams Street Records is perhaps best known for the Adult Swim Singles Series, but they often release genre-focussed collections like Digitalis, a collection of new songs from across electronic music, out today.
The 15-track LP features some exciting names. You’ll hear new music from L’Rain (who’s responsible for this year’s excellent Fatigue), Lisbon-based producer Nídia, Julianna Barwick with Mary Lattimore, and loads more. Just think: if it wasn’t for Family Guy reruns laying the groundwork for Adult Swim’s success, we may never have had Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Katie Gately on the same project. Makes you think! Dive in below.