NEWS ROUNDUP: St. Vincent Producing Sleater-Kinney LP, Woodstock Returns, & More

sleater-kinney and st. vincent, hollywood, ca, jan 2019. photograph by jonny cournoyer

New Year, New Music

By Lindsey Rhoades

Sleater-Kinney is in the Studio… Producing an Album with St. Vincent

If this tweet didn’t warm your riot grrl heart, we don’t know what will. Though details are scant (no official release date, no title, no tracklist, no leaked audio) Sleater-Kinney announced via Twitter that St. Vincent mastermind Annie Clark is producing their next record, the follow-up to their return-from-a-decade-long-hiatus-instant-classic No Cities To Love, released in 2015. The tweet came with a photo so amazing we thought we were dreaming: four of our favorite female musicians sitting at a mixing board, their expressions saying only one thing: Y’all are not even ready for this amazingness. Though it’s officially become our most anticipated release of the new year, other artists aren’t slouching – keep reading below for the veritable onslaught of recently released jams. But first…

Woodstock Will Return in 2019… Can it Compete With New Festival Lineups?

Break out the patchouli – Woodstock is coming back for its 50th anniversary. The original founder, Michael Lang, announced Wednesday that he’s planning to book multi-generational artists with an activist bent for a weekend-long festival in August at a racetrack called Watkins Glen; meanwhile, another Woodstock Anniversary fest helmed by LiveNation at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (the original site of the 1969 gathering) was already in the works. No artists or ticket prices for either fest have been announced, but our heads already ache at the thought of sorting out nightmare radius clauses.

Woodstock, of course, has already had some disastrous anniversaries – most recently Woodstock ’99, which ended in rapes, rioting, and violence. But perhaps the bigger challenge than putting that memory behind them will be simply competing for audience numbers in an over-saturated festival market. Coachella announced its lineup, including headliners Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, and Ariana Grande, onm January 2. This week, Bonnaroo announced they’d also be hosting Childish Gambino as a headliner, along with Post Malone and multiple sets from jam band stalwarts Phish (this prompted Forbes to beg the question: Why isn’t Cardi B’s billing higher?). New York’s own Governors Ball has once again invited The Strokes (who have played the fest before but not headlined), as well as Florence + The Machine and Lil Wayne to play their top spots, with Tyler, The Creator, Nas, Sza, Brockhampton and more rounding out the bill. And though it’s not strictly a festival in the same sense as those mentioned above, SXSW has begun hyping the first handful of buzzworthy acts who’ll play showcases all over Austin in March, including Amanda Palmer, Swervedriver, Ecko, The Beths, and Wyclef Jean.

That New New

Kehlani has a new song featuring Ty Dolla $ign; “Nights Like This” will appear on a mixtape due in February, which is itself a precursor to a new album due sometime this year.

Girlpool have a new album coming out February 1st, and have shared the title track, “What Chaos Is Imaginary.”

Ex Hex is finally releasing a follow-up to 2014’s Rips, called It’s Real (out March 22 via Merge). Their first single is “Cosmic Cave.”

Sharon Van Etten will release her first album in five years, Remind Me Tomorrow, on January 18. This week, she shared a video for “Seventeen,” after previously sharing “Comeback Kid” and the absolutely stunning “Jupiter 4.”


Mineral are releasing new music for the first time in 20 years, including this video for “Your Body Is The World.” The song appears (alongside “Aurora“) on a limited-edition 10” that comes with a hardcover book commemorating the Austin band’s 25th anniversary.

Beirut release Gallipoli on February 1; Game of Thrones actor Ian Beattie plays a kind of klutzy knight in the video for “Landslide.”

Pedro the Lion shared “Quietest Friend,” a companion video to “Yellow Bike.” Both singles appear on the group’s first record in over a decade, Phoenix, which you can stream now in full via NPR.

Priests have announced a new album, The Seduction of Kansas, and shared its title track. The LP comes out April 5 and they’re doing a huge tour around it.

FIDLAR ironically manages to Skype in their entire LA crew in a video for “By Myself,” from their forthcoming LP Almost Free (out January 25 on Mom + Pop).

Cherry Glazerr shares “Wasted Nun” from Stuffed & Ready, out February 1 via Secretly Canadian.

Deerhunter released the third single, “Plains,” from Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? but Bradford Cox is worried no one will listen to the record in its entirety when it comes out January 18.

Also releasing an album on January 18, experimental rock duo Buke & Gase premiered the title track from Scholars.

End Notes

  • Attention Brooklyn! Early aughts rap-rock one-hit-wonders Crazy Town are inexplicably playing Sunnyvale on February 23rd. Sorta wondering if it’ll just be one forty-five minute set of “Butterfly” played over and over.
  • If you’ve got kids, or have simply interacted with one in the last year, you’ve probably had “Baby Shark” stuck in your head at some point. But this week made it official – every toddler’s number one jam appeared for the first time on Billboard’s Hot 100, making it one of the few children’s songs to do so.
  • A documentary on Lifetime called Surviving R. Kelly aired the first week of January, and with it has come some new hope for victims seeking justice. The doc has prompted a kidnapping investigation in Georgia, more victims have come forward, and Phoenix, Lady Gaga, and Chance the Rapper have all recently released statements apologizing for working with R. Kelly in the past. Chance recently appeared on Sesame Street and admitted in an Instagram recap that he saved someone’s life by pulling them from a burning car last April, so we think his karma may be in the clear.
  • In a rare interview, Frank Ocean shared his very respectable skincare routine (and some other stuff) with GQ.
  • Risqué rap sensation CupcakKe (real name Elizabeth Harris) made some worrisome allusions to suicide on social media, prompting her hospitalization – but she seems to be on the mend, having released a single on Friday called “Squidward Nose.”
  • Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was a big winner at the Golden Globes last Sunday, taking home Best Picture and Best Actor for Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury – all in spite of its negative critical reception. Honors for Best Song went to Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga duet “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born.

NEWS ROUNDUP: The Grammys, New Study on Gender Disparity in Music & More

  • The Grammy Awards

    On Sunday night, the music industry’s most momentous ceremony returns to New York City after ten years in Los Angeles. The 60th Grammy Awards will be held at Madison Square Garden and this year the pressure is on for the Recording Academy to prove that they are still relevant within the cultural zeitgeist. In 2016, Taylor Swift’s 1989 was awarded album of the year over Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. The win prompted many, including Frank Ocean, to accuse The Academy of shutting out minorities. In a move that Ocean called his “Colin Kaepernick moment” he declined to submit his seminal sophomore album, Blonde, for 2017 consideration. This action was echoed by Drake who did not enter his immensely popular Views into the competition. A year later, at the 2017 ceremony, a collective “WTF!?” was felt across the music industry yet again when Album of the Year was awarded to Adele’s 25 (herself in disbelief) over Beyoncé’s Lemonade.

    This year, everyone is wondering if the Recording Academy will finally give artists of color the credit they are due. Will trophy wins match the Billboard charts, which have have proven that we are living in the age of hip-hop and R&B? If the nominations are any indication, all signs point to yes. Childish Gambino, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Bruno Mars are all up for album of the year (no rapper has ever won the honor). The last time that four non-white artists were included in this category was in 2005. However, we still have to ask, “Where the women at?” Lorde is the single female nominee in the group. In contrast, the 2018 Best New Artist selection bodes well for racial diversity and gender equality. SZA, Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, Alessia Cara, and Julia Michaels round out that category.

  • Gender Disparity In The Music Industry

    A new study by USC Annenberg’s School for Communication and Journalism has confirmed something we already knew: women are vastly underrepresented in the music industry. To make its conclusion, the study analyzed the gender make-up of songwriters, performers, and producers of top-charting songs on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for a five-year period. From 2012-2017, female songwriters counted for only 12.3 percent of those hits; 22.4 percent of the performers were women. The study found that different veins of gender inequality within the music industry are all linked. It’s a chain reaction – female artists tend to work with female songwriters more than male artists do. Less ladies on stage mean less ladies behind the lyrics. However, the biggest industry disparity is present in the recording studio. Only two-percent of producers credited for the Billboard hits were women. In other words, male producers outnumbered the ladies, forty-nine to one.

    The Annenberg school is hoping that by highlighting these numbers, the music industry will be called to action and put hiring practices in place that are more beneficial to women.

  • RIP Mark E. Smith (March 5, 1957 – January 24, 2018)

    On Wednesday, post-punk legend Mark E. Smith passed away at the age of sixty. As lead singer and founder of The Fall, the Manchester musician was a complicated figure whose immense talent and vitriolic disposition simultaneously captivated and repelled his greatest collaborators & fans. Smith formed the Fall in 1976 after seeing the Sex Pistols in concert. Before his death, he churned out thirty-two records with a rotating cast of band members. Despite a lack of commercial success, the Fall proved to be a defining influence for future generations of punks and indie-rockers. The Fall’s last release New Facts Emerge came out last year.

  • Other Highlights

    According to Prince’s estate adviser, Troy Carter, the world will one day hear new music from the late musician. However, there’s no telling when the unreleased material will be available to the public as it is tied up in legal battles between record labels, Prince’s legal heirs, and his estate. Sir Elton John has announced that he will retire from touring but you still have several years to catch him on the road. The seventy-year-old Rocket Man will bid his farewell by playing three-hundred shows over the next three years. Two pop heavy-hitters gave us videos this week: Lady Gaga released the clip for a piano-centric version of “Joanne” while Justin Timberlake prompted Bon Iver comparisons (and insults) with “Say Something.” JT’s vid is produced and directed by La Blogothèque, the French collective best known for their YouTube performance series, the Take Away shows. The #MeToo movement is quickly making waves in music industry. This week, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and rapper Nelly were accused of sexual assault. Simmons has vehemently denied the accusations; Nelly has yet to make a statement.

    The Misfits may be returning to NYC with their original lineup. On January 26, Live Nation tweeted “#ALLHELLSGONNABREAKLOOSE” accompanied by the iconic skull logo in the shape of New Jersey, the band’s home state. Amanda Palmer and Jherek Bischoff paid tribute to the late Dolores O’Riordan by releasing covers of The Cranberries’ hits “No Need To Argue” and “Zombie.” Due to overwhelming demand, indie darlings Haim have added a second Radio City date to their Sister Sister Sister tour. They also released a new video directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. This month has been great for new albums – Hollie Cook, No Age, and Ty Segall all released new material today. No Age will be playing in Brooklyn on May 2.

NEWS ROUNDUP: Bushwick’s New Venue, St. Vincent’s New LP & More

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Elsewhere Photo by Sam Gold

  • Glasslands Founders Debut New Venue, Elsewhere

    When Kent Avenue’s DIY hotspot Glasslands closed in 2014, its founders seemed to hint that they’d open another spot eventually. Turns out that spot will be Elsewhere, a warehouse in Bushwick that will double as a community space complete with an art gallery and rooftop access. Dates have already been announced for shows as early as November. Read what the founders have to say about Elsewhere here.

  • Get Ready For A New St. Vincent Album

    It’s been a busy year for Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent: she’s directed a horror short (and will soon direct her first feature film), covered the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” for the new Tiffany & Co. campaign, and is about to release her next album and embark on a tour. Check out her cover of the Fab Four’s classic, as well as her new video for “New York” below. There’s no official name or release date for her album yet, but according to a recent New Yorker interview, the LP’s main themes will be “sex, drugs and sadness.”

  • Simpsons Composer Alf Clausen Fired

    He’s been using a 35 piece orchestra to compose the wacky, classic songs that make The Simpsons for 27 years, but not anymore. His work won two Emmys (in ’97 and ’98), and received 21 additional nominations, but according to Variety, Clausen was told by the show’s producer that they wanted a different kind of music. Seems like an interesting choice to make.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

NEWS ROUNDUP: Frank Ocean, Palisades & Cereal


  • Frank Ocean Album Still Shrouded In Mystery

    After impatient speculation about when the singer would release his new album, Boys Don’t Cry,  it looked like it would finally be released today after a mysterious live stream began on Frank’s website, featuring people doing woodwork in a large hall while ambient music played and the singer in a Bowie t-shirt. As of now (11am), it’s not here yet. Sources say the album will be released exclusively through Apple Music, so get ready to pay another $10/month subscription if you want to hear it.

    Check out one of the tracks in the live stream below.

  • RIP Palisades

    As we mentioned in June, the venue on Bushwick’s Broadway was shut down during Northside Festival for several code violations. Apparently, the shutdown is permanent, as Brooklyn Vegan has reported the former DIY space is now up for rent. No offense guys, but you were definitely a fire hazard.

  • Old Rolling Stones Commercial Uncovered

    The Jingle was written by the band’s first lead guitarist, Brian Jones, and it’s kind of hilarious to listen to Mick Jagger mumble his way through singing the praises of Rice Krispies, including the slightly aggressive endorsement “Wake up in the morning there’s a crackle in your face.” 

  • Spotify Wants To Replace Albums With Playlists

    Via WIRED: “For decades, we all listened by the album: drop it on the turntable, put the needle down, sit back, and let the LP wash over you…. Somewhere in there, we lost the ability to just press play, close our eyes, and enjoy. Playlists are giving that back.” Today Spotify launches Release Radar, a weekly, 2 hour playlist curated just for you! (By an algorithm they use for everyone else, of course).

TRACK REVIEW: “Pyramids” (Frank Ocean Bootleg)

Blue Sky Black Death

Based out of Seattle, Blue Sky Black Death (BSBD) consists of Kingston (Kingston Maguire) and Young God (Ian Taggart). Both Kingston and Young God were beat makers and hip-hop artists throughout the early ‘00s. In 2005, they eventually met up with each other and collaborated on a double album, A Heap of Broken Images, and have since released a number of rap and instrumental hip-hop full lengths.

the duo released Glaciers in December, 2013, and have since coined the term glacial hip-hop to describe their music. After the release of Glaciers, It seems that the their music has taken a more experimental turn, in that it transitions seamlessly from ambient noise, to sugar sweet melodies, to chaotic dissonance, and back. I’m still not exactly sure what glacial hip-hop is, but the neologism seems somehow fitting.

On February 14th, BSBD celebrated their Valentine’s Day by releasing an unofficial remix of Frank Ocean’s “Pyramids.”

The first part of the remix isn’t much different from the original song. It isn’t altered lyrically, rhythmically or melodically, it is just rearranged. It begins about six minutes into the original version. Structurally, BSBD left the song alone. The remix follows the original word for word, beat for beat and note for note for about 1.5 minutes until the section loops back and repeats. The first part of the track ends on Frank Ocean’s chorus, just as it starts hinting at something new about to happen. Distorted hip-hop lines are introduced, which interact with Ocean’s vocals.

It then dissipates and the music pauses. BSBD completely shifts gears, introducing a song that is rhythmically and lyrically different from the previous track.  “We all young ghetto boys, that’s why we act this way,” a line from the UGK (Underground Kingz) song, “Wood Wheel,” is repeated throughout the rest of the track. The song is slowed down to about ½ the tempo. New rhythmic sections interact over the lyrics, which are almost indistinguishable.

The dichotomy between the first half of the song, which is pretty much left alone, and the second half of the song, a UGK song that has been torn apart and made almost unrecognizable, is probably the most interesting part of this remix. I’m not exactly sure what Frank Ocean and UGK have to do with each other, but for some reason it works. Compositionally the track in it’s entirety is risky and unconventional, which is apparently the mantra of this glacial hip-hop duo.

Unfortunately for those of us in the northeast, BSBD is touring pretty much every other part of the country right now. Maybe you can’t see them live, but you can listen to Frank Ocean’s “Pyramids” remix here: