HIGH NOTES: 7 Songs About Cocaine That Will Make It Hard to Feel Your Face

When you think of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, cocaine is probably at least one of the drugs you think of. Celebrities, musicians included, have a reputation for snorting coke at their Hollywood parties, as well as in their daily lives — and they’re not afraid to sing about it. Here are some of the most notable cocaine references in music, both obscured and obvious.

“Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd

This one falls into the “obvious” category. If you’ve ever done coke, you probably don’t need me to explain the meaning of this song. It’s right in the title: The Weeknd has ingested so much cocaine that he has lost sensation in his face. Indeed, the drug’s numbing properties are so significant, medical professionals have used it as an anesthetic. Still, “Can’t Feel My Face” can also be interpreted as a love song about numbing yourself to the pain of heartbreak, with lyrics like, “And I know she’ll be the death of me, at least we’ll both be numb.” Perhaps he is literally using cocaine to forget about the pain this relationship has caused him, because it numbs him emotionally as well. Deep stuff here.

“Casey Jones” by The Grateful Dead

This song describes famous railroad engineer Casey Jones “driving that train high on cocaine,” although there’s no evidence that he actually used cocaine during his fatal crash. Nevertheless, cocaine was a major influence behind the music. “I always thought it’s a pretty good musical picture of what cocaine is like,” Jerry Garcia said of the song in an interview for the book Garcia: A Signpost to New Space. “A little bit evil. And hard-edged. And also that sing-songy thing, because that’s what it is, a sing-songy thing, a little melody that gets in your head.”

“The White Lady Loves You More” by Elliott Smith

With lyrics about a loved one ditching the narrator for cocaine, this track is as depressing as you’d expect from Elliott Smith. Some have speculated that the “white lady” is actually heroin, as Smith’s addiction to heroin is extensively documented. Either way, it gives a raw and emotional account of what it’s like to be in a relationship with someone addicted to drugs.

“The Girl You Lost to Cocaine” by Sia

Sia shows the other side of being in a relationship with a coke addict by singing about leaving a partner who can’t get their shit together as the drug takes over their life. Gigwise called it a “strong, confident, infectiously melodic and immensely hummable romp through the highs and lows of Sia’s unique character and upbeat independence.”

“This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I’m On This Song” by System of a Down

This song doesn’t actually mention cocaine, though it implies it in lines like “we’re crying for our next fix,” interspersed between nonsense lyrics like “Gonorrhea gorgonzola” — perhaps the way one would talk on coke, with their thoughts racing haphazardly from word to word? The title reverses a common narrative about music making you feel like you’re on drugs, potentially conveying how high the band gets off music itself.

“Coke Babies” by Radiohead

These lyrics are so cryptic, it’s hard to say if the song is really about coke: “Easy living, easy hold / Easy teething, easy fold / Easy listening, easy love / Easy answers to easy questions / Easy tumble, easy doll / Easy rumble, easy fall / I get up on easy love / I get up on easy questions.” That’s it. For all we know, it’s about Coca-Cola. Reddit seems to agree that the meaning is a mystery, but it’s nevertheless one of the band’s most haunting and underrated songs, released as a b-side to the 1993 Pablo Honey single “Anyone Can Play Guitar.”

“Master of Puppets” by Metallica

This brutal depiction of drug addiction seems to be written from the perspective of the coke itself, with lyrics like “Taste me you will see / More is all you need” and “I’m pulling your strings / Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams.” It could be any addictive drug, though lines like “chop your breakfast on a mirror” suggest that it is, in fact, about cocaine.

ONLY NOISE: Seven Songs That Help Me Navigate Depression and Anxiety

Soccer Mommy’s “Your Dog” reminds the author that everyone deserves respect, even on their darkest days. Photo by Daniel Topete

ONLY NOISE explores music fandom with poignant personal essays that examine the ways we’re shaped by our chosen soundtrack. This week, Lauren Rearick compiles a playlist of songs she’s leaned on to cope with mental illness.

Nearly eight years ago, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I had long suspected that my lifetime of continual worries and lingering sadness had been something more, and although receiving confirmation made me feel validated, it also made me feel afraid and alone.

The stigma surrounding mental illness continues to lessen, but there are still times when it can seem as if you’re the only one in the world going through it. It’s hard to explain to others why you constantly worry, or fear something as simple as driving to a new destination, when you don’t even understand the reasoning behind your own emotions. Additionally, it feels like mental illness is some secret that, once shared, will forever impact your relationships – it becomes this hidden extension of you.

I continue to work towards getting better, and while I have found methods of treatment that work for me, I’ve also found coping mechanisms. Along with watching endless amounts of uplifting cartoons (Sailor Moon and Adventure Time are my go-tos) I’ve turned to music, and those feelings and fears that I once thought were unique to me have revealed themselves through others’ songs. From my fear of being alone to a promise that even the most broken pieces will eventually fit together into something beautiful, here are the seven songs that helped me navigate relationships and life while contending with depression and anxiety.

“Your Dog” – Soccer Mommy

I used to believe that having a mental illness made me unable to have normal relationships. As it turns out, I was waiting for someone who practiced understanding. “Your Dog,” from Soccer Mommy’s 2018 LP Clean, is a note to demand your worth, and to accept nothing less than kindness from others. There’s a furious beauty to the song, a message of empowerment that seems so soft when presented, but is made to land with an impression. In particular, the line, “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog/That you drag around/A collar on my neck tied to a pole/Leave me in the freezing cold,” struck an immediate chord with me, reminding me that one should never be forgotten, even on their darkest days.

“#23” – IAN SWEET

The entirety of IAN SWEET’s Shapeshifter album is an ode to anxiety, with the release detailing vocalist Jillian Medford’s struggles with mental illness. While I’ve found myself connecting with the whole album, “#23” openly talks of isolation, and as it continues, Medford expresses a desire to change, but an inability to make it happen. I have so often been there; wishing I could make my emotions just disappear. When I’m feeling totally alone, I know I have others I could call upon, but sometimes just listening to this track is enough – it reminds me that someone else potentially feels the same.

“Everybody Does” – Julien Baker

The intimacy of Julien Baker’s music has connected with numerous fans, including myself. In my initial experience with depression, I had a constant fear that I would be left alone. Even without depression, I think we all have a fear that we could potentially lose a friendship or a relationship, and on “Everybody Does,” — a single which appears on Baker’s 2015 debut album — the singer appeals to that worry. The song isn’t meant to encourage; rather, it reminded me that I’m not the only one fearful of being alone, and knowing that is comforting. In particular, the line: “I know myself better than anybody else / And you’re gonna run / You’re gonna run when you find out who I am” really resonates with me, but as Baker explained in an interview with Stereogum, she’s come to realize “it’s a fallacy to believe everyone will run when you tell them who you really are.”

“TV Dreams” – Katie Ellen

Even with continuing work, medication, and treatment, I still have bad days. And for those moments when I need a reminder that it’s okay not to be okay, I listen to “TV Dreams.” This track was one of the first songs released by Katie Ellen — the project of Anika Pyle and Dan Frelly, born from the ashes of their former band, Chumped — and later appeared on the band’s 2017 debut Cowgirl Blues. It incorporates both soft and harsh moments, with confessional proclamations to be there for someone, even if that someone has since moved on. “TV Dreams” reminds me that sometimes things won’t work out, and I may never understand my every feeling, but the ensuing confusion is something others experience, too.

“Let Down” – Radiohead

There’s no telling when I’ll have good or bad days, and when I’m at my lowest, “Let Down,” from Radiohead’s critically lauded Ok Computer, has provided a small glimmer of hope that things will change. This line: “Don’t get sentimental, it always ends up drivel/One day, I am gonna grow wings,” has etched itself into my memory and heart. There’s something truly comforting in feeling as if one day, I’ll have the ability to move on from where I am now.

“Reality TV” – Remember Sports

Hidden beneath the chaotic drumming and fast guitars of this single from 2015’s All Of Something is a message of just needing someone to rely on. The line “Take my mind off the empty space in this heart of mine / and I’ll take your mind off the empty space in your bed tonight,” has always resonated with me, helping me to realize I was relying on the wrong person to get me through a tough time. “Reality TV” is a musical reminder that no one has it all figured out – sometimes we’re just passing through.

“Bus Ticket” – Cayetana

The music of Cayetana has always been particularly therapeutic for me, and this proves especially true on “Bus Ticket,” a song that explores adjusting to a new medication and finding yourself again. This track, featured on the group’s sophomore release New Kind of Normal, has a quiet rage, and it instills in me a sense of pride, pushing me forward when I’m at my lowest. From reflections on strength inspired by others to the desire to finally get some serious “shit off my chest,” I think this is the track that finally reminded me that feelings things more than others or being afraid of something simple doesn’t make me any less of a person.


Nipsey Hussle Laid to Rest in LA

This Thursday, funeral services and city-wide celebrations were held across Los Angeles to honor slain rapper Ermias Joseph “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom. Shot fatally outside Marathon Clothing, a store he co-owned near the intersection of Slauson and Crenshaw in South LA, on March 31 by a man policed have identified as Eric Holder, the Grammy-nominated rapper and activist made a name for himself by putting out a series of mixtapes from the mid 2000s onward, finally releasing his acclaimed debut LP Victory Lap just last year on his own label. Admired for his integrity, Nipsey remained staunchly independent and had previously invested in STEM programs for inner-city kids.

Nipsey’s emotional farewell was held at Staples Center and attended by more than 20,000 people, including fans, loved ones, and a few famous faces, too. Tributes poured in from Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Barack Obama, Snoop Dogg, and longtime girlfriend, actress Lauren London, with performances from Jhené Aiko, Stevie Wonder, and others. While his funeral procession, for the most part, brought many LA residents together, violence erupted on Thursday afternoon when a drive-by shooting at 103 and Main resulted in another senseless death. Tragically, this would’ve been the last thing Nipsey wanted; he was set to meet with LAPD officials to find ways to end gang violence in his community, despite his former affiliation with a sub-group of the Crips. His death is still under investigation but appears to stem from a personal conflict and is not believed to be gang-related. He was 33.

That New New

I never need to watch another music video (or eat another potato) again thanks to this starchy bit of Tierra Whack genius.

Kaytranada teamed up with VanJess for “Dysfunctional,” a teaser single for the as yet unannounced follow-up to 2016’s 99.9%.

Hand Habits’ placeholder LP came out in March and remains one of the best of the year thus far; check out this video for “wildfire,” which was inspired by the recent California wildfires and makes a poignant statement about our 24-hour news cycle.

Ahead of their May tour with Refused and the Hives, Bleached have returned with a stripped down song called “Shitty Ballet,” their first single since 2017 EP Can You Deal?

Emily Reo’s Only You Can See It is out today, and she’s shared the video for its lead single “Strawberry” to celebrate.

Mega Bog has released the first single from their forthcoming concept album Dolphine (out June 28 via Paradise of Bachelors).

SASAMI put together a video starring her grandma for the single “Morning Comes,” from her excellent self-titled debut, out now.

Blonde Redhead frontwoman Kazu Makino is going solo with her forthcoming album Adult Baby (and she’s launching a record label of the same name). Details are scant for now, but there’s a video for the vibey first single, “Salty,” which features Ryuichi Sakamoto, Mauro Refosco (of Atoms For Peace), and Ian Chang (Son Lux).

Aldous Harding is back with another song from her forthcoming LP Designer, out April 26 via 4AD.

Atlanta’s Mattiel has announced the release of their sophomore album Satis Factory via ATO Records (out June 14) with a fun video for lead single “Keep the Change.”

Brooklyn band Crumb prep their debut full-length Jinx for release in June with a video for its lead single, “Nina.”

Jackie Mendoza continues her streak of beguiling biligual electronica with “Mucho Más,” from forthcoming LuvHz (out April 26 on Luminelle Recordings).

Clinic are set to release their first album in seven years, Wheeltappers And Shunters, on May 10 via Domino Recordings. After previously sharing a video for its first single “Rubber Bullets,” the art-rock weirdos return with “Laughing Cavalier.”

Longtime Animal Collective videographer Danny Perez has directed a truly bizarre Dating Game-meets-Beetlejuice video for the title track to Panda Bear’s recently released Buoys.

Recent Partisan Records signees Pottery have shared another single, called “The Craft,” from their No. 1 EP, which comes out May 10.

Feminist art-punk quartet French Vanilla have a new LP coming out on June 7 called How Am I Not Myself? and have shared its lead single “All the Time.”

Amsterdam’s Pip Blom drums up some anticipation for Boat (out May 31 via PIAS/Heavenly) with a video for latest single “Ruby.”

Courtney Barnett shared Tell Me How You Really Feel outtake “Everybody Here Hates You” ahead of its official Record Store Day single release for Rough Trade (the exclusive 7″ will also feature B-side “Small Talk”).

Watch Fanclub’s Leslie Crunkilton play a crushed out ghost in the video for their latest song, “Uppercut.”

If you’re missing SXSW, The Pinheads have your cure – their video for “Feel It Now” compiles footage from this year’s festivities, including the band’s set at Burgerama 8. The Aussie’s sophomore record Is This Real comes out May 24.

West Virginian indie rockers Ona release Full Moon, Heavy Light on May 10 and have shared its mellow second single “Young Forever.”

Jesca Hoop has signed to Memphis Industries for the release of her next LP STONECHILD, which arrives July 5. It’s first single, Shoulder Charge, features Lucius.

Swedish supergroup Amason announced the August release of their first record since 2015’s Sky City with a new single, “You Don’t Have to Call Me.”

The National shared a cinematic video for “Light Years,” from I Am Easy to Find, out May 17.

End Notes

  • Now in its 12th year, Record Store Day promises another Saturday afternoon of rare releases, in-store performances, and general celebration of all things vinyl for dedicated crate-diggers and more casual music fans alike.
  • Radiohead has issued a statement on the now-concluded investigation of the 2o12 death of their drum technician during a stage collapse in Toronto.
  • A new clip for Perfect, the Eddie Alcazar film being released by Brainfeeder’s recently-established movie production house, features snippets of its soundtrack by Flying Lotus (who says his next LP is ready).
  • Vampire Weekend will celebrate the release of their next album Father of the Bride with three New York shows in Buffalo, Kingston, and a day-long affair at Webster Hall that includes a bagel breakfast, pizza lunch, and three separate sets (including one that will consist of the new LP in its entirety).
  • Coachella is upon us! In addition to the premiere of Childish Gambino and Rihanna’s Guava Island film, the festival will feature Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Lizzo, Janelle Monáe, Anderson .Paak, Maggie Rogers, Kacey Musgraves, Christine and the Queens, the first US appearances by Black Pink and Rosalía, and more. But the legendary fest hasn’t been without conflict; Solange dropped out this week, citing production issues, and a worker was killed in a fall setting up for the fest last weekend. In happier news, a new doc about Beyoncé’s epic headline performance last year is set to hit Netflix April 17; watch the trailer below.

NEWS ROUNDUP: Rock Hall’s Newest Inductees, New Music from Amanda Palmer + MORE

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2019 Inductees Announced

The inductees to 2019’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced this week and include Stevie Nicks, The Zombies, Radiohead, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, The Cure, and Roxy Music (with Brian Eno). Stevie Nicks is the first woman to be inducted twice – first with Fleetwood Mac in 1998, and now in 2019 for her career as a solo artist. She tweeted “I have been in a band since 1968. To be recognized for my solo work makes me take a deep breath and smile. It’s a glorious feeling.”

Radiohead acknowledged their invitation in a more positive regard after last year’s dismissive comments from guitarists Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien. For bands like The Zombies, whose career bloomed later than most 1960s British Invasion bands, this is a “life-defining moment.” The 34th annual Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on March 29th 2019.

The New New

Amanda Palmer released “Drowning in The Sound,” the first single from her solo album There Will Be No Intermission. It comes out on March 8, 2019, which is also International Woman’s Day. Avril Lavigne released “Tell Me It’s Over” and announced her upcoming record Head Above Water. You Me At Six released a Rick & Morty inspired lyric video for “Straight to My Head.”

End Notes

  • New Jersey Radio Station WFMU’s Free Music Archive will not be removed after being acquired by KitSplit. WFMU Director Cheyanne Hoffman stated that they “will reopen artist/curator uploads and our Music Submission form and resume our scheduled audio weirdness, curated playlist posts, and new releases here on our blog.”

NEWS ROUNDUP: Festival Announcements, Copyright Cases & More


  • Radiohead vs Lana Del Rey

    On January 7th, Lana Del Rey confirmed news reports that hinted at a copyright lawsuit with Radiohead. The band is reportedly suing her over the similarities between their 1992 breakout hit, “Creep,” and her 2017 track, “Get Free.” Del Rey tweeted:

    It’s true about the lawsuit. Although I know my song wasn’t inspired by Creep, Radiohead feel it was and want 100% of the publishing – I offered up to 40 over the last few months but they will only accept 100. Their lawyers have been relentless, so we will deal with it in court.”

    The situation is considered by many to be the result of the “Blurred Lines Effect” – the 2015 court ruling that awarded $7.4 million in damages to Marvin Gaye’s estate for similarities between Pharrell, T.I., and Robin Thicke’s massive 2013 hit and Gay’s 1977 classic, “Got To Give It Up.” However Radiohead’s publishing company have disputed Del Rey’s claims. Warner/Chappell issued a statement acknowledging that they have been in copyright negotiations with the Lust For Life musician’s label but deny filing a formal lawsuit or demanding 100% of Del Rey’s “Get Free” publishing rights.

    Interestingly enough, “Creep” was once at the center of a similar copyright dispute. After the early-nineties release of Radiohead’s single, Brit-pop band The Hollies successfully sued Thom Yorke’s group over similarities between “Creep” and their 1974 hit, “The Air that I Breathe,” which was written by Mike Hazlewood and Albert Hammond (yep, the father of Strokes member Albert Hammond Jr.). “Creep” now lists Hazlewood and Hammond as writers alongside Radiohead. If a court determines that Del Rey’s song does borrow from “Creep,” Radiohead, Hazlewood, and Hammond could all be credited as co-writers of “Get Free.” Compare the three tracks side by side below.

  • 2018 Festival Announcements

    This week, major spring and early summer festival announcements are helping us defrost from record-breaking cold! On January 10th, South by Southwest released their third round of showcase announcements. Superorganism, Goatgirl, A Place to Bury Strangers, Sunflower Bean, and many more will join the 500+ lineup and perform from March 12 – March 18 this year. Bonnaroo announced that Muse, The Killers, and Eminem will headline the normally rootsy jam-band oriented fest, surprising some. Then on Thursday, Delaware music festival Firefly announced they’d also be hosting Eminem and The Killers as headliners, as well as Kendrick Lamar and Arctic Monkeys, in June. Audiofemme favorite, SZA, will also perform; she is one out of only nineteen women included in Firefly’s ninety-five act lineup. Many have lamented the homogeneity of this year’s festivals, particularly the lack of female musicians. Pop singer and festival circuit staple Halsey tweeted, “Damn guys come onnnnnn. Where the women at….It’s 2018, do better!!!”

  • Other Highlights

    The Breeders have announced their first album in ten years, All Nerve, out March 2nd on 4AD, and have shared the title track. The Dandy Warhols are playing two shows in NYC at the end of February. Karen O and Michael Kiwanuka recorded a song for a short Kenzo film (hear it at the 4.45 mark in the video below). Kali Uchis’ brand new song, “After The Storm,” features Tyler, The Creator and Parliament-Funkadelic legend, Bootsy Collins. Sunflower Bean debuted single “Crisis Fest” off of their upcoming sophomore album, Twentytwo In Blue. The album is slated for March 23rd release and is co-produced by members of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Friends. Taylor Swift’s new video for “End Game” came out yesterday and also stars Ed Sheehan and Future, the lone musicians featured in Swift’s latest album, Reputation. Fifth Harmony ex-member Camila Cabello’s self-titled album was released today and has already risen to the top spot on the charts in more than ninety countries. Wednesday marked the two year anniversary of David Bowie’s death – we still can’t believe he’s gone! #BowieForever


NEWS ROUNDUP: Princess Nokia a Soup-er Hero, Music Industry Assault Allegations & More

  • Princess Nokia Stands Up To Racist, Goes Viral 

    This week, a viral video showed NYC commuters standing up to a drunk guy on the train when he started yelling racist insults at a group of teenagers. At the end of the video, as he’s pushed out of the train car, someone launches a container of soup at them, covering them in yellow goo. It gets better: the hero in this story is rapper Princess Nokia, who tweeted, “Although painful and humiliating we stood together and kicked this disgusting racist off the train so we could ride in peace away from him… [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][I’ll be] damned if I let some drunk bigot call a group of young teenage boys racist names and allow him to get away with it.”

  • Women Speak out About Sexual Assault in the Music Industry

    No doubt encouraged by the bravery of the many women who have come forward to share their harrowing experiences with powerful film executive Harvey Weinstein, women are coming forward to call out men in other industries who they say have engaged in inappropriate behavior up to and including harassment and assault. Allegations have surfaced in the last week involving Matt Mondanile (a.k.a. Ducktails) who parted ways with former outfit Real Estate over the allegations last year; The Gaslamp Killer, and Alex Calder. A few of the labels and publicists who have worked with these artists have spoken out as well in a show of solidarity. 

  • Other Highlights

    Watch Beyonce’s video for “Freedom,” listen to an unreleased Bob Dylan song, an early listen of Bully’s Losing, Radiohead songs translated through Spongebobit’s the release day for St. Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION as well as Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s Lotta Sea Lice and Beck’s Colors, watch the new Neil Young video for “Hitchhiker,” Japanese Breakfast directed Jay Som’s “The Bus Song” video, Marilyn Manson discusses his onstage accident, Taylor Swift is starting her own social network, Joan Baez is retiring from touring, Sharon Jones’ posthumous album to be released next month, and read this: The Story of Jud Jud


NEWS ROUNDUP: RIP Charles Bradley, #TakeAKnee & More

  • RIP Charles Bradley

    Though he was able to tour up until the very end, even after battling stomach cancer, renowned soul singer Charles Bradley passed away over the weekend. He was 68. Nicknamed “The Screaming Eagle of Soul,” Bradley was inspired by James Brown from a young age but didn’t release his first album until six years ago. He made a living as a handyman and by impersonating his idol until being discovered by a Daptone Records founder. Watch him perform below.

  • Musicians Take A Knee To Protest Police Brutality

    After Trump insulted football players who chose to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against our country’s police brutality, encouraging NFL owners to fire them, many musicians expressed solidarity with the players. Stevie Wonder was one of the first, kneeling before his set at NYC’s Global Citizen Festival. Other artists who participated include Pharrell Williams, Eddie Vedder, John Legend, and more. Read more a complete account of the situation here

  • Other Highlights

    Watch new videos from Princess Nokia and William Patrick Corgan, Spotify knows your musical secrets, Justin Timberlake will get a second chance at a Superbowl performance, a holographic Frank Zappa is going on tour, Thurston Moore made a techno record, listen to new music from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Angel Olsen, collaborations from Courtney Barnett/Kurt Vile, Michael Cera/Sharon Van Etten, and Radiohead/Hans Zimmer, a concert hall created by an algorithm, and it’s way too early for these artists to release Christmas music

NEWS ROUNDUP: RIP Grant Hart, Jessi Zazu & More

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

RIP Jessi Zazu

  • RIP Grant Hart, Jessi Zazu and Josh Schwartz

    Grant Hart died on Wednesday, September 13 from cancer. He was the drummer and vocalist of Minnesota rockers Hüsker Dü. After Hart met Bob Mould in a record store, the two quickly became friends and songwriting partners. Their music influenced groups such as Nirvana, the Pixies, and the Smashing Pumpkins. Read a full obituary here.

  • Jessi Zazu, who sang for the Nashville band Those Darlins, died on Tuesday after battling cervical cancer. She was 28. To raise awareness and encourage openness, she made her diagnosis and fight public, including the act of shaving her head during chemo. Read a full obituary, including a tribute by Ann K Powers, here

  • Josh Schwartz played guitar for late 90’s bands Further and Beechwood Sparks. He died on Tuesday at age 45 after years of living with ALS. A statement from his friend and bandmate Brent Rademaker describes the musician as “one of those rare people that really brought out the best in others…. He really was magic.”

NEWS ROUNDUP: Fyre Festival Debacle, Grandaddy Cancels Tour & More

  • This Fyre Festival Situation Keeps Getting Weirder

    First came the memes, then the first-hand accounts from attendees and former staff. Then came the offer to give guests VIP tickets for next year in lieu of a refund – an offer that people are actually taking them up on, even though the organizers have been banned from doing business in the Bahamas – plus the expected lawsuits against the festival. But there’s even more; an article for Vanity Fair reveals that Fyre is also a company that provides “talent” to businesses trying to advertise through the more-subtle product placement of products in a pretty person’s Instagram. They call these people Fyre Starters, and some are also being sued for promoting a model-filled Bahamas getaway of a festival that turned out to be a few tents and an inadequate water supply. These influencers allegedly failed to mark their posts as sponsored content, and were obviously a misrepresentation.

  • How Taking Away The ACA Affects Musicians

    The Chicago Reader reports that before the ACA, musicians were more than twice as likely to be uninsured, and a study conducted before the act passed “concluded that uninsured working-age adults have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured peers.” While a famous rockstar might not have it so bad, the article also stresses that the average musician is definitely not wealthy, getting their income from multiple, sometimes unreliable sources and may not be able to have a full-time job that provides insurance because they have to, you know, tour a lot. Read more about how the ACA can be crucial to keep your favorite struggling artists insured, including the stories of real Chicago musicians, here.

  • RIP Col. Bruce Hampton & Kevin Garcia

    Bruce Hampton was considered the “grandaddy of the jam band scene,” regarded for his surrealist music and for mentoring many musicians. He collapsed onstage during a concert celebrating his own 70th birthday, on April 30th. Read his full obituary here.

    Kevin Garcia was a founding member of the band Grandaddy, who died on Tuesday after suffering a stroke. The band has cancelled their upcoming tour for March’s Last Place, and wrote a heartfelt message about the bassist you can read here.


NEWS ROUNDUP: Secret Project Robot, The Radiohead Ant & More

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

The sculpture garden in Secret Project Robot’s former space on Melrose. The new location’s “smaller but more intimate” sculpture garden is under development with the help of Kathleen Dycaico and Monica Mirabile.

  • Bushwick’s Secret Project Robot Is Reopening

    The DIY venue will reopen on Broadway in Bushwick, near the Kosciuszko St J stop. Its eight partners have stated that the venue is “entirely self funded” by them, and will only hire artists, helping to “keep artists thriving in a New York City landscape that is less than financially friendly to the creative.” The reopening date is set for May 4th- details here!

  • The Latest Rockstar Species Is Named After Radiohead

    Revealed soon after the Pink Floyd-inspired shrimp, there’s a new species of ant named after Radiohead. Sericomyrmex radioheadi is a type of silky ant which have figured out how to grow their own food. These creatures live in the Amazon and farm fungus gardens for nourishment. Why Radiohead? Ana Ješovnik, one of the authors of a Zookeys study on the insects, stated they wanted to honor their music, and “acknowledge the conservation efforts of the band members, especially in raising climate-change awareness.” Read more here.

  • RIP Jonathan Demme

    Demme was a revered film director who directed, among other classics, the Talking Heads live concert doc Stop Making Sense. David Byrne posted an essay in tribute to the filmmaker on his website, noting that Demme helped him when he was developing True Stories and highlighting his good taste in and love for music: “Jonathan was also a huge music fan—that’s obvious in his films too…He’d find ways to slip a reggae artist’s song or a Haitian recording into a narrative film in ways that were often joyous and unexpected.” Read the whole thing here.


FESTIVAL REVIEW: Highlights of Coachella 2017

The first time I went to Coachella, it was reminiscent of a first date to adult Disneyland. My husband and I ran like milk-drunk toddlers through the festival grounds. We stumbled upon bands as we went along, making no must-see lists whatsoever. We bought expensive sweaters the first night, not knowing how cold the valley gets. Our budget was quickly blown as beers and gourmet tacos stacked up throughout the weekend.

This year, we bought beer and grilled cheese makings at Costco. In the weeks leading up to the festival, we co-ordinated with our camping buddies via an ever-beeping Facebook messenger group. Our conversations routinely turned back to an epic Hans Zimmer vs Tove Lo vs DJ Khaled debate. On the first day, our bellies were full of beer and our minds were full of scheduling conflicts.

It was a weekend of eye-brow raising performances. Radiohead’s silent disco. Lady Gaga’s disappointing iTunes plug. DJ Snake’s…performance. For three days, the campgrounds blared “Humble” in preparation for The King’s Sunday performance (and Kendrick didn’t disappoint). As usual, however, the undercards stole the show.

Preservation Jazz Hall Band beat the heat.

The Heineken Tent on the left-hand side of Main Stage is always a good area to pop a squat early on. As we sauntered past the phallic Dr Seuss garden, I was fairly stunned to hear that the Preservation Jazz Hall Band hadn’t read the heat index. Once called “more EDM than EDM“, the band didn’t hold back, attacking the heat with the kind of rhythm and style only jazz can bring. They actually got my group to chug their beers and dance in the heat near the stage for the last few songs. Hats off to those band members wearing suits at four in the afternoon.

Sunset with Two Door Cinema Club

Saturday saw many hours soaking up the water gun stream inside the DoLab. After a few of Trejo’s jackfruit tacos, we ventured back out into the sun to catch Two Door Cinema Club. “What You Know” is one of my “keep it on repeat” jams, so seeing them live was a dream. The crowd shook off it’s sweaty, sunburnt vibes and danced with wild abandon on the crisp green grass.


Move over, Lady Gaga. Nicolas Jaar is on. 

Around 10:00pm on Saturday, we wandered. It’s my personal belief that every time an artist incorporates fire into their performance, Coachella is leading the flies away from something better. So when DJ Snake lit the stage up (literally), we quickly dispersed to Gucci Mane. Two songs in, I was pretty satiated. The crowd was thick and pumped for Gucci. I was dead tired and looking for dance space. We raced over to catch some of Nicolas Jaar. His latest album Sirens is a departure from his usual “Mi Mujer”, more “turned up” fair; the music builds slowly with ambient beats and delicate textures. In a live context, however, the album is dark, foreboding, and definitely “turned up”.

Our zero, Ezra Furman. 

For weeks leading up to Coachella, my husband would casually mention, “I can’t wait to see Ezra Furman,” or “Just as long as [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][seeing some other band] doesn’t conflict with Ezra Furman.” By the time we sat down in the grass to watch, I was pretty pumped to see what all the fuss was about. “We’ve got money enough to be here. How you use your money that lines billionaires’ pockets, you have a say in that,” Ezra Furman spoke with a gentle fervor, quick and concise. His set was tightly wound, with the crowd responding vocally to upbeat favorites like “Restless Year,” “My Zero,” and “Lousy Connection.” In a year where EDM ruled, it was refreshing to hear Ezra’s nasal voice rise up to great us.

Bustin’ a move with Sofi Tukker.

The last time I saw Sofi Tukker perform, I knew they were gonna be big by the next tour. Yet, both Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern seemed genuinely surprised at the large crowd gathered at 3:45 on a Sunday. The EDM crowd was in fine form as they danced in time to “Drinkee.” Hawley-Weld was resplendent in the afternoon sun, dressed all in white; Halpern had his signature coif spray-painted pink and blue for the occasion. The performance featured a few surprises, including Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears joining the duo on stage for a several songs, and an aggressive rendition of “Greed,” a dance protest song that zeros in on Trump’s hair.

Don’t you remember Grouplove?

Honne was the place to be. Yet a few songs into their Mojave set, we were itching to get over to Grouplove. It’s the eternal festival question of “new hotness” vs “old standby.” We shuffle-danced for a bit before running to the main stage just in time to hear “Ways To Go,” which they followed up with “Tongue-tied,” “Let Me In,” and “Colours.” I had completely forgotten my old love of Grouplove. I even found myself singing along to newer tracks like “Good Morning” with wild abandon. Sometimes you just need a little pop-rock in your day.

Hans Zimmer Tears.

Would people show up for Hans Zimmer? It was the question in the back of my mind all weekend. We got to the stage a bit early to get a good spot and already the signs were good: the crowd was amped and had brought along glow-in-the-dark props. There were moments of confusion throughout the show (especially when it came to how to dance), but Zimmer’s 10 minute mashup of the Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, The Thin Red Line and Gladiator soundtracks was the highlight of many people’s weekend (including my own). Oh…and I totally cried when they played “Circle of Life.”


By the time “Kung-Fu Kenny” (a.k.a. Kendrick) hit the stage Sunday night, our group was beat. The sun was so rough that day I’d nearly gotten sick at 2pm. We were worn from dancing in the DoLab to Space Jesus, our skin was burnt despite layers of sun block, and Justice had gotten the last of my sweet, sweet dance moves. But Kendrick didn’t need hype in order to get the crowd on his side. He stood on stage with a giant screen looming and twisting above him, commanding our attention, demanding feedback from us, but didn’t punish us too much. Later, as we sat together in the campground drinking a beer, we blasted “Humble” one more time.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

ONLY NOISE: #NotMyPresident’s Day

You remember it. You know you do. Every morning, at 9am sharp. Standing. Hat off. Left arm, stiff at your side. Right hand resting on heart – reluctantly. All together now:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

There came a time in my elementary school life, when this routine incantation became unbearable to perform. Naturally, this sudden sourness coincided with the election of George W. Bush, and his subsequent invasions and monstrosities. As we approach our first President’s Day under Donald Trump, I imagine school kids everywhere are experiencing a similar sourness during the assemblies leading up to the national holiday, the songs and pageantries one has to perform in public school, K-12.

During these morning customs, I mainly recall feeling so disillusioned with what felt like a national disease; I couldn’t bring myself to touch my heart and recite the Pledge – let alone stand up. The religious overtones of the poem always made me uncomfortable anyway, so I remained seated instead, fixing my gaze on the floor.

This did not go over well.

I lived in a small Republican lumber town – a town of many Carhart jumpsuits, many pickup trucks and several conservative teachers. What were the latter to do with their blue-haired, straight-A student who, by pleading the First Amendment, wasn’t actually breaking any rules? I relished in their visible frustration when they were unable punish me. They couldn’t even win outside of the classroom, as they knew calling my parents would amount to jack shit.

I was lucky enough to have parents who intrinsically distrusted institutional authority – or any authority for that matter. These were parents who routinely arranged “hookie” days to take me to the zoo, or on a ferry ride, or any of the multitudinous activities more educational and interesting than grade school. My political idealism was the least of their concerns; my dad admired it, and my mom was just happy I wasn’t injecting drugs. It was a win-win situation.

Years on, I can sift through all of the mornings, all of the assemblies and pep rallies I sat through, firmly planted on bleachers during the Pledge, the National Anthem, and that cruel excuse for a song, “God Bless The USA” by Lee Greenwood. Perhaps you were of the lucky lot whose school did not require its students to stand and, hand on heart, sing the putrid, nationalistic, country-crossover, garbage heap of a “song” that is “God Bless the USA.” I suspect that everyone in my graduating year could deliver its lyrics with rapid snaps of deeply ingrained memory at its opening chords.

“If tomorrow all the things were gone/I’d worked for all my life/And I had to start again/With just my children and my wife”

Ok, this is already getting problematic for a crowd of school children to be singing.

“I’d thank my lucky stars/To be living here today/Cause the flag still stands for freedom/And they can’t take that away.”

Who the fuck are they? This song was written in 1992. Somehow within seconds Lee Greenwood had married off and impregnated an entire gymnasium full of children, and put the paranoid words “they can’t take that away” into our tiny mouths. That’s creepy. It was a song that sounded born of wartime – where any one of us could be shipped off to the battlefield to fight “them,” and we would never see our Beanie Babies again. Looking back, it was absurd to make a school full of elementary students sing this. A rhyme reciting the Constitution or the Bill of Rights might have proven more useful.

What strikes me most when revisiting these memories isn’t the immense satisfaction I felt while refusing to stand, or the disgust with singing Lee Greenwood’s song…especially that chorus:

“I’m proud to be an American/Where at least I know I’m free/And I won’t forget the men who died/Who gave that right to me/And I gladly stand up/Next to you and defend her still today/Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land/God bless the USA.”

What really bugs me is that despite my efforts to resist, despite my repulsion with these mandatory rituals, these songs and pledges and poems have been effectively lodged into my psyche forever. I will never be able to reclaim the chunk of brain tissue “God Bless the USA” has set up camp on forever. This is the beauty and the beast of music, however; the bad can be just as memorable as the good… like sex.

But what if, in light of our current President, we could sing different songs at our assemblies? There are dozens of songs that have been written about Presidents over the years, and while Mr. Greenwood was one of the chosen musical failures to play Trump’s inauguration, doesn’t a President in 2017 deserve an update? Here are a handful of President-related songs one could modify for public school assemblies nationwide. Or, if you homeschool or pay for private school, use the originals! You’re kids are going to learn the word “fuck” no matter what. I promise.

Lily Allen, “Fuck You”

There’s nothing I love more than a catchy pop song with cruel lyrics. Lily Allen wrote this for George W. Bush (as she confirmed at a concert in Brazil in 2009), but it works remarkably well as an anti-Trump number.

Look inside/Look inside your tiny mind,” chimes Allen. “Now look a bit harder/Cause we’re so uninspired/So sick and tired of all the hatred you harbor.”

It’s perfect!

Grade school modification: Change “fuck you” to “fudge you.”

Radiohead, “2+2=5”

Also written in the Bush/Cheney era, “2+2=5” nods at George Orwell’s 1984 – which is currently enjoying an upswing in sales as the public turns to it again for answers. The equation is brilliant for its simple and effective message, which connotes the intentional peddling of misinformation. The song also includes Radiohead’s album title of that year (2003) Hail To The Thief – a spoof on the traditional, President-praising anthem, “Hail To The Chief.” You couldn’t ask for a better President’s Day song this year!

Grade school modification: make sure the children do not walk away thinking that 2+2 actually =5.

YG and Nipsey Hussle, “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)”

Kids love rap, so this will be an easy assembly sell. With a few modifications, you can Martha Stewart this shit up and have a catchy fight song for your little resisters.

Yeah, fuck Donald Trump/Yeah nigga, fuck Donald Trump/This is for my grandma!/Yeah, yeah, fuck Donald Trump, yeah.”

Grade school modification: change “fuck” to “funk,” don’t say the “N” word. Ever. Keep that “grandma” bit in. Someone is getting extra dessert for that.

Bright Eyes, “When The President Talks To God”

This one’s great for kids. They will learn about xenophobia, the prison industrial complex, and consonants. There is a line about “dirty coke” but you can just pretend it is the cola variety. This song may have also been written about G. W. Bush, but as you can hear, it is still relevant – unfortunately.

“When the President talks to God/Do they drink near-beer and go play golf/While they pick which countries to invade?/Which Muslim souls still can be saved?/I guess God just calls a spade a spade/When the President talks to God.”

Grade school modification: change “bullshit” to “doodie.”

The Honey Drippers, “Impeach The President”

Simple, funky, and more relevant than ever. This will be a fan favorite. Kids will learn all about the impeachment process and the transformative power of funk. Pretty much the only words are “impeach the president,” which can be easily integrated into preschool programs as well.

Grade school modification: none.

Happy President’s Day y’all. And don’t forget, #Fuck/Funk/FudgeDonaldTrump.

NEWS ROUNDUP: The Beastie Boys, Radiohead, & Brooklyn Weekend Events

news round up

  • Father John Misty Shares “Real Love Baby”

    “What’s wrong with feeling?” After a series of sarcastic Soundcloud uploads, Father John Misty gets sentimental on his new song “Real Love Baby.” Although he stated on Twitter that the track “is just a thing” and won’t be on his upcoming album, the feel good, sappy love song is worth a listen.

  • Recommended Events

    Words & Guitars Fest: Words & Guitars is a “two day DIY zine, music, and art fest” that focuses on feminist art, and it starts tonight at Bushwick Public House. As well as performances by bands such as Yeti, Lady Bits, Drella and Lady Bizness, on Saturday there will also be a panel featuring members of the local punk scene on “their place as women in this scene today as musicians, educators, creators, and so much more.”

    She Shreds‘ 10th Issue Release Party: She Shreds is a magazine that focuses on women who play bass and guitar. Their 10th issue release party will be held at Market Hotel and will include performances by Lady Lamb, Allison Crutchfield, Field Mouse, and Holly Miranda. Buy tickets here.

  • John Berry of the Beastie Boys Dies

    As well as being a founding member of the group, Berry was the one who came up with their name. Though he left the group after they recorded their first EP Polly Wog Stew in 1982, the remaining members always mentioned him as an important member of the band. Berry died at age 52 from frontotemporal dementia, according to his father.


  • Radiohead Release Clip of “Numbers” Video

    The clip previews an upcoming music video, directed by Oscar Hudson. It features ominous background music as a man tidies up a small room, a futile task since sand is pouring in from a hole in the ceiling. Check it out:

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]


ALBUM REVIEW: Radiohead “A Moon Shaped Pool”

Radiohead AudioFemme


A gorgeously disorientating chasm of black holes and white ones, A Moon Shaped Pool is a deeply personal, impermeable eruption.  Radiohead does not depart from their signature marriage of mathematical chaos and dismembered romanticism, rather expand beyond it with a new fragility that elicits life, death, and the endless versions of self trapped between the atmosphere. With their collective angst and existential inquisition still intact, Radiohead’s vulnerability takes magnetic and celestial form with A Moon Shaped Pool: Less voyeuristic, more confessional. Less teeth, more blood.  A remarkable testament to the tortured beauty of Thom Yorke’s choral vocal dance paired with Jonny Greenwood’s immaculate collaboration with the London Contemporary Orchestra, their ninth studio album proves that Radiohead has successfully monopolized cohesion. They have not run out of things to say nor ways to say them – and they certainly have not exhausted ways to make us feel something. Arguably the most important collection in their nine album, 24 year career, A Moon Shaped Pool patiently pulls back the skin on love, exposing the very universe Radiohead has prepared us for all along.

The album’s opener, “Burn The Witch” is physically unsettling and darts with operatic anxiety like night rain on a moving windshield. Released just days before the album, “Burn The Witch” feels like an elusive lark in context to the complete picture. For those who assumed “Burn The Witch” would reflect how the rest of the album would sound, you were somewhat wrong. Radiohead, in true Radiohead fashion, gave us a glimpse of the ending and put it at the beginning. “This is a low flying panic attack” Thom Yorke warbles against Jonny Greenwood’s lush, jutting orchestration of strings that stab and sway with equal force. “Burn the witch/we know where you live” preys on Radiohead’s politically charged fears, addressing glaring truths with disarming poetry.

As “Burn the Witch” comes to a heart-racing halt, “Daydreaming” swoops down and induces a different breed of panicked consonance. Its shimmery underwater pulse is dizzying, though never clumsy and Yorke’s ethereal, marble-mouthed vacancy is overflowing with tender exploration. For a song so achingly devoid of hope, “Daydreaming” manages to find a divine spectral beauty that is reserved for sensations as consequential as the loss of love or even the death of a parent. Is it a break-up song? Possibly. Although it feels crude to reduce it to what seems like a tabloid buzz word. “Daydreaming” is a stumbling soundscape of time and vast archives of memory, even moving in reverse repeating the fan-speculated decoding of the lyrics “Half of my life, half of my life.”

It is after these two very different tastes of melancholy that the album swells into what could be a dystopian funeral for 2007’s In Rainbows and the estranged lover of “Codex” off of 2011’s underrated King Of Limbs. “Identikit” feels like the sequel to Kid A‘s “Idioteche”  where the “Women and children first” have been absorbed  into “Broken hearts/Make it rain” and “Ful Stop” could be an adjacent ocean to Rainbows’ “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” both with the rapid chit-chit sound of Philip Selway’s drums.  But even with these scattered comparisons to their catalog, A Moon Shaped Pool stands completely on its own and very much alone. “Desert Island Disk” finds a unique moment of ethereal twangy mountain folk paired with a crooning Yorke anchored to a matter-of -factness through the lyrics “Different types of love” and “You know what I mean” and taps into feels Neil Young-esque territory. Whereas “The Numbers” follows a slinking, almost seductive trajectory that drifts into “Present tense” a peaceful cry of sand shifting pop. A Moon Shaped Pool’s textural landscape is by no means indecisive rather resonates as not-of-this-world and blushes with a concrete unity.

A stirring conclusion to an emotionally taut album, “True Love Waits” is reincarnated here as a tragically serene plea in which shimmering piano and comet tail strings wrap around Yorke’s crumbling echo. For a song that has been a fan favorite for 20 years, “True Love Waits” finally finds a home with unearthed resolve. With what could be considered Radiohead’s love song (of which, in some ways, there are many, but few have found a direct line to the guttural collapse of having loved the way this song does). “I’m not living/ I’m just killing time” Yorke confesses, surrounded by a disjointed fluttering of keys and an unintelligible rolling static that imitates the distant sound of fire burning. As a final and desperate call to love, he begs “Just don’t leave/ don’t leave” in what could easily be the most delicately bruised version of Radiohead we have ever met. But it is with that plea that we are the ones who are left. A hauntingly resonant exit and acknowledgment of finality, loneliness and longing, “True Love Waits” finds a way to say so much with so little and leaves us traumatized with self reflection. A Moon Shaped Pool is a beautifully perilous journey, and even up until the very last whisper we are painfully reminded that some things are worth the wait.

Watch the Paul Thomas Anderson directed video for Daydreaming below:

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]


NEWS ROUNDUP: Radiohead, Prince Tributes, & Grimes


  • Radiohead is Back!

    After erasing their social media presence, the band returned with their new single, “Burn The Witch.” Um, it’s awesome. The accompanying video looks like a cutesy stop-motion animation, until things take a darker turn (as the song’s title suggests). The animator states that it was inspired by the European refugee crisis. Radiohead has also announced tour dates, including Madison Square Garden, Primavera Sound Festival, Secret Solstice Festival, Osheaga Music and Arts Festival and Lollapalooza. Read our review of “Burn The Witch,” and check out the video below.

  • A Brief Roundup of Prince Tributes

    It’s been two weeks since Prince died, and plenty of tributes have been performed. Here are some highlights:

      • The touching tribute: One of Prince’s best songs is “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which opens with the line “It’s been seven hours and 13 days since you took your love away.” In honor of Prince, US radio stations coordinated to play the song at 5:07pm, 13 days and seven hours after his death. Stations all over participated in the event, initially started by the Minnesota public radio station The Current. Prince originally wrote the song in 1985 for The Family, who was signed to his Paisley Park label; on May 4th, they released a re-recorded version in memory of Prince under the band name fDeluxe.

        [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

        The ensemble tribute: both the cast of Hamilton and The Color Purple have paid their respects by covering “Purple Rain.”

        [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

        The big name tribute: Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen both performed Prince covers after his death. The ex-Beatle performed “Let’s Go Crazy,” while The Boss played “Purple Rain.”

        [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

      •  The bizarre tribute: Mac DeMarco released a video covering “It’s Gonna Be Lonely,” accompanied by some interesting characters.

    Grimes Makes A Spectacle On Late Night TV

    Grimes brought dancers, dizzying background graphics and musician Hana Pestle to The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. She performed “Flesh Without Blood” from her latest album Art Angels, and said in an Instagram post that it was her first time performing in a corset. Check it out: 


  • Bad News For Musicians

    If you’re not a rockstar, you probably don’t have to worry about this. For the rest of you, take note: a recent study revealed that musicians die 25 years younger than the rest of the population. Conducted by the Australian psychology professor Dianna Kenny, the study “examined the lives and deaths of 12,665 musicians and stars from all popular genres who died between 1950 and June 2014,” and found that musicians were more susceptible to suicide, homicide, and accidental deaths. You can read the report here.


TRACK REVIEW: Radiohead “Burn The Witch”


“What if I don’t feel anything?” This is the only thing on my mind when “Burn the Witch” was released Tuesday morning, the first song from Radiohead’s imminent ninth album and their first release since 2011’s King of Limbs. While Radiohead was busy meticulously erasing their website and social media presence, I wrestled the forces of expectation and the overflow of noise that filled this Radiohead-less five year gap. I have been primed by the ominously poetic gestures of the past enough times to know very well that Radiohead’s disappearing act on Sunday was not a self-indulgent white flag rather the benevolently habitual signaling of an alarm. They warned us, as they often do.

As rich in disruptive, dystopian commentary on societal atrocity and the extinction of the individual as “Burn the Witch” is, it is just as profoundly relevant in what it doesn’t address: the swollen negative space. When Thom Yorke sleepily instructs “Shoot the messenger,” I can’t help but think he has us collectively pegged as both the hunter and the hunted. This is Radiohead’s signature grandiose apocalypse reimagined.

The steady building seizure of strings dance between a sun-drenched reincarnation and a Hitchcock-ian shower stabbing, resuscitating Radiohead’s kinship with symphonic depravity. “Burn the Witch” elicits an internal strangulation that both induces a nightmare and lulls you back to sleep once you’ve stopped screaming.

Watch the unsuspectingly sinister video below:

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

NEWS ROUNDUP: The Politicization of Music, RHCP, & Radiohead


  • Beyonce & the Politicization of Music

    Though Beyonce’s Lemonade contains unlimited potential for trivial gossip (Who is Becky?), the visual album is way deeper than that, as explained in The Rolling Stone here. Music has gotten a little more political lately, with artists canceling shows in anti-LGBTQ states or performing in support of political candidates (well, mostly Bernie Sanders), but when Beyonce weighs in, you know we’ve reached the peak of the politicization of music.

    [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers Accused of Sexual Harassment

    Julie Farman, who worked at Epic Records in the 90’s, wrote a blog post detailing a “fucked up” experience she had during a meeting with members of the band. Farman wrote she was inspired to speak up after Amber Coffman broke her silence about Heathcliff Berru earlier this year, and blamed “the misogynistic culture of the music industry that kept [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][her] from speaking up in 1991.”

  • Watch White Lung’s Video For “Below”

    The band plays in a dark theater, their only audience a handful of Marilyn Monroe impersonators who are brought to tears by the performance. “Below” is from White Lung’s upcoming album Paradise, out on May 6.

  • Levitation Festival Is Cancelled

    Artists including Animal Collective, Courtney Barnett, Ty Segall, Ween and many more were scheduled to play the festival, which was cancelled due to dangerous weather in Texas.

  • A New Radiohead Album Might Be In The Works

    The band is promoting it in kind of a creepy way: sending fans in the UK leaflets that say “We know where you live” and referencing the early 2000’s song “Burn The Witch.” It’s the latest sign that a new album is coming, after they announced a world tour and registered the companies Dawn Chorus LLP and Dawnnchoruss Ltd. When it comes out, it’ll be the band’s first new album since 2011’s The King Of Limbs.


  • Blink-182 Are Back?

    The pop punk group replaced Tom Delonge with Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio and released the first song from their upcoming album. California will be out July 1st, but “Bored To Death” was just presented to the internet in the worst way possible: a lyric video. Seriously, why do bands use these things? Anyway, here it is:




With a name inspired by a Kafka story, it makes sense The Harrow would be well-spoken. Yet even with the bar set high the mysterious Brooklyn coldwave/post-punk band impressed with their bewitchingly intelligent interview. The Harrow is Vanessa Irena (vocals, synth, programming), Frank Deserto (bass, synth, machines), Barrett Hiatt (synth, programming) and Greg Fasolino (guitar). They are currently working on an upcoming LP that we’re already gnawing to hear. I spoke with our Artist of the Month about gothic art, nerdy influences, and selectivity of gigs.

AudioFemme: How did you guys meet and form a band?

Barrett: We all seemed to have traveled in the same circles for some years, and it seemed like it was only a matter of time for this band to come to fruition. Frank and I became close friends during our previous band, and we had shared stages with Greg’s previous band as well. Vanessa and Frank met through their respective DJ gigs, and the timing just felt right. Frank had some demos kicking around, I jumped in and we started fleshing things out. We then invited Greg to add his signature sound, and Vanessa was the perfect last piece to the puzzle.

AF: Who do you look up to as musical inspirations?

Frank: As far as sound is concerned, bands like Cindytalk, And Also the Trees, Breathless, Cranes, For Against, and of course, The Cure and Cocteau Twins are hugely inspirational, as well as most of the players in the French coldwave and early 4AD movement. Belgian new beat and ’90s electronica have been influences that I’m not quite sure have fully manifested yet, but are definitely something I’d love to explore further in the coming years.

Greg: For me, the 4AD sonic universe is definitely a place we all intersect and Cocteau Twins are the ultimate touchstone. As a musician, I am particularly influenced by classic ’80s post-punk bands like The Chameleons, Comsat Angels, Banshees, Bunnymen, Sad Lovers & Giants, and The Sound, as well as ’90s genres like shoegaze (Slowdive, Pale Saints, MBV), trip-hop (Massive Attack, Portishead), and alt-rock (Smashing Pumpkins, Suede, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley). Lately I am very inspired by a lot of modern neo-shoegaze bands, who seem to be carrying the torch for dreamy, effects-heavy music now that much of the post-punk revival has dissipated, as well as more atmospheric metal stuff like Agalloch and Deftones/Crosses and creative, hard-to-categorize bands like HTRK and Braids.

B: I’m not sure if I can get through an interview without mentioning Trent Reznor, but he has always inspired me, through his recording methods as well as his choice of collaboration, and just his general attitude towards music. Of course: David Bowie, Chris Corner, Depeche Mode, Massive Attack, The Cure. I do have a tendency to lean on bands from the ’80s.

Vanessa: I’m a huge fan of Karin Dreijer Andersson (Fever Ray, The Knife) and Elizabeth Bernholz (Gazelle Twin). These days I’m mostly listening to techno and textural stuff (Ancient Methods, Klara Lewis, Vatican Shadow, Function, Profligate, OAKE, Adam X, Mondkopf, etc.).

AF: What about other artists: poets, painters, writers – who else has influenced your sound?

F: Literary influences are as important to me as musical influences. There’s the obvious surrealist and nightmarish nods to Kafka, but other authors such as Isak Dinesen, Robert Aickman, Albert Camus, Charles Baudelaire, and William Blake have inspired the lyrics I’ve written for the band, some more directly than others. As for art, the same applies; Francis Bacon seems almost too obvious to mention, but his work is incredibly moving. Francisco De Goya as well. I’m also drawn heavily to bleak, medieval religious art, usually depicting the crueler aspects of Christianity. Perhaps a bit cliché as far as gothic influences are concerned, but lots of imagery to draw upon.

B: David Lynch, John Carpenter, Jim Jarmusch, Anton Corbijn, just to name a few. These guys paint wonderful pictures through film, and I always find it very inspiring.

V: Frank and I have pretty similar tastes in art, so I definitely agree with him on the above, but I think it’s worth mentioning that we’re also all a bunch of huge fucking nerds. I’m not ashamed to admit that lyrical inspiration for me can come just as easily from The Wheel of Time or an episode of Star Trek: TNG as it does from Artaud.

AF: What do you credit to be your muse?

F: My bandmates.

G: Posterity.

V: My shitty life/Being a woman.

B: Dreaming.

AF: Blogs love labels, but how would you describe your music?

F: I don’t ever attest to reinventing the wheel. We all draw from different influences and I mostly consider our sound to be a blend of shoegaze/dream pop, 4AD, and early ’80s post-punk vibes. We generally err on the dreamier side but have no qualms with getting aggressive if the mood calls for it. At this point in the game, creating a new sound is out of the question, but our varied tastes and interests have led to some cross-pollination of genres that hopefully proves to be interesting amidst dozens of modern bands operating in a similar medium.

B: I’m still trying to get a little saxophone in there.

AF: Will you speak to the darker element of your style?

F: Operating in this medium is less of a conscious choice for me than it is a catharsis. Therapy in a sense – a method of expressing otherwise unpleasant thoughts and feelings to make something creative, rather than letting my shadow side consume me.

B: Darkness is way more interesting. And real.

AF: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?

F: At this point, the idea of collaborating with someone famous is an overwhelming thought. Sorry for the cop out, but I can say that we’re looking forward to some collaborations from some of our peers, both original and in remix form. More on this as it develops!

B: Sorry Frank, but I’m going with Pee-Wee Herman.

AF: Will you tell me about your current LP you’re working on?

F: We spent the majority of 2014 hunkering down and working on the record. We recorded Silhouettes in piecemeal form over the course of the year, layering synths and guitars and drums as they fell into place. The record is currently in the can and is being mixed as we speak by the uber-talented Xavier Paradis, and will hopefully see release this fall via aufnahme + wiedergabe.

AF: How does it differentiate from previous work?

F: The new record is incredibly diverse – there are ambient segues, the occasional industrial/hip-hop hybrids, and plenty of other eclectic sounds to go around. There are more complex rhythms that are the result of Vanessa and Barrett’s superior drum programming talents, for starters. We also took turns writing lyrics this time around, with Barrett, Vanessa, and I all contributing. It’s truly The Harrow as it’s meant to be – a band hitting their stride as a full working unit with equal love and collaboration driving us.

AF: Can we expect any live shows for you in the future?

B: While we enjoy playing live from time to time, it isn’t the primary focus of the band. We are at points in our lives where making the music is more important and rewarding in and of itself than performing it on stage. Our goal with the band leans much more toward the creative side. When we do play though, we want to make sure it is an event, and something to look forward to, not just the typical four random bands on a Tuesday night thing.

Watch The Harrow’s music video for “AXIS” below.

ALBUM REVIEW: Bryce Dessner & Jonny Greenwood


Most people know Bryce Dessner and Jonny Greenwood as members of The National and Radiohead, respectively (they both play lead guitar). But outside of their work with two of the most respected rock bands currently around, both Dessner and Greenwood have a background in classical music—Dessner received his music masters at Yale, and Greenwood gave up his music degree at Oxford Brookes University when Radiohead was signed. Both musicians are currently working as composers in residence, Dessner with Dutch orchestra Muziekgebouw Eindhoven and Greenwood with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Those similarities seem like enough justification to pair the two on this nine track release by Deutsche Grammophon—three of the tracks are Dessner’s compositions from over the past few years, while the other six are Greenwood’s original score for 2007’s There Will Be Blood—but Copenhagen Philharmonic conductor André de Ridder brought the two composers together for stylistic and thematic reasons, which are easy to pick up on after a few listens through the album. The two composers share a penchant for high contrast—dark, deep tones and textures are often juxtaposed with softer, prettier ones—and a knack for depicting a sort of vast musical landscape.


Greenwood’s score, though, has been available for quite some time to the public and is probably familiar territory to fans of his growing soundtrack repertoire (he’s composed the score for four other movies in addition to Blood). The six tracks included on this release, “Open Space” in particular, exhibit an influence from scoring masters like John Williams with the use recurring musical motifs. Greenwood’s work expertly renders original interpretations of emotions that could easily come off as trite; “Henry Plainview,” for example, is a lush piece that explores a kind of sadness and despair, and shows how ugly emotions can be portrayed gorgeously. “Oil” also reveals great sensibility and a certain beauty, with a theme that brings to mind a long journey coming to its end, or the relief that comes with reaching one’s destination.

Dessner’s compositions, on the other hand, are fully fleshed out pieces that range from 13 to 17 minutes long. All three tracks build up slowly but with great intent, saturating moments of stillness with an uneasy tension. “St. Carolyn by the Sea” starts off rather sparse, but Dessner injects the song’s tranquility with moments of acute emotion—trembling violins, thundering horns—that give it an overall feeling of anxiety. The use of electric guitar is particularly noticeable in this track, which features Bryce’s twin brother and fellow National cohort, Aaron Dessner. Later on in “Raphael,” backdrop of low grumbles and droney sounds give a sense that something lurks in the distance, but the menacing beginning gives way to a beautiful and sparkling build up of instruments and emotions. Its ending feels like the calm after a storm.

The album is an overall testimony to contemporary classical music being alive and well. Deutsche Grammophon is a label with an impressive reputation in the classical world, and the association with their business alone signals Dessner and Greenwood’s abilities, but the two composers’ extraordinary abilities speak for themselves. Catch a live performance of these tracks, conducted by André de Ridder, this Friday at Le Poisson Rouge. 

APPROVAL MATRIX: 2/9/14 thru 2/15/14

PolyFauna Radiohead App

Here’s our take on the best and worst in music this week.



[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_2″][box type=”shadow”]RingoPaulZZZ Fifty years of this whole “without The Beatles, music would have long ago ceased to exist” mentality is getting stale.  CBS’s trite attempt to foster Beatles-Mania 2.0 proved once again that the folks behind the Grammys don’t even bother to listen outside the box.[/box][/fusion_builder_column] [fusion_builder_column type=”1_2″_last][box type=”shadow”]

PolyFauna Radiohead App

Radiohead have released an enthralling, otherworldly new app, PolyFauna. In it, “your screenis the window into an evolving world” based on the sound and imagery of “Bloom” from 2011’s King of Limbs.[/box][/one_half_last]

DESPICABLE <<—————————————————————————– >>BRILLIANT

[fusion_builder_row_inner][fusion_builder_column_inner type=”1_2″][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][box type=”shadow”]pshrollingstone

Drake threw a hissy fit when Rolling Stone bumped his cover story to run a TRIBUTE to the RECENTLY DECEASED Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  He has since apologized, realizing that sadness over the tragic death of a talented actor is maybe just a little bit more justified than being butt hurt over the music mag’s slight.[/box][/fusion_builder_column_inner] [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_2″_last][box type=”shadow”]


 We’re beginning to think “shows at Rough Trade” were an elaborate hoax designed by the owners of Baby’s All Right. Cheers to Oh My Rockness for keeping everything straight for us.[/box][/one_half_last]