Spotlight
Sweeping Culture Daily

SPOTLIGHT: Sweeping Culture Daily

Listen: Warpaint’s “Hi”

TUNE: Breaking news! An all-female rock group can in fact come from Los Angeles and not sound like a regurgitated sprint of sunny 80’s melodies and overworked harmonies. It happens, and it’s unfolding right now with the four piece band Warpaint. Though “Hi” finds itself in excellent company of a nearly flawless (not yet released) 12 song LP, this track feels like a swift stumble into an alternate universe with its multilayered craftsmanship and rich, rich musicality. A choir of drum machines? Check. Ambient reverb? Oh yes. Vocals that reel you into a sort of hypnosis right up until the clash of the cymbals? Absolutely. In its five minutes, “Hi” feels like you’ve heard at least four different songs churned into a gorgeous haze, the kind of mess you’ll return to because you’ll uncover something new each time.

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Tonight: Further Rituals of Rented Island at Anthology Film Archives

Tonight is the opening of “Further Rituals of Rented Island,” a film series at Anthology Film Archives in New York in conjunction with the exhibition currently on view at the Whitney Museum. Co-curated by J. Hoberman, Andrew Lampert, and Jay Sanders, the program, which runs through January 21, will feature work by Richard Foreman, Yvonne Rainer, Chantal Akerman, Jack Smith, and more. The series will begin with a screening of Vito Acconci‘s “The Red Tapes” (1977), along with restorations of two early 8mm films, “Flour/Breath Piece” (1970) and “Gargle/Spit” (1970). View the entire schedule of films below.

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In Tune: Real Estate’s “Talking Backwards”

TUNE: So far, the New Jersey bred Real Estate has spent 2014 counting down to the reveal of their latest single. For the last two weeks, the band’s been releasing snippets of  album art and 16 second song samples across Facebook and Instagram. Last night at midnight, “Talking Backwards” finally dropped. At first, the song seems to be made up of overtly familiar Real Estate fabric, all pillowy vocals and dazed guitars, but as it plays out, something begins to feel a bit off-kilter. The sound is still significantly surfy, but the message is not. “Talking Backwards”  speaks to growing frustrations and dreamy uneasiness, like climbing down a ladder of memory (and melody).

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Listen: Dum Dum Girls’ “Rimbaud Eyes”

“Too True,” the new album from Dum Dum Girls, is coming out January 29 via Sub Pop Records. What started as the solo bedroom project of Dee Dee Penny has become something much larger and focused, the sound expanding from the lo-fi 60’s pop-influenced early recordings to the more robust recent material. Take, for example, the excellent “Rimbaud Eyes,” which, aside from a great title and influence of Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes,” sounds like a lost Patti Smith b-side from the “Radio Ethiopia” era or late-period Jesus & Mary Chain. Very excited for the new album. Listen to the song below.

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DiCaprio & Hill Develop Hip-Hop TV Show

Here’s one of the weirder news items of the day: “Wolf of Wall Street” actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are collaborating with Tribe Called Quest rapper Q-Tip on a television series that will focus on the Native Tongues-era of hip-hop. For those who have no clue what means, a history lesson: Native Tongues was a loose grouping of “conscious” rappers (Tribe, De La Soul, Queen Latifah, Jungle Brothers, among others) that, in the early 1990’s, bucked the oncoming trend of explicit rap. Most of these groups stressed positivity, mocked the overt seriousness of gangster rap, and were associated with the Zulu Nation. According to the report, the series “will reflect on the stories of their friendship and how their music played a part in culture then and influenced the music of today.” DiCaprio and Hill will act as producers, but since we know Leo is a fan of clubs, is it too much to ask him to make an appearance? Continue Reading

In Tune: Angel Olsen’s “Hi-Five”

TUNE: “Hi-Five,” the second released track from Angel Olsen‘s forthcoming sophomore album, is a spectacular follow up to “Forgiven/Forgotten.” The song’s crackling instrumentals and lo-fi jam vibes do not hinder Olsen’s vocals, which are theatrical and yearning, and reel you in from the get-go. The style and tonality of Olsen’s voice would fit right in over a rockabilly tune from the 1960s, and in “Hi-Five,” Olsen masters a sophisticated, old-timey charm while breaking our hearts with her tales of collective loneliness.

BY: Angel Olsen, a singer-songwriter from Illinois who released her first full-length album, “Half Way Home,” in 2011. Continue Reading

Have You Heard of Michael Yonkers?

Have you heard of Michael Yonkers? No? Well, we’ll forgive you for the gaping whole in your musical knowledge. It’s not like his records have been easy to find. “Microminiature Love,” the first record by the Michael Yonkers Band, was recorded in 1968 but only found wide release when it was reissued by Sub Pop Records in 2003. By this time, it had achieved a cult following among record collectors and musicologists, and a myth around Yonkers had spread. Reportdly, he had become so disenfranchised by the music industry (he had a deal with Sire Records that went south), and the simmering political turmoil of the late 60’s, that he had retreated to his parents’ basement. There, he bagan experimenting with tape loops and electronic instruments.During this time, he released a number of albums, many of them extremely rare, where explored religious songs and country music. A whole body of work was happening in the shadows of the music industry, and now we are finally getting to hear it all, decades after it was made. Drag City will soon reissue two of his records—”Michael Lee Yonkers” (1972) and “Borders of My Mind” (1973)—so now’s your chance to the multidemonsial and psychedelic world of Yonkers, a true music legend. Listen to “Borders of My Mind,” off the record of the same name, below.

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Jane Campion Named Cannes Jury President

Jane Campion, whose “Top of the Lake” was our favorite television series of 2013, has been named the jury president of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, set to take place from May 14 to 25. The director has premiered many of her films there, including “Bright Star” and “Sweetie,” and is the only woman to win the coveted Palme d’Or prize for 1993’s “The Piano.” The rest of the jury members have not yet been announced. “It is a mythical and exciting festival where amazing things can happen, actors are discovered, films are financed, careers are made,” Campion said in a press release. “I know this because that is what happened to me!” Continue Reading

Listen: Common’s “War”

Common, who’s recently been spending his time acting on AMC’s “Hell on Wheels,” is back to making music, thankfully. The rapper has a new album, “Nobody Smiling,” which is reportedly a concept album about the violence in his hometown of Chicago. “It happens in Chicago, but it’s going on around the world in many ways, in inner cities all over America,” Common said. “We were talking about the conditions of what was happening when I said Nobody Smiling, but it’s really a call to action.” Continue Reading

Listen: St. Vincent’s “Digital Witness”

Annie Clark, better known to music fans as St. Vincent, has a new album out in February. The self-titled collection is produced by John Congleton, who has worked with Clark in the past, including 2012’s David Byrne-collaboration “Love This Giant.” Today, she unleashed a sample: “Digital Witness,” a crunchy, stomping rhythmic assault. The track features Dap-Kings drummer Homer Steinweiss and Midlake’s McKenzie Smith on percussion. The accompying artwork, which you can see in the Youtube clip below, appears to be visually influnced by Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “The Holy Mountain.” Listen below.

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