Category: New Music

Ke$ha joins the quick-turnaround EP trend with 'Cannibal'

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With the Jack Daniels barely yet rinsed from her toothbrush, Ke$ha is following her fellow purveyor of ravey synthpop in releasing a quick-followup EP to her January debut album, "Animal."

"Cannibal," available as a standalone record and as part of a deluxe reissue of "Animal" on Nov. 22, clocks in at eight new songs with production work by longtime mentor Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco, Max Martin and, intriguingly, "A Milli" producer Bangladesh. "Cannibal's" first single, the typographically challenging "We R Who We R," will make the rounds to radio Thursday, just in time for any weekend plans to get raked and wake up on an elephant in the desert.

-- August Brown

Photo: Brendan McDermid / Reuters

Gucci Mane makes a forceful 'Appeal' on his new album

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In 2010, three of the top MCs in mainstream rap have had major career turning points thwarted by legal drama. T.I., Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane have dealt with it in very different ways.

After a jail term resulting from 2007 gun charges, T.I. slipped up again last month when he was arrested on drug possession charges, just as his feature film “Takers” was topping the box office. (He will learn Oct. 15 whether his probation will be revoked and whether he has to return to prison.) After releasing the world-beating “Tha Carter III” and his poorly received rock album “Rebirth,” Lil Wayne nursed his active online personality from Rikers Island, where he’s serving a term on other gun-related charges, and released an odd collection of pre-jail tracks, “I Am Not a Human Being.”

Radric Davis, the 30-year-old Atlantan who raps as Gucci Mane, finished a six-month term in May for a parole violation stemming from assault charges. But unlike his peers, after his release, the droll and gruff-voiced rapper promptly cut his most confident and revealing album yet.

Davis’ jail stint forms the psychological backdrop of “The Appeal: Georgia’s Most Wanted,” his third full-length. But instead of a grim narrative of confinement, the subject is instead ground both for triumph and serious self-assessment. On the patio of the W hotel in Hollywood, nursing a glass of his favorite (and recipe-indeterminate) lemonade concoction, Davis admitted that the clink offers plenty of time to reevaluate what matters.

“I changed a lot in there,” Davis said. “I know this is serious now and I have a lot to get off my chest. This record is painful and gothic and epic, but it’s the soundtrack of my past.”

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Neil Young and Daniel Lanois: 'Le Noise' collaboration started with YouTube

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Want a gig working with a Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member? Try posting a smart video on YouTube.

That’s how it worked for Daniel Lanois, who recently wrapped up work producing a new album for one of his longtime rock heroes, Neil Young.

Sure, it didn’t hurt that Lanois has seven Grammys of his own and had previously worked with such stellar lights of contemporary pop music as U2, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Emmylou Harris and Brian Eno.

Still, it was the YouTube stuff Lanois made with his own band, Black Dub, that inspired Young to reach out to his fellow Canadian about collaborating.

“He called me and he said ‘I could use your help,’ ” Lanois told me over the weekend at his house in Silver Lake. “He said, ‘I saw your Black Dub films on YouTube…. I loved those films. Would you film me and record me doing 10 acoustic songs?' I always wanted to make a Neil Young album. I said I would, of course.”

Their get-together, however, didn’t turn out exactly as Young first proposed it. Instead of 10 acoustic songs, the resulting album, “Le Noise,” which comes out Sept. 28, has just eight songs, only two of them acoustic numbers.

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Warpaint to release 'The Fool' in October (updated)

325t According to NME, Warpaint, our local practitioners of wooze rock, will be releasing their Rough Trade debut in October. "The Fool" will come out Oct. 26 in the U.S. (and Oct. 25 in the U.K.) with production by Jon Brion collaborator Tom Biller, who also recently manned the mix for the Liars' fantastic "Sisterworld" album.

The new record should be the crowning touch on a great fall for the L.A. quartet: They also snagged a high-profile opening slot with the xx, the current darlings of minimalist indie R&B. The two bands will be passing through the Hollywood Palladium on Sept. 22.

In addition to Biller's work, "The Fool" also features mixes from Siouxsie Sioux and New Order DJ-collaborator Andrew Weatherall, and Adam Samuels, who has worked with John Frusciante, a key advocate for Warpaint (he mixed their Manimal Vinyl EP, "Exquisite Corpse").

Track listing for "The Fool":

"Set Your Arms"
"Warpaint" *
"Undertow"
"Bees"
"Shadows"
"Composure"
"Baby"
"Majesty"
"Lissie’s Heart Murmur" *

-- Margaret Wappler

*By the way, Pop & Hiss is very encouraged by any band that references its own name in song, as well as heart murmurs; we have one too.

Updated: We added the U.S. release date of Oct. 26.

Photo: Warpaint. Credit: Rough Trade


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And now your inevitable return, Ace of Base

Well, thanks kids, that '90s revival sure was fun. I guess we have to stop using "What's next, an Ace of Base comeback?" as  a punchline, because apparently, the collective mind-waves of Hipstervania were enough to make it real, even with the caveat of two much-younger new female singers. That said, "Don't Turn Around" is kind of better than almost all of Lady Gaga's non-single tracks, yes?

-- August Brown

Snap Judgment: Ne-Yo's "Beautiful Monster"

So, have you heard the new rave-inspired pop single about the allure of monsters?

Yeah, so Ne-Yo's new single, "Beautiful Monster," has some topical and sonic precedent on the charts. But that shouldn't inherently detract from any new occasion for the suavest guy in pop to uncork another single, especially a first hint at the forthcoming album, "Libra Scale."

"Monster" is yet another exhibit in the evidence bin that the radio is moving on from '80s nostalgia and into the electronica of the '90s -- the big filter sweeps, house beats and decimated snare builds are from his favored producer Stargate. Ne-Yo's searching inflection could make frequent Daft Punk vocalist Romanthony bolt out of bed with envy, and that wide-open bridge breakdown is as hands-in-the-air as anything you'll hear on a Koh Phangan full moon party.

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Kelly Rowland offers behind-the-scenes glimpse of 'Commander' video

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Kelly Rowland flirts with the camera in front of her. With a black beaded, laced and jeweled form-fitting number that shimmers in the light, hair blowing in the artificial wind and picture perfect makeup, she looks every bit the pop diva as she mimes in front of the camera.

For some, it may be tough to picture Rowland outside of Destiny’s Child, the multi-platinum selling group that dominated the charts until it disbanded in 2006 and took on solo projects. In that time, Rowland released a second solo album and ventured in film, Michelle Williams released her third album and took on Broadway and Beyoncé Knowles solidified her position as a single-named force in pop music.

Rowland_1 After 2007’s underperforming “Ms. Kelly,” Rowland ended her professional relationship with both manager Matthew Knowles and Columbia Records and is now prepping her Universal Motown debut.   

On the heels of her Grammy Award-winning collaboration with David Guetta (the two released “When Love Takes Over”), Rowland teamed up with the producer for the first single, “Commander,” off her third solo album -- pegged for a September release.

As the single blares over the loudspeakers for her video shoot, she gets tips on her moves from choreographer Fatima Robinson before director Masashi Muto calls for another take.

In between takes, and a surprise visit from Williams, who was in town starring in “Chicago,” Rowland caught up with Pop & Hiss on the Hollywood set of the video.

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Snap Judgment: M.I.A. drops new track, "Born Free" (and gets Suicide paid)


Anyone who sniveled at M.I.A. for biting the better part of "Straight To Hell" for her biggest hit to date should probably be sitting down for new her single. "Born Free" consists of this, and this alone: some trashy drum samples, a fuzzed out airhorn, and the almost the entirety of Suicide's "Ghost Rider. " Somewhere Alan Vega and Martin Rev just decided to treat themselves to cochlear implants from the royalties.

M.I.A.'s cred-building sample savvy here is uncontestable, and the two bands share an ear for deadpanning over gangrenous synths and cheap drum machines. But as a song, "Born Free" feels like the teaser it is. It's one good idea tossed off with zero ambition toward structure or development, more like intriguing mixtape fodder than any statement of purpose for her forthcoming record. M.I.A. sounds great, though, echoed out to oblivion while repurposing lyrical punk bromides from the Misfits and idle rap boasts like "I don't want to talk about money, 'cause I got it."

M.I.A.'s been riding hard for her new proteges Sleigh Bells lately, and this cut suggests she's been paying attention to their gained-out production style and boundless yet directionless energy. A whole album of this would be taxing, and could play against M.I.A.'s strengths in sashaying all over daffy backbeats. As four minutes of vinegary circle-pit fodder, however, it'll do kindly. But let this also be an occasion to go shovel a bunch of your money at Suicide, who deserve it and hopefully just won a few new fans here.

-- August Brown 

Corin Tucker announces her first solo album after Sleater-Kinney

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According to the Portland Mercury, one of indie’s enduring powerhouse singers, Corin Tucker, is coming out with a solo album on Kill Rock Stars due in October. For those who didn’t educate themselves back in the day with that rare issue of Magnet featuring real live women on the cover (OK, so we’re still a little bitter), Tucker’s maelstrom of a voice led the fiercely femme band Sleater-Kinney, which has been on hiatus since 2006.

Teaming up with Hungry Ghost’s Sara Lund on drums and Seth Lorinczi of Golden Bears producing and playing various instruments, Tucker states that the 11-song collection will be more of a “middle-aged mom record… it’s not a record a young person would write.” Tucker claims to have taken some of her cues from another sometimes-vitriolic middle-aged mom: Sinead O’Connor and her fiery, beautiful debut, “The Lion and the Cobra.” Tucker also says she’s been inspired by the Slits, Raincoats and the English Beat, as well as the new record from Quasi, helmed in part by Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss.

Tucker, who has two children, plans on touring in support of the record but not at the breakneck pace of Sleater-Kinney. She said some of the songs do exist “in the same ballpark” as her old threesome and their keyed-up tangle of words and guitar, but the different players and changed focus will yield a unique vision.

“I take certain feelings or certain experiences and put them into a little story,” she said. “And there are definitely some ghosts on the record, too—ghost songs. There's some sadness, some reinvention, some rebirth.”

Playing off of SK guitarist Carrie Brownstein’s recent hints to IFC about getting Sleater-Kinney back together, Tucker said “the door is open. We ended things on a hiatus so that it was always something that could happen in the future. You know, I'd love to live a long productive life and do a lot of different things.”

--Margaret Wappler

Photo: Corin Tucker playing All Tomorrow's Parties in 2002. Credit: Los Angeles Times

LCD Soundsystem's 'Drunk Girls' and 'Pow Pow' leak (just in time for the weekend)

Murphy250 Here's a song to pitch you headlong into the weekend, made for dancing while you stand in the eternally long bathroom lines of Los Angeles. "Drunk Girls," a ticking little rager with a big bass underbelly, is one of the first leaks from LCD Soundsystem's new, still untitled album dropping May 18 on DFA/Virgin.

According to James Murphy, who recorded part of his third album at a Los Angeles mansion (funny, that's where the Pop & Hiss headquarters are too!), drunk girls are endowed and blessed with all sorts of qualities and gifts you may not have known about: the patience of saints, invitations from nations, the knowledge that "love is an astronaut." Drunk boys, on the other hand, are pure trouble, stealing from cupboards. True, we might be listening with a bias, but those are some of the lyrics.

"Drunk Girls" isn't as hellbent on capturing a generation's party moment -- or the never-ending game of musical one-upmanship -- as "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House," but to listen more than a few times is to plant yourself at someone's ramshackle house in the Silver Lake hills with a red beer cup in hand, asking to bum an American Spirit off a cute boy.

Not that we'd know anything about it!

The other track blazing around the Internets is a snippet of "Pow Pow," a cyclical mix of frosty "Remain in Light"-era funk crossed with druggy disco ready for David Mancuso's Loft.

In addition to scoring the new Noah Baumbach movie "Greenberg," LCD Soundsystem will play the penultimate slot April 16 at Coachella. There's probably some joke to be made here about the inverse of Murphy's Law, but we're not clever enough to think of it.

--Margaret Wappler

Photo of Murphy by Jake Walters

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