U2 Surprise Album “Songs of Innocence”

U2 - Photo: Paolo Pellegrin.  PUBLICITY 2014

U2 – Photo: Paolo Pellegrin. PUBLICITY 2014

 

U2 invades your iTunes, get the eviction notice ready

 They release new album for free in iTunes

You may or may not like U2 or its frontman, but no other rock band does rebirth like U2.  No other band – certainly of U2’s duration, commercial success and creative achievement – believes it needs rebirth more and so often. But even by the standards of transformation on 1987’s The Joshua Tree and 1991’s Achtung! Baby, Songs of Innocence – U2’s first studio album in five years – is a triumph of dynamic, focused renaissance: 11 tracks of straightforward rapture about the life-saving joys of music, drawing on U2’s long palette of influences and investigations of post-punk rock, industrial electronics and contemporary dance music. “You and I are rock & roll,” Bono shouts in “Volcano,” a song about imminent eruption, through a propulsive delirium of throaty, striding bass, alien-choral effects and the Edge’s rusted-treble jolts of Gang of Four-vintage guitar. Bono also sings this, earlier in a darker, more challenging tone: “Do you live here or is this a vacation?” For U2, rock & roll was always a life’s work – and the work is never done.

Songs of Innocence is aptly named, after William Blake’s 1789 collection of poems about man’s perpetually great age of discovery – childhood. For the first time, after decades of looking abroad for inspiration – to American frontier spirituality, Euro-dance-party irony and historic figures of protest such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela – Bono, the Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. have taken the long way ’round to metamorphosis: turning back andinward, for the first time on a whole record, to their lives and learning as boys on the way to uncertain manhood (and their band) in Dublin.

Bono’s lyrics are striking in their specific, personal history. In “Cedarwood Road,” named after a street where he lived, the singer remembers the fear and unrequited anger that drove him to music andto be heard – and which won’t go away. “I’m still standing on that street/Still need an enemy,” he admits against Clayton and Mullen’s strident, brooding rhythm and the enraged stutter of the Edge’s guitar. “Raised by Wolves” isa tension of metronome-like groove and real-life carnage (“There’s a man in a pool of misery . . . a red sea covers the ground”) based on a series of car bombs that bloodied Dublin one night in the Seventies.

In “Iris (Hold Me Close),” Bono sings to his mother, who died when he was 14, through a tangle of fondness and still-desperate yearning, in outbreaks of dreamy neo-operatic ascension over a creamy sea of keyboards and Clayton’s dignified-disco bass figure. “You took me by the hand/I thought I was leading you,” Bono recalls in a kind of embarrassed bliss. “But it was you who made me your man/Machine,” he adds – a playful shotgun reference to his youthful poetic conceit in Boy‘s “Twilight” (“In the shadows boy meets man”) and his wife Ali. The teenage Bono once gave her Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine as a gift while they were dating.
For U2 – and Bono in particular – the first step on the road out of Dublin was the sound of a voice, and they name it in the opening track, “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone).” U2 have always been open in their gratitude to New York punk and the Ramones in particular, and this homage to unlikely heroism – that kid you least expect to take on the world and win – is suitable honor: a great, chunky guitar riff and a beat like a T. Rex stomp, glazed with galactic-Ronettes vocal sugar. “I woke up,” Bono sings, “at the moment when the miracle occurred/Heard a song that made some sense out of the world.” U2 also pay due diligence to the Clash in “This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now,” dedicated to Joe Strummer, and there is a strong hint of the Beach Boys’ allure – their standing invitation to a utopia far from the Dublin grit and rain – in the Smile-style flair of the chanting harmonies in “California (There Is No End to Love).” “Blood orange sunset brings you to your knees,” Bono croons in an awed register. “I’ve seen for myself.”These are the oldest stories in rock & roll – adolescent restlessness; traumatic loss; the revelation of rescue hiding in a great chorus or power chord. But Songs of Innocence is the first time U2 have told their own tales so directly, with the strengths and expression they have accumulated as songwriters and record-makers. This album was famous, long before release, for its broken deadlines and the indecision suggested by its multiple producers: Brian Burton a/k/a Danger Mouse, Paul Epworth of Adele fame and Ryan Tedder of the pop band One Republic. Those credits are misleading. Burton, Epworth and Tedder all co-produced “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” and contributed keyboards; that’s Epworth on the additional slide guitar in “Cedarwood Road”; and Burton arranged the chorale in “Volcano.” But the extra hands and textures are thoroughly embedded in the memoir. There is no time when the telling sounds like it was more than the work of the four who lived it.And it is a salvation, U2 believe, that keeps on giving. “Every breaking wave on the shore/Tells the next one that there will be one more,” Bono promises in the tidal sun-kissed electronica of “Every Breaking Wave.” And “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” comes with a pledge to every stranded dreamer who now hears Rocket to Russia, Give ‘Em Enough Rope or someU2 for the first time and is somehow, permanently, changed. “We can hear you,” Bono swears. “Your voices will be heard.”Just find one of your own. Then shout as hard as you can.

Listen: GRMLN’s new song “White Lung//Black Lung”

GRMLN

GRMLN

 

When singer-songwriter Yoodoo Park, aka GRMLN, moved from Japan to Southern California a few years back, he immediately distilled his music with the region’s carefree dynamic and innately sunny vibes. The result was 2012’s Explore EP and last year’s Empire full-length, both of which were born out of a romantic approach to free-wheeling pop-punk. Now, after lengthy touring and a bit of personal reflection, Park finds himself exploring much darker waters on his sophomore album, Soon Away, due out September 16th via Carpark Records.

The 10-track effort was written in Japan and while Park was traveling stateside. During the latter, Park holed himself up in Different Fur Studios in San Francisco alongside Empire collaborators/producers Patrick Brown and Sean Paulson. He recruited friend and drummer Keith Frerichs and his brother/bassist Tae San Park to round out the recording lineup

According to a press release, the result is an “aggressive album, darker and heavier than what’s come before. While it carries these characteristics, there’s a certain peace to Soon Away, thanks to Park’s personal growth. The album grapples with letting go and getting used to good-byes. The singer-guitarist sees the constant changes of life allowing people to embrace the true nature of living. The teachings of Krishna were an inspiration to Park while writing the record and it’s a force that helped define Park’s perspective in these songs.”

Already Park has shared the driving lead single, “Jaded”; today, he unveils “White Lung//Black Lung”. Clocking in at five minutes in length, the track packs the immediacy and surging energy of early ’70s punk. Yet even as Park has renounced its poppy undertones for utter hopelessness, the song still vibrates with slight tinges of pop-punk optimism.

Listen in below.

 

Cold War Kids announce new album, Hold My Home, stream “First”

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Cold War Kids have announced details of their fifth studio album, Hold My Home, which will arrive October 21st via Downtown Records. It serves as the follow-up to 2013’s Dear Miss Lonelyhearts.

The 11-track album was produced by guitarist Dan Gallucci and frequent collaborator Lars Stalfors (Mars Volta, Matt and Kim) at the band’s personal studio in San Jose, California.

Already we’ve heard the stirring lead single, “All This Could Be Yours”. Now, to coincide with today’s announcement, the band has shared “First”. The track is grand and regaling, a sonically uplifting mix of jittery guitars, handclap rhythms, and dynamic vocal harmonies. Again, Cold War Kids aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but rather emphasizing their core strengths of solid, enjoyable guitar rock.

Listen in below:

 

Hold My Home Tracklist:
01. All This Could Be Yours
02. First
03. Hot Coals
04. Drive Desperate
05. Hotel Anywhere
06. Go Quietly
07. Nights & Weekends
08. Hold My Home
09. Flower Drum Song
10. Harold Bloom
11. Hear My Baby Call

The band has also shared the music video for “All This Could Be Yours”, a black-and-white clip of one woman’s journey around a big city. Watch it below.

 

Hear Motley Crue’s Final Tour Anthem ‘All Bad Things Must End’

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The group’s first song in two years also soundtracks two-minute video of farewell tour

“This ain’t farewell,it’s goodbye,”MötleyCrüe frontman Vince Neil sings in the group’s first song in two years, “All Bad Things Must End.” The group is currently playing the tune as the centerpiece of the set list for its “Final Tour,” video from whichwas captured at the group’s July 4thSummerfest gig below. The video also features a guitar solo, a bit of Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2” and their cover of “Smokin’ in the Boys Room.”

Motley Crue 2014-07-04 “All Bad Things”

Regarding the content of the song, drummer Tommy Lee told Billboard in May that the song is “definitely about this time right now with the band and what the feeling is and kind of all that wrapped into a song. I hate to say it’s like a goodbye, but it definitely references our time here.”

While the group has yet to release a recorded version of the song, Neil told the audience that the group would release the track to radio. The group did, however, release a two-minute snippet of the studio version on Monday as the soundtrack to its tour sizzle reel.

 Dodge presents “Motley Crue: The Final Tour” Sizzle Reel

Last week, the infamously debauched metallers kicked off their farewell tour, which features opener Alice Cooper on dates ending in late November. Neil told Rolling Stone that the group had been planning its final run for the past three or four years. To ensure that this will be the group’s last time out on the road, each band member has signed a “cessation of touring agreement,” preventing them from playing live together again after this tour. “There’s no backing out now,” bassist Nikki Sixx said at the time. “It’s been, like, this fuckin’ blur, maybe because we’re going so fast. Perhaps when it’s done, things will come into focus. At that point, everyone in the band will be doing their own creative stuff, but there will be moments where we’ll miss this. But we’re not there – no tears yet!”

The tour features a new drum rig for Lee that he has dubbed the “Crüecifly.” The kit runs along and spins on a track akin to a roller coaster, even hovering over the audience a la the Spider-Man musical. It’s proven so dangerous that Lee had to issue a disclaimer on Twitter about why it has not been featured at some concert stops. “Want you to know certain venues cannot handle the Crüecifly!” he wrote. “It’s not our fault their roof cannot hang the rig! It’s massive!”

‘Who the F&^% Is Flume’ and How Did He Beat One Direction on the Charts?

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Harley Streten aka “Flume”

 

The Aussie electronic producer is already huge in his home country. Now it’s time for the world to meet him.

 

Austin, Texas is approximately 8,463 miles from Sydney, Australia, but Harley Streten, known to the world as Aussie electronic producer/DJ Flume, will know it well over the next four days. It’s the first day of South by Southwest and Streten is still fighting jetlag from the night before, preparing for what seems like 438 different shows and showcases.

He’s already huge in his native country, with a 2011 EP and last year’s self-titled album both getting wide acclaim (and the latter beating out One Direction on the charts, but more on that later). Now it’s time to “conquer,” to borrow a phrase so liberally used, America, as the DJ is in the midst of a cross-country tour before touring his home country.

We caught up with the 21-year-old to discuss clueless record label execs, living with your parents and the horrors of working at Hard Rock Cafe.

Your album came out in Australia on the same day as One Direction last year and you beat them out of the No. 1 spot. This had to be a career highlight, right?

We knew it was coming out on the same day and we were just like, “Straight up, it’s not going to happen. There’s no way we’ll beat them. F-ck that. It’s impossible.” And then it hit No. 1 and it was nuts. I just sat there with a Maker’s Mark on the rocks to celebrate. I was shocked. It was funny because I’d get messages from all these tweens and 1D little girl fans like, “What the f-ck? Who the f-ck’s Flume and why is he No. 1?” That was the best part of it all.  I posted one girl’s tweet. It got a bit heated.

Your bio says you found your first music production program in a cereal box. Is that true or are you already creating some mythic backstory?

[Laughs] It’s totally true. I was shopping with my dad when I was quite young and there was a promotion going on with a CD inside a Nutri-Grain cereal box. It was a simple loop-based program and there was some competition like, “Make a song with this and you can win something.” I thought that sounded cool. The whole concept of how music was laid out in layers and can be broken down, but came out as one piece of music was really intriguing for me.

“If we’re going to work together, I need 100% creative control and your label bosses can suck a d-ck.”

You’re only 21. Do you have your own studio already?

My studio is my bedroom in my parents’ place still. I’m planning on buying a place and just renting it out whilst living at home. A lot of the ideas came about while I was traveling overseas with a friend backpacking around Europe for three months. I had just gotten my first-ever laptop, so I’d sit in a café for a few hours and write some tunes. I’d bring them home and make them into proper songs.

The album alternates between more electronic free-form tracks and more traditional verse/chorus pop structure. Was that the plan going on?

It really was a natural thing. I didn’t have a big concept like, “I want it to sound like this.” It was just me spewing out ideas. The Flume thing was always a side project. I was doing big-room house-y stuff under the name Heads. It never really went anywhere. A label picked up [the Flume tracks] and I realized there is some potential in this. The album came out of it. When I’m going for a chill track, it’ll come out chill, but you can still dance to it because my roots are in dance music.

Yet there’s still that pop structure in a lot of your work.

Yeah, when it comes to that, I like the idea of a pop structure. But I also like more progressive things. I always loved the “build a beat up and then drop it” concept. My first ever musical love was trance before I moved on to Moby and M83 and then the whole French electronic thing of Justice and Daft Punk. I bought my best friend Homework when I was 9 years old. It moved on to more house and techno-y stuff and finally it came to all the “weird” shit like Flying Lotus and Shlomo. Electronic has always been my main thing, but Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm is in my Top 5 of all time.

Flume – sintra

Are your parents supportive or do they scream at you to “Turn that sh-t off”?

[Laughs] We got the house renovated and they just put f-ckloads of insulation in my room. You could kill someone in my room and my parents wouldn’t know. They’re just glad I’m making money off this. When I went out of school, I had a phase where I’d just play computer games and smoke bongs.

I’ve never had a studio, but I really do want to get one just outside of my house. Then I can go to work. I can’t chill out at my home because now it’s, “F-ck, I have to do this and this.” If I could get up at 9 and be like, “I have to go to work” and go to the studio and get in my headspace, get my stuff done and leave, I can relax.

Do you see yourself producing for others in the future or just doing stuff for yourself?

I’ve gotten requests to work with some bigger, high-profile acts, but I don’t want to do that until I’ve established a really strong brand and name for myself. I’m thinking maybe after the second or third album is when I really want to start branching out and doing things like ghostwriting. That’s really interesting to me because it gives you boundaries and I find that boundaries inspire creativity. I also want to score a film; it’d be another challenge production-wise. It’s not just, “Time to write the best song you can.” It’s try and write to this image, which is a completely different headspace to write with.

Do you have any dream artists you’d want to work with?

People often ask, “Will you go down the pop road and want to work with the Christina Aguileras?” and I tell them, “Absolutely. But it’s not like I’d be writing what you normally hear them singing to. It would be music that I’m 100% happy with. It’d be like a killer tune like OutKast’s “Hey Ya”; it’s pop music, but ‘good’ pop music.

So If Christina gave you a suitcase full of money and said, “I want a beat like this,” what would you say?

I’d say, “Look, if we’re going to work together, I need 100% creative control and your label bosses can suck a d-ck because this is the way we’re going to do it. And if you’re not cool with that, that’s cool. We don’t need to work together ‘cause it’s just going to be a pain in the ass for me and I’m not going to enjoy it.” You have A&R dudes coming down like, “Hey man, can we get some more sparkle on the hi-hats?” I’ve heard that with remixes for major labels and from now on, if I’m ever doing a remix for a major label, they have to agree that I have 100% creative control.

Flume – “What You Need”

What’s the worst suggestion you’ve gotten back from a label?

It’s called a sh-t sandwich. It’s like, “Hey! Really nice! Love the track!” Then in the middle, it’s, “I think it would be cool if you could change this, this and this.” Then at the bottom, it’s, “But great work! We can do this and this with the track!”

What was your last full-time, non-music job?

I was a waiter at a Hard Rock Café in Sydney. I hated it; such sh-tty customers. The worst thing about it was whenever someone had a birthday, they’d tell you and you had to bring out a free dessert with a candle on it , get the whole restaurant to quiet down and yell, “Listen up everybody. It’s blah blah’s birthday and she’s turning f-ckin’ 18 so on the count of three, I need you all to say Happy Birthday.” This would happen four times a night. I just got so sick of it.

Last year was your first visit to the U.S. What was the most surprising thing?

Hollywood was a bit of a letdown. I expected it to be super-busy with glamorous shops and sh-t happening, but it’s actually a big, quiet place with not so much going on. It was way less glamorous than I had the perception of from the media and the movies. I live in Australia so that sh-t is a long way away, but it’s not that great [laughs]. But I had chili dogs and chili chips with cheese which was nice because no one does that in Australia.  Oh, and washed down with a Cherry Cola which is super American.

You’re playing the Ultra Music Festival, which has long been an epicenter for dance music. Do you feel lumped in with the whole EDM scene?

There’s a lot of copycats out there, especially with this whole EDM thing. I just did an interview and apparently I’m now an “EDM artist”. It’s weird, but I don’t mind it. The “EDM scene” isn’t even a thing in Australia or Europe. It’s only in the U.S. America discovered dance music and now it’s EDM.

 

Flume Boiler Room London LIVE Show

 

 

It’s official: drummers are smarter than you (and everybody else)

Drummer Meg White

Drummer Meg White

 

Far too often, drummers have been given the shaft. Second to only, maybe, bassists, they’re the member in the band considered most replaceable: you can just pull some chump off the street, sit him behind a kit, and on with the show.
 
According to science, however, drummers aren’t the mouth-breathing neanderthals humorists have made them outto be. News and analytics site PolyMic compiled a group of studies that indicate drummers are not only generally smarter than theirbandmates, they actually make everyone around them smarter too.
 
The research suggests that drummers have innate problem-solving skills and a positive impact on communities.
 
Researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute found that, after playing a series of beats, drummers who had better rhythm scored better on a 60-question intelligence test. Seems using all the various parts of a drum kit to keep one steady beat is actually an expression of intrinsic problem-solving abilities.Furthermore, other studies show that rhythmic music can actually make other people smarter.

 
A University of Washington psychology professor found that his students got higher scores after undergoing rhythmic light and sound therapy. A University of Texas Medical Branch researcher using the same method on elementary and middle school boys with ADD noted an effect comparable to Ritalin. In fact, the boys’ IQ scores actually went up and stayed up.It gets even crazier, and more primordial, with reports suggesting drumming played a role in our own civilization.

 
Researchers at the University of Oxford discovered that drummers produce a natural “high” when playing together, heightening both their happiness and their pain thresholds. The researchers extrapolated that this rhythmic euphoria may have been pivotal in mankind establishing communities and society.
 
Essentially, drum circles were the very foundation that made human society possible.And for one final bullet into the heart of drum machine enthusiasts everywhere: When drummers make errors in beat, they’re actually tapping into a natural rhythm found all over Earth.
 
Harvard smarty-pants discovered that a drummer’s internal clock doesn’t move linearly like a real clock, but rather in waves. This wavy rhythm pattern is found in human brainwaves, sleeping heart rates, and the nerve firings in felines’ ears. So when a drummer slips up, they’re actually just matching the elemental beat of the world.To boil it all down, drummers are smarter than you, more in-tune with nature than you, and are the whole reason you and I have a society in which to mock drummers in the first place. Kind of puts a whole new perspective on our “Greatest Drummer of All Time” poll, don’t it?
 
PolyMic also recently looked at research on guitarists’ brain power, determining that shredders are more intuitive and in fact slightly psychic.Next, we’ll learn how bassists are better than the rest of us at 2048.

Red Hot Chili Peppers From Worst to Best

 

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers has officially turned 30.

Since then, we’ve seen many faces represent the actual Red Hot Chili Peppers. Both in the metaphorical and literal sense of the word. The world watched as RHCP made the transition from cock-sock punks to stadium-packing icons. Theirs is a storied discography, one that connects generations and seemingly antipathetic peers. The longevity and sustained relevance of the Chillis is quite the feat, to say the least.

It’s significant when a band can bridge such a variety of gaps: gaps between parent and child, between the music junkie and the passive fan, between the pierced and tatted and the straightlaced and buttoned-up. Common ground is the ultimate blessing music can bestow upon these diverse groups of people. Where, for a minute, we forget our discordant nature and simply share an appreciation with another human being. The fact that I can still feel something when Anthony Kiedis sings about the “scar tissue that I wish you saw” — despite how many times I’ve heard it — is testament to this notion.

 

 

 

Even as I sit here listening to select fractals of their discography to put me in the mood, I’m immediately taken back to another time: It’s 2006, I’m in 8th grade, and Stadium Arcadium has just come out. To this point, my musical digestion had consisted of the whims of my peers and the occasional guilty pleasure kept to myself. Cliched as it sounds, I fell in love with “Dani California”. Then, casually, the entire album and finally RHCP altogether. And that was it: my first sustained musical boner, one that has yet to go soft. This band was my entry point into the depths of music and my interest in all it can offer. Radiohead, Animal Collective, Black Flag, Fugazi … I’m not sure I would have gotten there if it wasn’t for RHCP. They are the lowest common denominator many of us share, a sentiment that echoes loudly in a world where genres swallow fans whole and put them at odds with each other.

As with all careers spanning three decades, there have been peaks and troughs. Perhaps the last couple releases did not take many risks, a fact that has caused many of my professional contemporaries to sour on the Chili Peppers. This polarization, however, has caused some to lose sight of how we got here. That’s where we come in: to give you a tidy list of where the Peppers went right, where they went less-right, and hopefully to engender the same glowing nostalgia running through my fingertips as they glide across these keys.

It has long been known that the C.I.A. and other government agencies have used rock music as a way to torture prisoners, and a new report from the United States Senate Intelligence Committee confirms the playlist included Red Hot Chili Peppers.  AlJazeera America reports (viaStereogum) that C.I.A. officials played a continuous loop of Chili Peppers music during the torture of suspected terrorist AbuZubaydah in 2002.Though the use of music in torture has been banned by the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the practice is still permitted under U.S. law. In response, several bands, including Pearl Jam and R.E.M., have signed a petition demanding the U.S. government end the practice and release a list of the musicians whose work was used in torture. However, Metallica, another band known to have been used in torture, denied charges they asked the C.I.A. to stop using their music. “There has been a lot of talk recently about us asking the military not to use our music to ‘soften people up before interrogation,” the band said in a 2013 statement. “We NEVER commented to the military either way on this matter. Any statements that have been made otherwise are not correct.”