Ed Sheeran plays the Xfinity Center Sept. 9.
Taylor Swift bestie and duet partner, writer of songs for One Direction, management client of Sir Elton John, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran comes into his own on his sophomore album “x” — pronounced “multiply.”
If his slow-burning hit 2011 debut “+” — pronounced “plus” — helped break Sheeran thanks to “The A Team,” a hushed lament about a drug-addled prostitute, “x” will be remembered for the redhead letting loose his inner soulman and MC. It works thanks to his own keening croon and assistance from a wide spectrum of producers known for their work with rock and hip-hop artists, including Rick Rubin and Pharrell.
While many of the spare acoustic tracks creep up on you with their tunefulness a la “The A Team” — including burbling opener “One” and the haunting “Photograph” — others take charge right out of the gate.
“Sing” has a danceable snap similar to producer Pharrell’s own “Happy.” “Bloodstream” is one of several tracks to include an irresistible hum and simultaneous sense of ease and intensity. But “Don’t,” a scathing, cuss-laden takedown of a paramour who betrayed Sheeran while they were staying in the same hotel is his masterstroke, combining a singer-songwriter’s eye with a contemporary groove for lacerating-but-danceable results. (Out now)
Have you forgotten – if only for a nanosecond – the brilliance of The Jam? Then return with us to 1977, when in the face of punk’s public renunciation of all the music that came before, Woking’s splenetic power trio celebrated the Mod and Motown sounds of some 15 years earlier. In this incandescent clip, Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton, and Rick Buckler tear into the 1958 Larry Williams song popularized by The Beatles on their Long Tall Sally EP (and, in the States, on their Matchbox single) in 1964.
The group’s fusion of vintage sensibility and thrashing punk energy transforms an arguable standard into a veritable explosion. For two minutes The Style Council, even English Rose or Dreams Of Children, seem a universe away.
It’s thunderstorming in Barcelona, so Annie Clark – who performs as St. Vincent and who “really, really, really” wants to go to the beach – is forced to make other plans. “You visit a lot of museums and aquariums when you’re on tour,” she says, crossing the rain-slicked plaza of the Museu Blau, a natural-history museum overlooking a stretch of the Mediterranean that’s currently the same desolate gray shade as the sky. “I watch a lot of Sex and the City on tour, too,” she adds. “Not that I watch it watch it, but it’s on TBS, so it’s always fucking on.” Clark is all black from the neck down – suede ankle boots, skinny jeans, scoop-neck tee, biker jacket – and polychromatic up top, with huge green eyes and stralavender-blond curls escaping from a cobalt-colored hat, its brim ample enough to keep her cheeks dry. The Blau resembles a vast slab of soil that someone dyed blue, stabbed with shards of broken terrarium and set upon a pedestal. Clark suggested that we come here, but she is unfamiliar with the place. “What kind of museum is this?” she asks. “Oh. OK.” She says she never really went through a science-buff period: “I had a brief shark obsession, but didn’t everybody?”
What about her music, dude?
Inside the permanent exhibit, contemplating some trilobite fossils, Clark says, “It’s crazy to think about the tiny fraction of time that we’ve been on the planet.” She revises that statement: “That we’ve been a pox on it.” We head into a gallery marked Evolución, where a primate skeleton stands beside that of an early man. “I went to the Creation Museum, in Kentucky,” Clark says. She identifies as a “reformed” Catholic and intended the visit as a lark: “I thought it would be a fun adventure, but it kind of darked me out. They tell you the dinosaurs died in the flood.”
One of Clark’s preoccupations on St. Vincent is the persuasive power of cult leaders and how such figures parallel pop performers. “It’s kind of the flip side of the same coin,” she says. Pushing her sound in a more danceable direction, she says, represented an attempt to “democratize” her concerts: If people didn’t move, performances would be incomplete. For the tour, she hired the choreographer Annie-B Parson, who developed a set of mechanistic movements for Clark and her band to perform on cue, in a winking acknowledgment of the artifice that goes into seemingly spontaneous performances. (It’s also, of course, a nice bit of stagecraft.)
What about her music, dude?
Clark moves on to regard a deep-sea spider crab, preserved in a jar. “The thing that really depressed me about the Creation Museum is that the tickets aren’t cheap,” she says. “They’re, like, $25, and yet there were buses pulling up from all over, full of these people who didn’t look like they had $25 just lying around. It seemed predatory to me.” She frowns. “Why would you want to control people like that? Would you even want to? I’ve thought about it a lot, and I wouldn’t. To have people live in this weird little art world you’ve created? Fine. But to make them believe some bullshit and build their lives around it? Unh-unh.”
Religion hangs over St. Vincent’s lyrics, where she pits salvation against desire and divine fervor against earthly love. Its role in her life is similarly spectral. Clark’s grandmother baptized her in a kitchen sink “with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in another,” Clark says, adding that her parents weren’t remotely devout, but “they decided that it meant a lot to her, and it wouldn’t do any harm.” Clark was born in Oklahoma and grew up in the middle-class Dallas suburb of Lake Highlands. Clark’s dad worked in finance; she thinks his job involved “stock-y things,” but isn’t certain. “My parents separated when I was three, so I didn’t really grow up with him as much – just Christmases and summers,” she says. Money was tight: Clark’s mom was a social worker, “supporting three kids on her salary, for a long time,” she says.
Clark’s creative side manifested early. “I remember submitting a comic about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to some contest,” she recalls. (She didn’t win.) She describes herself as a shy child who suffered anxiety attacks, stemming from what she characterizes as profound existential dread at the “vastness” and chaos of the world. “When I was six or seven, I started to have really intense anxiety, and I didn’t have the tools to even know what it was.” Such attacks still overcome her, though less often, and she still finds the sensation hard to articulate: “It’s always been this little buddy of mine; it informed my entire worldview. There’s general anxiety, and then there’s panic attacks, where I have really catastrophic thoughts, where I’m not in control.” This is where art came in. “When you’re forced to deal with something big that you don’t understand, you try to find ways to interpret the universe in a way that can make you feel safer or alleviate that crazy. For me, it was music.”
What about her music, Dude?
Tom Petty previously said that his upcoming 13th studio album with The Heartbreakers, entitled Hypnotic Eye, will be “a straight hard-rockin’ record, from beginning to end.” Judging by the album’s first track, “American Dream Plan B”, Petty and Co. are set to make good on that promise.
Heavy guitar stomps over a straightforward beat, weighty but resilient like the song’s namesake. On the verses, Petty applies a slight snarl to his nasal delivery, with subtle hints of that accent he used on “Breakdown”. The legend sings from the perspective of a younger person facing more modern American challenges, someone who knows “My success is anybody’s guess/but like a fool I’m betting on happiness.”
Hypnotic Eye is due out July 29th through Reprise Records. Consult the Hypnotic Eye album art above, and find the tracklist below.
Hypnotic Eye Tracklist:
01. American Dream Plan B
02. Fault Lines
03. Red River
04. Full Grown Boy
05. All You Can Carry
06. Power Drunk
07. Forgotten Man
08. Son of My Youth
09. U Get Me High
10. Burnt Out Town
11. Shadow People
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 2014 Tour Dates:
08/03 – San Diego, CA @ Viejas Arena
08/05 – Boise, ID @ Taco Bell Arena
08/07 – Eugene, OR @ Matthew Knight Center
08/09 – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands Music Festival
08/12 – Portland, OR @ Moda Center
08/14 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
08/15 – George, WA @ The Gorge
08/17 – Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place
08/19 – Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome
08/21 – Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Centre
08/23 – Chicago, IL @ United Center
08/24 – Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
08/26 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
08/28 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
08/30 – Boston, MA @ Fenway Park
09/06 – Arrington, VA @ Lockn’ Festival
09/07 – Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake PAC
09/10 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
09/13 – Hartford, CT @ XL Center
09/15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
09/18 – Raleigh, NC @ PNC Arena
09/20 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Cruzan Ampitheater
09/21 – Tampa, FL @ Tampa Bay Times Forum
09/23 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
09/25 – Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
09/26 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
09/28 – Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center
09/30 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Ampitheatre
10/01 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Ampitheatre
10/07 – Anaheim, CA @ Honda Center
10/10 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum
Interpol’s new album entitled ‘El Pintor’ (The Painter) will be released on September 9th. The 10-track effort marks the band’s first release since 2010′s Interpol.
If it’s too early in the morning for you to put two and two together, El Pintor is not only Spanish for “the painter”, but it’s also an anagram of Interpol. How clever.
The band wrote and recorded the bulk of the album in New York City, hitting Electric Lady Studios and Atomic Sound. They finished mixing earlier this year while touring the UK. James Brown (Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys) served as engineer, while Alan Moulder was charged with mixing.
Update: According to Matador Records, the album sees Interpol frontman Paul Banks taking over bass duties for the first time. It also features guest appearances from The Secret Machines’ Brandon Curtis, Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. (Beck, Air), and Rob Moose (Bon Iver).
Interpol has shared footage of the recording sessions:
El Pintor Tracklist:
01. All the Rage Back Home
02. My Desire
04. Same Town, New Story
05. My Blue Supreme
06. Everything Is Wrong
07. Breaker 1
08. Ancient Ways
09. Tidal Wave
10. Twice as Hard
The band has already lined up several dates in support of the release, including a string of headlining dates and festival appearances. See the up-to-date docket below.
Interpol 2014 Tour Dates:
06/05 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
06/07 – Toronto, ON @ Field Trip Festival
06/08 – New York, NY @ Governors Ball Music Festival
06/20 – Hilvarenbeek, NL @ The Best Kept Secret Festival
06/21 – Scheessel, DE @ Hurricane Festival
06/23 – Neuhausen, DE @ Southside Festival
06/24 – Paris, FR @ Alhambra
06/25 – London, UK @ Electric Ballroom
06/27 – Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury Music Festival
06/28 – Evreux, FR @ Rock Dans Tour Ses Etats
06/29 – Luxembourg @ Rock-A-Field
07/01 – Berlin, DE @ Postbahnhof
07/02 – Gdynia, PL @ Open’er Festival
07/03 – Roskilde, DK @ Roskilde Festival
07/06 – Werchter, BE @ Rock Werchter
07/08 – Nimes, FR @ Nimes Festival
07/10 – Lisbon, PT @ Optimus Alive
07/12 – Keflavík, IS @ All Tomorrow’s Parties Iceland
07/25 – Byron Bay, AU @ Splendour in the Grass
08/01 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
08/20 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
08/21 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Pool at The Cosmopolitan
08/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Fest
10/03 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/10 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
Uploaded on Sep 21, 2009