U2 trotted out their latest single “Get On Your Boots” last night at the Grammys. In a performance reminiscent of the Manic Street Preachers, they flashed bits of lyrics on the screen behind them evoking the aesthetics of visual propaganda art accompanying music that the Welsh artists excel in. All this was surrounded by their usual brand of anthemic rock.
Morrissey was on Jimmy Kimmel Thursday night playing “Something Is Squeezing My Skull”, one of the best songs off his upcoming album Years of Refusal. Moz and the boys look a little confined on the tiny stage but deliver a strong performance with Morrissey shouting “Lux Interior!” at the end, in tribute to the Cramps’ singer who passed away the day before.
PopMatters’ Michael Frauenhofer raved about Bishop Allen’s last album The Broken String, saying it “plays like a greatest hits album, stacked deep with memorable highlights, corralling the gems from a year’s worth of monthly EPs into one 12-song disc.” We gave it a 9. So, expectations are high for the follow-up, Grrr…, releasing March 10th. Initial listens are promising, suggesting yet more infectious, hook-filled pop from these Brooklyn tunesmiths. “Dimmer” is the lead-off song on the record, a catchy, bouncy number. Not surprisingly, “The Ancient Commonsense of Things” is also bouncy. “Bouncy” may be the very defining essence of these folks.
As Michael Metivier said last year, “hearing an 80-plus-year-old man sing about disastrous young love, drinkin’ and murder, also adds a different dimension to the experience than hearing it from artists around the same age as the songs’ characters. It’s the wisdom of a life that has seen enough tragedy to understand that it remains both mysterious and inevitable, and worth singing about.” He’s talking about country music veteran and Grand Ole Opry member Charlie Louvin. Here’s a song from 2008’s Sings Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs.
Alela Diane’s follow-up to her 2006 debut The Pirate’s Gospel, To Be Still, releases February 17th on Rough Trade Records. The resolutely folky “Dry Grass & Shadows” gets a lovely, spare acoustic treatment in this “Dumbo West” session with affecting vocals and harmonies alongside minimalist guitar and mandolin plucking. I miss the pedal steel from the recorded version, but a strong tune proves less can still be more. (via Gorilla vs. Bear) Check out the utterly beautiful “White As Diamonds” on MP3 as well.