The Avett Brothers had a banner year in 2009, with their latest release, the Rick Rubin-produced I and Love and You, placing high on many year-end top music lists, including here at PopMatters. It was their major label debut and showed a great deal of musical growth as the band embraced the piano to build out and enlarge their sound. This Saturday (23 January) they take the stage in Austin with the garage rockers Heartless Bastards.
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Releasing: 8 March (Europe), 9 March (US)
Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett under the moniker Gorillaz release their third record this March featuring a virtual who’s who of guest appearances, including Mos Def, Lou Reed, and former Clash members Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, among many others.
01 Orchestral Intro (featuring Sinfonia ViVA)
02 Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach (feat. Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
03 White Flag (feat. Kano, Bashy and The National Orchestra for Arabic Music)
04 Rhinestone Eyes
05 Stylo (feat. Bobby Womack and Mos Def)
06 Superfast Jellyfish (feat. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul)
07 Empire Ants (feat. Little Dragon)
08 Glitter Freeze (feat. Mark E Smith)
09 Some Kind of Nature feat. Lou Reed)
10 On Melancholy Hill
12 Sweepstakes (feat. Mos Def & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
13 Plastic Beach (feat. Mick Jones & Paul Simonon)
14 To Binge (feat. Little Dragon)
15 Cloud of Unknowing (feat. Bobby Womack and Sinfonia ViVA)
16 Pirate Jet
This Maluca track, produced by Diplo, has this very warped sense about it, like merengue through the rabbit hole. And is it ever vital. If you’re into it, check out this bootleg of Maluca live in the Dominican Republic.
Romance is boring? This video is boring (ho ho!)! Really though, it’s not for lack of effort—the makeup is top notch!—but the visuals have no rhythm, the video has no meat to fill out its concept, and there is very little reward for paying close attention. There are like a hundred members in this band and nobody had any better ideas?
The deliberately mysterious and reserved British duo Hurts have yet to put out so much as a single, but between the stylishly retro videos for “Wonderful Life” last year and now “Blood, Tears & Gold”, whatever they manage to put out in 2010 ought to be incredible. What they do isn’t exactly innovative—the Guardian described them as “a boy-duo styled by Helmut Newton, directed by Anton Corbijn and produced by Trevor Horn on a Martin Hannett tip”, but if you like the certain kind of elegant, tightly reined in pop music those names conjure up, you ought to be paying attention, because so far Hurts do it exceptionally well.
“Blood, Tears & Gold” is the ballad counterpoint to the soaring Pet Shop Boys/OMD/Eurythmics synth-pop of “Wonderful Life”, and honestly, despite my love for that song, I didn’t know if they could pull something less icy off. But they do, and they do so magnificently.