Gossip: everyone’s talking about it. In this case, however, Gossip is so much more than a rumor mill perpetuated by middle schoolers. Gossip is the three-person indie rock band made up of lead singer Beth Ditto, guitarist Nathan Howdeshell and drummer Hannah Billie. Their sound in the past has experimented with everything from gospel to punk rock, but they are constantly reinventing themselves. For their newest album, A Joyful Noise, due in stores on May 22 through Columbia Records, they intended to approach their sound from a new angle and to “create their own brand of pop”. Singer Ditto even admitted to having drawn great inspiration from the music of ABBA when putting together A Joyful Noise.
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Jack White, former member of the White Stripes, has been on his own since the band split in February 2011. Making the most of his position as number 70 on Rolling Stone’s “Top 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, he has since collaborated with many important artists, like Alicia Keys, Loretta Lynn, and Bob Dylan, just to name a few. The rocker’s highly anticipated solo album, Blunderbuss, is due out April 24.
White has just released the new video for a single from the album, titled “Sixteen Saltines”. It’s directed by AG Rojas and marks a serious departure from the video for “Love Interruption”, another single from White’s upcoming record. Where the “Love Interruption” video was simple and glamorous, “Sixteen Saltines” is dark, gritty and somewhat controversial. Having only recently made its debut, the new video has already made quite a splash among online critics, who note its edginess and provocative subject matter. The premise is that a group of children and teenagers have taken over a town, and are running things their way. The video is a montage of clips of them behaving badly, or at least, strangely—everything from a 10-year-old getting a face tattoo to a young man covered in blue paint playing kidnapper.
Daytrotter is providing its own Coachella buzz with a playlist of performers in the lineup for both weekends: April 13 – 15 as well as April 20 -22, in a new double dose experiment for the annual California desert festival. This feature by “Mr. Daytrotter” introduces everyone on the bill, a true testament to the Daytrotter mission which captures worthy bands in stripped down, live sessions. This listening opportunity of 34 songs lasts over two hours and of course hearing just one song invites further exploration Daytrotter style, with full set offerings lurking right on the website. (The monthly subscription of two dollars a month is one of life’s greatest bargains.)
Listen to the Coachella Daytrotter Playlist: 2012 here.
Brendan Benson has been releasing solo records since 1996’s One Mississippi and What Kind of World, releasing 21 April via Benson’s own Readymade label, will make it his fifth. After 2005’s Alternative to Love, Benson took a break from going it alone by co-founding rock supergroup the Raconteurs with Jack White. Both Detroit artists have since made Nashville home and Benson has become a family man, hitching up and having his first child.
Of course, in Nashville has he has found a true musical family as well, as so many more have before him. On What Kind of World, these new friends joined in to lend a hand, including Jon Auer (The Posies, Big Star), Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, Big Star, R.E.M.), Brad Pemberton (Ryan Adam’s Cardinals), Mark Watrous (Loudermilk, Gosling), and Sam Farrar (Phantom Planet). The changes in his life have also led him to explore new themes in his songwriting in a more straightforward style. “I think on this record I’m saying a lot of things I never thought I would say,” says Benson. “Maybe I’m just getting older, but I don’t want to hide now in my songs, I just want to be truthful. And I’m realizing that the truth is really interesting—I’m more attracted to honesty these days than to convolution.”
Today on PopMatters we have the pleasure of premiering the title track from the new album, “What Kind of World”. Benson describes the tune as “one my favorites on the record. I think we captured an ‘80s, new wave sort of sound that I’ve always been obsessed with ala the Cars or Missing Persons.”
It may be hard to believe, but American Idol has been on air for a full decade. Debuting during the summer of 2002, the TV talent show became a surprise ratings hit, and almost single-handedly made FOX one of the top three television networks. Despite countless spin-offs and copycats (American Juniors, X Factor, Rock Star: INXS, Nashville Star, Can You Duet, The Voice, etc.), the original series still has a hold on pop culture even into its 11th season.
With its changing roster of celebrity guests and judges, one thing is clear: its all about the contestants. But what have all of those singers been up to lately? So, starting with season one, let’s look back at who made the top five and see what they’re doing now.
// Moving Pixels
"In Reveal the Deep, the light only makes you more aware of the darknessREAD the article