Patti Smith joined the Sicilian singer-songwriter Carmen Consoli to perform Consoli’s “Mio Zio”(My Uncle) in Turin, Italy. The song, from Consoli’s latest album, Elettra, is a first-person narrative of a young woman who, at her uncle’s funeral, recalls the sexual abuse he inflicted on her when she was a child. Consoli’s narrator remembers how her uncle called the abuse blind man’s bluff and riding a carousel. Patti picks up on Carmen’s imagery and riffs on it brilliantly. She knows what Italy’s known for years and the rest of the world is finding out—Carmen Consoli is one of the most distinctive artists on the international scene.
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Swedish avant-pop star Robyn has released an interesting video concept for “Don’t F*cking Tell Me What to Do”, the latest tune off of her Body Talk, Pt. 1 EP. The song features a pissed-off Robyn describing a long list of things that are “killing me”, and to tie in with that theme her video—which is built around a trippy, retro-screensaver-style 3D animation—displays an endless list of Twitter messages from fans explaining what is also “killing” them. Use the #killingme tag to get your tweet added to the constantly updating video, thus joining the person who claims “this German guy who looks like Sean Connery is killing me!”
As a tween, my middle-school’s playing field was located next to the local “Alternative School”. The oft-repeated joke amongst my ska-punk loving classmates was that rather than signifying that it was a special institution for kids expelled from the mainstream education system, the “Alternative” adjective meant that everyone who went there was “forced to listen to Bush all day long”.
Bush, the big-in-the-U.S.A. British rock band fronted by Gavin Rossdale, pretty much disappeared from the radio within the next couple of years, but at the time they were the epitome of the post-grunge “alternative” rock bands that—to my friends’ jaded 12-year-old minds at least—seemed to ape old-fashioned cock-rock more than it did Kurt Cobain. (I’ll always wonder what the old crew thought of Rossdale’s 2008 more-saccharine-than-“Glycerine” solo track “Love Remains the Same”?)
Well now Bush is back, reforming for their first shows in eight years and a new album, Everything Always Now. The first single, “Afterlife”, is currently streaming on their website (though it looks like you’ll have to make the potentially humiliating step of declaring your love for Bush on Facebook to listen to it). The sound is a little different, but mainly because this song seems to be influenced by current rock-radio mainstays like Nickelback and Lifehouse. All you “Greedy Fly” lovers out there feel free to check it out at the link below…
Muhal Richard Abrams will earn the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2010 Vision Festival. Indeed, the man has achieved much in his lifetime. As a pianist and composer, Abrams seems to be one of those monoliths who has transcended the mundane trappings of the human experience in music. As a collaborator, he has rubbed elbows with contemporaries who are (the only appropriate term I can think of) true originals: Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Malachi Favors, and Anthony Braxton, just to name a few. As a co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), who knows how many careers he launched and lives he’s touched. Yet you won’t see him getting hounded for autographs in a Starbucks. Perhaps that’s a good thing?
Destination-out.com and Bad Plus leader Ethan Iverson have the full scoop on Muhal Richard Abrams’ forthcoming accolades along with free MP3s to get your motor running. Pianist Jason Moran seems to have an affinity for the album Sightsong.
Crystal Castles have released an official video for “Celestica”, from their PopMatters-approved release Crystal Castles. The video is comprised mostly of shots of singer Alice Glass wondering through a graveyard and idling in the grass while looking coldly stunning. So, it’s not exactly a video for those who like big expensive special effects, then. Whatever your budgetary preference, it can be agreed that the song itself is a perfectly chilly antidote for this steamy summer season.