That the TeenBeat label is commemorating its 26th anniversary is definitely something worth celebrating: So, even if it has been left behind by 1990s indie peers like Matador and Merge in terms of cultural relevance and marketplace success, TeenBeat continues to deliver quirky pop and a total artistic experience on a DIY budget. In honor of the label’s more than a quarter century in existence, its signature act Unrest is playing a series of East Coast shows this July, supported by on the bills by various combinations of TeenBeat’s best-known cult favorites like Versus and the Rondelles. Plus, TeenBeat honcho Mark Robinson is back with yet another post-Unrest project, Cotton Candy, which released an album earlier this year. Go to the TeenBeat anniversary site for the details on who’s playing when. For a sampling of all the superfast strumming you’re in store for on the mini-tour, check out the YouTube video below of a vintage Unrest performance from 1993.
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Any project featuring one of the world’s most famous opera singers reinterpreting the songs of Arcade Fire, Band of Horses, and the Mars Volta must rate pretty high on any WTF scale, right? But that’s just what Renée Fleming is doing on Dark Hope, which could be pretty compelling whether you’re interested in the vocal pyrotechnics or the possibility of a stylistic trainwreck. If the song samples in the promo video are any indication, it sounds like today’s art rock hits might make for tomorrow’s easy listening, as Fleming puts the diva in emo on numbers by Death Cab for Cutie and Muse. And maybe we don’t need another version of “Hallelujah” even if it’s performed by the best singer alive, something that Fleming herself seems to appreciate in the video. But as the promo attests, one thing you have to give Fleming credit for is taking this somewhat absurd idea seriously. Dark Hope will be released on June 8, while Fleming’s cover of Muse’s “Endlessly” is already available at iTunes.
Band of Horses have been dropping a steady trail of bread crumbs toward the May 18 release of their third album, Infinite Arms, with videos for the songs “Compliments” and “NW Apt”. Now we’ve got a four-and-a-half-minute teaser about the making of the album, featuring an expanded band line-up and what appears to be a significant lightening-up of frontman Ben Bridwell, who has a reputation for being “difficult”. The new songs sound great and Bridwell seems genuinely excited about the prospect of this album being a much more collaborative effort than past Band of Horses releases.
What will they think of next? Well, you’re supposed to be able to do almost anything with an iPad, right, so why not skateboard. [via Mashable]
Felix Cartal mashes up electronic music styles in his remix work for notables such as MSTRKRFT and Ashlee Simpson, as well as on his debut album Popular Music. So, it’s quite fitting that video director Ace Norton took a “mash-up” approach to the video for “Volcano”. Riffing off an old Dan Rather newscast about the Mount St. Helen’s eruption, Norton superimposes a singing mouth featuring the vocals of Johnny Whitney from the Blood Brothers over Rather’s talking head.
“As a kid, my parents would put on the CBS Evening News every night while we ate dinner,” says Norton. “When they fired Dan Rather, I didn’t realize how comforting his voice was until it wasn’t there anymore. With all this coverage about the volcano in Iceland, it only seemed right to give the man one last broadcast, and make it about the biggest news story of all time—the impending apocalypse. This video is Dante’s Peak, meets Ron Burgandy, meets Poltergeist.” Ace Norton has a lengthy list of credits to his name, with turns behind the camera for the likes of LCD Soundsystem, Death Cab for Cutie, She and Him and many more. “Volcano” is a banging, anthemesque tune with shades of distortion moving amongst strong beats. It’s house, techno and dance-pop all in one.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article