Yesterday saw the premiere of “Rainbow”, the first offering from Robert Plant‘s new album lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, due out this September on Nonesuch. First debuted on NPR, it’s now also available on the singer’s YouTube page, and as a digital freebie with preorders of the LP. Backed by an hefty roster of musicians in the guise of the Sensational Space Shifters, Plant has stated to the press that the new album’s sound can be summed up handily as “trance meets Zep”. Such a description certainly applies to “Rainbow”, where a sparse and vaguely exotic drum pattern serves as the bedrock for wispy, droning textures redolent of the gentler side of mid-period Led Zeppelin.
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After promotions ceased following the Sewol ferry tragedy in April, K-pop began to get moving again in May. With big comebacks and some solo debuts from popular idol groups, this was a busy month to be a K-pop fan. So let’s take a look at some of the most notable tracks.
The first half of April was an exciting burst of energy from the K-pop industry. We saw great comebacks from Crayon Pop and NS Yoon-G as well as an impressive debut from Akdong Musician. Bernard Park won K-pop Star 3 and 15& announced its first album. But practically everything came to a stop after the tragic event of April 16th. The Sewol, a ferry carrying 476 passengers—mostly school children—sank off the southwest coast of South Korea. One hundred seventy-five people were rescued soon after it happened, but since then, no one has been found alive. This caused a lot of K-pop artists and labels to delay or cancel comebacks and promotions for the second half of the month. But while it’s hard to move on from a tragedy like this, there is still a ton of great music to help lift our spirits.
March was an undeniably exciting month for K-pop. With 2ne1 returning around the same time as Girls’ Generation, the two popular girl groups went head-to-head on the charts and the music competition shows (and Girls’ Generation did a little bit better on both). In addition to that “rivalry”, March saw comebacks from Orange Caramel and Super Junior-M, as well as the debut of a new collaboration, Toheart.
Now here’s a pleasant surprise. A few days ago the Converse sneaker company unveiled a collaboration between producer Diplo, R&B it-boy Frank Ocean, and Clash members Mick Jones and Paul Simonon as the latest offering in its “Three Artists, One Song” single series. There have been eight previous installments in the series—all of which I have admittedly glossed over—but something primal about seeing those names in the marquee made me want to immediately investigate the results.
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