Today in Music: New Life


Despite the heat, it feels more like Spring these days, as a lot of bands and projects are breathing with new life. Here are a few:

Strangely, Scarlett Johansson‘s forthcoming album of Tom Waits covers is starting to sound interesting. What seemed to be a misguided vanity project — she couldn’t have chosen a more diametrically opposed subject, physically, vocally, and, well, idealistically — has turned into an NYC hipster magnet. Pitchfork reports that TV on the Radio‘s Dave Sitek has signed on to produce and has brought with him members of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Celebration (whose albums he also produced) to perform. Lately, such crossovers of culture and celebrity suggest a renaissance recalling the days of Warhol’s Factory. Up next: Lindsey Lohan to sing Lou Reed produced by Jack White and some other superficial starlet to play Edie Sedgwick directed by a celebrated indie documentarian (oh wait, that already happened).

The Jai-Alai Savant – Scarlett Johansson, Why Don’t You Love Me (MP3)

You may not have known it, but the formative 80’s band The House of Love reunited back in ’05, but are now returning to their roots, performing and re-releasing their debut self-titled album (yes, they have more than one self-titled album!). After helping make a name for U.K. indie stalwart Creation Records, the band moved to Fontana, released their second full-length and then began to fall apart. Through lineup changes, Guy Chadwick remained constant, releasing two more albums to less and less critical acclaim. Quietly, they reformed, released an album of new material (available only as an import), and now they’re back! The repackaged debut will arrive in stores next month and the band will perform as part of the Don’t Look Back series that brought you Sonic Youth performing Daydream Nation and Slint performing Spiderland. Here’s a video of “Christine” featuring the original lineup:


The musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch has received several reincarnations, first as a movie, then as a tribute album, and now as a documentary. Follow My Voice: With the Music of Hedwig interweaves the making of the tribute Wig in a Box with the stories of four students at New York’s Harvey Milk School and their struggles and aspirations. Featured on the video are Frank Black, Rufus Wainwright, The Polyphonic Spree, Hedwig creator John Cameron Mitchell, They Might Be Giants, Spoon and a whole lot more. The video is available next Tuesday, but for now you can check out this trailer:


If you’re familiar with releases by local label Light in the Attic, you know that they’re catalogue contains many reissues, particularly from the funk and soul genres, alongside newer acts like The Saturday Knights and The Blakes. One of their latest signees perfectly melds both camps together: Nicole Willis, a Brooklyn-born, Finland-based soul singer, who manages to retain the 60’s style without the inherent cheesiness. Checkout her newest video, for “If This Ain’t Love (Don’t Know What Is)” and download the song!
Nicole Willis – If This Ain’t Love [Don’t Know What Is] (MP3)
Brooklyn band Beirut also have a way of making old sounds seem new, and after working on their next album, the band has been touring Europe this summer. Here’s a brand new performance of band leader Zach Condon performing with the Macedonian Kocani Orkestar, presented as part of the always-fantastic La Blogotheque Take-Away series.

By the way, if you’re in New York, you have three chances to see Beirut in September. Go to Brooklyn Vegan for the details.

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