Tuesday Music News

photo by Jimmy King

  • The big news is finally here — David Bowie will be releasing THE NEXT DAY on Iso/Columbia Records, his first new album in 10 years, and the announcement comes on his 66th birthday. How kind of him to give a present on the day he should be receiving them! The rock and roller has been elusive in recent years — shying away from the spotlight and talk of a new record, not to mention staying out of the public eye in general. Bowie’s status as a cultural icon, sex symbol, and glam rock revolutionary doesn’t allow him to rush any new project for fear of disappointing his fans’ high expectations — but if the single and its video that accompany the announcement of THE NEXT DAY are any indication of the quality of this album, produced by his longtime collaborator Tony Visconti, it should be worth the wait. “Where Are We Now,” which is available as an iTunes download, seems to lyrically and musically set the tone of the project. Where are we now? This is only heightened by the Tony Oursler-directed video, which features Bowie as an Oursler-signature video projection looking at old footage from his time in Berlin, surrounded by all manner of organic, crystalline, and sculptural objects. “A man lost in time,” Bowie sings, and the solemnly majestic mood of the song underpins the feeling of Bowie looking back wistfully and coming to terms joyfully with his life — think Eliot’s “Time present and time past/Are both perhaps present in time future,/And time future contained in time past./If all time is eternally present/All time is unredeemable.” Also — if you have been in the downtown Seattle public library recently, you may recognize Tony Oursler as the artist behind the video projection piece in the wall along the green escalator between floors 3 and 5. Check out the video below for “Where Are We Now?” below. The Next Day comes out in March.

  • More new music from rock icons: Tom Waits & Keith Richards have teamed up on the song “Shenandoah,” to be featured in the upcoming compilation Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys (a followup to the original 2006 Rogues Gallery). Other sea shanties on the LP come from Johnny Depp, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop and, get this, Michael Stipe with Courtney Love. Check NPR’s All Songs Considered for the exclusive preview of “Shenandoah.”
  • The Soft Moon have released a video for “Die Life” off of their 2012 release Zeros. The frenetic, characteristically black-and-white footage of the band pumping their way through the song in front of a wall of TVs stuck playing white static is a perfect match for the music. Check out the video below. [Stereogum]

  • Hal Willner’s 2006 project Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys, which let big-name musicians do their own takes on old sea chanteys and pirate ballads, is getting a follow-up next month on Anti- titled Son of Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys. Johnny Depp, Shane MacGowan, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Nick Cave and many others will be featured — but not the least of which will be a collaboration between Tom Waits and Keith Richards on “Shenandoah”, which can be streamed on NPR. In another life, these two would absolutely be on a pirate ship. [Stereogum]
  • Despite much previous talk to the contrary, it looks like a Postal Service reunion is “in the works” — if we are to take a post on Brooklyn Vegan, with the title “Postal Service Reunion in the Works” and featuring just a picture of the band, at face value. The blog is not known to post rumors very often, so we’ll have to see how this one plays out. [Brooklyn Vegan]
  • Freak-folkist Devendra Banhart has announced his 8th studio album, Mala will be released on March 12 on Nonesuch. Along with the announcement, you can stream the first single “Für Hildegard von Bingen” on Pitchfork. Hildegard von Bingen was a 12th century Catholic saint who was a a writer and a composer as well as being a theologian. In Banhart’s words, the track is about a fantasy of his in which the saint receives a VHS tape of the golden era MTV VJ programming, and she is so enamored that she decides to forsake the convent to become a VJ herself to get her message across. [Pitchfork]
  • Swedish pair The Knife have announced the first live performance dates they have played in three years — at Copenhagen’s Vega Main Hall on May 12 and 13, with more European dates TBA. This comes on the heels of their announcement of the April release date of their new album Shaking the Habitual. The mysterious duo have been pretty silent over the last few years but seem poised for a resurgence. Check out the teaser video for the band’s comeback below. [Under the Radar]

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