Holy sweet Baby Jesus shit. One look at this Tuesday’s crap-tastic release roster should be enough to send even the most mild-mannered music snob either into an uncontrollable fit of manic Bond-villain laughter or running for the hills…upon which sits a socially-isolated cabin stocked with a suitably portentous collection of 180-gram ear-candy, of course. In light of such possibilities I have decided to begin this week’s Trending in antithetical fashion, with a list of what we shouldn’t be listening to this week. Among the lowlights are 50 Cent’s Street King Immortal, Deftones’ Koi No Yokan, Green Day’s ¡Dos!, Lana Del Ray’s Born to Die: Paradise Edition, and Christina Aguilera’s Lotus—apparently named after her favorite vagina tattoo—which together combine to just about rattle lose any bolts still fastening our faith in humanity to basic common sense.
All is not lost (yet), however, and the comparatively optimistic portion of this week’s column begins in quasi-Holiday Spirit with CB-Seal-Of-Approval adorned Sufjan Stevens and his latest Christmas offering—the behemoth, five volume, coloring book accompanied vinyl box set Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Volumes 6. Say what you want about the overtly anglo-Christian leanings of the Michigan-bred avant-singer/songwriter (personally, I blame Michigan), but I’m cool with anyone cool with recording an obscure Prince cover for an X-mas EP titled Vol. 8 Christmas Infinity Voyage. The collection is out today (via Asthmatic Kitty) and sure to scare the hooves off your reindeer sweater-clad mother-in-law when she asks if you maybe have any Christmas music to play in the background while unwrapping wool socks and sipping reduced fat hot-coco sans marshmallows.
As terrifying as the whole obsessive-compulsive, keep-smiling, Christmas-carol addict shtick, is Trent Reznor/ball and chain co.’s How To Destroy Angels project and their new An Omen EP. Seemingly mixed in a subterranean cavern as foreign to humanity as humanity to it, the six-song set is an exercise in restraint and tension that, refreshingly, owes more to Fever Ray’s poltergeist pop than Nine Inch Nails’ Americanized industrial. The full thing is streaming at Stereogum and available in visible and invisible copy today.
In similarly serene headspace and yet hailing from an altogether different musical universe, Ontarian R&B prototype The Weeknd also drops his three-disc debut The Trilogy today. Including newly mixed and mastered versions of his three hyped-building mixtapes, as well as a smattering of new material like the new track “Enemy”, the guarantee here is double-sided: tight, sexy R&B bang-for-the-buck and (sigh) Drake…why does it always have to be Drake?
This week’s second 90’s-derived domestic-bliss duo, The Evens, have their first album in six years, The Odds, also available for digital consumption. The first post-child project from Fugazi frontman Ian Mackaye and wife Amy Farina, The Odds (if I can get all American Studies 101 on ya for a second) is an amusing illustration of the social chasm that now separates today’s middle-aged culture from the baby-boomer ethos that unconsciously typified it for decades. Where our Grandparent’s generation took weekend trips to the Poconos in order to re-spice their romances, gen-grunge (or whatever) now record post-punk albums together. It’s not over yet, people, I swear.
I don’t mean to isolate any of our things-were-better-before-the-railroad-came-through-town readers, however, and to prove I’m down for 69’ Pontiac GTOs, town store scuttlebutt, other general conceptions of American nostalgia, Trending now turn its attentions upon Jim James. The similarly past-happy My Morning Jacket frontman, whose brand of classic rock revival has always skewed more Steely Dan than AC/DC, just announced his debut solo album, Regions of Light and Sound of God, saying that “I wanted the album to sound like it came from a different place in time.” While I’m busy thanking Jim for the textual evidence make sure to check out the album’s first single, “Know Til Now”.
Two of indie’s loveliest ladies also made appearances this week, in new Best Coast and Purity Ring videos, while haute hip-hop siren Azealia Banks embraced her whimsical temptress persona in the new video for “Atlantis” that pretty much proves that woman does not give a fuck. Two bands you should probably start listening to now so that you have something to contribute when your friends who you don’t really like all that much won’t shut up about this awesome “mold-breaking” major-label debut while at the bar on what was supposed to be a fun Friday night also dropped new songs this week. Check out Veronica Falls’ loose-change jangle-pop on their new track “Teenage” and NYC/DIY dance guys Believer/Law’s “The Task At Hand” to make the requisite preparations.
Now entering our weekly guitar-solo fade-out Trending-coda, this Metz video has got me pretty hot under the collar for Monday and Tuesday night’s NYC shows (at Mercury Lounge and Knitting Factory respectively…see you at the former bro!) while BK post-punk twosome Yvette have a perfect song to complement reports that a former atomic bomb testing site at the old Wolff-Alport Chemical Factory may be turning Ridgewood/Bushwick into a bunch of plutonium-mutated superhipsters. Rad.
Thanks for listening.