Once upon a time, a mulleted Jerry Seinfeld, a pre-racist rant Kramer, and a much chunkier Newman sat sipping Styrofoam-cupped coffee in a black Saab rag-top on a stakeout of their possibly coked-out accountant who was actually just allergic to mole hair sweaters. Straying momentarily from their detective work, Kramer asked “What’s today?” to which Newman responded, “It’s Thursday.” Kramer, gazing out the windshield, ran a double-check of his personal pressure gauges, temperature readings, and star charts. “It feels like Tuesday” he determined at length, sending Newman into an emphatic rant, where in he asserts “Tuesday has no feel! Monday has a feel, Friday has a feel, Sunday has a feel, but Tuesday has no feel!” If we are to accept this Larry David-ism as an accurate reflection of reality (and, at this point, why wouldn’t we?) then we must also anoint February as each year’s Tuesday; a nomadic, 28-day ice flow bobbing music-starved and identity-less between the holiday season’s party peninsula and spring’s rejuvenation rock.
If there is one band sound that has best personified February’s frosted sidewalks, low-skies, and unrequited romances, then it is My Bloody Valentine. Owing as much to the band’s name as the pulsing rhythms and melodic whiteouts that made up their 1991 shoegaze guidepost/sign-off Loveless, the on-again, off-again relationship between this month and Kevin Shields had remained childless for twenty-two years…until Saturday night, that is. These are faded headlines by now, of course—the announcement of the band’s first album, m b v, in over two decades. The oft rumored, oft wrong, non-Tuesday release date. The Saturday night unveiling that crashed website servers and un-dammed teenage tears in 40-year-old men—but nothing was going to beat the currently biggest and presently oldest trend in music to the pole position of a column called Trending. The album is available in all the expected formats (download, disc, and 180-gram wax) and kicks off with “She Found Now” in case you want a taste yesterday today.
With all that said, however, this week’s My Bloody Valentine dominion was a practical inevitability; a mathematical probability; the collision of one planet into another as dictated by the laws of gravity. This here is the good ol’ U.S. of f’n A, however, and in the good ol’ U.S. of f’n A we don’t take kindly to the tyranny of science. Consequently, if I were to buck/fuck the mass music media system for which I am a willing prong-in-the-gears, if I were to ignore m b v simply because it is unignorable, then Trending would begin here, with Pissed Jeans’ new LP Honeys. Scoring our mid-winter angst with aggression, as opposed to introspection, Honey’s full stream courses with a frenetic, hardcore philosophy that, over the past twelve months, has dropped from the punk palettes of all but a few bands (White Lung, Nightbirds, and Ceremony live shows being important exceptions). Long live whiplash, everyone.
Drinking a whole different flavor of Kool-Aid (yes, I know that was Jim Jones) is my Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, who drops his first solo album, Regions of Light and Sound of God, today. Though widely hailed as a revivalist, a conjurer of not just old sound but old soul, James has always been a little more Buzz Lightyear than Bob Seger (the beard notwithstanding). Tracks like “Circuital” and Monsters of Folk’s “Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F)” have long found James in full Doc Brown mode—frizzy fro’d and tinkering with a rocket ship hidden under a tarp in his garage. Unlike the Bowies and Waters of space rock past, however, James’s destination has always been more Maker than moon, earning him the southern boy stigma that, with each subsequent release, has become less applicable to the music than the man. The product of this evolution, Regions of Light and Sound of God finds James in full countdown mode, his muscle car-disguised star-skipper spitting blue flame and sparkles as it erupts through the roof of a suburban starter home and into an altogether different galaxy and/or after-life. You can catch a ride over at NPR.
Speaking of Bowie, inter-galactic travel, time/space continuum manipulation, and trippy pop music, Beck is apparently covering Z. Stardust’s “Sound & Vision” for a new Lincoln (yes, motors) ad campaign, with the help of a 170-piece orchestra, obviously. Kicking around the same ether is Chrome Canyon, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Darkstar, who all popped their own brand of Quaalude rock today. The former dropped his de-mix (apparently this is a real term now) of Tame Impala’s already hallucinogenic “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”, while the two trios launched their new full lengths, II and News From Nowhere, for both sale and stream.
Our high-fructose eye candy comes to us this week courtesy of Beach House, Nick Cave, and Brooklyn Bowl. The Baltimore dream-duo have a Superbowl title to celebrate but that didn’t stop them from dropping their No Country for Old Men-meets-Heima short film Forever Still; a 27-minute piece that cradles four Bloom tunes against the bosom of some pretty stunning Texas high country. Back in the city, Cave Co. have a another HBO-ish video for another Push the Sky Away track. “Jubilee Street” scores this red light romp, which stumbles through the door boasting boobs, Brits, and a big-name director. Finally, North Brooklyn’s glossiest ninepin purveyor, Brooklyn Bowl, has a quick edit of DIIV’s recent two-set stand streaming courtesy of at least one Fortune 500 sponsor. Check it out if you (like me) still haven’t got enough of the band’s I-can-see-the-beach-from-my-bedroom pop
And lastly, Americans still crawling out of the post-football crater are being greeted at its smoking, smoldering rim by ‘Nawlins MC Curren$y’s newest mixtape, New Jet City. Hanging around ground zero at the time of the blast, the free download’s feet-on-the-coffee-table flow and classic cover art helped to make it more than just critic-proof.
AUTHOR’S NOTE (I’M ON MY KNEES HERE, PEOPLE!): Former Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes is releasing a 7-inch via Third Man records, Jack White’s record company that, in a fittingly bizarre twist of amazing fate, seems to specialize in all things Butthole Surfers (goat sacrifice, industrial sex toys, and vinyl). The 45 is pressed onto old medical x rays (awesome), features guitar work from White himself (awesomer), and will only be sold out of the Third Man Rolling Record Store Truck at SXSW (not so awesome). So, like, if you’re headed down south for the festivities and have been looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift for your favorite blogger or something…well, you know.
Thanks for listening.