1. Favorite band of last year (Phoenix) covers favorite act of my youth (Bob Dylan): world collapses in on itself. Fortunately I survived my encounter with this tune. Thomas Mars channels a very convincing Dylan, staying very true to the original "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" off the beyond essential, Blonde on Blonde. From personal favorite "Visions of Johanna" to classics "Just Like a Woman" and "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" check out the original too - please. Phoenix - "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands"
2. Animal Collective premiered their "visual album" at Sundance yesterday and have some screenings planned for NYC and Chicago in the next couple months (hopefully LA soon?). more info here: http://oddsac.com/. The 30 second teaser below is everything you would expect from an AC video: visually captivating and terrifying. Unfortunately not a lot of insight into the music in the teaser, but I was sold at "visual album".
3. Spoon's Transference came out last week and I have been listening to it non-stop. So hard to rank Spoon albums since all of them are truly fantastic, but they focus more here on textures with the same brilliant instrumental interplay. Britt's voice is as captivating and playful as ever on the melodies. Check out "Who Makes You Money" and "I Saw the Light" (especially the absolutely awesome piano solo / break starting at the 2 min mark). Best album of the year so far (a bit underwhelmed by the other big releases - Vamp Weekend, Beach House (though do check out "10 Mile Stereo" HERE which is an excellent track off a good album, and Surfer Blood).
4. Dirty Projectors weren't content to just rest of their laurels of "best of year" lists from nearly every publication or maybe just because of that they have given their fans a present. Single "Ascending Melody" (not featured on Bitte Orca, but from that session) has been released on their website for free: http://www.dirtyprojectors.net/. I like the single, but for me the highlight is the free b-side, "Emblem of the World". It is as simple as this band gets (or I would bet will get) - just a simple guitar strum, minimal drums and David Longstreth at his most harmonious.
5. I have already raved about Yeasayer's first single "Ampling Arp"; this single may just top that one. "One" - 80s disco infused good times. Free download here: http://www.yeasayer.net/. The rest of the album, Odd Blood, drops February 9th and it ain't too shabby, but these two are the absolute gems.
6. Check out this very cool video of El Perro De Mar joined by Lykke Li on an LA rooftop performing an acoustic version of "Change of Heart". Love this cover (and the original HERE). Check it out:
7. LASTLY, LCD Soundsystem and The National have new albums out this spring!!! The National are playing the Wiltern on May 22 and LCD Soundsystem as of now is playing Coachella on April 16th and hightailing for a European tour after that. More updates on these guys (and a massive Coachella primer posting) coming soon.
Not a bad start to the new decade...