Chai play to win, Foxygen walk it off, C Duncan meets The King, Wintersleep do it live and more in today’s Roundup. Does anybody else suddenly crave a deep-fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich?
1 It is virtually impossible not to cheer for Japanese pop foursome Chai. Especially after watching the irrepressible Neo-Kawaii (New Cute) band’s latest kitschy-cool video Choose Go!, another bouncy, bubbly and instantly addictive cut from their upcoming sophomore album Punk, due March 15. One thing is clear from the sport-themed clip: They came to play. And in more ways than one. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Cheerleaders, who are usually known for cheering for athletes on the sideline, now become the actual athletes and are shown as baseball players! It’s the evolution of what is already in existence like sports or cheerleaders to then what would be considered non-existent or fantasy like cheerleaders turned into baseball players and barbies tossed instead of footballs by football players, which makes this music video so cool! CHOOSE GO! CHOOSE FREEDOM!” Yay team:
2 All good things come to an end. Even for the dudes of Foxygen. On their upcoming sixth studio album Seeing Other People, the L.A. duo of Sam France and Jonathan Rado have apparently had enough of fame’s empty facade and pointless trappings. And it’s inspired them to record an album of what they term “Sad-Boy Plastic-Soul Adult-Contemporary Cartoon-Noir Music” — brought to life in the classic-sounding single Livin’ a Lie, whose video was partly shot amid the symbolically perfect ruins of the recent California wildfires. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Goodbye to the drugs, to the partying. Goodbye to my twenties now, Goodbye to my Saint Laurent-model-body. Goodbye to the touring circus — that’s right, no more shows or tours for a while. Goodbye, hopefully, to the anxiety attacks. Goodbye to beating myself up because I didn’t fit into those leather pants anymore. Fuck it. Goodbye to the facilities. And goodbye the leeches in my life,” says France.” And good riddance, presumably:
3 Elvis is everywhere. Even in the video for British singer-songwriter C Duncan’s new single Impossible, which was shot at — you guessed it — a Presley tribute show. And the Big E isn’t the only guest star on Duncan’s upcoming third album Health: The disc finds him leaving the building (or at least his bedroom) to collaborate with other producers, engineers and musicians for the first time. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Impossible documents the highs and lows of a long-distance relationship with an ex-boyfriend. “At one point he was working night shifts, so it was very hard to communicate with each other because our schedules were completely out of sync. I wanted to see him all of the time, but it was impossible to do at that point in time,” Duncan explains.” Thangya. Thangyaverrymush:
4 Wintersleep is an interesting word when you think about it. To my mind, it just sounds like a fancy term for hibernation. Which is definitely an option to consider, especially at this time of year (and especially where I live). But you won’t catch the band Wintersleep hunkering down until spring. They’re putting the finishing touches on their upcoming seventh record, In the Land Of. They’re heading out on tour. And they just filmed a live version of the disco-rock number Beneficiary. If that doesn’t bring you out of your own personal deep-freeze, nothing will. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The song really isn’t trying to solve anything or trying to be this grand manifesto. It’s more a personal reckoning as an individual, who doesn’t want to be passive and therefore part of the continuing problem. Maybe it’s this first part of the equation that is central to the song – just the acknowledgment of there being a wrong that we need to keep in mind and continue to address.” Make it right:
5 Do you love French post-hardcore and screamo? Well, then maybe you’ve heard of the bands Shall Not Kill, Dead For a Minute and Esteban. In which case you probably already know that some of their ex-members now form the band Aleska. But did you know that Aleska have just released a video for their face-melting new single Un Eternel Recommencement, from their next album Construire Ou Détruire? Well, now you do. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: Un Eternel Recommencement comes “about three years after the release of their acclaimed debut and self-titled album and months of hard work.” Mais oui:
6 Some artists, you wonder why they’re famous. Others, you wonder why they aren’t. Luther Russell is in the latter category. He has a resumé musicians would kill for: He’s been in bands with Jakob Dylan and Big Star’s Jody Stephens. He co-wrote songs for Weezer’s White Album. He’s worked with Robyn Hitchcock. He’s led his own band and released several solo albums — the latest of which arrives Feb. 22 and is called Medium Cool. I suspect that will be an understatement. For proof, check out the jangly power-pop gem Talkin’ To Myself. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “While it can be argued that this lyric concerns something deeply personal, I think it’s based on an experience that isn’t unique. We’ve all been through something long, lasting and meaningful only for it to end, whether unceremoniously, or ceremoniously. A piece of you is gone. It’s not necessarily sad, just true. And that truth is being reported here.” Listen up:
7 Countless musicians promote their albums with contests. Most involve giving fans merch or free tickets or maybe even a chance to meet the artist. Of course, BA Johnston is not like other musicians. So to promote his upcoming album The Skid Is Hot Tonight, the musical oddball is giving fans a chance to see KISS with him when the band’s farewell tour hits Toronto in March. Why? Because he’s obviously a man with a lot of friends. And to promote that, he’s released a typically demented new single called We’re All Going To Jail (Except Pete, He’s Gonna Die), which is about going to see Van Halen on mushrooms. And if that makes sense to you, you might be BA Johnston. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The Skid Is Hot Tonight is BA Johnston’s 12th studio album on his fifth record label. It was again recorded in rural Nova Scotia, though this time the water was working at the house. It retreads the same tired ground with songs about stealing hash, almost dying in a car crash, and almost dying at a Van Halen concert. In an effort to collect as much streaming pennies as possible, the album is as long as a live Grateful Dead show clocking in at a whopping 21 songs. The album title came about as an effort to annoy the band Loverboy.” Ball’s in your court, Mike Reno.
8 Even if you’ve never heard of the band Irah — and before today, I certainly hadn’t — one spin of their new single Unity of Gods might prompt you to guess they are Scandinavian. And you’d be guessing right. Maybe it’s the chilled female vocals and circular piano chords that are the yin-yang body and soul of the Danish duo’s cut. Or the icy reverb and wintry atmosphere that blankets the track. Whatever the case, it’s the first single from their upcoming debut Diamond Grid, due in May. Just in time for of summer, ironically. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Unity of Gods is a simple, yet compelling song with a body of repetitive piano lines, light drumming and velvet soft vocals seeking oneness.” Cool: