Joan as Police Woman’s New Album, To Survive, Available in One Week Pre-Release on iTunes Now


Joan as Police Woman! Joan as Police Woman’s much anticipated sophomore album, To Survive, is available now in an exclusive one week pre-release on iTunes via Cheap Lullaby Records. Already a critic’s darling following the success of her debut release Real Life, Joan Wasser’s second solo album further entrenches her into the ranks of the well respected artists she earned her chops alongside – namely Lou Reed, Antony and the Johnsons, and Rufus Wainwright – before striking out on a solo career of her own.

Indeed, To Survive has received glowing reviews from sources as varied as Q Magazine, Black Book, New York Daily News, and Venus Zine. “Each song comes packed with little moments of unpredictability that bear out her self-declared “punk rock R&B” intentions,” Q writes. Black Book describes the album as “recalling the more rueful sides of Feist, Roberta Flack, and a smidgen of Cat Power,” and Venus Zine draws comparisons to both 80’s hard rock band Heart’s “Dreamboat Annie” and legendary jazz singer Nina Simone.

Wasser appeared on New York’s WNYC “Soundcheck” program this week to give an exclusive live performance of both lead single “To Be Loved” and title track “To Survive” and to discuss the creative process behind To Survive. A process yielding songs that, as New York Daily News writes, “can be beautiful or eerie, harsh or ethereal, but it’s always deeply serious.”

MP3: Joan as Police Woman – “To Be Loved”

Video after the jump.

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Icelandic Genre-Bender Mugison to Release Third Album, Mugiboogie


Forget ScarJo’s covers record (and I’m not even as much of an outspoken critic of it as most); if you’re a fan of Tom Waits’ brand of f*ed up blues-y grit and you’ve never heard of Mugison, it’s time to check him out. Mugiboogie is the third full-length from the eccentric Icelandic singer/songwriter whose influences stretch from Waits to James Brown, yet combine to create his own breed of crack-soul with some metal and folk ditties thrown in. While this may sound like it would make for a schizophrenic record, Mugison manages to create enough of a sexy-blues vibe on the album (three years in the making) that it comes together as a great tour de force for 2008. The Sun calls Mugison “a towering talent…Bjork with a headache,” and David Fricke of Rolling Stone has referred to him as “a country-blues Led Zeppelin, armed with a muscular backing band.” His last record (which may very well be our favorite album title of 2005), Mugimama! Is This Monkey Music? won Album of the Year in Iceland, as well as four other Icelandic Music Awards.

Having already sold 10,000 copies of Mugiboogie at home, Mugison is gearing up for its North American release June 24th on Mike Patton’s Ipecac Recordings. The folks at Paper Thin Walls are already buzzing about it, having recently spoken to him about the track “Jesus Is A Good Name To Moan.” Download and share lead-off track “Mugiboogie” right here:

MP3 : Mugison – “Mugiboogie”

Melvins Unsheathe New Track


What’s that ridiculous racket rising over your Wednesday morning? Well, we’re betting it’s the sound of the world turning up their shitty computer speakers and pumping the first track from the forthcoming Melvins record, Nude With Boots. This morning, the folks over at Pitchfork wrote up the title-gem, patting it on the bottom and offering it up to the world. Here’s what they had to say:

“The newest record’s title track is a prime example: Streamlined and strengthened, the Melvins sound a little like Cheap Trick with bigger forearms and taller stacks. Double drums lead in, gradually accelerating, like a car winding up to speed down the open road. Guitars jangle (no joke) around a tambourine-augmented (no joke) beat. Half of the track is instrumental, but– by the time its not-quite-four minutes expire– it sticks like a pure pop anthem. Again, no joke.”

We agree!

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Budos Band Brace For Summer Festival Season


Sharon Jones and the Dap-KingsAfter becoming THE band to watch in 2007, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have been invited to shake things up at a slew of summer events, including The Roots first Picnic in the Park, taking place this Saturday, June 7th in the backpack hip-hoppers’ native Philly. Living up to her “hardest working woman in show business” tag, Sharon Jones will continue non-stop through Bonnaroo Music Festival, The Jazz Aspen Festival, Europe’s Roskilde, Lollapalooza, Virgin Mobile Fest, Central Park Summerstage, and Austin City Limits, hitting 30 events between now and August.

The soul-stomping singer and her band will performing tracks from their latest release 100 Days, 100 Nights (as well as earlier albums Dap Dippin’ With Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Naturally) and may just throw in their cover of Kenny Rogers’s “I Just Stopped in To See What Condition My Condition Was In,” a previously rare treat featured on the new 7 inch Singles Collection out today.

Afrobeat funksters Budos Band will also be taking their show on the road, headlining their native Staten Island’s first ever music festival, Rock the Harbor on Saturday, June 14th before hitting the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and Victoria, British Colombia’s JazzFest International among other dates.

Keep reading for tour dates…

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Amy Ray: Daily Rind Performance


Yesterday, Amy Ray stopped by HQ to give everyone in Rindland an extra special performance of material from her forthcoming release Didn’t It Feel Kinder. Due on August 5th, Ray’s new album marks the first time the Georgia-based songwriter has allowed a producer into the studio. But Greg Griffith –of Butchies and Le Tigre fame– works wonders on Kinder, coaxing a surprisingly varied and confident collection of songs from the longtime Indigo Girl and occasional solo artist. Featuring contributions from former Butchies, Kaia Wilson, Melissa York and Griffith, and additional work from Madonna -collaborator Tomi Martin, Brandi Carlile and indie faves Arizona, the album is a melting pot of styles, from the angular pop of “Bus Bus” to the stark folk of album-opener “Birds of a Feather.”

As could be expected, Ray translated the varied fare perfectly via her beat up acoustic. Opening with an anthem of personal-discovery, “Cold Shoulder,” her sunkissed Southern drawl shone proudly over a roomful of smiles. The clattering “Blame Is a Killer,” with it’s riot-grrl guitars and shouted vocals, was up next. Ray nervously admitted she’d written the revved up number on an acoustic, but with the aide of a fuzz preset on Garage Band to give it its requisite crunch. Even so, it was the treat of the afternoon, boiling over with the sort of energy that dots Didn’t It Feel Kinder, and often sets Ray apart from her Indigo Girl counterpart Emily Sailers. At one point during the brief set, Ray jokingly mentioned she regretted not bringing Sailers along with her to perform. But the beauty of the performance, and the album from which the songs were pulled, rest in Ray’s brave musical choices, and that distinct voice of hers (a husky, affecting instrument put to wonderful effect on the set-closer, “She’s Got To Be”). Sure, no one would have argued with an impromptu “Closer To Fine” singalong, but Ray’s set was every bit as satisfying.