- The Pretenders team up with high-profile media partners to give away new album
- new Rachael Yamagata album finally gets a release date
- first fruits from the reformed Shelleyan Orphan out in October
- book publisher independently sues Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown
- new Santogold mixtape available for free
- Mystery Jets enlist Kate Nash and Florence & The Machine for new single
- the return of The Hot Puppies
- Jonatha Brooke looks to Woody Guthrie for inspiration
- new album on the way from The Rosebuds
* * *
For their first album in six years, The Pretenders have taken the unusual step of offering fans the chance to freely download a song per week from the album in the lead-up to its official release date of September 22nd. Each week the band’s official website will direct fans to one of 11 media partners – including AOL, Apple, ClearChannel and MSN – who will host a different song from the record for a limited time. Recorded in just 10 days, Break Up The Concrete – the band’s ninth studio album – is said to be a stripped down, raw sounding roots album, but listen for yourself and judge. The first song, ‘Boots Of Chinese Plastic’, is currently available over at Spinner.
* * *
After teasing fans with the three-song Loose Ends EP earlier this year, Rachael Yamagata will finally release her long-delayed second album on October 6th through Warner Bros. The two-part album, prosaically titled A Record In Two Parts…Elephants & Teeth Sinking Into Heart, was produced by Mike Mogis (best known for his work with most of the Saddle Creek roster) and John Alagia (producer of Rachael’s 2004 debut, Happenstance), and features guest appearances by Maria Taylor and James Valentine of Maroon 5.
First side, Elephants reportedly “plays like a film score, with orchestral transitions that expand as the songs progress”, while second side Teeth Sinking Into Heart is “grittier and more defiantly cynical” with guitar-driven rock songs that touch on PJ Harvey, Tom Waits and “‘Pulp Fiction’-style surf guitar”. Billboard.com reports that the album is a two-disc set with 15 songs, but the press release says one disc with 14 songs. Presumably the press release is more accurate but we can’t say for sure.
* * *
Outstretching the four year wait for Rachael’s album by some margin is the return of cult duo Shelleyan Orphan after 16 years of almost total silence. Caroline Crawley and Jem Tayle, who released three romantically inclined albums for Rough Trade between 1987 and 1992, issue their long-awaited (or should that be never expected?) fourth album, We Have Everything We Need, through One Little Indian on October 13th. Fans and newcomers alike will then have the chance to own an as-yet-untitled boxset of all four albums, complete with a bonus disc of outtakes and unreleased material and DVD footage, later in the year.
We Have Everything We Need
02 How A Seed Is Sown
04 Something Pulled Me
07 Your Shoes
08 I’m Glad You Didn’t Jump Out Of The Car That Day
09 I May Never
12 Everything We Need
* * *
Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown just can’t seem to keep out of trouble. Having both done prison time in the last few years, the rappers are now facing separate lawsuits from the same book published, Simon & Schuster. In Kim’s case, the lawsuit seeks the return of a $40,000 advance paid to the rapper in 2003 in the expectation that she would turn in her debut novel by June 2004. Foxy, on the other hand, was paid $75,000 in 2005 for her autobiography ‘Broken Silence’, due to be completed by February 2006. Both women have voiced their dismay at the filing of the lawsuits, with Kim claiming to have made many attempts to resolve the matter privately and Foxy blaming Simon & Schuster for withdrawing from the project and calling the legal action “meritless”.
* * *
That Santogold/Diplo mixtape everyone has been talking about for the last two weeks is now available, for nothing! Top Ranking, which features songs by Aretha Franklin, B-52s and The Clash, guest appearances from M.I.A., Amanda Blank and Mark Ronson, and several Santogold remixes, is free to download here.
* * *
Fresh from their Laura Marling collaboration, Mystery Jets have enlisted Kate Nash and Florence & The Machine for the B-sides to their upcoming single ‘Half In Love With Elizabeth’. Kate Nash has recorded an alternative version of the song called ‘Disco Liz’, while Florence & co. have covered the Mystery Jets song ‘Flakes’. The single is released on August 25th on CD, 7-inch vinyl and as a download.
* * *
Following the marriage of singer Becky to drummer Bert earlier this year, Welsh band The Hot Puppies are gearing up to release new album Blue Hands on September 22nd. Originally slated for release last year, only the single ‘King Of England’ made it to the shops in the end, followed in May 2008 by second single, ‘Somewhere’.
And that’s not all. In the lead-up to the album, Becky and keyboardist Beth will issue the Bec & Beth EP, a collection of acoustic covers of Burt Bacharach’s ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’, The Smiths’ ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me’ and The Inkspots’ ‘I’m Making Believe’. The EP will also include an original composition, ‘French Song’, a bittersweet lament sung in fluent français, and is released on August 25th through Bath-based label Purr.
In other Hot Pups news, Becky and Bert are expecting their first baby on Hallowe’en. Aww.
01 King Of England
02 Clarinet Town
04 Where The Werewolves Meet
05 Orphans Of The Storm
06 How To Choose A Wife
07 Secret Burial
08 The Word On The Street
09 Dear Brutus
10 Blue Hands
* * *
Jonatha Brooke releases her sixth solo studio album, The Works, on August 26th in the US. Like Billy Bragg and Wilco before her, Brooke has created new songs around previously unheard lyrics written by Woody Guthrie to create something fresh. Keb’ Mo’ duets on the laidback ‘All You Gotta Do Is Touch Me’, currently streaming from Jonatha’s Myspace player, while Glen Phillips and Eric Bazilian lend their voices elsewhere. Fans who buy the album through her website will get their copy autographed.
* * *
North Carolina natives Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard, better known as The Rosebuds, release their fourth album, Life Like, on October 6th through Merge. Featuring Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Matthew McCaughan of Portastatic and Jim Brantley of Ashley Stove, the album follows hot on the heels of last year’s Night Of The Furies and the resulting remix collection Sweet Beats, Troubled Sleep released as a freebie in May. The band, who supported labelmates She & Him in New York last night, are planning a tour of their own for later in the year.
01 Life Like
02 Cape Fear
03 Border Guards
04 Bow to the Middle
05 Nice Fox
06 Another Way In
07 Concordia Military Club
08 Hello Darling
09 Black Hole
10 In The Backyard
* * *
Tagged aretha franklin, b-52s, bec and beth, chrissie hynde, florence and the machine, foxy brown, jonatha brooke, kate nash, lil' kim, MIA, rachael yamagata, santogold, shelleyan orphan, the hot puppies, the pretenders, the rosebuds