360 Mixtape: New music from Lana del Rey, B.o.B, Melanie Martinez, Chvrches

With new music releases dropping on Fridays, we’ve shifted 360 First Spins, our weekly new music show on Periscope, to Mondays. Going forward, music writers Eric Webb and Deborah Sengupta Stith will take over the Austin360 Periscope account around 1:15 p.m. each Monday to listen to and review new music from the weekend. We’ll put our favorite new songs from the week into the 360 Mixtape. Consider it your new music soundtrack to get you through the week.

Listen to the Mixtape Monday playlist here. 

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NEW ALBUMS and EPs

eephusWondaland presents ‘The Eephus’ – Listen

DSS: True confession: I’m a huge Janelle Monae stan and I couldn’t be happier that she has her own imprint. The debut EP from Wondaland mixes the club bangers we’ve already heard (“Yoga,” “Classic Man”) with smoky R&B, dream pop tracks that offer a lovely and sublime way to lose yourself.

EW: I am intrigued that these songs seem connected by a stylistic thread, even though there are a variety of artists. Seems like Cindy Mayweather has a strong guiding hand. I’m digging the “sexy movie montage soundtrack” vibe.

teendazeTeen Daze ‘Morning World’ – Listen

EW: The term “sweater rock” fits this album better than a wool cardigan that you forgot was dry clean only. Similar to how the Wondaland EP has a strong identity, this whole album sounds like variations on the same shoegaze theme. There are little subtleties everywhere, from fuzzy guitars on “Pink” to a synthy wash on the title track to pianos in some places to twinkling baroque pop flourishes elsewhere. We’ve listened to a lot of lazy summer jams lately, and these are among the finest.

DSS: There’s a nice variety to the tracks here, and some interesting harmonic choices.

bobB.o.B. ‘Psychadelik Thoughts’ – Listen

DSS: As far as radio rappers go, Bobby Ray is one of my favorites. “Underground Luxury” was a very good commercial rap album. For some reason, on this one, he decided to leave his “A” game rhyme style behind to instead focus on his singing, which is a shame. He doesn’t have a particularly impressive singing voice. On some tracks, like the sufficiently danceable club jam “Hourglass,” he pulls it off. But for the most part, it feels labored, unsatifying.

EW: B.o.B remains my favorite rapper with a Rivers Cuomo collaboration in his discography. That said, this is bit of a contrived effort, if not a sincere one.

melaniemMelanie Martinez ‘Crybaby’ – Listen 

DSS: Martinez has a nice vocal quality and a lot of potential, but I’m not entirely on board yet. It’s something about her branding. Martinez, a former contestant on “The Voice,” is only 20 years old and the fact that’s she’s barely legal makes the creepy, sexualized fun house/pre-K nightmare vibe unsettling.

EW: This “precious Juggalette” schtick is nothing that I want to come within a mile of. Spooky-baby vocals and creep-pop need to stay in whatever dark corner Martinez found them in.


gracepotterGrace Potter ‘Midnight’- Listen

DSS: I haven’t given this album a good full listen, but my first impression is a lot of the songs start from interesting musical ideas, but then segue into a generic and predictable adult contemporary rock radio chorus.

EW: Either Potter or her producer had some noble creative intentions here, what with the Ratatat-esque sounds and Motown dalliances. Either Potter or her producer chickened out, and she ultimately stays in her lane halfway through each song. But I agree: It could be worth another listen. I’m willing to eat my words.

fkaFKA twigs ‘M3ll155x’ – Listen

DSS: Twigs takes future R&B to incredibly challenging places. Sometimes it works very, very well and I love the way she’s using her success to eschew easy formulas, but some of the dark, industrial atmospherics on this EP are very inaccessible. Her diehard fans will feel the whole package, but the rest of us might struggle.

EW: Ever the art school kid, our twigs. I feel like I’m not supposed to be listening to this, or like I should be at a gallery opening. There’s a little bit o’ Purity Ring-style witch house seeping in, methinks.

 

New Politics - VikingNew Politics ‘Vikings’ – Listen

EW: The best soundtrack for convincing girls to go up to a rooftop pool with you, “Vikings” is a hilariously un-self-aware follow-up to “A Bad Girl In Harlem,” which had an infectious single and a curious deviation into Limp Bizkit territory. “Girl Crush” is the best track, which is saying something, because it is a pre-fab Kohls commercial jam with Avril Lavigne handclaps. Two things: 1) The band is from Copenhagen, so there are some hilarious botched metaphors in the lyrics, and 2) I will probably hate-listen to this album at least a couple more times before the summer is over.

DSS: Now I need a jello shot. Why do you do these things to me, Eric?


NEW SINGLES

Chvrches ‘Never Ending Circles’ – Listen

EW: Take my money. This single very much serves as a bridge between the dark whimsy of the band’s debut album and the righteous anger of “Leave a Trace,” the first single off of the upcoming “Every Open Eye.”

DSS: I love the way their grandiose pop shimmers with hints of Celtic magic. Can’t wait to hear the full length.

Lana del Rey ‘High By the Beach’ – Listen 

EW: Since Our Lady of del Rey turned out to be popular beyond most people’s wildest dreams, it seems her label has given her a wide berth of creative control. Not quite the grandiosity of “Born To Die’s” high points, not quite the sonic Quaalude of “Ultraviolence,” this track shows that she’s tweaking and fine-tuning her hip hop noir even further. It seems to be moving in an intriguing direction.

DSS: Turns out stoned by the beach is the least tedious mope variation Lana del Rey indulges in. I almost like this song. Almost.

Wavves ‘Heavy Metal Detox’ – Listen

EW: This is a Wavves song! Do you like Wavves? I sure do!

DSS: Fun stoney, surf jam to take out the summer.

James Vincent McMorrow ‘How to Waste a Moment’ – Listen

EW: He’s got a big, heavenly voice, but instead of his usual Bon Iver soundalike gems, this one is dipping its toes into the How To Dress Well/James Blake R&B pool.

Gavin James ‘Bitter Pill’ – Listen

EW: For the Hozier fan who finds manbuns too sexually agitating, but is too discerning for Ed Sheeran. James opened for Sam Smith at the Erwin Center on Saturday, and he’s got a fine voice and affable charm. I picture a smash teen movie soundtrack spot in his future.

DSS: This guy, Hozier and Ed Sheeran all fit into a triple A rock radio version of New Sincerity that has massive commercial appeal.

Listen to the best tracks this week below.

 

New music videos from Austin festival artists CHVRCHES, Tame Impala

Ditch the Garfield act today, Austin music fans. You have at least two reasons to love this particular Monday: new music videos from CHVRCHES and Tame Impala.

CHVRCHES performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Friday October 10, 2014. (JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
CHVRCHES performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Friday October 10, 2014. (JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The former, bringing their shiny synthpop to Fun Fun Fun Fest in November, dropped the video for “Leave a Trace.” The song is the first single from the Scottish group’s eagerly awaited sophomore album, “Every Open Eye.” Just like in the song itself, the clip finds CHVRCHES frontwoman Lauren Mayberry defiantly standing tall against some unseen object of her scorn, all in some otherworldly dimension. This is all Mayberry’s show — let’s see if she pulls a Beyoncé or Diana Ross on the rest of the band.

When you’re done with the gorgeous abstractions of that video, dive headlong into Austin City Limits Music Festival artist Tame Impala’s video for “Let It Happen.” The song, a standout track from recently released album “Currents” is, obviously, psychedelic and trippy and all that good stuff.

360 First Spins: Pitbull, Jason Isbell, Future, Iron & Wine, Tame Impala, Wilco

Every Friday at noon, Austin360 music writers Deborah Sengupta Stith and Eric Webb hijack the Austin360 Periscope account to talk about the week’s new album and single releases. These aren’t full reviews, but first impressions. Here’s our take on a selection of albums that take you to the booty club, the back porch barbecue and (maybe?) a galaxy far, far away. Listen to music from this week’s show in our 360 First Spins: July 2015 Spotify playlist.

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Pitbull “Dale” – Listen on Spotify

daleDSS: Not a Pitbull fan, but I’m swayed by the fact that “El Taxi” samples one of my (and everyone else’s) favorite dancehall jams, but this is Pitbull doing what he does best, make dance party hits best experienced while sweating through a Zumba class or in the early hours of the morning after one too many fruity cocktails. Also, this is Pitbull’s second primarily Spanish-language album and Pitbull en español  > Pitbull in English.

EW: I’m not going to blame Pitbull for being Pitbull. Shine on, you worldwide diamond.

 

isbellJason Isbell “Something More Than Free” – Listen

EW: Continuing the trend of country music with fewer pickup trucks and bright lights and more working-class grit and sparks of social consciousness, Isbell goes straight for the populist heart on this one. It sounds like dirt-caked hands and tackles everything from hard livin’ to pondering the existence of God. Isbell said before its release that “Something More Than Free” was going to be more of a celebratory record, but all I know is that songs like “24 Frames” and the title track are honest and folk-minded. (Good folk. Not bad folk.)

DSS: One of 2015’s strongest additions to the “new sincerity” country cannon.

 

futureFuture “DS2” – Listen

DSS: The stumbly, mumbly, NSFW soundtrack for your next Percoset-laced trip to the strip club.

EW: Well, he’s certainly got a Southern flow.

 

ironIron & Wine, Ben Bridwell “Sing Into My Mouth” – Listen

EW: Sam Beam has been tending more country and less sparse-folk-in-an-echo-chamber for a little while now. With that in mind, this album of covers (recorded with Band of Horses dude Ben Bridwell) is sun-drenched pleasantry. Taking on tunes from Sade, Bonnie Raitt, Spiritualized and more, the standouts are a prettily languid, break-the-mold version of Talking Heads’ “This Must Be the Place” on the opener and an album-closing Peter LaFarge cover that’s dreamy and hallucinatory.

DSS: The soundtrack for summertime bonding with your hippie skirted sisters and your bushy-bearded bros.

 


tameTame Impala “Currents” – Listen

DSS: I like that the band’s branching out into a hazy, almost electropop sound at times. Not much on this album really jumps out as unforgettable, but I think they’re likely to play the sunset time slot at Austin City Limits Festival this year and these sounds in the golden light will be sublime.

EW: Dreamy, maybe snoozy, but I foresee many ACL Fest-ers inhaling various vapors quite contentedly to this album.

wilcoWilco “Star Wars” – Listen

EW: This album, a Beyonce-style surprise digital drop, has taught me a very important lesson about myself: I do understand early-millennium white guy guitar rock. This album leaves me blank, with its wavy guitars and indistinct, uninteresting vocals. I would not have someone turn this off if it was on the radio, but I would also ask if they had an aux-cord so I could put on Iron & Wine instead.

DSS: Which galaxy far, far away is run by the fluffy rose cats? #tellmetweedy

 

pePublic Enemy “Man Plans God Laughs” – Listen

DSS: In their mid-fifties, Chuck D and Flav are back to fight the power. Chuck D said sections of the album were inspired by ‘Ye, Run the Jewels and Kendrick Lamar, but most of the record sounds like straight up classic PE, timely and important as ever. But there are a few big misses, including “Honky Tonk Rules,” the PE country song no one ever asked for.

EW: That country song is … jarring. Aside from that, sounds sharp.

Ratatat “Magnifique” – Listen

EW: These Brooklyn bros always bring the rock into their electro-instrumentals, and I’ve been a fan in the past. (“Loud Pipes” was my ringtone in high school.) I was curious to hear how their newest material sounded in a post-Calvin Harris, post-Hudson Mohawke, post-Pretty Lights world of electronic popularity and diversity, and while it sounds like they’re trying to change it up a bit, it’s still distinctly Ratatat. Aside from the shreddy guitars chunks and metallic drones, there’s a lighter touch on songs like “Primetime,” which sounded a little like a Phoenix montage in a Sofia Coppola movie. (Sans lyrics, obvi.) Perhaps not as exciting as they meant it to be, but points for trying.

DSS: An interesting mix of sounds, worth a longer listen.

Quick spins: Singles and EPs

Carly Rae Jepsen “Run Away With Me” – Listen

EW: I love this song with my bones, and I am going to listen to it all summer. I’m a sucker for an “oooh-oooh-oooh” vocal flourish.

DSS: As my homie Eric Webb said during the broadcast, C-Jeps is no Jill Scott, but better than Demi Lovato.

Cee-Lo “Robin Williams” – Listen

DSS: In theory I’m pro-message music about mental health awareness, but this feels awkward, uncomfortable and off.

EW: Too soon, not his story to tell, feels cheap and exploitative. No sir.

Chvrches “Leave a Trace” – Listen

EW: Lauren Mayberry’s voice is at a (relative) full-on growl! Hot dang! This song has fire in its gut, and it’s very reflective of the band’s growth from the neon light show of “The Bones of What You Believe” and subsequent standalone tracks like “Dead Air” and “Get Away.” There’s a glint of darkness in those synths that match the lyrics now. Go get ’em, Chvrches. See ya at Fun Fun Fun.

DSS: While this definitely maintains the distinctive Chvrches sound, it feels like the band is pushing in new directions.

Icona Pop “Emergency” – Listen

DSS: I was all about the single”I Love It” then disappointed by the Swedish duo’s debut full-length which struck me as one-note and, frankly, boring. I’m cautiously excited again.

EW: I have heard this on a commercial. It was not a good commercial, because I did not purchase or remember that product. But if these ladies want to move away from a more traditional Swedish pop sound, I say bully for them. It ain’t bad.

Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015: Listen to the playlist

Clockwise from left: Jane's Addiction, CHVRCHES and Wu-Tang Clan. (American-Statesman file photos)
Clockwise from left: Jane’s Addiction, CHVRCHES and Wu-Tang Clan. (American-Statesman file photos)

Now in it’s 10th year, Fun Fun Fun Fest promises exponential fun levels and a Generation-X-friendly lineup for 2015.

To celebrate the big one-zero, you’ve got to go big or go home, and FFF is definitely going big, offering an array of one-time-only experiences. Alt-rockers Jane’s Addiction will be performing their 1990 release, “Ritual de lo Habitual,” in it’s entirety, and Gogol Bordello will no doubt pull out all the stops to theatrically play all of “Gypsy Punks.” Festival headliners Wu-Tang Clan will have all members present to perform, and hardcore band Dag Nasty will be reuniting just for FFF.

This year’s fest will also have everything from trance-y synth acts like Slow Magic and Grimes to skate park staples NOFX and Skinny Puppy.

And keep an eye out for lesser-known names like Peaches and Shamir, who both know how to churn out a catchy hook that will get stuck in your head all day. You’ll also want to groove to local artists Roger Sellers and Ringo Deathstarr, two great names from your own backyard.

Jam this playlist while you start raiding your closet for the perfect “indie-but-not-trying-too-hard” outfit.

Listen to our Fun Fun Fun Fest playlist, now on Spotify.

Can’t make it to ACL Fest weekend two? Stream it on Austin360

Catch a livestream on Austin360 of artists like, clockwise from top left, Skrillex, Childish Gambino, St. Vincent, Spoon, and many more from ACL Fest weekend two. (AMERICAN STATESMAN PHOTOS)
Catch a livestream on Austin360 of artists like, clockwise from top left, Skrillex, Childish Gambino, St. Vincent, Spoon, and many more from ACL Fest weekend two. (AMERICAN STATESMAN PHOTOS)

Can’t snag an Austin City Limits Music Festival wristband for weekend two? As long you have a phone or computer with Internet connection, you can holster that FOMO.

On Oct. 10-12, Austin360 will be livestreaming sets from some of the biggest names in music straight from Zilker Park, in partnership with Red Bull TV. You’ll be able to watch Beck, Lorde, Spoon and 42 other artists perform across the festival’s four main stages from 2 to 10 p.m., with two channels to choose from. Plus: You won’t get a sunburn, unless your laptop screen is too bright.

Bonus: After the stream of Skrillex’s performance Saturday night, stay tuned for the premiere of “Let’s Make a Spaceship: Skrillex Mothership Tour 2014, a 35-minute behind-the-scenes documentary about the DJ’s current world tour.

Check out the full livestream schedule below. The livestreaming lineup is subject to change.

Channel 1

Friday

2:15 p.m.: Temples

3:15 p.m.: Capital Cities

4:15 p.m.: Bleachers

5:15 p.m.: Chvrches

6:15 p.m.: Childish Gambino

7:30 p.m.: Foster the People

8:45 p.m.: Beck

Saturday

2:15 p.m.: Empires

3:15 p.m.: Trombone Shorty

4:30 p.m.: The Head and the Heart

5:30 p.m.: Interpol

6:30 p.m.: Icona Pop

7:30 p.m.: The Avett Brothers

8:45 p.m.: Skrillex

10 p.m.: Skrillex documentary (world premiere)

Sunday

2:15 p.m.: MØ

3 p.m.: Cults

4 p.m.: Fitz and the Tantrums

5 p.m.: The Gaslight Anthem

6 p.m.: Jenny Lewis

7 p.m.: Spoon

8:15 p.m.: Lorde

9:15 p.m.: Calvin Harris

Channel 2

Friday

2:15 p.m.: Saints of Valory

3:15 p.m.: Jimmy Cliff

4:15 p.m.: James Bay

5:30 p.m.: Paolo Nutini

6:30 p.m.: St. Vincent

7:30 p.m.: Belle & Sebastian

8:45 p.m.: The Glitch Mob

Saturday

2 p.m.: Spanish Gold

3 p.m.: Mac DeMarco

4 p.m.: Rebelution

5 p.m.: Zoé

6 p.m.: Tune-Yards

8 p.m.: Juanes

9 p.m.: Broken Bells

10 p.m.: Skrillex documentary (world premiere)

Sunday

2 p.m.: Encore: The Head and the Heart

3 p.m.: Gramatik

4 p.m.: Real Estate

5 p.m.: Benjamin Booker

6 p.m.: Encore: Childish Gambino

7 p.m.: Phantogram

8:15 p.m.: Encore: The Glitch Mob

9:30 p.m.: Chromeo