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What’s New In Music: Azealia Banks, Janis Joplin, Spiritualized

Fresh off covering The Prodigy and Amy Winehouse at Coachella’s opening weekend, current hip-hop it-girl Azealia Banks is apparently releasing her debut EP today, according to her twitter. It features unheard tracks “Grand Prix” and the title track (her birth year, just to remind us how old we are getting). No streams available as of yet, but consider this a heads up to check out hit singles “212”, “Liquorice”, and recent collaboration with Diplo “Fuck Up the Fun“, if you haven’t yet.


It’s generally pretty rare for something “new” to arrive from a legend so long since passed, but that is somewhat the case here. This two-disc set—recorded in September and October 1970—shares nine previously unreleased tracks while documenting a unique recording process between the soulful icon and producer Paul Rothchild through various outtakes.


Jason Pierce returns for LP number seven with Spiritualized, his main focus since disbanding Spacemen 3 in the early 90s. It follows 2008’s Songs in A&E, a dark, existentially-toned album that reflected a near death experience and was heralded as a major comeback success. In comparison, Sweet Heart Sweet Light remains heavy in its the mortality-minded content, but does so with far more uplifting music. Backed by gospel singers and grandiose arrangements, Pierce sounds reinvigorated here, seemingly finding relief in his distinct form of rock and roll.


Established French artist Sébastien Tellier had this to say of his new release: “Don’t listen to my album; listen to my message. Enter into vibration with my music. Let’s merge our dreams, together spreading this communal energy in an immense blue wave that will wash over the world — and truth will emerge.” This is coming from a guy who’s last album was all about sex (and was produced by one half of Daft Punk). This time it’s a bit more transcendental, but still very much a synth-based Ed Banger affair.


Between the blinding indie-pop of Wolf Parade, the weird theatrics of Sunset Rubdown, and the general supergroup-ness of Swan Lake, who knows how Spencer Krug managed to develop another character, much less one like Moonface. The project to date has hosted perhaps his most experimental ideas, simplifying things down to near-drone at times, while in others uncharacteristically direct storytelling. Heartbreaking Bravery favors the latter, pulling in help from Finnish prog-rockers Siinai.


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