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A couple weeks ago, Jack Antonoff became the second person to win the Producer Of The Year, Non-Classic Grammy three years in a row. (Babyface was the first). He has kept busy, as always, rolling out his soundtrack for the Apple TV+ series The New Look and rolling out a new Bleachers album, which is self-titled and due in a couple weeks. He’s shared a few songs from it already, most recently “Tiny Moves,” and today he’s putting out another one, “Me Before You.” Check it out below. Bleachers is out 3/8 via Dirty Hit.
The Jesus And Mary Chain are gearing up to release a new album, Glasgow Eyes, their first in seven years and their second since reuniting in 2007. The LP was originally supposed to be out on March 8, but due to vinyl production delays they’re pushing that date back a couple weeks to March 22. But today, they’re releasing a new single to make up for the delay, “Girl 71,” which joins “Chemical Animal” and 5 Best Songs Of The Week honoree “jamcod” as an advance single. Listen below.
Last month, Mark Knopfler announced a new solo album, One Deep River, and shared a lead single, “Ahead Of The Game.” A couple weeks after that, Knopfler detailed a charity single featuring 54 (!) famous rock guitarists that shows just how much pull the Dire Straits legend has in the guitar world — that will be out in March. And today, Knopfler is back on the promotional rollout with “Watch Me Gone,” the second single from his solo album.
In retrospect, the fates of indie rock’s Class Of 2008 panned out much stranger than anticipated. At or around the final turn of the 2000s, three bands made the indie-to-major crossover in highly visible fashion: MGMT, Passion Pit, and Chairlift, all coincidentally signed to the same huge hub of Columbia. Following the wispy and gently weird electronic pop of their buzzy Kanine debut Does You Inspire You, Chairlift built an increasing amount of acclaim with their two Columbia releases, Something and Moth in 2012 and 2016 respectively — then, they broke up, with Patrick Wimberly becoming something of an in-demand producer across the pop and indie spectrum while frontwoman Caroline Polachek would metamorphosize into one of the must cultishly beloved alternative pop stars of our current decade so far. After several very successful albums and a highly visible struggle with mental health issues, Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos — whose project’s first three releases, from 2008’s breakout Chunk Of Change EP to the adventurous and emotionally devastating Gossamer from 2013, inspired countless imitators while remaining singular in its purely emotive streaks amongst plenty of too-cool peers — largely retreated from the public spotlight, occasionally re-emerging for one-off live performances when he sees fit to. But if Chairlift and Passion Pit’s trajectories were a little strange and a little expected when it comes to indie-to-major success stories, the path that MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser took is as rarely-trodden (especially when compared to the extreme predictability of current-day indie rock) as it gets. Formed in extreme earnest while the pair were attending Wesleyan in the mid-2000s, MGMT seemingly came out of nowhere with their Columbia debut Oracular Spectacular in 2008 after the record received a low-key digital release in the fall of 2007. It was a wooly and wild record that also contained three of the most high-powered and ubiquitous singles in the realm of 2000s indie rock, and the swaying synths and rubbery beats of “Kids,” “Electric Feel,” and “Time To Pretend” still reverberate in the strangest of places today — from Travis Kelce’s old tweets to Saltburn’s nude-sunbathing montage. At the time of release, these songs were inescapable for a certain variant of millennial, suggesting the potential for MGMT to become the biggest mainstream indie rock crossover since the Strokes hit the scene seven years previous. Something else happened instead: MGMT got weirder. And weirder. And weirder. 2010’s heavily anticipated Congratulations ditched all pop pretense in favor of spiky, melodically slippery prog-pop and sidelong multi-suite discursions, while 2013’s self-titled effort was suffuse with spacey paranoia, even its most accessible tunes miles away from the type of music that made MGMT famous. “At this point in our careers, we can’t write a pop song,” VanWyngarden told me in a Pitchfork cover story chronicling MGMT’s own fraught genesis, and even as he and Goldwasser proved that sentiment wrong with the starry-eyed and apocalyptic Little Dark Age in 2018, it’s since become crystal clear that MGMT were simply not made for the indie-pop times that they incidentally and very accidentally brought forth. Of course, the fact that MGMT have (not unlike cosmic kin Animal Collective) marched to the beat of their own drum regardless of their own success is not a bad thing. Indeed, it’s actually made for one of the most fascinating career trajectories in the last 20 years of indie rock, as Goldwasser and VanWyngarden have journeyed far out in terms of their sonic style —encompassing dusky and freaked-out folk-rock, prog’s knotty and self-mythologizing sense of indulgence, the brittle glow of early electronic music, and the weirdo charms of lo-fi garage pop— with lyrical sentiments that are hilarious, horrifying, and sometimes both all at once. They’ve worked with left-of-center musical thinkers like former Spacemen 3 member Pete “Sonic Boom” Kember, ex-Royal Trux mouthpiece Jennifer Herrema, Australian freak-pop aesthete Connan Mockasin, and the aforementioned superproducer-in-the-making Wimberly; Panda Bear, Bradford Cox, and Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter all count themselves as admirers of MGMT’s fascinating catalog so far. At this point, MGMT have become something of a “heads only” concern — your favorite musician’s favorite band, maybe — which is a funny thing to say for an act still frequently namechecked as the musical representation of late-2000s hipsterdom, and aughts nostalgia as a whole. But with every successive record, VanWyngarden and Goldwasser have increasingly cemented a reputation as two people from whom to expect the unexpected; if you’re into hearing stuff that’s a little challenging and unlike what most of their supposed peers are doing, they are making it in no short supply. Their latest record, Loss Of Life (out this Friday), is quite possibly MGMT’s biggest left turn in a career full of them. Across its ten songs, the duo embrace a classic-rock aesthetic that has only been hinted at here and there throughout their discography — but with an alien, uneasy touch that only these two could possibly conjure, with a doomy and pessimistic lyrical outlook offsetting the wide-eyed pastoral psychedelia that runs through it. Newcomers and longtime fans might be surprised by this latest twist, so we’ve put together a very unscientific ranking of the best MGMT songs so far that doubles as an instructive journey through this band’s fantastically fascinating catalog.
Norah Jones is releasing a new album, Visions, in a couple weeks, and she introduced it last month with “Running.” It’s her first album of original songs in four years, since 2020’s Pick Me Up Off The Floor. Jones worked on the album alongside Leon Michels of El Michels Affair. Today, she’s back with a new single, “Staring At The Wall.”
Jahari Massamba Unit is the duo of Madlib and Karriem Riggins, two producers and multi-instrumentalists who bridge the divide between rap and jazz. Both Madlib and Riggins have crazy resumes on their own, and they’re also putting together a real catalog together. Riggins and Madlib have been collaborating since 2007, and they’re getting ready to follow up their 2020 album Pardon My French with a new one called YHWH Is Love. After the early singles “Stomping Gamay” and “Massamba Afundance,” they’ve dropped another one.
London duo Real Lies make a wordy, emotive, oddly talky form of dance music that hits a certain late-night sweet spot. In 2021, when they were getting ready to release their sophomore album Lad Ash, we made them a Stereogum Band To Watch. A few months ago, they released their Sinking Suburb EP. Now, Real Lies have teamed up with Irish dance producer Kettama for a new single called “Purple Hearts.”
Under the moniker your hands, Danish singer/songwriter Johannes Brandstrup crafts a cozy, charming, and folk-inflected style of indie pop. He has already shared a handful of singles, most recently with last year’s “down here waiting,” and tomorrow he’s set to share his forthcoming debut EP, songs to sing in your kitchen.
North Carolina-based indie pop and folk outfit The Collection returned last year with a series of singles, the first taste of their forthcoming new album due out later this year. The record follows their last full-length album, 2018’s Entropy, and their 2023 EP, How to Survive an Ending, and sees the band diverting into vulnerable and introspective new territory, prompted by frontman David Wimbish’s choice to get sober during the pandemic.