Jay-Z: “Death of Autotune“
Cranky old fogey Jay-Z steps up to the mic and lets the young people know how it used to be back in the day, when a real rapper, like, say, Biz Markie, could take a quivering, reedy voice and make a hit. “You rappers singing too much/ get back to rap/ you’re T-Pain-ing too much,” he shouts, laying forth his anti-voice-correction manifesto. Alas, Lil’ Wayne and T-Pain’s retort is basically already written for them. “Hey, remember when famous rappers had better things to rap about than software?”
Yo La Tengo: “Periodically Double or Triple
Yo La Tengo once
wrote covered a song called “My Little Corner of the World,” where drummer Georgia Hubley sang about the virtues of escaping to a tiny and personal universe. But that was years ago and it looks like a few decades in an indie-rock hermitage has maybe changed the trio’s outlook. “The walls are closing in, they often do/ I’m seeing double and triple, does this ever happen to you,” sings Ira Kaplan who is evidently suffering frome some cabin fever on “Periodically Double or Triple,” a song from the band’s forthcoming record Popular Songs.
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists: “Where Was My Brain“
Given that this is a demo, recorded by Ted Leo during a band practice, it’s a little hard to make out the lyrics beyond the obvious chorus “Where was my brain?” But given Leo’s track record, it’s probably safe to assume that this is not a meat-head anthem, despite the song’s hard-charging power-chords. Whose brain is being misplaced here, then? Surely it can’t be Ted Leo’s. If any singer-songwriter keeps consistent tabs on his mind, it’s him. Until the final studio version shows up, or Leo releases a lyric sheet, the specifics will just have to remain a mystery.
The Clean: “In The Dreamlife You Need A Rubber Soul“
Even after some thirty years, the heart of New Zealand indie-rock still beats strong. The Bats are about to release a fine new record, The Guilty Office, and now The Clean have come back out of hibernation. On “In the Dreamlife You Need a Rubber Soul,” the trio sounds as good as ever, or more appropriately, as good as they ever wanted to. 12-string guitars still jangle, David Kilgour’s non-sequitur lyrics are still pretty impenetrable. They might have written the same song 20-years ago, which is a good thing.