In May 2006, six months after releasing their fifth studio album Hypnotize, System of a Down announced they would be going on an indefinite hiatus. Now, over four years later, the band is reuniting for a string of European shows next summer. In a post on their website, the band announced they would be playing 10 shows in eight different countries. “We are playing these shows simply because we want to play together again as a band and for you, our amazing fans,” the band wrote. “We also want to thank you for your loyalty and support, not only to System of a Down, but to all of our solo efforts as well.”
The solo efforts the band referenced were widespread: Vocalist Serj Tankian released two solo albums (Elect The Dead and Imperfect Harmonies), guitarist Daron Malakian and drummer John Dolmayan’s formed the rock band Scars on Broadway (who rocked a show this past spring at LA’s Troubadour, their first gig in over a year) and bassist Shavo Odadjian worked with Wu-Tang Clan’s the RZA among others.
We promised you the most comprehensive preview of the “Tron: Legacy” soundtrack on the Internet and you got… well, the most comprehensive preview of the “Tron: Legacy” soundtrack on the Internet.
Here it is: A condensed version of the soundtrack, paired down to one continuous 21-minutes-track filled with Daft Punk goodness. And, as you’ll hear, the French electro godfathers did not disappoint. It’s sort of like a mix CD of all the moments on the soundtrack that you will hear once it’s released this Tuesday, but boiled down to the best parts. Enjoy.
Around this time every year, music people like us start getting reflective. Don’t question it, that’s just what we do. Over the course of any given year, we sink our teeth into every bit of music we can grab onto, before ultimately deciding whether it actually is the next big thing. Or if it’s just the next, well, Lady Sovereign.
Some albums we’ll eventually view as timeless, while others will end up feeling a bit too 2010. But that’s the beauty of these end-of-the-year lists. You just never know. This week, we are unveiling our Top 50 Albums of the Year. Ten a day for the next week. And, to make this a bit more unique, we had our friends at Vahalla Studios design minimal posters for each album. (They’re not just for movies anymore!)
In the end, we’d like to think of this as a sprawling collection of musical goodness that cuts across all genres, the results of a process that, per usual, brought on an intense amount of ego-bruising, music taste-harassment and every other brand of unnecessary critique you can dream of.
Yes, it’s safe to say we love this stuff.
The Drums, a relatively new indie trio from Brooklyn, broadcast with the name of their band how much they care about gear and sound and technique. They then make it even clearer with their self-titled debut, which could fool an experienced record collector into thinking they are hearing some compilation of out-of-the-vault rarities from the original post-punk era. In other words, if you’re one of those listeners for whom invention trumps inspiration, it’s probably best to stay away from “Best Friend,” where The Drums channel The Cure’s mopey jangle, and “It Will All End in Tears,” where they do an even better job with New Order’s propulsive melancholy. As for everybody else: Good luck trying to get their whimsical ode to summer “Let’s Go Surfing” out of your head.—Mikael Wood
An Ivy League grad and former management consultant seems like an unlikely candidate to help revive the heavy-hearted protest music and gritty soul of yesteryear. But John Legend, one of R&B’s most refined voices, along with arguably the most versatile backing band alive, The Roots, have taken the old school funk and soul classics on Wake Up! and treated them with a modern day sheen. Baby Huey’s “Hard Times” receives a bass-heavy thwack, Marvin Gaye’s “Wholy Holy” makes Sunday School haters yearn for the kneeler and Ernie Hines’ “Our Generation (The Hope Of The World)” is updated with CL Smooth’s East Coast hip-hop swag. “War is hell / It always has been, it always will be,” Legend elegantly prophesizes in the spoken-word intro to “I Can’t Write Left Handed.” Legend may not have been in the trenches, but the man’s certainly got a feel for the fight. —Dan Hyman
Nathan Williams of Wavves comes on like the lowest-ambition rock-star aspirant since the word “slacker” made its half-hearted exit from the cultural lexicon. “Our stupid CD came out today,” he told an audience at an L.A. record-release show for King Of The Beach this past summer. “Big deal.” Truth be told, though, the release of Wavves’ third full-length was a big deal, with a cleaned-up production job by Modest Mouse knob-twirler Dennis Herring, backing-band help from the late Jay Reatard’s former crew and a considerable promotional push overseen by the revitalized cool-hunters at Fat Possum. (There was also Williams’ blog-bait romance with Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, whose Crazy for You came out, rather synergistically, within a few weeks of King.) Yet none of that is what you think about when you listen to the fuzz-bomb power-pop found here: What you think about is nothing at all. —Mikael Wood
For their fourth collaborative album together, veteran lyricist Murs and legendary producer 9th Wonder have finally settled into the perfect groove. Now 11 albums into his storied career, Murs perfectly walks that line between hardass and everydude (even though he’s trying to be “something like a mix between Tooki and Shakespeare”). Murs is usually found in chill mode, like vintage DJ Quik or King Tee, reveling in simple pleasures like food, drink and girls. (Sample song titles include “Live From Roscoe’s,” “Cigarettes And Liquor” and, er, “Asian Girl.”) But 9th Wonder is his perfect foil for this laidback ride, lacing each track with the vintage soul samples (Ohio Players, the Lovelites, Johnny Bristol) that gives Murs’ boasts and punchlines equal parts bounce and nostalgia. But the album’s secret weapon is a who’s who of ’90s Cali underdogs—Kurupt, Suga Free, Sick Jacken—making the whole album feel like a sunny, summer hang sesh.—Christopher R. Weingarten
Ludacris’ seventh effort, first billed as a lyrical mêlée between the rapper and his DTP labelmate Shawnna, lost its initial direction once his female cohort jumped ship. But naturally, the Mouth of the South turned to the over-the-top brand of sexual braggadocio he’s cooked to perfection for the past 10 years. If he’s not teasing (“Feelin’ So Sexy”), he’s gettin’ nasty (“My Chick Bad) and the only battle here is whether his lyrical speed can match how fast he’ll get you laying butt-ass naked in his bed. Though his original concept never did come to full fruition, he does take some time out to spar with a few of rap’s leading ladies: Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim join the battle-turned-orgy, but Luda’s been shaggin’ long enough to know that’s one ménage-a-trois that won’t end pretty.—Dan Hyman
Daft Punk get us excited. And yes, we’ll admit that when you have two French dudes in spacesuits, anything is instantly more awesome. But nevertheless, it can’t be overlooked that the duo’s consistently innovative take on dance music has come to define this now-exploding genre over the past two decades.
Naturally, when you get to this status, you’re no longer hosting greased up raves as if you were DJ Pauly D; you score films. Now, in their latest endeavor, Daft Punk have created an electro-sophisticated barrage of noise for the digitalized eye-gasm that is Tron: Legacy. As such, we’re jacked up to give you an exclusive first listen to some new Daft Punk music from the film’s soundtrack starting today at 3 pm PST. Because some of the disc is, more or less, orchestra-dominated theatrics, we’ve narrowed down the 21 most “Daft Punk-y” minutes on the soundtrack for you to check out (aka less violins, more electro- mayhem).
On a chilly night in October, one story above the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame, London’s biggest male pop star to invade the States in some time was making his home backstage at the LA venue, Cinescape. This man was Taio Cruz, and the 27-year-old was relaxing before performing for a packed-in house at his very own Myspace Secret Show. Of course, while Cruz was mellowing out behind the velvet ropes, openers DJ Jay-P (Third Floor) and Brooklyn’s The Beatards were breaking the crowd in before Mr. Cruz took the stage. We could go on talking about this show all day but we’d rather have you check out a video of the whole crazy night for yourself. So take a look below at an exclusive video recap of Taio Cruz’s Myspace Secret Show where we sit down with the pop star, catch his epic performance and everything in between.
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