In case you somehow managed to hide from the rest of the internet on the way to this page, Frank Ocean’s new album, channel ORANGE, is streaming through his tumblr and available on iTunes. It’s difficult all the way through and even though Frank is getting attention on his own, it fits in with the Odd Future catalogue better than Nostalgia/Ultra. Frank seems older and more assured of what traps he wants to avoid. He’s too smart to say he’s got it all figured out, but his voice is bolder on this record as he searches for “real love.” The songs are deeply personal, the production is amazing and if this album stays on top of the charts (currently #1 on iTunes) maybe Frank Ocean, and hopefully soon after D’Angelo, will help bring real soul back on to the radio. Tyler suggested stabbing Bruno Mars, but Frank might just kill his career instead.
LDR / JFK
It took watching this ludicrous Lohan-Hollywood-meets-the-Great-Gatsby-in-the-1960s interpretation of JFK and Jackie O to realize why a Lana Del Rey and A$AP Rocky collaboration makes total sense. Even though Lana Del Rey looks and acts like a Hitchcock seductress (see North By Northwest), artistically she acts like a rapper. Her lyrics, especially on “National Anthem,” make unrhetorical claims about the appeals, goals and standards of American success. Case in point;
“Money is the anthem for success… Money is the reason we exist. Everybody knows it. It’s a fact, kiss, kiss.”
This sounds completely absurd drenched in studio-pop production, but no one would think twice if it was in a Rick Ross song. Sure it’s dumb, but how is it any worse than Rick Ross’ addition, “Bag of Money,” on the new, critically-aclaimed compilation Self Made 2, where a woman is so entranced by his bag of money that she cannot resist him?
In essence, LDR is taking the sarcasm out of acoustic covers of rap songs (see: Nina Gordon’s “Straight Outta Compton”).
Since she wrote the book on cultivating internet buzz, it seems like LDR might be in on the joke and realize how well A$AP Rocky fits in with what she’s doing. If not, she has a lot of people laughing at her. Fortunately, those people are also paying to go to her shows because it seems that when the internet is laughing loudly it just means that everyone is listening.
Over the weekend I helped put on the WCWM Fest at the College of William & Mary. The three-day festival’s five showcases featured over 20 bands with highlight performances from rising bands like Laura Stephenson & the Cans, and Tough Luck as well as headlining performances by The Mountain Goats and The Walkmen. Both headliners played awesome sets on the Sunken Gardens’ main stage.
John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats played a fun romp of a solo set that included almost as many anecdotes as songs. I am now convinced that “No Children” can only be fully appreciated when sung by a group of angsty college students at the top of their lungs. Even as the night grew colder, The Walkmen played an awesome, well-polished set scattered with new and old material. They were sparse on the banter but did mention their recently celebrated tenth birthday. They proved that, even after a decade together, they still have a passion for making music and putting on a good show.
Here is a new song from their upcoming LP ‘Heaven,’ which is due out June 5. According to the set list, the song is called Heartbreaker.