Music News Recap: “It’s The F*cking Nuts”

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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Mike Dirnt

Even though he’s not a committed vegetarian, Green Day’s Mike Dirnt has designed a vegan-friendly shoe. Hey, every little bit helps, right?

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CD Review: Little Joy, “Little Joy”

Little Joy

It’s kind of a cruel joke when a band puts out an absolutely fantastic summer record in the dead of winter, but at least it serves as a reminder that those carefree warmer days are indeed on their way.  Little Joy’s self-titled debut is an album for sunsets, barbecues, long drives, lazing around the pool, and is just about as sunny, innocent and sweet as you could ask for; using breezy ’60s pop and bossa nova as a vehicle to arrive at some unknown tropical landscape.

The band is the latest in a series of side projects from members of The Strokes.  This time it’s drummer Fabrizio Moretti’s turn to test the waters of a new musical adventure.  Along with Brazilian singer/guitarist Rodrigo Amarante (formerly of Los Hermanos), and Binki Shapiro, Moretti has created an album of undeniably massive joy, with Little Joy.

Moretti, Amarante, Shapiro

Little Joy, from left: Moretti, Amarante, Shapiro

From the first bouncy plucks of acoustic guitar strings kicking off “The Next Time Around,” to the last wisps of Amarante’s smokey and endlessly romantic “Evaporar,” the record never ceases to enchant.  As hideously cheesy as it sounds, I found myself smiling along to the gentle tunes, and even make little coos of “awww!” at especially pleasant musical moments.

The simplicity of euphoric choruses like “There ain’t no lover like the one I got/She and I got a brand new start/Gotta give all my love” have that wonderful Beatle-esque quality where listeners can anticipate where the melody is headed before it gets there, and leaves them wondering how it’s possible that it hasn’t been done before.

Die-hard Strokes fans should take note that Moretti is still fond of the sounds that made him famous.  “Keep Me In Mind,” with its bittersweet lyrics (“Frankly dear I’ve had enough/Tried my hand and now I’ve had enough/Even though we have to say goodbye/Keep me in mind”) and choppy guitar would be very much at home on The Strokes’ Room On Fire album.  Fellow Strokes bandmate, guitarist Nick Valensi even lends his vocal talents to the album on “With Strangers”; its haunting undertones evoking scenes from The Godfather.

In another cameo, Devendra Banhart’s vocals appear alongside Shapiro’s hushed, delicate delivery in “Don’t Watch Me Dancing.”  While it’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite among these consistently enjoyable 11 tunes, this song, with its slow motion sway-inducing rhythms in the vein of the Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning,” is certainly among the album’s finest moments. “Shoulder To Shoulder” and “How To Hang A Warhol” are as well.  The former is a perfect slow dance, while the latter is an upbeat toe-tapper, reminiscent of the clever and sweet childish positivity that fans of Jonathan Richman will instantly recognize.

Little Joy’s debut is, to put it mildly, an absolute treat from beginning to end.  As the coldest days of winter surround us here in the Midwest, keep the warmth of this gorgeous record close.

-Shelley Peckham

Little Joy performing “Next Time Around”

Media Roundup: You Say Hello, I Say Goodbye…

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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Carl Barat‘s post-Libertines outfit, Dirty Pretty Things, have played their final show. Check out the video for “Bang, Bang You’re Dead,” from the band’s brief, but successful career.  They will be missed.

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Though fans will have to shell out big bucks to get their hands on some of the limited edition packages, it’s being reported that U2‘s new album will be made available in five different (and arguably unnecessary) versions.

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In an unexpected move, Morrissey has signed on with alt-country label Lost Highway Records for the release of his next album, Years of Refusal, due out in February of next year.

Morrissey

Morrissey

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As the year draws to a close, music fans are busy compiling their Best of 2008 lists.  Check out Spin’s collection of 10 great albums you may have missed.

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A dispute between Warner Music Group and Google has led to the removal of several artist’s music videos from YouTube.

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On the eve of the 20th anniversary (!) of their debut, The Stone Roses‘ bassist reveals that the band is 3/4ths of the way decided in favor of a reunion.

The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses

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Hear the story of  Robert Wyatt, “the godfather of righteous jazz-pop lullaby,” in his own words.

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The video for “The Fear,” the first single from pop Brit wit Lily Allen‘s upcoming record hit YouTube.  Do you think Lily will avoid the sophomore album curse?

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Hear a different side of Strokes drummer Fab Moretti with his side project, Little Joy.

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