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Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Seasons (Waiting On You)” by Future Islands

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Baltimore synth-pop band Future Islands are currently riding a wave of increasing popularity, based on the strength of their new album, Singles, and their charismatic lead singer Samuel T. Herring. They band is currently on a tour of mostly sold out shows, including their Philly show at the First Unitarian Church on Tuesday, April 29th.

Future Islands formed in 2006 in Greenville, North Carolina and have since released several albums, EP’s and singles. During the first week of March, the band were on the Late Show With David Letterman and this performance of “Seasons (Waiting On You)” became a viral hit. With some incredible dance moves, Future Islands’ lead singer Herring meme’d his way into the digital hearts of music fans with both a fantastic performance and a tumblr gif (see below) that had everyone sharing.

“Seasons (Waiting On You)” is 3 minutes and 47 seconds of pure, glorious, confident New Wave influenced synth pop. It leads off the album, but only hints at the musical depth of the entire record. Below, download the song via NPR Music.

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week – “King of Everything” by Boy George

Photo by Dean Stockings
Photo by Dean Stockings

New Wave icon Boy George’s recent album, This Is What I Do, is his first studio album of original material in almost two decades. The 52 year old has returned with a collection of songs that are self-reflective. Since his days as the lead singer of Culture Club, George has had a storied career; from his personal battles with drug addiction and various legal issues, to his post Culture Club career as am electronica artist, successful DJ, and his acting in the Broadway play Taboo.

This Is What I Do has reggae flavored songs like “My Star,” “Live Your Life,” and “Love And Danger,” as well as a handful of mid-tempo ballads, the highlight of which is “King of Everything.” A confessional in which he sings “Put down the booze/Let the demons win the fight/Dropped my gloves to the ground/You know I’m sorry,” to his followers, then questions his reputation with the anthemic chorus: “What’s the word on the street/Have I lost my crown/Or will I be king of everything,” it’s a song about sin and salvation in grand rock and roll tradition. Boy George plays WXPN’s Free At Noon this Friday, April 18th in a double header with The Black Lips. RSVP here. George plays the TLA Friday evening. Go here for tickets.

Listen to “King of Everything” below.

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “High Ball Stepper” by Jack White

JackWhiteLazarettoArt
Photo courtesy of the artist

Last week Jack White announced he was releasing a new album, Lazaretto, on June 10th. The first song from the record that he’s released is an instrumental, “High Ball Stepper,” a bluesy, psychedelic guitar jam. White will release the title song of the album on April 19th as part of Record Store Day. He’s billing it as “the world’s fastest released record in the history of mankind.” According to his web site:

At 10am in the morning, Jack will take the stage in Third Man’s blue room and record direct-to-acetate what will serve as the limited edition version of his next single, a live rendition of the title track from his upcoming LP Lazaretto. The masters will then be rushed over to United Record Pressing, who will immediately begin pressing 45s. The sleeves will be printed from pictures taken at the show. The finished records will be whisked back to Third Man to sell to awaiting fans.

Below, listen to “High Ball Stepper.”

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of The Week: “Water Fountain” by tUnE-yArDs

Photo by Holly Andres
Photo by Holly Andres

This week’s Gotta Hear Song Of The Week is “Water Fountain” by tUnE-yArDs from her forthcoming album, Nikki Nack, out on May 6th. Since 2009, Merrill Garbus has performed as tUnE-yArDs. In 2011 she released her critically acclaimed w h o k i l l and in the Fall of 2012 she began studying Haitian dance and drumming. A trip to Haiti furthered her exploration of non-Western musical discovery which informed the making of her new album. The first single from the record, “Water Fountains,” is one of her most celebratory songs yet; she turns a Bo Diddley beat – and a nod to “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow – inside out with funky, playful, highly energetic, percussive grooves and a schoolyard chant guaranteed to be the soundtrack to double dutch tournaments, three-on-threes in the paint, and dance floor explosions. Listen to it below. tUnE-yArDs play Union Transfer on Sunday, June 15th.

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Song In My Head” by The String Cheese Incident

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Boulder, Colorado jam band The String Cheese Incident return with a new album, Song In My Head on April 29th. Produced by Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads), it’s the band’s first new studio album in nine years. String Cheese began in 1993 and since then the band – Bill Nershi (guitars and vocals), Michael Kang (mandolin, violin, guitar and vocals), Keith Moseley (bass & vocals), Michael Travis (drums and percussion), Kyle Hollingsworth (keyboards & vocals) and Jason Hann (percussion) have been a favorite on the jam band universe. Despite taking a break in 2006, the band continued to perform some select shows each year. String Cheese have always had a unique voice amongst jam bands, blending elements of rock, electronica, bluegrass, funk and progressive rock. Below, listen to “Song In My Head,” a tumbling, ramshackle boogie of a road song. True to it’s title, “Song In My Head,” will likely get stuck in yours.

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Talk Is Cheap” by Chet Faker

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Australian electronica musician Chet Faker (born Nicholas James Murphy) broke through the music interwebs with his chilled out cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” in 2011 when the song went viral and reached number one on the popular music site Hype Machine. Influenced my R&B and jazz (his name is an homage to jazz legend Chet Baker), Faker released his debut Thinking In Textures EP in 2012 and he releases his debut album Built on Glass on April 15th on Future Classic/Downtown Records. Below, listen to the sensuous “Talk Is Cheap.” It brings to mind the smooth, soulful side of Marvin Gaye with the subtle musical vibes of James Blake. File under: “Quiet Stormtronica”. Chet Faker plays Union Transfer on Friday, May 16th.

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of The Week: “Alexandra” by Hamilton Leithauser

HamiltonLeithauser
Photo by Lauren Dukoff

Hamilton Leithauser, lead singer of recently-broken-up The Walkmen , is releasing his solo debut album, Black Hours on May 6th. “Alexandra” is the first song that Leithauser has shared from the album, and was co-written by Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend. Black Hours also features contributions Richard Swift, Amber Coffman (Dirty Projectors), Morgan Henderson (Fleet Foxes), Paul Maroon (the Walkmen), and Hugh McIntosh (the Recoys).

In addition to the news of Leithauser releasing his solo debut, ex-Walkmen Walter Martin and Peter Bauer are each releasing a solo record this Spring as well. Martin’s album, We’re All Young Together, is out on May 13th. Information about Bauer’s debut will be announced soon. Bauer was in the XPN studios recently for a Key Studio Session, playing with the local band Light Heat. (Update: Peter Matthew Bauer announced his debut album, Liberation!, is coming out on June 24th. Listen to “Latin American Ficciones” here. He plays Milkboy next Saturday, March 8th.)

(Hear More: The Walkmen perform WXPN’s Free At Noon)

Below, watch the video for the upbeat rocker “Alexandra.” The smartly produced video features scenes of handsomely dressed Leithauser sitting in a backstage dressing room while four women dancers prepare for the show, inter cut with performances of Leithauser on stage with his band and the dancers shaking it down for rock and roll.