Welcome back to Music Dispatch! Today, we have footage of Baby-Kanye, party tricks by Jessie J, and a crowdfunded album by TLC. But first, in honor of last night’s State of the Union address, in which President Obama stressed the dangers of climate change, let’s kick things off with a related news item from the world of music:
The Associated Press reports that Pharrell and former Vice President and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore will be teaming up to produce a worldwide concert called “Live Earth,” with the objective of building international public support for a U.N. climate pact. The concert promises to somehow incorporate all seven continents, including whatever hasn’t melted yet in Antarctica. Here’s hoping Gore and Pharrell duet on a PowerPoint presentation of “Come Get It Bae”. [ABC]
Yesterday, Kim Kardashian tweeted this video from 1990 of a tween Kanye reading a poemMartin Luther King, Jr. entitled “His Name Means Love”. She may have been a day late for the holiday (or 364 early, depending on how you look at it), but this is a video that should be seen everyday by everyone. The tike has some serious stage presence, and his rhymes aren’t bad either. [Noisey]
On the BBC One’s popular The Graham Norton Show, pop singer Jessie J showed off a party trick as audibly bewildering as it is hilariously visual, singing her hit, “Bang Bang”, with her mouth closed. Somebody get this girl a ventriloquist dummy and a glass of water! [Billboard]
Jenny Lewis’ track, “In April”, will be featured in the Anne Hathaway film, Song One, which releases this week. Lewis has also announced her spring tour to support her acclaimed album, The Voyager. She will kick things off in Austin on January 31st, before zig-zagging her way across the country, including some engagements supporting Ryan Adams. Both musicians will be featured on this Saturday’s episode of Austin City Limits TV. Check out her website for the full tour list.
Kurt Cobain introduced us to Austin’s Daniel Johnston. Todd Terje trumpeted Norway’s Inspector Norse. Now, Björk brings us Iceland’s Grandma Lo-Fi, who began making music at the age of 70, and quickly became a cult sensation, churning out a staggering 59 albums in the six years after. Noisey interviewed filmmaker and fan, Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir, who has made a documentary about the late Icelandic geriatric (available to buy through Vimeo). Was that not the Björk you were expecting? Well, it turns out that Björk was an adoring fan as well, collecting all 59 of Grandma’s albums. [Noisey]
Delivering a mixtape with thoughtful pleas to pardon his tardiness, Lil Wayne drops Sorry 4 The Wait 2, the follow-up to 2011’s Sorry 4 The Wait, and precursor to Tha Carter V. Drake, 2 Chainz, Christina Milian, Mack Maine and Shanell all lend their talents. You can download the mixtape here, and please let Weezy know if he’s earned your forgiveness. [Spin]
You know the routine: the rad riot grrrls of Sleater-Kinney do anything — anything at all — and we share it. Why? Because everything Tucker, Brownstein and Weiss do is face-meltingly righteous. (Also, “Tucker, Brownstein and Weiss” sounds like a very trustworthy law-firm). Sleater-Kinney were joined by Sky Larkin’s Katie Harkin to perform “Surface Envy” on Conan last night. Watch above, and try to protect your face from the melting. [Brooklyn Vegan]
Same rule applies for Run The Jewels. We run so much RTJ coverage, they may as well have their own section in our drop down menu now. Their latest awesome happening is Killer Mike and El-P’s involvement in the Rookie Mag series, “Ask A Grown Man”. Rebel writes, “their charisma, honesty, directness, and general bonhomie demystify deep questions about sex ’n’ love.”
Dazed premiered the quasi-NSFW, disturbingly body-centric, gif-styled music video for the track “Catch”, by Canadian pop outsider (at least at the moment) Allie X. The video is fantastically weird, if maybe a little pretentiously artful (but in a good way, like an installation at MoMA), and will hopefully bring some more attention to this artist who’s on par with contemporaries like Chvrches and Purity Ring.
The two surviving members of “the most successful female group of all time,” TLC’s T-Boz and Chilli, have launched a Kickstarter campaign to get working on a long-overdo comeback album. Only a few days into the campaign and initially asking for $150,000, the duo has already been pledged well over $100,000. Reportedly, one backer is superfan Katy Perry, whose $5,000 donation earns her a sleepover party with T-Boz. Of the five sleepovers initially offered, all but one have been snatched up, so get in there quick if you too want to stay up late swapping ghost stories and/or scrub stories with T of TLC! [Stereogum]
In a recent interview, actor Johnny Depp said actors who capitalize on their fame to play in bands is “sickening.” Which is a very odd thing to say for someone who just last week was featured on a collaboration with Ryan Adams. While Depp admits he’s been lucky to perform with a number of well-known musicians, he insists the difference lies in his unwillingness to use his fame as a substitute for quality or a door-opener; there will never be a “Johnny Depp Band.” …Except for my band. My band will now be known as “The Johnny Depp Band.” [THR]
Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O has a summery, lo-fi video for her summery, lo-fi track, “Day Go By”. She also has an interview with Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig in the latest GQ. Watch, listen, read and brush up on your Karen O info already, will ya? [Pitchfork]
Some sad news: A$AP Mob’s founding member and businessman, A$AP Yams, has died. Details have not yet been released. He was 26. [Complex]
That’s all for today. See you Friday with more Music Dispatch.