The Rolling Stones
"Plundered My Soul"
The whole idea of an unreleased tune from the Exile on Main Street sessions is like hearing somebody dug up video footage of Jesus skateboarding. The Stones have always been circumspect to a fault when it comes to digging around in their vaults — even their Rarities 1971-2003 compilation offered barely a scrap that fans didn't already own. But "Plundered My Soul" is an intact song, a relatively together Exile outtake that chugs along in the torn-and-frayed R&B mode of "Tumbling Dic... | More »
The Black Keys
The Black Keys re-teamed with Danger Mouse to cut the first single off their new record — and they've never sounded tighter or funkier. Drummer Patrick Carney pounds the skins like a drugged-up Keith Moon, and Dan Auerbach cranks out a spiky riff that's laced with Hendrix-style guitar effects. 'Tighten Up' is definitely psychedelic, but these guys still have a thing for the blues: Auerbach yelps, 'Sick for days . . . I'm aching now,' with the raw inten... | More »
"...And the World Laughs With You"
A couple of years back, L.A. hip-hop surrealist Flying Lotus remixed Radiohead's "Reckoner" into an alluring funereal ooze. On the marquee track from his forthcoming Cosmogramma, he has Thom Yorke's distracted falsetto sounding even more resplendently ghostly. Gnashing dub-step grind gives way to a soft, pensive throb as Yorke pines, "I need to know you're out there," like he's languidly floating SOS signals from an emotional ice station | More »
LCD Soundsystem's cranky mastermind, James Murphy, is known for skewering his own hipster demographic — see 2002's music-snob-lampooning single, "Losing My Edge." But the dance-rock hero has never done it with the fierceness and catchiness he brings to "Drunk Girls," the first single from LCD's new album. It's Murphy's tightest, most accessible track yet — a four-minute disco party that brings together chugging guitar riffs, hand claps and shrieks, plus a rocket-p... | More »
"Skinny Little Bitch"
The Nineties are so hot right now, it's no surprise that Courtney Love is staggering back to the spotlight with a 'Get off my lawn' rant aimed at younger rock chicks. 'Skinny Little Bitch' is so 1996 it hurts — Courtney tries to replicate Garbage circa 'Stupid Girl,' with the rhythm section lurching like Nirvana's 'Dive' and a melody nicked from Sonny and Cher's 'The Beat Goes On.' Her voice is wobbly, but she holds it togethe... | More »
On this Tiger Woods-skewering track, Ludacris plays a helpless, frantic sex addict, rhyming about "sitting in this rehab class / trying to get myself unhooked on ass" over simple, percolating drums. It's the rap equivalent of a late-night monologue joke: good for a laugh, but nothing you‚ll keep coming back to. | More »
Timbaland feat. Justin Timberlake
"Carry Out" was forgivable as filler on Timbaland's Shock Value II, but as a single, it's an unwelcome sign of how Timbo and Justin Timberlake aren't the future-pop duo they once were. The quasi-Eastern trills sound familiar, and the weak sex-as-fast-food metaphors don't get any traction: Timbaland wants you "open all night like you're IHOP," and Justin wonders, "Is it full of myself to want you full o' me?" This spot needs new management. | More »
Thom Yorke has unfurled this haunted Buddhist-tinged ballad at solo gigs lately, but the version from Radiohead's Haiti benefit show at the Fonda in Los Angeles on January 24th may be the best yet. It's simply a Gibson hollow-body guitar, Yorke's quivering falsetto and an oblique theme of addiction to something (drugs? sex?) he doesn't sound like he wants to give up. "While the cat is away/Do what we want," he suggests to a co-conspirator. "Dance around a pit/The darkness ... | More »
Today Was A Fairytale
Fairy tales, princes, damsels in distress — yep, it's a Taylor Swift song. Her costume-drama vision of romance may get old someday. But for now, her tunes are so shapely that you hardly notice. Her latest, from the Valentine's Day soundtrack, is more or less a song-length hook bolstered by muscular guitars and a big, arcing chorus. And Swift remains a great lyricist, filling the story with touching details, like when she sings, "You told me I was pretty when I looked like a me... | More »
"Valleys of Neptune"
"Lord, I feel the ocean swaying me/ Washing away all my pain," Jimi Hendrix sings at the start of this magnificent discovery. The title track of a new album of previously unreleased Hendrix studio recordings, "Valleys of Neptune" was important to the guitarist, a heavy-rock hymn to rebirth that he worked on at multiple sessions starting in February 1969, yet never finished, at least to his satisfaction, before his death. But this version is perfection, cut on May 15th, 1970, with drummer Mitc... | More »