Summer gold, new and old

On this Memorial Day 2008, we unofficially welcome the summer and take a look at some of the season’s best new music according to us, including Santogold, as you can see over there. Also, we made a pretty big deal about “Pitchfork.tv” a few months ago, so we’ll see if the service has lived up to the hype. Plus, it just wouldn’t be an update without a new batch of 120 Minutes playlists.

THIS WEEK’S NEWS

It’s been a few months since we last talked about the new stuff we’ve discovered, and there has been a ton of noteworthy new music since then. Here are several of our newest favorites:

Santogold has received quite a few comparisons to M.I.A., based on her collaborations and influences. Her vocals in “Creator,” the single that you might have heard on a TV commercial, sound much like Maya herself. But when you explore the rest of Santogold’s self-titled debut album, you’ll find it sounds less like M.I.A. and more like a modern take on ’80s pop music. Santogold has made a point that her music has nothing to do with hip-hop or R&B, despite the color of her skin. Tracks like “L.E.S. Artistes,” “I’m A Lady,” and “Lights Out” are wonderfully charming.

Nine Inch Nails released The Slip to the Internet for free, completely bypassing any further attempts at payment for music. Trent Reznor has been known to give away tracks for free in the past, and now he’s doing it with entire albums. In this case, you get much more than you pay for, with infectiously loud new tracks like “1,000,000” and “Letting You” that I can’t stop playing. Critics have also responded well to the new album, rating it at least as good as last year’s Year Zero. If you haven’t gone to download this album yet, why not?

Coming soon: The Hold Steady will return in July with Stay Positive. We’ve heard an advance copy of the album in all its storytelling glory. Meanwhile, Ladytron will return in June with their new album, Velocifero, a welcome new release from the English electronic pop band.

Still relevant: Death Cab For Cutie prove they’ve still got it with Narrow Stairs, including the epic 8-minute “I Will Possess Your Heart.” Moby might be overlooked in the U.S. these days, but we’re certainly excited about his new release, Last Night, which is another must-have mix of electronic music. Also, Madonna has released another enjoyable album with Hard Candy, eschewing the European influences of Confessions on a Dancefloor for modern American producers.

New names: An Horse is a two-person Australian band that has been touring in the U.S. with Tegan and Sara. Their EP, Not Really Scared, is highly recommended. Discover them before everyone else does! Another new name, Lights, you have probably heard in Old Navy commercials. If her self-titled EP doesn’t warm up your day at all, you might just have no heart.

Rock and then some: My Morning Jacket was on SNL a few weeks ago, and their new album, Evil Urges, is a concert in a box. Finally, I can’t forget The Raconteurs, whose new album Consolers of the Lonely is one of the best albums I’ve heard all year.

Now onto the topic of Pitchfork.tv, the new service that launched in April, as we covered in our last entry. I’ve been to the site a few times, and the video content they have is compelling and fresh. There isn’t much of it to go around, though. Further, I’d say the biggest problem is that they haven’t properly merged the site with the rest of Pitchfork, so you can find yourself somewhat at a loss if you’re browsing the regular Pitchfork site and looking for video content. It’s still promising, but it’s not yet the return of “Music Television.”

120 MINUTES PLAYLIST ARCHIVE

Enough with the new, let’s talk about the old. The very old. You know the drill: 120 Minutes may have ended five years ago, but the playlist archive at altmusictv never dies. This week, we’re finally playing catch-up for the past few months with 8 newly submitted playlists:

April 30, 1995 – Mike Watt
April 23, 1995 – Donal Logue
June 19, 1994 – Frank Black
June 12, 1994 – Elvis Costello

June 5, 1994 – Juliana Hatfield
September 25, 1993 – Lewis Largent
September 18, 1993 – Lewis Largent
June 9, 1991 – Dave Kendall in Manchester

With those new ones, that brings us up to 375 playlists! If you have any more, full or partial, from anywhere in the history of 120 Minutes, e-mail us using the link at the bottom of the page.

what’s on your mind?

That’s all for this week on altmusictv. Enjoy the beginning of the “summer,” and if we don’t see you for a while, the summer. If you have any new music discoveries of your own, or if you have an old music video in your head and you can’t figure out the artist or title, feel free to comment about it here. We’ll see you again in a few weeks or so.

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