Oh boy, if you thought 2018 would be any better than 2017, hopefully the first proper work week of the year dispelled you of those illusions. A lot of bad things happened this week — Jack White’s new songs, for example — but there were some good mixed in there too. We cemented More »
At this point, the “world is ending” narratives are worn. Yeah, we get it, things could be a helluva lot better than they are now. The news organizations love to remind us of all the ways we’re heading down via handbasket, but we amplify the sentiment even more through our social platforms. David Byrne wants you to give it a rest. Don’t believe me? The Talking Heads frontman just did an hour-long talk called “Reasons to Be Cheerful.” Delivered in a pink blazer (of course), the talking head discussed biking, community initiatives, political involvement, and of course, music. (Watch the whole spiel, which took place yesterday at New York City’s “lovely” New School Auditorium, down below.)
And just in case you’re not feeling more like (∪ ◡ ∪) after hearing that joyful piece of news alone, here’s something even more mirth-worthy: the self-styled intellectual is coming out with a new album this March and has a string of worldwide tour dates to support it! And get this: the album’s name is American Utopia. If Byrne didn’t have such an established foothold in the annals of art rock, you’d think he was trolling. But his mood is genuine; Byrne wants us to leave our depressive swamps and realize the flowers blooming on the banks.
The forthcoming album is significant for other reasons. First, it’s Byrne’s first solo outing since 2004. To mark the occasion, he’s enlisted several heavyweights to help produce the album: superproducer and ambient godhead Brian Eno, meme-inspired electronicker-turned-composer Oneohtrix Point Never, and end-of-year-list chart-topper singer Sampha, just to name a few.
Truly, there’s not many artists who release a new single — “Everybody’s Coming to My House” (co-written with Eno) — AND a lecture in tandem. And that should be enough to make us all cheerful.
American Utopia drops March 9 on Nonesuch. Pre-order it here; and check out the video clip, the motivational speech, the new album’s cover art, the full tracklisting, aaaaaaaaand Byrne’s spring and summer 2018 tour schedule, all down below.
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American Utopia tracklisting:
01. I Dance Like This
02. Gasoline And Dirty Sheets
03. Every Day Is A Miracle
04. Dog’s Mind
05. This Is That
06. It’s Not Dark Up Here
08. Doing The Right Thing
09. Everybody’s Coming To My House
Byrne on the road:
03.03.18 – Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Theatre
03.04.18 – Wilkes-Barre, PA – F.M. Kirby Center For the Performing Arts
03.06.18 – Buffalo, NY – Center For the Arts
03.07.18 – Hershey, PA – Hershey Theatre
03.09.18 – Waterbury, CT – Palace Theater
03.10.18 – Kingston, NY – Ulster Performing Arts Center
03.16.18 – Santiago, CL – Lollapalooza Chile
03.18.18 – Buenos Aires, AR – Lollapalooza Argentina
03.24.18 – Sao Paulo, BR – Lollapalooza Brasil
04.07.18 – Guadalajara, MX – Corona Capital Guadalajara
04.14.18 – Indio, CA – Coachella Music Festival
04.21.18 – Indio, CA – Coachella Music Festival
05.04.18 – Atlanta, GA – Shaky Knees Music Festival
06.23.18 – Prague, CZ – Metronome Festival
06.25.18 – Zagreb, HR – Inmusic Festival
06.30.18 – Ewijk, NL – Down the Rabbit Hole
07.04-07.18 – Gdynia, PL – Open’er Festival
07.06.18 – Roskilde, DK – Roskilde Festival
07.11.18 – Oeiras, PT – Cool Jazz Festival
07.13 .18 – Bilbao, ES – Bilbao BBK Live
07.14.18 – Barcelona, ES – Festival Cruilla
07.19.18 – Ravenna, IT – Ravenna Festival
07.21.18 – Trieste, IT – Piazza Unita D’Italia
07.27.18 – Camden, NJ – XPoNential Music Festival
David Byrne, the former frontman of Talking Heads, has officially announced his new album, American Utopia, is due out March 9. This marks Byrne’s first solo endeavor since 2004’s Grown Backwards which he’s announced will be followed by “the most ambitious show I’ve done since the shows that were filmed for Stop Making Sense.”
Byrne is leading the album with the single “Everybody’s Coming To My House,” co-written by Brian Eno and features contributions from TTY, Happa Isaiah Barr of the Onyx Collective, and the Mercury Award winner Sampha. Eno’s tapping for the track and entire record is an exceptionally notable collaboration, as the two worked closely on some of the Talking Heads’ most influential material, including More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music, Remain in Light, and the 2008 album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.
Speaking of the new album, Byrne said,
“Is this meant ironically? Is it a joke? Do I mean this seriously? In what way? Am I referring to the past or the future? Is it personal or political? These songs don’t describe an imaginary or possibly impossible place but rather attempt to depict the world we live in now. Many of us, I suspect, are not satisfied with that world — the world we have made for ourselves. We look around and we ask ourselves — well, does it have to be like this? Is there another way? These songs are about that looking and that asking.
This album is indirectly about those aspirational impulses. Sometimes to describe is to reveal, to see other possibilities. To ask a question is to begin the process of looking for an answer. To be descriptive is also to be prescriptive, in a way. The act of asking is a big step. The songs are sincere — the title is not ironic. The title refers not to a specific utopia, but rather to our longing, frustration, aspirations, fears, and hopes regarding what could be possible, what else is possible. The description, the discontent and the desire — I have a feeling that is what these songs touch on.
America, or to be correct — the United States — was founded as a utopian experiment. One can point out that yes, there were less than noble business interests at play, and this experiment applied only to white males of means, much of which is still true. Clearly there was poison in the well, and much of what was built was built on the backs of slaves, with half the country disenfranchised. There was genocide, exploitation and land grabs. But I’m talking about perception, which is different than reality. The perception was (past tense) that here might be a new way of living, of cooperating with one another, even if the experiment was being played out only by a portion of the population. The rest of the world, for a long time, viewed the American experiment as exciting, noble and something to be emulated — at least in the ways it succeeded. It was viewed as a fresh start, a place where old, ingrained ideas could be jettisoned, and a world of both fairness and opportunity could be established. Though it never did succeed in all its aims, enough of them were realized in its brief history to give hope to many.
Now it seems — in this place, and in others — we are seeing those dreams, those possibilities, being withdrawn. The experiment seems on the verge of complete and utter collapse. So naturally, we now ask ourselves — was it too much to ask? Were we wrong about how humans can be? Can we start over? Is there another way? A different way? Do we have any choice in the matter? This asking is a good sign.
I have no prescriptions or surefire answers, but I sense that I am not the only one looking and asking, wondering and still holding onto some tiny bit of hope, unwilling to succumb entirely to despair or cynicism.
It’s not easy, but music helps. Music is a kind of model — it often tells us or points us toward how we can be.”
American Utopia is out March 9 via Todomundo/Nonesuch Records.
Recently, David Byrne has been collecting stories and ideas that inspire optimism for Reasons To Be Cheerful, an ongoing series of hopeful writings, photos, music, and lectures named after the song by Ian Dury. Byrne just announced a new solo album called American Utopia, and today, he’s giving a talk about the … More »
News of a new David Byrne album called American Utopia leaked last month, and today the former Talking Heads leader has officially announced the album. Byrne’s first solo LP since 2004’s Grown Backwards features collaborations with Brian Eno, producer Rodaidh McDonald, Oneohtrix Point Never, Jam City, Doveman, Jack Peñate, and more. Below, read David … More »
Just yesterday, twitchy legend David Byrne announced that he’d head out on the road next year for his “most ambitious” set of shows since his band the Talking Heads made the classic 1984 concert movie Stop Making Sense. And now, it looks like he might have some new music to play at those shows. More »
David Byrne announced a small number of East Coast tour dates that he says will be his “most ambitious” since the Talking Heads shows Jonathan Demme filmed for his film Stop Making Sense. The string of dates kick off in Red Bank, NJ on 3/3 ahead of Byrne’s appearances at Lollapalooza Chile and Argentina. Check … More »
Anyone who has heard Jeremy Gustin’s drum work with the (largely) instrumental acts Delicate Steve and with his own Star Rover project knows he can hit kits like a ton of bricks…if each brick in that ton was made of ten brick-like sticks: SKRONK, SPLAP, SPLORK AAHT AAHHT BLOOOT, SPUTZ SPITZA CHUKKUNK CLUNK, TING KATOONG PLAPF, UNKLIK ULK, ZZIP, SHMUZORFT, POFFISSS… (thanks MAD Magazine!).
But although Gustin can certainly conjure highly entertaining percussive sound effects with the best of them, he also possesses soul by the bucketful. This misfit mix puts him in high demand to play with diverse artists like David Byrne, Larkin Grimm, Marc Ribot, and Albert Hammond Jr. For his latest project, The Ah, Gustin gets to play center stage instead of upstaging those with whom he plays. The debut album from The Ah is entitled Common Bliss, and it comes out on compact cassette (w/180 gram digital download) via NNA Tapes on November 17 (pre-order it here.
The Ah gives Gustin the opportunity to step away from the drum stool and make an “electronic” record of sampling and programming field recordings, found sounds, and animal noises; and the result is an aesthetically intriguing look into his creative mind. Common Bliss’s first single, “High Low,” was premiered by Paste last month, and a trailer for the project can be viewed here.
And today, we at TMT are pleased to premiere the video for the album’s latest release, “I Changed Colour.” It’s a beautiful pairing of day-dreamy tones and youthful cavorting. See for yourself below and answer life’s eternal questions: Hmm…is The Ah, better than Allah-Las? Or not as good as A-ha? Now let’s get back to that magazine…BLEEGH YAAUGH RAWGH, BRAGHK, SPROP BLOP BLOP, GUKGUK, SPLAPPLE PLAP, BLAM BLAM BLAM, OOOOOH THUD!!!… (LOL, still so satisfying!)
Common Bliss tracklisting:
01. Inclined for Wren
02. Green Waves
03. I Changed Colour
04. Lamb Jump
05. High Low
06. Elephant Thimbles
07. Slight Beams
08. Common Bliss
09. The Kiss Truly
10. Hazel Club
11. Tre Dias
12. Black Cloud Shadows
13. Dearest Blue
David Byrne appears on the latest episode of Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s TV show Star Talk, but not to discuss the 40th anniversary of Talking Heads’ debut album. Rather, Byrne was there to discuss the importance of arts education, explaining how study in creative disciplines can be of great benefit no matter which career … More »