Zappagram #55: Butch Bastard released the best album of the year (and it's only May)

Zappagram #55: Butch Bastard released the best album of the year (and it's only May)

Hey folks,

This has been a helluva week for music news and new music releases!

Butch Bastard’s new album Las Vegas Salvation dropped on Friday and even though it’s only May, I can already tell that this will be my Album of the Year. If I’ve ever strongly endorsed an artist or an album before, and you’ve listened and dug it, then please go listen to (and buy!) Las Vegas Salvation.

We also got new music from PJ Harvey, Wye Oak, The National, and a new live Midlake album. The new music gods have really smiled upon us.

I’ll be deep-diving into all of this new music and more in this week’s podcast!

If you’re enjoying the show and/or this newsletter, please tell your friends, enemies, therapists, Uber drivers, stunt doubles, sanitation workers, in-laws, outlaws, and anyone else who will listen. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

Ground control to reader: Take your protein pills. Put your helmet on.

This music newsletter ain’t gonna read itself.

“You can cage the singer but not the song.”
—Harry Belafonte



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Featuring: Butch Bastard, Wye Oak, Elly Kace, PJ Harvey, Safari Room, Vision Video, Orion’s Belte, The National, Midlake, Joseph

Spotify Apple Music


Spotify Apple Music

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Harry Belafonte, Legendary Entertainer and Activist, Dead at 96
As an actor and singer, Belafonte broke major barriers for Black performers in the Fifties before becoming a prominent figure in the fight for civil rights [RollingStone]

Amy Winehouse Book, ‘In Her Words,’ to Feature Personal Journals, Photos, Handwritten Lyrics
The collection will be released this summer in time for what would have been the late singer’s 40th birthday [Billboard]

Freddie Mercury’s Personal Belongings Headed to Auction
The late Queen frontman's crown, handwritten lyrics, paintings, and more will be up for grabs in September [RollingStone]

Aerosmith Appear to Be Teasing a Farewell Tour
Hints include a countdown clock and “Peace Out” ad banners at various US venues [Consequence]

Ed Sheeran Sang and Played His Guitar While on the Stand at Copyright Trial
He sang just a few words of the pivotal tune, bringing smiles to the faces of some of the spectators in the courtroom [NPR]

Siouxsie Sioux Adds More Dates to Her First Tour in 15 Years
At the moment, Siouxsie's only North American date is headlining California’s Cruel World Festival on May 20 and that lineup also features Love and Rockets (also their first show in 15 years), Iggy Pop, Echo & The Bunnymen and more [BrooklynVegan]

Rob Zombie Is Bringing Classic Horror Soundtracks to Vinyl for the First Time
It starts with Rob Zombie Presents 'White Zombie' — the 1932 Bela Lugosi picture that gave Zombie's early band its name [Loudwire]

M. Ward Announces New Album Supernatural Thing
First Aid Kit, Neko Case, and Jim James are among the album's guest contributors [Consequence]

LL Cool J Announces Rock The Bells Tour With The Roots, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Tons Of Guests
Rock The Bells will be more of a revue, a touring version of the all-star hip-hop salute that was the highlight of this year’s Grammy Awards [Stereogum]

Half of Vinyl Buyers in the US Don’t Have a Record Player, New Study Shows
This according to a recent study by the music sales data company Luminate. [Consequence]

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Blondshell Needed to Find Her Voice — In More Ways Than One — Before Releasing Her Debut Album
In Billboard's Indie Artist of the Month spotlight for April, learn about the the quick-rising artist known for saying exactly how she's feeling [Billboard]

Travis Barker Partners with Liquid Death to Sell…Enemas
Shockingly, Barker’s Liquid Death Enema of the State Collectible Enema Kit is the first-ever celebrity-endorsed luxury enema kit [Consequence]

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+ My friend, Chris Dalla Riva, runs a compelling music newsletter called Can’t Get Much Higher. A talented songwriter, musician, and producer himself, Chris masterfully explores popular music from the unique perspective of a data analyst. Music writing can be simply entertaining, but it’s best when it’s both entertaining and informative—teaching you something new in a fun and interesting way—and that is what Chris does best. Here are but a few of his smartest pieces I’ve found especially fascinating:

The Decline and Fall of the Hit Instrumental Song
Nowadays vocalists control popular music—but that wasn't always true

One Song, Many Writers
How modern songwriting evolved into a game of aggressive credit—even for the people who didn’t technically do the composing

The Death of the Key Change
One of the key changes—pun intended—to the pop charts in the last 60 years is the demise of key changes. What happened?

Subscribe to Can’t Get Much Higher to read more of his brilliant work.

+ The most insanely talented music journalist working today, Amanda Petrusich, writing for The New Yorker has an outstanding piece on The National which is a must-read whether or not you are a fan of the band.

+ As I’ve previously mentioned above, Butch Bastard’s new album Las Vegas Salvation just dropped and here’s the video for the title track. Check out the album cover and then catch the final frames of this video and everything will make sense.

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Butch Bastard: Las Vegas Salvation [listen]
Glen Matlock (of Sex Pistols): Consequences Coming [listen]
Joseph: The Sun [listen]
Joy Oladokun: Proof Of Life [listen]
Midlake: Live at Roundhouse [listen]
Smokey Robinson: GASMS [listen]
Stephen Stills: Stephen Stills Live at Berkeley 1971 [listen]
Taj Mahal: Savoy [listen]
The Damned: Darkadelic [listen]
The National: First Two Pages of Frankenstein [listen]

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- MAY 5 -

Durand Jones: Wait Til I Get Over
Ed Sheeran: - (subtract)
Jenny Owen Youngs: Offair: From The Forest Floor
The Lemon Twigs: Everything Harmony
Olivia Jean: Raving Ghost
SBTRKT: The Rat Road
The Smashing Pumpkins: ATUM (Act 3)
Sqürl: Silver Haze

- MAY 12 -

Alison Goldfrapp: The Love Invention
Daft Punk: Random Access Memories (10th Anniversary Edition)
Dropkick Murphys: Okemah Rising
Esben & The Witch: Hold Sacred
Madison McFerrin: I Hope You Can Forgive Me
Moby: Resound NYC

- MAY 19 -

Dave Matthews Band: Walk Around the Moon
Graham Nash: Now
Lewis Capaldi: Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent
Paul Simon: Seven Psalms
Raul Malo: Say Less
Sufjan Stevens, Timo Andres & Conor Hanick: Reflections

- MAY 26 -

Arlo Parks: My Soft Machine
The Exploding Hearts: Guitar Romantic
Sparks: The Girl Is Crying in Her Latte

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- MAY 1 -

Birthdays: Little Walter (1930) • Judy Collins (1939) • Rita Coolidge (1945) • D'arcy Wretsky-Brown (1968) • Bernard Butler of Suede (1970) • The South African government banned Pink Floyd's single “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)” after children adopted the song as their anthem in protest against inferior education. (1980)

- MAY 2 -

Birthdays: Link Wray (1929) • Engelbert Humperdinck (1936) • Lesley Gore (1946) • Lou Gramm (1950) • Lily Allen (1985) • Lucy Dacus (1995) • Bruce Springsteen auditioned for CBS Records A&R man John Hammond in New York. Springsteen played a short set for him in his office; Hammond was so impressed that he arranged a real audition that night at the Gaslight Club in New York for other Columbia executives. Bruce passed the audition. (1972)

- MAY 3 -

Birthdays: Bing Crosby (1903) Pete Seeger (1919) • James Brown (1933)Frankie Valli (1934) • Christopher Cross (1951) • Jimi Hendrix was arrested by police on his way to Toronto for possession of hashish and heroin. Hendrix claimed the drugs had been planted on him. (1969)

- MAY 4 -

Birthdays: Dick Dale (1937) • Nicholas Ashford (1942) • Mick Mars & Bruce Day, bassist/vocalist for the California smooth rock band Pablo Cruise (1951) • Gregg Alexander of New Radicals (1970) • Mike Dirnt of Green Day (1972) • Four students at Kent University were killed and eleven wounded by National Guard troops at a campus demonstration protesting the escalation of the Vietnam War. The incident inspired Neil Young to compose 'Ohio' which became a hit for Crosby Stills Nash & Young. (1970) • American rapper, musician, film director, and human rights activist Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys died of cancer, aged 47. (2012)

- MAY 5 -

Birthdays: Johnnie Taylor (1937) • Tammy Wynette (1942) • Bill Ward of Black Sabbath (1948) • Roddy Radiation of The Specials (1955) • Ian McCulloch of Echo & the Bunnymen (1959) • Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (1988) • The Beatles single “Get Back” was released in the US. (1969)

- MAY 6 -

Birthdays: Bob Seger (1945)Guitarist Davey Johnstone, best known for his work with Elton John (1951) • John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants (1960) • Chris Shiflett (1971) • Meek Mill (1987) • In their Clearwater, Florida hotel room, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards worked out the opening guitar riff of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” following Richard's purchase of a Gibson fuzz-box earlier that day. (1965)

- MAY 7 -

Birthdays: Jimmy Ruffin (1939) • Cornelius Bumpus (1945)Jerry Nolan, drums, The New York Dolls & Bill Kreutzmann, drummer with Grateful Dead (1946) • Steve Diggle, guitarist from punk rock band Buzzcocks (1955) • Phil Campbell of Mötörhead (1961) • Eagle Eye Cherry (1969) • Matt Helders of Arctic Monkeys (1986) • Flying back to the UK after a US tour after his last gig with the band Bluesology, keyboard player Reginald Dwight gave some thought for a stage name he could use for his burgeoning solo career. In the cabin, he came across the band's horn player Elton Dean and lead singer Long John Baldry, and asked them if he can appropriate their names to concoct a new one for himself. They agree, and Elton John was born. (1968)

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CZ 🤘🏻