Russ Feingold, a Democratic US senator for Wisconsin who's been turning his attention to the more relaxed matters of pop music, posted a video on his website (www.russfeingold.org) last month entitled "Fein Tunes", where he discussed music that interested him, offering a shout-out to fellow Wisconsinite, Bon Iver. A later instalment discussed his fondness for Wilco, in particular for 'Mermaid Avenue' (1998), the album of Woody Guthrie songs they recorded with Billy Bragg. Feingold's timing is good as Wilco's new album is released in June, and already available to stream at their website, tinyurl.com/ppx8nn.
With a mock grandiose title, 'Wilco (the album)' and a self-referential opening track, "Wilco (the song)", the record sees the band in a somewhat comic mood. The strange cover art featuring a camel wearing a hat standing in a garden patio adds to the effect. Early listens suggest an improvement on 2007's 'Sky Blue Sky', though the band may struggle to reach the highs of 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot'. It will be interesting to hear what Feingold (the politician) thinks.
Byrne in tutu time
Those lucky enough to have seen David Byrne's recent tour will tell you the former Talking Heads man is on a roll. A taster can be heard at tinyurl.com/57238d, where a four-track live EP is streaming. It can also download it for £2.60, with a proceeds going to Amnesty International. The EP comes with a digital booklet featuring photos from the shows. It won't match seeing said tour but it will point you in the right direction. There are also numerous fan-filmed videos of the performances turning up. One, viewed at tinyurl.com/pdvrdr, shows Byrne and his backing performers taking on "Burning Down The House" while wearing tutus; just because.
All White on 40th night
Last year the Neil Cowley Trio, a UK jazz band, recreated The Beatles' "Revolution 9" for 'Mojo' Magazine's 40th anniversary celebrations of the release of the 'White Album'. Now comes the 'Revolution EP', featuring this track and three fine compositions by Cowley. It will be available on iTunes in June, however, those who buy tickets for the band's gig at Ronnie Scott's in London on 4 June receive a link to download the EP free from the website neilcowleytrio.com
Doherty and the Libertines' tribute
Two years ago this would have made it to the front page of the tabloids but the notoriety of Pete Doherty has dimmed somewhat of late – not to mention the lack of Kate Moss at the side of the stage. Last weekend Doherty reunited with his former Libertines band mates, minus bassist John Hassell, to play a tribute show for promoter Johnny Sedassy at the Rhythm Factory in London. Pitchfork has footage of their set, watch it at tinyurl.com/qbky59.
Given the wide-eyed expansiveness of Animal Collective's 'Merriweather Post Pavillion' album it would be no surprise if a remix of their single "Summertime Clothes" had been made by the band themselves. In fact, it comes from the LA based producer Dam-Funk and sends the band in a laid-back electro-funk direction. The track is available as a free download from Domino Records at tinyurl.com/oqlrxm. To remind you of the brilliance of the original, the band recently performed it live on the 'Late Show with David Letterman', backed by some odd interpretative dancing. It seems the Animal Collective fellows may have been taking a few tips from David Byrne. Watch it at tinyurl.com/p5zcqq.