33 Things January Edition

Every month, we will compile the best, weirdest, most interesting music and sound news from the past 30 days and serve it up to you in one handy, easy to digest list. May we present 33 Things that happened in January. This list is brought to you by our 33 1/3 intern, Michael Doub.

  1. R.I.P. David Bowie. I can’t do the enormity of his passing justice in this space, so I’ll link to a few more considered eulogies.
  2. A silver-lining to the terrible news: his final release Blackstar ended the commercial reign of terror of Adele’s 25, ascending to the top of the charts in the week following his death.
  3. We lost another musical icon this month in Lemmy Kilmister, the bassist of Motörhead. Kilmister’s hard-living persona often resembled the purest embodiment of rock n’ roll, and we’re less without him.
  4. Although they didn’t depart the mortal coil, the boy band sensation One Direction called it quits this month too.
  5. At least we have the solo debut from former member Zayn Malik to look forward to, who never wanted to be in the group anyway. His first single, which debuted last Friday, is the sort of sleek R&B jam that wouldn’t have worked in 1D.
  6. Guns N’ Roses – of 80s fame, 90s infamy, and 2000s ridicule – announced plans to reunite on the Coachella stage this April.
  7. The lineup will feature original members Slash and Duff McKagan, as well as new additions like Frank Ferrer and Richard Fortus. We’ve come a long way from singer Axl Rose calling lead guitarist Slash a “cancer.”
  8. It looks they’re considerably motivated to play nice, though.
  9. Another band will also be reuniting at Coachella: LCD Soundsystem!
  10. In response to fans interpreting this move as a cash-grab, LCD frontman James Murphy took to the band’s website to assure fans that he’s not in it for the money and will be recording new music with the band. James Murphy, I love you, and this news is not bringing me down at all.
  11. In a different corner of the indie rock world, Wolf Parade announced their return after an almost six-year hiatus. For some (read: me) this is a big deal.
  12. Post hardcore outfit and Mars Volta progenitor At the Drive-In also detailed their plans to tour and record new material.
  13. We had an insane volume of reasons to pay attention to Kanye West this month. Firstly, he announced out that his long-awaited seventh album and follow-up to 2013’s Yeezus, Swish, would be released February 11th.
  14. He then tweeted out a picture of the album’s tracklist, which was updated once, and then again, this last change hinting at the presence of up-and-coming phenoms like Earl Sweatshirt and Chance the Rapper on the album.
  15. One of those updates included changing the album’s name to Waves. It’s the second time West has changed the title of his upcoming album; for a brief time, it went by So Help Me God.
  16. This title change prompted derisive tweets from Wiz Khalifa, which in turn prompted a, frankly, terrifying series of tweets from West. He deleted them soon after, but the Internet never forgets.The highlight of the bunch: wiz wears cool pants
  17. West is also playing Madison Square Garden on the 11th, presumably in celebration of his album’s release. We can only hope that the spectacle matches his recent antics’ combustibility.
  18. In other news, our current president and soon-to-be lame duck Barack Obama offered his opinion on the decision weighing heavily on many Americans right now: Kendrick or Drake?
  19. On his new single “Summer Sixteen” – the first from the upcoming Views From the 6 – Drake questions that choice: “Tell Obama my verses are just like the whips that he in / they bulletproof.”
  20. Sadly, the upcoming album from rapper Yasiin Bey, FKA Mos Def, will be his last.
  21. Atlanta rapper and Dungeon Family member Future released his Purple Reign mixtape this month, his first project since last year’s celebrated DS2. It’s the perfect soundtrack for any trapper with a heart three sizes too-big.
  22. January also saw the release of the latest example of garage rock excellence from California- based multi-intstrumentalist Ty Segall. Titled Emotional Mugger, the record explores Segall’s growing technophobia over some of his heaviest, creepiest instrumentals yet.
  23. PJ Harvey – the unclassifiable indie rocker who’s released gem after gem since the 1990s – announced the April release of The Hope Six Demolition Project, her first album since 2011’s excellent Let England Shake.
  24. Harvey accompanied this news with the album’s first single, “The Wheel.” Predictably, it’s great.
  25. Electronic artist and modern classical innovator Tim Hecker also plans to release his eighth album Love Streams in April. Love Streams is inspired by “liturgical aesthestics after Yeezus” and “transcendental voice in the age of auto-tune,” which is either promotional fodder or the prelude to something ground-breaking.
  26. Vampire Weekend will release their next album with one vampire fewer; multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij announced that he has left the band this month. Both he and former band member Ezra Koenig affirmed that their partnership will continue in some shape or form.
  27. The now-trio performed at a Bernie Sanders rally in Iowa over the weekend, with Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors and the University of Iowa Hawkapellas.
  28. We’re all still wondering what exactly happened with the release of Rihanna’s ANTI. Last Wednesday the 27 year-old singer dropped her latest single – “Work (feat. Drake)” – with reported plans to release the album that Friday as a TIDAL exclusive. The album then appeared on TIDAL Wednesday night, was swiftly taken down from the streaming platform, and on the same night offered as a free download. Huh?
  29. Release shenanigans aside, Rihanna’s voice has never sounded better.
  30. Punk rock pioneer Iggy Pop detailed his upcoming album this month, a full-length collaboration with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme titled Post Pop Depression. According to Pop and Homme, the album is an intended throwback to previous Pop albums Lust for Life and The Idiot (in other words, his heyday).
  31. First single “Gardenia” certainly delivers on that promise.
  32. Amidst the #OscarsSoWhite controversy at the 88th Academy Awards, it’s comforting to see some diversity in their roster of musical acts. Both Pharrell Williams and The Weeknd will perform at the ceremony.
  33. Lastly, anyone who counts The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds as a musical touchstone should plan to catch former member Brian Wilson’s upcoming tour. Wilson says it’ll be the last time he’ll play the album in its entirety.

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