33 Things: March 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 March. This list is brought to you by our 33 1/3 intern, Mike Doub.

  1.  This month saw the release of our latest 33 1/3 title, Blondie’s Parallel Lines. Authored by Kembrew McLeod, the book details Blondie’s efforts to straddle the line between the mainstream and the underground, and their success in exposing the fraudulent tension between the two.
  2. Check out more of McLeod’s musings on the band at 33 1/3’s Blondie week.
  3. M83 announced their follow-up to 2011’s massive, sweeping Hurry Up We’re Dreaming this month, titled Junk. First single “Do It Try It” embraces the playful retro-disco found on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.
  4. Second single “Solitude” is a more traditional slice of M83 pomp – think James Bond in space.
  5. Mutual Benefit will follow up their 2013 debut Love’s Crushing Diamond with new album Skip a Sinking Stone, due out in May. Their video for first single ” Not For Nothing” – more polished than anything from their debut – is the sort of whimsy designed for cubicle nostalgia.
  6. Indie rock act Mitski are planning to release Puberty 2 in May, their first album since 2014’s Bury Me At Makeout Creek. “Your Best American Girl,” the album’s first single, is yet another example of Mitski’s mastery in employing dynamic shifts.
  7. President Obama delivered the keynote speech at music festival SXSW this past month, his most in-touch-with-the-youth moment since his appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast last year. Stay tuned for his upcoming Soundcloud mix.
  8. While we’re on the subject: Soundcloud plans to enter the streaming service fray with Soundcloud Go.
  9. Former WU LYF frontman Ellery James Roberts has announced his first venture since that group’s dissolution. Along with Ebony Hoorn as LUH, Roberts will release Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing in May.
  10. Acclaimed west coast rapper Kendrick Lamar surprise-released his new collection of songs, untitled unmastered., in March. The project is comprised of songs recorded during the To Pimp a Butterfly sessions, and has already received the hyperbolic praise that anything Kendrick-related tends to. It’s good though!
  11. Canadian duo Majical Cloudz called it quits this month. Their last album was 2015’s Are You Alone?.
  12. Kanye West – the often controversial, more often brilliant rapper behind masterworks like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Yeezus declared his intent to stop releasing his music on CD. Find another artist to soundtrack your future road trips.
  13. Fittingly then, West is maximizing the potential of streaming as a platform for music. This month he updated his new album The Life of Pablo with a new version of “Wolves” featuring Sia and Chicago rapper Vic Men$a, along with other tweaks.
  14. Bjork made one of 2015’s best albums with the heartbreaking Vulnicura, and it looks like listeners won’t have to wait long for the follow-up. In a conversation with writer Julia Davis, the Icelandic singer revealed that she and collaborator/experimental producer Arca are 3 songs into her next project.
  15. The lineup for 2016’s Record Store Day was announced this month, and it is as insanely niche as ever. Check out the full roster here.
  16. This month saw the passing of producer George Martin, most famous for his work with The Beatles. His sharp work behind the boards provided an anchor for the band’s more outre ambitions; it’s not for nothing that Martin was often referred to as the “fifth Beatle.”
  17. We also lost Phife Dawg, a member of seminal hip hop outfit A Tribe Called Quest. Rapper/producer Q-Tip may have embodied the group’s ineffable cool, but Phife was its human avatar.
  18. Bat for Lashes announced her new album The Bride this month, her first since 2012’s The Haunted Man. Due out in July, the album will reportedly be sung from the perspective of a woman whose fiancé is killed en route to their wedding.
  19. Julianna Barwick will follow 2013’s celestial Nepenthe with her new album Will this May. Barwick’s first album The Magic Place featured only her voice, wordless and looped, and Nepenthe included string arrangements; the first single from Will adds synthesizers to the mix.
  20. Atlanta trap newcomer Lil Yachty released his debut mixtape Lil Boat this month, which features club-ready lullabies and instrumentals that mix tropical house with Nintendo sound effects.
  21. West coast rapper Kamaiyah also released her debut mixtape this month, A Good Night in the Ghetto. It’s going to sound great in your car speakers this summer.
  22. Enigmatic R&B artist Jai Paul returned to the spotlight this month under the Paul Institute moniker, a collaboration with his brother A.K. Paul.
  23. A.K. Paul also released his debut single “Landcruisin” within the project this month. It’s unclear if we can expect new music from the former Paul any time soon, but fingers crossed.
  24. Self-described trap lord A$AP Ferg will release his new album Always Strive and Prosper next month. His first release since 2014’s Ferg Forever mixtape, the album will feature collaborations with a stacked roster of guests, including Missy Elliot, Grimes and Skrillex.
  25. M.I.A. released two new songs via her Soundcloud this month. Ever one to court controversy, one of the new songs contains an unapproved sample from Disney’s The Lion King.
  26. Paul McCartney will apparently star in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Hopefully as a pirate?
  27. Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins released a terrific track “The Artful Dodger” this month, a collaboration with Kaytranada and THEMpeople built around a sample from jazz trio BADBADNOTGOOD. An album is apparently on the way.
  28. Producer Andy Stott announced the release of his upcoming album Too Many Voices this month, his first since 2014’s excellent Faith in Strangers. Stott’s songs occupy the space between the sounds of crumbling buildings and dance music for the undead, although first single “Butterflies” boasts more bounce than his previous works.
  29. Azealia Banks, the talent behind underground hit “212,” released her Slay-Z mixtape this month.
  30. British producer SBTRKT shared Save Yourself this month, a “not album” that features collaborations with R&B crooner The-Dream and longtime partner Sampha.
  31. Young Thug also released a mixtape this month, the third and final entry in his Slime Season series.
  32. Pop music politician Taylor Swift’s new ad for Apple Music is the companion piece to Hilary Clinton’s appearance on Broad City in its naked courtship of cool points.
  33. Last but certainly not least, March saw LCD Soundsystem’s return to the stage for their first shows since reuniting. The group played two consecutive nights at New York’s Webster Hall, and reportedly shut up and played the hits.

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