Music News: Motley Crue cover Madonna, and more of this week's new music

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Motley Crue arrive at 'The Dirt' biopic premiere.
Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, Mick Mars, and Tommy Lee of Motley Crue arrive at 'The Dirt' biopic premiere. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Motley Crue cover Madonna, and more of this week's new music
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Above, listen to an episode of The Current's daily Music News podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. You can also sign up for a daily Music News e-mail and join our Facebook group.


For this week's release roundup, Jay and Jade dig into new albums from Jenny Lewis, Andrew Bird, Motley Crue, and Lambchop; as well as new singles from Weyes Blood, Calexico with Iron & Wine, and Lizzo with Missy Elliott.

Jenny Lewis: On the Line

Jenny Lewis's new solo album, On the Line, has all the accessible, heartfelt melodicism you've come to expect from the former Rilo Kiley frontwoman — but despite working with stars like drummers Jim Keltner and Ringo Starr, Lewis trades some of the studio polish of her previous albums for a new immediacy. In part, she told me recently, she achieved that by playing piano and singing at the same time, something she hadn't done before.

Oftentimes I'm afraid to play and sing at the same time in the studio 'cause I'm so concerned with making mistakes. But I've also discovered over the years that there's something about doing both at the same time that frees up part of your brain when you're performing, where you're not as in your head 'cause you're having to do this mechanical thing at the same time.

So coming into the studio, I was terrified to play and sing live with Ringo and Keltner in the room, but in doing so, I think it really feels different — and it's not perfect! But it's really human.

Find our conversation posted as a special episode of this podcast on March 1. The album was influenced both by the death of her parents and by a romantic breakup, but ends on a hopeful note. You can hear that poignant pull in songs like "Wasted Youth." (Jay)

Andrew Bird, My Finest Work Yet

Andrew Bird's 12th album could quite possibly be, as he's named it, My Finest Work Yet. It highlights everything that his fans have come to appreciate: swooping and trembling strings, poetic and poignant lyrics, a whistle that sounds hopeful and tragic at the same time. It's bittersweet music, for a bittersweet time. As he told the AV Club, "There are all these songs that have made it across airways that are dealing with anything that's going on now — these are troubled times, you know? And I think what better medium than songwriting to go in deep and figure out what's really going on and maybe offer suggestions of how to get out of it."

His song "Sisyphus" showcases that ultimate struggle. (Jade)

Mötley Crüe, The Dirt soundtrack

You may have seen the trailer for The Dirt, a Mötley Crüe biopic coming to Netflix this Friday. Whether or not you're excited to see Machine Gun Kelly as Tommy Lee, if you're a fan of the Crüe you can look forward to a soundtrack being released on the same day. Along with a selection of hits like "Kickstart My Heart," "Dr. Feelgood," and "Ride with the Devil," the soundtrack includes four new tracks by the hair metal legends.

Among the new songs is a title track, featuring a guest rap by Kelly, and a cover of a Madonna song you may or may not recognize. It's...let's just say, an interesting choice. Whatever the lyrics say, Vince Neil could not sound less innocent. (Jay)

Lambchop, this (is what I wanted to tell you)

Turning 60 and the 2016 elections gave Lambchop, and their band leader, Kurt Wagner, some inspiration for the band's 14th album (technically their 13th, but the band decided to skip the number to avoid any bad luck). A band that grew to indie college rock fame in the '90s has been consistently making records, and this (is what I wanted to tell you) showcases the band's ever expanding sonic exploration. Inspired by ambient noise, hip-hop and Auto-Tune, Lambchop change up their sound while still maintaining a core of personal storytelling on songs like "Everything For You." (Jade)

Weyes Blood, "Movies"

It takes a lot of literary nerve to call your music project Weyes Blood, even if you spell it W-E-Y-E-S, and especially if you grew up in Pennsylvania. Natalie Mering is nothing if not brave, though, and she summons an appropriately cinematic sweep for "Movies," the new track from her upcoming album Titanic Rising. Imagine the dry balladry of Lana Del Rey combined with the string-driven momentum of Kishi Bashi and some synths out of Stranger Things, and you're basically there.

Mering directed her own video, which ends with a shot of her floating underwater on a movie screen. You thought the old lady dropped it in the ocean? Well, baby, Weyes Blood went down and got it for you. (Jay)

Calexico and Iron & Wine: "Father Mountain"

It's been over a decade since Calexico and Iron & Wine released their joint project, In the Reins. They've mentioned in the past that they would love to get together again and now in 2019 the time has finally arrived. On June 14, Years to Burn will be coming out. To celebrate the project they've released "Father Mountain." The song seems to skip spring and summer and arrives promptly on a crisp fall day. Pull on a cozy flannel and watch the gold and red leaves falling from the trees with the new song. (Jade)

Lizzo and Missy Elliott: "Tempo"

There may never have been a more appropriate use of air horn on a track: Lizzo has teamed up with Missy Elliott for "Tempo," a banger celebrating healthy bodies and sick beats. Not bad for a week that also saw Lizzo trading tweets with Lin-Manuel Miranda about how they should collaborate on a Disney movie. You know what they say: why do with a princess when you can get a queen? (Jay)


Audio sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
Jenny Lewis: "Wasted Youth"
Andrew Bird: "Sisyphus"
Mötley Crüe: "Like a Virgin"
Lambchop: "Everything for You"
Weyes Blood: "Movies"
Calexico and Iron & Wine: "Father Mountain"
Lizzo and Missy Elliott: "Tempo"


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