Lots of things can go wrong on October 31. There was that Halloween that involved getting lost in a thousands-deep parade and fighting through a sea with thirty-ish Heath Ledger Jokers and early-onset Lady Gagas in order to sit on a fence to figure out which guys were costumed police officers, which were actual crowd-control police officers and which could even help. There were those two years when Halloween was bitterly cold one year and 80 degrees the next, meaning that both years people's--OK, my--costumes felt like temperature-calibrated torture devices. And then there were all those Halloweens where we didn't have any good new music to listen to. This year, at least, won't be one of those, between Florence and the Machine's new album and now the more-than-a-decade-awaited reunion of Mazzy Star.
You've got a much higher chance of having heard the group than you think--especially if your hearing had already developed by the '90s, in which case you have heard "Fade Into You through sheer statistics (or maybe "Into Dust" through sheer Gears of War 3 ads). If not, there are (to massively simplify) two general eras: the She Hangs Brightly period of about an album, where the group made the sort of fuzzy guitar pop that everyone's doing now (representative track: "Blue Flower," covered at least twice in the '10s off the top of our heads), then the period afterward with So Tonight That I Might See and Among My Swan, where the guitars receded beneath the surface, the atmosphere grew headier and the music got more quietly gorgeous by the track. (representative tracks: the aforementioned "Fade Into You" and "Into Dust," or "All Your Sisters")
Since then, the group basically disappeared, vocalist Hope Sandoval releasing some even more muted (possibly too muted) material with band The Warm Inventions, and instrumentalist David Roback doing not much more. The decade mark passed; so did the 15-year mark. So while a reunion now is certainly timely--remember how we just mentioned every other indie pop group sounding like She Hangs Brightly when loud and the latter albums when soft?--it wasn't really expected, either. There's not much ado to it--the Halloween release date and two Amazon previews here and here
As for the songs, we've only got Amazon's teensy snippets, but judging by them, "Common Burn" is the prettier and more graceful of the two, flecked with piano and keening guitar, while "Lay Myself Down" moves more quickly, almost sashaying at points. Either would slot nicely on the group's last two albums, which is the highest compliment we could possibly offer. And in case you missed the point in all that backstory--they're absolutely gorgeous and would make fine introductions or re-introductions. Happy early Halloween.
The Cocteau Twins' 1990 masterpiece is still the blueprint for dream pop.
For a band whose lyrics were famously difficult to make out most of the time, the Cocteau Twins left an indelible impact on the world of pop music.
The Scottish trio emerged in the 1980s as some of the most notable pioneers of dream pop, a subgenre of alternative rock defined by airy, sublime sonic textures. But it was their sixth album, Heaven or Las Vegas—which turns 30 today—that truly withstood the test of time, affirming the Cocteau Twins' status as perhaps the most important dream pop act of all time.
Now that Banksy's "Flower Thrower" trademark has been revoked, anyone can profit off his work.
This week anonymous street artist Banksy officially lost the European trademark to his "Flower Thrower" mural.
The guerrilla graffiti artist had engaged in a prolonged legal battle with the small greeting card company Full Colour Black—which was selling products featuring the image of a Palestinian man throwing a bouquet of flowers. But now a panel at the European Union Intellectual Property Office has announced their decision to revoke the artist's trademark on the grounds that he could not definitively prove himself to be the mural's creator.