“When the Cheshire Cat slowly smiles to us…the river is drying faster than your memory of pain,” Yoko Ono sings on the new Plastic Ono Band track, “Cheshire Cat.”
“‘We the expendable people of the United States hold these dreams to be self-destructive.”
Last November The Future Heart offered the first preview of the next Plastic Ono Band album, noting that Lenny Kravitz was among the guests on it. Several updates have come since – like this post from last month revealing the LP’s title (Take Me to the Land of Hell), its lead track, the release date (September 17), a picture of Lenny recording with Ono (also shown above, right) and more.
Now both “Cheshire Cat Cry” – Lenny’s contribution to the album – and “Tabetai” (featuring tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus on bottle, percussion, and backing vocals) are streaming online. With Lenny on drums and clavinet for the former, Sean Lennon holds down a slinky bass groove, before erupting on guitar towards the end (reminiscent of his father on Plastic Ono Band tracks such as “Why?”). After all these years Yoko is still pleading for peace – as powerfully as ever. “Who needs violence? Who needs war? Who needs it? Who needs it?” The full lyrics and credits are here.
“Cheshire Cat Cry” with Lenny Kravitz
“Tabetai” with tUnE-yArDs
The Future Heart will be posting a daily feature on Yoko for a full month ahead of Take Me’s release, which is likewise being dripped out through a series of free streams at yopob.com, a new track every Monday until the LP’s release. These new songs follow first single “Moonbeams” – available as a free download with all pre-orders of the album, and streaming here. As previously discussed on this site, the forthcoming album also includes collaborations with Wilco’s Nels Cline, ?uestlove, Cibo Matto, Julian Lage, Cornelius and Andrew Wyatt, plus remixes by Beastie Boys Mike D and Adrock and Cornelius.
UPDATE – August 12 The above mentioned Beastie Boys remix of “Bad Dancer” is now streaming here. Adam Horovitz and Mike D are credited with “additional beats, programming and other curve balls.”
Are more collaborations on the horizon? Probably, but there’s no official plans. “My future is always a bright garden you see from where you are – a dark and long tunnel. I am not planning things like who should I collaborate with when I finally get there,” Yoko says in an interview posted today at songfacts.com.
Yoko is performing four festivals this month paired with Thurston Moore, starting at Poland’s Tranatlantyk Festival this Wednesday. In addition to Yoko and Thurston playing together, these shows will feature visuals from both artist’s film archives. The Plastic Ono Band returns to New York (for the first time in over three years) with a special show on September 15th, the Sunday before Take Me to the Land of Hell‘s release. Guests are sure to be plentiful (everybody from half of Sonic Youth to Paul Simon and Eric Clapton…. to Bette Midler performed with her last time she played the area). After an American Express pre-sale, the show quickly sold out. No more dates have been announced yet. Asked about a Plastic Ono Ono tour in June by Rolling Stone, Yoko responded, “I don’t know about that. I think there are many ways of now communicating, thanks to the computer age. It’s sort of like you can go through the Internet, you can wear a T-shirt with a message or something. A lot of people are wearing T-shirts with messages – great, positive words – and that affects the world as well. There are many ways of communicating, and this is a time that we have to communicate. So we have to find the simplest way to communicate, sometimes, because we don’t have much time. We just have to do it. But the Plastic Ono Band might go out there, because it’s fun as well.”
Iggy Pop – who was among the performers handpicked by Yoko for her Meltdown Festival a few weeks back – is releasing a limited edition split single with POB to raise money for Miami’s Paws 4 You Rescue pet charity. The A-side starts with a live recording of Iggy dueting with Yoko on ‘Waiting For The ‘D’ Train,’ backed by the Plastic Ono Band (which in this case is Mike Watt on bass, Nels Cline and Sean Lennon on guitar and Yuko Araki on drums) in Los Angeles during John Lennon’s 70th birthday concert series. Also included is Iggy’s studio recording of Yoko’s “I’m Going Away Smiling” – originally released on his 2012 covers album Apres). The B-side is an etching by Yoko. Due out August 13th, only 1,000 copies will be available through Chimera (Sean Lennon’s record label), the third in their 10″ series.
Iggy is a better crooner than he gets credit for, no?