meta-scriptOhana Festival 2020 Lineup: Pearl Jam, Maggie Rogers, Yola, Real Estate & More | GRAMMY.com
Maggie Rogers at the 2020 GRAMMYS

Maggie Rogers at the 2020 GRAMMYS

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Ohana Festival 2020 Lineup: Pearl Jam, Maggie Rogers, Yola, Real Estate & More

The fifth annual beachside Southern California music festival will also feature sets from host Eddie Vedder, Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket, the Pretenders, Mon Laferte, Sharon Van Etten, Jade Bird and others

GRAMMYs/Mar 9, 2020 - 11:22 pm

Today, Eddie Vedder's Ohana Festival announced its 2020 lineup, featuring headline sets from Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket, Maggie Rogers, the Pretenders, Pearl Jam and lead singer Vedder himself, both as a solo act and with the band. Yola, Mon Laferte, Sharon Van Etten, Real Estate, Jade Bird, Durand Jones & The Indications and Dermot Kennedy will also perform at the three-day beachside Southern California music festival.

The fifth annual event returns to its home at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, Calif. on Sept. 25–27. Other acts rounding out the rich, diverse lineup including Broken Social Scene, The Frames, Radiohead's Ed O'Brien (as his new solo act EOB), Mac Demarco, Wild Belle, Shovels & Rope and Combo Chimbita.

Vedder launched Ohana Fest in 2015 and has performed every year. According to the website, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the San Onofre Parks Foundation and the Doheny State Beach FoundationRolling Stone notes there will be "panels with conservationists, environmentalists, researchers, and professional surfers" during the festivities.

Tickets, which include single-day, weekend and VIP options, go on sale this Fri., March 13 at 10 a.m. PST.

Ahead of the fest, Pearl Jam will release their follow up to 2013's Lightning Bolt on March 27. The forthcoming album, entitled Gigaton, will be supported by a spring and summer world tour.

Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Kehlani And More Join Apple Music To Celebrate International Women's Day

Photo of Sexyy Red performing onstage during at the 2024 Rolling Loud Festival in Los Angeles. She is wearing a blue bikini top with white stars, red and white shorts, white sunglasses, and bright red hair.
Sexyy Reds perform onstage at the 2024 Rolling Loud Festival in Los Angeles

Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

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New Music Friday: Listen To New Albums & Songs From Sexyy Red, Charlie Puth, Vince Staples, Aaron Carter & More

Don't slide into your Memorial Day weekend without stocking your New Music Friday playlist with fresh tunes. Here are new albums and songs from Maya Hawke, Sexyy Red, Trueno, and many more.

GRAMMYs/May 24, 2024 - 02:11 pm

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, which means we're inching closer to another music-filled summer. Less than halfway through 2024, we've received a veritable bounty of new music from Green Day, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Kacey Musgraves, Zayn … the list goes on and on.

Clearly, no matter which musical world you inhabit, 2024 has had something for you — and the slate of today's releases continues that streak. Pull up your favorite streaming service — or dust off your record player — and check out this slate of new music that's fresh out of the oven.

Sexyy Red — In Sexyy We Trust

The #MakeAmericaSexyyAgain train is unstoppable. Amid numberless recent accolades — including five nominations at the 2024 BET Awards, including Best Female Hip Hop Artist and Best New Artist — Sexyy Red has dropped a new EP, In Sexyy We Trust. By the sound of "Awesome Jawsome," we all live in Sexyy's lascivious, irresistible universe: "Give me that awesome jawsome, suck it, baby, use your teeth / Shake your dreads between my legs, do it for a G." (Take that under advisement.) And with more than 8.3 million YouTube views for her "Get it Sexyy" music video, legions are clamoring for her second official release without a doubt.

Charlie Puth — "Hero"

"You smokеd, then ate seven bars of chocolate / We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist." So recounted the one and only Taylor Swift in the title track to her new album, The Tortured Poets Department, which rocketed Puth's name even further into the public consciousness. This shine partly inspired Puth to release "Hero": "I want to thank @taylorswift for letting me know musically that I just couldn't keep this on my hard drive any longer," he stated on Instagram. "It's one of the hardest songs I've ever had to write, but I wrote it in hopes that you've gone through something similar in your life, and that it can fill in the BLANK for you like it did for me," he continued. Leave it to a hero to shake that loose for Puth.

Vince Staples — Dark Times

If you're currently rounding a difficult corner in your life, Vince Staples' latest album is a trusty companion. Take the first single "Shame on the Devil," where he licks his wounds amid thick isolation and friction with loved ones. "It's me mastering some things I've tried before that I wasn't great at in the beginning," he said in a statement. "It's a testament to musical growth, song structure — all the good stuff." By the sound of this haunted yet resolute single, Dark Times could materialize as Staples' most realized album to date — and most hard-won victory to boot.

Willie Nelson — The Border

By all means, we should have Aaron Carter alive, healthy and, yes, recovered. But the beloved singer unexpectedly died in November 2022. (He accidentally drowned in his bathtub after taking sedatives and inhaling a spray cleaner.) Still, the 2000s-era teen star, who gave us "I Want Candy," "Aaron's Party (Come Get It)" and "That's How I Beat Shaq," left us with a poignant, posthumous statement in The Recovery Album: "Tomorrow is a new day / Tryin' to shake the pain away / 'Cause I'm still in recovery," he sings in the title track. Carter, who was open about his struggles with addiction, substance abuse and mental health, is also in the news for a rough ride of a documentary, Fallen Idols: Nick and Aaron Carter. But if you'd rather focus on Carter the artist, The Recovery Album shows that his considerable talent remains undimmed.

DIIV — Frog in Boiling Water

The idiom of a frog in boiling water is a familiar one, but it's never quite unfolded in music like this — and DIIV, one of rock's most impressionistic acts, is the band for the job. In a press statement, the group, led by Zachary Cole Smith, called Frog in Boiling Water a reflection of "a slow, sick, and overwhelmingly banal collapse of society under end-stage capitalism." To wit, tracks like "Brown Paper Bag," "Raining on Your Pillow" and "Soul-net" sound like dying in a beautiful way. "Everyone Out," another album highlight, provides a clear, critical directive.

Shenseea — Never Gets Late Here

To hear Jamaican leading light Shenseea tell it, she's been boxed in as a "dancehall artiste," but she's so much more than that. "By next year I want to be international," she said back in 2018. "An international pop star." Her second album, Never Gets Late Here, might be that final boost to the big time she's chasin. Throughout the sticky-sweet album, the genre traverser tries on disco vibes ("Flava" with Voi Leray), an Afrobeats tint ("Work Me Out" with Wizkid), and a bona fide, swing-for-the-rafters anthem in the power ballad "Stars." "Everyone is looking at everything I'm going through," she recently told Revolt, "which is special because they can see the fight I'm getting, but still see me pushing and persevering."

Trueno — EL ÚLTIMO BAILE

Argentine phenom Trueno — a rapper, singer and songwriter of equal fire — has been on a sharp rise ever since his debut, 2020's Atrevido. This time, he's especially leaning into his rap skills as he pays homage to his beloved hip-hop. And, as he explained to Rolling Stone, he's been diligently crafting this artistic culmination. "We also don't want to rush anything. We're working day and night on it," he said of EL ÚLTIMO BAILE. "I'm an artist who's all about albums and big projects, so I'm immersed in this." We're about to be, too.

Yola — My Way

Yola has been nominated for six GRAMMYs to date; this impressive feat has thickened the momentum behind her latest batch of music. For her new My Way EP, the British singer/songwriter tapped GRAMMY-nominated producer Sean Douglas, who's worked with everyone from Lizzo to Madonna to Sia. Not that this synthesist of progressive R&B, synth pop, electronica, and more needs a reintroduction. But if you're not already on board with this musically keen, lyrically conscious artist, songs like "Future Enemies" should lure you there.

2025 GRAMMYs To Take Place Sunday, Feb. 2, Live In Los Angeles; GRAMMY Awards Nominations To Be Announced Friday, Nov. 8, 2024

Camila Cabello & Lil Nas X
Camila Cabello & Lil Nas X

Photo: Courtesy Camila Cabello & Lil Nas X

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New Music Friday: Listen to Songs From Megan Thee Stallion, Camila Cabello & Lil Nas X, BTS' RM & More

May 10 is quite the stacked day of new music across all genres — from Post Malone & Morgan Wallen's country collab, to Stray Kids' team-up with Charlie Puth, to The Chainsmokers and Kings of Leon. Check out some fresh releases to enjoy this weekend here.

GRAMMYs/May 10, 2024 - 06:55 pm

As the summer quickly approaches, artists from every genre continue to unveil new music for warmer weather. Friday May 10 is particularly packed with anticipated and surprise releases from both emerging talents and established names.

The new albums alone prove just that: pop songsmith Alec Benjamin's 12 Notes, folk-rock band Judah & the Lion's The Process, regional Mexican stars Grupo Frontera's Jugando a Que No Pasa Nada, and GRAMMY-winning R&B singer Andra Day's Cassandra, to name a few.

Meanwhile, a big, cool glass of major rap releases is here to help wash down the piping hot Kendrick and Drake beef served up over the last week. Full album releases debuted from Gunna, Chief Keef, and Ghostface Killah — the latter featuring guest spots from Nas, Kanye West, Raekwon, Method Man and more. Hottie Megan Thee Stallion's powerful new single, "BOA", sets the stage for her Hot Girl Summer tour which officially starts on May 14. New songs from Ice Spice, Kodak Black, NLE Choppa, Coi Leray, G-Eazy, Yung Gravy, Ski Mask the Slump God set the playlist for a weekend full of slappers.

There's tons of collaborations, too, including the much-teased pairing of Post Malone and Morgan Wallen with "I Had Some Help," a track that showcases Malone's furtherance into country in a catchy, reflective anthem. But country music lovers also have more to enjoy this weekend: Orville Peck's duets project, Stampede Vol.1, features the likes of Willie Nelson and Elton John," while Scotty McCreery's Rise & Fall and Avery Anna's single "Blonde" fill the fuel tank for a rodeo-ready summer. 

BTS's RM delivers another solo track "Come Back to Me" and Stray Kids dropped a new collaboration with Charlie Puth, coming fresh off the K-pop group's appearance at the Met Gala earlier this week. And the electronic and rock scenes are not left behind, with A.G. Cook exploring a new twist on Britpop and Sebastian Bach's release of Child Within The Man.

Dive into today's releases from Megan Thee Stallion, The Chainsmokers, RM, Stray Kids with Charlie Puth, Camila Cabello with Lil Nas X, Post Malone and Morgan Wallen below. 

Megan Thee Stallion, "BOA"

Megan Thee Stallion's new single "BOA" continues to play up the themes of empowerment and self-realization that define her current musical phase and comes just days ahead of her Hot Girl Summer Tour starting on May 14. The song's cover art features Megan with a striking snake, a recurring symbol of rebirth that has been significant in her recent work, appearing in tracks like the Billboard Hot 100 hit "Hiss" and the 2023 song "Cobra." 

"BOA" is a continuation of Megan's snake-themed narrative, but serves as a saccharine homage to her favorite late-'90s and early 2000s anime and video game classics. The music video features references to Scott Pilgrim, One Piece, Dance Dance Revolution, and iconic 3D fighting games like Mortal Kombat, complete with visuals and Gantz-inspired outfits.

Speaking to Women's Health about her upcoming summer album, Megan discussed the personal growth and renewal she has experienced, inspiring this new era of music. "I was inspired to create this album about rebirth because I feel I am becoming a new person physically and mentally," she shared.

Camila Cabello & Lil Nas X, "HE KNOWS"

Camila Cabello teams up with Lil Nas X for the tantalizing new song "He Knows," delivering a radio-friendly track that's as catchy as it is lustful. The new music mirrors the infectious energy of their recent appearance at FKA Twigs' Met Gala afterparty, where they both were seen dancing the night away behind the DJ booth. 

"He Knows" serves as a precursor to Cabello's highly anticipated fourth solo album, C,XOXO, — set to drop on June 28 — and teases a glimpse of Cabello's evolving artistic direction. The single follows on the heels of her recent hit "I LUV IT" featuring Playboi Carti, part of the  reimagining of her sound and artistic brand.

RM, "Come Back To Me"

BTS member RM has released a new single, "Come Back To Me," accompanied by a music video. The relaxed track gives fans a taste of his upcoming second solo album, Right Place, Wrong Person, set to release on May 24. 

In the song, RM explores themes of right and wrong, capturing the complex emotions of wanting to explore new avenues while wishing to stay comfortable in the present. "Come Back To Me" features contributions from OHHYUK of the South Korean band HYUKOH, and Kuo of the Taiwanese band Sunset Rollercoaster. Additional credits include JNKYRD and San Yawn from Balming Tiger. RM first performed "Come Back To Me" during a surprise appearance at BTS bandmate Suga's concert in Seoul last summer, noting it as a favorite from his forthcoming album. 

The music video for "Come Back To Me" was written, directed, and produced by Lee Sung Jin, known for his work on the Netflix show "Beef." The video features actress Kim Minha from the Apple TV+ series "Pachinko" and faces themes of identity and self-reflection, showing RM confronting different versions of himself. Its cast includes notable Korean and American actors such as Joseph Lee, Lee Sukhyeong, and Kim A Hyun.

Post Malone & Morgan Wallen, "I Had Some Help"

Post Malone and Morgan Wallen blend their distinct musical styles in the much-anticipated release of their collaborative single "I Had Some Help." Merging Malone's versatile pop sensibilities while leaning into his country roots with Wallen's, well, help, the duet is a unique crossover that has had fans clamoring to hear more since the two first teased the song earlier this year. 

Finally premiering during Wallen's headlining performance at Stagecoach Festival on April 28, the uptempo song explores themes of mutual support and shared experiences, encapsulated by the lyric, "It ain't like I can make this kind of mess all by myself."

The collaboration has sparked significant buzz and showcases the duo's chemistry and shared knack for storytelling. This single highlights their individual talents as well as their ability to bridge genre divides, already promising to be a hit on the charts and a favorite among fans.

The Chainsmokers, No Hard Feelings

Maestros of mainstream emotion, The Chainsmokers continue to master the art of turning personal reflections into global anthems with their latest EP, No Hard Feelings. The six-song project see Alex Pall and Drew Taggart exploring the emotional highs and lows of modern relationships, weaving their signature dance beats with pop sensibilities as they have since 2015's "Roses." 

The duo's latest release serves as a soundtrack to both sun-kissed days and introspective nights. The collection includes the single "Friday," a collaboration with Haitian-American singer Fridayy, described by the duo as a direct descendant of "Roses." Other tracks, such as "Addicted," also underscore the Chainsmokers' knack for capturing the zeitgeist of contemporary love and loss.

Kings of Leon, Can We Please Have Fun

Kings of Leon return with their signature blend of rock and introspection on their ninth studio album, Can We Please Have Fun. The LP finds the band infusing their established sound with fresh, unbridled energy, reminiscent of their early days yet matured by years of experience. The album features standout tracks like "Mustang" and "Nothing To Do," which mix playful lyrics with serious musical chops, showcasing Kings of Leon's unique ability to combine rock's raw power with catchy, thoughtful songwriting.

The band is set to bring Can We Please Have Fun to life on their 2024 world tour, starting in Leeds, United Kingdom on June 20 and wrapping in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on Oct. 5. Fans can expect a high-energy series of performances that blend new tracks with beloved classics, all delivered with the Kings of Leon's legendary fervor.

Stray Kids & Charlie Puth, "Lose My Breath"

Stray Kids have teamed up with Charlie Puth for their latest release, "Lose My Breath," a track that blends K-pop dynamism with Western pop flair, written by Stray Kids' own producer team 3racha (Bang Chan, Changbin, and Han) along with Puth. The TK song details a whirlwind of emotions, describing symptoms of breathlessness and heart-palpitating moments encapsulated in the lyrics: "I lose my breath when you're walking in/ 'Cause when our eyes lock, it's like my heart stops." 

"Lose My Breath" is described as a "warm-up" for Stray Kids' forthcoming album, set for release this summer. The track further highlights the global appeal of Stray Kids ahead of their highly anticipated headlining set at Lollapalooza in August. It also continues Puth's engagement with K-pop, following his previous work with other K-pop acts including his collab with BTS' Jungkook, "Left and Right," and "Like That," a song he co-wrote for K-pop girl group BABYMONSTER

15 Must-Hear Albums In May 2024: Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Sia, Zayn & More

Luiza Lian singing
Luiza Lian

Photo: Filipa Aurélio

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5 Artists Leading A New Wave Of Latin Trip-Hop & Downtempo: Céu, Natalia Clavier & More

As Latin GRAMMY winner Mon Laferte embarks on a U.S. tour of her new, trip-hop flavored album 'Autopoetica,' get to know five acts who are also fusing traditional Latin rhythms with downtempo beats.

GRAMMYs/May 6, 2024 - 01:54 pm

The explosive Latin music scene is moving in many directions: from brassy corridos tumbados to pounding perreo tracks. Yet another, slower movement is quietly brewing: Latin trip-hop and downtempo. 

Trip-hop originated in the 1990s and typically refers to downtempo music with a degree of electronic experimentation and an elusive sense of eeriness. While it's a contentious term that has been shunned by the very artists’ whose sound it was coined to describe (Portishead’s Geoff Barrow once tweeted "call it anything else but that";), it has been widely embraced in Latin America, which has imprinted on the genre since it’s infancy.

In 2001, the Franco-Argentine act Gotan Project poured tango into trip-hop musings to create their seminal record La revancha del Tango. Brazilian bossa nova has also featured heavily in the peripheral trip-hop scene: London-Brazilian outfit Smoke City’s 1997 Flying Away was awash with the rhythms of Rio de Janeiro. 

Latin GRAMMY winner Mon Laferte recalls listening to the sounds of Portishead in the 1990s, gazing out the window of her Chilean home in portside city Viña del Mar. "I loved Beth Gibbons’ voice," she says. "I remember the television was showing a Portishead concert, and I thought, Who is this captivating voice?"

That interest has followed Laferte throughout her career. On 2023's Autopoetica, Laferte brings back the Latin twist on trip-hop — drawing on traditional styles that have been a staple to her previous catalog (bolero, salsa, cumbia), then blending them into a downtempo electro canvas. "40yMM," a song that navigates the ups and downs of turning 40, begins with atmospheric strings, whispered vocals, and slow, pulsating beats, before unexpectedly branching into a rhythmic salsa. 

Laferte is one of a new wave of artists exploring the boundaries of traditional Latin styles through poignant, reflective experimentation — whether it be pasting a hypnotic double cumbia beat onto a trippy electro soundscape, or combining regional folk guitar with shuddering synths. Read on for five artists who are at the forefront of a new wave of Latin trip-hop and downtempo.

Karen y Los Remedios 

Hailing from Mexico, Karen y Los Remedios is a Mexican trio that makes "existential Cumbia." Their 2023 debut album, Silencio, is a gorgeously dark exploration of the realizations that occur through silence. On "Cartas Marinas," Ana Karen G Barajas asks "What would your voice be without mine?/What would your hand be without mine?"; her profound, prophetic tone that chills the spine.

The trio, formed by Barajas, guitarist Guillermo Berbeyer and producer Jonathan Muriel (Jiony), first met on projects under Jiony's Mexico City label, VAA, which specializes in electro, techno, funk and traditional Latin sounds. The trio eventually teamed up to put out two EPs, cumbia-driven
Botanas, Vol15, in 2020, and lo-fi hip hop effort Recuerdos de Expiación in 2021.

Federico Aubele

Singing with shivering stillness, Federico Aubele’s music is soft, pensive and haunting. Mixing jazz, trip-hop and folk, the Argentine is signed to ESL Music, which is headed by U.S. electro act Thievery Corporation. His musical footprint is similarly global: Aubele released his debut album, Gran Hotel Buenos Aires, in 2004 while living in Berlin, and then spent time making music in Barcelona, before settling in New York.

His latest album, 2023's
Time Drips On My Bed, is a meditative reflection on the past inspired by his early life in Buenos Aires, a city he grew up in, but is at once a stranger to. His music is informed by Latin classical guitars, nodding to the tango and folk styles present in Argentina, and mixing in contemporary electronic elements to hone his eclectic and exploratory style. 

Luiza Lian 

Signed to international independent label ZZK Records, Luiza Lian is a Sao Paulo-based musician who toys with experimental techniques, bouncing basslines and erratic vocal arrangement. On the latest album, 7 Estrelas | quem arrancou o céu?, she uses voice manipulation to explore themes of reality and deception, holding a mirror up to a consumerist world to question where our real values should lie. 

Lian’s deep mediations on the record translate to an immersive live show that has won awards in her native Brazil. With frantic projections, flashing lights and costume design that form part of the stage backdrop, she creates a deliberately disorientating and harrowing mood, encouraging viewers to join her reflection on humanity. 

Natalia Clavier

Like Abuele, Buenos Aires vocalist Clavier is another protegee of the Thievery Corporation and spent a large part of her early career as the band’s lead vocalist. Clavier kindled a love for singing as a child after listening to her grandmother’s jazz records and eventually grew to love electronic music after discovering the sounds of Massive Attack, Björk and Portishead. 

After spending the first chapter of her music career as a session and live vocalist, Clavier released her debut album,
Nectár, in 2008. She's since crafted a body of solo work that combines hushed, jazzy vocals with gorgeously downtempo tracks. Her most recent album with Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton, 2023’s Corazón Kintsugi, combines Bossa Nova, dub, and trip-hop into a rich soundscape. 

Céu 

Maria do Céu Whitaker Poças, known as Céu, is a Sao Paulo musician whose music veers into a particularly dub vein of downtempo. 

Since releasing her first self-titled album in 2005, Céu has worked with a mixture of jazz, reggae and samba, her blissfully smooth vocals weaving between the genres. The self-titled album was a critical success, earning her a Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist in 2006, and a GRAMMY nomination for Best Contemporary World Music Album in 2008.

Céu continues to make soft, blissfully melodic music with an electronic edge. On 2024 single Coração Âncora, she teams up with producer RDD to sing a breezy, summery ode the "anchored heart," committed and assured. 

6 Artists Reimagining Flamenco For A New Generation: María José Llergo, C. Tangana, Mëstiza & More

Pearl Jam posed ahead of Dark Matter
Pearl Jam

Photo: Danny Clinch

interview

Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard On New Album ‘Dark Matter’ & The Galvanizing Force Of Andrew Watt

"It's not about anything other than movement and rhythm and noise," Stone Gossard, Pearl Jam’s founding guitarist, says of their whiplashing essence. On their latest album, producer Andrew Watt captured that hurricane in a bottle.

GRAMMYs/Apr 19, 2024 - 01:42 pm

When Pearl Jam threw their hands together on the cover of their debut album Ten, they laid an architecturally sound foundation — to stay unified, unbroken, always honing. Much like their hero (and collaborator) Neil Young, their aesthetic blueprint was established from the jump: on every album in Ten’s wake, they’ve dug a little (or a lot) deeper into that ineffable essence.

Pearl Jam have never made a bad record; they’ve only swung their pickaxe at that mine and been variably rewarded. On 2000’s Binaural, they hit a seam of simmering psychedelia; on its follow-up, the underrated, desolate Riot Act, they stumbled on a yawning, haunted chasm. 2009’s Backspacer, 2013’s Lightning Bolt and 2020’s Gigaton were all hailed as returns to form, yet none of them totally flipped the script.

Enter Dark Matter, their new album, produced by the young wunderkind Andrew Watt, due out April 19. Singer Eddie Vedder has declared, "No hyperbole, I think this is our best work." This time, that really feels apt: Watt’s abundant, kinetic energy and clear love for their legacy clearly knocked a few cobwebs loose.

Just listen to singles "Running" and "Dark Matter" — or album tracks, like the epic ballad "Wreckage," and how they build to neck-snapping fever pitches. Pearl Jam have always had batteries in their backs, but they haven’t sounded this young and hungry in decades.

"I think he loves the band from what he has seen us live. He knows that we, in certain moments, are unhinged," founding guitarist Stone Gossard tells GRAMMY.com of the irrepressible Watt, who’s also whipped the Rolling Stones and Ozzy Osbourne back into fighting shape. "That's part of what we do."

"It’s where rock and roll meets just religious ecstasy, where it's not about anything other than movement and rhythm and noise," Gossard adds. "And it turns into something that's not a song, but a ritual or something… sometimes, as you get older as a band, you can lose touch of that."

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Can you talk about Dark Matter’s sound? It feels so different from past Pearl Jam records, in a great way — it seems to emanate from a dark center, to all sides of the soundfield.

The sonics of it is really Andrew Watt. That’s his dream — of loving rock music, and then being in the pop world, then learning and understanding that world so well. And then going back to all of his favorite bands from when he was a kid and making records with them, which is hilarious. 

Because I keep saying this, "We're just in Andrew's dream and we're just kind of a sidebar. This is really the Andrew Watt story that's actually going on right now, and we're all just part of it."

But he really has a very distinctive sonic style. He has a studio that we just walked into the first day making this record, and it's just gear already out, ready to go: "What kind of guitar do you want? Here's an amp, whatever, the drums are here. We’ve got a microphone in the closet."

Usually, if you're in a band — and especially a band for 20 or 30 years — when you decide to do something, then your gear shows up and your guy shows up, and then all your guys argue with each other about where their stuff's going to go, it's a drama. This was no drama. There was no work involved. We just walked in and played.

It sounded like the record right away. He's running things through the chains that he wants. The way he uses compression, and the way he uses reverb, and the guitar sounds he likes, and how he places things — he's a sonic artist.

So it sounds exciting, and really live. And yet, also you can really hear the details, and it's not a mess.

It’s interesting that you bring up Watt’s pop background. Pearl Jam has always seemed at odds with how things are typically done in the music industry, so it’s great that you’re able to retrieve what you need from the machine.

Well, there's the world of pop music in terms of your perception of it, in terms of what it represents.

But also, the structures that we're dealing with in rock songs and pop songs — basically, the form is still the same. You're starting out with one part and maybe there's a variation, but it's tension and release and it's a few chords and it's a beat and it's a piece of poetry.

Those things can fit together in a lot of different ways, but there's things about pop music that are foundational to all music. There's things about it that work, and work for a reason. It gets bastardized and homogenized and all that.

So, we're still writing rock songs and pop songs — but we like to make them a little hairier, generally.

I see how the Dark Matter sessions could be the Watt show. But I’m sure it was a reciprocal conversation. What references were you throwing back at him, from the millions of miles the band’s traveled together?

Well, he’s a fan. He’s a Ten Club member from way, way back. He fell in love with Pearl Jam when he was 15 years old.

He met [guitarist] Mike McCready outside of a Robin Hood fundraiser in New York. He was with his dad, and Andrew and his dad came up and said, "This is my son Andrew; he's a musician; he really wants to become a rock star. He wants to be in bands and make records. And Mike, do you have any advice you can give him?"

And Mike said, "Finish up your college your dad wants you to, and make sure you got your bases covered." And then Andrew, of course, just went in the opposite direction and said, "Oh, I'm just going to conquer the world and then I'm going to come back and produce your band, Mike McCready."

So I love that. I love that he has that history with us. And I just think that he comes from a place, he's a real fan of the band. His enthusiasm really drove the process and his understanding of the things that he loves about us. He really wanted us to make an aggressive record. He really fell in love with our unhinged side from when he was a kid. But just loved the different ways that we had fit together as a kid.

I think he was encouraging us to find those same sort of things that worked in the past. And he's an experimenter. He's ready for anything. You can say no to him. I mean, you’ve got to be forceful. We were a united front a few times and just said, "No, we're going to do this," or whatever. But he made a lot of good decisions, and helped us make a lot of good decisions.

And I think the record, the arrangements, even just them playing now — when we're just starting to rehearse them, the songs are playing well, they're playing themselves. There's no ambiguity to them, where it's mushy. They're strong — lyrically, melodically, rhythmically. All the stool legs are in place.

As I understand it, there were no demos, and Eddie was reacting to the energy in the room, and writing in the moment. This is a great batch of lyrics. They hit you in the solar plexus.

I think one thing that we've learned over the years is that Eddie is more active and more inspired and will finish more songs — and get more excited about songs — when he's in the process of writing with the band.

So, if it's us against the world, and we're stepping into a studio — someone's throwing out a riff or someone's got an idea, and then it gets tweaked and molded — he's going to do his damnedest to make that thing. If he's in on it and feels part of it, he's going to do his damnedest to make that thing have legs and survive.

You're less likely to have something happen if you send him something than you are if you plan something when he's in the room and you're working it out. Just make it about that moment.

It's like, "I don't care about all the different things you thought your song should be or how many different ways it could go, or if it's reggae… let's try it right now with everybody and see how everyone plays it, and feels it —and do I feel it?"

And a lot of times he does, and we find that. And then once he starts going, then all of us are — phew! The energy goes up.

One of my favorite songs on Dark Matter is "Wreckage." That one builds unbelievably.

That’s really Andrew and Ed back and forth, discovering that arrangement, and the push and pull of where that song could go. I think it hit a sweet spot. All of us are part of it, but it’s understated in a way that I think is really beautiful.

It builds in a way that feels natural; it doesn’t feel gratuitous to me. It feels like a destination: you’ve reached it, and you deserve it at that point. There’s a lot going on harmonically, but the chords are very simple.

The other is "Something Special." Partly because I was looking at message boards, where the peanut gallery was complaining about its naked sentimentality. I was thinking, You don’t get it! This is straight from the heart.

Where you are in your life, and why that lyric means something to you — yeah, it’s different for everyone.

That’s a Josh Klinghoffer composition.  He’s become part of our band in a way that’s so amazing — his voice and his musicality. He’s really almost become our musical bandleader at this point, which is the best, because he’s charming and hilarious and fun to be around and always game.

Josh had this great riff. Immediately, Andrew and Ed changed a bunch of chords and moved it all around, but it turned out great. We’ve been playing it in rehearsals. It’s got great chords; it’s beautiful, sentimental and gorgeous.

And we need that on the record. The record’s pretty bleak. It’s not uplifting, necessarily. So, yeah — sometimes, you go home, and you just hang out, and you’ve got to just tell the people you love how much you love them.

Songbook: A Guide To The Smashing Pumpkins In Three Eras, From Gish To Atum