Open the Music Industry’s Black Box by David Byrne [New York Times]
“Everyone should be celebrating — but many of us who create, perform and record music are not. Tales of popular artists (as popular as Pharrell Williams) who received paltry royalty checks for songs that streamed thousands or even millions of times (like “Happy”) on Pandora or Spotify are common. Obviously, the situation for less-well-known artists is much more dire. For them, making a living in this new musical landscape seems impossible. I myself am doing O.K., but my concern is for the artists coming up: How will they make a life in music?”
Chapel Hill's The Chorus Project sings songs by artists as diverse as R.E.M, The Kinks, Adele, David Byrne, St. Vincent, and Justin Timberlake. Loosely inspired by the 70’s Langley Schools Music Project, Glee and Polyphonic Spree, the chorus is made up of singers from different schools and diverse backgrounds. Subscribe to their YouTube channel to get their latest releases, and to enjoy the songs they've already done. [more inside]
Back at the beginning of 2010, Peter Gabriel released Scratch My Back, an album of covers of various artists. He had hoped those same artists would, in turn, cover songs he had written. Well, it didn't all come together as smoothly as he had planned, and not all the artists participated, but he's finally released And I'll Scratch Yours. NPR has a limited time preview of both albums running right now. [more inside]
The city is a fountain that never stops: it generates its energy from the human interactions that take place in it. Unfortunately, we’re getting to a point where many of New York’s citizens have been excluded from this equation for too long. David Byrne comments on New York's hospitability to creative types.
In 1984, the same year that Stop Making Sense was released, another meticulously crafted Talking Heads concert movie made its debut as well. Once in a Lifetime is a 69-minute piece of experimental television (originally broadcast on England's Channel 4) that Talking Heads fans (as well as those interested in mid-80s video montage stylings) will surely want to check out.
David Byrne on making a living from music. 'Many a fan (myself included) has said that "music saved my life", so there must be some incentive to keep that lifesaver available for future generations.'
Talking Heads, Live in Rome, 1980 The Talking Heads concert film you haven't seen: the show that would eventually be recorded in the (awesome) concert film Stop Making Sense 3 years later, recorded while it was still a bit weird and uncertain. And therefore, wonderful. [more inside]
Carly Rae Jepsen based "Call Me Maybe" on Annie Lennox's "Walking on Broken Glass". Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend (wiki) mashed the two together: "Call Me on Broken Glass". (Bonus Lennox mashup link: "Sweet Dreams" vs. "Can't Touch This" and many others).
[This] "is a pre release version of david byrnes first solo album, which was given me by david, when i stayed at his place in alfabet city, in 1981 [...] anyway, the final release differed a lot from this tape, because he used quotes from the quoran in this version, which he had to replace later. i dont know if this version was ever released in any way, shape or form." My Life in the Bush Of Ghosts, David Byrne and Brian Eno
Sessions at West 54th aired for a few years on American public television in the late 1990s, featuring live sets and interviews with musicians. The February 1999 show featured Tori Amos as the guest, performing both solo and with a band. David Byrne, who had himself previously performed, both hosted and interviewed Tori about her music, her life, and her work as co-founder of RAINN. Full setlists from both performances and David Byrne's sartorial wonders inside. [more inside]
David Byrne Takes On The Man. Good ole Charlie [Crist], used Bryne's (Talking Heads) song, Road to Nowhere, during Crist's failed run for Senator of FL in 2010, without permission, without licenses. The lawsuit that was filed was settled this week, which culminated in Crist issuing a YouTube apology. Crist also told the Associated Press that Byrne "couldn't have been more of a gentlemen" when the two met to settle the case.
Forró is popular dance music from northeastern Brazil. Forró em Vinil is a blog with out of catalog forró gems for download. But wait, is this legal? [more inside]
Featuring Nellie McKay, Cyndi Lauper, Tori Amos, Martha Wainwright, Steve Earle, Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Kate Pierson (of the B-52s) and many others, Here Lies Love is the result of a recent collaboration between David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. 22-tracks long, it tells the story of the Iron Butterfly, aka Imelda Marcos, first lady of the Philippines, and her relationship with her childhood servant Estrella Cumpas. Its official release is April 6th, but until then you can listen to the whole thing on NPR Music. The double-disc set will also feature a 120 page booklet and a DVD of historical footage. [more inside]
David Byrne on Collaborations: "A writer at Pitchfork critically said I’d collaborate for a bag of Doritos. I do love it, and the results are sometimes surprising, sometimes creatively successful and sometimes even popular (“Lazy” was a huge hit everywhere except the US)." On song writing, "After the initial transcription of verbal sounds into nonsense sentences made of real words, a long, tedious process begins. I then begin to write out every phrase I can think of that matches that sonic/syllabic flow — no phrase is too mundane or stupid. I try not to pre-judge anything that occurs to me at this point — one never knows if something that sounded stupid at first will, in a new context, make the whole thing shine."
David Byrne has just published a new book about bicycles called Bicycle Diaries. A long time rider, Byrne muses on how the world looks and works from the vantage point of a cyclist. It's getting pretty good reviews. To launch the book, Byrne is touring the US and arranging public forums. Each event features a civic leader, an urban theorist, a bicycle advocate, and Byrne himself speaking about bikes in cities. Here’s a schedule of the upcoming events. He’s also designed some bike racks for his hometown of New York City. [more inside]
"Money" is a completely AWESOME music video of a track by N.A.S.A. (North America South America), a DJ collective featuring Squeak E. Clean and DJ Zegon plus many famous guest artists, including, on this track alone, David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, & Z-Trip. (Other tracks by N.A.S.A. feature the likes of Tom Waits, M.I.A., Gift of Gab and Kool Keith.) The video features the artwork of Shepard Fairey, who has been discussed previously here. The video was directed by Paul Griswold and Syd Garon (who also did this great video for DJ Qbert and this one for Dan the Automator, which features some nice Gilliamesque touches.)
The Brighton Port Authority was a shadowy musical project lasting from the early 1970s and lasting until the mid 90s, or so it's rumored. The tapes from this project have recently been found and are slowly being released. [more inside]
David Byrne writes three thoughtful essays on robots, song, and the uncanny valley on the occasion of the creation of a robot which sings in his voice at a Madrid museum: Visiting the robot factory in Texas, regarding the uncanny valley, on machines and souls.
David Byrne's Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars Where there was one, now there are six: Six possible music distribution models, ranging from one in which the artist is pretty much hands-off to one where the artist does nearly everything. [more inside]
"Window in the Sky" is a YouTube style video synch mash-up done on a professional budget with the magic of copyright clearances. "It's a triumph of postmodern reconstruction" says the Washington Post.
David Byrne blogs, including a recent post on Jesus Camp. (Via BoingBoing. Jesus Camp, previously on Metafilter
Brian Eno and David Byrne released My Life in the Bush of Ghosts in 1981. It's a great album--and now it's available with a Creative Commons License. "This is the first time complete and total access to original tracks with remix and sampling possibilities have been officially offered on line."
From surreal and scathing political satire to muisc videos such as Molotov's hot latin Frijolero and David Byrne's The Great Intoxication, Austin's Jason Archer and Paul Beck are producing some great animation. (large flash and quicktime clips) - via snarky malarkey
Learning to Love PowerPoint Wired and the New York Times feature David Byrne's DVD/book Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information, which contains art he created with PowerPoint. The title's a reference to Edward Tufte, who has his own opinion of PowerPoint (which was remixed by Aaron Swartz).