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21 days. 39 years. 8-ish genres. 6 one-hit wonders. 1 Russell. 1 Ron.

I only agreed to do it because I thought it wouldn't happen. Twenty-one albums in 21 nights? More than 270 songs? Are you nuts? Sure, let's do it.

In May and June 2008, Sparks celebrated what was nearly their 40th year as a band with an astonishing three-week concert series: every night, they performed one of their then-21 albums in its entirety, ending with the just-released Exotic Creatures of the Deep. Unlike most groups that formed in 1969, Sparks has kept themselves appealing and intriguing through a series of reinventions that saw them playing glam rock and disco, new wave and a couple varieties of synthpop. Unusually for a band in its third decade, 2002 saw a critically-acclaimed near-complete reinvention of their musical approach, one that emphasized minimalist layering, unusual (and hilarious) genre juxtapositions [note: kitties], and unusually clever and sinister approaches to lyricism. 21x21, then, was a virtuosic tribute to a virtuosic band, one whose appeal was far, far more than surface deep. Which is why, thank God, there is... [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 4, 2014 - 55 comments

Your average ordinary SUPERHUMAN punishers-of-evil rock-and-roll band!!!

They were a one-hit wonder in the 90s. Then they got a hit show on Nick Jr. and introduced a generation of young children to Of Montreal, Mos Def, and MGMT. They have another TV show where they fight evil monsters, but first and foremost they're a kick-ass band that mixes new wave, surf rock, ska, B-movies, nostalgia, romance, and general ecstatic feel-goodiness into a tight, clever, and totally awesome package. WHO ARE THOSE MASKED MEN, YOU MAY ASK??!? THEY ARE... THE AQUABATS. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 12, 2013 - 23 comments

Ida Maria performs 69 through a peephole.

Ida Maria performs 69 through a peephole. Previously.
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 3, 2013 - 11 comments

A Rather Extraordinary Piano Recital

La Monte Young's The Well-Tuned Piano [2 3 4 5] is unlike anything you've heard before or will ever hear again. The notes are different from what you're used to, but what Young uses them for is... well. (If you don't have five hours to spend on a piano recital, may I suggest giving the first 4-5 minutes of disc three a go? It starts off briskly, builds to a scintillating pattern after a minute, and then, just before the three minute mark, the piano begins to roar.)
posted by Rory Marinich on Nov 15, 2013 - 32 comments

Break a leg / cut the thread

Yoko Ono's new single Bad Dancer has a video which involves Ira Glass, Questlove, Ira Glass, and other cool people dancing, well, poorly.
posted by Rory Marinich on Nov 8, 2013 - 44 comments

These guys are fucking AMAZING.

Kiyohiko Senba is a composer who’s been likened to Zappa for his ambition, talent, madness, and virtuosity, but his music is considerably easier to get into. Get ready, because his large-scale orchestra project, Kiyohiko Senba and the Haniwa All-Stars, is about to blow your goddamn mind.

Let's start simple and ramp up. Hohai Bushi sounds a bit like an Ennio Morricone composition but with more electric guitar. Taiikusai is so heartfelt, yearning, and soaring that I cried when it got to the climax. They cover both Franz Schubert’s “Standchen" and Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t To Say You Love Me” in ways that are all kinds of awesome. But the real treasure for me is this one, which begins with them playing the Village People’s “YMCA” but then transitions into Daimeiwaku, a freaking phenomenal good original piece that sounds – I don’t know how else to describe it – like James Brown and John Philip Sousa decided to play Katamari Damacy together and had a really good time. (With some klezmer and Leonard Bernstein thrown in there too, for good measure.) But wait! There’s [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Oct 25, 2013 - 24 comments

"A song is either good to start with, or it's bad."

SBPCh ("Samoe bol'shoe prostoe chislo", Russian for "The Biggest Prime Number") is a St. Petersburg-based band that combines indifferent, low-key rapping with charming synth-and-acoustic-guitar arrangements. Their live shows are chaotic and involve handing out cheap instruments to audience members first; their recorded music is stripped-down and friendly. I first discovered them through Birthday and Beasts on Far From Moscow's Apples compilation—to me, it sounds like something out of the tetherball scene in Napoleon Dynamite. The Three of Us is a more driving song with an unusual balance of instruments; the album it's on, Flash Card, is generally pretty terrific. (The opening song, Russian Music, makes me pretty damn happy.)

Far From Moscow has written about them a number of times. Their article The Strange Advantages of Indifference talks about SBPCh's recording process and musical philosophy:
Key here is the notion of "awkwardness." In other words, all members of SBPCh feel that honest expression, either on stage or in the studio, never comes from a clamorous display of bold, brash statements, even when they're made with confidently wielded technology. Quite the opposite: veracity and candor should come in humble forms.

posted by Rory Marinich on Oct 24, 2013 - 5 comments

"the laughing stock of the Internet and two music genres"

Engineer turns hardcore band into EDM nightmare after they fail to pay. [T]he engineer, known only as Dan, funnelled the “best 30 mins I’ve ever spent” into reworking the material and uploading the final product. What was surely meant to be a hard-hitting, passionate composition of brutal metalcore integrity is now a cringeworthy dance track.
posted by Rory Marinich on Oct 23, 2013 - 51 comments

Chow Muh-muh-muh-muh-mein

Alison Gold's Chinese Food is the latest "pop" "hit" out of ARK Music to be making the rounds, following the footsteps of Nicole Westbrook's It's Thanksgiving and, of course, Rebecca Black's Friday. Beyond its hilariously forced lyrics and meter, which are par for the course, Chinese Food is being roundly criticized for being more than a little bit racist—and its racism is hardly culturally accurate, either: subtitles are shown throughout the song which shift to a number of different non-Chinese languages, including Hebrew and Arabic, and the song's climax includes a number of women dressed as geishas. But ARK Music's Patrice Wilson, aka Fat Usher, is more self-aware than he's sometimes given credit for, and his music comes close to Tim and Eric territory at times (Eric Wareheim's music videos have also been called out for dealing with race in highly problematic ways). In a little-seen but very funny response to Friday, his song Happy, Wilson lampoons both his own approach to songwriting, and the response Friday received afterwards. Another Alison Gold song produced by Wilson and ARK, Skip Rope by "Tweenchronic", that might be the proof that ARK is cleverer and more deliberate in its approach than its millions of anti-fans recognize. (Wilson was interviewed by Gawker and the LA Times in the wake of Friday; his recent defense of Chinese Food was either disingenuous or really dumb, depending on how much credit you're willing to give him.)
posted by Rory Marinich on Oct 18, 2013 - 124 comments

So here we are now standing at the grave / Trying so hard to best behave

One day in February several years ago, William D. Drake – a distant cousin of famous folk musician Nick Drake – released two very different albums at once. There was Yew's Paw, a collection of strange and lovely piano music, such as the bouncy, joyful Pipistrelle, the sometimes-misty, sometimes-urgent At the End of the Harbour Wall. (Not to mention the aptly-named Short & Sweet Like A Donkey's Gallop, which is 17 satisfying seconds long.) Then there was Briny Hooves, a set of rock/folk/pop songs which are all confounding and fantastic. Wolves is an angry elegy that's nonetheless incredibly catchy; equally catchy is Serendipity Doodah. Ugly Fortress is a softer, Beatlesy sort of tune, The Fountains Smoke is a lovely folk duet, and Requiem for a Snail is exactly what it claims to be. Perhaps its two most affecting moments are Sweet Peace, a gently dark number that grows and grows, and Seahorse, which is very reminiscent of Robert Wyatt's (also wonderful) Rock Bottom. Both albums are worth a listen, and both can be streamed freely from Bandcamp—Yew's Paw, Briny Hooves, and Drake's more recent album The Rising of the Lights.
posted by Rory Marinich on Sep 25, 2013 - 11 comments

Variations on the Goldberg Variations

Why I Hate the Goldberg Variations, by Jeremy Denk, whose new (lovely) recording of the Goldberg Variations is now streaming on NPR. Also by Denk: Hannibal Lecter's Guide to the Goldberg Variations, which explores the famous cannibal killer through the lens of Bach. This is Your Brain on the Goldberg Variations, which gets in-depth on just how the Variations vary.
posted by Rory Marinich on Sep 24, 2013 - 30 comments

"I have been mindfucked before, but never with such sweetness" —YouTube

Finnish jazz pianist + beat boxer + guitarist = Iiro Rantala's Shit Catapault. Equal parts hilarious, bouncy, groovy, and unexpectedly moving.
posted by Rory Marinich on Sep 17, 2013 - 18 comments

Simon Cowell your days are numbered. Owls will get you while you slumber

You've probably seen videos by Jonti Picking, AKA Weebl. He's the guy behind such Internet legends as Badger Badger Badger, Look At My Horse, Narwhals, and Kenya, and his knack for combining catchy music with absurd words and animations has resulted in an extensive library of earworm songs. There's Magical Trevor, who's shown up time and again (and again). He has songs about other animals, like crabs and giraffes and breadfish and baby baboons. (My favorite video of his is Owls by a wide margin.) He also writes about real people, like Stephen Fry and Patrick Moore!
posted by Rory Marinich on Sep 6, 2013 - 32 comments

RINGDINGDINGDING DINGDINGERINGEDING

Dog goes woof
Cat goes meow
Bird goes tweet
And mouse goes squeek
Cow goes moo
Frog goes croak
And the elephant goes toot
Ducks say quack
And fish go blub
And the seal goes ow ow ow
But there’s one sound
That no one knows
What does the fox say?
posted by Rory Marinich on Sep 5, 2013 - 84 comments

Enigma popstar is fun / She wear burqa for fashion

A new Lady Gaga song called Burqa has leaked online. Its production is pretty interesting. Its lyrics are... controversial, to say the least. "Lady Gaga bas a burqa problem," writes Jezebel. "You can't just ornament yourself in other cultures (especially not if those cultures are specifically targeted for violence and harassment in your home country)." Other criticisms abound on The Atlantic and Autostraddle. A blog called Racist Little Monsters has popped up to collect pictures of fans posing in self-made burqas [warning: nsfw language abounds]
posted by Rory Marinich on Aug 8, 2013 - 236 comments

My name is Roman, last name is Zolanski

I played this song to my Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll class in Caboolture, and it sure attracted some extreme (negative) reactions. “This is shit,” was the common consensus… all except me and this one girl sitting at the back who the previous week had revealed herself to be a Royal Headache fan and was sitting there with her jaw dropping, like me. It was the first time she’d heard it too. “I’m going to be buying the album tomorrow,” she said. More hardcore than Throbbing Gristle, more extreme than most ‘extreme’ punk hardcore and metal hardcore I’ve heard, and… wait. The video to ‘Stupid Hoe’ has been watched by 71 million people? What the fuck is going on? The alternative and underground is getting seriously left behind by this wanton and determined deconstruction of sound happening within the ‘mainstream’.Everett True [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Aug 2, 2013 - 126 comments

How long will you forget me? Forever?

This is Our Music [part 2] is a short documentary about naivist composer Tori Kudo, who's best known under the name Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Kudo is fascinated in mistakes and imperfection, and his music is warm and charming, crackly and washed-out like a Polaroid picture, sometimes energetic and surprisingly short, other times calm and gentle, and sometimes just gorgeous folk rock. Some of his most powerful songs are religious in nature: How Long Will You Forget Me is a moving, unpretentious adaptation of Psalm 13, and Moving Without Ark is a soft but powerful epic which could be about the Flood or the Second Coming. Tori's wife Reiko is also a naivist composer; I'm especially taken by her song Son of Man.
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 6, 2013 - 7 comments

It's okay to be a cheese.

HEY YOU! Andrew Horowitz, a musician who goes by the name edu, writes music that sounds like Muppets-influenced psychedelia. At the End is a soft, melancholy song; Miss Melody blooms and blooms and blooms. Horowitz is also the mind behind The Baker Boys, which remixes Jay-Z with 20th century classical musicians like Philip Glass, Igor Stravinsky, Steve Reich, and Conlon Nancarrow.
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 3, 2013 - 8 comments

Say you love me or I’ll kill you!

Jun Togawa is sort of like what you'd get if you crossed Kate Bush and Mike Patton. Togawa, who became known in Japanese culture after appearing in a bidet commercial, was half of the electro-cabaret band Guernica, which sometimes sounded very classical and sometimes sounded very new wave and sometimes much stranger. Somewhat more straightforward is her rock outfit Yapoos, which similarly varies quite a bit in sound and style. Her solo work, unsurprisingly, is quite melodramatic, with some very interesting arrangements, both parodically poppy and funky. I particularly like her covers of All Tomorrow's Parties by the Velvet Underground, Brigitte Fontaine's Comme à la Radio, and – weirdly – Pachelbel's Canon.
posted by Rory Marinich on Apr 21, 2013 - 14 comments

When I stop listening, I have a hard time believing I just heard it.

Katra Turana is the most delightfully baffling band I know. Sometimes they sound like a calypso band gone mad. Sometimes they sound like a tornado slamming into a string quartet. Sometimes they're catchy and heartwarming. Sometimes they're sparse and sinister. Or they're annoying in grandiose ways. And sometimes they blossom into something that's vulnerable, lush, and devastatingly beautiful. I know next to nothing about them. They confound me. I hope you find them as wondrous and as special as I do.
posted by Rory Marinich on Apr 20, 2013 - 25 comments

"I'm yours again. I always enjoy seeing what happens to me."

After years of silence, enigmatic programmer/musician/surrealist why the lucky stiff is publishing to the web again (temporarily). Five days ago he released a number of short collages; today, his site is outputting a number of stories and essays, which are being collected in several Scribd repositories. _why writes about a strange old Oprah show starring guests who've removed themselves from society [parts 2 3 4 5 6], discussing M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening with a friend [2 3 4 5 6], and suffering a personal crisis after reading the complete works of Kafka [2 3 4 5 6 7]. (One final story, "Dentist", has been uploaded to a public Dropbox account [2 3 4 5 6 7 8].) There's also this somewhat ominous web site. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Apr 18, 2013 - 25 comments

This is some chill and low-key music that you might enjoy!

Circlesquare is a band that I like. They have kind of a post-punk meets dance music feel to them, and if you like those things you might like them too. I like their songs Hey You Guys, Dancers, and Timely. The man behind the music, Jeremy Shaw, does some interesting art projects, like "DMT", "7 Minutes", and "Representative Measurements", which his site won't let me link. He did an interview with Interview Magazine.
posted by Rory Marinich on Mar 29, 2013 - 3 comments

Leonardo da Vinci. Vincent Van Gogh. Pablo Picasso. Oliver, Age 24.

Oliver is 24 and he wants to teach you how to draw really good. Draw Voltorb! Draw Shrek! Draw Harry Potter! Draw the Mona Lisa (it's harder than you think!)! He will also teach you how to music really good if you like music, like dubstep! His friend Neef keeps trying to draw and music too, but no way is Neef as good at drawing and music as Oliver is!
posted by Rory Marinich on Mar 28, 2013 - 12 comments

"It’s like Kate Bush if she knew how to write a good song."

What makes the music critics at Collapse Board more interesting than the ones at Pitchfork or Rolling Stone or the AV Club? Well, for one thing, they have more fun: witness The Audacity of Barry Manilow, or their take on Kimbra's "Vows", written as a response to the outrage they received after a negative Gotye review. When they love something, they love it with relish – they think Micachu understands 2012 like no other musician, argue that Nirvana was the biggest thing since the Beatles, and think Lana Del Rey is more interesting than her lips. And when they dislike something, they make no qualms about disliking it – they rip into Titus Andronicus something good, describe a Matt & Kim album as "an excellent litmus test for weeding out fluff-eating imbeciles", and express more ambivalent opinions about My Bloody Valentine and The Mountain Goats. They also, predictably write frequent critiques of music criticism.
posted by Rory Marinich on Mar 21, 2013 - 87 comments

Sounds like Sgt Pepper walking through a forest one foggy spring morning

Some know them for their astonishing pop sensibility, their tight rock performances, their theatricality, or of course for the fact that they sound like a fucking madhouse. But perhaps even better than the Cardiacs is their quiet little side project The Sea Nymphs, whose songs are calm and elegant, sometimes otherworldly or ethereal, sometimes jaunty and very grounded. The madness is more subdued, and the pop is lovelier (and more British) than ever; Appealing to Venus in particular sounds almost like it could have come from the Beach Boys. It's some of the most haunting and original music I know.
posted by Rory Marinich on Mar 20, 2013 - 14 comments

An award-winning composer and her middle school student

Hilary Hahn performs Jennifer Higdon's remarkable Violin Concerto, for which Higdon won the Pulitzer Prize: 1726, the first movement, is challenging and prickly; Chacconi, the second, is calmer, slow and colorful; Fly Forward, the brief and exciting finale, is worth listening to even if you're not a fan of contemporary classical music. Here, Hahn talks about having Higdon as a teacher at the age of thirteen, and Higdon talks about writing for Hahn's individual style; after the concerto's world premiere, they recorded themselves talking to each other on what looks like a computer cam, which is both fun as heck and a fascinating look at the relationship between composer and performer.
posted by Rory Marinich on Mar 13, 2013 - 7 comments

It was happy at the start...

Jon Brion gets around. As a composer, he scored some of the best movies of last decade and change – Punch-Drunk Love, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Synecdoche, New York, and I Huckabees. As a producer, he's worked with Fiona Apple, Kanye West, Aimee Mann, and the excellent bluegrass outfit Punch Brothers. He writes pop music like the best of them – witness Meaningless, Knock Yourself Out, Here We Go, or Didn't Think It Would Turn Out Bad for a nice sampler of his style and range. His live shows are notoriously whimsical and eccentric – he's apt to perform Radiohead's "Creep" in the style of Tom Waits, or cover Stairway to Heaven as a one-man band, recreating all the parts to its climax on the fly.
posted by Rory Marinich on Mar 9, 2013 - 20 comments

Badass cello > badass other instruments

Giovanni Sollima is a contemporary composer and cellist whose music is at once fiercely modern and lushly romantic. Witness Daydream: the first half is a rich, warm trio, and the second half is a virtuosic cello solo that is, for lack of better words, punk as fuck. His longer composition Violoncelles, Vibrez! is a lush, pulsating piece that builds to an incredible climax. My favorite work of his, L. B. Files, is a four-part work that rapidly shifts styles and colors and textures – simply glorious all around.
posted by Rory Marinich on Mar 6, 2013 - 24 comments

And the pick-up lines are well-rehearsed...

It's not the season for this song but it's certainly the right day for it: Summer's the Worst, a ballad about love and idiocy that's melancholy, clever, and (ahem) really quite lovely.
posted by Rory Marinich on Feb 14, 2013 - 2 comments

Sparks.

Sparks in 1974. Sparks in 2003. Sparks and kittens. Sparks and balls. Sparks and Morrissey. Sparks and the Beatles. Sparks and Ingmar Bergman. Sparks and Faith No More. Sparks covering Sparks.
posted by Rory Marinich on Feb 9, 2013 - 36 comments

IT'S ALRIIIIGHT! IT'S OKAAAY! I'M MATT MOTHERFUCKING DIECKMAN!

I WAS CONCEIVED! ON THE EVE! OF THE FOURTH OF JULYYYYY!
WHEN MY DADDY DIED, YOU COULD HEAR THE BALD EAGLES CALL HIS NAME!


AT THE END OF THE DAY, YOU GET OFF, YOU GET PAID!
YOU GO OUT, AND BUY THINGS FOR ONLY NINETY-NINE CENTS!


HEY! HOT BITCHES! GIVE ME SOME PUSSAY!

LE-VIT-RA VERSUS VIAG-RA!

— Memorable moments from the songs of Phil Buckman, AKA I Hate You When You're Pregnant. All his songs are available for free here. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 30, 2012 - 15 comments

Then I drank my coffee / and listened to records. / And when I say records, / I mean mp3s.

The year's finest one minute and fifty-two seconds of rock'n'roll: crunchy and childish, clever and determined, the work of a dynasty that will take over every palace in the land.Said the Gramophone on Birthdays by The Mouthbreathers
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 20, 2012 - 15 comments

"If I were to play nothing but Matteis all my life, I wouldn't mind at all."

The best classical performance you've never heard: the remarkable violinist Amandine Beyer plays the Diverse Bizzarrie Sopra La Vecchia Sarabanda Ò Pur Ciaccona, by 17th-century composer Nicola Matteis. Here she discusses trying to recreate Matteis's original violin technique, to understand why the Baroque composer, whose work pre-dates Johann Sebastian Bach, wrote his pieces the way he did. Previously, Beyer and her ensemble Gli Incogniti breathed life into one of classical music's most overplayed masterpieces, Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 14, 2012 - 16 comments

Luminol

Luminol, a song by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame, performed live in Mexico City. 12 minutes long and worth every minute.
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 13, 2012 - 11 comments

You've been waiting forever / but you can make ever wait for you.

The cryptic album Hawaii: Part II has finally been released after a months-long mystery, and it sounds like a mix between Katamari Damacy and early 20th century pop. Includes chiptune rapping, time travel, and the Erlking of German folklore. A bonus track, Variations on a Cloud, is also worth a listen.
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 12, 2012 - 8 comments

"Tell me, Jigglypuff, when did you last let your heart decide?"

Professor Oak and Jigglypuff sing "A Whole New World" from Aladdin. [SLYT] CAUTION: amateur voice acting, general silliness ahead
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 5, 2012 - 22 comments

"Is it fair to say you just weren't made for these times, Frank?" "Is it? Uh, I dunno. I think everything's just as it should be."

Frank Fairfield is a folk musician who feels like he came fresh out of another century. He plays banjo (The Winding Spring & Nine Pound Hammer and Cumberland Gap), guitar (Call Me A Dog When I'm Gone and Bye, Bye, My Eva, Bye, Bye), and fiddle (Rye Whiskey and Poor Old Lance [with quartet], which is the piece that introduced me to him).
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 2, 2012 - 16 comments

Do you suffer from long-term memory loss?

After thirty years of punk and rock and folk and techno and rebel songs and unexpected pop success and everything in between, the anarchic British band Chumbawamba has come to an end.
posted by Rory Marinich on Nov 30, 2012 - 92 comments

Noodles are the smell of denial and you will never grow up

Suburban Kids With Biblical Names write music with a warmth and simplicity that really hits the spot on chilly autumn days. My favorite songs of theirs are Noodles and Trees and Squirrels; their better-known songs include Funeral Face, Rent a Wreck, and Loop Duplicate My Heart.
posted by Rory Marinich on Nov 11, 2012 - 7 comments

Eh oh ehh-uh-EH-oh

Disney meets Dada: Intensive Gaston Unit [SLYTP]
posted by Rory Marinich on Nov 8, 2012 - 35 comments

You're all gonna die! / The world's gonna end!

From the guy who brought you Actual Cannibal Shia Labeouf and Christian Bale is at Your Party comes a new musical:
In every disaster movie, some guy bursts into the Oval Office and says, "Mr. President! There's an asteroid headed directly for the earth!" This is that guy's story. [password: calvert]

posted by Rory Marinich on Nov 7, 2012 - 16 comments

When it comes to hateful words, I got skin like a rhinoceros!

Orion's Belt is a rap duet between the insouciant twentysomething Kitty Pryde and the cartoonishly vivid RiFF RaFF. The two styles contrast each other hilariously.
posted by Rory Marinich on Aug 28, 2012 - 87 comments

I could stay awaaaake just to HEEEEEAR YOU BREEEEATHIIIN

Michael Guy Bowman covers Tricia Yearwood's How Do I Live and Aerosmith's I Don't Want To Miss A Thing. The music videos will be mostly incomprehensible if you haven't read Homestuck (previously 2 3). [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Aug 23, 2012 - 13 comments

"The world turns softly / Not to spill its lakes and rivers. / The water is held in its arms / And the sky is held in the water."

Three Nightsongs is a lovely choral work by Joshua Shank that puts three writings by the child-poet Hilda Conkling to music: Evening, Moon Song, and Water.
posted by Rory Marinich on Aug 22, 2012 - 3 comments

A Most Tubular Guy

You might have heard Mike Oldfield playing during the Olympic opening and wondered, "What! Why the heck would Danny Boyle want the Exorcist theme playing at the start of such a grand event!" Oldfield's kept a low profile for years, so you may not remember him as the man who literally launched Virgin Records, one of only three artists to ever knock his #1 record off the charts with another #1 record (the other two being Bob Dylan and the Beatles). But those teenage successes were merely the start of an astonishing career, one full of pop music and prog rock, sci-fi and New Age, film scores and classical orchestrations — not to mention a spot at the start of Kanye West's recent album. His magnum opus, Amarok, is an hour of astonishing sounds and shifting genres which must be heard to be believed. Too overwhelming? Well, there're [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Jul 27, 2012 - 62 comments

The key to beginning a long journey toward understanding which, as we have learned, is something for which each human being cries out, cupping his hands over the mouth.

Strange and Unproductive Thinking, off David Lynch's fantastically weird album Crazy Clown Time, is a humorous, rambling, insightful essay disguised as a song in which the legendary director gives his thoughts on the purpose of evolution, the process that leads us to knowledge, and "the remarkable idea of a world free of tooth-decay".
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 12, 2012 - 5 comments

I THRU SUM MONEY ON DA GROUND AND GREW CASH TOMATOES

A wonderful, highly NSFW song about being Charls Barkly. From the incoherent, offensive, and brilliant gmcfosho, whose works include the classic Rifle Burs, Snacks, and IMDABES (previously), which is probably the best reason for the Internet's existing.
posted by Rory Marinich on May 14, 2012 - 24 comments

My girlfriend, after listening: "It was worth meeting you just so I could hear that."

Tally Hall is the best new band I've heard in years, hands-down. They're an American rock band best known for the excellent Good Day video and the cult Albino Blacksheep hit Banana Man. They've released two albums, each masterpieces; the first one is exuberant and youthful and, sometimes, utterly cryptic, while the second is stripped down but astonishingly contemplative and even spiritual, easily one of the best-written pop albums I've ever heard. If you're in the mood for something smart and warm and wonderful, there're... [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Mar 11, 2012 - 26 comments

New worlds of wonderful sound

"Far From Moscow is a resource designed to promote, catalog, and consider new music from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, together with the Baltic nations (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia)." Posts are frequent and extensive and stuffed full of fantastic songs. They also offer a dozen free sampler albums; I'm listening to and loving Apples and the more ambient Forest. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 5, 2011 - 13 comments

Cos I like you so much better when you're naked! I like ME so much better when you're naked!

Ida Maria is a 26-year-old Norwegian pop-punk-rock musician whose music is both catchy as shit and surprisingly vulnerable. Her lyrics are simple but sometimes uncomfortably honest. Her first album had two big hits with excellent music videos: I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked and Oh My God. Other songs off the album that I'm fond of: Queen of the World (my personal favorite); Louie; Keep Me Warm. Her second album, Katla, has a more eclectic sound, ranging from the vintage pop-inspired Quite Nice People to the horn-driven I Eat Boys Like You For Breakfast to the dirty Bad Karma to the sillier Cherry Red.
posted by Rory Marinich on Jul 1, 2011 - 38 comments

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