is a Japanese musician who has been doing electronic composition since 1972. [more inside]
Do you miss the music fanzine culture of the 1980s and 1990s, when publications like Forced Exposure
cataloged the under-the-counter culture? Fuckin' Record Reviews
brings you highlights from all of these zines and more!
Check out the early writings of musicians like Steve Albini
, Bill Callahan
, Alan Licht
and David Grubbs
, as well as veteran rockcrits like Byron Coley
, Gerard Cosloy
, Tom Lax
The Latvian Song and Dance Festival
has existed in some form or another since 1873, held roughly every five years. Along with similar festivals in Estonia and Lithuania, it has been recognized by UNESCO as one of the world's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
. The approximately 35,000 amateur singers and dancers who travel from all around Latvia to perform the weeklong festival
comprise 1.5% of the country's entire population. The centerpiece of the festival is always the final night, when the full complement of roughly 20,000 singers perform the most iconic Latvian folk songs a cappella
. In 2013, a song performed on the final night was "Līgo
" (a word meaning both "sway" and "summer solstice festival"). But for sheer spine-tingling pleasure, 2008's "Gaismas pils
" ("Castle of Light") can't be beat.
are a band from Richmond, Virginia that play fun, fast, lo-fi, riff-heavy upbeat rock songs with lyrics like "My friends are your friends but your friends are bullshit!" and "Waaa-ohhhh-ohhh-wa-oh-OH-oh-oh!" It's the summer party music you didn't know you needed, and because their one album and two EPs can be downloaded for free from Bandcamp: Cassette
, Tyler Perry's Sports Bar
, and I Want To Waste Away With You
"His work is rooted in the power of collaboration within systems: instructions, rules, and self-imposed limits. His methods are a rebuke to the assumption that a project can be powered by one person’s intent, or that intent is even worth worrying about. To this end, Eno has come up with words like “scenius,” which describes the power generated by a group of artists who gather in one place at one time. (“Genius is individual, scenius is communal,” Eno told the Guardian, in 2010.) It suggests that the quality of works produced in a certain time and place is more indebted to the friction between the people on hand than to the work of any single artist." The New Yorker'
s Sasha Frere-Jones on Brian Eno's career and new album High Life.
Bobby Womack--one of the last surviving soul greats from the Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding generation--has died.
Nicknamed "The Preacher" for his authoritative, church-trained voice and the way he introduced songs with long discourses on life, Womack never had the success of contemporaries like Marvin Gaye, Al Green or Otis Redding. For a good part of his career, he was better known as a songwriter and session musician. [more inside]
The Grammy nominated, golden record album from Frank Sinatra that nobody has heard of.
Despite featuring one of Frank Sinatra's more iconic songs
, this little known three part concept album known as the Trilogy: Past, Present, and Future was meant to be a reflection of Frank Sinatra's career, starting with the Past which included many of his classic numbers, and then going into the Present, which mostly consisted of covers like those of The Beatles
, but where it gets really interesting is in the Future. [more inside]
Treading a line between post-punk and dance, the English band Shriekback had only a few minor hits (My Spine (Is the Bassline)
) and then vanished into obscurity, more of a "who were they then" than a "where are they now". They were Carl Marsh, Dave Allen (formerly of Gang of Four), Barry Andrews (formerly of XTC), and Martyn Barker. One notable fan was Michael Mann, who used the band's music in his movies Band of the Hand
from Oil and Gold
) and Manhunter
("This Big Hush"
from Oil and Gold
), and also in at least one episode of Miami Vice ("Underwaterboys"
from Big Night Music
They put out two records on Y Records (Tench
(1983)), two on Arista (Jam Science
(1984), Oil and Gold
(1985)), and two on Island (Big Night Music
(1986), Go Bang!
(1988)). This last album was an obvious push to appeal to a wider demographic. It tanked, and the band soon dissolved.
Except they didn't. [more inside]
The BeyondSynth Podcast
is a podcast with artists and producers who make synthwave/new-retro/electronic music. From his home base in Canada, Adam talks to the top artists in the scene. Links to guests' music pages for each episode inside. [more inside]
Morrissey recently canceled the remainder of his USA tour
after coming down with an illness he allegedly caught from his opening act, Kristeen Young
, who denies she was the cause of the illness. This was not Morrissey's first instance of controversy on this tour, however. -----
"And before last night’s show at the Observatory in Orange County, he incurred the wrath of the Scottish band PAWS when his management attempted to get their set that night canceled. PAWS and We Are Scientists
were scheduled to play a smaller room within the same venue, but Morrissey didn’t want any chance of sound-bleed during his set, and his management allegedly demanded that PAWS cancel their opening set and We Are Scientists only take the stage, for a shortened set, after the Morrissey show was already over. PAWS
were actually going to be paid double for the canceled show, but the idea of canceling at Morrissey’s behest didn’t sit well with them, and they lashed out against Moz on Facebook, calling him a 'rich, has-been, ego maniac acting like a baby throwing toys from a pram.'
Morrissey denies the allegations
About the multi-talented Mason Williams [previously, and best known as composer of the iconic "Classical Gas"]
-- Throughout his years in the Navy and college he wrote a series of poems he titled Them Poems. As he entered the folk music scene in the early 60's he wound up rooming with long time friend Ed Ruscha in Los Angeles. Some of the language from Them Poems is a consequence of creative word play that Ed and Paul Ruscha riffed on with Williams over the years. Ed Ruscha provided us with this recording [also released as "The Mason Williams Listening Matter", and reviewed here on allmusic by Eugene Chadbourne] from 1964.
Recording starts around 35 seconds in. Also, here's Mason performing "Them Tummy Gummers" on Johnny Cash's variety show. Finally, Mason Williams Online.
Eccentric Japanese bedroom musician Ventla is in the process of releasing 100 digital albums for free over the coming years, and he's already up to 25. Think J Dilla meets J-pop in the form of small, extremely evocative song sketches. At his most extroverted he sounds like a buzzing 8-bit executive lounge dance party
, and when he's introverted it's like strolling through a rainy park
full of sleeping flamingos
. [more inside]
Dancing in the Street with all music removed.
A musicless musical video, with some interpretive dubbing.
Every year students at Madonna University's Sign Language Studies program create ASL music videos of popular songs
, incorporating elements of ASL poetry and storytelling. Each video comes with a comprehensive guide explaining the translations and artistic choices behind each line of the video. Some examples: Pompeii by Bastille
, Four Women by Nina Simone
, and of course Bohemian Rhapsody
Lou Reed's 1979 LP The Bells
, featuring Don Cherry and Nils Lofgren, turned 35 in April.
Lester Bangs' take:
Lou Reed is a prick and a jerkoff who regularly commits the ultimate sin of treating his audience with contempt. He's also a person with deep compassion for a great many other people about whom almost nobody else gives a shit. I won't say who they are, because I don't want to get too schmaltzy, except to emphasize that there's always been more to this than drugs and fashionable kinks, and to point out that suffering, loneliness and psychic/spiritual exile are great levelers.
The Bells isn't merely Lou Reed's best solo LP, it's great art. Everybody made a fuss over Street Hassle, but too many reviewers overlooked the fact that it was basically a sound album: brilliant layers of live and studio work in a deep wash of bass-obsessive noise. Most of the songs were old, and not very good, with a lot of the same old cheap shots.
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
is a 3-piece country blues band
from Brown County
. They share some metafilter politics
, but sing about a few more unique experiences
, too. Ben plays drums, Breezy plays washboard
, and the Reverend himself
and the bass line
(at the same time), sometimes on a cigar box guitar
. If you like what you've heard: hop a train
or an old pickup
, scream at the night
, share some pot roast and kisses
, watch out for the devils who look like angels
, and don't forget to clap your hands
Composer John Powell on the creative challenges in scoring the sequel
“If you’re trying to evoke the joy of flying, you just try and make it as wonderful-sounding as possible in a way you’d imagine it would feel to fly. It’s that simple. I knew I had to deliver music that was as good as the film as I was fitting it to.”
Some highlights from Joshua Rifkin's
On June 6th 1944 Jim Radford, aged just 15, was serving on the HM Rescue tug Empire Larch
at Gold Beach tasked, amongst other things, with building the breakwater and later the mulberry harbour there. 70 years later an 85 year old Jim stood up in front of a packed Albert Hall in London and, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, sung his autobiographical composition - The Shores of Normandy
. [more inside]
Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, was a dangerous place to be in the late 1970s
. With bombs, shootings, British Army Patrols, riots on the streets, and The Ramones
and New York Dolls
on the turntable, the most punk thing 5 Catholic lads could do was to sing upbeat songs about adolescent lust
, getting nowhere with said girls
, and the general struggles
of being young
. In the bleeding heart of The Troubles
, The Undertones
escaped by dreaming of a life more ordinary
. [more inside]
This song (based on the literature of Tolkien) will change your life. Almost Famous - Stairway to Heaven - Deleted Scene. [more inside]
You remember how Jimi Hendrix played the guitar behind his back, and with his teeth, and all that, right? And it was some cool stuff, for sure. But he ain't got nothing on the komuz
players of Kyrgyzstan. Nuh-uh. They turn that instrument every which way but loose
The Seattle Symphony
's "Sonic Evolution" program links up the Symphony with other Seattle area artists.
Last night, the hip players at the Seattle teamed up with Sir Mix-a-Lot for what Mix described as '"Orchestral Movements from the Hood" Night'. The results are on youtube:
Posse on Broadway
and Baby Got Back
The purpose of this compilation
was to take all the JD tracks known to be set at the incorrect pitches and correct. (SLYT)
) is "basically ... the story of Drake and Lil’ Wayne
[as told with an anthropomorphic banana, hot dog bun, and stick of butter]. ButterKrust is 100% based on Wayne – Nana Splits isn’t based on anyone real but his relationship to ButterKrust is based on Drake’s relationship to Lil’ Wayne. The most important thing I wanted to express in this video is the relationship between them, how tight they are and how much Nana Splits looks up to ButterKrust.
" That's the story from Julian Petschek
, who is studying at The California Institute of the Arts. [more inside]
Celebrate the (admittedly still in-progress) first millennium of American awesomeness on July 4, with the release of a new comedy-music benefit compilation titled 2776: A Millennium of American Asskickery
. Proceeds go to OneKid OneWorld
. The album tells the story of America's past, present and apocalyptic future. Put together by Daily Show
writer Rob Kutner, Tonight Show
writer Joel Moss Levinson, and Steven Levinson, the album features a stacked roster of indie musicians and comedians, including Will Forte, Aubrey Plaza, Patton Oswalt, Aimee Mann, The Sklar Brothers, Reggie Watts, Right Said Fred with Reggie Watts and Mayim Bialik, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog with The Rebirth Brass Band, Maria Bamford & Jonathan Katz, Andrew WK, Bobcat Goldthwait & Sally Timms, Paul F. Tompkins, Yo La Tengo with Ira Glass and Eugene Mirman, Neko Case & Kelly Hogan and more... [more inside]
The video for Perturbator's (previously
) She is Young She is Beautiful
is an amalgam of Gothic horror, cyberpunk science-fiction, late 80s anime aesthetics, post-apocalytpic Miami and the best parts of b-movie cinema. All done up in a pixel art style reminiscent of the classic Out of This World (recently
) series of adventure games.
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
, new wave
and a couple varieties
. 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
, 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]
We join the action in the quarter finals
, where the line up is as follows: Croatia v Spain, Bosnia v Italy, Brazil v Argentina, and Belgium v Chile, in The Guardian's World Cup of World Cup 2014 songs, as voted for by Guardian readers.
is an in-progress Interactive Fiction competition where all the games are based on a song chosen partially by the intfiction boards and partially by the game's author. While the voting/judging is ongoing, all the games submitted for the competition have been released
and are playable now!
Well Prepared (Lorde - Royals Refix) (Soundcloud, static video at YouTube)
from Jamaican dancehall singer Busy Signal
. Pitchfork says
"It's an effortless track that makes something incredibly familiar feel eerily and pleasantly brand new." [more inside]
While the name Michael “House Shoes” Buchanan
remains unknown to most, he's been involved with the Detroit hip-hop community since '94, producing some beats
for an (unreleased) EP by Elzhi
, plus a few other projects in the 1990s, but he really started making noise in the 2000s, finally releasing his own album, Let It Go
, in 2012, which he then offered as a free download in 2013
. All the while, he's continued to act as "Detroit's Hip-Hop Ambassador to the World," promoting other up-and-coming acts through various channels, including his on-going series, "The Gift,"
in which he promotes new artists. [NOTE: NSFW lyrics throughout the music] [more inside]
are a klezmer
-punk band from NYC, whose third album Tanz
is has just come out. Their current label, Discos Corasón
, has a number of live songs
and their first music video: "Freydele
". And here's a great rendition of their song "This Is Yiddish!
" You can also catch an interview with a couple of band members
and read an interview with the multilingual vocalist, accordionist and band founder Annette Ezekiel Kogan
It's hard to imagine a cover of Michael Jackson's hit song Billie Jean that could any be more satisfying than this one by the Bottle Boys, who do it on, guess what? Bottles
Antique Shanghai Pop Music 1930-1949
Downloadable mp3 episodes chock full of wonderful music with delightful commentary from Ling. [more inside]
When you first hear the opening seconds of the song “Sanctified,” by Rick Ross, your instinct might be to give credit to Kanye West, who co-produced it, for finding one of the most breathtaking vocal samples in hip-hop history. Even if you’ve never really listened to old gospel music, the melody seems like a recovered treasure, recorded by a woman with a voice weathered by air that no longer circulates on this earth. None of that is true, though: “Sanctified,” the best track on Ross’s new album, “Mastermind,” and probably the best rap song of the year so far, is not built around a rediscovered sample. Instead, the song owes its existence to a last-minute favor called in to the soul singer Betty Wright, late one night in February, just as Wright was drifting off to sleep in her chair after a long day of vocal coaching.
- This piece takes a look at Betty Wright, legendary singer, and coach/mentor to many of today's rappers [more inside]
Former Journey vocalist Steve Perry hasn't performed publicly
since 1995. Until yesterday
. [more inside]