Five years after Radiohead's last album, myriad hints from the band marked May 1st -- Dawn Chorus Day -- as the date something big was gonna happen. The band ateased the web with rumours_of songs new and old, cryptic artwork, ominous mailers. But after years of waiting, nothing came... literally. Optimistic fans trying to pick up every last crumb_were left climbing up the walls_as they were shown how to disappear completely, with the band's official site and social media fading out
again, slowly dissolving little by little, one by one, before their very eyes.
It all came back Tuesday, as mysterious chirps and inkblots ushered in the sinister claymation music video for long-awaited track "Burn the Witch" [prev.], followed days later by an arresting P.T. Anderson-directed film for the somber elegy "Daydreaming."
While Radiohead's ninth album is not here now physically till June, it's available for download come 8th May_(today!) at 2 PM EDT on Radiohead.com.
It's gonna be a glorious day. [more inside]
Old music is outselling new music for the first time in history - 2015 marks the first year that catalog albums, albums over 18 months old, outsold newer ones in the US.
Lizzo has a new album out - Big GRRRL Small World. Among a roster of tracks that specialises in audacious beats, hilarious lyrics, unexpected diversions and freakishly catchy hooks, sits My Skin, a sweet but weary ode to empowerment, body-positivity, and being a person of colour. [more inside]
Today we're republishing one of Sansara's most recent and important albums for a Western audience, together with translations of the songs, thirty-one articles, and twenty-four video clips. The album's title - "Igla" (Needle) - carries a specific meaning in the context of Russian rock. It's a reference to a prior generation and therefore to any (ongoing) hope of building meaningful linkages today. For audiences across Russia, that simple noun will undoubtedly suggest a famous cinematic melodrama of 1988, in which rock legend Viktor Tsoi played a young man whose life is tragically shackled to the local drug trade.
He is killed seconds before the credits roll.
He is killed seconds before the credits roll.
“I’m 60% excited,” says Adele, directing me to a couch beside a set of speakers, “40% shitting it.” She’s invited me here today to hear her third album, 25.
Frederick Douglass's Faith in Photography by Matthew Pratt Guterl [The New Republic] How the former slave and abolitionist became the most photographed man in America.
He wrote essays on the photograph and its majesty, posed for hundreds of different portraits, many of them endlessly copied and distributed around the United States. He was a theorist of the technology and a student of its social impact, one of the first to consider the fixed image as a public relations instrument. Indeed, the determined abolitionist believed fervently that he could represent the dignity of his race, inspiring others, and expanding the visual vocabulary of mass culture.[more inside]
Songs From A Mountain Goats Album In Which Cicero Is Not Mentioned And Everybody’s Marriages Work Out [SLtoast]
After the triumph of OK Computer, Radiohead fell into a creative tailspin -- and frontman Thom Yorke into a nervous breakdown. Exhausted from touring, hounded by press, and jaded by copycats, he escaped into the electronica scene pioneered by Kraftwerk and Warp Records -- fertile ground, the band discovered. Trading spacey rock for apocalyptic brooding, they teased their new sound not with singles or music videos but with innovative web streaming and cryptic, dreamlike "blips" -- winterlands, flocks of cubes, eyeballs, bears. After nearly breaking up over tracklist angst, they cut the kid in half. Thus fifteen years ago today, Kid A and (later) Amnesiac debuted, a confounding mix of electronic fugue, whalesong, pulsing IDM, drunken piano, and epic jazz funeral whose insights into anxiety, political dysfunction, and climate crisis would make it one of the most revered albums of the twenty-first century. See the documentary Reflections on Kid A for interviews and live cuts, or look inside for much more. [more inside]
Help Solve the Mystery! Who is the woman on the cover of the Otis Redding album Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul? On the 50th anniversary of the album, the Estate of Otis Redding asks for assistance in identification. [more inside]
Today, Kendrick Lamar's latest album, To Pimp a Butterfly, was released a week ahead of the release date. Yesterday, the album was briefly made available on iTunes (allegedly, the label's error). But enough of that - let's get to the music. [more inside]
It's been 20 years since PJ Harvey emerged from a time of isolation and song writing that produced the album To Bring You My Love.
The Wall Street Journal celebrates the 20th anniversary of John Carpenter's In The Mouth of Madness. Meanwhile, at VICE, John Carpenter wouldn't explain his new album, so they got a bunch of artists to each provide their own interpretation.
The Morning News' Andrew Womack's Top Albums of 2014, with help from youtube commenters. (mlyt + Spotify and Rdio playlists)
Song for an old-fashioned Christmas: "'Twas the night before Christmas on Sesame Street/And the people were sleeping, ‘cause the people were beat/The snow had been falling for most of the day/And it lay over everything, sooty and grey..." -- as performed by Sesame's own David (lyrics) for the 1975 album "Merry Christmas from Sesame Street" (cover; inside artwork; back cover). Please join me (and Bert and Ernie and Oscar and Big Bird and others) in revisiting a holiday classic. [more inside]
If you've encountered delicately uplifting chimes and bells or a singing saw, seen the contributions of a string quartet in a Sigur Rós video, heard the last recording by Lee Hazlewood and noticed the gentle singing and music, or listened to Yukihiro Takahashi consider words, then you've possibly encountered the Icelandic band amiina. [more inside]
After dropping sweet synthwave tunes for two years, Le Cassette have released their first album "Left to Our Own Devices," available on (of course) cassette tape
If you were watching late-night television in July 1998 you may have seen the half-hour informercial parody that the Beastie Boys produced to promote their upcoming album, Hello Nasty. The ad features Mike D, MCA , and Ad-Rock taking on roles to shill everything from the services of phone psychics to get-rich-quick scams to a food processor that plays songs from the upcoming LP. (Warning: video auto-loads.) [more inside]
"The Yellow Album isn’t an album so much as the most dramatic test of a true believer’s faith since God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. The album dares Simpsons diehards like myself to make it through a harrowing 48-minute gauntlet of ill-considered covers, train-wreck collaborations (Lisa and P-Funk All Stars: oh, it happened), generic synth-pop grooves, and jokes that would be killed in Jay Leno’s writers’ room for being insufficiently edgy. " - My World OF Flops on the bizarre, unloved Simpsons cash-in, "The Yellow Album. " complete with sample tracks.
While best remembered for his starring role in a horrible movie, once upon a time, the man had some chops. A surprising mix of world-tinged fusion and straight ahead jazz from 1969, I give you:
"The Dudley Moore Trio"
"The Dudley Moore Trio"
Singer-songwriter Laura Marling will release her latest album, Once I Was an Eagle, this May. She's shared a first song off of it, "Where Can I Go?" [more inside]
Creating Art from Failure. Take one epochal album by one of rock's legendary bands (called "one of the dullest and most confusing albums I've heard this year" by Rolling Stone on its release.) Name it after the nickname the band has given the venues where they appear, and for which they had written a song, which they neglected to put on the album itself. And then there's the album cover ... [more inside]
On September 27, 1963, at the New Era Club in Nashville, Tennessee, Etta James rocked the house. The result was "simply one of the greatest live blues albums ever captured on tape". [more inside]
You might have seen the hours of music from Bloglin last year, but Мишка ("Mishka," or "bear cub" in Russian) has another treasure trove of music: free albums, anthologies, and mixtapes on Bandcamp. They started a bit slow with a single mixtape in 2009 from Ninjasonik, and 2010 wasn't too active. But in 2011 they had 9 releases, and already 14 in 2012, the newest being the debut album from 19-year-old nu-disco producer Cream Dream. A handy rundown of the releases to date below the fold. [more inside]
In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep" and the success of sophomore record The Bends, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead were under pressure to deliver once more. So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor and got to work. What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity -- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology -- through a mosaic of challenging, innovative, eerily beautiful music unlike anything else at the time. Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments, the band finally settled on OK Computer, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
George Watsky ("Pale Kid Raps Fast") has released a new free 16-track mixtape. First single: Rich Girl, based on the Hall and Oates song of the same name.
Bands often don't seem to be able to play on stage the way they did on their album; and we accept that for a lot of reasons having to do with the conditions, the production facilities and the sheer number of takes that were probably involved. But for a whole generation of hit music, there was often a more basic reason: it wasn't them playing on the album in the first place.
For nearly a decade, if you were an L.A. producer and you wanted to record a hit single, you'd call in The Wrecking Crew. Members of The Byrds, The Beach Boys, and The Mamas and the Papas would step aside as The Wrecking Crew laid down the instrumental tracks. Then, the members of the main band would come back to add the vocals on top.The above link goes to the OPB radio story I listened to this morning, with an embedded player. Official site for the book.
Here (from NPR's All Things Considered, 2008) is Woody Allen's classic stand-up routine, the Moose Story. A few more, from YouTube: Science Fiction Film, Eggs Benedict (unfortunately with distracting animation), on the Jack Paar show. MLYT [more inside]
Bryan Hollon, better known by his musical handle Boom Bip, is probably recognized for two drastically different sounds: abstract hip-hop from his early Mush Records days, and his Mercury Prize-nominated Neon Neon collaboration with Gruff Rhys. Add to that a new inspiration: black magic from the turn of the 19th century. What does that sound like? Let Boom Bip walk you through his new album, Zig Zaj. Step behind the deep red velvet curtains for a peek at the history of Boom Bip. [more inside]
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! It's been nearly two decades since that glorious savanna sunrise, and once again The Lion King is at the top of the box office. It's a good chance to revisit what made the original the capstone of the Disney Renaissance, starting with the music. Not the gaudy show tunes or the Elton John ballads, but the soaring, elegiac score by Hans Zimmer which, despite winning an Oscar, never saw a full release outside of an unofficial bootleg. Luckily, it's unabridged and high-quality, allowing one to lay Zimmer's haunting, pulse-pounding, joyful tracks alongside the original video (part 2, 3, 4), revealing the subtle leitmotifs and careful matching of music and action. In addition, South African collaborator Lebo M wove traditional Zulu chorals into the score, providing veiled commentary on scenes like this; his work was later expanded into a full album, the Broadway stage show, and projects closer to his heart. Speaking of expanded works, there were inevitable sequels -- all of which you can experience with The Lion King: Full Circle (download guide), a fan-made, three-hour supercut of the original film and its two follow-ups. Want more? Look... harder... [more inside]
In their 25 year career San Fransisco-based Kronos Quartet might be most famous for creating the go-to dramatic movie trailer music but they've recently courted controversy with their latest album, 9/11, with Steve Reich (NPR First Listen). The album is another in a long line of collaborations with composers such as Phillip Glass, Terry Riley, and Pēteris Vasks. And like any good instrumental ensemble, they've covered Hendrix, Sigur Ros, and Tom Waits. Oh, and they've been on Sesame Street. [more inside]
Egg City Radio is what became of the great Post-Punk Junk blog [previously]. And it's still a treasure trove if you're looking for shared out-of-print albums and live sets--not only from Post-Punk but also many other genres as well. [ECR previously (via), -er, -est]
The movie Apollo 18 opened recently. The plot centers around a supposedly secret Apollo moon landing mission (the last actual mission was Apollo 17). But never mind the space stuff, what is up with the title of the mission? It's been used for a couple of non-space related music projects. They Might Be Giants used it for the title of their fourth album. Then there's a Korean indie rock band with the name, who won the Rookie of the Year award at the 2010 Korean Music Awards. [more inside]
Once upon a time, Van Morrison had a record contract with Bing Records which he wanted to escape. Since the contract required him to produce thirty-six original songs, Van Morrison sat in the studio for a single session and recorded a series of nonsensical non-tunes that are still in his distinctive style. Three of them are available here.
"Art is an invention of aesthetics, which in turn is an invention of philosophers.... What we call art is a game."
What If Your Favorite Album Was a Book? Rock classics from from Arcade Fire to Zeppelin, reimagined as book covers. [more inside]
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of his awesome abstract compilation album Miniatures, Morgan Fisher (of Mott the Hoople fame) has started going through the 51-track masterpiece from the beginning in, well, minute detail, updating readers on the current status of the featured band, providing relevant links, explaining his compilation process, and, of course, streaming each track. So far the first 7 tracks are featured, but start here with the bonus track added to the 1994 CD re-issue of Miniatures – "The Miniatures Miniature". [more inside]
Richard Amsel was a Philadelphian artist who created original and iconic illustrations and paintings found on posters for several popular 1970s and 80s American movies, including Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome, The Dark Crystal, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Sting. He also created unique artwork for TV Guide covers, as well as album cover art for Bette Midler and others. His Time cover featuring Lily Tomlin was added to the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.
Interpol have a new, self-titled album coming out September 7 (the 13th in the UK). Hey, guess what! It sounds like Interpol, so this is the kind of thing you will like, if you like this kind of thing. "Lights" (and here in HD) already has me imagining doing a thousand-yard stare out of a bus window on a cold, late November night. The second video, "Barricade" is here (and here in HD).
Omar Rodríguez López of Mars Volta fame has released an album in collaboration with the wonderful John Frusciante which sounds exactly like you imagine it would. It's available as a name-your-price download (also for free) and any amount you pay will be donated to a good cause. Frusciante was also involved in López' latest production which is available under the same conditions.
The Answer, My Friend. Your own personal Best Bob Dylan Album calculator.
"I only listen to cassettes," Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore told CBC radio last summer: an article on the merits [or otherwise] of releasing new music on cassette. [more inside]
The Kleptones, mashup artists behind previously-posted albums such as A Night At The Hip-Hopera and 24 Hours, have just released their newest entitled Uptime/Downtime. In a word, it rocks.
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