"Gosh" - music by Jamie xx, something of an homage to early 1990s UK club culture, with visuals of a slowly terraformed Mars by Erik Wernquist, who was seen on MetaFilter before for "Wanderers," a similarly gorgeous, realistic film of space exploration.
Deavid Soul ("The Avid Soul") aka "Rich & Famous" are a Japanese duo who make house/disco/funk and, more recently, world music. You may remember them from such Dreamcast darlings as Jet Set Radio and Jet "Grind" Radio. Their style is an instantly recognizable mix of 90s house and classic disco with copious samples from hip hop, disco, R&B, reggae and 80s/70s film. For their latest album, they've collaborated with Exotic Light Orchestra to add a Latin American fusion sound to their already eclectic aural soup. They're real good. [more inside]
Too many films are blighted by lacklustre music - Ennio Morricone Ennio Morricone, 88, asserts that contemporary soundtracks are ruined by "amateur" composers and "synthesized" sounds. Is this just attention-grabbing comments for his upcoming tour, old-school vs. new wave, grumpy curmudgeon on the porch ranting? Or does the OST for Mad Max: Fury Road suck? [more inside]
Now that Tidal has given us a CD quality streaming service, NPR Music Editor Jacob Ganz and some co-workers have put together a quiz to help figure out if it's worth paying for: How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality? (Tidal has its own test, if you want something different.) "Danceable cables" come from an old Gizmodo review.
This weekend, the seminal Beijing band Chui Wan will launch their (self-titled) second album after an extensive U.S tour. Their new single, The Sound of Wilderness, debuted on NPR last week - quite possibly a milestone for the Chinese indie scene. The album's highlights include the seven-minute closer "Beijing is Sinking", a swirling, chaotic song about staying afloat in a torrent of change. An apt metaphor, perhaps, for all the musicians in Beijing's fiercely iconoclastic indie underground. Initial reviews for the album are buoyant. It's seen as a coming-of-age moment for the band, for its influential record label Maybe Mars, and perhaps even for the small, vibrant Beijing indie community. So let's turn back the clock to the early 2000s, to post-SARS Beijing, and see how we got here. [more inside]
Jean Ritchie, largely responsible for the revival/survival of traditional ballads and mountain dulcimer as living folk arts in the United States, tradition-bearer of Appalachian culture, national treasure, has passed away at the age of 92. [more inside]
"As principal oboe, your lack of musicality is shocking and destructive to our orchestra" The Buffalo Philharmonic fired principle oboist Pierre Roy in 2012. He filed a petition with the State Supreme Court, and the case has moved on to federal court. The Buffalo News covers the suit, and the fights within the woodwinds section. [more inside]
Funky town - Lipps Inc 1980 [SLYT]
Most people are aware of the (troublesome) official and unofficial drink sponsorship for alcoholic drinks in pop music of all sorts (see also: St. Ides ads by early 1990s rappers), but there are also (un)official cross marketing efforts in sodas. Coca-Cola is probably the most prominent on and prolific on the official side, who have even sponsored a series of "Coke DJ-Culture" singles and mixes a decade back from some significantly large names in electronic/dance and hip-hop circles. Now add to the mix "Doctor Pepper," a song by Diplo with South Korean superstar CL, Mad Decent’s own RiFF RAFF and Atlanta’s OG Maco. It was a quick song thrown together by CL and built from there, not (yet) the official summer anthem for Dr. Pepper.
‘Tired of pre-conceptions around African music, Mbongwana Star are creating their own identity, fusing traditional Congolese rhythms with post punk and electronics inspired by life in the townships around them, “making magic out garbage”’—some tracks on YouTube: Malukayi (ft. Konono No. 1); Shégué; Nganshe; Kala. You can listen to their debut album From Kinshasa in full on Soundcloud (some reviews 1, 2, 3). [more inside]
Tell Me Do You Miss Me - A Film About Luna is a strangely fascinating 2006 documentary about the indie band's 2005 farewell tour. It often seems more like a vacation souvenir home video than a documentary, surprisingly intimate and personal, with obvious affection, tension and rehashing of old arguments between band founder Dean Wareham and guitar player Sean Eden. Surprisingly open and honest, it's a slice of life we rarely get to see, we're so used to tour films being about really famous bands, not smaller bands who may be able to make a living from their music, but who are only going to make money on tour if they sell enough merchandise (that gets lost by the airline). Really worth a watch, and available in its entirety on YouTube. [more inside]
Men Who Rock II: Not Only Are These Six Up-and-Coming Male Seattle Musicians Hot, They Also Know How to Play Their Instruments! [more inside]
Thirty years ago this month, Dire Straits released their fifth album, Brothers in Arms... For the first time, an album sold more on compact disc than on vinyl and passed the 1m mark. How the compact disc lost its shine - the rise and fall of the CD
Something about this country – the divisions, the class system, the general sense of distrust and dissatisfaction – seems to breed youth subcultures like no other place on Earth. The strange, stylish clans that this island incubates have been exported across the world, influencing everything from high street fashion to high art. From teddy boys to 2 Tone rudeboys, soulboys to Slipknot fans, grunge bands to grime crews, mods to mod revivalists, the history of these groups shows us a version of modern Britain that goes way beyond Diana and Blair.[more inside]
If you like unusual musical instruments along the lines of those designed and built by microtonalist Harry Partch, or sound sculpture artist Jean Tinguely, for example, you might want to check out the Anarchestra.
Space Weird Thing Space Oddity redone, Up Goer Five style
Hayao Miyazaki's - On Your Mark "In 1994, Hayao Miyazaki took a break from writing the script for Princess Mononoke to work on this music video from Japnese pop duo Chage & Aska" [via]
"The record store, the guitar shop, and now social media: when it comes to popular music, these places become stages for the display of male prowess. Female expertise, when it appears, is repeatedly dismissed as fraudulent. Every woman who has ever ventured an opinion on popular music could give you some variation (or a hundred) on my school corridor run-in, and becoming a recognized 'expert' (a musician, a critic) will not save you from accusations of fakery." The World Needs Female Rock Critics, by Anwen Crawford for the New Yorker. Discussed in the piece is Jessica Hopper's new collection of essays, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, which has been greeted with glowing praise. Here's an interview she did with Hazlitt: 'Am I Womansplaining To You?' And here she speaks to Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy: "Being a fangirl is all the qualification you need. And don't wait for anyone to give you permission. They won't. And you should do it anyways." [more inside]
Bob Dylan sang The Night We Called It a Day on David Letterman's next-to-last Late Show episode. This was the third time he appeared on Letterman show. He played at the 10th Anniversary show in 1992 backed by an all-star band assembled by Dylan fan Paul Shaffer. But perhaps the most significant was in 1984, when Dylan's star was at a low ebb. He played three songs accompanied by LA Latino punk band The Plugz, Don't Stop Talking (Sonny Boy Williamson cover), and two tracks off Dylan's album Infidels, License to Kill and Jokerman. Two videos from the rehearsal also exist, featuring songs Treat Her Right (Roy Head cover) and I Once Knew a Man, which is probably a Dylan original, but nobody knows for sure. New York Magazine's Vulture blog interviewed The Plugz and told the story of the performance.
Sony's 2011 contract with Spotify has leaked. The Verge's calculations have Sony making a pretty sizable sum off the deal, without much of it trickling down to artists. Meanwhile, Sony has begun pulling all of its artists' music from Soundcloud. [more inside]
So, how do you increase interest in your compact hybrid cars? Well, if you're Toyota, and you're selling to a Japanese market, you run an ad themed around the iconic music for one of the most famous JRPG transportation options. [more inside]
A recent study served to confirm the patently obvious: song lyrics for the most popular genres of music are ridiculously obtuse — and getting worse over time. Though this might not be a revelation, the figures are distressing indicators of both an intellectually vapid societal and cultural future as well as its apparent inevitability. [more inside]
The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest winner has now been crowned (previously), but the real stars of the contest were the fabulous and entertaining International Sign interpreters. [more inside]
Friends, once again, here is yet more proof that one string is all you need.
The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest concluded today, with Sweden's Måns Zelmerlöw performing the winning song. A brief recap of the live performances provides glimpses of the costumes, stage effects, and choreography peculiar to Eurovision grand final performances. [more inside]
It's almost summer, so here's the story behind one of the best ever pop songs about spending time outside. The Young Rascals, Groovin'.
“All of those things play a part in who I am as a person. It all has equal weight. I want sexual abuse to sit happily alongside other topics like music and creativity, without this gut shudder, ‘Oh no, we can’t talk about that.’” The book is accompanied by a playlist that Rhodes put on Spotify – Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Chopin’s Etude in C Minor – a wonderfully simple, powerful idea, which at times makes it heartbreakingly difficult to read.For The Guardian Zoe Williams interviews pianist James Rhodes about his just released autobiography, finally available after the UK Supreme Court ruled in his favour in the lawsuit taken out against him by his ex-wife. Trigger warning: child abuse. [more inside]
Free music Friday! Organic Audio - Back to my Roots As part of their ongoing 20th anniversary celebration Tummy Touch are offering 'dubbed out disco beats and dirty global grooves WAY before they were fashionable'. [more inside]
Eddie Van Halen describes early experiments with guitars, electronics, and home wiring in the quest for his famous tone. "I'm poking around, and all of a sudden I touch this huge blue thing and my God, it was like being punched in the chest by Mike Tyson."
Just how many Sci-Fi / Action movie references are in Taylor Swift's new video "Bad Blood"? IO9 attempts to make a tally of them all.
It started with Scopitones in bars, then people Wanted Their MTV or watched Friday Night Videos or let their videos Pop Up. The common thread? All that production and distribution took giant piles of money that generally could only come from Big Labels. Then came the march of technology: mp3, mpg, h.264, iTunes, Garage Band, Final Cut, dSLR, and all the rest. Now, not content to just share self-made mp3 audio, the current batch of YouTube musicians are making ever more elaborate music videos, and growing a big audience, without a major label in sight.
The Stonehill Jewish Song Collection is a website by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance containing songs sung by Jewish refugees in Hotel Marseilles in New York in 1948. All songs include the original lyrics and translations into English. Not all the songs have been digitized and translated already, but there is a variety of themes already, with more on the way soon. The songs were collected and recorded by Ben Stonehill who went to the refugees and asked them to sing anything they like.
Two unique, evocative Japanese mixtapes to assure you that spring is really here at last: Spencer Doran's Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo and Ventla's Astrocast 45. [more inside]
"With jukeboxes now Internet-enabled and app-accessible to vast song libraries, it’s possible to create a visual map of the tunes New Yorkers seek out, by location."
"If you look at the history of rock and roll and punk, they came from a black style of music, and that’s the history of popular music in general. It was created by blacks, then re-recorded to play for a white audience. Some of the first punk bands to ever create the 1977 sound were all-black bands." - Monica Estrella Negra, in an interview about the Black & Brown Punk Collective [more inside]
What is an octobass?, you may have wondered. The answer: It is a ridiculously huge bass.
"Hardcore Architecture explores the relationship between the architecture of living spaces and the history of underground American hardcore bands in the 1980s."
Utterly mad live version of a classic. Get your ears around this. Billy Stewart killing a classic.
In the early sixties, jazz pianist Bill Evans (previously) got his hands on a European EP that featured a cover of his signature piece Waltz for Debby, with Swedish lyrics, and vocals by young jazz vocalist Monica Zetterlund. Evans was floored. “I don't usually throw superlatives around, but let me tell you I am really exited about Monica's Waltz for Debby” he wrote in a letter to her record company. “I used to think that my waltz wasn't suited for vocal but look how wrong I was! Suddenly I feel like going to Sweden.” So he did: Monica Zetterlund with Bill Evans Trio: Waltz for Debby/Monicas vals (live rehearsal from 1966). [more inside]
Watch French singer Patrick Bruel realize just how big his song J' te 'L'Dis Quand Meme had become, in a concert from the 90s. [more inside]
Holly Herndon "takes technology, including the Internet, as a starting point rather than a stumbling block. Where some would discount online culture as a distraction—or, worse, false consciousness—for Herndon, it's just a place we all call home. As such, it works its way directly into her music, both as subject and content. Featured on her forthcoming album Platform, the uneasy single "Home", which she calls "a love song for prying eyes," is dedicated to the NSA; "Chorus", meanwhile, utilizes a software program that eavesdrops on her browser and folds its audio into a shuddering percussive thrum." The whole album is available to stream here. [more inside]
Miley Cyrus, Laura Jane Grace (of Against Me!), and Joan Jett perform "Androgynous" by The Replacements. (SLFB)
In 2001, two unlikely friends created a music festival in Mali that drew the likes of Bono and Robert Plant.
Then radical Islam tore them apart.
Then radical Islam tore them apart.