The exhaustively researched Hollywood history podcast You Must Remember This
) presents a two part episode focusing on Madonna's use of classic Hollywood imagery and references as a form of conceptual art and her early attempts to trade pop idol success for movie stardom within the context of two high-profile relationships with Sean Penn and Warren Beatty. Episode One
. Episode Two
Meanwhile, Todd In The Shadows creates video reviews for every movie Madonna was ever in. So far he's done Desperately Seeking Susan
, Shanghai Surprise
, A Certain Sacrifice
, and Who's That Girl
Born to Nashville music royalty
. Grew up next to George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Had a #2 record on the country charts at age eight
. Had a minor alt-rock hit
for the same major label as Korn and Incubus in his 30's. His mentor was Shel Silverstein
. One of his bands, The Young Criminals Starvation League has featured members of My Morning Jacket, Lambchop, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Clem Snide, and myriad others. His other band Is She Weird? Is She White? plays Pixies and Breeders covers
on weekends in Nashville. Unless he's opening for Guided by Voices
or playing someone's living room
. Or delivering lost luggage to pay the bills.
It's a hell of a life singer-songwriter Bobby Bare, Jr. has had. It's only makes sense that someone went and made a movie about him
: Don't Follow Me (I'm Lost)
. Sample the trailer
. [more inside]
The Perfect Beat
is an article by The New Yorker's music critic Sasha Frere Jones where he lays out the reasoning behind his "Perfect Recordings" project, essentially a list of 200 songs that fit his personal criteria for perfection. The lists are available as Twitter timelines (volumes 1
), Spotify playlists (volumes 1
) or as one 200 song Rdio playlist
. Frere-Jones answered some questions about the project
and spoke about a few individual songs in The Guardian.
Here's a look back at sounds of summers past, with a review of EMI's series of Balearic compilations
, and for a bit more mystery and diversity, mixes that focus and include Balearic styles from Test Pressing
. If the whole "Balearic" thing is confusing, Boiler Room TV has a nice write-up
with photos from the period to set the mood, where the music was a mix of mixture of soul, reggae, rock, pop, and Latin, mixed with chill out, lounge and dance music. [more inside]
are a pair of former choir boys drawn to each other
as teenagers by a love of metal and hardcore punk. Now they "make music
that is terribly English
: both polite
," one part drone
, one part rural psychedelia
. Their new album, Preternaturals
, released yesterday, is now streaming over at The Quietus
. [more inside]
In 1983 a man who called himself Lewis recorded and self-released an album
. No one much noticed at the time but his album was rediscovered in 2007 and slowly became a cult classic. It was rereleased by Light in the Attic Records
earlier this year and has been received very well
by the music press
. When the record label and other people went looking for the artist, a former stockbroker from Calgary whose real name is Randall Aldon Wulff, they drew a blank. Some think he is deceased
but others are looking for him all over Canada
. And now another Lewis album from 1985
has been found and rereleased, and apparently he recorded many more. The ethereal quality of the music and the attendant mystery compels people to search within the music for some kind of answer to this riddle of a man
. [more inside]
(autoplaying video) is a singer, rapper, songwriter and actress who is known for her outlandish outfits, makeup, and wigs
, and gutsy, lyrically skilled rapping. She creates personas or "masks"
in her music and videos to communicate her message. Recently, she released an album cover online to promote her new release, Anaconda
, and to create buzz. Boy did it.
(All links NSFW.) [more inside]
"Ancora Tu" is an Italian phrase roughly translating to "You Again". It's also the name of a classic 1976 pop song
by Lucio Battisti and Mogol. [more inside]
Lana Del Rey: Why a Death-Obsessed Pop Siren Is Perfect for Late-Stage Capitalist America
(mirrored at Salon.com
Lana Del Rey is pushing the envelope, and here's her message, delivered with a languid pout: 21st-century America is a rotting corpse, deadlocked culturally, economically, and politically. Since there's nothing we can do about it, let's enjoy ourselves as the body-politic disintegrates, perhaps by savoring some toothsome bites of the past: candy-colored Super 8 films, juicy jazz tunes and clips of sultry screen sirens. The future is a retrospective.
All of this echoes the ancient danse macabre, the dance of death, the motif that sprang out of the medieval horrors of war and the plague. It's a plea for fevered amusement while you've still got time.
Without You I'm Nothing
: The Believer looks at the memoirs of the wives and girlfriends of rock stars.
If you've browsed collections of glassware from decades and centuries past, you might scratch your head and wonder, what exactly was the use of this item? This reverse glossary of vintage and antique terms
may help, or it might confuse you further. For instance, why were there fine glass celery dishes and celery vases of glass and silver
? Take a look back, at home in the nineteenth century
with celery at the dining table
. Celery was once a status symbol, due to its high cost
(Google books preview), and was included in tonics
and sold in the 1897 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue in a malt compound
(Google books preview). Kalamazoo even boasted of being the Celery City
in the late 1800s and for a few decades to follow. But the craze faded as celery cultivation became easier. One of the few remaining products from the celery craze is Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda
, an acquired taste.
- a hand-bound book of Japanese styled illustrations paying homage to nostalgic activities and toys. From artist Chet Phillips
Antique Shanghai Pop Music 1930-1949
Downloadable mp3 episodes chock full of wonderful music with delightful commentary from Ling. [more inside]
Michael Jackson has a new album out: Xscape [more inside]
Already being hailed by some as maybe one of the best music videos of the year
, Sia's Chandelier
, featuring 11-year old Maddie Ziegler, is by turns haunting, beautiful, strange and frisson inducing. [more inside]
Each year for the past seven years, Billboard Magazine's Rich Appel
has surveyed a group of classic pop aficianados to create his IRS chart
--It Really Should have been a Top 10 hit. This list of more than a thousand records largely from the 60s and 70s runs the gamut from classics that somehow never cracked the Top 10 during their heyday to the unjustly overlooked and obscure. Via the best radio show in America, Crap From the Past.
1. NOTHING BUT A HEARTACHE
2. CAN'T FIND THE TIME (to Tell You)
3. WILL YOU BE STAYING AFTER SUNDAY
The Peppermint Rainbow
4. SHAME, SHAME
The Magic Lanterns
5. MORNING GIRL
The Neon Philharmonic
6. MR. DIEINGLY SAD
7. GOD ONLY KNOWS
The Beach Boys
8. THINGS I'D LIKE TO SAY
The New Colony Six
9. PRETTY LADY
10. YELLOW RIVER
And so much more!
by music journalist Taylor Parkes
does an extraordinarily good job of explaining why Britpop
was so deeply and unremittingly horrible
. [more inside]
Pop/ska duo The Monroes
had a big hit in Norway with Sunday People
in 1983. Perhaps the tallest musical duo ever they were often referred to simply as 4 meters of pop
. Sadly, last year they both
died of cancer. Their second hit was Cheerio
Diana’s challenge to the monarchy was that she took its nickname – The Firm – literally. She had been fired by the firm, and like a true entrepreneur she set up her own business as its competitor, disrupting it by doing exactly the same things – touring the world, visiting the poor or sick or industrious – with less protocol and more agility. The ultimate 80s icon was taking 80s politics to its unthinkable conclusion: privatise the monarchy. To do it, she used things the Royal Family could hardly touch – the media; youth; even pop.
Music journalist Tom Ewing's ongoing coverage of every UK #1 single reaches the biggest seller of them all: Elton John's Candle in the Wind 97.
Has pop music criticism really devolved into lifestyle reporting as alleged by this Daily Beast article
The response by Slate
reviewing Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream". [more inside]
We lost a great one...
Asheton co-formed the Stooges in 1967 in Ann Arbor, Mich., along with Pop, Dave Alexander and guitarist Ron Asheton, his older brother who died in 2009. Their best known songs include “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “Search and Destroy,” and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
The rock and punk world has lost one of the greats as Stooges drummer Scott Asheton has passed away at the age of 64. Iggy Pop revealed the news to fans via a post on his Facebook page, revealing that the drummer died Saturday night (March 15).
Asheton joined Pop and his late brother Ron as part of the original Stooges lineup in 1967. During their tenure, they released the classic albums ‘The Stooges,’ ‘Fun House’ and ‘Raw Power.’ The band split in 1974, but both Asheton brothers were part of the Stooges reunion in 2003. Ron Asheton, who was the band’s original guitarist and also played bass at times, died in 2009. As for Scott Asheton, he manned the kit for The Stooges until 2011. [more inside]
"Barely a week goes by
without some old white man castigating the yoof
of today on the shallowness/stupidity/etc. of their taste in music, art and culture in general. It’s a narrative as old as culture itself — adults throwing up their hands in despair because Kids These Days just don’t get it.
" But, contrarily, "there’s a subset of music criticism
these days that seems to view the taste and aesthetic of teens (and teenage girls, in particular) as weirdly sacred. It’s a sort of creepy offshoot of poptimism
, one that starts from an unrealistically monolithic view of teen culture
— not all teens like Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, after all — and is, in its own way, as deeply patronizing as claiming from on high that teens have no taste
." -- Flavorwire's Tom Hawking on Critical Assumptions about Teen Culture
Why is pop music so sad?
(PDF) published in the Journal of Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts tracked the mood of pop songs over five decades of Billboard charts, and it confirms that pop has changed in substantial ways.
Over the years, popular recordings became longer in duration and the proportion of female artists increased. There was also an increase in the use of minor mode and a decrease in average tempo, confirming that popular music became more sad-sounding over time.
) [more inside]
"You live now, Adam Ant
, as you have lived many times throughout history, fighting evil wherever you may find it!"
Everybody's talking about Beyoncé, but earlier this week, 90s alt-pop superstars Cibo Matto dropped the music video "MFN"
, their first release in over fourteen years. It's the leadoff to their upcoming album "Hotel Valentine" due on Valentines Day, 2014.
And it's about time.
After several years
out of the mainstream music scene Lily Allen
returned last week covering Keane's "Somewhere only we know" in this year's John Lewis Christmas TV ad
. However, today Lily released her latest video which is ... somewhat different in tone and nature
. [more inside]
, writer and editor of NPR's pop culture blog Monkey See, has some thoughts about MTV's show, "Catfished."
is a cool, beautifully curated music gizmo with new songs almost every day. Dazed electronica, sunny pop, arty rock, stained-glass hip-hop - from John Hopkins
to Belle & Sebastian
to Pusha T
, and lots
of unknown gems. Sometimes you just want to sit back and let good songs play. [more inside]
From the music website, Cover Me
, Five Good Covers
: five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song. Why not enjoy all new versions of Cars
, Can't Help Falling In Love
, The Sound Of Silence
, Life In A Northern Town
, Modern Love
, You Shook Me All Night Long
, Age Of Consent
, Don't Fear The Reaper
, Be My Baby,
and much, much more. ( Cover Me previously
The Baseballs are a German rock and roll band founded in Berlin in 2007. They became popular with 50s and 60s style rock cover versions of modern hits such as "Umbrella
","Hot n Cold
","Call Me Maybe
", "Tik Tok
", and "Poker Face
While we've discussed it before
, the link was removed but YouTube's new content guidelines have allowed it to be re-uploaded. In 2001, photographer and filmmaker David LaChapelle
directed a video to be shown before Heatherette's first runway show and MAC cosmetics in-store video. Starring Amanda Lepore, the 6 minute video is a bizarre gunshot of pink lipstick, gay cowboys, 80s pop music, and constant full frontal nudity. YouTube
(sign-in required) Vimeo
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
. A blog called Racist Little Monsters
has popped up to collect pictures of fans posing in self-made burqas [warning: nsfw language abounds]
is a Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model. Taking time out from her work as a palaeontologist, Bennett has released two songs to date: debut single Apathy
and a follow-up, Animal Kingdom
. [more inside]
Janelle Monae's latest music video/single is a 60s-esque, funkadelic, symbol-heavy, all-white fur and all-female hammer to the head - THE DANCE APOCALYPTIC
The Bon Iver Mashup Album
is now available for download, and it's excellent
. Check out the trailer
for a preview.
The People's Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Records
is a radio series on BBC written and narrated by Stuart Maconie. Each episode focuses on one particular pop song and tells the story of the song as well as what social trends it mirrored, for instance the episode on Telstar by The Tornadoes
focuses on the technological progress, especially in space travel and music, and the story of songwriter and record producer Joe Meek. 25 episodes have been broadcast
, including ones on Dizzee Rascal's Bonkers and 21st Century Britain
, Cornershop's Brimful of Asha and the British-Asian experience
, and Serge Gainsbourg's Je T'aime and sex
. There are 25 more to come
. There is also a blog
and profiles of the songs already discussed
. [Previously on MeFi]