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, 2, 3, 4 & 5), Spotify playlists (volumes 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5) 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.
Nicki Minaj (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]
Hoot.ch 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]
Graham Hastings, Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole are a musical trio from Scotland. They first met at a local hip-hop night for under-16 youth in Edinburgh, where the music scene is more focused on indie rock than beats and rapping. They started collaborating a few years ago, and now go by the name Young Fathers. They mix rap, grime, modern R&B, afro-beat, noisy samples and more, though they write music from a pop-perspective, and consider themselves "pop boys." They have two short releases that are something between EPs and albums, plus a handful of singles. Their primary releases, Tape One and Tape Two, have been (re)released on the US label Anticon, and they have a handful of official videos: Deadline, Sister, Rumbling and Romance are the first four tracks from Tape One; I Heard is the first video from Tape Two; The Guide is separate single to stream and/or download, for free on Soundcloud.
A dynamic mix of rock, funk, hip hop and comedy, a cappella sextet Duwende has been winning nearly every award the industry has to offer with original songs that challenge traditional conceptions of what contemporary a cappella music can be. Duwende's latest album, Collective, can be downloaded for free or previewed on YouTube. [more inside]
Concert promoter LiveDaily has an acoustic live sessions program (video starts playing). It's been running since March of this year and so far 33 artists have performed: Priscilla Ahn, The Raveonettes, Black Lips, Paddy Casey, Dawn Landes, Lykke Li, The Duke Spirit, Frightened Rabbit, Foreign Born, The Dodos, The Virgins, Radar Bros., Langhorne Slim, Shwayze, Joseph Arthur, Missy Higgins, Wild Sweet Orange, Le Switch, Deadly Syndrome, Steve Poltz, Weather Underground, Imaad Wasif, Rogue Wave, David Ford, Takka Takka, Black Ghosts, The Airborne Toxic Event, Tally Hall, Lionel Loueke, Calico Horse, Rademacher, Judith Owen and Carrie Rodriguez
BBC Introducing is an excellent way to keep tabs on what's fresh in the British popular music scene without having to live in a rainsoaked armpit. There are four podcasts for you to download, the flagship Best of Unsigned Podcast, Homegrown Mix with Ras Kwame, Scotland Introducing and BBC Radio Northampton's Weekender. All feature bands that are either unsigned or just recently signed and the music ranges from hip hop to punk rock to what sounds awfully like the soundtrack for a NES game with half-hearted chanting over it. This is an excellent resource whether you're casual searcher for new songs or the kind of anorak who knows which British indie band was first to use an 808.