Catherine Bennett 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]
Comic creators Matt Fraction (Casanova) and Mike Allred (Madman) make their ultimate summer playlist and discuss everything from Brian Wilson to robots.
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]
Belgian designer Kristof Luyckx recently made six short videos as interstitials between lectures at the Beyonderground graphic festival. They are covers of famous songs, as sung by a cast of bizarre, colorful and very calm monsters. You can see all six at his site, or on Vimeo: [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.
"Soon, however, with the strength of eight men, Pépée became an uncontrollable tyrant who would strip guests – including once a government prefect and wife – of their clothes and valuables, bite others who failed to accede to its whims and once stole a baby, which it took to the roof despite Leo waving a toy pistol at it and shouting: "Daddy's not happy. Daddy's going to shoot."
The Numbers One: robopop or real life?: A bizarre and oddly compelling mystery album of incompetent pop covers.
Jun Togawa is sort of like what you'd get if you crossed Kate Bush and Mike Patton. Togawa, who became known in Japanese culture after appearing in a bidet commercial, was half of the electro-cabaret band Guernica, which sometimes sounded very classical and sometimes sounded very new wave and sometimes much stranger. Somewhat more straightforward is her rock outfit Yapoos, which similarly varies quite a bit in sound and style. Her solo work, unsurprisingly, is quite melodramatic, with some very interesting arrangements, both parodically poppy and funky. I particularly like her covers of All Tomorrow's Parties by the Velvet Underground, Brigitte Fontaine's Comme à la Radio, and – weirdly – Pachelbel's Canon.
In 1964, The Beatles put together a one-off variety show, with musical numbers specially pre-recorded for the show, presented in the style of theater-in-the-round. Around the Beatles was aired in the UK and later that same year in the US, but never commercially released. The show includes The Beatles performing a scene from A Midsummer's Night Dream, with Paul McCartney as Pyramus, John Lennon as his lover Thisbe, George Harrison as Moonshine, Starr as Lion, and Trevor Peacock (the only actual actor in the lot) in the role of Quince. A color clip of that was posted previously, but you can watch the entire (almost) hour-long show with The Beatles' segments accompanied by seven other musical acts, on Dailymotion or YouTube, though it's in black and white. [more inside]
In the late '80s, documentarians Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker spent six months in Tokyo looking at how symbols and imagery familiar to Americans had been appropriated and given new significance in Japan. Though more than 20 years old, the resulting video remains popular in undergraduate courses across the social sciences and humanities in part because it's so entertaining. [more inside]
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]
Jon Brion gets around. As a composer, he scored some of the best movies of last decade and change – Punch-Drunk Love, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Synecdoche, New York, and I ♥ Huckabees. As a producer, he's worked with Fiona Apple, Kanye West, Aimee Mann, and the excellent bluegrass outfit Punch Brothers. He writes pop music like the best of them – witness Meaningless, Knock Yourself Out, Here We Go, or Didn't Think It Would Turn Out Bad for a nice sampler of his style and range. His live shows are notoriously whimsical and eccentric – he's apt to perform Radiohead's "Creep" in the style of Tom Waits, or cover Stairway to Heaven as a one-man band, recreating all the parts to its climax on the fly.
World Gone Wild is a 1988 post-apocalyptic film with English pop singer Adam Ant as the villain. The entire film can be watched on YouTube. Via Armagideon Time.
Mining Boom are a Perth band whose videos for the fuzzed out pop songs Telecom and Craigie (NSFW language) use found footage to invoke and skewer a sense of nostalgic Australiana.
Alex Britti's 'Oggi sono io' covered by Italian pop star Mina, who recorded it in one take. An English translation of the lyrics.
Major scaled is a Vimeo user who digitally transposes sad songs into a major key. Here's their cheerful rendition of REM's Losing My Religion. [more inside]
In the 1980s, there were twee bands, and then there was Trixie's Big Red Motorbike. Formed in Shanklin, Isle of Wight in 1981, TBRM were brother and sister Mark & Mel Litten, sometimes assisted by Jim Bycroft on sax and Jane Fish (of The Marine Girls — whose most famous alumna you would have heard if you were alive in the 90s [previously]) on backing vocals. Their sound, lofi, their artwork handmade. Their first single was sent to John Peel [passim], who proclaimed they'd “wipe the floor with the competition” and had them in for two sessions. [more inside]
For the 2012 iTunes Music Festival, 65 acts (including P!nk, One Direction, David Guetta , Jessie J, OneRepublic, Ellie Goulding, Andrea Bocelli, Matchbox Twenty, Muse and many others) performed at the Roundhouse in London throughout the month of September. 40 performances are available in full online. [more inside]
You either know who Dar Williams is or you don't, but chances are that if you know her music, you've got a bit of a story behind that. [more inside]
DJ Earworm has released his annual "United State of Pop" mashup of the year's 25 most popular songs according to Billboard's charts: Shine Brighter. [more inside]
BigBang, "Fantastic Baby" (slyt, K-pop).
Daniel Kim is back again this year with the Pop Danthology 2012, a mega mash-up of 55 pop songs from 2012 (SLYT).
Robin Skouteris is a music and video producer, remixer and DJ based in Athens who creates mashup remixes, (like Deep and Sour and Looking for Sunshine) and a few parodies. His latest remix was released yesterday: "PopLove." [more inside]
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names write music with a warmth and simplicity that really hits the spot on chilly autumn days. My favorite songs of theirs are Noodles and Trees and Squirrels; their better-known songs include Funeral Face, Rent a Wreck, and Loop Duplicate My Heart.
They're best known for one song: I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), as featured in Benny and Joon in 1993, and though the identical twin brothers faded from the public eye in the US, 500 Miles was lovingly parodied by Homer Simpson in 2001, and the brothers appeared on Family Guy in 2006. That song was featured in Comic Relief 2007, and that rendition was the number 1 song in the UK for three weeks. Given this focus on a single song that was first released in 1988, you might want mark The Proclaimers as a one-hit wonder and leave it at that. But David Pollock, writing for The Guardian, wants you to reconsider: The Proclaimers are a lot better than you probably remember. [more inside]
Scott Bradlee is probably best known around the internet for his ragtime reinterpretation of classic 80's hits (previously), but that's certainly not the only thing he's done. There are the relatively straighter covers, for example. And then there's the other stuff. [more inside]
Talking Heads, Live in Rome, 1980 The Talking Heads concert film you haven't seen: the show that would eventually be recorded in the (awesome) concert film Stop Making Sense 3 years later, recorded while it was still a bit weird and uncertain. And therefore, wonderful. [more inside]
In March of 2009, an R.E.M. tribute and benefit concert was held at Carnegie Hall. One of the most interesting covers of that evening was Ingrid Michaelson's take on "Nightswimming." Michaelson used a looping pedal to slowly build the harmonies, so that by the end of the song she was accompanied by a whole choir of her own voice. While the Carnegie performance isn't available online, you can see a pared-down but still extraordinary performance from her appearance at the Sirius XM studios. (YT)
In 1995, The Mommyheads released the now out-of-print Bingham's Hole. Far and away the Mommyheads' best album, Bingham's Hole also may win the title for "least heard best record of the mid-'90s." [more inside]
Legendary lyricist Hal David, most famously partnered with composer Burt Bacharach, and countless pop performers ranging from Dionne Warwick to Tom Jones to The Carpenters and beyond, has died at age 91.
Dave and Duncan off the inspirational (and cancelled) MTV reality show 'The Buried Life' star in a parody of Rihanna's We Found Love video along side a bunch of spray paint and candy.
The 'About' page of UK music website Popjustice also doubles as a pop fan manifesto.
You might have heard Mike Oldfield playing during the Olympic opening and wondered, "What! Why the heck would Danny Boyle want the Exorcist theme playing at the start of such a grand event!" Oldfield's kept a low profile for years, so you may not remember him as the man who literally launched Virgin Records, one of only three artists to ever knock his #1 record off the charts with another #1 record (the other two being Bob Dylan and the Beatles). But those teenage successes were merely the start of an astonishing career, one full of pop music and prog rock, sci-fi and New Age, film scores and classical orchestrations — not to mention a spot at the start of Kanye West's recent album. His magnum opus, Amarok, is an hour of astonishing sounds and shifting genres which must be heard to be believed. Too overwhelming? Well, there're [more inside]
Now That's What I Call Drone: Vol. 1 - Drone ambient versions of top 40 pop songs. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
Randy George Scott turns himself in for riding through British Columbia at speeds in excess of 180 mph (300 km/h). [more inside]
It doesn't even matter what I'm trying to say, 'cause by this point in the song you're just dancing anyway
"Euphoria", which won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest (previously), is a #1 in several countries, including Ireland, Austria, and Switzerland Of course, it's not the only song charting internationally that you might never hear on US radio. It should come as no surprise that one can readily find international hits online. For instance - Sweden, #4: Panetoz - Dansa Pausa Sweden, #9: Mange Makers - Drick Den This doesn't purport to be an exhaustive list, but rather a jumping-off point. [more inside]