60s Pop Friday! Ladies and Gentlemen, from Queens, NY, it's the Shangri-Las! Mostly known for their grandly melodramatic songs about teen love gone awry, they aren't all downers. They've been covered by bands from France to Japan.
In 1997, reclusive Neutral Milk Hotel mastermind Jeff Mangum performed a now-legendary set at Athens, Ga. coffee shop Jittery Joe's. One week only on Pitchfork.tv Previously 1 2 3 [more inside]
We Are Smug is the side project of former Savage Garden frontman turned electropop showman Darren Hayes and collaborator and fellow electronic musician Robert Conley. Hayes and Conley had been working on this project secretly for about two years before releasing it online for free on Hayes's birthday. There are no current plans to tour or sell this album, aside from the free download, but there are already official music videos. (Warning: last link potentially triggering.)
100 Best Icelandic Pop & Rock Albums all streamable in full for free. Icelandic state broadcaster RÚV and Icelandic subscription music website tónlist.is have published what they, their team of experts and the Icelandic public consider to be the 100 best Icelandic rock and pop albums of all time. Björk, Sigur Rós, Múm and The Sugarcubes don't need much introduction but below the cut there are short description of the other artists. [via RÚV] [more inside]
Pop up shops have been popping up, well, pretty much everywhere. And pop up restaurants. And pop up art galleries. While the trend started long before the current retail downturn, and looks set to continue as companies strive to create interest in their products and services, will creative spontaneity start to look a little bit too planned and evolve into a mainstream retail channel?
Of all the pretenders to the throne of "British Elvis" in the pre-Beatles UK music scene, none had the swagger or moves quite like Vince Taylor. [more inside]
What's a soda lover to do when Passover Coke has, well, passed over? Find other cane sugar sodas, of course! [more inside]
The Belfer Cylinders Digital Connection is a collection of old cylinder records at Syracuse University. The library has started to digitize them, both in mp3 and wav format. They have only 293 online yet but aim to have 6000 cylinders digitized by the end of next year. It can be searched either by genre, keyword or Here are a few that I really like: Bedtime at the Zoo, That Syncopated Boogie-boo, Mary, You're a Little Bit Old Fashioned, Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong, Phoebe Brown, Was zu Gott ist zu Gott und was zu leute ist zu leute, Aberystwyth, Glada na lusch, I Love a Lassie and Pussy's in the Well.
"There's sickly pop, there's cheesy pop and then there's the Lightning Seeds brand of pure shiny pop." The Lightning Seeds mixed slick production with equally compelling melodies and lyrics, and produced a number of critically acclaimed albums in the 1990s. Now there's a new album coming out - their first since 1999's Tilt. [more inside]
A car insurer admitted it refuses to cover musicians despite featuring Iggy Pop in its advertisements. (via The Morning News)
Nardwuar the Human Serviette is an interesting, abrasive and knowledgeable music journalist. Many of his interviews are on film and posted to youtube. Previously on metafilter. Warning: single link to a youtube user. [more inside]
In April, an extraordinary auction will provide an unprecedented look into the private world of Michael Jackson. More than 2,000 items, ranging from personal effects and costumes to pieces from Jackson's private art collection as well as fittings and furnishings from his Neverland ranch, will be up for sale. The auction is so extensive, a six-volume book was printed just to detail every lot. [more inside]
Cruella de Ville, the band, were formed by fraternal twins (with identical voices) Philomena and Colum Muinzer. They were probably best known for their single, "Those Two Dreadful Children", which appeared on Dr. Demento's show a number of times. CdV were only around for a short time (1982-1984) before dropping off the map
, but thanks to the internets and youtubeses, we can revisit their tiny catalogue: pop nuggets in a manic, cheeky, theatrical punk vein. But just when you thought you'd pegged their sound...
What if Akon (the rapper) was from the Middle East? How about 50 Cent? Maybe Britney, The Pussycat Dolls or Shakira?
Cobrastyle is possibly the least "likely" Swedish pop song. And now, it's been covered by another Swede. [more inside]
DJ Earworm does it again - Like last year, he's made a year-end mashup and accompanying video featuring the top 25 hits of the year (as calculated by Billboard). Can you name most of the songs included? Are you more or less hip than last year? [more inside]
What is important to me? Short video interviews with mostly alternative rock/pop folk, in which they answer the question 'What is really important to me'. For Elbow it's hope, Lambchop breakfast, Bob Mould turning life upside, New Model Army a sense of proportion, Nada Surf respect and caring, Sterolab hedonism, Calexico space...the rest are here..
Perfume, a three-girl Japanese technopop sensation formed in 2001 now consisting of Nocchi, Kashikuya and A~chan, is about to release their ninth single, "Dream Fighter". Perfume's July 2008 single "Love the World" was the first technopop song ever to debut at #1 on the Oricon sales chart. The previous highest debut for techno was Yellow Magic Orchestra's "Kimi ni, Munekyun" 25 years ago in 1983. (original article citing #1 record translated via Google translator) [more inside]
All Kinds of 70's awesomeness!! Plaid Stallions!!
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
“In the condition I was in, it assumed at the time the quality of a beacon, a light on the far shores of the murk; what's more, it was proof that there was something left to express artistically besides nihilism and destruction.” Lester Bangs on the topic of Van Morrison's Astral Weeks which began recording exactly 40 years ago today in Century Sound Studios NYC. [more inside]
The Guardian has compiled a list of their top fifty arts videos, the majority being from either rare or obscure sources and uploaded onto YouTube.
Classic tracks: Can't seem to face up to the facts? Searching for the heart of Heart of Gold? Mix Online delves deep into your favorite jams, to find out what was in the air when they were conceived. Know what I mean? via
"Radiodiffusion Internasionaal is devoted to the evolution of popular music from Africa, the Middle East, India and Asia and the proliferation of Western influences on these non-Western cultures. The focus is primarily the music from the mid 60's to the mid 70's." (Description from the front page of the site.) Slightly differently formatted version of the website here. Nice set of links, too (scroll down to the Words and Pictures section).
Chief Justice Roberts (mis)quotes Bob Dylan* in his dissent on Sprint Communications Co. v. APCC Services, Inc., making this the first known time that a Supreme Court Opinion has used a "rock song to buttress legal opinion," according to Alex B. Long of the University of Tennessee. Mr. Long knows a thing or two about this**, having authored [Insert Song Lyrics Here]***, a Washington & Lee Law review Article on the subject of Pop Music in legal writing. The article is funny†, insightful, comprehensive in its musical background††, and surprisingly knowledgeable about good taste in writing.††† [more inside]
Rivers Cuomo (of Weezer) picks the theme, "80s radio," and develops a song, step by step, collaborating with some of his fans. Watch some of the responses. It's not his first collaboration, and he's no stranger to the internet.
It's the story that has Britain in uproar*: Cliff Richard and General Franco: the 1968 Eurovision mystery. Did General Franco scupper the judging? Exhibit A: Cliff's UK entry, Congratulations. Exhibit 2: Spain's winning entry by Massiel, La la la. For added measure, exhibit iv: here's Cliff's 1973 entry, which believe it or not also did not win, Power to all our Friends (though Cliff's spectacular moves should not sway your opinion on the controversy* in any way). [*not really].
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was released 10 years ago today. Happy Neutral Milk Hotel day. [more inside]
Robert Wyatt is not dead. In fact, he recently released a new album titled Comicopera. [more inside]
While the Spice Girls are currently inflicting their 4th division nightclub appearance act on their poor fans I was rather surprised to see a tiny little ad in the newspaper announcing a UK tour by the Backstreet Boys. While on the surface it seems that this reflects the popularity of one over the other, I can't help thinking that this is pretty much the way they want it (hee!) having observed how completely insane their fans used to be. [more inside]
The best music of 2007 according to Stereogum, Pitchfork, All Music, NME, PopMatters, The A.V. Club, Rolling Stone, TIME, MTV, the Guardian, eMusic, Amazon, Spin Magazine, Q, Largehearted Boy, and more. Among the most frequently listed are Radiohead, Spoon, Arcade Fire, Of Montreal, Feist, and The National.
"I edited this short film set to the tune of The Zombies' "This Will Be Our Year" featuring Super 8 footage shot by my parents between 1965-1979."
Think the Osmond Brothers didn't rock? Think again. "In spite of their squeaky clean image, the Osmonds had a soulful, sometimes raucous sound which was a precursor of the power pop of later years." Color my preconceived notions shattered.
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.
Stylus Magazine is closed. Home to some of the best writing about rockism, and Rasputin, slsking and The Stranger. Greatest hits/bluffer's guide here.
Pop Songs 07 is a blog by Matthew Perpetua, founder of Fluxblog, in which he is attempting to write about every R.E.M. song eventually. With the recent release of Stereogum’s tribute to Automatic For The People, Drive XV, (free mp3s of covers of every track on the record by a range of indie rock acts) he was asked to write an essay about the album: Sweetness Followed: 15 Years After Automatic.
[SeinfeldPlotSingleLinkVideoFilter]: Michigan wants its $50 million back.
The South Bank Show is the longest running arts show on television. Melvyn Bragg has presented an eclectic mix of televisual joy since 1978. SBS has presented in-depth portraits of many different types of artists during this time, covering a huge range of topics. From high art to low art, classical music to pop music, canonical literature to airport blockbusters it has offered some of the most insightful and enjoyable arts programming around. Much youtubery awaits inside [more inside]
Indiana's Sardina. The New Pornographers of the '90s, the Sardinas released two fantastic albums full of mixtape fodder. Now everything they've got, including some live gems, is up online.
Interesting discussion on classical and pop music, and two related older articles on the Pulitzer nomination process from Greg Sandow.
But offstage, a vicious love triangle and Jughead's eating disorder threatened to tear the band apart...
Hailing from wholesome Riverdale, USA, The Archies were a fresh-faced gang of teens who rocketed to the top of the pops. Listen to their first album on ArchieComics.com now! [Via Comics Should Be Good!]
Speaking of 'highly virulent earworms,' today's NY Times suggests that searching for this year's 'song of the summer' may lead to "one sad conclusion." Have today's hitmakers failed to live up to the jams of yesteryear? Others have offered their opinions...