We wanted to create something quite muscular and meaty. I was getting a little disenchanted with boring wet music. I wanted something with some kind of punch to it ...Esben and the Witch formed in 2008 after neophyte guitarist Thomas Fisher bumped into old friend Rachel Davies on the street in Brighton and asked if she'd like to be in a band. Together with multi-instrumentalist Daniel Copeman, they started making a kind of bruised, ghostly electro goth-pop that drew comparisons with dubstep and witch house. Then things changed. Their third album, A New Nature, recorded with Steve Albini after a successful Kickstarter campaign, sees the band step away from their electro-pop origins, combining English-major Davies' lyrical obsessions with Herman Hesse and Jack London with the band's love of uncompromising noise, psych, and transcendent post rock. A New Nature, released last month, can be streamed via Stereogum.
"Having vaulted from the fringes of pop culture into the mainstream after a newly atomic America became obsessed with films about mutants and aliens, SF literature matured and flowered throughout the '60s and beyond, just as rock 'n' roll did the same. It was inevitable that the two would mix."
This past Spring, Oklahoma State Representative Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs) and State Senator John Ford (R-Bartlesville) joined together to put their bipartisan support behind House Concurrent Resolution 1047, a bill to designate the Official Rock Song of Oklahoma, as to be chosen by the people. As long as the song was written or recorded by an artist from Oklahoma, it would be eligible. The lengthy list of nominees has now been pared down to ten, and the voting has opened online. The finalists vary from Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" (written by Okie Mae Boren Axton) to "Do You Realize," by The Flaming Lips, and my personal pick, Three Dog Night's "Never Been to Spain." [more inside]
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
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]
In 1975, armed with a big pile of 8-track car stereos and a whole lot of moxie, Dave Biro set out to change the sound of rock music. He failed spectacularly. This is the fascinating and tragic story of one of the rarest instruments in rock music- The Birotron. [more inside]
Republican-Approved Rock Music (NYT link). The National Review, the standard-bearing conservative rag founded by William F. Buckley (you know, Gore Vidal's good pal), has published a list of "Top 50 Conservative Rock Songs Of All Time" (NYT again -- not TNR). The explanations for the picks tend toward the obvious, if also occasionally nauseating. The top pick, and many of the others, are just this week's evidence of how irony is lost on much of conservative America.
Lester Bangs, rock critic. Some reviews to read and enjoy. Patti Smith. Astral Weeks. Captain Beefheart. The Shaggs. Black Sabbath. Weather Report. Lou Reed. There are books you can read about him, too. (Previous mention in this thread.)
Lego isn't just for geeks anymore. The latest video directed by Michel Gondry for the White Stripes melds lego with rock in a wonderful way that just has to be seen.