Archive for January, 2014
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Eclectic Method – A Brief History of Sampling
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Previously unreleased Elliott Smith electronic recordings emerge online
Three previously unreleased Elliott Smith tracks have been shared online – listen to them below.
The songs have been made public by Mike Doughty, former frontman of ’90s New York alt-rockers Soul Coughing.
The three electronic dance songs were recorded sometime in the late 1990s during a session at Los Angeles’ Sunset Sound Factory by Doughty, under his producer name UUL. He asked Smith to provide vocals on the songs while he was in town working on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack.
Speaking to Pitchfork, Doughty said he only found the tape from their session in November last year (2013). The three songs are now available in the form he origionally intended, but he has provided new production on the backing track under his UUL alias.
One track, ‘The Record’, featured lyrics that eventually made it onto Smith’s track ‘Bottle Up And Explode’, which featured on 1998’s ‘XO’. Another track, ‘Dogs’ opens with audio of Smith chatting in the studio. Listen to all three tracks below.
Elliot Smith released five solo studio albums before his death in 2003. Two further albums, 2004’s ‘From A Basement On A Hill’ and 2007’s ‘New Moon’, were released posthumously.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
THE AFGHAN WHIGS RECORDING FIRST ALBUM IN 16 YEARS…
The Afghan Whigs are about to release their first new album in sixteen years on Sub Pop.
Sub Pop has said that The Afghan Whigs will mark their return to the label with Do To The Beast, their first new album in 16 years, on April 14th in Europe and April 15th in North America via Sub Pop. Additional release information will be available soon.
The Afghan Whigs originally formed in 1986 and released six studio albums between 1988 and 1998 including 1996’s Black Love which reached number 79 in the U.S. They broke up in 2001 citing family obligations but came back together in 2006 to record two tracks for a career compilation followed by a more permanent reforming in 2011.
The Afghan Whigs will perform at this year’s sold-out Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on Friday April 11th and Friday April 18th, 2014.
Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94
CNN reports that the legendary singer, songwriter, and activist Pete Seeger died of natural causes last night at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Seeger, one of the great towering figures in the recent history of the American left, was 94. He had a hell of a life.
Seeger was born into a family of musicians and musicologists in New York in 1919. He started playing banjo in 1936 and dropped out of Harvard in 1938 to play music in a traveling puppet theater. Later, he went to work for the folk-music archivist Alan Lomax, eventually playing music on Lomax’s radio show and performing at the White House in 1941. That same year, he also co-founded the Almanac Singers, a sort of leftist folk-singer supergroup with a constantly-changing lineup. Though he opposed American involvement in World War II, Seeger served in the Army, mostly entertaining troops as a musician.
In 1950, Seeger’s Almanac Singers turned into the folk quartet the Weavers, who had a massive #1 hit that year with a version of Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene.” A few years later, though, the whole group was blacklisted. When the House Un-American Activities Committee subpoenaed Seeger, he took the fifth and refused to give any information. He was indicted for contempt of Congress and, in 1961, sentenced to 10 years in prison, though that conviction was overturned on appeal a year later.
Seeger was a tremendously important elder-statesman figure in New York’s folk revival of the late ’50s and early ’60s. He wrote or co-wrote songs like “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?,” “If I Had A Hammer (The Hammer Song),” and “Turn, Turn, Turn,” which were famously covered over and over, and he popularized the Civil Rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.” He wrote a column in the quarterly journal Sing Out! and contributed heavily to Broadside magazine. In the mid-’60s, he hosted the regional New York folk-music show Rainbow Quest, where he booked a number of legendary musicians. An early supporter of Bob Dylan, he famously freaked out when Dylan plugged in and played loud with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, later admitting he was wrong. (The stories about him waving an axe and threatening to cut the electrical cord are probably exaggerated.) In 1967, he played the allegorical anti-Vietnam song “Waist Deep In The Big Muddy” on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, a rare example of an American TV network airing any early protest against the war.
Throughout his career, Seeger was a tireless advocate of a ton of causes, including civil rights, workers’ rights, pacifism, and environmentalism. He also continued performing long after his heyday. (Personal note: When I was a toddler, my parents took me to see him and Arlo Guthrie playing together in Baltimore, which makes Seeger technically my first concert, even if I don’t remember a thing about it.) Seeger marched on Columbus Circle with New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement, and he performed at Farm Aid — singing “This Land Is Your Land” with Neil Young, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews — just four months ago. Seeger’s wife of 70 years, the filmmaker Toshi Aline Ohta, died last year.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Nine Inch Nails, QOTSA Perform at the Grammys
Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl, and Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham closed the show with “Copy of A” and “My God Is the Sun”. It was cut off early, partially by a commercial. Trent Reznor tweeted, “Music’s biggest night… to be disrespected. A heartfelt FUCK YOU guys.
Little red lawsuit: Prince sues 22 people for pirating his songs
Despite once being considered an online innovator, Prince has more recently made a name for himself for being unafraid to confront the infringement of his work. Now, the artist has filed a hefty $22 million lawsuit against 22 Facebook and Blogger users for working in concert to steal his content.
The case, filed as Prince v. Chodera in the Northern District of California, reads, “The Defendants in this case engage in massive infringement and bootlegging of Prince’s material.” Only two defendants are named in the suit, however — the rest are listed as John Does, though eight do have the distinction of being regarded by their online handles. Nevertheless, Prince, based on “information and belief,” alleges that each of the individuals worked together on Facebook and Blogger to conduct infringing activity, and lists extensively the mirror sites and blogs each used to distribute copies of his work. He has thus demanded $1 million with interest in damages from each of the defendants, along with a permanent injunction to prevent all of them from doing further harm.
This is only the latest copyright battle Prince has fought. Back in 2007, he was willing to take on YouTube, eBay, and The Pirate Bay on the same issue, believing that they facilitated the illicit copying of his music and movies. The case was eventually dropped. Still, there was a time when he was happy to experiment with his art and its distribution. In early 2009, singles from his triple album LotusFlower were released online on multiple websites devoted to hyping the release. Ultimately, though, the love affair ended in 2010 when he told the Daily Mirror, “The internet’s completely over.” (via The Verge)
DUM DUM GIRLS – TOO TRUE (Album Review)
The Universe is a cruel mistress. Her incessant need to achieve balance means that in the same breath that exhales the Dum Dum Girls stellar new album, Too True, their contemporaries, Vivian Girls, announce their dissolution. Both female trios cut their teeth on lo-fi pop that fused 60s girl group melodic flair with 80s garage rock. Their sounds were the hot indie trend circa 2008, laying the groundwork for Sleigh Bells and Best Coast to usurp them as the next big things, both of which recently were replaced by HAIM and CHVRCHES.
It’s sad if not unsurprising that Vivian Girls are no more. Hell, it’s a minor miracle that Dum Dum Girls have made it all the way to album number three. Let’s face it – the evolutionary cycle of music is no longer a cycle but a constant state for musicians looking to remain relevant because we all demand new music all of the time (for free, of course), and we expect it to keep up with trends but never sound derivative. The landscape changes faster today than ever in the history of ever, and unlike the now defunct Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls have been polishing (read: pop-ifying) and refining their act over the last several years, allowing them easy entry into the hot indie trend circa now: the 80s and 90s pop/R&B mono genre, making them ready to pounce while the iron once again is hot.
2012’s fine End of Daze EP revealed a band graduating from the lo-fi to cleaner-sounding pop excellence, and where that EP left off, Too True picks up. Lead track “Cult of Love” instantly immerses the listener into the darkly melodic garage pop-rock a la Echo and the Bunnymen, Go-Gos, Blondie and The Pretenders, and the album never lets off the catchy, 80s prom gas pedal. “Evil Blooms” is an urgent and vibrant mix of crunchy guitars, keyboards and drums. Lead singer Dee Dee (known to friends and family as Kirsten Gundred) employs her confident, dreamy voice throughout, and nowhere better than on standout tracks “Rimbaud Eyes” and “Lost Boys And Girls Club”.
Dee Dee’s voice is sexy, playful and commanding, and it works better in this context than ever before – at the front of the mix, clearer, and cleaner. Impossibly, every song is as catchy as the next. “Are You Okay?” is the perfect tear-jerker ballad to play over the climax of that John Hughes movie you’ve been directing in your head for years. “In The Wake Of You” is so infectious you might even discover yourself unintentionally doing the Molly Ringwald – at least those of you who know what the hell that even is.
Too True clocks in at 31 minutes, and half of the album’s 10 tracks don’t even make it to the three-minute mark. Dum Dum Girls wisely have hedged their bets on instant gratification, creating songs that go places fast, and those places are almost always tuneful and exuberant. It’s over in a hurry and it leaves you wanting more, which is about all you can hope for from a band’s third album. More importantly, Too True proves that Dum Dum Girls are as relevant today as they were six years ago because they know that evolution is the key to survival. This is their sound, the sound of today, and they wear it well
Friday, January 24, 2014
OUTKAST RECORDING SOLO LPS BEFORE NEW ALBUM
We’ve been waiting so long for an OutKast reunion, what’s a little more time? A new album might be inevitable, but it may only come after both André 3000 and Big Boi are done with their solo albums, according to longtime producer Mr. DJ. Via Revolt TV:
He’s not certain, but—brace yourself—he believes 3000 will drop his long-awaited solo album this year. BET’s Stephen Hill hinted at the idea last summer, when he tweeted out that Dre mentioned dropping a new album at the top of 2014. While it may not be coming that soon, a lot of material has been recorded for it, Mr. DJ notes.
Big Boi, meanwhile, also has a fair amount of material recorded for his own solo project, and Mr. DJ was in Stankonia with him just last week laying tracks down for it. The bigger plan at hand, it seems, is for both MCs to go on their 40-date festival run, drop solo projects, and then get back in the studio for a group project. Going on tour, Mr. DJ says, should help rekindle their creative relationship.
“I get the feeling that the energy and camaraderie from the tour will bring everything full circle,” he told REVOLT. “We may make it back in for an album following that.”
Why should the music industry care about the net neutrality debate?
That headline isn’t meant to sound negative: the music industry should definitely care about this week’s debate around net neutrality in the US, and what its implications may be for digital music services in the future.
The issue has been kicking around for years now, but this week’s development is a US court ruling casting doubt on the ability of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate ISPs and mobile operators to ensure that all internet traffic is treated equally on their networks.
The ensuing debate has focused on whether the big US telcos will try to charge data-intensive online services for delivering their content to users – or rather delivering it faster and more reliably. Netflix, YouTube, Spotify and any big entertainment-related service could be affected by this: Netflix’s share price dipped by 5% in early trading on Wednesday, after the ruling on Tuesday, indicating spooked investors.
The concern is that the biggest players will pay the telcos to get an edge over their competitors, which in turn may have a negative effect on these markets as a whole.
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures outlined one scenario for a startup trying to launch a “better streaming music service” and raise money for it from a VC firm, and presented one possible response from a VC if net neutrality had been eroded:
“Well since Spotify, Beats, and Apple have paid all the telcos so that their services are free on the mobile networks, we are concerned that new music services like yours will have a hard time getting new users to use them because the data plan is so expensive. We like you and the idea very much, but we are going to have to pass.”
His concern is about investment in startups – Wilson makes similar hypothetical arguments against funding startups trying to disrupt YouTube, Hulu and Netflix in the online video space, or Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat in the social area. Yet even within music, there are tiers of companies above that.
Could the likes of Spotify and Deezer really afford to carve a whole new chunk out of their already-slim margins to pay the telcos compared to, say, Apple and Google? Net neutrality is a slow-burning debate with long-term implications, but it’s an important one for the music industry to be engaging fully with.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Arcade Fire honor Michael Hutchence 54th birthday with a INXS cover
Last night in Australia, Arcade Fire celebrated what would’ve been the 54th birthday of Michael Hutchence with a cover of the INXS classic “Devil Inside.” Watch their performance from Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl below.
Mogwai Get Their Own Whisky, Add Tour Dates
This week, Mogwai released a new album called Rave Tapes. They’ve also released their own whisky called, yes, Mogwai Whisky. It’s a single cask nine-year-old Glenallachie whisky, and it’s available via Glasgow’s Good Spirits Co. starting next week.
The band has also added dates to their upcoming tour. Dates below.
01-24 London, England – Royal Festival Hall
01-25 London, England – Royal Festival Hall
01-27 Manchester, England – Bridgewater Hall
01-28 Glasgow, Scotland – Royal Concert Hall
01-30 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso
02-01 Brussels, Belgium – Ancienne Belgique
02-02 Brussels, Belgium – Ancienne Belgique
02-03 Paris, France – Olympia
02-04 Frankfurt, Germany – Batschkapp
02-05 Munich, Germany – Backstage-Werk
02-06 Berlin, Germany – Tempodrome
02-15 Tokyo, Japan – Hostess Club Weekender
03-23 Gothenburg, Sweden – Konserthuset
03-24 Stockholm, Sweden – Cirkus
03-25 Copenhagen, Denmark – Koncertsalen, Koncerthuset
03-26 Hamburg, Germany – Grosse Freiheit
03-27 Zurich, Switzerland – Volkshaus
03-29 Nimes, France – Paloma
03-30 Bologna, Italy – Estragon
03-31 Milan, Italy – Alcatraz
04-01 Karlsruhe, Germany – Substage
04-02 Cologne, Germany – E-Werk
04-03 Lille, France – L’Aeronef
04-11 Las Vegas, NV – Hard Rock Live
04-12 Indio, CA – Coachella Music and Arts Festival
04-15 San Diego, CA – Belly-Up Tavern
04-17 Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
04-18 San Fransisco, CA – Regancy Ballroom
04-19 Indio, CA – Coachella Music and Arts Festival
04-21 Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theatre
04-22 El Paso, TX – Tricky Falls
04-23 Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
04-24 Austin, TX – Emo’s
04-25 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s
04-26 Baton Rouge, LA – Varsity Theatre
04-27 New Orleans, LA – Civic Theatre
04-29 Miami, FL – Grand Central
04-30 Tampa, FL – The Ritz Ybor
05-01 Orlando, FL – The Beacham Theatre
05-03 Nashville, TN – Exit In
05-06 Charlotte, NC – Amos’ Southend
05-07 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
05-08 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
05-09 New York, NY – Terminal 5
05-10 Boston, MA – House of Blues
05-11 Montreal, Quebec – Metropolis
05-13 Toronto, Ontario – Danforth Music Hall
05-14 Cleveland, OH – House of Blues
05-15 Detroit, MI – St. Andrew’s Hall
05-16 Chicago, IL – The Vic Theatre
05-17 Des Moines, IA – Wooly’s
05-18 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
05-20 Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
05-21 Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
05-24 Portland, OR – Roseland Theatre
05-25 Vancouver, British Columbia – Vogue Theatre
Here’s their video for “The Lord Is Out of Control”: