It takes courage and artistic vision to take risks with music that has already won you commercial success, but lasting artists persist in doing just that. Bon Iver’s third album, 22, A Million, supports this view. The familiarly warm and affecting melodies of song writer Justin Vernon’s earlier work are reinvented here, nested in a cocoon of distortion and digital noise that holds listeners at arm’s length, rather than drawing them in close....more
Light in the Attic Records is reissuing Jerry Goldsmith’s 1974 soundtrack to the movie Chinatown in a limited release of 2500 copies. The reissue comes on gold vinyl, with album art by Sterling Hundley and layout by Jay Shaw. The soundtrack was an incredible feat—Goldsmith wrote the score in a mere ten days, creating a surprising, hard-to-place, and unforgettable piece that:
It wasn’t quite straight jazz, it wasn’t quite classical.
Jay Z became the first rapper to be nominated to the Songwriters Hall of Fame this weekend, when he was named as a potential 2017 candidate alongside Madonna, Bryan Adams, George Michael, Gloria Estefan, Cat Stevens, Sylvester “Sly Stone” Stewart, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, and Max Martin, Nigel Smith reports for the Guardian....more
The President and First Lady hosted BET’s Love And Happiness: A Musical Experience on the White House’s South Lawn this weekend, adding to the long list of musical moments rounding out Obama’s final term. At one point the President spotted in the audience and joked, “Dave, you have your own block party!...more
The latest news in Oasis ridiculousness is a throwback: apparently, according to Danny Boyle, Noel Gallagher confessed he turned down the opportunity to get on the Trainspotting soundtrack because he mistakenly assumed the movie was about “train spotters.” Bummer to miss out on being a part of an iconic 90s film alongside Brian Eno, Iggy Pop, Pulp, and Primal Scream because you can’t bother to find out if it’s really just about railroad nerds, huh?...more
Le Tigre released what they announced would be a one-song reunion: a pro-Hillary track aptly titled “I’m With Her.” Although there is some mentioning of the need to get Trump out of our political reality stat, Kathleen Hanna’s lyrics focus on Clinton’s qualifications and how “she’s always got to work twice as hard as any man.” Watch the video, directed by Laura Parnes, after the jump....more
Allegedly covered and sampled by musicians as diverse as Madonna and Diana Ross to Mary J. Blige and Robert Palmer, the innovative single “I Want You,” off Marvin Gaye’s 1976 album of the same name, branches out from the Motown sound that typified his earlier work and delves into uncharted territory....more
Scott & Charlene’s Wedding have released a video for “Distracted” off of their recent album Mid Thirties Singles Scene that speaks for a whole mess of people we can really understand. As Raven Sings the Blues writes, “The band’s pop hides a wealth of insight to the kind of restless energy that crops up in a generation lost to debt, dead-end jobs and armed only with guitars and some jangles to dig them out.” Watch the video after the jump and buy the record here....more
The Nobel Prize in Literature went to Bob Dylan this year, sparking debate around the songwriter’s legacy and whether song lyrics should be considered poetry. Those in the pro camp attribute the win to the persistent singularity of Dylan’s songwriting, in combination with the depth of material he drew from....more
Surprise, surprise, another horrible Trump story has surfaced: Lil Jon has spoken out about the time that the presidential candidate kept calling him “Uncle Tom” on Celebrity Apprentice.
Apparently, even after a series of people explained why the term “Uncle Tom” is entirely offensive, the Donald Trump decided he was correct in using the term, persevered in using it, and generally made everyone feel really insulted and perplexed....more
Vince Staples appeared on Hot 97 recently to deliver a freestyle, challenging #BlackLivesMatter protestors to make the future brighter through positive community action, among many other things. (He also would be happy if his girlfriend looked like M.I.A., for instance.) Listen to the full rap after the jump....more
Dawes is one of a handful of groups, including peers like Wilco and Broken Social Scene, who have undergone personnel changes without losing the essential heart and soul that make them who they are. Their first manifestation in 2006 as the post-punk group Simon Dawes included the multi-talented guitarist and producer Blake Mills....more
Following the series of reports of clowns terrorizing America, TIME thought it prudent to open the discussion to the clowns who are blamed for a whole range of things, from spreading ignorance about magnets to just plain inspiring millions of people to dress like masses of terrifying, drunk clowns: the Insane Clown Posse....more
A new jazz documentary is making its way around the festival circuit. Directed by Kasper Collin, I Called Him Morgan traces the career of trumpet player Lee Morgan, who worked with greats like Art Blakey and Dizzy Gillespie before being murdered—shot dead on stage mid-performance—by his wife....more
Despite the number of artists who have explicitly requested their songs never again be used by the Republican candidate, who apparently does not believe in obtaining permission to use artistic work, Trump keeps upping the ante. Most recently, a campaign ad used “Seven Nation Army,” much to the chagrin of The White Stripes....more
Given the anarchic, traumatic, and deeply worrying events of recent months, some might begin to lose hope. However, music—and especially jazz, the most particularly American music—never seems to lose its power to soothe and calm us. Louis Armstrong, in a special song that might sound deceptively typical to the hasty listener, made a groundbreaking statement on race relations in his recording of the 1929 Fats Waller tune, “Black and Blue.” Rather than making a misguided apology for his own racial identity, as some have interpreted it, Armstrong’s incomparable dignity transforms the bluesy song into an ageless lament that rivals monumental recordings like Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit.” Maybe we are all feeling a little black and blue today....more
Michael Collins’s latest project has an enviable list of collaborators, including Weyes Blood, Ariel Pink, Mild High Club, Sheer Agony, and members of Mac DeMarco’s band. While some reviews seem preoccupied with the tongue-in-cheek names Collins gives to each of his projects, it seems to us that the more important thing to notice is that these songs are pleasingly jammy, with modulating trippy pacing at times and exactly the kind of throwback pop sound we’d expect from its collaborators....more
The radio personality has put together a tribute to his favorite Beatles album, featuring a wide array of artists covering Revolver’s track list. According to Rolling Stone, the episode features:
Cheap Trick tackling “She Said She Said,” James Taylor performing “Here, There and Everywhere” and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats covering “Got to Get You Into My Life”….[also performing are] Dinosaur Jr.’s J.
The White House has really been stepping up its music game these days, organizing festivals and now inviting Chance the Rapper to perform at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Because if you’re on your way out and can’t do much, you might as well use holidays you’re forced to celebrate as opportunities to invite your favorite artists to perform at your house....more
It’s either a testament to the general belief held in director Grant Singer or a confirmation that buzz determines award nominations above all else, depending on how you look at it: The Weeknd and Daft Punk collaboration “Starboy” has received an MTV VMA nomination before its formal release....more
Everyone knows funk music reached its heyday in the 1970s, but even legends like James Brown and George Clinton were hard pressed to compete with funk powerhouse The Isley Brothers in 1975. The title track “The Heat Is On (Part 1 & 2),” from their record of the same name, is a hard-driving, wall-shaking revelation that takes this oft-underestimated genre to new heights....more