Music

President Obama’s Favorite Musicians Play His Backyard

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The fifth International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert took place on the White House’s South Lawn on Friday, featuring performances from giants Herbie Hancock and Aretha Franklin alongside an all-star band made up of musicians from around the world.

President Obama gave a speech welcoming the UNESCO concert back to the US.

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Intellectual Property’s Much-Needed Evolution

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World Intellectual Property Day, the greatest of all spring holidays, was this Tuesday, April 26th. In honor of the holiday, the UK’s Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe made a statement calling for an update in the legal concept, Billboard reports:

The process of digitization has transformed the world around us at a furious pace.

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Anohni on Environmental and Body Politics

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Anohni, the new incarnation of Antony Hegarty, spoke with VICE about her album HOPELESSNESS, the politics and environmental crisis its songs address, and controlling the intrusion of an artist’s body into her work. In reference to her decision to subvert the influence of her particular body on the art, Anohni said:

I’ve never been that interested in my physical body as a convincing visual conduit for my voice.

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Song of the Day: “Can’t Get Used to Losing You”

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In the furor surrounding the unexpected release over the weekend of Beyonce’s “visual album” Lemonade, the general attitude toward Queen Bey’s newest creation is surprise, exuberance, and unadulterated glee. Much of the groundbreaking project, which the mega-artist somehow recorded and filmed in secret over the course of a year, breaks new musical ground, not only in terms of the swaggering tone and anger in Beyonce’s voice, but in terms of samples and influences.

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This Week in Posivibes: Mary Margaret O’Hara

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Mary Margaret O’Hara’s Miss America is one of those incredible albums worth resurrecting every few years, to ensure that it doesn’t get lost amid the discographies of more prolific artists. O’Hara has consciously decided to produce little else since the 1988 release of her debut, and likes it that way; in response to questions about a follow-up album, O’Hara said, “If you have an idea, why do you have to make it?”

As frustrating as that may be, Miss America has such an incredible range that you can almost understand O’Hara’s theoretical decision to let the work lie—let this be the one coherent message she makes.

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Prince, We Miss You

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This has been a difficult year for our musical heroes. The loss of Prince has the world mourning, once again, an artist whose work gave listeners the strength and permission to be as different, exceptional, and free as they wished. It’s a lot to handle, especially following so soon after Bowie’s passing.

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Sound & Vision #20: John Congleton

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Allyson McCabe speaks with GRAMMY-winning producer/engineer John Congleton about what it's like to make music in today's technological and economic environments, and the benefits of being open to adaptation. ...more

Song of the Day: “Berlin Got Blurry”

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Strangeness is not altogether a new concept for Parquet Courts, a NYC-based band that resists labels but falls somewhere between garage rock and post-punk, with an overarching sympathy for “indie” (whatever that means today). The arty group have gained notoriety for their intelligent lyrics and self-aware sound, especially since their widely appreciated 2012 record, Light Up Gold.

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Sound Takes: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

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That historical context takes center stage right from the outset ...more

Snowden the Composer

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Edward Snowden has been busy during his exile: the whistle-blower has been working on a single with French artist Jean-Michel Jarre. The single, “Exit,” will appear on the upcoming Electronic Vol. 2: The Heart Of Noise, which also features Primal Scream, Pet Shop Boys, Cyndi Lauper, and Peaches, among others. 

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This Week in Posivibes: Cate Le Bon

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The Welsh singer’s fourth album, Crab Day, has a beautifully uncomfortable, displaced sound, as if each song’s eye were following just to the right of its own focus. Pitchfork says of the album:

Le Bon establishes a strange, almost Dadaist lyrical scheme to make sense—or make more nonsense—of some unnamed life rupture that’s left her grasping.

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The Rise of Flex

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The Brooklyn-based genre of dance music that has thrived since the ’90s is beginning to reach far beyond the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, which has housed dance competitions in the genre for years, and is breaking through to much larger audiences. Pitchfork has chronicled the history of flex music and its dancers, the “Volume” riddim and lazer effects that characterize its sound, and the growing number of hip-hop fixtures who originated in the scene (such as Boof, Nicki Minaj’s DJ).

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This Week in Posivibes: Heartworn Highways

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The documentary about the outlaw country scene of the ’70s is celebrating its fortieth anniversary with a very limited edition box set from Light in the Attic Records. The film showcases Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Young, David Allan Coe, Larry Jon Wilson, and Steve Earle, their music, jokes, stories, and so much whiskey.

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Bruce Springsteen Protests Bathroom Law

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Springsteen has cancelled scheduled concerts in North Carolina in what he called “the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.” The law bans transgender citizens from using a bathroom that does not match the gender on their birth certificate and curtails their rights to sue when their rights are violated in the workplace.

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Swinging Modern Sounds #71: A Michael Bay Film Eating Itself

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“Love,” then is not to be taken lightly here. It is being engaged at full force, megaphonically. ...more

This Week in Posivibes: A Tribute to ’80s New York

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In a bid against HBO’s Vinyl over-romanticizing ’70s New York to the exception of other decades, the Guardian published a piece on why the ’80s were more important than popular fantasy seems to suggest. The profile covers the post-punk scene, heavy with nostalgia for nights when the partying “was more like, ‘Let’s read some Rimbaud and talk about it while doing coke all night,’” as Cynthia Sley from the Bush Tetras said.

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