Music

Get Cosmic for Sun Ra’s Birthday

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It would have been Sun Ra’s 101st birthday last Friday, and to celebrate, Harte Recordings has released a 40th anniversary edition of the artist’s otherworldly cosmic trip, Space is the Place. We’ve done our share of commenting on the proliferation of Sun Ra remasters out there and how they’re organized for consumption in an Internet world, but this one—with its restored footage showcasing the film’s truly incredible sets—seems like it’s more than worth a peek.

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Bjork - Debut | Albums of Our Lives

Albums of Our Lives: Björk’s Debut

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Music is the ultimate consolation for reality’s letdowns (like being thirteen and still firmly living in the realm of childhood). I would listen to “Venus as a Boy” on repeat in my bedroom, curtains drawn, and imagine Allan’s face, his arms, his chest, his body. ...more

Take a Minute to Marvel at B.B. King

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The world lost one of its blues masters May 14th with B.B. King’s passing. The man who kept blues alive brought his virtuosic playing to bear on generations of American experience, influencing musicians across all categories. Take a minute to marvel at his work: read about his career and legacy, take in views of his life from fellow icons and admirers.

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USA Portrait - Miriam Linna

Sound & Vision #15: Miriam Linna

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Drummer, publisher, and rocker Miriam Linna talks to Allyson McCabe about Bobby Fuller, punk bands in Ohio in the ’70s, and her career with the A-Bones. ...more

Jesse Malin, San Francisco, March 2013

Swinging Modern Sounds #65: Tragedy Plus Time

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Jesse Malin is a lifer in a business that rarely features lifers anymore. ...more

Song of the Day: “‘Cause I’m a Man”

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The diversely talented Perth, Australia-based recording artist Kevin Parker is known more widely by his stage name, Tame Impala. Often described as a psychedelic musician for the 21st century, Parker forges albums with traces of electronic and lo-fi, as well as influences from heavyweights like My Bloody Valentine and The Flaming Lips.

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Sound & Vision #14: Hannah Haugberg

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Painter and letterer Hannah Haugberg discusses the art of designing custom guitar pedals. ...more

Song of the Day: “Try Me”

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The resilient R&B singer Esther Mae Jones adopted the stage name of Little Esther Philips at the age of 14, allegedly taking it from a gas station sign in Los Angeles. She had a rough-and-tumble career, a tumultuous relationship with the billboard charts, and ongoing addiction problems that endowed her voice with a worldly authenticity reminiscent of Nina Simone.

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The Rumpus Interview with Christian Kiefer

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Writer, musician, and poet Christian Kiefer discusses his literary influences, the "beautiful, beat up, and weird town" that is Reno, and writing from the perspective of beasts in his new novel The Animals. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Shawna Virago

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Musician and songwriter Shawna Virago discusses her trajectory as an artist, deciding to use Kickstarter to fund her new album, and what it’s like to be top Google hit for “San Francisco dominatrix.” ...more

Song of the Day: “Hey Pocky A-Way”

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The loose and infectious melody of “Hey Pocky A-Way” has been covered and re-recorded many times since its first release in 1974 by New Orleans funk heavyweights The Meters. The highly recognizable chorus–which reputedly stems from early Native American dialects in the region that would come to cradle New Orleans–has lost most of its linguistic meaning, but none of its emotional acuity.

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Urinals feature

Swinging Modern Sounds #64: Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack!

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Many of you will not want to believe that “Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack!” by the Californian punk band the Urinals, is the greatest song ever written, but that is simply because there is some kind of vise or blood-occluding mechanism attached to the thinking and feeling part of your limbic region. ...more

Song of the Day: “I Left My Wallet In El Segundo”

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Road trip songs occupy a plush seat in the American canon—right underneath the fuzzy dice. They are often harbingers of summer, and “I Left My Wallet In El Segundo” is no exception. This prototypical Tribe Called Quest track from their first album features a playful and engaging narrative from standout MC, Q-Tip.

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Song of the Day: “Straight To Hell”

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The Clash are famous for their album London Calling and their ubiquitous single, “Rock the Casbah,” which is notable perhaps for its incendiary political message—a denunciation of the Iranian ban on Western music following the 1979 revolution. But it’s “Straight to Hell,” a commemoration of immigrant struggles in the UK and abroad, that best blends political panache with a strong melody.

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St. Vincent & Annie Clark

Sound & Vision #13: Daniel Mintseris

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Keyboardist and programmer Daniel Mintseris discusses his work with St. Vincent and Annie Clark, coming to the US from Lithuania at nineteen, and the difference between traditional composition and writing music on instinct using cutting-edge technology. ...more

Christmas in the Heart

Swinging Modern Sounds #63: It’s Supposed to Be Bad

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Rick Moody emails with Scott Timberg, author of the new book Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class, about Bob Dylan's new Sinatra covers album, the need for cultural gatekeepers, and the "slippery sub genre" of bad-on-purpose art. ...more