For years, people have been referring to lost sessions featuring Betty Davis and her former husband Miles Davis playing with bending genres, with Betty Davis introducing the jazz giant to Jimi Hendrix and the sounds of psychedelic rock. Recorded from 1968-1969 at Columbia’s 52nd Street studios, the mythic sessions laid the groundwork for the mix of jazz and psychedelia that later coalesced in Miles Davis’s radically innovative Bitches Brew....more
“Yesterday I woke up sucking on lemon,” sings Thom Yorke in the enthralling first song from Radiohead’s groundbreaking 2000 album, Kid A, which Rolling Stone called the “weirdest Number One album of the year.” Take what you will from Yorke’s reference to lemons—their bitterness, the possibility of making lemonade out of them—but the message in the title of this thrumming, synth-centered single is like an uplifting koan....more
The Internet’s been freaking out about Kanye West’s latest bid to be the center of all things surreal about our culture: his video for the track “Famous” features breathing sculptures of celebrities who may or may not have given permission for their likenesses to be represented naked, as if asleep, and in bed together....more
The Atlanta-based post-punk band is releasing their first album, Deluxe, on July 8th and have been garnering anticipatory kudos around the Internet. Raven Sings the Blues wrote, “All the songs on their debut, Deluxe are bent and battered into metal shapes, though it’s their vocals that betray their new wave nods under the veneer of true grit punk spirit,” and Pitchfork noted that the group has “caught that essential combination of steely rigor and fiery energy, ripping out quick gems that exude control without sacrificing guts.” The trio includes Frankie Broyles (formerly of Deerhunter), Billy Mitchell, and Philip Frobos (of Carnivores)....more
There has much apprehension following last week’s vote in favor of a British withdrawal from the EU. Some are predicting what the change will mean for the region’s music industry. PJ Harvey reacted to the vote by stopping mid-performance to read John Donne’s “No Man Is an Island.” Liam and Noel Gallagher, Bat for Lashes, Blood Orange, Lilly Allen, Disclosure, and plenty other British artists went to social media to express their own frustration, with more than a few also referencing the Donne poem....more
A long list of known and respected musicians from a wide variety of genres have signed a petition against the systemic enabling of illegal streaming provided by entities such as YouTube and Google.
The petition urges Congress to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which protects companies that host user sharing from being held accountable for copyright infringement if they take down offending videos or songs when requested by the artist....more
Frank Ocean has released a message about the Orlando shooting that is mournfully beautiful in both its reflection on the hate that fueled the attacks and the hope for a counter-balancing beauty to emerge in its wake:
I heard on the news that the aftermath of a hate crime left piles of bodies on a dance floor this month.
James Blake’s voice sounds like it belongs to a man twice his age, with twice the vocal maturity. The 28-year-old’s highly anticipated new album, The Colour in Anything, follows a series of atmospheric and haunting singles, beginning with 2011’s head-turner “The Wilhelm Scream,” found on Blake’s self-titled debut album....more
The former Black Flag frontman has never been short on rants or the impulse to tear down whatever bullshit he can find. Henry Rollins’s latest target: Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go!. He picks apart the work for its dated failure to support gender equality, race, drug use… you name it....more
To kick off its series of free concerts in Central Park, the New York Philharmonic is paying tribute to the victims of the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. Alan Gilbert, the Philharmonic’s music director, dedicated the performance to “not just to the memory of the victims,” but also to “the idea that we are all part of a shared humanity,” the New York Times reports....more
Eno urged British citizens, who he referred to as “complacent on the issue, like me,” to consider the importance of the EU’s influence on the global stage, citing its significant work in promoting workers’ rights, gun control, environmental issues, and more:
What the ‘Leaves’ have on their side is their unquenchable enthusiasm for a ‘Great’ Britain that they think we can revive – and several powerful media outlets to propagandise the idea.
In the wake of the Orlando tragedy, questions have been raised about the ability of the gay dance scene to overcome the fear bred by such senseless, yet targeted, violence. A piece at THUMP by VICE argues the importance of dance culture in affirming the right to congregate, unafraid and proud:
Will fear drive us back to the days of blackout tape over bar windows, speakeasy-like password entries, underground nightclubs?
Justin Vernon, the songwriter and front man for inimitable indie group Bon Iver, has had a busy few years. Aside from curating his second homegrown Wisconsin music festival this year along with The National’s Aaron Dessner, he’s also performed in several high-profile collaborations with Kanye West, been parodied by Justin Timberlake on SNL, and starred in an ad for Bushmills that he “regrets.” Add to the list the debut of a piercingly beautiful new song called “Heavenly Father.” Bon Iver performed a moving, live a capella version of the song at the Sydney Opera House as a part of its Cercle concert series....more
Brian May of Queen has joined the list of musicians who are upset that Donald Trump has played their music in public settings. Following in the steps of REM and Neil Young, May spoke out against the use of “We Are the Champions” at a televised victory conference last week....more
Every day’s a good day to admire the genius of Kate Bush. We assume it’s in that spirit that Pitchfork published a piece on Hounds of Love, the artist’s 1985 album. The author interviewed Bush upon the album’s release, and the piece follows the trajectory of “the most musically serious and yet outwardly whimsical star of her time.” One of the review’s more stand-out lines refers to an earlier album, The Dreaming:
Both “Breathing” and its video is set in a uterus; “In the Warm Room” exalts vaginas the same way Led Zeppelin sang about dicks.
The President of the United States appeared on The Tonight Show to join The Roots and Jimmy Fallon in slow jamming the news. The “Commander in Preach,” as Fallon called President Obama, is entering the last eight months of his second term, and the segment called attention to the many achievements of his administration....more
Axl Rose has issued Google a takedown notice regarding the “Fat Axl” meme, which uses a shot of the singer performing with Guns N’ Roses in 2010. The notice is operating on the grounds that Guns N’ Roses owns the copyright to all photos taken at the band’s performances, according to a waiver all photographers must sign before any show....more
Of the countless homages to New York City, a multitude of styles and approaches could be cited, from Billy Joel to Lou Reed to Jay-Z. A 2013 album by guitarist Kevin Morby, known for his work with Woods and The Babies, adds an important and unique chapter to the story of New York-inspired art....more
Bob Dylan released a statement following the boxer’s death. Dylan responded to the news that the 74-year-old legend passed away by referencing the man’s self-proclaimed title, “the greatest”:
If the measure of greatness is to gladden the heart of every human being on the face of the earth, then he truly was the greatest.