Music

Mythic Betty Davis Sessions Released

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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.

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Song of the Day: “Everything In Its Right Place”

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“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.

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Guns N' Roses -Paradise City | Rumpus Music

Songs of Our Lives: Guns N’ Roses’s “Paradise City”

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When people asked what I was going to do after high school, I said, “Leave town.” I wasn’t kidding. I hadn’t applied to a single college. ...more

Living Performance Art

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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.

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Sound & Vision #22: Alice Bag

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Allyson McCabe talks with Alice Bag, one of LA punk’s first frontwomen in the mid-70s as the lead singer and co-founder of the Bags, and who has just released her self-titled debut solo album. ...more

This Week in Posivibes: Omni

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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).

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Musicians Reflect on Brexit

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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.

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Artists Petition Against Streaming Enablers

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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.

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Song of the Day: “Modern Soul”

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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. 

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INGLEWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 19: Prince performs live at the Fabulous Forum on February 19, 1985 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images) Prince Live In LA    
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Michael Ochs Archives Stringer

Swinging Modern Sounds #73: Prince Rogers Nelson, Guitar Player: A Symposium

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I started thinking about additional, more slantwise ways we might talk about his legacy. What if I organized a bunch of guitar players? ...more

This Week in Posivibes: New York Philharmonic

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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.

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Brian Eno Against a Brexit

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Brian Eno released a statement on Facebook this weekend urging British citizens to vote against a Brexit from the EU.

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.

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Unafraid and Proud

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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?

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Song of the Day: “Heavenly Father”

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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.

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Daniel Felsenfeld | Rumpus Music

A Year In The Life #3: Premiere Perseveration

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I once, years ago, sat next to a colleague at a premiere, and as the lights dimmed I whispered, “Why do I do this to myself?” And yet, I persist. ...more

This Week in Posivibes: Kate Bush Forever

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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.

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Axl Rose Not Pumped on Fat Memes

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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.

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Wanted/Needed/Loved #9: Laura Ballance’s Ghost Stories

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There is one story that my mother used to tell me often, which has become in some ways a symbol of my childhood. ...more

This Week in Posivibes: Heartworn Highways Reissue

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The incredible outlaw country documentary featuring the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Young, David Allan Coe, Larry Jon Wilson, and Steve Earle is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a reissue box set from Light in the Attic Records.

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by Constance Mensh

Swinging Modern Sounds #72: Urban Pastoral

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It’s like a landscape that you can’t know until you’ve seen it through four seasons, until you’ve seen it on days gray and bright. ...more