In 2004, the indie group known as Beach House considered calling itself “Wisteria.” But once they “stopped trying,” according to guitarist Alex Scally, their ultimate name choice floated to the top, and “it was perfect.” Scally’s ability to let go and embrace the moment is a vital piece of the dreamy, atmospheric pop that he creates with vocalist and sole bandmate, Victoria LaGrand....more
The Russian trio’s self-proclaimed “disturbing and depressive” apocalyptic electronic music has hit an incredible, eerie place with PHOENIXXX, one of their seven (!) releases from 2016. Members Lit Daw, Lit Eyne, and Lit Internet met via the web, beginning their collaboration over an encrypted messaging service to evade the censorship of the post-Soviet russian landscape that their music explores so masterfully....more
We regularly turn to Aquarium Drunkard for its mixtapes, and this week the site has released another perfect moodscape for the season. The Palm Tree Falls into the Sea: An August Mixtape is the end-of-summer jammer you’re searching for, with songs from Alice Coltrane, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Chuck Berry, the Raincoats, Lucinda Williams, Arthur Russell, Brian Eno… just listen; it’s perfect....more
When thinking about the importance of house music, the dance that it created—and that inspired the genre’s evolution—is less often discussed. Chicago’s footwork crew The Era is doing what it can to call attention to the significance of its style as art form and as cultural celebration....more
It’s not hyperbole to say that everyone is losing their minds over Frank Ocean’s release of Endless, Blonde, and Boys Don’t Cry Magazine. After a four-year wait between albums, this outpouring offers a lot of incredible material to unpack....more
The Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist recently got together with Koko, the exceptional gorilla who famously learned sign language and proved the intelligence of our mammalian ancestors along with their depth of creativity. (She also loves cats.) Of course Koko, being the super curious and intelligent being that she is, took the opportunity to test out Flea’s bass....more
It’s been a major issue since American popular music first expanded its sonic territory from traditional country and folk songs: the cultural appropriation of sounds, and even entire pieces, that became more marketable (and thus lucrative) once they were performed by a “safer” white voice....more
Wilco’s long career, beginning all the way back in 1994, has taken a lot of twists and turns. The band’s identity has morphed at least a few times along the way, but the first single from their eponymous seventh studio album reached number one on the Billboard Triple A chart in 2009....more
Brooklyn’s Big Eyes have been putting out solid pop punk for some time now, and the upcoming Stake My Claim seems to be more of the same—which is to say it seems great. Kaitlyn Eldridge, the lead creative force behind Big Eyes, said of the album: “‘Stake My Claim,’ the song and the entire album, is about not letting anybody control you, and taking responsibility for yourself....more
Netflix’s The Get Down is receiving quite a bit of attention for being the unicorn of music drama: for once, a show about a moment in musical history is actually about the music! Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the show is receiving accolades for following hip-hop’s rise in the Bronx with respect and care:
A coming-of-age drama anchored in the late ’70s Bronx hip-hop and disco scenes, The Get Down has a deep respect for the innovations it’s portraying—and the pioneers responsible for those breakthroughs.
David Lynch is often cited for his influence on artists of all media—a fact which may come down to the director’s incredible ability to generate an atmosphere, a full immersive sense of being in a place or mindset.
Beyond the Beyond: Music from the Films of David Lynch attempts to articulate what makes Lynch’s work particularly attractive to musicians, and Dazed Digital interviewed the editors, JC Gabel and Jessica Hundley, about their understanding of his sonic draw....more
Marvin Gaye’s influence on music is undeniably significant and pervasive. Given that, how does one measure the difference between emulation and rip-off? In the case of Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s “Blurred Lines,” the use of Gaye’s music was so undeniable and complete that even a casual listener could identify the misuse....more
The Smiths and PETA have released a video game in a collaborative effort to fight the violence of industrial agriculture’s treatment of livestock. Taking its inspiration the song “Meat Is Murder,” This Beautiful Creature Must Die asks players to fight to save chickens, pigs, cows, and turkeys from slaughterhouse doom....more
The original Buena Vista Social Club was a members-only group that formed in Havana, Cuba, during the first half of the 20th century. The club became a cultural nexus for the city, drawing in musicians and artists who would perform at its events....more
The 1991 cult film New Jack City is once again examined and celebrated this week, with okayplayer. publishing one piece celebrating its soundtrack, and another with a behind-the-scenes reflection from the film’s star Ice T. The artist talks about playing a cop for his first role in the days when he was best known for rapping “Cop Killer.”
New Jack City also starred Wesley Snipes, Allen Payne, Judd Nelson, and Chris Rock, featuring music from Ice T, Keith Sweat, 2 Live Crew, Queen Latifah, and more....more
A singer-songwriter out of New York in the 1950s, Connie Converse is one of those musical singularities that are periodically unearthed to our great benefit. An ode to her melancholy, intelligently trapped songs sums up the beauty of her music:
Converse’s music is simple, honest, and utterly devastating.
Mournful is the best way to describe Leadbelly’s voice in the song popularized by Nirvana on their live album, MTV Unplugged in New York. While Nirvana’s version captured the attention of audiences, the original lament was recorded by a canonized blues artist whose given name was Huddie William Ledbetter....more