Oh man, it’s almost Labor Day weekend! Which means barbecues, earlier sunsets, and the close of summer in the American mind-set. (Not to mention the ever-closer encroachment of the Video Music Awards! Ack!) So what better time to look back? Feel free to share your favorite musical experiences of the Memorial-To-Labor-Day period in this space, while you are (I hope!) waiting to go outside and enjoy the last crackles of summer. My list—which ranges from shows to finding out bits of news—after the jump. More »
The memory of deceased Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain has seen quite a few licensing-related blows over the past couple of years. There were the shoes. And the ash-smoking. And the Cold Case episode. But can any of those things compare to the spectre of America’s No. 1 Raincoats Fan miming Bon Jovi’s monster hit “You Give Love A Bad Name”? The makers of Guitar Hero 5 are apparently hoping that they don’t, and that you’ll channel your outrage over Kurt playing frontman for New Jersey’s favorite hair-shakers, neo-grunge pretenders Bush, and other bands that would never talk shit about corporate magazines into a “curiosity purchase” of their game. A clip of some of his finer moments, after the jump. More »
The late Michael Jackson’s landmark 1982 album Thriller wasn’t a collection of songs as much as it was an event that upended the pop landscape, and birthed much of what would come in its wake. But in addition to thinking about it as a direct influence on today’s pop stars (i.e. the “I heard ‘Billie Jean’ and knew that I wanted to make music my life” narrative proffered by so many artists in the wake of his passing), one can also think about how the songs themselves were sampled by musicians who came in Jackson’s wake, deconstructed so that they became still-recognizable parts of a greater, slightly updated whole. Six of Thriller‘s musical descendants after the jump. (Thanks to Idolator emeritus Jess Harvell for helping me with some of the brainstorming here.) More »
At Saturday’s Roots Picnic in Philadelphia, Flavor Flav took a moment at the end of Public Enemy’s Roots-and-Antibalas-aided performance of It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back to ask the crowd, quite seriously, if we would vote for him for President someday. The “YEAHhhheehhhhhh…” in response sounded like a balloon being slowly de-heliumed, and he quickly abandoned that line of questioning. And yet, I have to wonder: Who would I rather have in a position of authority–the man responsible for unleashing Tiffany Pollard on the world, or a member of the copyfighting, Pirate Bay-sympathetic Pirate Party, which won a European parliamentary seat in elections Sunday after garnering seven percent of the vote from Swedes who went to the polls? More »
Tomorrow I’ll be tripping down to Philadelphia to attend The Roots Picnic, an all-day affair masterminded by Jimmy Fallon’s sidemen (haha, jk guys) and featuring two sets by the band; TV On The Radio, Santigold, and Antibalas are also on the bill. But perhaps the most intriguing part of the day’s festivities will be the start-to-finish performance of Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back–yes, they’ve done it before, but this time, the musical duties will be handled by the Roots and Antibalas. This and the impending relaunch of Unplugged have made me wonder: What albums most deserve a live re-imagining, whether it’s the transformation of samples into band arrangements or the classic Unplugged treatment? I’ve actually been mulling over this question all day, and can’t think of anything off the top of my head–unless Freestyle’s Greatest Beats, Volume One counts. (It should!) After the jump, a few musical experts offer their suggestions. Please feel free to expand further, and if you’re going to the picnic, come say hello! More »
Now that the Carolina Hurricanes have been eliminated from the NHL playoffs, Merge Records impresario Mac McCaughan has moved on from chronicling the ‘Canes’ efforts to talking about the music that arenas employ to get fans in prime freak-out mode. In 2006, he brought some albums put out by his label down to the Hurricane home base, RBC Center, in hopes of breaking through what he called its “particularly stultifying mix of Top 40 / Classic rock / Emo (? i don’t know what to call some of the songs on there) / Sports Disco,” and it worked, at least a bit; “Punch Me Harder” got played during the 2006 NHL Finals, which–coincidence?–the Hurricanes won. Anyway, McCaughan has provided his own suggested playlist for hockey arenas to the local paper, and man, is it so much better than the nu-metal and snipped bits of Eurodance that I’m used to at my sporting events. A few selections: More »
It seems like during this springtime run-up to the summer festival season, there have been fewer lineup withdrawals from the big outdoor-music extravaganzas (with the exception of Winehouse) and more somewhat to very welcome additions. In that sunburned spirit, we present a wrapup of this week’s additions to Bonnaroo, the Pitchfork Music Festival, and the Calgary Stampede.
Good morning! Maura is… More »
From the “get the morgue and embalm the goner” department: World’s greatest hypeman and reality TV superstar Flavor Flav has just signed on to host a scary half-hour of TV called Nite Tales, which creator Deon Taylor describes as: “Tales From the Crypt meets The Twilight Zone, with Flav playing a role similar to Crypt’s Cryptkeeper.” Wait, can I start that post over again as if I was the Cryptkeeper? Ahem… World’s gravest hypeman and reality TV superscare Flavor Flav has just signed on to ghost a scary half-hour of TV… that was harder than it looks.
Forget all that talk about whether Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion is the best album of 2009. The real competition—the Worst Music-Related Article Of 2009 That Somehow Still Managed To Earn A Paycheck In This Completely Devastated Writing Economy—has already been sewn up, thanks to the new “conservatives can be cool and comment on pop culture too, man” blog Big Hollywood. Congratulations, Fox News pundit Greg Gutfeld: Your recently horked-up “Conservatives Rock” is not only headlined by perhaps the worst verb ever to use atop a music-related story, the underlying conceit is about as dumb as, well, a story entitled “Conservatives Rock” might ever hope to be.