I’ve listened to a lot of mashups in my day. Normally they are party tracks that take a popular club beat and superimpose the vocals of a top 40 track of the moment ala Girl Talk or sometimes they tend to dig a little bit deeper to give us something like last year’s Kids and Explosions or the noted Jay Z/Linkin Park collaboration, but every once and a while I’ll stumble upon a mashup that truly leaves me floored. Four Tet’s mash up of Nas’ “It Ain’t Hard to Tell” with Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Sleep” is simply mesmerizing. The ebb and flow of Nas’ rhymes and the gentle swell of strings that build and build come together so flawlessly that it was almost as if they were made for each other.
This has been everywhere on the Internet today, but for those who, for some reason, have missed out on what will almost certainly end up as a defining moment for hip-hop in 2011, then watch the video below. Unbelievably, OF manages to scare the fuck out of old white people in middle America, make Fallon watchable (and even sorta cool), and make Mos Def go totally insane, in less than four minutes. These guys are so totally gonna blow up like crazy. Swaaaaaaag
There’s a lot of great sites out there offering interesting, artistic and often unique videos of the artists you love talking, creating and playing music. Here are some you should definitely know about:
I’ll say this straight away: The Take Away Shows series produces some of the most consistently incredible videos of any of the sites I’ll post in this blog. Started in 2006 as an expansion of La Blogotheque, director Mathieu Saura (under the pseudonym Vincent Moon) began filming one-take videos of artists playing songs in completely regular settings (someone’s apartment, taking a walk down the road, on a park lawn) and often stripped down and/or acoustic. He has since gone on to film music documentaries for The National, R.E.M. and Beirut amongst others, but it’s his Take Away project that really shines, having now produced over 120 videos.
For No One is a relatively new site that I don’t know anything about but they’ve put out six sessions so far and they’ve all been brilliant.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you guys can rip on the Fork all you want but the .tv side of the site compiles some of the best music videos out there. From the Daytripping sessions with artists like Bon Iver and The Black Keys, to the Tunnelvision live series, and not least of all, the Special Presentation videos featuring…
Sometimes history is hard, you guys. I mean big history. Like, Hegelian sized history. History that spans across entire civilizations and generations. It’s hard for us because sometimes that historical meta-narrative is forever just out of each. There are moments, though, when we are thrown a little bone by the gods; we are given a fragment in time that simply defines a generation, nay, an entire civilization. Roman antiquity had Caligula naming his horse as his consul, Early Modern Europe had the Defenestration of Prague, The Victorian Period… was just depressing, and the 1990’s had Sockem Boppers with arguably the greatest commercial jingle of all time.
But what about our generation? Where’s our summarizing event? Sure, some might argue it’s Radiohead’s Kid A in long, pretentious, essayist reviews. Others might even claim this war, or that war, or the internet, or other such fads. I will not mince words: these are all horribly inaccurate. I know these suggestions are inaccurate because I myself have seen the very moment that defines our generation.
It has a little bit of everything: fat men breakdancing, rastlin’, grown men in silly costumes, historical inaccuracy, hypnosis, hillbillies, borderline mental deficiency, music that isn’t even from our generation, overzealous commentators. In so many words, this is our generation in a nutshell. A glorious, glorious nutshell.
Roland Barthes theorized that there are two types of text: the text of pleasure and the text of bliss. The text of pleasure is simply that which washes over you in an aesthetically pleasing manner; the text of bliss, however, forces you to question your very…
British film composer John Barry died of a heart attack on Sunday aged 77.
Barry was best known as the creator of the music for the James Bond film, including the famous Bond Theme, although he was the recipient of no fewer than five Academy Awards: two for Born Free (best original score and bestoriginal song) and best original score for Dancing with Wolves, Out of Africa and the Lion in Winter. Other notable scores and soundtracks included Midnight Cowboy, Goldfinger and From Russia with Love.
Barry is survived by four children and three ex-wives.
Brazil is a pretty lax place.You can get away with a lot of things most of the time: looting, mugging, rape, murder… even mullets are allowable. You can even form a four-piece rock band to play outdated mid-tempo rock at what appears to be some sort of outdoor festival for people who have no room for a proper stage.
But Lord help you if you screw up the guitar solo while the singer is backstage combing over his bald patch. You have been warned.
It is often said of Kurt Cobain, the late Nirvana singer, that he wasn’t half as good a musician in life as he became after he died. Much the same could now be said for Mark Knopfler who, while not dead, has suffered a fate far more damaging to a musician’s spirit: censorship.
Knopfler, whose popularity peaked at the dawn of MTV era as frontman of rock band Dire Straits, has seen his previously unheralded lyrical ability upgraded in some quarters to that of a master satirist in light of a Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) ruling on his band’s 1985 hit ‘Money for Nothing. The CBSC, the Canuck equivalent of the United States’ FCC, informed the nation’s radio stations that in future broadcasting the unedited recording of the track, which features repeated use of an offensive term aimed at homosexuals, would be considered a violation of the its Code of Ethics. In short: don’t play it.
The prohibition came about in response to a complaint from a member of the public – a 21-year-old gay woman from Newfoundland – who heard the full unedited version broadcast on regional classic rock station CHOZ-FM. The song contains the word “faggot” three times in quick succession, spoken from the perspective of a character voiced by Knopfler. The track was heavily criticised at the time of its release for vague implications of racism and sexism, though the CBSC’s edict relates only to the actual wording of the song.
The issue quickly gained…
How bad does a song have to be to get rejected from a free-to-download tribute album? Listen to Thursday’s cover of Bad Religion’s “Generator” and decide for yourself.
While Geoff Rickley & co. manage to redeem themselves ever so slightly in the song’s straightforward second half, it’s no small feat how the first half of the track turns a punk classic into a bunch of moaned gibberish. Listening to the first half of the song had me thinking that it might be the worst thing I’ve heard all year, and I just finished listening to a song by Clown from Slipknot’s side-project. How’s that for context?
If you think I’m being hyperbolic you obviously haven’t heard the cover, so click the play button and decide for yourself
Your ears not bleed out? Why not listen to the original in it’s un-neutered glory.
Oh, and if you want to download Germs of Perfection: A Tribute to Bad Religion, click here. Don’t worry, this song isn’t on it. Instead you’ll get covers by the Weakerthans, Frank Turner, Tegan and Sara and many more.
Here at Sputnikmusic we have an unwritten editorial rule not to get involved in politics (at least as much that’s enforceable on a site staffed mainly by college-age pinkos) so I’m going to more or less throw this out without making reference to left or right, conservative or liberal.
Hell, I’m not even American – I couldn’t really give a shit what Congress does so long as it doesn’t show up on my doorstep.
However, I find something profoundly odd in ‘The Sarah Palin Battle Hymn,’ and it’s more than what musicologists often refer to “just being self-evidently dreadful.” It’s the myopic adulation of a popular political figure – in this case the lovely Ms. Palin – and her elevation to almost prophet-like status in its lyrics. This is made implicit by the choice of music: it’s a countried-up variation on ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic‘ (often known as ‘Glory, Glory Hallelujah), a Messianic patriot song from the American Civil War, now popularly used in religious services as well as Presidential inaugurations.
It would be easy to view ‘The Sarah Palin Battle Hymn’ as the work of a couple of mad oldies in a church somewhere, but it raises the wider point of how music is often used to serve a particular party-political agenda, and whether this is really something that we want to see more of. Many were similarly uncomfortable when, prior to the 2008 Presidential election, will.i.am and a cast of left-leaning musicians put together ‘Yes We…
Watch Ezra Koenig, of Vampire Weekend, and both of The Black Keys slug it out for Stephen Colbert’s “Best Alternative Music Album” vote; the dubiously titled Grammy category introduced in 1991 to recognize the section of the music industry that existed “outside of the mainstream music consciousness”. Past winners include 7x platinum Parachutes and 8x platinum A Rush of Blood To The Head, both of Codplay’s wins to date, UK Albums Chart #1 Icky Thump, the third of three wins in five years for The White Stripes, and Radiohead’s 3x platinum OK Computer, platinum-within-a-week Kid A, and the self-released, 3,000,000+ units sold In Rainbows, amongst a host of other obscure, mega-selling worldwide phenomenons.
Do you want to know why I’m starting to believe that 2012 is the end of the world? Because it has to be. Hell, at this point I hope it’s sooner. Consider this a small sign of the apocalypse: a couple of weeks ago, Billboard announced Nickelback’s Dark Horse as the best selling hard rock album of 2010. Dark Horse is a terrible album by an awful band, an album so bad that it relies on idiomatic blanket statements to emphasize just how bland it is. It’s like listening to dry paint. Paint which is dry because Dark Horse came out in 2008 and yet here we are, with 2010 coming to a close and listeners still finding new ways to avoid the heap-shit that is Nickelback’s sixth album.
That’s where Fred Durst comes in. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll be the hump that breaks the [dark] horse’s back. Then maybe, just maybe, we can take Dark Horse behind the shed and shoot it one, two, three times in the fucking head. Limp Bizkit has the chance to save hard rock, but for that to happen, and for Durst & co. to make my weirdest dreams come true, they’ll actually have to release Gold Cobra, their first release in a decade with their original line up. The problem is, I’m starting to think it’ll never come out.
For a lot of early-to-mid 20-somethings,…
As much as year-end lists are basically a conglomeration of everything said about an album over a twelve-month period, it would be criminal not to repeat once more the artistic merits of Joanna Newsom. Newsom went from a quirky (bordering on annoying) harpist intent on increasing her listeners’ patience to a well-developed songwriter and accomplished vocalist who learned how to trim the fat from her songs to create a much better product, and from an elfish girl who posed in animal skins to a sexy woman in hot pants and high heels. She has always had ambition, but never has she been as focused as she is on Have One on Me, which overflows with realized potential and the kind of songs we always knew she could write. Perhaps what is most surprising about the album is the fact that, after her grating warble on Ys, the songs on this album go down easy. Yes, like falling asleep. – Channing F.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Halcyon Digest was just how warm everything sounds. Whereas Bradford Cox and company’s earlier work was an…
Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty died on Tuesday following a long illness. He was 63.
Rafferty enjoyed moderate success in the early ’70s with Stealers Wheel, landing a lone hit single with the Dylan parody ‘Stuck in the Middle’ before breaking up in 1975. ‘Stuck in the Middle’ was given the new lease of life in 1992 when director Quentin Tarentino chose it to score the iconic torture scene in Reservoir Dogs.
After Stealers Wheel broke up, Rafferty resumed his burgeoning solo career and, in 1978, released his best-known work, City to City. The album’s success was fueled by its lead single, ‘Baker Street,’ whose burning saxophone hook has been credited with the “Baker Street phenomenon,” an explicable ursurge in saxophone sales across the UK in the late ’70s.
Rafferty never recreated the success of ‘Baker Street,’ in part an effect of his shyness and unwillingness to perform live, but he periodically released albums right up until the turn of the millennium.
It’s hard not to have a grudging respect for Jimmy Kimmel.
Not really funny enough to draw in Conan’s fans and not polished enough to draw in Leno’s golden oldies crowd, he just sort of swims along in the half-life that is ABC’s night-time schedule. He has that sort of look about him, as if he grew upwith the dream of becoming a talk show host and stoically accepted the deserved beatings that came with that dream. But he also has the look of a grizzled former idealist, of a man who’d worshiped a certain Italian-American pocket-plunger before finding out he was a cunt.
Kimmel is good, not great, but occasionally he and his team come up with some genuine gold: think ‘I’m Fucking Matt Damon’ or the completely undisguised loathing he exhibited for Leno during the Conangate fiasco. This Josh Groban sketch falls into that category. The only really disappointing aspect is the fact that we won’t shortly be able to buy the advertised 752-song opus inspired by the great man’s tweets.
As 2010 grilled our patience for new Glassjaw material from crispy to charred, we got a record from California’s Letlive that was arguably just as good as anything the former ever released. Fake History might not have Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence’s cathartic, slightly uncomfortable angst or Worship and Tribute’s deranged perfection, but what Letlive ape from their most obvious influence they amplify, polish, and release with more honesty and heart than Daryl Palumbo’s cryptic lyrics and ironic vocal style could ever allow. Letlive don’t shy away from cheese – lead singer Jason Butler’s clean vocals have more than a hint of Claudio Sanchez – but they’re not winking as they indulge in it. Fake History oozes passion, Letlive selling rage as though they are under the impression that they’re the last angry band out there. And though there’s not much density to the album, there doesn’t need to be. Letlive remind us that sometimes you don’t have to give an album a great deal of thought for it to be all sorts of awesome. - Adam D.
Modern classical composers live in a strange