Defcee

Defcee & Messiah Musik share ‘Shortcuts’, a bit of left-of-the-field smooth and saucy rap; Ghostface Killah and Raekwon drop a minimalist and psychedelic collaboration ‘Bob James Freestyle’; interesting song by producer Daedelus and poet Joshua Idehen, an ephemeral and haunting electronic spoken-word ‘Standing in My Own Way’; Sevdaliza shares a cold and rhythmical, industrial even ‘The Great Hope Design’.

“I just want to represent my sisters because we’ve been so underrepresented, especially in hip-hop ... If somebody who can come from ice addiction, jail, motherhood and poverty [can do it, then they] can do it too” - Australian rapper Barkaa says in a Guardian interview. She has dedicated her forthcoming EP 'Blak Matriarchy' - “to the powerful Blak women I am blessed to witness and know in my life”, adding “women are the backbone of this country. It’s where I draw my strength – from my mother and my aunties and my daughter and my sisters – and [my music] is just paying homage to them".

Adele's new album '30' has shot to number one at the UK Official Charts, overtaking Abba to become the fastest-selling album of the year so far. '30' has 261,000 sales, compared to the Swedish pop group's comeback album 'Voyage', which opened with 204,000 sales. However, Adele's previous album '25', released in 2015, opened with 800,000 first-week sales.

"I’ve seen women headlining heavy music festivals. Media coverage is better. There’s more visibility and influence." - Emma Ruth Rundle says in a Consequence interview about women in heavy music. "You have really incredible artists who have crashed down these walls. I was just featured in a guitar magazine, and Ani DiFranco was on the cover, and that magazine when I was a kid would have been full of half-dressed women. There was a huge shift in the past few years. Watching artists like Chelsea Wolfe pushing the boundaries of what heavy music is and owning it, I feel a respect and sense of place that I didn’t feel when I was in my 20s".

"The insurmountable rise of Lil Nas X, Billy Porter, and other artists represents a paradigm shift in the culture" - Rolling Stone writes in the introduction of its piece about the year of the Black queers. "Who could have fathomed that Black queer men would be at the top of the charts, in Congress, and on TV and movie screens? We’re living in a world where not only is the Black queer community being embraced, but those who show us hate are being disgraced".

One of Broadway’s most renowned and prolific songwriters, Stephen Sondheim has died aged 91, CNN reports. Sondheim is perhaps best known for writing the lyrics to legendary Broadway musicals 'West Side Story' and 'Gypsy'. Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics to a slew of musicals, and has over the course of his long career, won eight Tony awards, eight Grammys, and an Oscar.

Nell Smith, a 14-year-old girl from Leeds, and psychedelic heroes The Flaming Lips have unveiled their new album 'Where the Viaduct Looms', with nine Nick Cave covers. It all started three years ago when Smith became an instantly-recognizable regular at Flaming Lips shows thanks to her penchant for wearing a parrot costume, Consequence reports.

Nine in 10 UK musicians were earning less than £1,000 per month, and 22% were considering giving up music altogether, according to UK charity Help Musicians which made a survey among 929 musicians in August. One-third of musicians were still earning nothing after restrictions on live events were lifted this summer, according to Help Musicians, BBC reports.

The Weeknd's 'Blinding Lights' is the new No. 1 song on Billboard's Greatest Songs of all Time Hot 100 Chart. Billboard talked to The Weeknd and his collaborators to see how they made history. "There was nothing we had heard like that before from Abel" - Monte Lipman of Republic Records says. Yep, it was something different.

"Songs created Silicon Valley. Without music, it wouldn’t exist. In each key area of technology—semiconductors, storage, handheld devices, video displays, test equipment, etc.—funds to launch and grow the tech titans came from the entertainment industry, and especially the music business... No, you won’t hear that story told inside the fortresses of Google or Facebook or Apple. They battle with Hollywood studios and major labels nowadays, fighting over customers, copyrights, legislation, royalty payments, and many other matters" - music writer Ted Gioia points out in his great post.

The fellowship of the Quarrymen

New Beatles documentary: A feast for fans

Arguably the most intimate look at the inner workings of the Beatles you’re ever likely to get" - Stereogum reviews the new 3-part Beatles documentary. SG adds: "Although the setting is not all that visually striking, the cinematography is gorgeous — and thanks to Jackson’s CGI restoration of the 16mm footage, the reality of it all almost feels heightened at times, like you’re watching actors playing these characters in a hyper-detailed period piece".

Some Grammy firsts and records this year. Mickey Guyton is now the first Black artist ever nominated for Best Country Album, for her record 'Remember Her Name', Tennessean reports. Jay-Z has become the most nominated artist in Grammy history, after getting three 2022 nods, which brought him up to 83 total, The Variety reports. Paul McCartney is second with 81, and Quincy Jones drops to #3 with his 80 nominations. See all the Grammy nominees.

"On Royal, the new NFT marketplace, artists can share ownership of their music with fans by issuing NFTs as a limited digital asset. Those NFTs may eventually include invites to events, community access, VIP experiences, merch, and more" - Trapital's Dan Runcie looks into the new platform, and adds - "Royal’s best value-prop is the opportunity for artists to identify and serve their earliest fans".

Inspired by Peter Jackson's Beatles documentary 'Get Back', Rolling Stone has compiled a list of the 70 greatest music documentaries of all time: "the concert films, fly-on-the-wall tour chronicles, punk and hip-hop and jazz time capsules, and career assessments of everyone from Amy Winehouse to the Who that have set the standard and stood the test of time". The list finishes with 'U2: Rattle and Hum' and starts with Bob Dylan 1967 docu 'Don't Look Back', with plenty of good stuff in between.

What is the proper scansion for James Brown's 'I Feel Good'? - it is the question that nobody asked and the one Adam Neely in answering in his latest video 'Solving James Brown's rhythmic puzzle'. Neely points out that the meaning changes depending on where in the sentence we put the emphasis on.

Earl Sweatshirt

Earl Sweatshirt shares ephemeral and groovy ‘2010’; a lovely folk rock song ‘How Could I Have Known’ by Companion; Ibeyi brings R&B, neo-soul, jazz, and Cuban folk music into 'Made of Gold' featuring Pa Salieu; Tokyo screamo band Lang shares a ripper ‘Forget me Not’; Eddie Vedder’s new song ‘The Haves’ is just - Pearl Jam singer singing those lovely songs of his!; Singapore's Naedr share an extended version of ‘Asunder’ with added strings; Nick Cave & Warren Ellis share ‘We Are Not Alone’ from documentary ‘La Panthére des Neiges’ which follows wildlife photographer Vincent Munier and novelist Sylvain Tesson as they explore the valleys of the Tibetan plateau for unique animals.

Multi-genre performer and Oscar winner Jon Batiste scored the most Grammy nominations with 11 nods, including album of the year nod for 'We Are' along with record of the year with 'Freedom'. His nominations span several genres including R&B, jazz, American roots music, classical and music video. Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R. each came away with eight nominations, whereas Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo both had seven nods. The Weeknd nabbed three nominations although the pop star claimed he would not allow his label to submit his music. Check out the nominees in all the categories here.

Check out the nominees in the top four categories:

Record of the Year

ABBA - 'I Still Have Faith in You'
Jon Batiste - 'Freedom'
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga - 'I Get a Kick Out of You
Justin Bieber Featuring Daniel Cesar & Giveon - 'Peaches'
Brandi Carlile - 'Right on Time'
Doja Cat Featuring SZA - 'Kiss Me More'
Billie Eilish - 'Happier Than Ever'
Lil Nas X - 'Montero (Call Me by Your Name)'
Olivia Rodrigo - 'Drivers License'
Silk Sonic - 'Leave the Door Open'

Album of the Year

Jon Batiste - 'We Are'
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga - 'Love for Sale'
Justin Bieber - 'Justice' (Triple Chucks Deluxe)
Doja Cat - 'Planet Her' (Deluxe)
Billie Eilish - 'Happier Than Ever'
H.E.R. - 'Back of My Mind'
Lil Nas X - 'Montero'
Olivia Rodrigo - 'Sour'
Taylor Swift - 'Evermore'
Kanye West - 'Donda'

Song of the Year

Ed Sheeran - 'Bad Habits'
Alicia Keys & Brandi Carlile - 'A Beautiful Noise'
Olivia Rodrigo - 'Drivers License'
H.E.R. - 'Fight for You'
Billie Eilish - 'Happier Than Ever'
Doja Cat Featuring SZA - 'Kiss Me More'
Silk Sonic - 'Leave the Door Open'
Lil Nas X - 'Montero (Call Me by Your Name)'
Justin Bieber Featuring Daniel Cesar & Giveon - 'Peaches'
Brandi Carlile - 'Right on Time'

Best New Artist

Arooj Aftab
Jimmie Allen
Baby Keem
Finneas
Glass Animals
Japanese Breakfast
The Kid Laroi
Arlo Parks
Olivia Rodrigo
Saweetie

Pitchfork made a selection of 11 best new music books. Among them: 'A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance' by Hanif Abdurraqib because of "language that evokes possibility; memoir that is both vulnerable and instructive; cultural analysis that deftly rejects linear historicizing; unlikely connections that tilt a reader’s understanding of the world"; 'Crying in H Mart', the debut book from Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner - "a gutting music memoir disguised as literary mukbang"; 'In Defense of Ska' by Aaron Carner "is a lovingly written defense of a vibrant, diverse musical underground that stayed afloat against all odds".

Muna

NPR delves into "sapphic" or "wlw" (woman-loving woman) music genre, which encompasses lesbians, bisexual women, and other women and femme people who experience attraction to other women. Among lesbian and bisexual musicians, the descriptors of "sapphic" and "wlw" are most commonly associated with the music of rising Gen Z stars like Clairo, girl in red, and King Princess. In September the pop group MUNA, in collaboration with so-called sapphic icon Phoebe Bridgers, released what was arguably the first song specifically engineered to be received as a sapphic anthem: 'Silk Chiffon'.

Sounding History is a podcast about the global history of music with a twist. Hosts, music historians Tom Irvine and Chris Smith explore sonic impacts of the extraction of resources from the Earth’s environment. Instead of narrating music history as a story about performers, composers, and works, they explore how extraction economy, and the historical processes that came with it, such as settler colonialism, enslavement, and environmental destruction made the world of sound we live in today. In the latest episode they discuss water canals and energy cables and the connection between the two. Their goal is a music history for a new era: the Anthropocene, the age of human-generated climate change.

"Cancel your Dec. 5 performance in Saudi Arabia. This is a unique opportunity to send a powerful message to the world that your name and talent will not be used to restore the reputation of a regime that kills its critics" - Hatize Cengiz, fiance of the late journalist and Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, wrote in an open letter to Justin Bieber. "Do not sing for the murderers of my beloved Jamal. Please speak out and condemn his killer, Mohammed bin Salman. Your voice will be heard by millions. If you refuse to be a pawn of MBS, your message will be loud and clear: I do not perform for dictators. I choose justice and freedom over money".

Adele had a simple request when it came to her new album, ’30’: listen to the songs in the order she presented them. The British superstar’s wish was heard by Spotify when the music streaming giant agreed to remove its default shuffle feature which plays songs in random order, NPR reports. It expanded beyond Adele - a quick review by Gizmodo of other artists’ albums (Ed Sheeran, BTS, Blackpink, Taylor Swift) on the platform also found that the shuffle option was gone and that albums were played in order by default. The shuffle option could however be activated in the platform player.

Inspired by the tragedy at the Astroworld, where nine fans died, Slate remembers huge 1960s festivals Woodstock and Altamont where fans also died due to poor organizing and places being overcrowded. The black highpoint of the 1970s arena rock came in 1969 at the The Who concert at Riverfront Coliseum where 11 fans died. When punk came, it brought its own DIY-ethos, much smaller venues, and the podium where "orchestrated chaos" of pogo-dancing seemed dangerous, whereas actually "watch-your-peers" rule made everyone much safer. A great point, Slate!

Party and drugs connoisseur Michelle Lhooq talked to Jon Hopkins - who produced his last album 'Music For Psychedelic Therapy' while on drugs in a cave in Ecuador - about how do you make music on ketamine, how do you translate music from plants, why DMT elves love synths, why we might be on the precipice of a new genre of music. He talks to Lhooq about his creative process - "In order to write this record, I would go into the psychedelic space every few weeks to experience it, usually through ketamine... There's a lot of weird stuff that happens when you enter into the zone—you switch from thinking you're the creator to realizing you’re a channel".

The 70-minute documentary 'Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson', directed by Jodi Gomes, paints a portrait both of Jackson’s remarkable career prior to that moment, as well as the cultural forces which made one “wardrobe malfunction” into a lighting bolt of controversy. "I think one of the running themes of the whole entire film is body image and the use of body image and the actual control of one’s agency and control of one’s image" - director Jodi Gomes says to Consequence. She sees a big irony in it too: "Showing how she’s been subjected to body imaging from a very young age, and then all of a sudden, flash forward 34 years later to when she’s on the Super Bowl stage, and that very thing is used against her".

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Defcee

Defcee & Messiah Musik share ‘Shortcuts’, a bit of left-of-the-field smooth and saucy rap; Ghostface Killah and Raekwon drop a minimalist and psychedelic collaboration ‘Bob James Freestyle’; interesting song by producer Daedelus and poet Joshua Idehen, an ephemeral and haunting electronic spoken-word ‘Standing in My Own Way’; Sevdaliza shares a cold and rhythmical, industrial even ‘The Great Hope Design’.

“I just want to represent my sisters because we’ve been so underrepresented, especially in hip-hop ... If somebody who can come from ice addiction, jail, motherhood and poverty [can do it, then they] can do it too” - Australian rapper Barkaa says in a Guardian interview. She has dedicated her forthcoming EP 'Blak Matriarchy' - “to the powerful Blak women I am blessed to witness and know in my life”, adding “women are the backbone of this country. It’s where I draw my strength – from my mother and my aunties and my daughter and my sisters – and [my music] is just paying homage to them".

Adele's new album '30' has shot to number one at the UK Official Charts, overtaking Abba to become the fastest-selling album of the year so far. '30' has 261,000 sales, compared to the Swedish pop group's comeback album 'Voyage', which opened with 204,000 sales. However, Adele's previous album '25', released in 2015, opened with 800,000 first-week sales.

"I’ve seen women headlining heavy music festivals. Media coverage is better. There’s more visibility and influence." - Emma Ruth Rundle says in a Consequence interview about women in heavy music. "You have really incredible artists who have crashed down these walls. I was just featured in a guitar magazine, and Ani DiFranco was on the cover, and that magazine when I was a kid would have been full of half-dressed women. There was a huge shift in the past few years. Watching artists like Chelsea Wolfe pushing the boundaries of what heavy music is and owning it, I feel a respect and sense of place that I didn’t feel when I was in my 20s".

"The insurmountable rise of Lil Nas X, Billy Porter, and other artists represents a paradigm shift in the culture" - Rolling Stone writes in the introduction of its piece about the year of the Black queers. "Who could have fathomed that Black queer men would be at the top of the charts, in Congress, and on TV and movie screens? We’re living in a world where not only is the Black queer community being embraced, but those who show us hate are being disgraced".

One of Broadway’s most renowned and prolific songwriters, Stephen Sondheim has died aged 91, CNN reports. Sondheim is perhaps best known for writing the lyrics to legendary Broadway musicals 'West Side Story' and 'Gypsy'. Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics to a slew of musicals, and has over the course of his long career, won eight Tony awards, eight Grammys, and an Oscar.

Nell Smith, a 14-year-old girl from Leeds, and psychedelic heroes The Flaming Lips have unveiled their new album 'Where the Viaduct Looms', with nine Nick Cave covers. It all started three years ago when Smith became an instantly-recognizable regular at Flaming Lips shows thanks to her penchant for wearing a parrot costume, Consequence reports.

Nine in 10 UK musicians were earning less than £1,000 per month, and 22% were considering giving up music altogether, according to UK charity Help Musicians which made a survey among 929 musicians in August. One-third of musicians were still earning nothing after restrictions on live events were lifted this summer, according to Help Musicians, BBC reports.

The Weeknd's 'Blinding Lights' is the new No. 1 song on Billboard's Greatest Songs of all Time Hot 100 Chart. Billboard talked to The Weeknd and his collaborators to see how they made history. "There was nothing we had heard like that before from Abel" - Monte Lipman of Republic Records says. Yep, it was something different.

"Songs created Silicon Valley. Without music, it wouldn’t exist. In each key area of technology—semiconductors, storage, handheld devices, video displays, test equipment, etc.—funds to launch and grow the tech titans came from the entertainment industry, and especially the music business... No, you won’t hear that story told inside the fortresses of Google or Facebook or Apple. They battle with Hollywood studios and major labels nowadays, fighting over customers, copyrights, legislation, royalty payments, and many other matters" - music writer Ted Gioia points out in his great post.

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