Loudwire lists 26 bands from the metal/rock realm that sound nothing like they did on their first albums. Incubus started as a funk/hip-hop rock band, and turned to alt-rock early in their career. Opeth were Iron Maiden lovers before turning to prog-metal. Ministry were a synth-pop band, a la Depeche Mode, before stepping to the side with industrial. In Flames started as a death-metal band before discovering melody...

Money is really funny in this case
September 18, 2020

A method to the madness - how ABBA got their costumes

An amusing article on the Messy Nessy blog about ABBA's outlandishly-designed stage-clothes. It's all about the money - according to the Swedish law regarding costumes, as long as the outfits were too impractical for everyday wear and couldn’t be worn outside a performance, they were tax-deductible. The legal loop hole thus encouraged ABBA's designer Owe Sandström to make ABBA’s costumes as colourful and unwearable as possible. And did he!

Also, the first slow core and drone
September 17, 2020

Enya - an unlikely influence on today's pop music

Pitchfork's writer had two surprises with Enya in the last year. The first: her music proved itself perfect in the time of isolation - "maybe it is because her atmospheric compositions are full of imagination, of openness, each note like a new horizon coming into focus. Maybe it is because her many-layered catalog is so sad and healing at once, or because it makes the complex work of being indefinitely alone sound easy". The second - list of musicians she has influenced: Weyes Blood, FKA twigs, Nicki Minaj, Grimes, Angel Olsen, Perfume Genius, Brandy, Blood Incantation...

In this week's edition of Tusk is Better Than Rumours, the avant-guard newsletter presents Zeena Parkins, a harpist who "did for the harp what John Cage did for the piano - expanded its possibilities by testing its limits". Parkins experiments with techniques, plays both acoustic and electric harp, makes a harp sound like an electric guitar. So, there's much more to the harp than we usually think...

Magic and lies
September 15, 2020

Strange history of songs

An interesting thread at Music REDEF about how some songs came to life: Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Free Bird' turned from a four-minute ballad into a nine-minute guitar epic because singer Ronnie van Zant needed time to rest his voice so the other guys needed to fill in the space. Jay-Z had to lie to get the rights to a sample from 'Annie' for 'Hard Knock Life'. Rick Astley made a tea, producer Mike Stock sang the melody into his ear, Astley went into the studio, next day 'Never Gonna Give You Up' was a hit...

Taking time
September 06, 2020

Art rap - vibrant and different scene

Armand Hammer

Complex presents (not so new) art rap scene, "a movement that has become one of the most vital things happening in hip-hop today". What these artists from the scene have "in common, more than a sound or a location, is a determination to be original and exist outside of the mainstream... and sound wildly different". The strongest names on the scene are R.A.P. Ferreira, billy woods, Elucid, Quelle Chris, and Armand Hammer (a duo consisting of woods and Elucid).

Two great things - at once
September 04, 2020

The best moments of music in movies

"There are fewer pleasures greater, at the movies, than the moment a perfect track starts at a perfect moment, and the marriage of music and film creates an entirely new beast, a work of art in that new connection alone" - the Quietus writes in the introduction to their great list of 50 best "needle-drop" moments in films (complete with all the videos).

Livestreaming platforms of the future need to offer these three features, Cherie Hu argues: high production qualityclose intimacy or proximity with artists and fans and/or frequent and consistent output. It's kinda obvious, but Hu emphasizes that in general the future of music livestreaming platforms must match the kind of livestreaming content musicians love to make, and that their fans love to watch and are willing to pay for.

Libraries and antiquities were always great
August 23, 2020

Now is a great time to get a digital player

"The first thing you have to know about listening to music on an iPod is that your primary action is always listening to music...  Unlike my phone, I didn’t feel the need to bounce from song to podcast to YouTube video to NBA highlights on Twitter" - GQ writer says in favor of buying a digital player, well, an iPod preferably. It's the attitude towards music that changes with owning a player, rather than streaming it from somewhere - "it feels good to purchase music... and it also makes you feel more connected to your purchase. I was far less likely to bounce off an album after buying it... I’d rather have a collection of music that I feel connected to than all the music in the world".


Okay Player wrote a short history of sex talk by black women in hip-hop, starting with Salt-N-Pepa, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Missy Elliott, and Trina, going to contemporaries like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. "Their ministry is for those who want to hear their words, which often incites a camaraderie between free-loving ride-or-dies shaking their asses on one another while rapping along in electrifying praise".

The Route explains some of the phrases frequently used in music industry:

Routing: The way multiple shows are looped together by an agent or promoter to make geographical sense

Versus Deal: An agent and a promoter make a deal where the band gets a basic fee (called a guarantee) and then gets a percentage (normally 80-85%) of the profit made from ticket sales

PDs: Amount of money an artist gets per day (usually 10 or 20 pounds) to cover daily expenses; food, drink, toothpaste, cigarettes

Rider: An assortment of snacks, water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages that are requested by a touring band at the venue

Thank you for the music
August 16, 2020

Best folk, jazz, and metal albums of 2020 so far

18 must-hear folk albums of 2020 so far, Brooklyn Vegan says, are the ones by Phoebe Bridgers, Jason Isbell, Bill Fay, Waxahatchee, Laura Marling, Microphones, The Innocence Mission, and others...

PopMatters chose "12 brilliant jazz albums", among them albums by Thana Alexa, Franco Ambrosetti, Kneebody, Todd Marcus...

Brooklyn Vegan also chose 15 "must hear" metal albums: Oranssi Pazuzu, Paysage d'Hiver, Umbra Vitae, Ulcerate...

"Perhaps dancing is the thing I miss most of all at the moment. I don’t go out clubbing that often but it is on the dance floor that I find that rush of euphoria, that glorious mix of privacy and connection that you get in a room full of strangers, all caught up in the thrill of the music, the buzz of the moment" - Tracey Thorn of the Everything but the Girl, wrote in New Statesman about being in lockdown. So she started working out at home through online classes - and so it happens that she ends up practicing to one of her own songs...

"Political correctness has grown to become the unhappiest religion in the world. Its once honourable attempt to reimagine our society in a more equitable way now embodies all the worst aspects that religion has to offer (and none of the beauty) — moral certainty and self-righteousness shorn even of the capacity for redemption. It has become quite literally, bad religion run amuck" - Nick Cave writes in the latest edition of his Red Hand Files blog, answering to what his idea of mercy is, and what he thinks of cancel culture. "Cancel culture’s refusal to engage with uncomfortable ideas has an asphyxiating effect on the creative soul of a society... We are a culture in transition, and it may be that we are heading toward a more equal society — I don’t know — but what essential values will we forfeit in the process?".

Johnny Alf had, in the mid-1950s, composed 'Rapaz de Bem' - a song with a linear melody, a gentle way of singing, a series of unconventional key changes, a rhythmic dissociation of drums and bass - or, to put it simply, he invented bossa-nova. He was also Black, poor and gay in an industry aiming to attract affluent white audiences to the genre, so his legacy remained obscure, even among Brazilians, although genre’s legends always saw him as a musical guru.

Snoop Dogg has shared the list of top 10 rappers of all time: Slick Rick, Ice Cube, LL Cool J, KRS-One, Rakim, Joseph "Run" Simmons and Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels from Run-DMC, Big Daddy Kane, Ice-T, and Too Short.

Daddy cool
August 03, 2020

20 best rap albums by artists over 40

Artists do not make their best albums by the age of 27, Medium proves with a list of 20 best rap albums by artists over 40. There's the concept album 'Undun' by The Roots, released the same yeat both Questlove and Black Thought turned 40. It took years for Jay Electronica to release 'A Written Testimony' this year (he's 43), but, as it turns out, it will end up being one the best mainstream hip-hop album of the year...

For a while, heavy metal and electronic remained sequestered to separate subcultures that rarely cross-pollinated creatively, but for a new generation of electronic artists for whom the internet has been a vital hub for exchange and hybridization, this separation has run its course - Electronic Beats wrote in a cool article about how former metal-heads incorporate metal music elements in their DJ sets. Since the beginning of 2010s - "it wasn’t uncommon to hear a club DJ slip the cheeky metal breakdown in mid-set... In the last year, this progression has come to a head, with a string of releases illuminating the strength of this intersection".

Song o' the times
July 24, 2020

What are the songs that define the 1990s?

A great article in The Pudding about the songs that define the 1990s, not necessarily the best music from the decade, rather the songs that the people recognize the most. Some of the most recognized songs are Britney Spears' '...Baby One More Time', Spice Girls' 'Wannabe', R.E.M.'s 'Losing my Religion', although they vary slightly depending of the year of the birth. Great graphs in the article as well.

I wish i did (not)
July 17, 2020

The 10 best music biographies

Viv Albertine

Guardian picked out 10 of the best music biographies that "reveal the inner lives of musicians". There's 'Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys' by Slits guitarist Viv Albertine, a "no-nonsense sojourn"; 'Life' by Keith Richards, "given the legendarily debauched life of the Rolling Stones guitarist, it’s a wonder that he can remember enough of it to fill a book"; 'Miles: The Autobiography' by Miles Davis, "by turns joyful, raw and plain disturbing"...

Nick Cave praised Nina Simone and her live recording of ‘My Sweet Lord’ in his latest Red Hand Files blog, calling her rendition of George Harrison song a "howl of spiritual abandonment and accusation". He explained: "In this extraordinarily bold statement, Nina Simone stands defiant in the face of spiritual oblivion, and a world (and God) that so readily allows war and senseless carnage to occur, he continued. “It is a protest song par excellence that serves as a form of transport, a vehicle that takes us on a complex and nuanced journey into transcendent rage".

Heavy gazel
July 08, 2020

28 essential heavy shoegaze songs


Brooklyn Vegan, inspired by the latest Hum album, has put together a list of 28 essential songs from the crossover between shoegaze and heavier genres of music like punk, metal, post-hardcore, and grunge. It goes from songs that helped sew the seeds of the genre like Failure and Shiner, to the more recent bands who took this sound and turned it into something more prominent than ever, like Alcest, Torche, and Holy Fawn.

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