Words of hope from Dayna Frank, the president-CEO of the famed First Avenue club in Minneapolis, in Variety: “After the Spanish flu of 1918-20, we had the roaring ‘20s, and that’s really what I foresee when we come out of this and it’s safe to do so. It’s just gonna be a celebration — hopefully a decade long, maybe just a few years. We just want to make sure the right people are still in business and able to make that celebration happen”.

Everyone from Massive Attack and Hot Chip to Animal Collective and Caribou has sung their praises, and now This Heat’s remastered catalogue is available to download and stream on various platforms. The band themselves described their music saying the people willing to listen to them were fuelled by “a desire to commit violence to accepted notions of music”. Guardian brings the story of the band, and talks to the surviving members.

“I am that person. The one that wasn’t supposed to make it out of Hell’s Kitchen, who was supposed to end up being a prostitute, a young mother at 16 years old, or addicted to drugs" - Alicia Keys says in a Guardian interview about her new album. "And what the fuck is a dream? A dream is a luxury, if you have to pay all these bills and put food on the table for your kids... All the songs I’ve ever written that have been considered empowering or uplifting, I’ve written them at my lowest point. Because I needed to remind myself: don’t forget that”.

Ms/Mr try-it-all
September 16, 2020

Alfred Soto's advice to music journalists

"Reading history, literature, poetry, and economics is a pleasure and a necessity; learning how the world works and our relation to it, as banal as it sounds, is an essential component of the writing life" - music writer Alfred Soto shares a bit of advice to music journalists in MJI interview. He also believes blogging still helps, he keeps one - Humanizing the Vacuum.

Climbing the wall
September 11, 2020

What do artists need to succeed in China?

MusicAlly invited several experts to discuss the business and cultural differences between China and the rest of the world, in order to give insight to foreign artists trying to make it China, or to prepare artists for changes that come afterward in the rest of the world. Plenty of advice: artist branding must hit different touch-points; building a long-term, diversified approach across multiple businesses is essential; music fans quickly – and in the tens of millions – adopt new technologies, new methods of supporting artists or ways of consuming music; the audience seeks a different experience from artists.

Level talked to four women from different parts of American culture to discuss how hip-hop should change its attitude and behaviour toward women. "A lot of these C-suites and the music industry needs to be torn down and rebuilt with the younger people and people who are not complicit in decades of rape culture and abuse" - music producer Drew Dixon said. Journalist Clarissa Brooks is hopeful"I do feel like things are getting better, though, because people are making art for themselves and their communities. People aren’t interested in celebrity in the same way". Author Danyel Smith put it simply: "Good people have to do good things and good work".

“I got a whole bunch of varieties on my playlist now. I used to listen to all rap, now I’ve got rock, old music, 80s. I’d hear songs but I had no idea who made it” - Fred Williams, of the reaction-video twins TwinsthenewTrend told Guardian about how his listening habits changed since he started posting videos with his brother reacting to songs after hearing them for the first time. Williams brothers were raised on Twista and Lil Wayne, so different genres were a surprise - “I guess I’ve been most surprised by rock, which I never listened to growing up. It’s good, and I thought rock was bad”. Fred appreciates it because “There’s no computer or autotune. They just focus on voices, beats and instruments. It’s just interesting how they can make a song like that”. But life hasn't changed a lot since the boys became popular (over 570,000 subscribers) - Fred is still working at his day job as a barber...

I'm still listening... to some other guys
August 31, 2020

Elton John: I don’t listen to any of my records

"I don’t listen to any of my records any more. I just don’t do it. I’m not one of these artists that sits there compiling stuff from all the vaults and stuff like that - and live recordings... I’m more interested in what’s coming next than what went by" Elton John said in an interview, Music News reports. So, what is it he's listening to right now? - "the new record by the Lemon Twigs, which is called 'Songs for the General Public'. There’s two guys and I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time".

A funny little interview with Toni Braxton in the Guardian, about her religious upbringing, her being discovered at a gas station, and her regrets: "I regret not having more sex when I was younger. I should have drank more. I should have partied more. Smoked more, even. I think my religious upbringing stopped me doing a lot of things that I should have done. It’s not a good look at the age I am now. The way it works is you do that stuff in your 20s and 30s and then in your 40s you’ve earned enough to pay for the therapy".

Journalist Ken McNab goes into the nitty-gritty details of the last year of the Beatles in his book 'And in the End: The Last Days of the Beatles'. As it turns out it was - money, and the fifth Beatle. "The idea that they'd set up their own company called Apple and run it themselves, smacks of incredible naivete... They were not equipped and didn't have the skills to be business managers" - McNab tells in an All Music interview about the beginning of the end The other reason was manager Allen Klein, "the demon king... who created this terrible schism between Lennon and McCartney". The other Beatles didn't really like Yoko Ono - "McCartney had to deal with tiptoeing around this relationship with John and Yoko... Harrison walked out on the band (...) Much of the reason for that was because he couldn't stand Yoko being in the studio, and her presence stymied John's creativity and made him very passive when it came to group decisions". Finally, Lennon got into a row with McCartney when he found out the bassist has been buying Beatles' shares, ignoring the gentlemen's agreement that all the four members will keep equal parts. But, there's a lot of light in the book - "When you get to 'Abbey Road', it's amazing how they were able to put down the boxing gloves and reunite for one last album, their last letter to the world".

A hilarious interview with AC/DC's Angus Young in the Guitar World:

About the bars in Sydney where they played in the beginning: "Some of the places we played were worse than toilets, let me tell you"

How he got into rock'n'roll thanks to Chuck Berry: "It’s everything rolled into one: it’s blues, it’s rock and roll, and it’s got that hard edge to it. To me, that’s pure rock ’n’ roll. It’s not clean - it’s nasty"

The first time he wore school uniform on stage, in 1974: "That was the most frightened I’ve ever been on stage, but thank God, I had no time to think. I just went straight out there. The crowd’s first reaction to the shorts and stuff was like a bunch of fish at feeding time - all mouths open"

Groupies: "There’s nothing sexy about a schoolboy, is there?"

Australia: "Christianity was never a popular movement. It’s that convict background!"

Lyrics: "Most of our stuff is just about sex, as is most rock music. It’s pretty hard to write a song about your dog"

His onstage character: "Once you go into being The Schoolboy it’s pretty hard to come off it. I’m like two different people"

“We are the first country in Asia to legalise same sex marriage. We’ve been supporting the Hong Kong democracy movement and the cause of Tibet" - Freddy Lim of Taiwanese metal band Chthonic says in Guardian interview. He is also a member of the Taiwan parliament, where he pushes for young people and progressive ideas: "That younger generation have been born into independence, into a democratic country that they don’t want to sacrifice. With this generation making political decisions, it can make Taiwan more progressive, to care more about oppressed people and those who suffer with tough lives”. Recently, he started a new podcast with Emily Y Wu, Metalhead Politics where he mixes the two worlds.

“Lana is simply one of the best songwriters in the country, as we speak. She just creates a world of her own and invites you in. So a big favorite of mine, the lovely Lana Del Rey” - Bruce Springsteen said in a recent broadcast on SiriusXM, Stereogum reports. Springsteen also played Del Rey’s own 2012 song 'American' during the radio show, which notably name-drops him: “Springsteen is the king, don’t you think/ I was like, hell yeah that guy can sing”.

The River Lie
August 17, 2020

Burna Boy: I want to inspire a revolution

“There are so many situations where a fight needs to be had. A revolution is needed, and I want to inspire it" - Burna Boy said in an NME interview about his new album 'Twice As Tall'. It's the lies in school he heard that sparked his anger: “The schools in Nigeria would rather teach you another man’s history than your own", for example the 18th-century Scottish explorer Mungo Park, who Burna was told in school “discovered the river Niger”. “That’s one of the fucking scams we’re taught!” he splutters. “This is a river that has been drank from and bathed in, and children have been given birth to in, for thousands and thousands of years. Now suddenly a man called Mungo Park comes from fucking England or some shit and ‘discovers’ the Niger? How do you discover something that people have their history in? Then you go and teach these people’s children that in schools! That’s something to fight against".

"Sometimes I think people are too problematic to be cancelled, or not relevant enough to be cancelled. I mean, it wouldn't even make news if he said something racist today, because he went on a racist rant in the 60s or 70s that was very famous" - Phoebe Bridgers told about Eric Clapton in a Double J interview. She added - "I have such an Eric Clapton rant, because I think it's just extremely mediocre music, but also he's a famous racist". Previously, she spoke how "John Lennon beat the [expletive] out of his first wife, and nobody really talks about it. And he was the most fake activism guy ever". But "it’s not true that only people who make [expletive] music like Eric Clapton are problematic. Daniel Johnston wouldn’t have made the music that he did if it weren’t for John Lennon, and he’s definitely the best Beatle. But you can’t deny someone is a bad person because you love their art".

“When you make a woman feel like she’s the baddest bitch in the room, to me, that’s female empowerment” - Cardi B says in Elle interview about the backlash she got after her latest video 'WAP'. One of the colleagues who didn't appreciate her song was CeeLo Green who first accused her of "salacious gesturing", but afterward apologized saying - "I'm an advocate of artistic freedom and expression as well as a fan of Nicki, Cardi and Megan... I would never disrespect them by any means. I acknowledge them all as powerful, beautiful and influential women… and professionals".

"The fan believes the artist and their work helped them come into their own. The artist’s work becomes a comfort—almost like a friend on their journey—as they figure out who they want to be" author Hannah Ewens says in Bitch Media interview about her new book 'Fangirls: Scenes from Modern Music Culture'. The book traces the history of fandom from the Beatles onward to contextualize what fandom means, how it functions, and how it both reflects and drives cultural conversations about everything from teenage girls to mental health. Ewens also differentiates between fans and stans, the latter of whom go to extreme lengths to prove their devotion.

"The seven tracks that comprise 'Alphaville' are at once harrowing and transcendent, terrifying and cathartic, filled with jazzlike grooves" - PopMatters says about Imperial Triumphant's new album. What makes the New York trio stand out is their avant-garde approach to metal, with jazz and psychedelic elements added to their black metal. Separate songs differ a lot among themselves and each song incorporates plenty of elements because, as vocalist and guitarist Zachary Ilya Ezrin tells PM- "we have a strong idea of what the song's about, why it needs to exist, what it stands for".

"I like [going on buses]. I find it very grounding... I also like a nice car and I like driving too. But there’s something about that, being ordinary... I mean, I know I can’t be ordinary, at all – I’m way too famous to be ordinary – but, for me, that feeling inside, of feeling like myself still, is very important" - Paul McCartney says in a great interview for the GQ. He also talks about building and then breaking up the Beatles, suing the band for their own sake, being in lockdown, working with Rihanna and Kanye West... A great read.

It's not about the uniform
August 05, 2020

Lupe Fiasco: I just don't put 'fuck the police'

"Life is very complicated, from my understanding. So I think, in certain capacities, when you listen to Lupe Fiasco music, you get a reflection of the complexity of the situations that we find ourselves in" - Lupe Fiasco says in Vulture interview about his newest EP 'House', made almost accidentally, during the lockdown. Talking about his lyrics and fans understanding them he says "I just don’t put 'Fuck the police', and that’s it. It’s like, 'Why are we fucking the police? Is it even cool to say ‘Fuck the police’? What does that do with the police? What are we going to do if we don’t have police?'. Let’s break it down and get into the nuts and bolts. I think that is where you find the solutions, if you’re willing to do the work".

"The word jazz has very racist roots. It's totally inadequate in describing the breadth of music that has come out under its umbrella. And many of its founding players of the genre also took issue with the word as something that was not defined by them and was used to commodify their work. Miles Davis didn't like to call it jazz. Duke Ellington didn't like to call it jazz. Mingus didn't want to call it jazz" - drummer Makaya McCraven says in NPR interview. He explains further on - "So I think of 'jazz' — in quotes — as an aural tradition that you learn from playing and being around other people. And like aural traditions, they evolve and they move; it's not a stagnant thing for preservation. Like with an aural tradition, there's an actual physical touch". His new album 'Universal Beings E&F Sides' is out now.

"Some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape, where you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough" - Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told in a Music Ally interview, but, he claims - "from the data, there are more and more artists that are able to live off streaming income in itself". He offered a piece of advice: "The artists today that are making it realise that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans". Ek's statements have rankled musicians around the globe - Exclaim collected those.

A great interview in the Believer mag with producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Kramer, who talks about different jobs he did, but the best was being a touring musician - "The best years of my life happened over the course of about six months in 1985 while I was on the road with Butthole Surfers... I may die penniless, but thanks in great part to Gibby and Paul, these two Texas gentlemen who named their band Butthole Surfers and still got a major label record deal, I am, at least in terms of life experience, one of the richest men in the world". Kramer's hilarious also: "We looked like Hell had just puked us up and wanted no part of us. We looked exactly like what we were; a poverty-stricken American band with little or no idea of where we’d just been, where we were going, what we were doing, or why. It was all about surviving those twenty-three hours a day leading up to that one hour onstage. Onstage, we were a force to be reckoned with. Offstage, we were masters of nothing. And we looked it".

"One of the things that has really jumped out at me on TikTok is that you do not need any history of performance metrics for something to go viral; if something is working, even if you’re a first-time uploader with no ‘Likes’, views or creations in place yet, you have an equal and democratic chance of spiking on the platform as something with tons and tons of history" - TikTok’s Global Head of Music, Ole Obermann, said in a Music Business Worldwide interview, adding "that’s pretty unique, relative to other platforms, and obviously paves the way nicely for any type of artists – whether independent, major or unsigned".

"There's definitely the theoretical America and then America in reality. Back then there was the expectation that the theoretical America 'knew better'" - American rapper Lupe Fiasco told Radio 1 Newsbeat, and continued - "but what you've started to see is that America's not like that. America is very much the world leader in not getting it together - just with Covid-19 for example". Lupe says countries "don't want to be like America, where the police are killing people for nothing", and he predicts that in coming decades America will "fall behind the times in a very real way as other countries start to outpace, out-develop, or just ignore America to a certain extent".

"I didn’t miss it [tour shows]. I’ve always wanted to perform from my bed at home... I never wanted to do the packing and going through the car and luggage and the hotel and, 'What’s the password? What’s the internet?' You get tired after years and years of doing it, you know?" - Erykah Badu told the New York Times about not touring and performing live-streams instead. She was among the first to start charging for her streams, that were richer production-wise - "I wanted the audience to feel like their money not only got them into the show, but they also got to help create the moment". Neighbors, it seems so, loved it as well - "I had to get a truck to broaden the bandwidth of my house. All the neighbors had high-speed internet for a couple of weeks because of it".

"I wanted to explore boy bands with the same kind of intellectual curiosity reserved for topics and music deemed 'serious' while also maintaining the integrity of what makes boy bands great: They’re fun! They’re supposed to make you feel good!" - author Maria Sherman told Music Journalism Insider about her new book 'Larger Than Life' (Todd L. Burns says the book is "incredibly fun!"). In a Rolling Stone excerpt from the book, Sherman emphasizes that the very first boy bands "contrary to the contemporary image of these harmonizing hunks... were people of color".

Smart staying silent leaves the stupid talking...
July 11, 2020

Margo Price on supporting BLM and losing some fans: You can’t argue with stupid

"I put up a photo of Obama smoking a cigarette, looked like he was enjoying it, and these people were arguing for days. But I’m not gonna get involved because you can’t argue with stupid" - country singer Margo Price told LA Times about alienating some fans with posts on social media. "There have been so many times where I’ve put in some kind of thoughtful response to somebody, and it rarely does any good. I’m not really worried about losing a few fans. I think I’m gaining an equal amount". She released her new album 'That’s How Rumors Get Started' this week.

Black is the color of my true identity
July 10, 2020

Tom Morello: Racism is as American as apple pie and baseball

Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine has spoken of his experiences with racism and encounters with the KKK - “In Los Angeles, dozens of times, I was pulled over when driving, going on official band business but in my old Chevy Astro van when I was driving through Beverly Hills. ‘Why is there a thirty-something-year-old black man in this neighbourhood?’", Radio X reports. While he was growing up, in Libertyville in Illinois, he was "the only black person. Once, there was a noose in my family\s garage, there was the occasional burned cross on the lawn", and then, “I was in a popular band that had songs that were predominantly played on white, rock-oriented stations, the way I speak is not typically urban vernacular, and there’s a large part of my fan base that freaks the fuck out when I say that I’m black".

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