Gig it yourself
February 24, 2021

LA backyard gigs - keeping the punk scene alive

Huck tells the story of the LA punk scene which survived the pandemic with dozens of backyard gigs. The magazine argues "this attitude – of taking personal responsibility for yourself and your actions, despite what the rules say – is a common one in the DIY punk scene". Beko, the singer and frontman of punk band Lazy Dream, explains the attitude: “Our whole method is do-it-yourself. We were tired of waiting for people to do the recording thing, so we just did the recording ourselves… With the shows, we did that as well. We were like, ‘Ok, we have this backyard right here, might as well throw a show. Because if no one’s going to hire us or invite us anywhere, might as well do it ourselves’”.

Adrianne Lenker

Singer-songwriter Jim Ghedi shares his new album 'In the Furrows Of Common Place' with 'Beneath the Willow' as the stand-out track; Adrianne Lenker shares the new Big Thief song 'Simulation Swarm', played by her alone; Debbie Friday shares a dark electro-pop song 'Runnin''; José González is back with his first new song in six years, Spanish-sung 'El Invento'; female trio Horsegirl share their dreampop/shoegaze single 'Ballroom Dance Scene'.

February 23, 2021

Pandemic was good to - Splice app

The use of Splice, a highly rated app for mobile video editing, has boomed during the pandemic, as people stuck at home experimented with making their own tracks, Bloomberg reports. The company specializes in royalty-free samples, which allow people to use drum sounds or flutes from a large library for a monthly fee. The company has just raised an additional $55 million from investors, raising the value of the company at close to $500 million.

Spotify is expanding into over 80 new markets in more than 36 new languages – including key territories across Africa such as Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, Spotify reports. Together, these 80 markets house more than a billion people with nearly half of them already using the internet. The vast expansion over the coming days means that Spotify will be active in more than 173 markets.

Bruce Springsteen has teamed up with former American president Barack Obama for a new podcast series titled 'Renegades: Born in the USA', Reuters reports. The eight-episode series will cover a range of topics, including race, fatherhood, marriage, and the state of America. The first two episodes are available on Spotify.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger - no more
February 22, 2021

Daft Punk split

Parisian duo Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, who gave us some of the most popular dance and pop songs ever made, have split, Pitchfork reports. Daft Punk broke the news with an 8-minute video titled 'Epilogue', excerpted from their 2006 film 'Electroma'.

The power structure
February 22, 2021

Podcast: Sexual misconduct in alternative musi‪c‬

Name3Songs podcast discusses the problem of sexual misconduct in alter music. Questions they pose: "Why sexual misconduct reoccurs at alarming rates in the music industry. What is the psychology behind this? How has this behavior been perpetrated across decades? How can this behavior be stopped and prevented? What is accountability and how do we apply it effectively?".

“Borders are a dreadful invention of mankind, and so we are just putting up another one, and I think it’s a dreadful retrograde step” - Queen's drummer Roger Taylor said about consequences Brexit will have on UK touring bands, NME reports. His band is OK, he said - "we can fall back on our songwriting and our publishing", it's the road crew that are suffering - "it’s a daily, weekly job for them and so it’s made it really hard for our industry, very hard indeed”. Guardian reports about road crews for some of the biggest bands in music that are being forced into homelessness and turning to food banks to survive during the pandemic.

The docu-music, the doc-music...
February 22, 2021

Questlove to direct Sly Stone documentary

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of the Roots will direct a documentary about Sly & The Family Stone, with Common executive producing it, Deadline reports. “It goes beyond saying that Sly’s creative legacy is in my DNA….it’s a black musician’s blueprint" Questlove said, with producers MRC Entertainment adding the film "follows the story of the influential artist, king of funk, and fashion icon". Questlove's directorial debut, the music documentary 'Summer of Soul', recently won two awards at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

Morgan Wallen stays on top of the Billboard 200 chart for the sixth week in a row, amidst his racial slur scandal which got him canceled from the radio, Billboard reports. 'Dangerous: The Double Album' sold 93,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Feb. 18, down 38% from the previous week. Wallen captures the most weeks atop the list for a male artist’s album since Drake’s 'Views' in 2016, and the most for a male country artist since Garth Brooks' 'TheHits' in 1995.

Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition - in 21st century
February 22, 2021

Barcelona: Five days of protests after rapper gets jailed

Five nights of protests in Barcelona have followed after the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasél, convicted of criticizing the country's monarchy and glorifying a separatist group in a series of tweets, Reuters reports. Thousands took to the streets Saturday night, protesting Hasél's conviction and nine-month sentence. Protests turned violent on Saturday with protesters throwing objects at police, setting fires and looting and vandalizing many luxury shops.

Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda becomes the first major label artist to launch a single via NFT - non-fungible token auction, according to Loudwire. 'Happy Endings' is a collaboration featuring rising vocalist Upsahl and alt-pop star Iann Dior, and he is using the cryptocurrency as a new avenue to promote his music. Shinoda gave his fans the opportunity to bid for a chance to win an original print of the single artwork signed by him and contemporary artist Cain Caser at a cryptocurrency auction.

Discogs has seen a big growth in sales last year, their year-end report shows: the marketplace is up 35.78% to 8,845,534 orders over the prior year and in total 16,290,197 pieces of physical music were sold around the world, bringing an overall 40.12% increase year-over-year. The most popular physical music format sold in 2020 was vinyl - 11,961,998 records were sold, up 40.75% from 2019. CDs have also increased 37.18% year-over-year with 3,441,769 compact discs purchased. Interest in cassettes hasn’t died down, with a total of 282,798 sold through the Marketplace, a 33.33% increase over 2019.

Dozens of flowers
February 20, 2021

Senyawa release an album on 44 different labels

Experimental Indonesian metal Senyawa are releasing their new album ‘Alkisah’ on 44 different independent labels around the world (release dates vary from Feb 19 to Feb 21). Labels span from the experimental duo’s hometown of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, to the United States, United Kingdom, EU and other Asian countries, the New York Times reports. Senyawa confirmed the album release will vary by label, each with their own “different design and packaging, with multiple remix/reinterpretations by various artists”. Senyawa said that the concept of releasing through multiple labels would decentralise the “former hierarchical system of music distribution” and would allow shipping distances and cost to be reduced, and empower “smaller scattered powers to grow and connect”.

Đjorđe Balašević, a Serbian folk-pop singer who remained widely popular throughout the former Yugoslavia after the wars of the 1990s, has died aged 67 after contracting the new coronavirus, ABC reports. Balašević started his musical career in late 1970s, and, as an anti-nationalist and a pacifist during the wartime-era, he remained popular in ex-Yugoslav states, filling up concert halls after the wars. In 1998 he was named UN's Goodwill Ambassador. Balašević is survived by his wife, three children, and his music.

Billboard examines the financial side of Morgan Wallen's scandal, estimating that Wallen's label, Big Loud, is currently making more than $1.5 million a week from sales and streaming of his album 'Dangerous'. This record has been the #1 album in the US for five weeks, two of those weeks coming after his racial slur. Officially, Big Loud has suspended Wallen, but his fans are coming to his defense, so the sales of that double album have gone up. Country star Maren Morris sums it up pretty good: "I think that your fans are a reflection of you and what you’re about. And you can’t control a human being, but you absolutely can let them know where you stand", meaning it's a change that'll take time.

Surfin' US again
February 19, 2021

Beach Boys sell their brand to Irving Azzoff

Music mogul Irving Azoff has acquired a majority interest in Beach Boys' music, their master recordings, a portion of their publishing, the Beach Boys brand, memorabilia, an archive of photos, videos and interviews, for an estimated $100 million to $200 million, Rolling Stone reports. Azoff, manager of the Eagles and Jon Bon Jovi, takes control over everything from Beach Boys' social-media accounts to their names, likenesses, and life stories. Azoff's company Iconic will be overseeing Beach Boys their work even after the remaining members die.

Miles Cooper Seaton, a founding member of the experimental rock band Akron/Family, has died aged 41, Stereogum reports. Seaton took a multi-instrumental role in Akron/Family releasing six albums with the band in the 2005-2013 period, continuing to make experimental music under his own name in the following years.

Perseverance, the largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world, touched down on Mars Thursday, carrying for the first time a small microphone that will have recorded the sounds of the descent and the martian environment itself. NASA doesn't really make audio-recordings - “in the space business we don't do a lot with microphones and sound, since most of our research is done in a vacuum”, so the microphone was designed by Jason Achilles Mezilis, a Los Angeles–based rock musician, composer, and lifelong space enthusiast. The mic is scientifically focused, and it sits in an instrument called SuperCam to help study what happens to rocks when they get zapped with a laser. It could also record ambient sound. Wired brings the amazing story.

Prince Markie Dee, a member of the pioneering hip-hop group the Fat Boys, died aged 52 on Thursday, a day before his birthday, Rolling Stone reports. Together with Human Beatbox and Kool Rock Ski he launched Fat Boys in 1983, becoming one of rap’s premier pop culture ambassadors. The Roots' Questlove said “they were figuratively (no weight jokes) the biggest act in hip hop at some point in time. Like the first act that showed this culture might have some real international legs to it". After the band's breakup, he wrote and produced pop songs for the likes of Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey under his birth name Mark Morales.

Four green yellows
February 18, 2021

As cool as it gets: Psychedelic jazz of Apifera

Named after a variety of bee-attracting orchid, Apifera create free, improvisatory, and live sound, combining jazz, psychedelia, and electronics. They recently released their debut album 'Overstand' for Stones Throw, with influences ranging from folk music, classical music and transcendental jazz. Their recent live tape shows them more in electronic mode.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have announced a charity prize draw with the goal of raising £200,000 to support their tour crew. They've collected over 100 prizes, including The Bad Seeds' own signed instruments, a limited edition art print of Nick Cave, deluxe album copies, show tickets, gift vouchers, and much more. To participate in the draw, fans can purchase tickets until March 12. Winning tickets will be drawn at random, and each winning ticket will grant the winner a random lot out of the 100+ prizes. There's also an option to donate without entering the prize draw. They have already collected over £78,000.

Pioneering Jamaican reggae vocalist and dancehall innovator, credited for pioneering the vocal style known as "toasting", U-Roy, has died at the age of 78. U-Roy is credited for pioneering “toasting,” the vocal style in which a performer talks or chants, usually in a monotone melody, over a reggae or dancehall beat, Loop Jamaica reports.

Same town, different city
February 17, 2021

Todd Rundgren playing 25 different live-streams for 25 cities

American singer-songwriter Todd Rundgren has embarked on a virtual tour of 25 American cities which is broadcast from the same Chicago stage, but geo-targeted to different regional markets, Variety reports. Shows come with visual cues saluting the would-be host towns and multiple shout-outs to the virtually targeted city. The focus is on making each show a unique event, with a virtual perimeter that will restrict viewing of a particular show to audience members who live there. Prior to shows, there’s the sound of murmuring people looking for their seats, and for every city on the video wall behind the band there'll be a picture of the actual proscenium stage. This virtual tour runs February through March. Tickets go for $35.

Spotify, Apple, Amazon, YouTube, Pandora and 15 other digital service providers paid out a total of $424.38 million to the Mechanical Licensing Collective in accrued historical unmatched royalties, Forbes reports. It's 10 years of royalties DSPs have collected but couldn't match countless songs to their writers and publishers, so they just - sat on that half a billion dollars. In addition to their payments, the DSPs also delivered more than 1,800 data files, which contain in excess of 1.3 terabytes and 9 billion lines of data. The MLC is now reviewing and analyzing the data in order to find and pay the proper copyright owners.


DJ Mag describes what have the UK night clubs been up to in lockdown. Sneaky Petes, Edinburgh - reopened as a pizza bar; Printworks, London - hosted production projects and live-streams; Studio 338, London - transformed into a food bank; Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool - used as a COVID-19 testing centre; Fabric, London - has been reflecting and “identified lots of little details and some larger improvements"...

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