Jason Isbell asks Dr. Antohny Fauci questions about COVID-19 and safety protocols at live events. Fauci recommends outdoor concerts, since the danger of getting infected is dramatically higher in a closed space. Fauci suggests talking to people, giving them answers to valid questions. Fauci insists the work on the vaccine started two decades ago. Both also agree the audience should stop yelling out requests - "I know what you like, don't worry".

"I’m constantly going into different genres and fields to make the message more accessible. It’s really for young people and for mothers to be able to tap into what I’m doing. This record is like a gateway, a trickery: bringing people in with the smooth vibes. But if you know my music, I like to punch people in the heart and then kiss the heart" - Moor Mother says in Pitchfork interview about her forthcoming album 'Black Encyclopedia of the Air'. She also believes there's not enough proper protest songs now: "If we’re talking about radical statements and protest music, just standing around saying 'F this', what is that accomplishing?".

"It’s Simz’s most personal album yet but also her most removed, in the sense that it’s cinematic and surreal and overwhelming... 'Introvert' is heady and dense and restless — a masterwork" - Stereogum gives a verdict to London rapper's new releases (it's also Stereogum's Album of the Week). Guardian likes the leftfieldness of it - "Voraciously creative, clever and cool...  It is notably non-synthetic and twitchily alive, with Simz’s vocal presence so intense and distinctive it is able to withstand all manner of genre-fickleness". Gigwise insists Simz is at the "highest echelons of British rap".

ABBA have released two songs, their first new music in 40 years - 'I Still Have Faith In You' is a big nostalgic ballad, whereas 'Don't Shot Me Down' is a dancey song. Both of these will be released on their new album 'Voyage' on November 5, NPR reports. ABBA has also announced a virtual tour Abba Voyage, which will open next year in a specially-built arena in east London. Playing six nights a week, it will feature digital versions of Abba's band members, accompanied by a 10-piece live band performing 22 of their greatest hits. The digital Abba show will initially be staged in London, but could tour the world. The so-called "Abba-tars" were designed by Industrial Light and Magic - the visual effects company founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas. More than 850 people worked on recreating Abba "in their prime" using motion capture technology to scan "every mannerism and every motion" of the musicians, who are now in their 70s, as they performed.

Dogpatch is a podcast with two funny hosts Dante Carfagna and Jon Kirby talking about music, and playing music on a theme in each episode. The last episode was about music recorded in prison, by prisoners, the big chunk of it from the 1970s. Maximum Security Prism episode features music by Location Service, Walls, Reality Index, Public-Use Guitar, Pando, Cashbox Directory, All-State Band, Bids, Culture Gaps, Concrete Reflection, Cupcake, Winston Moore, Studio Guns, Isolated Not Isolation, Rodeos, Stateville Merch Booth, and Heartsongs.

"I’m a walker, I love walking. That’s funny" - Steve Gunn says in a Tone Glow interview about his new album 'Other You', which features a few songs about the mundane habit. Why does he like it? - "Partially the walking correlates with being open and exploratory. I do a lot of walking that isn’t to a specific destination. I’m just being receptive to what’s around me, being observational. I’m present in my current space. Particularly with this record, and the fact that it was a very isolated time, walking was really important for me. Being in the park close to where I live was a godsend and it was an important part of my process, an important part of opening myself up a little more".

YouTube has surpassed the milestone of 50 million YouTube Music and Premium subscribers, growing its subscriber base by around 20 million in the past 11 months, or around 1.8m subscribers per month since October 2020, MBW reports on the music stat. YouTube's biggest rival Spotify's global Premium Subscriber base grew to 165 million in Q2 2021, which was up 20% year-on-year. Apple Music in June 2019 announced it had surpassed 60 million subscribers.

"With paintings, when you draw a body, you try to make your drawing look like the body more or less everywhere, even if it’s different from Africa to Asia or anywhere. Each time, you want to recognize something like a face or nose. But in music, it doesn’t exist" - Parisian composer and improviser Jean-Luc Guionnet says in a Tone Glow interview. He adds: - "I like to think that there was a deep crisis when language came, and music changed. Perhaps before, for example, a guy was coming back from somewhere, and wanted to describe the landscape that he saw yesterday. Perhaps he played music to imitate the sounds of this landscape, because he couldn’t say, because he didn’t have language. But when language came, it wasn’t useful to do that anymore. So then music appears".

'The Velvet Underground' documentary features in-depth interviews with the band’s surviving members and other key figures from the era, as well as never-before-seen performances, studio recordings, experimental art, and films by their one-time manager Andy Warhol. It is the first documentary for Todd Haynes, director of 'Velvet Goldmine' and Bob Dylan biopic 'I’m Not There'. Haynes also helped curate the movie’s accompanying soundtrack, featuring classic and rare tracks. Rolling Stone reports...

"A large portion of the people that are streaming, they've never owned a CD, they may not listen to the radio, and when they hear David Bowie's Life On Mars, they're hearing it for the first time" - songwriter Ryan Tedder, who wrote songs for Adele, Ed Sheeran, Paul McCartney, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Lil Nas X - told the BBC. "So the source of discovery is the last 70 years of music. It's all brand new, right now. So you're competing with every song that has ever come out". He's got a point - entertainment analysts MRC Data say that catalogue albums (defined as anything older than 18 months) now account for 66.4% of all streams worldwide.

Jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington has released his cover version of Metallica's 'My Friend Of Misery', Blabbermouth reports. This version sounds nothing like metal - Kamasi Washington has turned 'My Friend Of Misery' into an astral jazz song, insisting on virtuosity, common to the original. This cover is one of more than 50 songs which are included on Metallica's massive new covers compilation called 'The Metallica Blacklist', which features artists' takes on 'Black Album' songs.

After much delay, Kanye West has released his 10th album 'Donda' with 27 songs spanning an hour and 48 minutes. The length of it is an issue with the critics. "Nobody needs all 27 of these tracks" - NME insists, adding, "but dig deep into its contents and you’ll find enough gems to make his 10th album worth your time". The Times hears a "sprawling and sometimes brilliant album". Pitchfork says the album is "barely finished and with a lot of baggage. Its 27 tracks include euphoric highs that lack connective tissue, a data dump of songs searching for a higher calling".

Olivia Rodrigo returns to the top of the Billboard 200 album chart for a fifth week with her debut album 'Sour', following its vinyl LP release on Aug. 20 (the album originally came out in May). In the week ending Aug. 26, 'Sour' earned 133,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. (up 133%). Of that sum, album sales comprise 84,000 (up 1,201%), with vinyl LP sales equaling 76,000 of that figure - the second-largest sales week for a vinyl album since MRC Data began electronically tracking sales in 1991. The only larger week was by Taylor Swift’s 'Evermore', when it sold 102,000 on vinyl in the week ending June 3, Billboard reports.

Legendary Jamaican producer and a pioneer of dub, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, whose pioneering accomplishments made him of of reggae's most eccentric producer-vocalist, has died aged 85 in Jamaica, Jamaica Observer reports. State Prime Minister Andrew Holness confirmed the news in a tweet on Sunday, adding that Perry has "worked with and produced for various artists, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, the Congos, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, and many others. Undoubtedly, Lee Scratch Perry will always be remembered for his sterling contribution to the music fraternity".

Olivia Vedder

Marisa Anderson & William Tyler released their new album with the haunting ‘Haunted By Water’ closing the LP; house producer Ross From Friends shares 'The Daisy', accompanied by a funny and amazing Rubic-cube-themed video; Eddie Vedder’s daughter Olivia Vedder shares a song ‘My Father’s Daughter', written by her dad and Irish songwriter Glen Hansard for the new Sean Penn movie ‘Flag Day’; Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are back in collaborative action with ‘Can’t Let Go’; Esperanza Spalding shares ‘Formwela 10’, song created “for grieving the consequences of, becoming more alert to, and dissolving one’s own romantic-entitlement tendencies”; Berlin-based saxophonist Bendik Giske shares a minimalist and atmospheric 'Flutter'.


New Sounds produced a podcast with a selection of music from Afghanistan, putting a different light on the troubled nation. Among the selected are Homayun Sakhi and Quraishi with their rubâb music, folk poems of Afghani women, the Hazara tradition by Hamid Sakhizada, and adapted music from the Khorasan region by the duo Badieh. Much of the music comes from musicians who have fled the country to Europe or North America.

AIR Montserrat was one of the most legendary recording studios in the world – it was built by the Beatles’ producer George Martin in 1979 and destroyed by two cataclysmic natural disasters a decade later. Situated on the island in the Caribbean, where the harbour was too shallow for cruise ships and the runway too short for jets, it served as a safe haven for musicians trying to "get away". Elton John arrived in 1982 with no songs and in the middle of a career slump following his 1970s heyday, and recorded three albums back to back, including hits 'I’m Still Standing' and 'I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues'. The Police recorded 'Ghost In The Machine' (1981) and 'Synchronicity' (1983) there, albums that catapulted them to superstar status; the video for 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' was recorded in the AIR Montserrat studio and the island itself. Dire Straits recorded their magnum opus'Brothers In Arms' at AIR Montserrat in 1984 and 1985. Following a period of estrangement between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the Rolling Stones regrouped and healed old wounds to record their 1989 comeback album 'Steel Wheels', the final recording session at AIR Montserrat. On September 17, 1989, Hurricane Hugo damaged or destroyed 90 percent of the structures on the island, leaving AIR Montserrat in ruins. Then, between 1995 and 1997, Montserrat’s volcano erupted, burying the capital, Plymouth... Producer Cody Greenwood, whose parents lived on the island and befriended Martin at the time, has produced a documentary about the studio called 'Under the Volcano', available on all major digital platforms from September 1. The Sidney Morning Herald tells the lovely story of the island, the studio and the producer's family.

Exploring British youth culture of the time, 'Scorcha!: Skins, Suedes and Style From The Streets 1967 -1973' is "a hefty book by Paul Anderson and Mark Baxter. Covering the rise of first the suedeheads and then the skinheads on British streets, it is a fascinating, lovingly compiled piece tracking in detail the fade from the musicality of the modish, ska-loving suedeheads – who were bravely swimming against the prevailing hippy tide in 1967 – into the more brutish skinheads. The attention to interview detail and mountains of picture research is monumental" - The New Cue recommends a new book.

“We are a hardcore band. That’s the scene we come from. But one of the things that drew me to hardcore and punk in the first place, the thing I always believed it was fundamentally about, was that it was a place for open minds and for people who want to challenge norms" - says singer Brendan Yates of the band Turnstile in Guardian interview. “I want Turnstile to maintain the sense of community we found in hardcore. But I want a bigger community, to connect with as many people as possible. I’d like them to feel like I did when I discovered music – like magic existed, like anything was possible" - says Yates. Their new album 'Glow On' is the star of the week, getting glowing reviews in Stereogum, Pitchfork, Kerrang...

Spencer Elden, the baby from Nirvana's 'Nevermind' front cover, now a 30-year-old, just like the album, filed a lawsuit alleging that the cover constitutes child pornography. Legally speaking, however, experts who talked to Rolling Stone, say Elden does not have much of a case on his hands. At the core of this knotted web is one thing: Elden’s legal guardian agreed to let a buzzing punk band take photos of him as a baby for 200 bucks. The band’s team asked, and the guardian said yes. “The case is likely going to be dismissed” - says criminal defense attorney Matthew Matejcek of Beles & Beles, pointing to the Department of Justice’s definition of child pornography. “It has to appeal to the viewer’s prurient interest. What’s going to be at issue here is whether this album cover incites the lustful interest, sexual stimulation, or gratification of the viewer. And I think it’s pretty clear that’s not the purpose”. Anne Higonnet in Slate puts some sense into the unpleasant story: "We desperately want to alter the past according to what we sincerely believe right now. I am among those who believe we have a more just vision of society today than we had in 1991. But that doesn’t make me think we can retroactively redo the past. Elden’s feelings about his infant fame in 2021 can’t change what Kurt Cobain meant back in 1991. Let’s change the future instead".

The Rolling Stones will proceed with their planned tour of the U.S. this fall, the band’s promoter confirmed after the band's drummer Charlie Watts died this week. Longtime Stones associate Steve Jordan is taking his place behind the drum kit, Loudwire reports.

Inge Ginsberg has composed songs for Nat King Cole, Doris Day and Dean Martin, and in her 90s she decided to reinvent herself as a death metal singer. In a documentary, she said she had turned to death metal because she wanted to be heard. She has died at age 99, the New York Times reports

Input analyses Kanye West's career as it was mirrored in his fashion: "Kanye has curated his aesthetic universe to be one of the most recognizable in the music industry. His relationships with music and fashion have not only been symbiotic within his own life, but with the streetwear landscape around him. While the Yeezy label carves Kanye’s imprint within luxury fashion, he uses his merch as a creative playground, transforming each album into collectible garments. The lasting impact of Kanye’s merch has less to do with the artist himself, but more so with the creative ecosystem he creates around each project, and the aesthetic footprint it leaves behind". West's listening event for his still-unreleased album on August 5 proves the point - with 40,000 ticketed guests, it raked in $7 million from merch sales, breaking the record for highest-grossing U.S. tour.

11-year-old music prodigy Nandi Bushell made a surprise appearance during Foo Fighters' sold-out concert at the Forum in Los Angeles, sitting in for their closing performance of 'Everlong'. Their lovely relationship started when Bushell dared Grohl for a drum battle. After the show Bushell wrote on Instagram “It Happened!!! It was #EPIC!!! Tonight I jammed with the @foofighters live @theforum!!! Wow!!! What an INCREDIBLE night!".

Olivia Rodrigo has added Paramore's singer Hayley Williams and ex-guitarist Josh Farro as co-writers of her hit single 'Good 4 U'. They were not credited when the song was originally released in May. Warner Chappell Music announced this week via Instagram that Williams and Farro were now credited 'Good 4 U' songwriters. "The fact WCM confirmed this fact during 'Good 4 U' fourteenth week in the Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 perhaps says something about the journey that was required to make it happen" - Music Business Worldwide writes. C

"On his debut album, 'The Long and Short of It', [Graham] Jonson, now 21, reconciles his approach to beat music with a form of bedroom pop, using two genres known for their modular simplicity to create complex psychedelic music with vast emotional horizons" - Pitchfork reviews quickly, quickly (grade it 8.1, don't call it emo-rap). Magnetic describes it as quickly, quickly's "most complex and interesting project to date".

Salon's Bernadette Barton joins the discussion about Britney Spears "exploring the gender inequality trapping Britney.  In particular, I examine Britney Spears's story in light of the pornification of society over the past three decades. Pornification, the sexualization of culture also referred to as raunch culture, socializes women and girls to believe (and boys and men too) that a key element of female identity is looking 'hot' like a porn star or stripper. Pornification sells itself to girls and women using the rhetoric of sex positivity and empowerment. 'Look how free you are to express your inner porn star and be sexy.' This narrative falsely equates commodified sexualization with freedom, and devolves the language of sex positivity from an ecosystem of consent, pleasure, safety, and respect into the single expectation that women present themselves as sexual objects first and foremost".

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A good piece of investigative journalism by Rolling Stone. Country singer Morgan Wallen has in July pledged $500,000 to black-led groups, in a move to make amend for his racial slur earlier in the year. The Black Music Action Coalition had received some money from Wallen, they said the $500,000 number “seems exceptionally misleading”. RS reached out to 56 other state, regional and national Black-led or Black-founded charities. None of them reported receiving any money from Wallen.

Metallica’s landmark 1991 self-titled fifth LP has returned to the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart for the first time in 29 years, Consequence reports. The album reached position 9 with 37,000 units earned for the week. The album’s increased sales were fueled by various reissues marking its 30th anniversary. 'Metallica' remains the top-selling album in the U.S. since MRC Data began electronically tracking music sales in 1991, with 17.3 million copies sold. Drake extends his No1 stay on the chart as the set earns 236,000 equivalent album units, Billboard reports

Hey mister taliban, give 'em a break

Musicians in Afghanistan face uncertain future

"The Taliban's anti-democracy regime, which regained control over the country last month, after the U.S. ended its 20-year war in Afghanistan and began pulling troops from the region, has already had a devastating impact on local music. Over two decades of democracy, Afghan musicians had slowly developed bands and orchestras, from a classical and traditional school called the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) to the reality-TV talent show Afghan Star to concert festivals and DIY scenes for hip-hop, hard rock, black metal and other genres. But under the Taliban, all that is gone now" - Billboard wrote in its piece about the troubled country.

"Whether or not you think Lil Nas X’s musical chops match his promotional acumen, you won’t be able to miss 'Montero'" - GQ points out in their piece about Lil Nas X and his use of media, concluding that this long, constantly viral rollout of 'Montero' tops even Drake and Kanye.

“When we watch something or listen to something that undeniably does make us feel sad at some level, it’s not like we’re only seeking to feel sad” - Mary Beth Oliver, PhD, a professor of media studies at Penn State University Oliver told Elemental. “I think we’re trying to have a greater insight into the bigger questions — the purpose of life, or of human virtue” - sha added. Rather than “sad", she said she prefers terms like “meaningful” or “poignant” or “bittersweet”. “It’s absolutely possible to feel good about feeling sad sometimes,” she said. “Our emotions are much richer than some of these blunt terms we use”.

Portishead's cover of Abba's 'SOS' has earned 500 percent more through new Spotify "fan-powered” royalty model, when compared with other streaming platforms, Pitchfork claims. The new model, unveiled by the company back in March, directs royalties due from each subscriber only to the artists they are currently streaming – a system backed by independent artists, as well as advocates for a fairer streaming model. This is in contrast to the pro-rata model utilised by streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, where royalty payments from users’ subscriptions are distributed in accordance with which artists have the most plays.

Mdou Moctar has released a documentary on the days surrounding the release of the new album 'Afrique Victime'. The 10-minute short film shows Moctar and the band working on the album, and meeting after a months-long break. It also illustrates the geopolitical circumstances behind the record.

'Karen Dalton: In My Own Time', a new documentary on the folk singer is coming out October 1st. The trailer, out now, features archival footage of Dalton, from her upbringing in Oklahoma to her days New York City’s Greenwich Village folk scene, where she sang with Bob Dylan, and Tim Hardin. It chronicles her tumultuous life that ended with her death in 1993 from AIDS when she was just 55 years old — and the cult following she’s had since.

“I’m naturally quite an introverted person, and I think it’s hard to read an introvert because you just don’t know what they’re thinking or feeling. But this was an opportunity for me to let people in” - Little Simz says in a new Rolling Stone interview about her new album. She adds - “As challenging as it was at points, just putting pressure on myself and wanting to better my writing… I think you hear it in the music. Although we’re touching on deep stuff and I’m tackling a lot, there’s a lightheartedness to it”.

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