"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.

"There’s no freewheeling carnage here, nor the chance to indulge in the classic fest camping ritual. Instead, this is a communal celebration of excitement at actually being outside and watching music" - NME reports from Wild Fields, a socially distanced festival, perhaps a new model for festivals. It is modest - there are three stages, two bars and a merch stand, the audience is spread in pods, and the line-up is made of local bands. "By providing a legitimate festival experience – or at least the closest we’ll get to it this year – the team have forged a celebration of everything we’re missing in 2020: the dissonant echo from a stage plopped in the middle of a field as we escape the real world, and all its woes, for the spiritual relief of music in the company of like-minded souls" - NME argues - "It all creates an atmosphere that digs into the heart of what festivals have always been about: escapism".

Resident Advisory and Guardian both report about the Beirut club-scene, or rather what's left of it after the big explosion. As much of Lebanon's nightlife was centred a short walk away from the port where the ammonium nitrate was stored, hundreds of bars, clubs and restaurants were hit hard by the blast. People's attitude towards music has also changed - Rend Shamma, 34, art director of nightclub Überhaus says “So many people say it’s hard to even listen to music now. The few times I’ve tried, it doesn’t feel good. I drive in silence”.

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...

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...

The documentary about Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater won the Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special, beating Spike Jonze’s 'Beastie Boys Story', Michelle Obama documentary 'Becoming', 'Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time', and 'The Great Hack', Pitchfork reports. Director Roger Ross Williams said in his acceptance speech “As Ta-Nehisi Coates says in the film, ‘Our music is so beautiful that even those with their boots on our necks can't help but sing along’". Emmys are being awarded until Saturday, ET Online will list all the winners.

Music manager and promoter David McLean is turning his career into film, 'Schemers', which tells the story of his early days attempting to book Iron Maiden. He shared some anecdotes with the Guardian: "I was used to promoting bands who turned up in a transit van but Iron Maiden turned up in a huge tour bus. Their tour manager said: 'Where’s the crew?' I went: 'The crew?' I ran outside, found four inebriated people standing nearby and went: 'That’s the crew'... The venue held 2,000 but we’d only sold 200 tickets because I’d forgotten to put up any posters. We took the band to the pub. When we came back, people were queuing round the block. It sold out on the door".

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl has shared a video of a new theme song he wrote for the 19-year-old drummer-wunderkind Nandi Bushell. Grohl plays guitar, drums, and bass on the track, while his daughters (The Grohlettes) provide backing vocals - “She got the power/ She got the soul/ Gonna save the world with her rock and roll!”. Bushell reacted to the video saying “I can't believe Mr. Grohl wrote a song about me!?!".Tweet Fighters

"Me and my homeboys sittin' up here talkin' about all the people that President Trump disrespected. Women, gays, transgenders, blacks, Mexicans, Asians, and now veterans" - Snoop Dogg said in a video post about the American president, adding "hmmm. Seems like he's disrespecting every color in the world and everything that ain't what he is, which is a racist". Snoop believes Trump needs to the changed, All Hip Hop reports - "so, the next motherf##ker, you better tell us what we gon' get for your vote. You better show up and deliver, period. We just want some peace, love, equality, and tranquillity for everybody. All lives. Just basic conversation. Now carry on".

An auction featuring items from the collection of long-time Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman broke records for the most expensive bass guitar, amplifier, and - a toilet seat, Rolling Stone reports. The record-breaking bass is Wyman’s 1969 Fender Mustang bass with a competition orange finish, which Wyman used on Rolling Stones recordings between 1969 and 1970. It sold for $384,000. Wyman’s 1962 Vox AC30 Normal model amplifier sold for $106,250. The star of the auction was a plush yellow toilet seat cover embossed with the Rolling Stones’ tongue logo which sold for $1,142, another world record, this one for most expensive toilet seat cover. The auction featured over 1,000 lots from Wyman’s archive, including instruments, gear, stage-worn costumes, awards, personal items and ephemera from his time with the Stones and as a solo artist.

The music of the late Johnny Cash - including songs 'Ring of Fire' and 'Walk the Line', will be reimagined by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for a new 12-track album that is set to arrive in November, Uncut reports. The album sees Cash’s original vocals being complimented by the orchestra. Johnny Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, says his father was a fan of the RPO: "I was around ten years old and he and I went to see three films from the James Bond saga at a festival in New York. When the theme for Goldfinger began, he leaned over to me. 'That’s the finest orchestra in the world, son', he said. ‘That’s the Royal Philharmonic’".

TikTok operations in the United States will be taken over by Oracle, the Associated Press reports. TikTok, which says it has 100 million U.S. users and about 700 million globally, is a very popular social media among teenagers. In other TikTok news, NME reports that a TikTok video by 19-year-old Bella Poarch soundtracked by a Blackpool grime song ‘M To The B’ has become the most popular video on the entire platform with over 32 million likes.

Singer Jill Brown has started a record label Criminal Records in an effort to give a voice to jailhouse Scots, BBC reports. "It's to plant a seed of hope to let them see that their lives can be better" - Brown says. An inmate named Ryan (in his early 30s) says that music during his incarceration "means everything really. It gives me something positive to do every day. When I'm in my cell it gives me something to look forward to - hopefully using it to keep me out of the jail when I'm outside".

American 19-rapper/singer PPCocaine is calling herself the "filth queen" of TikTok, and she has lyrics such as “Hold on, bitch, did you hear what the Fuck I said? Shake some ass, hoe” to prove it. Her songs feature some seriously X-rated lyrics, which contrast against her cartoon-like singing voice. She has 3 million TikTok followers, some of whom like to do as they're told, and some are opposed. "I get my music is not for everybody, but bitch, keep your opinion to yourself” - as she's told the LA Times.

Revenues for recorded music in the U.S. increased 5.6% to $5.7 billion in the first half of 2020, TechCrunch reports. Streaming continued to drive the growth as the number of paid subscriptions increased by 24% to more than 72 million on average, growing subscription streaming revenues for first-half 2020 by 14%, over first-half 2019. Streaming music revenues grew 12% to $4.8 billion in the first half of 2020. Physical sales, including vinyl albums and compact discs fell 23%.

he Rolling Stones climbed the top of the UK album chart with their reissue of 'Goats Head Soup', the second time the album has ruled the Official U.K. Albums Chart. With their latest chart feat, The Stones become the first band in history to land a No. 1 album across six different decades, UK Chart report. The Rolling Stones now have 13 No. 1 albums, including the 1973 original edition of 'Goats Head Soup', placing them level with Elvis Presley and Robbie Williams. Only The Beatles have more career No. 1 albums in the U.K., at 16.

Sid McCray, the original singer of legendary punk band Bad Brains, affectionately known as SidMac, has died, CoS reports. McCray led the band from 1977 to 1978, when they were still a jazz fusion outfit known as Mind Power. He’s credited with introducing his bandmates to punk rock, specifically through albums by Sex Pistols and Ramones, when the band took the name Bad Brains. McCray wrote early Bad Brains songs like 'The Regulator', but ultimately stepped aside as frontman to let his friend and guitarist H.R. take over. He was part of the Brains road crew.

Krystle Warren

Nothing released 'Say Less', powerful, pounding shoe-gaze new single; new Flaming Lips album is made for people wanting some more of psychedelia light, but 'Assassins of Youth' is a stand-out song in any cosmos; singer-songwriter Krystle Warren made a powerful statement about the struggle for Black equality with a cover of Kermit the Frog's 'Bein’ Green'; Off The Meds may eventually take some wrong steps along the way, but for now they're playing good, slightly dark club music - 'Karlaplan'; (fellow Swedes) Dark Tranquility play what they know best on 'Phantom Days' - melodic death metal; Delta Spirit released a new album, with a happy Americana 'It Ain't Easy' as a stand-out song.

Education initiative FutureDJs first managed to get DJ decks recognised as an instrument for GCSE assessment. Last week they went a big step further - London College of Music Examiners published a syllabus that offers grade certifications on CDJs (decks for manipulating music from CDs or digital files). This puts them on a par with classical and jazz instruments, and provides detailed criteria for teachers assessing GCSE-level pupils who work with CDJs. Guardian reports on the big move forward.

Americans purchased $232 million USD worth of vinyl records in the first half of this year, out of a total of $376 million in physical music sales, Pitchfork reports. This marks the first time since the 1980s that CDs were outsold. Streaming revenue brought in $421 million USD in the first six months of 2020.

NME's columnist wrote, as usual, a warm and funny text, this time about music docus: "One of the main reasons we can watch documentaries about hugely successful bands without seething with envy is the knowledge that, had we followed that career path ourselves, our odds weren’t too great of living to be in the documentary"!!! The last one he liked is the one about The Band - "a rare example of bit players striking it big on their own terms, then watching on helplessly as success tugged at their stray flaws until the whole thing unravelled".

uDiscover Music has started a new project Black Music Reframed, where Black writers take a new look at Black music and moments that have previously either been overlooked or not properly contextualized. There are stories to uncover even with known superstars like MC Hammer, who was already an enterprising executive prior to his MC career, also Queen Latifah was a jazz artist before she turned to rap.

Former American president Jimmy Carter said that Willie Nelson smoked weed with his on the roof of the White House in 1978, not with an employee, as the country legend had originally claimed, the 95-year-old politician said in a new documentary, 'Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President'. The new docu explores the 39th president’s connection to the music community during his four-year term, Huff Post reports. The core of Mary Wharton’s film argues that stars like the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan and Crosby, Stills & Nash, as well as outlaw country artists like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, played a crucial role in getting Carter into the White House in 1976.

Toots Hibbert, frontman of the legendary reggae band Toots and the Maytals, has died at the age of 77, after recently been taken to hospital with Covid-like symptoms, Variety reports. One of Jamaica's most influential musicians, he helped popularise reggae in the 1960s with songs like 'Pressure Drop', Monkey Man' and 'Funky Kingston'. Hibbert even claimed to have coined the genre's name, on 1968's 'Do The Reggay'.

Their first incarnation, in the 1990s, was a dance band Sub Sub made of ravers, then the Manchester trio reincarnated as a indie-rock band Doves in the 00s, now their third coming, after a decade long hiatus, is a pop-rock band, obviously happy to be making music. And critics love it. Stereogum chose 'The Universal Want' as their latest Album of the week because "their roughshod-then-glimmering anthems always sounded like something magical striving to break its tethers and take off". It's also Alexis Petridis' album of the week because "it's all heartfelt, well done". NME gave the album four stars (of five) saying they "bring thumping fairground anthems, and words of hope". Clash calls it "a long-awaited treat, it deserves a warm welcome".

Chinese boyband Produce Pandas aren't a parody, they're just average young men that form a, khm, boyband. They are promoting positivity, acting as good role models, but aged between 22 and 31 years old, they are practically geriatric in boyband terms, as Guardian reports. Otter, DING, Mr 17, Cass and Husky were recruited because they don’t fit the standard physique - “This is a plus-sized, all-singing, all-dancing idol band, which has never been seen before in the whole world”, as Mr 17 puts it. The name describes them, they believe - “We just look like a group of pandas: huggable, chubby shape, relaxed and happy attitude”.

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"We in Northern Ireland are very proud of the fact that one of the greatest music legends of the past 50 years comes from our part of the world... So there's a real feeling of disappointment - we expected better from him" - Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has written in Rolling Stone about Sir Van Morrison's songs that protest against the coronavirus lockdown. In the lyrics, Van Morrison claims scientists are "making up crooked facts" to justify measures that "enslave" the population. "It's all bizarre and irresponsible. I only hope no one takes him seriously. He's no guru, no teacher" - Swann wrote.

Nine Inch Nails have announced a line of limited edition "Pandemic" shirts, and a hat - "this collection of re-takes re-flects our anxiety and anger during this unprecedented time", NIN said. Included in the collection are the "Mutation" tee ("Time to mutate. Feels good man"), the "Every Day Is Exactly the Goddamn Same" tee ("Getting tired of predicting the future accurately"), the "USAshamed" tee ("American pride, R.I.P.")...

he European Court of Justice has ruled that record labels will be forced to pay performers an increased share of revenue collected from the broadcast and public performance of sound recordings, Hot Press reported. The ruling makes it clear that each time a musical work generates a payment to the record label for broadcasting or public performance, the performers on that recording are entitled to receive an equal share of earnings, by now it was approximately 20%. Phonographic Performance Ireland has argued that the rule of equal share could not happen where Irish performers did not receive similar payments from non-EEA countries. The EU court ruled, however, that EU law precludes a member state from excluding performers who are nationals of non-EEA states from the right to a single equitable remuneration for the playing of recorded music, Law Society reports.

Surely something we could have expected from a poetry-loving bearded guy, Jarvis Cocker releases a brand of tea - Peppermint Jungle. It goes with hit new musical identity, so it's named Jarv Is, just like his latest album 'Beyond the Pale'. NME took a sip, says it "is undoubtedly the most soothing release of 2020". So, Jarv Is, planning on live-streaming your tea at 5?

In a series of tweets, Kanye West outlined some “new recording and publishing deal guidelines”, demanding for artists to own the copyright for their recordings and songs, and lease them to the label and publisher “for a limited term. 1 year deals”, with those “service provider” partners taking a 20% cut of the income. Also, “every audio file, every asset, every deal stored WITH the money. Money and Music must stay together. When your term ends, download it all. Leave”.

Tyler Childers has dropped a powerful statement with his new album 'Long Violent History' where he stands against racism and violence, and calls for universal values. He introduced the album with a video explaining his concept, best summarized with these words: "What if we were to constantly open up our daily paper and see a headline like ‘East Kentucky Man Shot Seven Times on Fishing Trip?' and read on to find the man was shot while fishing with his son by a game warden who saw him rummaging through his tackle box for his license and thought he was reaching for a knife?... If we wouldn't stand for it. why would we expect another group of Americans to stand for it? Why would we stand silent, or worse, get in the way of it being rectified?". The album consists of 8 songs played on a violin, 7 of which are instrumental covers, and the last one 'Long Violent History' the only with lyrics, and the only one written by Childers. American Songwriter explains the concept; NPR loves the album.

Ordinary people needed for extraordinary goals

'White Riot' documentary - punk, ska and reggae against the far right

"An excellent brief documentary about a heroic grassroots political movement whose importance reveals itself more clearly in retrospect with every year that passes" - Peter Bradshaw writes about the new documentary 'White Riot'. Director Rebecca Shah mixes archival images and interviews with key figures of the grassroots organization Rock Against Racism that bonded together punk, ska, reggae and new wave scenes to stand against the far right. The documentary closes with images of the Carnival Against Nazis, which drew in an audience of 100,000 in support of their cause.

All the good toys go too well

Billie Eilish launches a toy collection

Billie Eilish has launched a collection of toy figurines inspired by the videos for her hit singles ‘Bad Guy’ and ‘All The Good Girls Go To Hell’, Rolling Stone reports. The ‘Bad Guy’ doll stands 10.5 inches tall and features a life-like sculpture of the singer in her yellow sweatsuit. The ‘All The Good Girls Go To Hell’ collectible figure measures six inches in height and features fully removable wings. The line launches on October 15.

Motörhead was the first band to "really unite fans" from multiple different genres - Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich told Classic Rock magazine in an issue celebrating 40 years the release of Motörhead's hit album 'Ace of Spades'. Ulrich explained - "back in 1980, the music world was way more segregated than it is now. So if you were a heavy metal guy there was a particular look, a uniform. If you were a punk kid it was the same, or an alternative kid if you liked Joy Division or whatever. Everything was very segregated, especially in England. The one thing that was different about Motörhead was that they united people from all these different genres... So all these punks, skinheads, alternative kids and metal kids... everybody loved Motörhead".

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