Rock icon Nick Cave talked with 'UnHerd' host Freddie Sayers to discuss his book, 'Faith, Hope and Carnage,' saying that he sees human beings in a completely different way than he did early in his career, and said he is now a "more complete person." Sayers noted that the punk rocker turned "church-going person" might seem unrecognizable, but Cave said he simply gets a delight by "f-----g with people" and "living outside the expectation" of others. Today, for Cave, an avid church-goer, it means "you go to church and be a conservative". Cave also talks a lot about cancel culture and censorship.

Paul Simon has announced his new album 'Seven Psalms', out May 19, which came to him in a dream, Variety reports. On January 15th, 2018, Simon says he had a dream that said "You're working on a thing called 'Seven Psalms'", he wrote it down, without knowing what it meant. Gradually, he would wake up a few times a week at 3.30, and words would come (his debut album in Simon & Garfunkel, was of course titled 'Wednesday Mornin, 3 A.M.'). The album is a 33-minute, seven-movement collection intended to be heard as one continuous piece. Simon shares a video about the album, a trailer for an upcoming documentary about the album’s creation.

Bandcamp's Brad Sanders wrote an essay about growing up in sports, replacing them with music, learning to love running, and, with a little help from the post-metal band Russian Circles, how the two tightly connect. "I log all my runs in the Strava app, and in the description field for each run, I always include what I listened to while I was out on the road. It’s a formal way to acknowledge what Russian Circles taught me years ago, that the music that feeds my soul and the movement that feeds my body can–and indeed must–peaceably coexist."

"For the fourth year in a row, they’ve outdone themselves. The epic songs are more epic, the pop songs poppier, the country-fried desolation more potent and immersive" - Stereogum argues in favor of their latest Album of the week, 'Rat Saw God' by Wednesday. Rolling Stone writes lovingly that "the North Carolina band thrives on a huge guitar sound and the great songwriting of Karly Hartzman," whereas Consequence sees a beginning of something really big - "call it country-gaze, bubble-grunge, or skip the genre classifications altogether, the project is 10 tracks of immaculate songwriting, big ideas, and sheer character". Pitchfork tagged it Best New Music, because "their outstanding new album is why they’re one of the best indie rock bands around".

"Each chapter is filled to the brim with insights, new information, and powerful writing. McCormick clearly had high literary aspirations at this juncture in his life. I suspect that he was trying to capture something similar to Truman Capote’s 'In Cold Blood', the most celebrated ‘true crime’ book of the era. McCormick presents himself in these pages as a musical detective on the trail of the most elusive guitarist in history, and successfully conveys all the uncertainty and suspense of his investigation" - music writer Ted Gioia presents 'Biography of a Phantom: A Robert Johnson Blues Odyssey', a book about the famous delta blues guitarist written by his friend Mack McCormick. The published book is the early version of the manuscript. The later version argued that Mississippi guitarist named Robert Johnson—admired all over the world today—didn’t actually make those famous blues recordings or anything really. Gioia explains.

"[Nowadays] It feels like if you have a musical group it must be centered around the vocalist. If we measure the average percent of instrumental content per Billboard number hit between 1940 and 2021, we see demonstrable evidence for not just the decline of the instrumental superstar but the instrumentalist generally, with the sharpest declines beginning in the 1950s and the 1990s" - Chris Dalla Riva points out. He offers an explanation: "I believe it comes down to four factors: improved technology, the 1942 musicians’ strike, WWII, television, and hip-hop."

Madison McFerrin

"This is all about music discovery—and I’m excited to tell you about a few favorite artists you might not encounter elsewhere" - music writer Ted Gioia announces his list of 30 most intriguing new musicians. "It’s a cranky and deeply personal list", Gioia warns. Some of chosen ones are Hania Rani, singer-songwriter from Gdansk; Madison McFerrin, a pianist from a family of musicians; Sam Gendel - a versatile multi-instrumentalist.

"There’s a real depth to Heartworms’ music that matches the image, and proves her to be a true and powerful outlier of her time" - NME is delighted with the debut EP by Heartworms, London goth/post-punk band. Fronted by musician and poet Jojo Orme, formed in 2020, their 4-song introductory release ‘A Comforting Notion’ feels "urgent and important, brimming with all the promise of the next great cult act." DIY Mag feels similar about her: "a Seriously Fucking Cool new artist with vision and formidable talent to her name."

AI Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

AI at work: Kanye West dissing Kanye West

AI developer Robert Nickson has recorded a track AI has produced replicating Kanye West's voice in order to diss the rapper. Nickson recorded a verse and had a trained AI model of Kanye replace his vocals. The results are quite impressive, or frightening, depending on how you take it.

Martin Hibbert

Martin and Eve Hibbert, a father and daughter who suffered disabilities from the May 2017 terror attack outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, are suing conspiracy theorist Richard D Hall for defamation and harassment, BBC reports. Hall has promoted the theory that the Manchester Arena bombing, which left 22 people dead, that the attack never happened and reportedly admitted to spying on the victims. Hibbert and his daughter Eve, who was 14 at the time, were standing about 5 meters from the bomb when it exploded, per the report, and both required wheelchairs after the blast. The lawsuit is the first of its kind to be filed in the U.K. against a conspiracy theorist.

Indie powerhouse Dead Oceans is about to release 'Rat Saw God', Wednesday’s new album, their fourth in as many years, and fifth in general. The LP was announced with a thunderous teaser-track 'Bull Believer', an eight-minute powerhouse. Friday is the day.

Music streaming giant Spotify is shutting down its live audio app, Spotify Live, two years after launching it and after coming to the conclusion that "it no longer makes sense as a standalone app.” The company plans to continue with some aspects of live audio, mainly “listening parties”. Some of the app’s shows will continue as non-live programs on the main Spotify app.

"I liked the idea of writing music that was not amplified, that didn't require any electricity. It was just me and the scoring paper" - Thomas Bangalter, formerly of Daft Punk, says in a BBC interview about his latest work, scoring music for a ballet. The project takes him back to his childhood - his mother and his aunt were both dancers, and his uncle a dance instructor, so when France's contemporary choreographer, Angelin Preljocaj, asked him to score a new ballet, he couldn't say no - "my mother passed about 20 years ago and going back to that world is linked to a certain time of my life. So it adds some nostalgia, but at the same time, it was a very new adventure." He also shares his thoughts on AI in the interview, as well as ending Daft Punk - "It was an exploration, I would say, starting with the machines and going away from them. I love technology as a tool [but] I'm somehow terrified of the nature of the relationship between the machines and ourselves. We tried to use these machines to express something extremely moving that a machine cannot feel, but a human can. We were always on the side of humanity and not on the side of technology. As much as I love this character, the last thing I would want to be, in the world we live in, in 2023, is a robot."

A great show by CBC News about the future of music and the effect technology has on it. CBC News Explore’s BIG MUSIC looks at how Spotify, Ticketmaster, LiveNation, and Tik Tok are changing the very nature of music. It goes way back to the very beginning of recorded music and ownership of music, to the current moment of non-ownership. Great stuff!

"Capital punishment may seem an unlikely subject for a hit song. But a few hundred years ago, execution ballads not only circulated in society, but were extremely popular. The music business, as it existed in those days, depended on these bloody songs for profits. Countless examples survive in the form of broadside ballads—popular songs that were printed and sold and performed in public spaces. They were often sold at the execution itself. But they continued to circulate in the following days—serving as a combination of macabre entertainment, moral education, and daily news for people who hadn’t actually been in attendance" - music writer Ted Gioia argues how important and widespread execution songs were until fairly recently.

In a recent post on his Red Hand Files blog, Nick Cave answers a fan's question about breaking down after having lost his father. Deeply compassionate and positive: "We each have our reserves of sorrow that rise to the surface, provoked by one little thing or another, to remind us we are human and that we love and that we are a part of the great human story that flows along the ancient waterways of our collected and historical griefs. This breaking down is not something from which we need to be saved or cured, but rather it is the toss and tumble of life, and the occasional losing of oneself to the sadness of things is an honouring of life itself."

Coachella’s all six stages will be streamed live online across both weekends in April for the first time. The live YouTube stream promises performances from Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK, Calvin Harris, Rosalía, Gorillaz, Burna Boy, Becky G, Wet Leg, Benee, Willow, Bjork, The Comet is Coming, Murder Capital, Yves Tumor, Kaytranada, Boygenius, Weyes Blood, and many more. Coachella’s weekend one livestream will launch on Friday, April 14th at 4:00 p.m. PT, with weekend two following on Friday, April 21st at the same time.

The acclaimed Japanese musician and synth-pop pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto has died at 71, per a statement from his management team. Sakamoto was, next to Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi, co-founder of foundational synth-pop band Yellow Magic Orchestra, and their 1978 debut album, with singles 'Computer Game' and 'Firecracker', was a sensation in Japan. They also were influential in the development of hip-hop, sampled by countless in the genre. The trio developed their sound and broke new synthesizer ground with their albums, from 'Solid State Survivor' in 1979 through 'Service' in 1983, after which they would break up but leave behind an undeniable impact on the world of electronic music and beyond. As a solo artist, Sakamoto composed scores for movies, including an Oscar-awarded score for 'The Last Emperor', an anthem for the Japan Football Association, and the opening ceremony of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Simon Reynolds makes a strong case for Sakamoto being one of the key figures in the creation of techno, whereas Alexis Petridis argues the composer has paved the way for electropop and hip-hop.

"We are not used to silence. Music has become background noise increasingly" - Jarrod Richey, a music teacher from Luicianna, shares some thoughts on active & passive music listening. "Playing good music in the background... is about as useful as putting a foreign language audiobook on in the background while doing the dishes... Music must move to the foreground of our minds and ears. We must learn to listen actively."

Some very interesting thoughts by Feist in The New Cue interview, about her upcoming new album 'Multitudes'.

About lyrics: "No matter what I intended, people will interpret it through their own life experience and through their own lens. Even for myself, I can sing a song that I wrote 20 years ago and sometimes I get this sort of funhouse mirror thing where I’m like, ‘Whoa, that’s not what I thought it was!’ When the songs are open enough containers, even I can read them as an entirely different thing."

About being an entertainer: "People like that feeling, of having these declarations made from a brightly-lit podium. Through human history there’s been storytelling by the fire, the pyramid with the priest on top, or whatever version of a lot of people looking at one person it is. It’s weird that it’s now entertainment, but I’ve never comfortably fitted in that spotlight, or felt that I could shapeshift into that."

About becoming a parent: "In terms of motivation for these songs, a dimension in me opened so deeply that actually I didn’t care about songs anymore. I cared about how to survive. I don’t mean how to survive my daughter, but as a friend said to me, there’s an incineration in becoming a mother. You’re incinerated but the person that rises from among the ashes is a more interesting person to be for the rest of your life. It’s sort of a trade-off, you’re willing to lose everything to gain something more."

Seymour Stein, the legendary New York music executive who signed Madonna, Talking Heads, Lou Reed, The Ramones and co-founded Sire Records, has died at the age of 80, Billboard reports. Stein set up Sire in 1966 and became a key figure in the punk, new wave and pop scenes, also introducing UK acts like The Smiths, Fleetwood Mac, Depeche Mode, Seal, The Cure and Madness to the US. Stein got into the music industry at the age of just 13 in the 1950s working in the industry paper Billboard, only to become one of the most successful talent spotters in the business - his other signings included Ice-T, The Pretenders, KD Lang and Richard Hell & the Voidoids.

"Every song on 'The Record' might not knock you on your ass, but the cumulative effect is really something" - Stereogum points out in their Premature Evaluation of Boygenius' debut album. They probably don't like being called a "supergroup", and certainly, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus "sound less like three individual solo artists working together, more like one cohesive whole." Pitchfork gave it 8.2 grade, tagged it Best new music saying how each author "amplifies the other’s songwriting, enriches the detail, and heightens the emotion."

Avantgarde electronic producer Katie Gately released her new album 'Fawn / Brute' today, including the stand-out track 'Tame'. It builds on the fantastic and dark foundations of her sound, adding the cynical touch of the saxophone. It's big-sounding, and theatrical, yet easy to absorb.

Thailand has recently legalized marijuana, so Michelle Lhooq, the drug & parties expert had to go visit, with her parents! Small weeds shops have opened all over the place in recent months, but they just might soon get endangered. Hugely popular US weed brand Cookies opened its first dispensary in Bangkok in January, and there are fears the market will soon be dominated by foreign companies that will put small mom-and-pops out of business. Lhooq points out that the current legal uncertainty around Thai cannabis has prevented international interests from entering the scene, however, companies like Cookies are paving the way for a franchise model where US brands team up with local partners to sell name-brand weed.

"We are waving goodbye to the first 100 years of the music business (from music halls, to radio, MTV and download stores) and racing into what will drive the next 100" - Conrad Withey of the indie-artist service Instrumental, writes in his op-ed for the MBW. He also shares 9 ideas a "modern, data-driven record label founder may want to embrace to free them from the shackles of the past:

No more expensive music videos

No more risky deal

Lower music production costs

No more stressful playlist meetings or New Music Friday-obsession

No more wasted, speculative marketing spend

No expensive office space

No more A&R scouts on your payroll

Don’t worry about reviews

You don’t need to offer an artist tour support – and they certainly don’t need to sign a 360 deal"

Derveni papyrus

Music writer Ted Gioia shares an extract from his new book where he's looking for the beginnings of music research: "Musicology originated as the study of magical incantations... From the beginnings of human history magic was embedded in songs. The most powerful magic is always sung or chanted... That was even true for the oldest hunter-gatherer tribes. We know that because the magical images on the cave walls are always located in spots with the best acoustics... The oldest book in Europe, Derveni papyrus... is actually a musicology text... Conductor’s baton was initially a magic wand... And we’ve encountered similar magical underpinnings to music in hundreds of other places, from shamans in Siberia to the lore of Celtic bards".

Melbourne punk band Private Function are releasing the world’s ever urine-filled vinyl, Kill Your Stereo reports. Their third album ‘370HSSV 0773H’ is out today on Still On Top Records, with 50 copies on vinyl will be “a liquid disc full of our piss”.  Each member of the band donated their urine. Afterwards, the process of pressing the vinyl involved finding a “bacterial solution to kill the piss, otherwise it expands and could break open the records". All 50 copies of the “gold” version of ‘370HSSV 0773H’ have been sold out, and are expected to reach purchasers in “a month or so”.

Norwegian label Smalltown Supersound has released a deeply eclectic selection of music over the last 20 years, including ambient, jazz, disco, noise, drone and dub. The names on SST go from "smalltown" to internationally renowned - Norwegian dark ambient master Deathprod, Todd Rundgren made a collaborative record with Norwegian producers Emil Nikolaisen and Lindstrøm, Sonic Youth, Neneh Cherry, Kelly Lee Owens... Their incoming compilation 'Remix Anthology Vol. 1​-​4 2002​-​2022' - deliberately sidesteps some of their most popular releases to focus on the breadth and depth of their output, Bandcamp Daily points out.

Keith Reid with the band, far right

Keith Reid, who wrote the lyrics for 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' and about 100 subsequent songs by the British prog rock band Procol Harum, died March 23 at a hospital in London, at the age of 76, Guardian reports. 'A Whiter Shade of Pale,' Procol Harum’s first song and its greatest popular success by far, was issued in May 1967, at the beginning of what would later be remembered as the 'Summer of Love'. The group’s albums were much admired for their mixture of classical and blues elements, including songs such as Homburg', and 'Conquistador'. Reid, as a lyricist, was in an unusual position in the band as a full-time non-performing member.

Great words by Chris Cohen in GQ about Apple Music Classical, the newly launched Apple service dedicated to, obviously, classical music. "I have been endlessly frustrated with how the big streaming platforms (Spotify, in my case) handle classical music. And after playing around with it for a day, I am ready to issue a snap judgment: Assuming you don’t already have a Lydia Tár-scale collection of rare Decca LPs, Apple Music Classical is the best way to immediately listen and learn... Tthe success of the app hinges on solving a boring, technical problem: metadata. Pop music relies on just a few variables to identify a piece of music: artist, album, song. In the classical world, more pieces of data matter, like the composer, the conductor, the performer, or the dates of composition, recording, and release... A usable classical streaming service needs to figure out how to display all of that information, and make it searchable". That's what Apple Music Classical has done.

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"The message you're getting from the guys in the band is that they don't want to be engaged. They don't want to be married. They never want to be married, or if they are married, they might not want to be faithful" - jazz pianist Rachel Z says in an interview about love and sex on the road - "There's lots of rock stars that literally live that lifestyle, and sleep with two supermodels every night or three or four, and whatever party they're having is great. Many musicians have blown up our lives with these behaviors." She also goes into the position of women in jazz in particular: "The truth is, things have changed a tiny bit for younger women artists. But what I’ve felt lately is, now that we have many younger beautiful women artists, we can replace the older women, rather than building and promoting a female jazz lineage". Rachel Z also believes that women in jazz will thrive "if we uphold recognition and respect for the lineage of accomplished women musicians, along with owning our personal power".

Japan boy band King & Prince have set the record for 2023’s fastest-selling album in Japan, with their compilation album, 'Mr.5', selling more than 1.2 million physical copies in its first week, MBW reports. The ‘best of’ album also became the first album of 2023 to sell more than one million copies during its first week in Japan. On April 26, King & Prince sold over 1 million CD copies of their single 'Life Goes On' in its first week, which was the first time in three years that sales threshold was crossed.

Google's experimental AI tool that can generate high-fidelity music from text prompts and humming, MusicLM, has been made available to the public to test out, TechCrunch reports. Google explains that the tool works by typing in a prompt like “soulful jazz for a dinner party”. MusicLM will then create two versions of the requested song. The person can then vote on which one they prefer, which Google says will “help improve the AI model”.

A great long-read in the Mix Mag which explores the connection between the rising living costs and the downfall of clubbing. It also takes into account the societal, political, and behavioral factors, and sets forth some ideas as to how to deal with it. Finally, it tries to guess what this change will mean in the broader society.

SoundCloud is rolling out a new tool Fans that lets artists use the service’s proprietary data to discover and connect directly with their most-engaged fans on the platform. The tool has been used in beta by 10,000 artists enabling them to direct message (DM) superfans with the option to attach a track to these communications. This week, SoundCloud is expanding the beta availability of its ‘Fans’ feature to more than 50,000 Next Pro artists.

Zack de la Rocha of RATM / Missy Elliott / Kate Bush / George Michael

Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, and the Spinners will be inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the Performer category. Chaka Khan, Al Kooper, and Bernie Taupin will receive the Musical Excellence Award, DJ Kool Herc and Link Wray will be presented with the Musical Influence Award, and Don Cornelius is getting the Ahmet Ertegun Award, Billboard reports. Rolling Stone is angry - the classic rock media insists heavy metal should get its proper number of places in the Hall of Fame.

Pitchfork made a selection of eight songs that established Gordon Lightfoot "as a force in the United States and his native Canada—the songs that capture his essence". The New York Times has also made a selection, of 10 tracks. Guardian shares a short biography, full of famous admirers.

"Do you remember when the guitar was a wild, unpredictable instrument? (...) Well, Daniel Champagne still plays the guitar in that bold, unconstrained way" - Ted Gioia recommends the Australian guitarist (now living in Nashville). "You feel as if he just invented the instrument yesterday and was discovering its possibilities afresh. And I haven’t even started telling you about his singing and songwriting—but go find out for yourself."

"Italy's politically radical clubs of the '60s, New York City's disco scene, Detroit and Chicago's house and techno paradises, Ibiza's counterculture communal retreats, Britain's rave culture, and Berlin's techno scene" find their place in the new book 'Temporary Pleasure: Nightclub Architecture, Design and Culture from the 1960s to Today' by John Leo Gillen, who insists that the industry’s ​“one constant is change”. "The book wants to transform our expectations of club spaces. With cities, scenes and clubs in constant flux, they suggest we embrace that ephemerality through extensive photos and interviews" - The Face points out.

A federal jury in Washington, D.C., convicted Fugees rapper Prakazrel “Pras” Michel on charges including conspiracy, witness tampering, and failing to register as an agent of China, CNN reports. Prosecutors alleged that Malaysian fugitive businessman Jho Low paid Pras roughly $100 million to influence American politics, first with illegal political payments intended to support Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012, and later to influence Donald J. Trump and his administration to end a Department of Justice investigation into Jho Low. Leonardo DiCaprio was called as a witness during the trial due to his connection with Jho Low, who helped finance DiCaprio’s film 'The Wolf of Wall Street'. Pras Michel faces up to 20 years in prison.

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