music

Achieving something undiscovered: Rolex mentor and protégé Ben Frost & Brian Eno

Achieving something undiscovered: Rolex mentor and protégé Ben Frost & Brian Eno

Given Brian Eno stature in the music world, it would’ve been easy enough for him to simply play the producer role for his Rolex Arts Initiative protĂ©gĂ© Ben Frost . It would’ve been a huge deal for the young, Australian composer and musician to get the same treatment as bands such as Talking Heads, U2, Robert Fripp and Coldplay, but the father of ambient music wanted to do something entirely new.

Go behind the scenes, and into the art, for Air's PAINTED LOVE

Go behind the scenes, and into the art, for Air's PAINTED LOVE


There probably isn’t any contemporary pop act as intrinsically tied to the cinema and the French electronic duo Air. From their collaboration with Sophia Coppola on THE VIRGIN SUICIDES to their recent reimagining of the 1902 Georges Méliès classic LE VOYAGES DANS LE LUNE , they’ve challenged the constraints of the movie soundtrack. Now they’ve teamed up with Cartier and the NYC-based directors collective Waverly for the short film PAINTED LOVE.

Quiet Ensemble turns your fish tank into a concert hall

Quiet Ensemble turns your fish tank into a concert hall

Quintetto promo from Quiet ensemble on Vimeo.

A new installation by Italian art collective Quiet Ensemble will have you looking at your goldfish bowl in a whole new way. Called “Quintetto,” the collective took five enormous water tanks, each harboring a cheery little fishy, and videotaped their movements. A custom software program then interpreted their (generally pretty erratic) motion to produce subtle electronic sounds that change depending on the position, orientation or direction of the fish. The resulting songs are surprisingly beautiful, even kind of soothing. The sort of thing you would listen to in the bathtub, contemplating buying a goldfish.

A Surge In Serge Gainsbourg’s legend

A Surge In Serge Gainsbourg’s legend

Except for the time Meryl Streep played a rabbi, the coolest man with an accent on screen, as of next week, will be Serge Gainsbourg. The French composer of hypnotic jazz-pop in the 1960s is the subject of GAINSBOURG: A HEROIC LIFE, in which Eric Elmosnino plays the guy complete with all his quirks and multitalents.

Quilts made from heavy metal t-shirts

Quilts made from heavy metal t-shirts

Artist Ben Venom makes these huge quilts stitched together from t-shirts of various heavy metal bands. Titled “See you on the other side,” the 13′ x 15′ quilt pictured above is currently on display at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Over 125 t-shirts sacrificed themselves in order for the artist to make that quilt. Although my ears are not the biggest fan of this musical genre, I have a huge fascination with its culture: the style, the fans, the hair, and obviously the devil worship (calm down people, joking here…sort of). Some of my favorite documentaries (as well as the mockumentary SPINAL TAP) focused on heavy metal music such as ANVIL, which I thought was rather brilliant. And our very own editor here Perrin recommended the short doc HEAVY METAL JUNIOR to me (watch in its entirety on YouTube) which I found quite hilarious.

Beastie Boys and Sesame Street mash-up

Beastie Boys and Sesame Street mash-up

Sesame Street breaks it down from Wonderful Creative on Vimeo. Branding agency Wonderful Creative put together this “wonderful” mash-up of clips from Sesame Street so it appears as if the puppets are performing the funkadelic song, “Sure Shot,” by the Beastie Boys. My favorite part is the flute at the beginning. G is for Gangsta!…

New fiction (and music and film): "Lola, California" by Edie Meidav

New fiction (and music and film): "Lola, California" by Edie Meidav

The amazing writer Edie Meidav (who also happens to be our friend and neighbor) is out today with a new novel: “Lola, California”, called “brilliant” and “awesome” by Publisher’s Weekly. Meidav is such a force of inspiration that art practically gets spontaneously generated in her wake: above is a beautifully haunting short film created by Snapdragon that’s inspired by “Lola” along with Meidav’s narration; and here is music inspired by the book from Kevin Salem, who calls it “part soundtrack for the reader, part songs inspired by the text … and part music inspired by the cultural identity of the novel.” Below is one of two excerpts from “Lola, California” that Meidav is generously allowing us to publish here — this one about a rape on a Greek island. Stay tuned next week for the second excerpt about two friends go-go dancing. Both are compelling creepy and deeply moving, even without the context of the full novel:

Hey London! What are you listening to?

Hey London! What are you listening to?

Inspired by the previous New York version (mentioned here), here’s the London edition of random pedestrians being asked what they are listening to on their headphones.

15 must hear songs from around the world

15 must hear songs from around the world

The Los Angeles Times Magazine asked 15 music critics and writers from around the world to nominate one track by one homegrown artist from that person’s country and “the result is a true rhythmic patchwork of intercontinental sounds, proving that though we all dance to different drummers, they always have a great beat.” Broaden your…

Beyonce, who run the world? Not girls.

Beyonce, who run the world? Not girls.


Beyonce’s latest hit “Run the World” is a girl-power anthem, sort of: “Who run the world? Girls” over and over. Maybe it’s aspirational. Eh, probably not

Robyn Documentary

Robyn Documentary

Robyn, the prolific and innovative Swedish pop singer, is the subject of a new hour-long documentary. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the life and professional evolution of a child star to an iconic force. It is in four parts – click through to the next part after each part ends.

On traveling to Bjork's homeland

On traveling to Bjork's homeland

Angie Grant was a friend of mine in 9th grade. She had a blunt-cut died black bob and wore black and white striped tights with black Creepers. She stained her lip cherry red and idolized The Cure’s Robert Smith.

At 15 Angie had found a look. She’d created a strong visual that invited ridicule and attention. I admired her greatly. And when i found out a few years back she’d died a little piece of me too also left this world.

I was thinking of Angie Grant this past weekend as I traveled to Iceland for the first time. Angie gave me Bjork’s album Debut when we were high school kids. And it changed my world. It was one of those crystal-clear moments when you easily look back and remember finding a new world.

OMD Live at Terminal 5

OMD Live at Terminal 5

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, the iconic electronic band that sadly most in the US only know from “If You Leave,” played their first US shows this week in over 20 years. At NYC’s Terminal 5 the energy was palpable and nostalgia flooded the room.

OMD’s latest album, History of Modern, is a welcome return to form. Unlike many other past-their-prime pop stars’ recent efforts, this album is quite good. It’s so good in fact it trumps much of OMD’s back catalog, which has always been a bit uneven.

Hoer Board's DJ table

Hoer Board's DJ table

Hoer Board’s DJ table is simply delicious. If Apple was a DJ equipment this is what their DJ console would look like. Missing are screws, wires, and general messiness of DJ set ups are replaced with this piece of furniture from the future. It makes me want to learn how to Dj, simply to have a reason to buy it. Which with a price tag of around $2,000 it better be a very good reason.

1978 love letter from Sid Vicious to Nancy Spungen

1978 love letter from Sid Vicious to Nancy Spungen

An artifact from the annals of punk rock history and the tragic relationship between then 20-year-old punk rocker Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen where Sid pens 12 things that makes Nancy so great. Note: number 9 on the list is NSFW.

Music in the shadow of Sundance

Music in the shadow of Sundance

The Sundance Film Festival has long had a secondary focus on music. This year’s official, Sundance-sanctioned performers will include Lou Reed, who has a documentary short, RED SHIRLEY, premiering in the festival. And there are also afternoon showcases at the Sundance ASCAP Music CafĂ©. The festival provides “an especially welcoming environment for musicians; the Sundance…

Loving hating Gwyneth

Loving hating Gwyneth

We always knew Gwyneth Paltrow was kind of annoying, but we didn’t realize it was “official” until we read the recent Time magazine review of her new movie “Country Strong,” which wasn’t so much a movie review as it was an account of how much people love to hate this privileged daughter of Hollywood elite…

EuroPopped, for all your crazy European music video needs

EuroPopped, for all your crazy European music video needs

Our L.A. writer friend Charlie Amter recently launched a labor-of-love blog called EUROPOPPED, what he describes as “a little epic sideblog” to “turn on more people to the crazy Euro music vids” he finds every day. And they ARE crazy. Or just foreign. Or maybe something is just getting lost in translation. Whatever the reason,…

Keith Richards apologetic signature

Keith Richards apologetic signature

The New York Public Library shared this amusing anecdote from Keith Richards’ visit in October. While Keef was waiting ‘backstage’ in the center before the talk, he unexpectedly lit up a cigarette in Marie’s office, and grabbed the clay saucer underneath the orchid for a makeshift ash tray. He then asked for the window to…

F* You If You Don't Like Christmas

F* You If You Don't Like Christmas

Cartoonist and writer Drew has this heart-warming nonsensical song for the holidays that can be enjoyed by people of all religious persuasions. (Ed. note: salty language alert!)

NPR speaks with Glee's silent piano man

NPR speaks with Glee's silent piano man

NPR has this interesting interview with Brad Ellis, the resident pianist on Glee where his official title is “Accompanist,” although contrary to his silent on-show character, he’s quite the conversationalist in real life. I noticed him early on in the show. He stood out because unlike the rest of the cast, Berklee College of Music trained Brad actually looked like a high school music teacher.
You ended up working on Glee because you knew the casting director, right? But you didn’t know you’d actually be on the show.

Right. I’d worked with Robert Ulrich. He’s a casting director, but he’s also so much more. I knew he was extremely good at his job, quickly seeing inside actors to steer them towards the right parts. One of the things I’m good at is teaching people that singing is just one more way of using their voices. So I had been working with a lot of the cast members, especially Cory Monteith, who didn’t have a singing background. And one day (creator) Ryan Murphy said to me, “You better get used to wearing all black.” And I thought he was talking about my fashion sense.

All of Billy Joel's greatest hits played at once

All of Billy Joel's greatest hits played at once

Apropos of nothing other than the fact that I predict this will be the start of a trend with other greatest hit albums, you can now check off listening to all of Billy Joel’s greatest hit songs played simultaneously. I am not responsible for any bleeding of the ear that may occur. When I was…

Evolution of hand gestures at concerts

Evolution of hand gestures at concerts

Artist Arya Mularama illustrated this piece depicting the evolution of hand gestures at concerts, which went viral. Check out his Tumblr for more drawings. He has a nice underground, slightly dark aesthetic. [Via]

20 iconic musicians' clothing

20 iconic musicians' clothing

Can you identify all 20 iconic musicians in the latest poster from Moxy Creative? You can also get posters of each individual outfit. I also like their poster of famous eyeglass frames. [Via]

Katy Perry's cleavage can tell you how to get to Sesame Street

Katy Perry's cleavage can tell you how to get to Sesame Street

Or rather, how to get kicked off Sesame Street. Perry shot a music video with Elmo for the pre-schoolers’ show featuring a version of her “Hot n’ Cold” hit, this one about playing dress up (natch). Sesame Street does this all the time — kidifying a pop tune with the actual artist; check out Feist’s…