music

Sex, drugs, and carbon emissions: Pearl Jam to offset '09 tour

Article: Sex, drugs, and carbon emissions: Pearl Jam to offset '09 tour

Is there such thing as a green rock star? I know my colleague Chris Baskind of More Minimal doesn’t think so: adding up the environmental impact just from touring makes the concept difficult to swallow.

While I agree with Chris in principle, I’ve got to admit that I like any genuine effort that a band makes to lighten its environmental footprint… and Pearl Jam’s announcement of its carbon mitigation strategy for last year’s world tour (as well as upcoming time on the road) has a lot to recommend it.

One-Night Stand Wisdom from '80s Song Lyrics

Article: One-Night Stand Wisdom from '80s Song Lyrics

When we published “How to Greet a Former One-Night Stand” on our site last week, Madamoiselle L suggested the worst way ever to do so: “Hey, how are you doing? Oh, I’d like you to meet your son.” To which Spes responded, “Wasn’t there an ’80s song about that?” Reader SS to the rescue! “Googling this was much more fun than folding laundry,” posted SS, “which is what I’m supposed to be doing.” So here, thanks to SS (and Madamoiselle L and Spes for the inspiration), are the weirdest — or, at least, most specific — lyrics about a one-night stand that we’ve ever heard.

New crazy-awesome video from Ok Go

Article: New crazy-awesome video from Ok Go

Ok Go is an indie band that has mastered viral marketing with clever, innovative one-shot vids for their songs. First there was “A Million Ways,” in which they did an awesome little dance routine in someone’s backyard. Then they upped the ante with a choreographed number on a set of treadmills for “Here I Go Again.” Then came “WTF?” — its psychedonkulous colors and patterns made you go WTF when you watch it (here’s how they did that one). Now, for the song “This Too Shall Pass” from their new album “Of the Blue Colour of the Sky,” they’ve done it again — even better! It’s a giant Rube Goldberg machine in a two-story warehouse that moves along in perfect freakin’ synch with the song, all captured in one glorious take (after more than 60s tries over two days). You can read all about how they did it in this Wired article. Or, after the jump, check out the four video installments of “The Making of TTSP“:

Transverse Temporal Gyrus: A Psychedelic Evening with Animal Collective and Danny Perez

Article: Transverse Temporal Gyrus: A Psychedelic Evening with Animal Collective and Danny Perez

Traverse Temporal Gyrus at The Guggenheim. Photo credit: Celia Quinnette

Upon entering the psychedelic bat cave that was Traverse Temporal Gyrus (the latest installation at The Guggenheim from Animal Collective and film artist Danny Perez), you were immediately bathed in a surreal environment of swirling sound and floating images. The museum was abuzz last night as fans crowded in for this special one-day collaborative exhibit. Selling out almost instantly, The Guggenheim had to add an earlier show to accommodate the spiked interest.

Ricky Gervais, 80's pop star

Article: Ricky Gervais, 80's pop star

Ricky Gervais has been popping up more than usual as of late to promote his new and funny HBO animated series. I wish all the talk shows he appears on would also air this certain clip from a music video. It shows Ricky from the 1980′s as a front man doing his best androgynous Bowie impersonation for new wave band Seona Dancing.

MTV's first day

Article: MTV's first day

MTV recently updated their logo (analysis here) to downplay their former music life, while emphasizing their ‘reality’ and lifestyle programming today. It’s common knowledge that “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles was the first song aired ever on this new and revolutionary channel when it launched on August 1, 1981, but in remembrance…

Interactive music table

Article: Interactive music table

Noteput – Interactive music table from Jonas Heuer on Vimeo.

A very cool proof of concept by Jürgen Graef & Jonas Heuer that would’ve been useful to me when I was trying unsuccessfuly to learn basic and fundamental music theory in elementary school.

“Notput” is an interactive music table with tangible notes, that combines all three senses of hearing, sight and touch to make learning the classical notation of music for children and pupils more easy and interesting.

Billie Ray Martin returns

Article: Billie Ray Martin returns

Billie Ray Martin should be a household name. Her voice is epic. It recalls Aretha and soul singers of another era. Ms. Martin is German. And white. And loves the Pet Shop Boys and electronic music. And disco. She’s always been a bit before her time. And those are the reasons why she’s not a bigger star. She may be too talented.

Online piano

Article: Online piano

Play the piano online right within this recently posted single YouTube video. There’s been a growth of what I like to think of as dynamic YouTube videos and this piano is a great example of how people are adapting YouTube into a more interactive experience. Have fun, kids, and let me know if you want…

Pet Shop Boys in your living room

Article: Pet Shop Boys in your living room

One lucky fan in England received the star treatment last week as my heroes the Pet Shop Boys played a surprise set in her living room. Lorraine Sands of Twickenham, south west London, oh how I hate you! Ms. Sands won a competition put on by the BRIT Awards, the UK’s version of the Grammys. The BRITS turned 30 this year and hosted a competition with the Pet Shop Boys. The winner would receive an in-home show by the iconic techno-poppers.

Trashy sounds from David Ellis and Roberto Carlos Lange

Article: Trashy sounds from David Ellis and Roberto Carlos Lange

These must-watch “kinetic sound installations” by David Ellis and Roberto Carlos Lange are something kind of wonderful. Watch and listen as the innocuous pile of trash comes alive to beat. I kept expecting to see Oscar the Grouch make an appearance. View more here.

Making music at Sundance

Article: Making music at Sundance

Still from ODDSAC.

Music is surely a strong theme at this year’s Sundance Film Festival: In Sam Taylor Wood’s NOWHERE BOY, a teenage, pre-Beatles John Lennon finds an escape from his dysfunctional family through music (watch a clip here). The band Animal Collective will debut the film it has spent years collaborating on with Danny Perez, ODDSAC, a psychedelic mix of abstract music and visuals. TWILIGHT’s Kristen Stewart stars as rocker Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning plays Jett’s bandmate Cherie Currie in Floria Sigismondi’s rock-and-roll biopic THE RUNAWAYS. And that’s just for example.

Raindrop melody maker

Article: Raindrop melody maker

Here’s your today’s bit of procrastinating fun: Click on over to Lullatone, a “raindrop melody maker” and create your own soothing ambient music by selecting different rain drops, each which produces its own sound that loops every six seconds.

The Wisdom of John Mayer, Tweeted

Article: The Wisdom of John Mayer, Tweeted

photo by Patty Keigan

Say what you will about John Mayer’s music — here marks the spot where Lo censored Em’s compliments about “Your Body Is a Wonderland” as a matter of principle — his Tweets are some of the funniest in the biz. (Okay, so he doesn’t have a lot of competition. Britney Spears: “How’s everyone’s 2010 going so far?”) Anyway, love him or hate him — or, most likely, a combination of the two — we thought you’d appreciate some of his Tweet-wisdom (twisdom?) on the topics of love, sex, bodily functions, and other important stuff. Here are a dozen of our favorites from the last month or so — you can follow him yourself at Twitter.com/JohnCMayer:

What 1 area of your body gets touched the least? I’m going to guess sub-scrotal flange, but it could also be knee cleavage.
If you call a girl 62 times and she’s sleeping, does it read in the morning as one missed call or 62? Asking for a friend.

Awesome letter from Mick (Jagger) to Andy (Warhol)

Article: Awesome letter from Mick (Jagger) to Andy (Warhol)

Pulled this one from the time capsule: an informal business letter dated appropriately in 1969 from Mick Jagger to Andy Warhol thanking Andy for agreeing to do the “art-work” for their new album. Mick, signing off with love, gives Andy pretty much carte-blanche do whatever he wants as well as naming his price.

A Sundance Channel premiere: Rufus Wainwright's PRIMA DONNA

Article: A Sundance Channel premiere: Rufus Wainwright's PRIMA DONNA

During the last 12 years, Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of music’s most mercurial talents, fearlessly challenging convention and famed for soaring melodies and haunting lyrics. While preparing his most ambitious project, a full-fledged opera entitled PRIMA DONNA, Wainwright and his famous family — father Loudon Wainwright III, mother Kate McGarrigle and sister…

The 50 best songs for your holiday party playlist

Article: The 50 best songs for your holiday party playlist

Last year we threw a holiday party and wanted to avoid the season’s musical dead horses. Don’t get us wrong: we’re suckers for anything Burl Ives or Andy Williams around this time of year, but for a festive get-together of friends we wanted something slightly more unexpected: a mix of both new and old but not too traditional. We spent a loooooong time searching the internet and our music files for the best ear tinsel, weeding out the downer or jarring numbers from each album, to create the perfect 50-song, 2-and-a-half hour holiday party mix (well, perfect for us). So consider this our gift to you — let us know what we forgot…and what you’d like return. (FYI: Songs are ordered by album, but you’d just hit “shuffle”):

The Hotel Café Presents Winter Songs (entire compilation):

Winter Song by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson
Frosty the Snowman by Fiona Apple
The Heartache Can Wait by Brandi Carlile
All My Bells Are Ringing by Lenka
Silent Night by Priscilla Ahn
The Christmas Song by Catherine Feeny
Maybe Next Year (X-Mas Song) by Meiko
White Christmas by Katy Perry
Blue Christmas by Nicole Atkins
Winter Wonderland by Kate Havnevik
I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Holly Conlan
Silver Bells by Alice Smith
Mistletoe by Colbie Caillat
Auld Lang Syne by Jesca Hoop, Butch Walker, Buddy, Anya Marina, Cary Brothers, Greg Laswell Lenka, Holly Conlan, Ingrid Michaelson, Jim Bianco, Jonah Matranga, Joshua Radin, Laura Jansen, Meiko, Sara Bareilles & Tim Jones

Let them sing it for you

Article: Let them sing it for you

“Let the famous voices express your innermost thoughts or your frivolous humour” with this award winning interactive online project, “Let them sing it for you” which repurposes various pop songs and unpredictably sings back any phrase or sentence a user enters. Of course, this program might also be another means for computers to collect data…

SPECTACLE REPORT:  Elvis Costello appears on THE LEONARD LOPATE SHOW

Article: SPECTACLE REPORT: Elvis Costello appears on THE LEONARD LOPATE SHOW

Elvis Costello spoke with WNYC’s Leonard Lopate about his music and the upcoming season 2 of SPECTACLE: ELVIS COSTELLO WITH… Listen Here:

Bad Romance, amazing video

Article: Bad Romance, amazing video

I wrote an essay a few weeks back about Lady GaGa’s taking over from Madonna and becoming the numero uno gay pop icon. And any gay with a Facebook account can attest to this with a simple look at their status update bar from this week. The gays are going gaga over Bad Romance, the new…

Rihanna's domestic abuse sells albums — so what?

Article: Rihanna's domestic abuse sells albums — so what?

Some people have been questioning Rihanna’s choice to wait to talk about her domestic abuse right until the release of her new album. But that’s just the way the magazine-TV-PR-celebrity-promotional circle jerk works: celebrities don’t tend to chat to magazine writers or TV presenters just because they feel like it, they do it because they are contractually required to promote something. And magazines, TV shows, et al are more than happy to comply, because celebrity cover stories sell like hotcakes.

The Queen of prison

Article: The Queen of prison

Those same talented dancers/inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines are at it again. This time, however, the tribute is not for Michael Jackson. Another effeminate and over-the-top singer gets their start treatment. Mr. Freddie Mercury would no doubt be proud that these prisoners, who learn to dance during their rehabilitation…

Run-DMC on Broadway

Article: Run-DMC on Broadway

It was only a matter of time before hip-hop made its way to Broadway. Many a musical act, from the Pet Shop Boys to ABBA, have translated their records from radio to stage. Run-DMC seem poised to follow with some big name Hollywood types getting behind the concept. They have all the makings for a…

Kanye West glows in the dark

Article: Kanye West glows in the dark

Love him or hate him, one thing is for certain: you’ve talked about Kanye West this year. He’s the arrogant buffoon who bullied a teen girl in front of millions. He’s the rap star who at the top of his game turned his back on hip-hop’s school of thought and made a techno-pop album where he sings. He’s remarkably annoying.

Broadway Legend Chita Rivera Launches New Album

Article: Broadway Legend Chita Rivera Launches New Album

Chita Rivera onstage at New York City’s Birdland Jazz Club – October 13, 2009.

Saxophone giant Charlie “Bird” Parker called it the “crossroads of the world.” New York City’s famed jazz club, Birdland, was just that on Tuesday for the launch of beloved Broadway star Chita Rivera’s new album, And Now I Swing.