music

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 ‚ÄĒ 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.

Nervous Acid's top 50 albums of the 2000s

Article: Nervous Acid's top 50 albums of the 2000s

Norman Brannon is an author who wrote the book¬†The Anti-Matter Anthology: A 1990s Post-Punk & Hardcore Reader. He’s also a musician and blogger. His personal site, Nervous Acid, showcases his thoughts on culture, design, and often times, you guessed it, music. I am a sucker for a list. Don’t get me started. And while Norman…

Beatles, Stones, and Robots?

Article: Beatles, Stones, and Robots?

Culture Now is a newish blog I have been reading for about a year now. It is wonderfully designed and easy to read. The subject matter focuses on art, culture, design, and media. And though music definitely fits snugly under the culture umbrella I was a bit surprised to find an essay on Kraftwerk on Culture Now the other day.

This Must Be It: Röyksopp's odd new video

Article: This Must Be It: Röyksopp's odd new video

It is no secret that I adore Swedish electro-pop. I have since I first discovered ABBA. Then Roxette. Neneh Cherry. Robyn. And of course R√∂yksopp. Last month I posted a link to a free download for “This Must Be It,” their new single featuring the vocals of Karin Dreijer Andersson. The video for that song…

Major Lazer's major video

Article: Major Lazer's major video

Major Lazer “Pon De Floor” from Eric Wareheim on Vimeo. I was brought on board SUNfiltered to bring a gay voice to the blog, so I hope the above video for the song “Pon De Floor,” by Major Lazer, doesn’t seem out of place with my other posts. After all it is a¬†riotous video depicting…

The Wizard of Oz at 70

Article: The Wizard of Oz at 70

The Wizard of Oz turned seventy this year. The film continues to cast its spell on both children and adults. It has staying power that’s unheard of in Hollywood. And rightfully, in celebration of this big birthday, Netflix will on October 3rd stream the film for free for 24 hours.

Vinyl fish street art

Article: Vinyl fish street art

If you have tons of old useless vinyl records lying around and aren’t sure what to do with them, then look at this find by Wooster Collective for inspiration. It’s a fish whose body is made of vinyl albums.

Madonna's new album – Like a daughter?

Article: Madonna's new album – Like a daughter?


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Gays across the globe are anxiously awaiting (yet another) Madonna greatest hits package. The album, Celebration, also features two new songs, one of which, the title track, finds Madge back in the 90s amid a pulsing electro beat created by Paul Oakenfold. Madonna’s an artist who usually collaborates with cutting edge producers so it seems a little odd she’s embracing this sound now. But I guess the 90s are back and I just don’t know about it.

New band from a New Order

Article: New band from a New Order

Bernard Sumner has been a prolific musician the last few decades. He was a member of the iconic Joy Division which became the even more iconic New Order after the suicide of JD’s Ian Curtis. Word of New Order’s demise left a foul taste in the mouth of techno-pop fans across the world. Now, there…

Cassette tape sculptures

Article: Cassette tape sculptures

If you lived through the pre-CD epoch, you probably have somewhere a cluttered pile of ignored cassette tapes (kids, google it if you don’t know what I’m referring to). If you don’t want to throw them away, but not sure what else to do with them, then get inspired like artist Brian Dettmer. He converts…

Modeling the Humanthesizer

Article: Modeling the Humanthesizer

Featuring 15 bikini wearing models, Calvin Harris and his bevy of girls are painted with conductive ink on the palm of their hands and soles of their feet to become the “humanthesizer” and recreate Harris’ weekend anthem “Ready for the Weekend.” It gets going around the 1:43 mark. [Via]

Rediscovering Neneh Cherry

Article: Rediscovering Neneh Cherry

Andreas Kleerup’s just released eponymous album is remarkable. He out-R√∂yksopps R√∂yksopp on the release, which features haunting and bubbling synths and those emotional, yet detached, Swedish ing√©nue voices: Robyn, Titiyo, and, surprisingly, Neneh Cherry.

Green music festivals throw parties with a purpose

Article: Green music festivals throw parties with a purpose

What’s the environmental footprint of the average music festival? Add up the following factors:

Transportation energy: all of those fans, bands and vendors have to get there.
On-site energy: from stage lights to refrigeration, many elements of a festival require electricity… sometimes a lot of it.
Trash: just feeding hundreds, or thousands, of people can send literally tons of waste to the landfill
Water: Lots of people generally means lots of toilets flushing… and hands being washed… and thirsts being quenched.

OK, we don’t have exact numbers, but you can see that 2-4 days of music and fun can create quite an impact. A number of festivals around the world have decided to address that impact; others have built their events around ecological awareness. In both cases, organizers are addressing resource use and efficiency, and trying lighten the load of these events on the planet.

Tom's Diner and other rock landmarks uncovered

Article: Tom's Diner and other rock landmarks uncovered

Spin recently tracked down the Top 10 Rock’n'Roll Landmarks and I was shocked to find out that places like Tom’s Diner and Fountains of Wayne actually exist. Each of the ten locations listed feature the musical reference (there really is a Sound Garden) and also interesting facts (Springsteen’s Cadillac Ranch cars are planted at 52 degree angles –the same as Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza).

Kurt Cobain's F bomb

Article: Kurt Cobain's F bomb

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday on the 15th anniversary of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain’s suicide. His hometown of Aberdeen, Washington has seen some controversy lately concerning a makeshift park situated under a bridge in which the rocker hung out and once wrote songs. Recently, granite plaques have appeared around the area featuring Cobain…

Beef on the internet

Article: Beef on the internet

The New York Times today ran an interesting story on an old topic: beef between rappers in the hip-hop community. The article focuses on¬†Joe Budden, a new school rapper, and Raekwon, a 90s rap relic, famous for being a member of Wu-Tang Clan. Budden has built a following, and a means of attack, via the…