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A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...



Posts tagged "music"

Aug 26, 2014
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Aug 22, 2014
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If you’re not listening to the wonderful Song Exploder podcast already, here’s Spoon drummer/producer Jim Eno taking us through the recording of the song “Inside Out.”

Aug 05, 2014
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Opera styles of great composers (via ‏@grahamfarmelo)

Opera styles of great composers (via ‏@grahamfarmelo)

Aug 03, 2014
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Spoon in the studio

Above: Spoon in their Austin studio, recording Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, photo by Jason Janik

The NYTimes today has a profile of Spoon and their next one, They Want My Soul. Since they’re not very good at “jamming,” here’s a description of a game Britt Daniel brought to the band, which, coincidentally, is not that unlike the card game I’ve played with my own band (I find jamming really boring):

Each member had to choose a song he loved, listen to it privately and then figure out how to describe it to the rest of the band in such a way that they could try to replicate its feeling together…. The goal of the game was to lead the band into putting together the ingredients of great songs without aping them directly. “O.K., the bass line is quarters in the verses and eighth notes in the chorus,” Daniel offered as an example. “The melody stays on the same note as the root chord.” Sometimes someone guessed a title — the bassist Rob Pope recognized Daniel’s choice of “Let’s Spend the Night Together” — and if so, the idea was discarded, because “as soon as somebody knows what the song is, you can no longer get past that.” An hour into considering how to describe his secret song, the keyboard player and guitarist Eric Harvey absently tapped out a pattern on a drum, and Eno immediately said, “Oh, ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’?” (In Spoon, pretty much everyone plays multiple instruments.)

At one point, Jim Eno explains why they finance their own records (echoing Bill Cunningham):

If people give you money before a record is finished…then they have their hooks in you. They have their say.

And why a lot of times, subtraction is the best mixing strategy:

A lot of times, an interesting thing to do is to take out the first thing you recorded and see where it goes from there.

They Want My Soul is out Tuesday.

Filed under: Spoon

Jul 31, 2014
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James Brown on the T.A.M.I. Show, 1964

One of my favorite all-time performances. Glad to see it being passed around so much lately, thanks to David Remnick’s appreciation in the New Yorker.

One thing I didn’t know:

This was the first time that Brown, while singing “Please, Please, Please,” pulled out his “cape act,” in which, in the midst of his own self-induced hysteria, his fit of longing and desire, he drops to his knees, seemingly unable to go on any longer, at the point of collapse, or worse. His backup singers, the Flames, move near, tenderly, as if to revive him, and an offstage aide, Danny Ray, comes on, draping a cape over the great man’s shoulders. Over and over again, Brown recovers, throws off the cape, defies his near-death collapse, goes back into the song, back into the dance, this absolute abandonment to passion.

Of course, James Brown, like so many soul acts, stole straight from the church:

That falling-to-the-knees-overcome-with-emotion dramaturgy is straight out of the Holiness Church, out of a belief system holding, in the charnel heat of the moment, that a person could be overpowered by a sudden tap from the Holy Ghost. Holy Ghost jumpers were what they called those filled with the spirit in the earliest days of Pentecostalism. It was a form of possession, of yielding with glory to a higher force. Many figures in the black Pentecostal tradition wore the cape.

There’s so many things I love about this performance — be sure to note towards the end how you can see the dust from the stage on James’ knees from falling down so much. Incredible.

You can get the full T.A.M.I show on DVD here.

Jul 29, 2014
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Anything you promote, there’s a game that you either play or you don’t play. I decided very early on that I was very ambitious and I wanted to play.

Jul 22, 2014
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Carl Wilson, Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste

This was great. I picked it up because of Mark’s review.

mlarson:


  I read Carl Wilson’s Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste, and it’s probably my favorite book of the year so far. Like Wilson, I never cared that much for Céline Dion’s music, and hadn’t tried to care, but I came away with a new appreciation for where she came from and some of her shrewd business moves. But it’s not just about the music and industry angle, the good stuff is how he uses Dion as the pivot to talk about taste, and all the baggage that informs our opinions.
  
  
    Much of this book is about reasonable people carting around cultural assumptions that make them assholes to millions of strangers.
  


There are tons of great quotes from the book, many of which Mark already pulled out. I particularly liked this one—


  Punk, metal, even social-justice rock like U2 or Rage Against the Machine, with their emphatic slogans or individuality and independence, are as much “inspirational” as Céline’s music is, but for different subcultural groups. They are just as one-sided and unsubtle.


—which reminded me of the Neil Young vs. Billy Joel section of Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music.

It’s a really fun read. I kept misplacing it around the house and asking my wife, “Have you seen my Celine Dion book?” Which was pretty hilarious. Recommended.

BTW: there’s a new edition of the book that includes essays from other writers on the topic of taste.

Filed under: my reading year 2014

Carl Wilson, Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste

This was great. I picked it up because of Mark’s review.

mlarson:

I read Carl Wilson’s Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste, and it’s probably my favorite book of the year so far. Like Wilson, I never cared that much for Céline Dion’s music, and hadn’t tried to care, but I came away with a new appreciation for where she came from and some of her shrewd business moves. But it’s not just about the music and industry angle, the good stuff is how he uses Dion as the pivot to talk about taste, and all the baggage that informs our opinions.

Much of this book is about reasonable people carting around cultural assumptions that make them assholes to millions of strangers.

There are tons of great quotes from the book, many of which Mark already pulled out. I particularly liked this one—

Punk, metal, even social-justice rock like U2 or Rage Against the Machine, with their emphatic slogans or individuality and independence, are as much “inspirational” as Céline’s music is, but for different subcultural groups. They are just as one-sided and unsubtle.

—which reminded me of the Neil Young vs. Billy Joel section of Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music.

It’s a really fun read. I kept misplacing it around the house and asking my wife, “Have you seen my Celine Dion book?” Which was pretty hilarious. Recommended.

BTW: there’s a new edition of the book that includes essays from other writers on the topic of taste.

Filed under: my reading year 2014

Jul 21, 2014
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Jul 15, 2014
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EH!? NO! NO! NO! It is not much to compose 12 or 13 cantatas in one year because if you think about it Bach, for example, used to compose one cantata a week. He had to compose the music in time for it to be performed in church on Sunday so if you just consider Bach, you will see that I’m practically unemployed!

Jul 12, 2014
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johnporcellino:

cretin-family:

Tommy Ramone photographed by Ian Dickson

Rock on.

Filed under: The Ramones

johnporcellino:

cretin-family:

Tommy Ramone photographed by Ian Dickson

Rock on.

Filed under: The Ramones

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