Why Is Prince Getting Back Into Bed With Warner Brothers?

Hell must be freezing over, and the sun will probably rise in the west tomorrow, because this morning brought news of the single most unlikely thing in the world (or the music industry, at least): Prince has re-signed with Warner Bros. I say “re-signed” because, remember, Warner is the same company that so infuriated His Purpleness in the 1990s that he took to scrawling “SLAVE” on his face when he appeared in public, and pioneered the legally adventurous move of changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol in an attempt to extricate himself from his record contract. This fact seems to have been largely overlooked by everyone reporting the news of his new deal this morning. Clearly, Prince’s ways are inscrutable at best, but seriously, what’s going on here? … Read More

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‘Time Is Illmatic’: Why Nas’ Classic Album Is More Relevant Than Ever

There’s a moment in One9 and Erik Parker’s excellent documentary Time is Illmatic, which opened the Tribeca Film Festival last night, that sticks in the memory. Nas and his brother Jabari are discussing a photo that was taken in 1994, not long before the album release. It was snapped outside the building in the Queensbridge projects where the brothers grew up, and eventually appeared in the CD booklet. It captures a moment when friends and foes alike united behind a local boy who’d made them proud. There are maybe 20 people in the photo, some in their late teens, some little more than boys. Jabari points at face after face: “He’s doing life. He’s doing 20 years. He got shot. He just got out after doing a long time.” Nas is silent, although his eyes betray his horror. Eventually, he sighs, and speaks to the camera. “That’s fucked up.” … Read More

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Flavorwire Feature: EMA Finds a Future in the Void

It’s the first show of EMA’s new album tour, at Union Pool in Brooklyn, and things are going wrong. Her collaborator Leif Shackelford has been having trouble with his equipment all night, and about halfway through “Milkman,” something seems to fail completely. Shackelford bolts offstage, leaving three bewildered bandmates staring at where he’s supposed to be. They finish the song anyway, and Erika M. Anderson — she of the EMA acronym — gently admonishes Shackelford when he reappears. He explains what’s gone wrong, and then smiles: “C’mon, you had more fun finishing that song than anything else you’ve done tonight.” She chuckles ruefully. Speaking into the mic to make sure the whole place can hear her, she replies: “It’s true. I like it when things are all fucked up.” … Read More

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Beautiful Photos of a Farmer and His Pigs

Pigs get a bad rap — they’re generally portrayed as, in the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, “a filthy animal.” It’s not really fair, though. They’re intelligent, sensitive creatures, and the more I read about them, the worse I feel about bacon. Their social side is on full display in these beautiful photos of a pig farmer by the name of Otchan, who looks after some 1,200 pigs at his farm in southern Japan. The images, which we found on Feature Shoot, are the work of photographer Toshiteru Yamaji, and appear in his self-published photo book, Pigs and Papa. They capture the bond between human and animal, and serve as a stark reminder that our food doesn’t have to be produced in hideous industrial farms. … Read More

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Farewell to the Most Memorably Punchable TV Villain of Our Time

At about 9:56 pm EST last night, Twitter exploded with approximately a bazillion people all tweeting something along the lines of “YESSSSS SUCK IT JOFFREY!!!1!11!!” It’s probably the greatest outpouring of TV-based schadenfreude since — well, since Jesse got his revenge on Todd in Breaking Bad, at least. Yes, not-at-all good King Joffrey finally got his comeuppance, getting poisoned at his own wedding and bleeding his last out through his eyeballs as the Internet whooped and cheered in delight. Sometimes, the bad guys do get what’s coming. … Read More

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Your Guide to Surviving the Baby Boomer Clone Apocalypse

Stop this madness! You might think it’s all very well for some dentist somewhere, who apparently has one of John Lennon’s teeth, to use it to create some sort of clone of the late Beatles bandleader — but this is the thin end of the wedge. Remember Jurassic Park? If this idea isn’t stopped immediately, then we’re looking at something even worse than the end of the world: eternal life for the baby boomers! It starts with one Lennon, but before we know it, there’ll be armies of Jerry Garcias devouring everything before them, and hordes of John Bonhams prowling the streets in search of prey. … Read More

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Kurt Cobain Would Have Loved Lorde Fronting Nirvana

There’s not a great deal to be said about Nirvana’s Hall of Fame induction that hasn’t been said a gazillion times already. (If you haven’t seen the performances yet, there’s plenty of video here.) Still, it’s been depressingly predictable to see the complaints this morning about Lorde’s participation, with people bitching that she “hasn’t earned the right” and is “too pop,” etc. A couple of points here: first, the two remaining members of Nirvana chose the evening’s singers, and they have “earned the right” to do pretty much whatever the fuck they want. And second, I rather get the feeling that a certain K. Cobain would have enjoyed the idea of a 17-year-old girl from New Zealand fronting his band at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. … Read More

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10 Musicians You Never Knew Had Their Own TV Shows

The folk at Dangerous Minds specialize in unearthing fascinating obscurities from the depths of the Internet, but they outdid themselves this week by finding a clip from a pilot for a sitcom Kraftwerk made in the early 1970s, circa The Man-Machine. The spectacle of what must surely be the strangest TV show you’ve seen in quite some time got us thinking about other musicians’ curious TV ventures — so here are ten of the most weird and wonderful, from Snoop’s sketch comedies to New Kids on the Block not playing themselves in their own… Read More

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No, the Internet Isn’t Killing Free Speech

This seems to be the week for Internet-related existential anguish. First there was a New York Times op-ed wherein an NYU student by the name of Zachary Fine bemoaned the way pluralism has apparently left the millennial generation in a puddle of indecision and angst, and then Jon Lovett’s piece for The Atlantic about how everyone being nasty to one another on the Internet is undermining free speech. To some extent, these arguments seem to contradict one another, but when you look more closely, they’re both manifestations of the same basic premise: that the diversity of voices and opinions and views on the Internet are undermining our ability to get things done — and, if this is correct, then the question is whether the benefits of this diversity outweigh the detriments. I submit that they do. But let’s look at both arguments. … Read More

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It’s Time to Kill the Poptimism vs. Rockism Debate

It’s a rule of thumb that you can tell a debate has become really tired when it reaches the pages of the New York Times. So it goes with the rockism vs. poptimism discussion, which has been burbling in critical circles for the best part of a decade, but has finally reached the mainstream in the wake of Ted Gioia’s piece in the Daily Beast about the state of music criticism. … Read More

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