Alternate Routes is a column from Flavorwire contributor and WFMU DJ Jesse Jarnow, in which he’ll explore music solely distributed outside the Big 3 of Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon.
Christmas has traditionally been the loneliest time of year for off-grid music, absent from year-end considerations and broader recognition due to scarcity or obscure format. Lately, though, this jolliest of list-making seasons has grown more accommodating to recordings from the corners. And while a truly functional SEO economy would provide full-time pensions for beat critics to cover the latest emissions from every conceivable platform, locality, and micro-genre, the annual listicle harvest and its celebration is the next best solution.
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It’s almost always a joy, at least for this longtime Dylan fan, to watch other artists interpret the Bard of Hibbing. Many of the tribute albums, the concerts, the film soundtracks (amidst pleasant straight-ahead covers) inevitably feature artists creatively mining Dylan’s back catalog, as Joan Baez did with “Love Is Just a Four Letter Word,” or reinterpreting the canon in the spirit of Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.” The resultant tracks veer close to magic.
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If you’re seeing more Bob Dylan than usual on your reader or social media of choice, it’s not by accident; we just saw the release of The Basement Tapes Complete, the 11th volume of his official “bootleg series,” and one of the most legendary recordings to bear that stamp. But this six-disc, 139-track epic might be a little overwhelming if you’re a Dylan neophyte, or even just a casual admirer. So as a public service, we’ve assembled a syllabus of required Dylan-inspired reading, with links to those available online for your immediate perusal.
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Press embargoes are silly and square, doubly so when the content is music that has been widely circulated for over 40 years and would have continued to find new audiences without any external help. Since Bob Dylan’s 1967 home recordings began to leak two summers later, The Basement Tapes have been a secret that nobody could keep, and as of last week, constitute a six-CD, 139-song collection that anybody can… Read More
The 1960s, as everyone but the freshest born Americans knows, was a fundamental era for rock ‘n’ roll. It… Read More
“Kansas City,” “Down On The Bottom,” “Diamond Ring” and “Hidee Hidee Ho #16” are all songs whose lyrics were… Read More
While this month may be a dead zone for big pop albums (way to delay The Pinkprint, Nicki), classic rock and indie rock dominates November with a number of marquee releases. Dylan’s Basement Tapes finally go fully legit with a comprehensive box set; Pink Floyd offers up its final album ever, six years after keyboardist Richard Wright passed; and Bryan Ferry ditches the Jazz Age in favor of his usual crooner rock. Meanwhile, TV on the Radio returns triumphantly, Deerhoof make their best album in years, and Ariel Pink, uh, still exists. Also this month: Mary J. Blige and Jeremih play with the mainstream R&B format, Foo Fighters pay tribute to American musical traditions in tasteful ways, Arca changes the landscape of electronic production with his debut, and Chumped prove to be one of pop-punk’s most promising young… Read More
If you have a thing either for Bill Murray, Bob Dylan or any other deadpan-poetic Daddy, you’ll find a newly-released clip… Read More
Forty-five years ago today, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair got underway at Yasgur’s Farm in upstate New York, kicking off a weekend of music and memories for 400,000 attendees and four-and-a-half decades of wistful Boomer nostalgia. (More on that next week.) It also resulted in 1970’s Woodstock, one of the most influential and perhaps the greatest of all concert movies — so in honor of the festival’s 45th anniversary, we rounded up the 45 best examples of the… Read More