We wrote a couple of days back about the new posthumous Joey Ramone album, and while we’re not entirely convinced by the record and the philosophy that underlies it, it is nice to see the Ramones continuing to get some recognition, albeit far more belatedly than they should have done. The most famous way in which the band’s legacy has been commemorated has been the decision to rename part of 2nd Street in Manhattan “Joey Ramone Way,” a street sign that immediately made its way to the top of hoarders’ lists. It’s certainly not the only street around the world named after a famous musician, mind — check out 10 of them after the jump. … Read More
It’s graduation week, and we guess that means at least some of you are preparing to leave college behind for good. If you’ll allow us to get a little misty-eyed for a minute, we remember when we were in the same position, and it’s both exhilarating and frightening — suddenly the future is a big empty space, just waiting to be filled in. Happily, as ever, there’s at least some solace to be found in music, and there’ve been plenty of great songs written over the years about life and how to live it. So here’s a playlist of some of our favorite tracks with something to say on what life’s all about, and how you go about negotiating your way through it. Let us know if there are any lessons you’d like to share, too. … Read More
As you’ll no doubt have gathered from our Geoff Barrow interview earlier today, the Portishead producer has a new record out this week. After a decade of near-silence, Barrow’s suddenly become hugely prolific over the last five years or so, and he’s also proven pleasantly versatile. With another similarly multi-talented musical polymath also releasing a record this week — Damon Albarn, whose soundtrack album for opera Dr Dee dropped on Monday — we thought we’d have a look at some of our other favorite similarly versatile composers (not, we hasten to add, classical composers, an area in which we don’t pretend to have any sort of knowledge). … Read More
Last week, we published a selection of what we thought were some of the most gloriously offensive songs in musical history. The article gave rise to a heap of comments from our readers, stimulating (ahem) some healthy debate and providing us with plenty of suggestions as to others songs we could have included. There was a long discussion of whether “Brown Sugar” was really about heroin (the answer: no), but there were also some great nominations, so we’ve put together a readers’ choice selection after the jump. And, again, we’ve excluded genres whose entire raison d’etre is to shock — i.e. grindcore — so, apologies, but still no Cannibal Corpse. … Read More
The ever-reliable Jamie Stewart has outdone himself on the new Xiu Xiu album, Always (out this week), by including a song called “I Luv Abortion.” Bless. According to Stewart, the song is a song about a friend who “had an abortion out of love,” and is also “a big fuck you to the right wing in America.” We’re sure it’ll make for endless talk-radio fodder should Rush Limbaugh et al get hold of it, and that got us thinking about some of the other songs that have outraged middle America — and various other groups — over the years. We’ve put together a collection of some of the best and/or most noteworthy, both genuinely offensive and unfairly maligned. (Note: as with our gruesome songs feature a while back, this is essentially a light-hearted list, so there’s no Cannibal Corpse, etc. Sorry. Otherwise it’d be all grindcore, though.) … Read More
Recently we read yet another article about the word “like” as used by those darn kids today. We feel like we’ve been reading incarnations of this article since we became aware of the phenomenon, a verbal tic that, like it or not, has been more or less embraced by youths and even adults since the ’60s. However you characterize it — a “filler” word, a nonsense qualifier, or, as we used to insist to our parents, a way of tempering whatever you’re talking about — it’s like, pretty much here to stay.
For proof, we’ve put together a brief history of the most prominent appearances of the “like” craze in pop culture, from a 1920s New Yorker cartoon to Clueless. Indeed, almost as soon as the word rose to prominence, the pop cultural references began to be self-aware, if not flat-out self-mocking. Shaggy’s surfer-dude lingo is already half-ironic, and of course by the time Zappa got his hands on “Valspeak” in the early ’80s it was already something to be cruelly satirized. However, this hasn’t staunched the flow, and teenagers continue to use the word willy nilly, no matter how their teachers wail. Click through to see some of our favorite ‘like’ abusers in pop culture, and let us know how you feel about the word in the comments. … Read More
Sometimes, it seems like you have to be one thing or the other — an athlete or a brain, a princess or a criminal. But as we learned from The Breakfast Club, that’s simply not the case. We recently took a look at intriguing photos of famous authors playing sports — proving once and for all that nerds can be athletic too — and that got us thinking about the famous musicians who’ve also dabbled in the physical arts, often times with each other. Click through to see George Harrison taking on Bob Dylan at tennis, Robert Plant playing soccer in a speedo, Elvis in his football finery, and more. It’s enough to get our blood pumping. … Read More
This week saw the release of the music video for “Otis,” Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Otis Redding-sampling single from their new album Watch the Throne, and all their jocular tomfoolery got us to thinking about the other gents we know who have teamed up to bring us great duets, bro-on-bro style. Because after all, no girl will ever love you as well as your homeboy, right? Right. From the wonderfully cheesy to the just plain wonderful, we’ve collected some of our favorite all-man duets in music history here (you can also check out our feature on classic lady-on-lady musical collaborations, if we’ve gotten you in the mood). Click through to take a listen to our picks, and let us know which of your favorites we’ve missed after the jump! … Read More
Say what you want about fancy equipment or an expensive studio setting — a lot of what makes a photograph memorable is all about having an interesting subject to work with and being at the right place at the right time. Case in point, Baron Wolman, who was Rolling Stone‘s first chief photographer back in the late ’60s, during the magazine’s first three years. Now, over 200 of the iconic images that he captured during this incredibly important period of music history are being released in a new coffee-table book.
“I enjoyed shooting every musician I ever photographed, each in a different way but each with respect for him or her, with great joy in the moment,” he explains. “When I was shooting a concert I didn’t ‘hear’ the music, I ‘saw’ the music. Through the lens I was looking for single visual moments which would reflect the essence of the performance in the pages of Rolling Stone.” Click through to preview some of our favorite photos in the iconic collection, from a pic of Ike and Tina sharing a San Francisco stage back in 1967 to Pete Townshend grinning at the piano in 1968 London. … Read More
To many, collage is an under-appreciated art form – perhaps merely because often it’s too accessible to be considered Capital-A Art. After all, every semi-creative teenage girl’s walls will inevitably become a massive collage, and even in our age of recycling and DIY, there is often an establishment resistance to art that is built out of the art of others. There’s also a movement for exactly that idea, of course. Regardless, we love us some collage, and since music is ultimately nothing but a very grand tonal collage anyway (Girl Talk aside), we think album covers are the perfect vehicle for this particular form. These album covers, created from found paper, disparate ideas, reassembled photographs and pieced-together letters, manage to be strange, lovely, and completely apt all at once. Click through for 15 of our favorite collaged album covers, and let us know your own favorites in the comments! … Read More