The new Dan Deacon album was released yesterday, and it’s perhaps the last thing we would have expected from a man once so interested in the idea of music as a purely sonic entity, devoid of any narrative or greater meaning: it’s a loose concept album about America. Deacon has written some interesting stuff about the ideas behind the album, which is entitled simply America, on his website, noting that “The inspiration for the music was my love of cross-country travel, seeing the landscapes of the United States, going from east to west and back again over the course of seasons,” while “The lyrics are inspired by my frustration, fear and anger towards the country and world I live in and am a part of.” The result is a fascinating state-of-the-nation album, a record that’s both personal and also vocal about the country of its creator. In celebration of its release, here are some of our favorite albums that address similar subject matter. … Read More
Last week we published a list of what we considered to be some of the worst political songs ever — the trite, the mawkish, the hopelessly naïve. Predictably enough, the feature generated plenty of comment section debate, including one call for a corresponding list of good political songs. We actually ran a feature a while back about good 21st-century political anthems, but still, your wish is our command — so without doubling up any, here’s a selection of songs we consider to be as moving and effective as those other songs are banal and ineffective. Your comments are, as ever, welcome. … Read More
This week sees the release of The Bravest Man in the Universe, the intriguing new record that teams iconic soul vocalist Bobby Womack with Damon Albarn and XL Records founder Richard Russell, both of whom handle production duties. It’s an intriguing proposition on paper, and on record, the results are thoroughly excellent listening. The intergenerational nature of the collaboration, which also features an unlikely duet with Lana Del Rey — and the news this week that John Cale is working with Danger Mouse — has got us thinking about other occasions when artists from different musical eras have gotten together and produced music to bridge the generation gap. Sometimes it works, and sometimes, well, it doesn’t. We’ve ranked a few of the most notable such collaborations from best to worst. Let us know what you think. … Read More
It’s the stuff of lazy music journalistic cliché to catalog Sinéad O’Connor’s eccentricities — the thing is that no matter how many religions she professes adherence to or pictures of the pope she tears up, she remains one of music’s most singular voices and talents. Still, having said that, it’s also fair to say that not many people were expecting her new album How About I Be Me and You Be You? to be as good as it is (from what little we’ve heard, anyway). Given that O’Connor’s personal life has overshadowed her music for too long, we’re hoping that this album will refocus the public’s attention on her work. Either way, this record is the latest resurgence of a career that’s been marked by unlikely comebacks — so to celebrate, here’s a selection of some other unlikely musical renaissances. … Read More
When Gil Scott-Heron died this May, the world lost not only a great musician but also a great writer. Thankfully, he left behind one final classic album — last year’s I’m New Here – and a few final books. The UK company Canongate released Scott-Heron’s final poetry collection, Now and Then, in June and will… Read More
Last week it was Chicago, and this week we’re staying in the vicinity of Great Lakes and heading a couple of hundred miles east to Detroit. The Motor City, of course, has a long and proud musical history. Amongst other things, it was the HQ of Motown Records, the birthplace of Detroit techno, and home to a load of fantastic bands — everyone from the Stooges to the White Stripes (who were, lest we forget, fairly awesome for at least their first three records). This all means that there’s about a gazillion songs about the city — as ever, though, we’re just picking five of our favorites, which await you after the jump. What’d be on your list? … Read More
Who’s your daddy, punk? No, really! See, some children aren’t just flesh and blood. Some “dads” breed cultural revolutions and art movements. Father’s Day is upon us, and for that occasion, we thought we’d round up a few of our favorite proverbial “Fathers of…” world-altering happenings. Here’s to the virile musicians, writers, and scientists and their rumored, disputed, and celebrated paternity of something new and potentially wonderful. Naturally, it’s a subjective little group, so do feel free to contribute. We’re all family here! … Read More
1. If you’ve spent the last few years anxiously awaiting Coldplay’s followup to Viva La Vida, you’ll be glad to hear they’ve finally released a new single. Listen to “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” here.
2. Gil Scott-Heron‘s funeral took place yesterday at Harlem’s Riverside Church, and ended with a performance by… Read More
In its first season, our original music web series The Flavorpill Fix has brought you some of the past year’s best new music, from episodes hosted and curated by Marnie Stern, Titus Andronicus, and Xiu Xiu to an entire show animated by Japanther. If you’ll allow us to pat ourselves on the back about it, we’re pretty freaking proud of ourselves — and especially series director/co-producer/editor Sean Ruch and our host, Flavorpill NY managing editor Leah Taylor.
For our season finale, we’re going out the same way we kicked off, with a compilation of live songs and music videos by acts we love. Check out selections by Braids and Lower Dens from Flavorpill’s own CMJ showcase, as well as videos for Sleigh Bells, Gil Scott-Heron, and Mia Doi Todd (directed by Michel Gondry). Fun fact: The dog in the Sleigh Bells clip belongs to none other than Flavorpill’s own Nate Hageman. As always, New Yorkers can tune in to watch The Flavorpill Fix every Wednesday night at 10:30pm on NYC life, channel 25. … Read More
“I didn’t realize that you wrote such bloody awful poetry,” sang Morrissey in 1987. And indeed, the history of musicians with poetic aspirations is a long and patchy one. This year has already seen the publication of a couple of collections of poetry by famous musicians – we recently got hold of a copy of System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian’s book Glaring Through Oblivion, and Tom Waits has just published a collaboration with photographer Michael O’Brien called Hard Ground. Writing lyrics is a very different skill to writing effective poems, and the two disciplines rarely coincide. With this in mind, here’s a look at the best and the worst of musicians in poetry – starting with five whose work really should have stayed in their notebooks. … Read More