You may or may not have seen that new show called Opening Act last night, wherein a team of “industry judges” – viz. Mary J Blige, Olivia Lee, and that unpleasant English guy from Popstars and So You Think You Can Dance – judge various hapless bands for the right to support huge stars like, um, LMFAO or Jason Mrazzzzzzzzzzz. Still, the show did get us thinking about how plenty of great bands have started their careers by playing some support slots that seem hilarious in retrospect, from Radiohead opening for Alanis Morrissette to Jimi Hendrix opening for the Monkees. And that, in turn, got us thinking about support slots we’d love to see some of our favorite bands play. In view of this, we thought we’d amuse ourselves by looking at some dream hypothetical line-ups, featuring some big-name (or biggish-name, at least) headline acts, past and present, along with the indie bands we’d love to have seen open for them. … Read More
In the beginning, The L Magazine’s Northside Festival was a small-scale celebration of Williamsburg and Greenpoint’s indie music scene at a handful of venues in those neighborhoods, each night bringing a selection of the area’s best local bands. By its fourth year, the event had grown into Brooklyn’s own mini-South by Southwest; Northside’s headquarters, once a bar’s back room, stretched out to fill an airplane hangar-size warehouse, and its scope expanded to encompass film, art, and entrepreneurship. But as far as we’re concerned, the festival’s biggest draw was still the music. For four days, big-name acts like Jens Lekman, of Montreal, GZA, The Olivia Tremor Control, and Kool Keith invaded the borough, joining those same excellent local musicians who still comprise Northside’s core, while the Internet’s new favorite teenage rapper, Kitty Pryde, made her New York debut. We’ve collected some photos and highlights from an excellent weekend of music below. … Read More
Bear with us here, but the fact that the new Marilyn Manson album is out this week has got us rambling off on a train of thought that’s led us to this point. Y’see, Manson’s album skates awfully close to self-parody at times, so much so that it’s almost like listening to a cover band doing Marilyn Manson tracks, just not quite as well as the originals. This got us thinking — well, what band would cover Manson well (an especially apt question considering that Manson’s own greatest strength seems to be covers)? And more generally, what contemporary bands would make a decent fist of covering some of our favorite artists? We couldn’t come up with a good answer for the Manson question — feel free to let us know in the comments if you can think of one — but we did come up with a selection of other ideas for dream covers sets. … Read More
Twee pop may seem an obvious go-to for a Valentines Day playlist, with its reputation for painfully sweet melodies and lyrics coupled with cutesy instrumentation and aesthetics. However, as we’ve explained before, this genre isn’t just Zooey Deschanel and heart-shaped sugar cookies. With this playlist for your indie-pop Valentine’s Day, we’ve rounded up the best twee music both for basking in love and wallowing in heartbreak — or, you know, just telling it all to go to hell. As with all music in this genre, whatever the subject, if it’s not making you feel at least a bit warm and fuzzy, it should start looking for new work. … Read More
Good news for music lovers: there’s a wealth of new releases in September, and a lot of them look pretty fine indeed — so much so that it was more difficult than usual to prune our regular monthly selection of the best upcoming releases back to just 10 selections. But we’re a discipline bunch here, so we’ve restrained our urges and pared down our wishlist — the result is what you’ll find after the jump, the 10 records that Flavorpill’s most looking forward to getting hold of this month. What’s on your shopping list? … Read More
Whether or not Lady Gaga’s weird motorcycle hybrid album cover thingy was meant to be funny is entirely open for debate, but either way, the finished product is pretty hilarious. Apart from other examples of God-awful album covers (of which there are plenty), the whole thing got us thinking about musicians who are genuinely funny – often unexpectedly so, like Gaga herself, who has often displayed a pleasantly self-deprecating sense of humor in interviews. Read our selection after the jump. For the sake of this post, we’ve excluded actual comedians who also play music – so no Flight of the Conchords, The Mighty Boosh, etc. But even then, there are plenty to choose from. … Read More
With every new cultural trend, a counter-trend inevitably evolves to rebel against it. We are living in an era when the most popular music is beaten to a shiny, shiny Auto-Tuned pulp. It is no surprise, then, that many of those making music outside the mainstream have shifted into reverse and record on old, obscure equipment that submerges the music in a bath of clipped sound and fuzzy distortion. Some of these artists choose lo-fi for practical reasons -– studio time is expensive. But in this day of cheap recording equipment and open-source software, it’s not hard to sound professional, even recording out of a bedroom. More and more artists are choosing lo-fi as an artistic statement, and using its limitations to their advantage.
However, there comes a time in most lo-fi artists’ careers when it makes sense to move on to less fuzzy pastures. This transition can be a difficult one, often diminishing a band’s intimate, retro charm and angering a fanbase dedicated to the old sound. (Dylan going electric, anyone?) But sometimes it works out. After the jump, we’ve complied a list of artists that navigated the passage from lo-fi to hi-fi with grace and ease. We’re not gonna lie: we love the early stuff. But as their production values escalated, their music kept pace, and for many of these artists, their best work is surely still ahead of them. … Read More
If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: Jay Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s ink and paper representation of the quintessential American dream — with a dark side. … Read More
You’ve already had a topical heatwave mix, so this week’s download is a slightly airier, tropical one you can listen to while you’re outside getting color or cooling off in front of the AC. We have some sounds from new bands (Jump Jump Dance Dance, Caged Animals), new sounds from familiar bands (The Drums, Au Revoir Simone), and just some cheeky remixes that go with any summer locale. Be sure to Right Click + Save As after the cut. … Read More
Not widely known in life, musician Arthur Russell epitomized much of NYC’s downtown scene in the late-’70s and ’80s by introducing disco to the avant-garde. Little footage remains of him, but the just-released DVD, Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, trains a sympathetic spotlight on this underappreciated innovator.
Far from a conventional… Read More