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.
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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.
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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.
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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
This beauty of Swedish indie pop sensation/singing DJ JENS LEKMAN performing at BROOKLYN VEGAN’s CMJ party comes from Flavorpill’s Image Editor/house photographer Tom Starkweather.
If you haven’t heard Lekman’s music before, he sounds kind of like DAVID BYRNE 2.0.
But kind of not.
Live vicariously, and check out the rest of Tom’s CMJ coverage via… Read More