1. Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Elliott Carter passed away yesterday in Manhattan. He was 103 years old. In an obituary, The New York Times writes that his music “could seem harmonically brash and melodically sharp-edged on the first hearing, but it often yielded drama and lyricism on better acquaintance.”
2. Sources say that… Read More
1. According to TMZ, Lil Wayne was hospitalized yesterday in Texas after suffering “seizure-like symptoms” on his private jet, but has been released and is now “doing better.”
2. If you liked “Losing You” as much as we did, you’ll be happy to hear that Solange Knowles’ upcoming full-length called True will be… Read More
1. Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” the lead single off her untitled seventh album, has arrived online. Listen to the song — which was written by Sia, produced by Stargate and Benny Blanco, and includes 35 mentions of the word “diamond” — here.
2. Iconic singer Andy Williams — best known for songs like “Moon River”… Read More
The latest twist in the, um, unusual career of Lil B is his unlikely metamorphosis into a based rock god. The rapper unveiled his new guitar-toting incarnation earlier this week with the video to a new song called “California Boy,” in which he wanders around Guitar Center in LA and confesses his love for a terrified-looking passing lady. We have to be honest here: the song’s pretty terrible, making it the latest in a long line of ill-advised rap/rock crossover ventures. Not every rapper deciding to make a rock song/album has met with disaster, but plenty of them have — so we thought we’d make a handy primer of which such ventures to investigate, and which to avoid like threatening rabid animals.
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1. Frank Ocean has decided to digitally release his debut solo album Channel Orange — a record which features collaborations with Earl Sweatshirt, John Mayer, and André 3000 — a week early. Stream it in full here.
2. Hans Zimmer’s score for The Dark Knight Rises has also arrived online. Listen to all… Read More
1. Can we all agree that the most exciting part of last night’s MTV Movie Awards was the debut of this new footage from The Dark Knight Rises? We know that we’ve said it before, but seriously, July 3rd can’t get here soon enough!
2. Speaking of MTV, the network is shooting the… Read More
The vast majority of music is written around some pretty well-worn lyrical themes: love, unrequited love, sex, unrequited lust, etc. But what of other, less obvious subject matter? Some of our finest lyricists (and, um, some of our less fine lyricists) have indulged some pretty wacky lyrical obsessions over the years, either focusing on an unconventional topic for a fleeting period, or cultivating a career-long obsession with an idiosyncratic theme. We’ve explored a few of our favorites after the jump — as ever, we’re open to suggestions. There must be loads more, eh?
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This week saw the release of Bat Chain Puller, the “lost” Captain Beefheart album. Although its songs have been available on various bootlegs, the album — recorded with Frank Zappa in 1976 — has never officially been released until now. In the intervening years, it’s become something of a legend — not quite on the level of Smile or the lost David Bowie album, but still, a sought-after relic of a bygone era. And while it’s finally getting an official release, there are still other similarly shelved records we’d love to hear but probably never will (we imagine them stuck in a vault somewhere, like the one the Cigarette Smoking Man tends in The X-Files). Here are a few we’d love to get our hands on.
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As big basketball fans, we were amused to see that fellow closet hoops nut Daniel Lopatin — aka Oneohtrix Point Never — recently released a song called “Rubio.” It’s named in honor of Ricky Rubio, the precocious Catalan point guard who’s currently filling up the highlight reels in his rookie season for the Minnesota Timberwolves. “Rubio” is only available in demo form at the moment, but we like it a lot, and it inevitably got us thinking about other great songs inspired by sports stars — there have been some good ones over the years, along with a few stinkers. Here’s a selection from both sides of the fence.
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Remember that festival line-up formula jpg that did the rounds a couple of years back? It sets out a hilarious generic line-up by categorizing the type of bands you find on every festival bill (“increasingly mainstream headliner,” “good headliner playing shitty latest album,” “fat bearded jam band,” “African tribal music everyone will clap politely for,” etc). Anyway, we got to thinking that a similar formula applies to end-of-year best album lists — and, specifically, that there’s always precisely one token hip-hop release lurking in or around pretty much every rock-centric top ten. Join us as we embark on a retrospective of the last ten years’ worth of such albums, and ponder what it all means.
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