Metallica

The Devil’s Music: 10 Songs Based Around the Tritone Interval

If you’ve ever studied any music theory or are just given to reading about music, you’ve probably heard of the tritone — it’s an interval that’s three whole tones apart, and its dissonance means that it sounds sinister as hell. Some time in the 18th century, possibly earlier, it was dubbed diabolus in musica (the devil in music), and its use has historically been frowned upon in liturgical music, which generally relies on unison and harmony. (This, perhaps, gives rise to the oft-repeated story that the tritone was banned by the Catholic Church.) All this, of course, means that using it in your songs carries a certain inherent badassness — something exploited by the musicians who populate this list. … Read More

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Michael Keaton Returns, and So Does Charles Dickens: Links You Need to See

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… half-naked Michael Keaton running through Times Square. Well, really, it’s your afternoon links!  … Read More

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Famous Album Covers in Reverse Reveal More Than Just Tushies

When album art succeeds, it becomes wholly embedded in our conception of the music it introduces. Whether you like it or not, Nirvana ensured that you wouldn’t be able to listen to Nevermind without envisioning a wet, cash-hungry baby. You’ll likely never listen to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy without thinking about a butterfaced illustration of Kanye fucking a more-butterfaced angel, and you certainly can’t listen to Raffi’s Bananaphone without thinking of a phone that’s a banana! Aware of the stubbornness of such images, a Flickr user who goes by Harvezt decided to provide another dimension to these otherwise invariable visual associations (spotted via Stereogum). Here, Harvezt flips the album art, showing these covers from behind and opening our imaginations to what might have lurked beyond these famous frames.  … Read More

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Ranking the 2014 Grammy Performances from Best to Worst

And so, the Grammys again. Since half the awards are given out before the ceremony even takes place, the abiding sources of interest these days are a) the outfits and b) the performances. As far as 2014 goes, the relevant points of interest on the former point were Pharrell’s hat (which, inevitably, already has its own Twitter account) and Kacey Musgraves’ curious dress. And the performances… well, as ever, they ranged from the almost sublime to the utterly ridiculous. Here’s our rundown of each any every one, starting with the best and working through to the ones that sent you to the fridge for several more… Read More

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10 of the Most Self-Indulgent Albums of Our Time

Y’know what they say about buses — you wait forever for one, and then two turn up at once. So it has proven with Justin Timberlake albums, with the key difference that the albums that have arrived this year aren’t so much buses as a couple of those gigantic stretch limos from Aphex Twin’s “Windowlicker” video. Both volumes of his The 20/20 Experience are contenders for the most overlong and overblown albums of the year, which is a shame, because their predecessor — 2006’s Futuresex/Lovesounds — was a well-crafted, lean pop delight. Still, for all that it’s kinda self-indulgent, the Timberlake double-act still has a ways to go to rival some of the truly overblown and self-indulgent records people have made over the years. Behold: the hall of shame. … Read More

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Does Spotify Prove That Lars Ulrich Was Right All Along?

Remember Napster? If you’re old enough, the name probably conjures up memories of two things: a) furtively trying to download questionable MP3s at dial-up speeds and b) Lars Ulrich. The Metallica drummer is still living down the disastrous legacy of his legal battle with the file-sharing company, a battle that made him the most hated man in the music industry circa 2000 and a poster boy for the idea that old people just don’t understand the Internet. But with the backlash growing against the pittance that artists get paid by new post-Napster services like Spotify, it seems like a good time to ask: are we all living in the Lars Ulrich free-music dystopia? And was he maybe right all along? … Read More

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The Internet’s Funniest Band T-Shirt Parodies

A hilarious T-shirt design has been making the rounds on the Internet over the last couple of days — it’s the iconic radio wave landscape from the cover of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, emblazoned with the words, “What is this? I’ve seen it on Tumblr.” The shirt is the work of one Adam J. Kurtz, a New York City-based designer, and you can pre-order it here. As you wait for your purchase to arrive, here’s a selection of similarly amusing takes on iconic band logos, album cover art, and T-shirt designs. … Read More

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Awe-Inspiring Music Based on Classic Fantasy Stories

Game of Thrones is back this week, and we’re celebrating its return by raising our pitchers of mead and embarking on a week-long feast of all things fantastic (which we mean, of course, in the traditional/geeky sense of “related to the fantasy genre”). Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper party without some music for the bards to play, so we’re commencing the week with a bumper selection of songs and albums inspired by classic fantasy stories. Join us as we put on our robe and wizard hat and set out on an epic quest to create the ultimate sword-and-sorcery playlist!
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Forget Karaoke: Here Are 10 of NYC's Best Live Tribute Bands

You thought earnest, shameless tribute bands were just for Las Vegas, didn’t you? While New York obviously has a wealth of original music to offer, we’ve been thinking: singing along to live renditions of “Fat-Bottomed Girls” could in theory be a lot more fun than pretending to care about DIIV. It’s time to take a break from nodding to noise bands and take your pick from this fine array of tributes to the classic acts we all totally still listen to, even though we’ll only admit it at karaoke. … Read More

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25 Must-See Music Documentaries

Our favorite of this week’s several fine indie releases is Searching for Sugar Man, Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul’s investigative profile of Sixto Rodriguez, a singer/songwriter who should have been a giant star in the early 1970s and instead faded into obscurity (and then became a cult sensation in New Zealand, Australia, and apartheid-era South Africa). Bendjelloul’s warm, kind film is both a showcase for terrific music and a compelling human interest story; it deserves a place alongside the best music documentaries, and since it reminded us of them, we thought we’d compile a list of our favorite music docs. It’s a list that’s constantly in flux, so we’ve included some alternates (as well as where you can see them); we’d love to hear yours as well. Check it out after the jump. … Read More

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