The first time I visited the Wikipedia page of Kimbra Lee Johnson — known to most simply as “Kimbra,” the 24-year-old singer from New Zealand — I thought someone was trolling her. Not that Wiki is exactly a reliable source, but famous people’s pages are typically groomed meticulously by their fans. Under genre, though, Kimbra’s page read: “pop, indie pop, electropop, jazz, soul, R&B, progressive music, progressive metal.” Then I spent more time with her music. I’ll add now: they forgot funk. … Read More
We were sad to hear of the death of British designer and artist Storm Thorgerson earlier this week. Thorgerson was a hugely influential and distinctive designer of album covers — he’s best known for his work with Pink Floyd, but he designed sleeves for all sorts of bands over the years. His style was instantly recognizable — heavily influenced by surrealism, and heavy on visual non-sequiturs that were both memorable and somehow disconcerting, presented with neither context nor explanation, apparently laden with meaning but defying simple interpretation. We’ve collected some of his most memorable designs here as a celebration of his life and work. … Read More
The Internet is a strange, strange place. As we noted yesterday, Gerard Way penned an epic letter about My Chemical Romance’s breakup, but in certain corners of the web, fans are flat-out refusing to believe it, and expressing their disappointment in the most quintessentially MCR way — by penning fanfiction wherein the band continues to exist forever! The world of MCR fanfic is a strange, hilarious place, but it’s by no means home to the weirdest fanfic you’ll find out there. And so, to celebrate the, um, devotion of a certain breed of music fans, here’s a selection the most hilariously weird band fanfic, you’ll ever, ever read. Warning: it’s kinda dirty. Obviously. … Read More
Anyone who’s ever had a band knows that a competent/punctual/well-adjusted bass player can be the hardest thing to find — guitarists are dime-a-dozen, but bass players always seem to be in particularly high demand. Well, here’s a potential answer straight out of Futurama – a MIDI-driven bass robot to hold down the bottom end for you! It’s called the MechBass, and it was built by one James McVay, an honors student at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand — we first spotted it at Hack A Day, where there are plenty of details about how the robot was designed and assembled. There’s also a video of MechBass ripping out the bassline to Muse’s “Hysteria”, which you can watch after the jump. … Read More
1. Frank Ocean will be the musical guest on the Seth MacFarlane-hosted season premiere of Saturday Night Live, which airs September 15th. Meanwhile, September 22nd’s episode pairs Joseph Gordon-Levitt with Mumford & Sons, and Daniel Craig and Muse will be on the show October 6th. [via Pitchfork]
2. ABC has ordered a pilot… Read More
Last week we ran a post on the people who we thought were rock ‘n’ roll’s most underrated lyricists — artists who don’t get the credit they deserve for their writing, either because they’re better known as guitarists/producers/crazy performers, or just because they’re generally underappreciated. We got some great feedback, and some excellent suggestions in the comments section, and all was very congenial. But last week’s post does raise one obvious question: If those were rock ‘n’ roll’s most underrated lyricists, who are its most overrated? We’ve taken the plunge and put together a list of the latter. Again, to be clear, this isn’t meant to be any sort of definitive list of worst lyrics or lyricists — Des’ree, your throne is secure — just those who we reckon don’t get enough scrutiny for being either a) not that great or b) not quite as great as people seem to think they are. So, what say you, readers? Are there more names you’d like to nominate? Or do we just need to join the witness protection program? … Read More
Lollapalooza celebrated its 20th anniversary over the weekend, turning Chicago’s Grant Park into a musical mecca that saw roughly 100,000 people gather each day in extreme heat and, at least on Sunday evening, torrential rain. In keeping with founder Perry Farrell’s original vision, the festival lineup was thrillingly diverse, featuring everything from hip-hop to dance to stadium rock. Highlights included a blistering set from Muse, a storm-defying performance by the irrepressible Foo Fighters, and a number of the non-headliners we knew you would love, from Tinie Tempah to Fitz & the Tantrums.
Our favorite fresh act to these shores was easily Australia’s Boy & Bear, the antipodean answer to Mumford & Sons, while the most memorable moment came from the full-on chaos of LA-via-Mexico’s Le Butcherettes — a band that channels Karen O via the Kills, only with a lot more screaming and fake blood, and in this case, onstage vomiting with its own theme song. The only real disappointment came from a bizarre set by a spiked and studded Cee-Lo that opened with a Danzig cover and featured numerous Girl Talk-esque breaks for snippets of songs by Guns N’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, and Journey. Check out our photo gallery from the fest featuring all those artists and more, including Lykke Li, the Naked and Famous, and Ellie Goulding. … Read More
What started out two decades ago as a makeshift traveling musical circus has now become one of Chicago’s biggest annual events. This year’s Lollapalooza includes performances from Muse, Foo Fighters, Kid Cudi, Cee-Lo Green, Bright Eyes, Lykke Li, Crystal Castles, and dozens more — and it also marks your chance to win a VIP trip for two to attend the fest.
We’ve partnered with GUESS to send one winner and a guest out to Chicago’s Grant Park to spend three days basking in music and sunshine, with airfare, accommodation, and VIP festival passes all included. The winners will also attend an exclusive afterparty presented by Flavorpill and GUESS, featuring Tinie Tempah and Young the Giant. … Read More
1. Kenneth Mars, a character actor best known for his roles in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein and The Producers (but who will always be remembered by us as the regal voice of Grandpa Longneck from The Land Before Time), died Saturday at the age of 75. [via THR]
2. Glenn Beck believes that… Read More