PJ Harvey

The Albums That Flavorwire Staffers Heard Too Early

Earlier this month, we surveyed Flavorwire central for a selection of the books we read too early. The responses we got were both informative and a whole lot of fun, so we decided we’d extend the concept into some of the other areas of culture that we enjoy here — starting with the world of music, and the albums that various staff members listened to at perilously tender ages. From the raunchy through the political to the mildly disconcerting, here are the albums that we listened to too early (including, curiously, not one but two Beatles records.) What are yours? … Read More

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’90s Music Icons on ’90s Nostalgia

“I get sentimental over the music of the ’90s,” music critic Rob Sheffield writes in his memoir, Love Is a Mix Tape. “Deplorable, really. But I love it all. As far as I’m concerned the ’90s was the best era for music ever, even the stuff that I loathed at the time, even the stuff that gave me stomach cramps.” Considering the current fashion of reunion tours and cruises and the Internet-based obsession with the quirkiness of popular culture from two decades ago, Sheffield seems to be in the majority. But there are plenty of musical icons from the era who have more of a love-hate affair with the decade that brought them fame. Click through and read about how those icons look back on the ’90s: fondly, with derision, or somewhere in between. … Read More

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Fascinating Photos of Great Musicians’ Earliest Musical Endeavors

Everyone has to start somewhere, and all that. We’re always fascinated by the idea of looking into the history of our favorite artists, be they musicians, writers, filmmakers or whatever else, and as such we found ourselves seeking out the earliest musical endeavors of some of our favorite musicians. We thought we’d share some of the fruits of our searching with you — fascinating photographs of famous musicians in the earliest stages of their artistic… Read More

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10 Songs That Make You Cry

Most movie audiences will be choosing between two big releases for the upcoming holiday weekend: Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables. If you don’t mind secretly sobbing in a dark theater, and your mom is tagging along (moms really love Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman), you’ll probably find yourself transported to 19th-century France for the adaptation of Victor Hugo’s famous novel. The trailer for Les Mis reveals footage of Anne Hathaway as the ill-fated prostitute Fantine performing a weepy, whispery rendition of the beloved “I Dreamed a Dream.” Whether you appreciate movie musicals or not, the song instantly turns on the waterworks for a lot of people. It’s a heartbreaking lament. This got us thinking about other tunes that call for Kleenex and a shoulder to cry on. For a song to tap into such emotion is an incredibly intimate thing, and not all of the reasons are sad ones. Sometimes the sheer magnificence of a piece of music elicits a few tears. We selected a group of tracks that tend to make people sob. What songs really bring out your cry face? … Read More

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Extremely Silly Photos of Extremely Serious Musicians

If you’ve ever wanted to see Blixa Bargeld hanging out in the kitchen, Joy Division pretending to be Monty Python, or Leonard Cohen wearing denim cut offs, then click through and get… Read More

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A Selection of Great Duets We’d Love to See

As we’ve written here in the past, the duet is an inexact science — some of the collaborations that you’d think should have been roaring successes proved to be disastrous, and vice versa. We’re still on the fence as to which group the new St. Vincent/David Byrne collaboration Love This Giant, which is out today, falls into — but either way, the fact that two of our favorite artists have made a whole record together got us thinking about other dream duets we’d love to see. We’ve started the discussion with a bunch of suggestions. Who would you like to see in the studio together? … Read More

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The Celebrity Couples We’re Most Inexplicably Attached To

We were very upset this week to learn that one of our favorite celebrity couples of all time, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, are getting a divorce after nine years of marriage. In fact, we were much too upset, considering the fact that we know neither party personally, and we know nothing about them as a couple other than what we surmise from photos and the odd interview. But some celebrity couples just have that effect on us — we find ourselves inexplicably attached to them, whether they just make so much sense together, or because they seem to represent some little corner of perfection all on their own. After the jump, we’ve put together a list of such couples, both present and (sadly) past. Click through to see who we chose, and let us know which celebrity couples fascinate you to no end in the comments. … Read More

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10 Great State-of-the-Nation Albums

The new Dan Deacon album was released yesterday, and it’s perhaps the last thing we would have expected from a man once so interested in the idea of music as a purely sonic entity, devoid of any narrative or greater meaning: it’s a loose concept album about America. Deacon has written some interesting stuff about the ideas behind the album, which is entitled simply America, on his website, noting that “The inspiration for the music was my love of cross-country travel, seeing the landscapes of the United States, going from east to west and back again over the course of seasons,” while “The lyrics are inspired by my frustration, fear and anger towards the country and world I live in and am a part of.” The result is a fascinating state-of-the-nation album, a record that’s both personal and also vocal about the country of its creator. In celebration of its release, here are some of our favorite albums that address similar subject matter. … Read More

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The Most Underrated Guitarists in Rock ‘n’ Roll

We were rather chuffed to note the presence of a new record by Ry Cooder in the release schedule for this week. We’ve long been fans of Cooder’s work, both because he’s a great songwriter and because he’s a fantastic guitarist — we’re constantly disappointed to find him missing from the Greatest Guitarist Ever lists that crop up from time to time.… Read More

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25 Great Songwriters on the Art of Songwriting

Thomas Edison’s famous and oft-abused quote about genius being 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration is one of the great truisms of our time. But is it actually, y’know, true? How creativity actually works — in terms of the nuts and bolts of actually getting things down on the page/tape/canvas/etc. — is perhaps the most mysterious aspect of art, a process that’s both romanticized and often misunderstood. And in view of this, we thought it might be interesting to see what some of our favorite songwriters had to say about how they approach the process of writing. Click through to read opinions from Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Björk, Patti Smith and a whole heap more. We hope they provide some measure of inspiration, interest, or insight. … Read More

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