If you’re like us and basically everyone else in the world — unless you don’t drink, in which case we’re happy for you — you probably greeted 2013 with a fairly sizable hangover yesterday. There’s a surprising amount of complexity to be found in waking up and feeling like shit after a big night out, and it’s a subject that’s been addressed by a host of songwriters over the years. So we thought we’d welcome 2013 with an exploration of musical renditions of the morning after the night before, from the quietly contented to the morbidly, morbidly hung over. We hope the way you’re feeling roughly 36 hours into the new year falls somewhere toward the former end of the scale. … Read More
It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised once in a while, and Free Reign, the new album by UK band Clinic, has been on high rotation here at Flavorpill of late. We’ve always rather liked Clinic’s work, but we’ll be honest — we didn’t expect to enjoy this record nearly as much as we have been. Perhaps the most notable thing about Free Reign in comparison to Clinic’s other records is just how interesting its production and general sound is, which is perhaps not surprising since Oneohtrix Point Never assumed production duties. There have been plenty of examples of electronic artists producing songs for rock-inclined types over the years, everything from Giorgio Moroder working with Blondie on “Call Me” to Alec Empire collaborating with the John Spencer Blues Explosion and, um, Chris Cornell working with Timbaland on the ill-fated Scream. Here are some of our favorites. Did we miss any? … Read More
It’s one of the great truisms of the music industry that music moves in 20-year cycles, and sure enough, ’90s nostalgia is in full swing — just this year, The Stone Roses have re-formed, Chris Cornell abandoned his ill-fated Timbaland experiment for a Soundgarden reunion… and even Everclear and Gin Blossoms did a tour together, for Chrissakes. We’re not sold on all such ’90s revivalism — it’s difficult to remain together and relevant for two decades, after all — but while some of the decade’s best bands sadly no longer exist, there remain plenty of ’90s bands that are still around and still worth your time. With the new Dinosaur Jr. album I Bet on Sky out this week (and currently available to stream at NPR), we thought we’d look at a selection of such acts. Our picks await you after the jump. … Read More
Experimental digital media, music, architecture, and sound art lab Realität — founded by Juan Manuel de J. Escalante — has created 3D-printed visualizations of different albums. The unique sculptural works include: Jewels by Einstürzende Neubauten, Another World by Antony and the Johnsons, Pink Moon by Nick Drake, Third by Portishead, and the composition “Für Alina” by Arvo Pärt. As works of art, the objects are compelling, but the process is equally fascinating.
Realität describes their Microsonic Landscapes as “an algorithmic exploration of the music [they] love. Each album’s soundwave proposes a new spatial and unique journey by transforming sound into matter/space: the hidden into something visible.” Each piece was created with the open-source, three-dimensional data visualization programming language known as Processing, and then printed via a programmable machine that can print in plastic called MakerBot. The results look almost exactly as you’d expect. Albums dominated by sweeping sounds maintain a concentric shape, while layered, complex noises take on the form of spikes and towers. The smaller, grooved details are exquisite. Head past the break for a closer look. … Read More
With possible apologies to the fashion and advertising industries, there’s surely no place in the world that’s as heavily laden with bullshit as the music industry. It’s therefore refreshing to get the opportunity to speak to someone like Geoff Barrow of Portishead, who’s both an outrageously talented and innovative producer, and perhaps the most refreshingly candid, down-to-earth and genuinely lovely interviewee you could ever hope to meet. Barrow’s new project Drokk is out this week — it’s an album of soundscapes inspired by 2000 AD, the dystopian British comic that gave the character of Judge Dredd to the world. We spoke to Barrow about Drokk, his various other projects, and when we might expect a new Portishead record. … Read More
The new Zambri record House of Baasa is out today, and if you’re as partial to dark pop music as we are, you’ll find plenty to like in its combination of ominous atmospherics and hugely catchy melodies. We’ve had the record on high rotation, and it’s gotten us thinking about some other dark pop classics from over the years. The art of writing a pop song that’s as catchy as it is ominous and/or disconcerting is a fine one, and it’s been responsible for some of our favorite music. Check out our selections after the jump, and let us know yours. … Read More
As we noted a while back in our roundup of albums you really should hear in November, Sigur Rós have a live album out this week. It’s called Inni, and if it’s anything like the other live recordings of the band we’ve heard (like the transcendent Live at the Icelandic Opera House from 1999), it’ll be worth laying your hands on. And it got us thinking: releasing a live album is something that bands do less and less these days. In some ways, this makes sense — it’s so easy to bootleg and distribute live recordings and videos these days that the market for official live releases just isn’t what it used to be. This means that pretty much every list of definitive live recordings you ever read relies on the same old ’60s and ’70s records. In an attempt to prove the genre’s not entirely dead and buried just yet, we’ve put together a selection of the best live albums of the past 15 years or so. What are your nominations? … Read More
When the discussion of the finest lyricists in rock ‘n’ roll comes up, you tend to hear the same names mentioned again and again. Bob Dylan. Leonard Cohen. Tom Waits. Morrissey. Nick Cave. Warren Zevon. They’re all worthy choices, for sure, but we find it a bit sad that there are plenty of other fantastic lyricists who never seem to make their way into such conversations. After the jump, we’ve put together a collection of lyricists who we reckon don’t get the credit they deserve, either because their music is generally undervalued or because their skills in other areas tend to overshadow their linguistic talents. Let us know in the comments who else you reckon doesn’t get the lyrical love they should do. … Read More
Held for the past three years in a remote, ramshackle Catskills summer resort called Kutsher’s, America’s own version of the British All Tomorrow’s Parties festival was a somewhat different affair in 2011. Although the musical line-up was just as incredible as ever — Portishead curated and headlined two of the three nights, and Jeff Mangum also performed twice (read more about that here) — the event found a new home in Asbury Park, the New Jersey beach town that’s most famous for launching Bruce Springsteen’s career.
We can’t say we didn’t miss the intimacy and seclusion of Kutsher’s, but the new location proved to be a fantastic alternative nonetheless. Along with three days of excellent and challenging music that catered to the crate-digger set, we bowled, strolled the boardwalk, sampled the offerings of a remarkable (and fully playable) pinball museum, walked on the beach, played mini golf, and warmed ourselves in front of a bonfire. Most importantly, we reconnected with a deep-seated love of music that’s constantly tested by the Internet’s exhausting and trivializing hype cycle. A gallery of highlights from the festival — including Portishead, Public Enemy, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Cults, Deerhoof, Swans, Shepard Fairey, and many more — is after the jump. … Read More
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: the tyrannical sea captain of all our dreams, Captain Ahab. … Read More