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Archive for the 'Music' Category

Why you should listen to Charles Ives

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

There’s a tendency for classical music aficionados to assume that composers are always and only themselves: Beethoven always Beethoven, Brahms always Brahms, Ives always Ives. The reality is that those composers, like all worthwhile artists, have gone through a more or less extended journey to escape from their models and to find a voice, to discover who they are. Part of the process of discovering who you are is finding why you are: What you want to say, why you’re an artist in the first place.

Read and listen for more at Slate

Album Reviews

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Based in Chicago, Sound Opinions is hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, two of the finest and best-recognized pop music writers in the nation. In addition, they are the top music critics and dedicated competitors at Chicago’s two daily newspapers, the Chicago Sun-Times (Jim) and the Chicago Tribune (Greg).

Every week, Sound Opinions fires up smart and spirited discussions about a wide range of popular music, from cutting-edge underground rock and hip-hop, to classic rock, R&B, electronica, worldbeat, or just about any other genre you can name.

Jim and Greg save you the time of that pesky listening process, by boiling down their reviews to three easy to use phrases: Buy It!, Burn It! or Trash It!.

Read/Listen to their reviews

End of the Year Music Roundup

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

NPR’s picks for best jazz albums of 2008

Kot and DeRogatis picks for best rock and roll albums 2008

Rolling Stones’ Top 50


Best album I heard for the first time this year:Donny Hathaway Live (thanks Matt!)

Best 2008 Release: Randy Newman, “Hearts and Angels” (which makes me feel old) and/or Girl Talk, “Feed the Animals”. The new Beck album is growing on me and Erykah Badu’s “New Amerykah” is really soulful and smart.

Biggest 2008 Disappointment: Herbie Hancock’s “Joni Letters”. Get back in the game Herbie.

I think I like: Deerhunter’s new one. But I can do without the experimental electronic nonsense.

Best live show: Okkerville River at Postbanhof am Ostbanhof (Berlin)

History of Hip Hop from National Geographic

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Not since the advent of swing jazz in the 1930s has an American music exploded across the world with such overwhelming force. Not since the Beatles invaded America and Elvis packed up his blue suede shoes has a music crashed against the world with such outrage. This defiant culture of song, graffiti, and dance, collectively known as hip-hop, has ripped popular music from its moorings in every society it has permeated. In Brazil, rap rivals samba in popularity. In China, teens spray-paint graffiti on the Great Wall. In France it has been blamed, unfairly, for the worst civil unrest that country has seen in decades.

Its structure is unique, complex, and at times bewildering. Whatever music it eats becomes part of its vocabulary, and as the commercial world falls into place behind it to gobble up the powerful slop in its wake, it metamorphoses into the Next Big Thing. It is a music that defies definition, yet defines our collective societies in immeasurable ways. To many of my generation, despite all attempts to exploit it, belittle it, numb it, classify it, and analyze it, hip-hop remains an enigma, a clarion call, a cry of “I am” from the youth of the world. We’d be wise, I suppose, to start paying attention.

read this National Geographic article and check out the pictures

How Indie Rock Lost Its Soul

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

In the 22 October 2007 edition of “The New Yorker”, Sasha Frere-Jones offers some perspective on the failure of modern music. Read A Paler Shade of White and please post a comment using the link below.

Robert Glasper

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

Erika, Ben, Kili, Bart and I saw young smokin’ Blue Note piano cat Robert Glasper in Plaza Reial last night (his drummer Damion Reid is simply ridiculous…find every album this guy plays on and buy it)  Read about Glasper here

and watch some solo piano feed here

New Beck Album

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

Beck is something of a musical chameleon — he’s been called a cracked folkie, a hip-hop joker, a sonic innovator, even a pop star. His latest CD, The Information, finds him in all these guises, and more.The 15-song collection is his most difficult descent into narcotic funk and psychedelic rock. And it may well be a classic.

Read More and Listen to Full Length Tracks Here

Jason Moran

Monday, October 9th, 2006

Jazz pianist Jason Moran’s new album, Artist in Residence, is the result of music he created after he accepted commissions from three American art institutions. Moran has been described in Downbeat magazine as one of the most important figures of his generation. This interview originally aired on June 27, 2005.

Listen Here

getcha little sompin that cha can’t get at home

Sunday, October 8th, 2006
Tom Waits – Tom Traubert’s Blues – 1977

A Storyteller

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

My father used to pop a Harry Chapin cassette in the car stereo from time to time. Adolescent rebellion (or maybe it was my father�s atonal voice singing along) precluded me from digging on it. Perhaps Asquith was right. “Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life.”

Here’s a deep cut from my youth:

Harry Chapin–Taxi