Ghanaian hip-hop stars FOKN Bois are one foiled visa attempt away from taking over America

Tags: music hip-hop


"There was a solitary and solitude thing that informed the whole record,” he said.
That’s a contrast with The Hold Steady, whose songs are always overcrowded, and largely about being social at all costs.
“The  Hold Steady’s very celebratory,” Finn said. “We go out and have a good  time. That’s what I love about The Hold Steady; one of the really  exciting things about my life is I get to do that. There are moments of  the day when I don’t feel celebratory. The backing music’s quieter.  There’s a lot more space. That way, I think I was allowed to do  something a little more intimate and maybe concerned with more mundane  topics. When you think about the song ‘Rented Room,’ no one’s getting  shot, no one’s falling off a roof. It’s just a guy sitting in a rented  room trying to figure out how he got to this place in his life. When you  think of short stories—I usually think of [Raymond] Carver, who wrote  all these short stories where you could argue that nothing ever happens,  but a lot happens.”

Craig Finn on his new solo album Clear Heart Full Eyes. He plays at Mercury Lounge tonight and Maxwell’s tomorrow.

"There was a solitary and solitude thing that informed the whole record,” he said.

That’s a contrast with The Hold Steady, whose songs are always overcrowded, and largely about being social at all costs.

“The Hold Steady’s very celebratory,” Finn said. “We go out and have a good time. That’s what I love about The Hold Steady; one of the really exciting things about my life is I get to do that. There are moments of the day when I don’t feel celebratory. The backing music’s quieter. There’s a lot more space. That way, I think I was allowed to do something a little more intimate and maybe concerned with more mundane topics. When you think about the song ‘Rented Room,’ no one’s getting shot, no one’s falling off a roof. It’s just a guy sitting in a rented room trying to figure out how he got to this place in his life. When you think of short stories—I usually think of [Raymond] Carver, who wrote all these short stories where you could argue that nothing ever happens, but a lot happens.”

Craig Finn on his new solo album Clear Heart Full Eyes. He plays at Mercury Lounge tonight and Maxwell’s tomorrow.

thediscography:

(via A music podcast featuring Tom Scharpling finds fans by breaking out of the regular music-biz spin cycle | Capital New York)
I profiled Low Times Podcast for Capital New York.

"Scharpling directs indie-rock videos as well as working with indie   über-drummer Wurster, and his contacts came in handy with Low Times: His   first two interviews were with Janet Weiss (Scharpling directed Wild Flag’s ‘Romance’) and Patrick Stickles (Scharpling directed Titus Andronicus’s ‘No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future’). He calls Low Times an outgrowth of his ’90s fanzine, 18 Wheeler—the sort of project he’d long wanted to try again.
'[When]  the podcast explosion, or whatever you want to call it, took  place, I  was already well into my radio career,' he said, adding that  Low Times 'made sense as something that could be self-contained and kind  of shaped  to capture the spirit of what fanzines were to me. And it  was  definitely a podcast—it's not a radio show. It’s meant to take  advantage  of the form. It feels like podcasts were the perfect medium  to pull off  what used to be a fanzine.'”

thediscography:

(via A music podcast featuring Tom Scharpling finds fans by breaking out of the regular music-biz spin cycle | Capital New York)

I profiled Low Times Podcast for Capital New York.

"Scharpling directs indie-rock videos as well as working with indie über-drummer Wurster, and his contacts came in handy with Low Times: His first two interviews were with Janet Weiss (Scharpling directed Wild Flag’s ‘Romance’) and Patrick Stickles (Scharpling directed Titus Andronicus’s ‘No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future’). He calls Low Times an outgrowth of his ’90s fanzine, 18 Wheeler—the sort of project he’d long wanted to try again.

'[When] the podcast explosion, or whatever you want to call it, took place, I was already well into my radio career,' he said, adding that Low Times 'made sense as something that could be self-contained and kind of shaped to capture the spirit of what fanzines were to me. And it was definitely a podcast—it's not a radio show. It’s meant to take advantage of the form. It feels like podcasts were the perfect medium to pull off what used to be a fanzine.'”

A page from Bruce Springsteen’s lyric notebooks, currently on display at the Constitution Center in  Philadelphia.

A page from Bruce Springsteen’s lyric notebooks, currently on display at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Tags: Bruce music

"

Amy Winehouse wore her self-destruction on her sleeve, but ultimately, that means her music only illuminates a particularly nasty universal. Winehouse’s addiction in itself made her more ordinary; it was her ability to express addiction, like other singers do love, that mattered. It’s a given that drugs don’t make the music. What they do, though, is give some artists another banality to mine and transform.

Houston’s music and her voice weren’t built for that task. Or, rather, that voice was so regal, so full of grace, that it was hard to imagine it troubled by any kind of grimy, worldly constraint. Maybe this is Whitney’s gospel pedigree shining through. She had plenty of demons, like all of us. Church was meant to dispel them, to look beyond the everyday struggle. That may sound corny, but it’s the formulation that has kept faith going for who knows how long.

"

Bethlehem Shoals on Whitney Houston for Capital New York

STREETS OF YOUR TOWN: Want to see a show this week? Check out our guide, featuring Gotye, the Darkness, tUnE-YarDs, Jay-Z, and more

STREETS OF YOUR TOWN: Want to see a show this week? Check out our guide, featuring Gotye, the Darkness, tUnE-YarDs, Jay-Z, and more

Tags: music NYC

Leonard Cohen is in Times Square (via).
He is also on our homepage because Rick Flom wrote a genius review of his latest album, Old Ideas, which takes the singer back to a good, old idea: Melody.

Leonard Cohen is in Times Square (via).

He is also on our homepage because Rick Flom wrote a genius review of his latest album, Old Ideas, which takes the singer back to a good, old idea: Melody.


In May of 1891, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was on his way to Niagara Falls when, changing trains in Utica, he composed a letter to his brother, Modest, that read in part: “ginger bread and toy soldiers have started dancing in my head.”
These images were to become the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” part of The Nutcracker, one of the most familiar works by the Russian composer, who was going to see Niagara Falls—then considered one of the Wonders of the World—at the end of a 20-day stay in the United States.
For Gino Francesconi, those 20 days are a door between the past and present of American culture, and the relationship between European and American culture. To him, it began with Carnegie Hall, where he is the gatekeeper of history.

The origin of The Nutcracker’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” and other New York secrets discovered by a Carnegie Hall archivist

In May of 1891, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was on his way to Niagara Falls when, changing trains in Utica, he composed a letter to his brother, Modest, that read in part: “ginger bread and toy soldiers have started dancing in my head.”

These images were to become the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” part of The Nutcracker, one of the most familiar works by the Russian composer, who was going to see Niagara Falls—then considered one of the Wonders of the World—at the end of a 20-day stay in the United States.

For Gino Francesconi, those 20 days are a door between the past and present of American culture, and the relationship between European and American culture. To him, it began with Carnegie Hall, where he is the gatekeeper of history.

The origin of The Nutcracker’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” and other New York secrets discovered by a Carnegie Hall archivist

wwnorton:

Happy Birthday Philip Glass. We are excited and honored to be publishing his memoir next year!

That’ll be on our reading list. But for tonight, Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 9 is set to have its U.S. premiere at Carnegie Hall, as part of his “75th Birthday Concert.” Check out Seth Colter Walls’s interview with Glass over at Capital New York:

“There is a special political agenda [of mine] which can be seen, not in every piece … . But there’s a very strong, I would say, awareness of the way in which entertainment and theater and film and opera and music can participate in an active dialog with public.”

“Active,” Glass repeats immediately for emphasis. “Active!”

Read more

Maybe it’s unfair to reduce Etta James to one song, especially one that links her directly to Celine Dion. Yet, as inescapable as “At Last” has become, it’s impossible to exhaust. All the traces of what Etta James had done, and where she was headed, are present in that song, if only in trace form. It may not be all there was to her as an artist, but James wasn’t hiding anything there, either. And if her bitter life story and musical evolution are any indication, “At Last” tells it all, backward and forward. - Bethlehem Shoals

Sharon Van Etten’s melancholy of influence

How does the action of a body help us hear a voice? We look at  someone on a stage and, however meaningless or programmatic the impulse,  we expect a certain sound and gesture. Take a child who sings melismatically, with a deep growl, thrusting a hip and looking fierce:  it’s unsettling, a depth of feeling we think children cannot have, and  an eros they ought not to even know about. With Sharon Van Etten it’s the opposite. What we assume we will get when we see her on stage  is some version of the incredibly tender, aching voice and shuffling  indie arrangements that dominate her recorded work, and really shine on  her heartbreaking new album, Tramp (out February 7). Instead, on the stage at Mercury Lounge, where she debuted the material from Tramp last night, the young Van Etten’s voice and stage presence was deadpan at best and self-loathing at worst. - Read more from Daphne Carr

Sharon Van Etten’s melancholy of influence

How does the action of a body help us hear a voice? We look at someone on a stage and, however meaningless or programmatic the impulse, we expect a certain sound and gesture. Take a child who sings melismatically, with a deep growl, thrusting a hip and looking fierce: it’s unsettling, a depth of feeling we think children cannot have, and an eros they ought not to even know about. With Sharon Van Etten it’s the opposite. What we assume we will get when we see her on stage is some version of the incredibly tender, aching voice and shuffling indie arrangements that dominate her recorded work, and really shine on her heartbreaking new album, Tramp (out February 7). Instead, on the stage at Mercury Lounge, where she debuted the material from Tramp last night, the young Van Etten’s voice and stage presence was deadpan at best and self-loathing at worst. - Read more from Daphne Carr

About that voice: thick, glottal, and at times sounding like Edwyn Collins drunkenly attempting a Billy Bragg song at karaoke, it’s the one constant throughout the King’s unpredictable songs; the awkwardness of adolescence marvelously personified.

Tags: music

"

Once while interviewing Lil Wayne I asked him if it ever bothered him that people forgot he had been rapping professionally since he was 9, supporting his family since he was 15, and was cited in the dictionary by the time he was 20. Did it bother him that people seemed to forget that people like him, Sammy Davis Jr., and Michael Jackson had been legitimately earning paychecks since before they had hit puberty, most often as a means of helping their families escape the crush of poverty?

Wayne seemed slightly fazed by the question, but he told me: “I never felt like a child star because on my first single I was talking about selling crack …. And it went platinum. I was 15 years old and I had a daughter. So I never felt like a child star because I was feeding my family and when I say family, I don’t just mean my Moms. That money took care of things. That is how I made my living.”

The interview was soon over. Later someone in his crew told me that after I’d left Wayne was still disturbed by the question, and began asking them, “Don’t people realize I didn’t have a childhood? How come they come in here asking me about jail and drugs and not that shit?”

"

Another gem from Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah’s piece on The Roots and why their new album is their most important one

Don’t let the green grass fool you: The Roots are one of the most respected hip-hop acts in the world; why can’t they leave the sad stuff alone? | by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah

Undun is not just a very good album; it is, to me, the  Roots’ most thoughtful, important album. It does what we expect great  albums to do, what Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back or Prince’s Sign o’ The Times or Sly and the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On all do: It tells a story that we rarely hear.
Like those albums, undun is tasked not just with being music but also with delivering up a  counternarrative. What it produces is an elegy for a group of men whom  America has largely forgotten. And I suspect that when we look back on  these strange years of our first black presidency, during which nearly  half of all young black men who do not have high-school diplomas also do  not have jobs, when one in five black homeowners in America is living  under the threat of foreclosure, when the execution of Troy Davis, an  almost certainly innocent black man, shifted the international gaze to  our deeply flawed justice system—well, I suspect that once the  “post-racial” rug that poor black Americans have been swept under is  lifted, undun will be the record that reminded us to watch not the throne but the streets instead.

Don’t let the green grass fool you: The Roots are one of the most respected hip-hop acts in the world; why can’t they leave the sad stuff alone? | by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah

Undun is not just a very good album; it is, to me, the Roots’ most thoughtful, important album. It does what we expect great albums to do, what Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back or Prince’s Sign o’ The Times or Sly and the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On all do: It tells a story that we rarely hear.

Like those albums, undun is tasked not just with being music but also with delivering up a counternarrative. What it produces is an elegy for a group of men whom America has largely forgotten. And I suspect that when we look back on these strange years of our first black presidency, during which nearly half of all young black men who do not have high-school diplomas also do not have jobs, when one in five black homeowners in America is living under the threat of foreclosure, when the execution of Troy Davis, an almost certainly innocent black man, shifted the international gaze to our deeply flawed justice system—well, I suspect that once the “post-racial” rug that poor black Americans have been swept under is lifted, undun will be the record that reminded us to watch not the throne but the streets instead.