Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘music’

23 SEPTEMBER, 2010

PICKED: Maximum Balloon

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Maximum Balloon is a collaborative project by TV on the Radio guitarist and Yeah Yeah Yeahs producer David Andrew Sitek, featuring all-star guest vocals from the likes of David Byrne, Karen O, Aku and Theophilus London. Think of the album as Cee-Lo meets Daft Punk — danceable yet vocally driven, with enough head-bobbing spunk to make you dizzy… in a good way.

The Guardian has a nice track-by-track explanation of the album. Our favorite: The Lesson, with haunting vocals by Holly Miranda.

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08 SEPTEMBER, 2010

The Raveonettes Cover The Stone Roses

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Past meets present, they sing a song.

A few months ago, we raved about how Doc Martens chose to celebrate their 50th anniversary — the iconic brand got 10 of today’s hottest indie artists to cover 10 classic tracks that capture the spirit of those who have worn Doc Martens over the decades. From The Noisettes covering Buzzcocks to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club taking The Pogues for a ride, the project is a beautiful homage to the past that inspired and shaped the present, culturally and creatively.

Today, we’re spotlighting the brand new video for one of our favorites from the project: The Raveonettes covering “I Wanna Be Adored,” originally recorded by cult British alt-rock band The Stone Roses in 1990. Directed by Cass Bird and Molly Schiot, the video offers just the kind of quirky yet heartwarming spunk we’ve come to expect from The Raveonettes.

“I Wanna Be Adored” comes as a free download courtesy of Doc Martens, but we also highly recommend In And Out Of Control, The Raveonettes’ absolutely fantastic latest album.

You can catch the remaining 9 videos on the Doc Martens YouTube Channel.

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17 AUGUST, 2010

Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin in the Style of The Beach Boys

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An elegant finish on the unfinished, or what the Gatsby era has to do with surfer culture.

In the 1920’s, George Gershwin engendered America’s love affair with popular jazz, composing some of the most prolifically covered and memorable melodies of all time. In the 1960’s, The Beach Boys cemented the nation’s matrimony to rock music, providing a soundtrack for the era and carving their way into popular culture as “America’s band.” Spearheaded by singer-musician-composer Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys suffered a tragic demise as Wilson’s mental illness and drug abuse led him to withdraw from the band, shortly followed by the death of two of the other band members, but their legacy of summertime rock and close vocal harmonies inspired generations of musicians to come. (Wilco, The Flaming Lips and Fleet Foxes, we’re looking at you.)

Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin is both an epic comeback for the iconic Beach Boy and a beautifully executed homage to the legendary jazz composer. The album reinvents twelve of the Gershwin Brothers’ most timeless classics in the signature style of The Beach Boys, a remarkable ripple in the space-time continuum as two music culture titans converge.

The most priceless part of the album are the two rare, unfinished Gershwin pieces, which Wilson crafted into incredible collaborative compositions — The Like in I Love You and Nothing But Love. (On a marginally curmudgeonly aside, why is virtually all music about love? Don’t people have better things to do with their life of the mind? Humph.)

Other highlights include I’ve Got a Crush on You and an absolutely fantastic rendition of Summertime.

Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin is out today and an invaluable chance to own a page of tomorrow’s music history books.

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30 JULY, 2010

13 Most Beautiful: Songs For Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests

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From Nico to Sonic Boom, or what black-and-white silent film has to do with pop art.

In 2008, the Andy Warhol Museum commissioned ex-Luna band members Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, now performing as Dean & Britta, to write and record 13 original scores and classic covers for Warhol’s little-known silent films, black-and-white portraits of cultural icons like Nico, Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick, Ann Buchannan, Freddy Herko and Dennis Hopper, shot between 1964 and 1966. Dean & Britta promptly complied and, for the next 18 months, toured the world, performing the pieces in more than 50 venues, from New York’s Lincoln Center to the Sydney Opera House to a 15th-century cathedral in Paris.

This week, Dean & Britta are finally releasing their masterpieces as a two-disc record. 13 Most Beautiful: Songs For Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests is a deluge of rich guitar strums and dreamsome, melodic honey-vocals, with a kick of head-bobbing beats in just the right places. The album also features a handful of priceless covers, including The Velvet Underground’s Not a Young Man Anymore, and instant-classic remixes by Sonic Boom, Scott Hardkiss and My Robot Friend.

And while the music itself is already an absolute treat, the ultimate cherry on top is the accompanying limited-edition DVD, where you can ogle Warhol’s original screen tests — a haunting record of a cultural era that shaped modernity.

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