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Friday, Apr 9, 2010
The American radio scene has expanded online with countless offerings for the listening worldwide.

In a CNN interview recently, David Byrne opens with a remark how he doesn’t listen to radio much anymore. A certified tastemaker as a solo artist after leading the Talking Heads, it seemed funny from a guy who posts his personal playlist on iTunes as Radio David Byrne. I’m a huge fan, but it was just not what I wanted to hear as I’m finding my best source of new music by listening to radio programs online.

I have always been on the musical hunt for something new and American radio has provided me with the soundtrack for every decade of my life. From WPLJ in the ‘70s, to WLIR in the ‘80s and WHFS in the ‘90s and beyond, I’ve tuned into radio frequencies for inspiration. However, right as WHFS was calling it a day, I heard that a station I loved listening to during trips to LA was accessible online. The music producer Nic Hardcourt’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” on KCRW was streaming over the internet with new tunes daily. The novel concept of listening live or on demand anytime meant radio could continue to be my salvation, feeding me upcoming bands with tunes for my own personal playlists. With some decent speakers attached to my laptop, I’ve been in new music heaven ever since. I even have copy of Nic’s book Music Lust signed by him during a New York City appearance a few years back, finally having a name for this attraction.


Tagged as: radio
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Thursday, Apr 8, 2010
Through a string of genre-hopping musical explorations, he was at best a visionary, at worst a journalist in thrall to the sights and sounds of the streets, whether those found in the Bronx or Johannesburg or Vienna.

In the eyes of countless punk rock enthusiasts, Malcolm McLaren has always been seen as a villain, with injecting the urban glam of the New York Dolls with a red patent leather and clumsy politics sheen and being portrayed as an artless svengali by the Sex Pistols in their documentary, The Filth and the Fury, chief among his crimes.


But McLaren, who reportedly died of mesothelioma in New York City this week, was more than just the guy behind the guys. Through a string of genre-hopping musical explorations, he was at best a visionary, at worst a journalist in thrall to the sights and sounds of the streets, whether those found in the Bronx or Johannesburg or Vienna.


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Monday, Apr 5, 2010
Artist/producer PC Muñoz mines for gems and grills the greats.

Over the years, East LA stalwarts Los Lobos have consistently proven themselves to be visionary recording artists, approaching each album with a distinct sonic palette, a daring attitude, a batch of kickass songs, and lots of pure rock n roll abandon. “La Guacamaya” is from their most controversial record, La Pistola y El Corazón, which is a cover album of sorts: the entire record, save for two originals, features the group’s interpretations of songs from various Mexican music traditions.


“La Guacamaya” is from the Son Jarocho tradition, which originated in Veracruz, Mexico. “La Bamba” is probably the most famous Son Jarocho tune. Though I also love the moody Huapango style, Son Jarocho is probably my favorite style of Mexican music because of both the form (characterized by call-and-response vocals, rhythmic playing, and improvisation) and the instrumentation (I love La Arpa Jarocha, the harp associated with this style). “La Guacamaya” (ostensibly about the multicolored toucan/macaw bird) is rendered here with the precise syncopation and gusto of musicians who thoroughly know and love this music. The lead vocal is by Cesar Rosas, whose way with a Spanish lyric expresses both the intent of the tradition and his own rock/R&B background. Dig the lyric:


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Sunday, Apr 4, 2010
by PopMatters Staff

Simply send an email to contests@popmatters.com with your name, email address and city/state and we will select a winner each day this week to win a pair of tickets to the event. The event is in the Bay Area, so please keep that in mind when entering.


 

Enter to win a pair of tickets to Yuri’s Night Bay Area on April 10th with Common, N*E*R*D, Les Claypool, the Black Keys and more!


Celebrated across the world, Yuri’s Night is a global party in honor of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. Yuri’s Night’s mission is to support space programs and make space exploration cool again. Founded in 2000 by the UN’s Space Generation Forum, Yuri’s Night has evolved into a planet-wide event celebrating man’s scientific achievements.


Hosted in the Bay Area at NASA Ames Research Center, the local party will feature demonstrations and seminars by NASA employees, cosmically-themed art exhibits, and a live music by a quadruple-threat of a lineup: Common, the Black Keys, N*E*R*D, and Les Claypool.


 

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Friday, Apr 2, 2010

After months of being exposed to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” (a song that contains what I consider the single most annoying hook of 2009) via its endless plays on the top 40 radio station every store I enter seems to be piping in, I was reasonably certain I had no pressing desire to further explore the work of pop music’s current It Girl. Ah, but nothing demands attention like a zeitgeist-capturing hit, the sort everyone around you seems to have already heard dozens of times. Given the massive attention afforded to Gaga’s latest single “Telephone”—a duet with new millennial R&B diva Beyoncé Knowles—I took that as a sign that I should probably see what the fuss was about. So I caved and watched the video for the song on YouTube (which, it must be said at every opportunity, is so much more a fitting vehicle for the music video medium than any cable network currently is).


And, well… the song didn’t impress me. A rather routine modern dance-pop tune that demands attention based more on its volume than due either to its hooks or its groove. Not bad, but not outstanding either, and also not as effective as Gaga’s previous singles. But to be fair, it isn’t necessarily the song I’ve been hearing everyone yabber about. It’s the epic nine-and-a-half-minute video directed by Jonas Akerlund that’s really demanding the public’s attention.



Tagged as: beyoncé, lady gaga
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