“I’m constantly looking for the edge ... so I can push it,” says Nona Hendryx. Indeed, a fearless sensibility has always kindled the Grammy-nominated icon’s career, whether recording genre-bending solo albums, writing songs as one-third of the legendary trio Labelle or collaborating with Gary Lucas on their forthcoming, full-length release The World of Captain Beefheart (2017). Her artistry thrives in live music spaces, from leading a band of unbridled, no-holds-barred funk/rock to incorporating progressive technology and visual media into her performances. It’s why Joe’s Pub at the Public has selected Hendryx to inaugurate their 2018 Vanguard Residency program.
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This morning the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame unveiled its list of names for its voting body to consider for induction as part of the institution’s 2015 class. The ballot includes first-year eligibles Green Day and Nine Inch Nails (who per the nomination criteria released their debut records in 1989), first-time nominees the Smiths, Sting, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Bill Withers, and returning names the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Kraftwerk, the Marvelettes, N.W.A, Lou Reed, the Spinners, and War. While the organization has garnered a lot of (justified) heat for its seemingly elitist and out-of-touch view of which artists are worthy of being canonized as part of a body that honors excellent and influential rock ‘n’ roll artists (Exhibits A and B: the shocking number of times Black Sabbath and the Stooges had to be nominated before getting the nod), recent strides like an online ballot that the public can vote for and a progressively more enlightened selection of nominees (with particular consideration given to previously underrepresented genres like heavy metal and prog) have been respectable efforts to correct those shortcomings.
Around 8:30 in the morning, nursing a cup of coffee, I received the following text from a co-worker: “My iPod died.”
Like me, he’s one of those who have 20,000-plus songs loaded on his device. So, my heart couldn’t help but sink a bit when I read his message. I know the hours it takes to put all that material back on the iPod. But until last week, we could at least take comfort in the fact we could always buy a brand new iPod Classic.
How unforunate it is that right as one storied music festival gets underway that another finds itself abruptly closing up shop. Just as England’s Glastonbury festival is busy attracting huge crowds to its part of the globe for a bill topped by Metallica, Arcade Fire, and Kasabian, way down under the people in charge of Australia’s Big Day Out have announced that they are canceling the event for next year.
There’s a lot of chatter and speculation going on right now regarding YouTube’s impending launch of its subscription-based service. Namely, that independent record labels are up on arms about the terms the video hosting website is supposedly offering, which according to the trade body Worldwide Independent Network disproportionately favor major labels Sony, Universal, and Warner Bros. at the expense of the indies. Even more alarming, an article by the Financial Times this week has stated that YouTube will start blocking material by those who have not agreed to the company’s new terms “in a matter of days”. Given YouTube’s popularity and ubiquity, these moves have been seen as essentially throwing independent artists under a bus if they don’t play along.