This joyful Xhosa song demonstrates click consonants

Qongqothwane is a cover of a famous Xhosa click song performed at weddings. In it, you can hear click consonants found in two language groups in southern Africa. Here's a nice overview. Read the rest

Pitch Blak Brass Band: hip-hop/brass with a lot of funk and a lot of beat

This week's Judge John Hodgman podcast is a live show recorded in Brooklyn, with guest music from the Pitch Blak Brass Band, whose music was so fantastically good that I immediately purchased their debut album, You See Us, and I am listening to it right now and loving it. Read the rest

Maxime Causeret's gorgeous animation shapes order from chaos

Break out your headphones for this one. Maxime Causeret has created a beautiful animation for Max Cooper's instrumental track "Order from Chaos." Seemingly random elements slowly coalesce into lifelike forms as the track moves from raindrops to increasingly complex sounds. Read the rest

Stereogum's worst music of 2016

It's not done with you yet: Stereogum's Scott Lapatine assembled "The Worst Playlist of 2016," with all the year's most terrible tracks. Highlights include Eminem's "Campaign Speech," Corey Feldman's "Go 4 It," and "The Entire Genre of Simpsonwave," a full hour of which I have embedded here for your morning enjoyment. Read the rest

Watch George Michael and Morrissey discuss breakdancing and Joy Division

In May 1984, George Michael and Morrissey, promoting respectively “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and The Smiths' "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," appeared on the BBC program Eight Days A Week. They discuss such urgent matters as the film Breakin' (released as Breakdance outside the US) and Mark Johnson's book An Ideal for Living: A History of Joy Division.

(via Dangerous Minds)

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Listen to Wham's "Careless Whisper" before George Michael fixed it

This is Wham's "Careless Whisper" (1984) before George Michael took matters into his own hands. (The visuals are from the music video we know and love.) From Wikipedia:

The song went through at least two rounds of production. The first was during a trip Michael made to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where he went to work with producer Jerry Wexler at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. Michael was unhappy with the version that was originally produced and decided to re-record and produce the song himself, this time coming up with the version that was finally released. The version Wexler produced did, was released later in the year, as a (4:41) B-side "Special Version" on 12" in the UK and Japan.

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Tribute album to help pay radical singer Anne Feeney's cancer bills

Evan Greer writes, "Anne Feeney has been raising hell with an acoustic guitar since you were in diapers. She's toured the world, rambling from protest to picket line with the likes of Pete Seeger and Billy Bragg. She was the first woman to become the president of a musicians union in the U.S. and has raised tens of thousands of dollars for striking workers. Anne has been battling cancer, and winning! for the past several years, prompting Anne's daughter, Amy Sue Berlin, to gather a notable lineup of musicians to contribute to a tribute album for Anne, with acts like punk icons Anti-Flag, Peter Yarrow (of Peter Paul and Mary), and Dan Bern covering her rabble rousing songs. With the fights we have ahead of us in the next four years and beyond, we're we're gonna need songs like these stuck in our heads." Read the rest

Spike Jones Christmas is still the best Christmas

Spike Jones was one of those rare talents who stayed playful with his art. He recorded a ton of holiday music, sadly crowded out these days by insipid and derivative renditions that feel more like money grabs than celebrations. Case in point: his spirited rendition of Jingle Bells.

Spike inspired many great covers in his style, like this version by the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass:

Here's a lot more Spike if that tickled your fancy, ranging from serious to silly. Man, Spike and his musicians and singers were the tops in any style.

Spike Jones - Jingle Bells (YouTube / Jazz & Blues Experience) Read the rest

Killer Morricone noir-jazz/avant-garde soundtrack reissued on vinyl

Directed by Michele Lupo, "Un Uomo Da Rispettare" (A Man to Respect) is a 1972 Italian/German crime flick starring Kirk Douglas and Florinda Bolkan. Released as The Master Touch in some countries, this story of a safe cracker and a circus gymnast is considered to be a mediocre movie at best. However, the soundtrack by legendary composer Ennio Morricone is absolutely fantastic. This isn't a typical Morricone spaghetti western score but rather veers into the avant-garde, noir-jazz soundtrack vein. But even during the music's most abstract moments, it still maintains the cinematic groove of which Morricone is the master. I'm delighted that our friends at the Superior Viaduct record label are reissuing Un Uomo Da Rispettare on vinyl for just $20! The first 500 copies are on translucent green wax and only available directly from the label.

Check out a track below and, if you're so inclined, watch the actual film.

Da Rispettare OST LP (Superior Viaduct)

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This Bach chorale composed by machine learning is pretty good

Gaetan Hadjeres and Francois Pachet at the Sony Computer Science Laboratories in Paris created DeepBach, then entered Bach's 352 chorales. The resulting composition is certainly in the style. So why does this work better than some other attempts? Read the rest

Merry Mixmas: another mashed up Christmas with DJ Riko

DJ Riko writes, "Pour a glass of egg nog and break out the gingerbread -- DJ Riko is back with another Merry Mixmas (MP3)." Read the rest

Man plays "Imperial March" from Star Wars on a coffee stick

I don't know what to say other than here's a man playing "Imperial March" (Darth Vader's Theme) from Star Wars with a coffee-stirring stick.

UPDATE: Now I know what to say: it looks like this video is fake. I think that makes it more awesome. Read the rest

San Francisco's groundbreaking, wonderful DNA Lounge may have to close

Jamie "JWZ" Zawinski was an early Netscape employee; observing that the dotcom bubble that enriched him had gutted the San Francisco arts scene with rising rents, he sank his money into opening the DNA Lounge, which has been a San Francisco institution for nearly 20 years, and has been the location of some of the best times I've ever had in the Bay Area (including numerous EFF fundraisers). Read the rest

That's Trump: a Pete Seegeresque anthem

Madeline Ashby (previously) writes, "This is a protest song in the vein of Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger, written by the wonderful John McDaid (previously, and it's great."

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Anohni urges Obama to free Manning before Trump takes power: 'She poses no threat'

Singer Anohni released a striking song and video asking for Chelsea Manning to be released:

"If you leave Chelsea Manning in prison for whistle blowing You send the final message to our nation that the Obama administration brutally punished moral courage in these unforgiving United States." Read the rest

Compare the short film 'Whiplash' to the feature 'Whiplash', shot by shot

Jacob T. Swinney compares the short film "Whiplash" with the feature it became.

It's an interesting study in the shot-for-shot remake. With the exception of the location and the switch to Miles Teller as Andrew, nearly everything else is the same.

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2016's best-selling musical artist on CD? Mozart

He's been dead for 225 years, but Mozart can still top the charts in terms of CD sales.

The Mozart 225 box set was named Billboard's Biggest-selling CD release of 2016. Take that, Kanye and Taylor Swift!

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