Turn your funk up to 7, with the Chi-Lites

The titular track from 1971's (For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People by The Chi-Lites. Read the rest

Do the Star Wars sway to this 1977 country song, "May the Force Be With You Always"

Tom T. Hall's "May the Force Be With You" always was the first single from his November 1977 album New Train Same Rider. The song hit number 13 on Billboard's "Hot Country Songs" chart and went to number 5 in Canada. Sing along with me now, sweetheart:

There is a force that moves our lives from place to place There is a force exchanging smiles from face to face If we must go and we must go then we will be apart May the force be with you always sweetheart.

There is a force that moves the wind and changes tides Not that we would but if we should we couldn't hide The force is all and we as one are but a tiny part May the force be with you always sweetheart.

The force is bigger than the little plans we made The force picks winners in the little games we play If we are part of something bigger we can face the dark May the force be with you always sweetheart

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Animated interview with a young George Michael

George Michael, 23, had just ended Wham! and launched his solo career when he spoke with Joe Smith, author of Off The Record: An Oral History of Popular Music:

I do have the advantage of youth. I’m going to make two types of music: one is the type that people are expecting me to make because it’s really what I’m best at and what I would imagine whatever happens from now on or probably be remembered the most for is my songs in terms of structured ballads and stuff like that with strong melodies. You know, I’ve done that, I’ve done Careless Whisper.

But also there’s a kind of sexuality that I haven’t really made the most of with the first part of my career. I suppose obviously as a 22 year old, 23 year old, obviously I’m more experienced sexually than I was as an 18 year old. So maybe it’s time for that to start reflecting in the music.

(Blank on Blank)

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Listen to the sources of Daft Punk's samples

Daftworld compiled some of the killer samples that Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter made their own. Full versions of the tracks heard here would make for a killer rare groove and disco DJ set!

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If Leo Kottke's "Rings" doesn't put you in a good mood...

...maybe you should have a talk with someone. (No relation) Read the rest

Pink Trombone is an online voice synthesizer with a difference

Neil Thapen's Pink Trombone is a voice simulator: instead of telling it what to say, you individually move the soft and fleshy parts of the mouth, tongue and throat. There's a lot of fun to be had moving around the circular purple tongue control and the bottom lip and hearing the machine sing.

Spotted via Bennett Foddy, which made me think there should be a version controlled with the Q W O P letters, named "Qwopera."

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Chuck Berry, Rock Music Legend, Dies at 90

The great Chuck Berry, “who with his indelible guitar licks, brash self-confidence and memorable songs about cars, girls and wild dance parties did as much as anyone to define rock ’n’ roll’s potential and attitude in its early years,” died on Saturday, the New York Times and others reported Saturday. He was 90.

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Boy Howdy! Killer merch for Creem magazine documentary

In its 1970s heyday, Detroit-based music magazine Creem was home to seminal editors/writers/photographers like Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, Greil Marcus, Patti Smith, Bob Gruen, Jenny Lens, and so many more. Indeed, it was in its pages that Dave Marsh coined the term "punk rock" in 1971. Creem's content was superb. It was unabashedly critical of fame, didn't take itself too seriously, and documented the more underground artists, bands, and scenes of the time, from the MC5 to Alice Cooper, New York City's glam rock culture to the proto-punks of the US and UK.

Boy Howdy! is director Scott Crawford's forthcoming documentary about Creem and I absolutely can't wait to see it. Until then, I'll proudly wear the fantastic t-shirt below, scribbled by my pal Jess Rotter! And yes, they're also selling Creem's classic Boy Howdy! t-shirt, handsomely modeled by John Lennon below.

Boy Howdy! and Creem magazine merch

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Exquisite Rube Goldberg-esque machine plays "Here Comes the Sun"

Neil Mendoza created this fantastic electromechanical band as part of the artist-in-residence program at Autodesk:

The rock band is composed of electromechanical instruments that make music with rocks by throwing them through the air, slapping them and making them vibrate. The song that they're playing, Here Comes the Sun, is biographical, describing the daily experience of a rock sitting on the ground. The rock band is made up of the following members...

Pinger - fires small rocks at aluminium keys using solenoids. Spinner - launches magnetic rocks, Hematite, at pieces of marble. Rocks are launched by spinning magnets using Applied Motion stepper motors. Slapper - slaps rocks with fake leather. Buzzer - vibrates the plunger of a solenoid against a piece of marble. The whole project is controlled by a computer running a MIDI player written in openFrameworks talking to a Teensy. The machines were designed using Autodesk Fusion 360 and Autodesk Inventor.

He posted plans to make your own mechanical xylophone at Instructables.

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Soviet Vocal-Instrumental Ensembles: the lost, terrible pop of the USSR

In order to fight the incursion of decadent western pop, the Kremlin encouraged the creation of Vocal-Instrumental Ensembles (VIAs) that performed some genuinely, delightfully awful music, stuff that puts the trololo guy to shame. Read the rest

A fairy tale in Midi pattern art

You've seen Midi pattern art before, but this one tells a story! Composer and artist Mari Lesteberg writes:

A longer MIDI Drawing this time - a little girl who lives in the woods, and what she finds when she enters a dark cave... :) Hope you like the music/story. Both the music and the design is inspired by old school RPG-games.
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Someone asked every member of Ireland's parliament what their favorite Beyoncé song was

Amy O'Connor asked every member of the Dáil Éireann the following questions:

Do you like Beyoncé? If you answered YES, what is your favourite Beyoncé song? If you answered NO, why don’t you like Beyoncé?

Thirty-seven of the 158-member parliament responded. John Brassil, representing Kerry for the Fianna Fáil party, is a big fan: "Hi Amy what a pleasant questionnaire of course I like Beyoncé my favourite song is Halo." But Sinn Féin's Pat Buckley has reservations: "I’d like her a lot better if she paid the Sri Lanka women who sew her clothing line a decent wage while she enjoys a personal wealth of over a quarter of a billion dollars." His party mate Jonathan O’Brien, though, is swayed: "I am republican, but Beyoncé is the only queen I have time for." Read the rest

Stunning images of church organ pipes

German photographer Robert Götzfried has published his latest series on the original high-tech wall of sound: church organ pipes. His beautiful symmetric photos show the remarkable variations possible. Read the rest

Afghan Whigs announce new album with video for "Demon in Profile"

My friends in The Afghan Whigs released a stunningly weird and and dark new video for their track "Demon in Profile," from their just-announced album In Spades to be released May 5. (And yes, that's Har Mar Superstar in the clip.) I've listened to the entire album and it's a phantasmagoric, expansive, soulful masterpiece that to my ear harkens back to the noir magnificence of my favorite Whigs record, Black Love (1996).

“(In Spades is) a spooky record,” says Greg Dulli. “I like that it’s veiled. It’s not a concept album per se, but as I began to assemble it, I saw an arc and followed it. To me it’s about memory – in particular, how quickly life and memory can blur together.”

A few weeks after the release of In Spades, the Whigs take their magick to Europe.

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SXSW will remove contractual immigration threats for international artists who play the show

For many years, the SXSW festival's standard contract with its non-US artists contained an over-reaching, frightening clause that seemed to threaten them being turned over to immigration authorities if they violated the terms of their deal with the show -- say, by playing unauthorized gigs. Though the festival never invoked this language, it took on a new salience in light of the Trump administration's scapegoating of migrants. Read the rest

Steve Reich-ian iPhone ringtone composition

Seth Kranzler created "Steve Reich is calling," a delightful composition for two iPhones that celebrates (and parodies) legendary minimalist composer Reich's early phase music. This form of composition employs two or more identical phrases of music played at slightly different tempos so that they shift in and out of phase. Reich's most famous phase music compositions are "Clapping Music" (1972), "Piano Phase" (1967), and the fantastic tape music pieces "Come Out" (1966) and "It's Gonna Rain" (1965). Listen to the latter two below.

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Fleet Foxes return with first album in six years

Indie-folk group Fleet Foxes announced their third album, Crack-Up, and posted a nine-minute epic song, "Third of May / Ōdaigahara," to kick it off.

The album, like my birthday, is expected to happen in June.

(The album cover photo was also used on 1996's In The Streams of Inferno, by Mysticum. What a difference a typeface and filter makes!)

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