No, 'Puff The Magic Dragon' is not about smoking weed

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Here's the story of the lyrics, based on a poem that 19-year-old college student Leonard Lipton wrote in 1959 and popularized in Peter, Paul and Mary's classic 1963 song.

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Watch incredible video of Prince's "Purple Rain" debut

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Footage from the August 1983 concert at Minneapolis' famed First Avenue club when Prince (1958-2016) debuted the magnificent 13-minute original version of Purple Rain - with an additional third verse - that was later edited and overdubbed for the Purple Rain album. This was also guitarist Wendy Melvoin's first performance with The Revolution. (Apologies that the video host's Flash-based widget won't work on some mobile browsers.) Read the rest

Website serves endless stream of "epic" music

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Epic Music Time is a website that plays only epic music. Other single-serving web radio sites include jazzandrain.com, which plays jazz and the sound of rain, and relaxingbeats.com, which plays Industrial Pornogrind Metal. Just kidding. It actually plays relaxing beats. Read the rest

Scientists are studying what made Queen singer Freddie Mercury's voice so amazing and unique

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In a new scientific study, researchers conducted acoustical analysis of Queen singer Freddie Mercury's singing voice. While he spoke in a baritone voice, Mercury had a tremendous singing range. But his real vocal superpowers were a rather unique vibrato combined with his ability to use subharmonics, like a Tuvan throat singer. The Austrian, Czech, and Swedish scientists report on their research in the journal Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology.

"Perceptually, Freddie Mercury's irregular (and typically faster) vibrato is clearly audible in the sustained notes of famous songs such as 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (A Night at the Opera) or 'We Are the Champions' (News of the World), and it appears to be one of the hallmarks of his vocal style," they wrote.

In other Mercury news, a notebook containing some of his last lyrics will be auctioned off at Bonham's in June. It's estimated to go for £50,000-£70,000.

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Watch Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' without the music

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"Hee hee hee..."

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Bernie Sanders' secret weapon: indie rockers

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How do you get millennials to pack the house at your campaign rallies? Easy: all you have to do is win the hearts and minds of the nation's hottest indie rockers and they'll volunteer to be your opening act. Read the rest

Edward Snowden provides vocals on a beautiful new Jean-Michel Jarre composition

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Jarre tapped the whistleblower for vocals on "Exit," a track from Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise, a new electronic music album that drops in three weeks. Read the rest

Radiooooo: Pick a country, pick a decade, and listen to the popular music of the era

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Radiooooo lets you pick a decade and a country, and will dispense popular music created then and there. (Note the "weird" option, disabled by default.) Thanks to this, I rediscovered Blue Boy's Remember Me (UK, 1990s, fast, weird), which remixes Marlena Shaw's Woman of the Ghetto into something very different. Read the rest

Tony Conrad, drone and minimalist music pioneer, RIP

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Avant-garde composer Tony Conrad, whose experimental music in the 1960s inspired the likes of the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine, died today at 76.

"Tony Conrad- one of my first partners in noise.- an indelible mark made, that will forever be paid forward," tweeted Conrad's early collaborator John Cale who went on to form the Velvet Underground.

If you're not hip to Conrad, start with his 1973 collaboration with Krautrock band Faust, "Outside the Dream Syndicate," a minimalist masterpiece that has just been reissued. Then lose yourself in Early Minimalism, Vol. 1, a compilation that includes the sublime "Four Violins" (1964). (Listen to excerpts of both below.) From NME:

Conrad was a member of the Theatre of Eternal Music, later known as The Dream Syndicate, an avant-garde 1960s drone music group whose lineup included The Velvet Underground's John Cale. Conrad also played with Cale in the short-lived 1960s band The Primitives, which was fronted by Lou Reed.

Cale and Reed would go on to form The Velvet Underground, naming the band after a book they found in Conrad's department. Conrad's 1966 film The Flicker is frequently hailed as a landmark in structural filmmaking and his work has been displayed in leading international museums including the Louvre in Paris and New York's Whitney Museum of American Art.

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New Walter Robot animated video for Death Cab for Cutie

Our pals in Death Cab for Cutie have just released a terrific new animated video by Walter Robot (BB contributor Bill Barminski and Christopher Louie) for the track "Good Help (Is So Hard To Find)" from DCfC's sublime album Kintsugi! You can catch Death Cab for Cutie live at numerous festivals this summer and a handful of co-headline shows with Chvrches!

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Video premiere: music documentary about incredible late-1960s Swedish psych band

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Träd, Gräs och Stenar were a groundbreaking, raw psych jam band from Sweden known for their wild concert/improv happenings where they served organic food they had grown, augmented their droning guitar/bass/drum core with home-brewed instruments, effects, and amps, and encouraged audiences to join their musical fray. Formed in 1968 from the ashes of pioneering groups Persson Sound and International Harvester, Träd, Gräs och Stenar released four proper LPs before disbanding in 1973.

“One of the best heavy-psych-improv-folk-blues-rock bands EVER," says Pavement's Stephen Malkmus about Träd, Gräs och Stenar. "Toss the tired Krautrock and supposed buried treasures of ‘acid folk’ and catch the True Communal Wave!”

Today, the good people at Anthology Recordings are releasing reissues of Träd, Gräs och Stenar's mind-melting recordings, including a limited-edition six LP silkscreened box set of live material, never-before-seen images, reproductions of original flyers, and a digital download with even more tracks. One entire LP in the set comes from unheard tapes that the Anthology folks dug out of founding member Jakob Sjöhol's attic!

To celebrate, we are delighted to premiere Anthology Recordings' short documentary about Träd, Gräs och Stenar, directed by Isak Sjöholm and Jesper Eklöw.

Far fucking out.

Träd, Gräs och Stenar (Anthology Recordings)

Träd, Gräs Och Stenar's cover of "All Along the Watchtower":

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Anthrax guitarist is now a master watchmaker

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Dan Spitz, the lead guitarist for thrash metal outfit Anthrax for many years, is now a professional watchmaker. (Great Big Story)

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Babymetal, live on Colbert!

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Babymetal, Japan's greatest synthetic all-woman heavy metal band, just released their second album, Metal Resistance, an occasion they celebrated with an outstanding live appearance on Colbert, performing Gimme Chocolate, their biggest hit. (via Metafilter). Read the rest

Funk legend Bernie Worrell is sick, buy this David Byrne remix to help pay his medical bills

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Bernie Worrell -- a "lynchpin" of Parliament Funkadelic whose collaborations with Talking Heads made the sound of Stop Making Sense -- is ill and can't afford his medical bills. Read the rest

Listen to heavy metal covers of iPhone ringtones

ToxicEternity plays a metal medley of iPhone ringtones.

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Killer "Arrest Records" logo from the 1970s

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"The best record label logo of the 70s?" as posted to Instagram by the fantastic reissue label The Numero Group. Read the rest

Listen to Michael Stipe (REM) sing David Bowie

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A heavily-bearded Michael Stipe sings a beautifully baroque cover of David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" as a teaser for tomorrow night's Music of David Bowie tribute concert at Radio City Music Hall, and streaming. (The Tonight Show)

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