The man who seeks the sound of silence

Gordon Hempton is an "acoustic ecologist" and field recording artist who seeks out the places on Earth that are free of noise pollution. The episode below of the Generation Anthropocene podcast features Hempton's story and some of his favorite recordings of the natural environment. For more from Hempton, check out his book "One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Quest to Preserve Quiet."

(top photo by Richard Darbonne) Read the rest

Watch the Ramones guest star on "Sha Na Na" (1979)


In 1979, the Ramones were special guests on novelty 1950s nostalgia band Sha Na Na's TV variety show. In this bizarre skit, the Ramones play in a Family Feud parody gameshow called "Greasers Feud." More context over at Dangerous Minds: "Sha Na Na Feud with the Ramones" Read the rest

Happy 40th Birthday to Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here"


This month marks the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. It's a good time to celebrate that moment, when the portals opened and a stream of cosmic creative force spilled into our reality.

Pink Floyd need no introduction, being one of the most influential superstar bands of the 20th century. Their sound concoctions, played and aired for millions of hours all around the globe, generated a sonic morphic field of unparalleled beauty. These guys hit their musical nail heavy on our collective subconscious' head.

Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd's ninth studio album, strikes a balance between commercial craftsmanship and inspired artistry. Ironically more shining than their previous album's lunar success, this work remains a remarkable exemplar of the prog rock and psychedelic era. The band conjured up a melancholic soundscape, weaving kaleidoscopic interstellar jams carrying emotional weight, grief, loss, disillusionment, yet leaving the door open to the manifold possibilities of love and mystic enchantment.

Forty years after the release of Wish You Were Here we live in a world where the experience of consuming music is peculiarly fragmented: we listen to tunes on YouTube, impatiently skipping from to song to song, or randomly accessing tracks on iTunes and mp3 players. In our hectic and disenchanted times, the electro-mechanical reproduction of musical artworks contributed to the loss of aura in artworks in general. Devoting our full and undivided attention to listening a whole album - from the beginning till the very end - is a sporadic experience and a rare luxury. Read the rest

The best children's music compilation record and turntable!


Most contemporary "kids music" sucks. However, my favorite reissue label Light In The Attic is releasing a killer children's vinyl compilation titled "This Record Belongs To______" that includes the likes of Shel Silverstein, Nina Simone, Donovan, Van Dyke Parks, Vashti Bunyan, Woody Guthrie, and many other musical greats, along with a storybook illustrated by the talented Jess Rotter. Read the rest

Delightful abstract animations controlled by drum kit


Colin Toupé set up his electronic drum kit to trigger animations. Simple idea and wonderfully executed! Read the rest

The antique tech shortage that hurts the vinyl boom

As the vinyl record resurgence continues, the problem is that there simply aren't enough record pressing plants to meet the demand. Indie labels get pushed to the back of the line when the majors place a big order. Read the rest

In Uganda, a white German aid worker becomes an unlikely local pop star

Photo: Spiegel
Student Deena Herr, 22, has recently become a very unlikely superstar in the East African nation of Uganda.

EFF scores a giant victory for fair use and dancing babies

8 years ago, Universal Music sent a takedown notice over Stephanie Lenz's 29-second Youtube video of her kids dancing in the kitchen to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." Read the rest

Support an ambitious new project from David J (Bauhaus/Love and Rockets)!


Legendary musician David J of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets is collaborating with Detroit's Theatre Bizarre Orchestra to create an immersive performance experience involving a studio recording, DVD, and tour. Help make it happen by supporting the project on Kickstarter! Above, David and the Theatre Bizarre Orchestra perform a Minnie the Moocher-inspired version of the Bauhaus classic "Bela Lugosi's Dead" at last year's Theatre Bizarre Gala, a moment that provoked this latest endeavor.

On Friday night, my family and I saw David perform under the stars in a Petaluma, California backyard and it was a deeply magical experience. His musicianship, warmth, and wit energized the delighted group of fans and friends who had gathered for this intimate show. From "living room concerts" to crowdfunded endeavors like this one, David continues to demonstrate how an artist working at the edges of culture can connect directly with his or her supporters beyond traditional channels to fund new work, inspire creativity, and fuel the passion of everyone involved.

Support David J and the Theatre Bizarre Orchestra!

Follow David J on his own site.

Read the rest

Keith Richards tells his kids to snort his cremation ashes


"I'll give them a straw," he said, according to The Mirror. You might recall that Richards also made headlines years back after claiming that he snorted his own father's ashes.

He later elaborated on that: "I opened dad’s ashes, and some blew over the table. I asked, should I desecrate them with a broom? So I wet me finger and I shoved a bit of me dad up me fucking hooter. I’m sure he’s still blessing me. The rest I put round a tree.”

(The Mirror) Read the rest

Bud Light's weird and bad "Grunge" commercial from the 1990s


"Want some Bud Light, want some Bud Light, hey, yeahhhhhh!" Read the rest

Music: "A Question of Temperature," Balloon Farm (1967)


"I'll tell it like it is, girl you gotta keep your distance. Cause the doctor says I've got a very low resistance." Read the rest

San Francisco tomorrow (Sat): Noise Pop's 20th Street Block Party


Our pals at Noise Pop are hosting their third annual 20th Street Block Party of music and local food tomorrow (Saturday) in San Francisco! It promises to be a rocking and rollicking good time with the low, low entrance price of just $0! Headlining are the curious and wonderful alt.folk mavericks, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down! Read the rest

Postmodern Jukebox does a lounge version of The Strokes' "Someday"


Postmodern Jukebox does retro versions of popular contemporary pop songs. Their latest video is a cover of The Stroke's 2002 hit "Someday." It features Cristina Gatti on vocals. The versions are very different from each other, but I like them both. Read the rest

REM's Michael Stipe to Trump et al.: "Go fuck yourselves!"

"Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you — you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men," Stipe said, responding to Trump playing REM's hit "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" at a rally yesterday. Read the rest

Listen to some fresh avant-jazz from Brian Ellis Group!


Dig this far out avant-jazz/electronic madness from San Diego's Brian Ellis Group that the record label, El Paraiso, rightly says should be filed in the same crate as "Miles Davis, Tortoise, Marion Brown, Joe Henderson, Can, and Donald Byrd." Read the rest

Listen to Tycho's lovely remix of Death Cab for Cutie


Enjoy downtempo electronic musician/producer Tycho's hazy, chill remix of "The Ghosts of Beverly Drive" from DCfC's beautiful album Kintsugi, their eighth LP. Read the rest

More posts