What's cooler than being cool? Hundreds of musicians protesting ICE and Amazon

Stop, collaborate, and listen: Amazon's complicit in ICE's extraditions (plus other abuses of human rights enabled by that agency's authoritarian agenda)

That's why hundreds of musicians—nearly 500, at the time of this writing, though it was just over 100 when news broke Thursday morning—have signed onto an open letter pledging to boycott Amazon festivals, events, and other exclusive deals until the tech giant stops enabling the systematic abuses of Immigration Customs Enforcement. The list of signatories includes Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, as well as Ted Leo, Immortal Technique, Downtown Boys, Thursday, WHY?, Jeff Rosenstock, the Mowglis, War on Women, Diet Cig, Tim Kasher (of Cursive/The Good Life), and many more.

These are the demands for Amazon, directly from that open letter:

Terminate existing contracts with military, law enforcement, and government agencies (ICE, CBP, ORR) that commit human rights abuses

Stop providing Cloud services & tools to organizations (such as Palantir) that power the US government's deportation machine

End projects that encourage racial profiling and discrimination, such as Amazon's facial recognition product

Reject future engagements w/ aforementioned bad actors.

I signed my own band onto the list earlier this week, after catching wind of the movement on Twitter. (I tried to pull our songs from all Amazon-affiliated services, but our distro service makes that difficult to do.) My friends in the Kominas mentioned something about it, and then I noticed Deerhoof interacting with Sadie Dupois of Speedy Ortiz and Sad13, following up on the recent op-ed by Tom Morello and Evan Greer of Fight For The Future (both musicians and activists in their own rights). Read the rest

Watch David Crosby's hair-raising impression of a John Coltrane solo

David Crosby's "If I Could Only Remember My Name" (1971) is one of my favorite records of all time. I'm excited to watch Cameron Crow's documentary about him, "Remember My Name," especially after seeing this delightful clip of Croz recounting the time he was so high while at a jazz club during a John Coltrane gig that he had to hide in the bathroom. And then -- surprise -- Coltrane himself burst into the bathroom playing his horn. In the video above, Crosby beautifully expresses what it sounded like.

(Spin) Read the rest

Cloud City Soundtrack is your new favorite Star Wars comedy pop-punk band

When he's not playing drums for bands like Motion City Soundtrack and Tiny Stills, Tony Thaxton hosts a number of wacky podcasts — including a series of weekly Star Wars comedy music videos. Over the course of two years, Thaxton cranked out more than 100 Star Wars-themed songs under the name "Cloud City Soundtrack." While he's finally burnt-out on Tibana gas and has moved onto other Patreon projects, he has released a "best of" Cloud City Soundtrack compilation on BandCamp, with 19 songs featuring fan favorites such as Lando, Greedo, and Admiral Ackbar, as well as some deeper cuts into Star Wars lore like Bor Gullet and Ric Olié.

And honestly the songs are just delightful in that Weird Al-kinda way, so it's absolutely worth a listen.

Star Wars Songs by Cloud City Soundtrack

Image via Flickr Read the rest

Listen to this killer unreleased recording of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan

In 1969, Bob Dylan wrote "Wanted Man" for Johnny Cash who recorded it for his live record At San Quentin. Now though, Dylan has released this killer original demo of the tune as he and Cash played it together in Nashville with Carl Perkins. It's included on the forthcoming box set Bob Dylan (Featuring Johnny Cash) – Travelin’ Thru, 1967-1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 15.

(Rolling Stone) Read the rest

How to get through these trying times

The legendary Mavis Staples. Read the rest

A highly scientific fictional approach to ranking musical artists using math

The Internet is always finding arbitrary new ways to compile ranked lists of musicians and their songs. Sure, the content mill demands it, as seen on Pitchfork, AV Club, Ranker, and so many other sites that have built their reputations on such systems. But it's our fault, too— we, the music-loving audience that we are, so eager to compare our preferences to others. No list is ever quite right; even our own personal Definitive Musical Rankings may change over time. Perhaps that's why we consuming new music lists every year, in hopes of finding that one true objective arbiter of our sonic truth.

That search ends today. Because David Steffen has finally found the answer, in his delightful new piece of epistemological fiction about the Horowitz Method, a metrics-based approach to ranking musical groups:

But what mathematical measure? If we were talking about comparing one song with another, it might be easier, for the music itself is inherently mathematical–meter, tempo, time, number of notes, pitches. But a single musical group could have any number of songs, and the number could grow every day—what particular songs would one use to judge a group? Their newest? The whole body of their work? And some bands release songs so regularly that any conclusion drawn would have to be re-examined very frequently. And that’s not even to speak about what particular measure to use which, we know from personal experience, becomes a dispute of its own.

No, if we are going to compare musical groups and expect a somewhat stable outcome, we must not compare their songs, we must compare traits of the group themselves.

Read the rest

Fatboy Slim mashes up Greta Thunberg's UN speech

Greta Thunberg's Joan of Arc-grade tongue-lashing to the world's leaders at the UN makes for some incredible mashup possibilities: it's not merely that her excellent delivery lent itself to death metal, but also her use of the phrase "right here, right now," was tailor-made for insertion into Fatboy Slim's track of the same name -- hence Fatboy Slim himself playing Twitter user David Scott's remix at a gig in Gateshead. Read the rest

How to invite someone out for a lovely afternoon

We'll find a cloud to hide us We'll keep the moon beside us Read the rest

Kurt Cobain's "Unplugged" cardigan up for auction

The green cardigan that Kurt Cobain wore during Nirvana's classic MTV Unplugged performance in 1993 (see above) will be on the auction block at the end of the month. The sweater last changed hands following a November 2015 auction, selling for $137,500. This time, the minimum bid is set for $200,000 and it's expected to go for more than $300,000. It has not been washed.

“It’s very important that we don’t wash it,” Darren Julien of Julien’s Auctions said in Rolling Stone. “The stains are still there. There’s even cigarettes burns that you can see on the sweater.”

From Julien's Auctions:

The Manhattan brand sweater is a blend of acrylic, mohair and Lycra with five-button closure (one button absent) with two exterior pockets, a burn hole and discoloration near left pocket and discoloration on right pocket. Size medium. The sweater was obtained from Jackie Farry, a close friend of the Cobain family, and is accompanied by both a handwritten letter and a typed, signed letter from Farry.

Read the rest

Fantastic marching band tribute to the Apollo 11 moon landing

In celebration of this year's 50th anniversary of the first humans on the moon, the Ohio State Marching Band staged this wonderful performance on Saturday.

Read the rest

A favorite 'Hotel California' cover

Alabama 3 has long been a favorite and is never long out of rotation. Read the rest

Posters that mash up Talking Heads songs with pulp covers and vintage ads

Todd Alcott -- purveyor of "Cultural Mashups" and "Ephemera Set to Music" -- created this incredible set of six posters that mash up vintage ads, pulp covers, and posters with Talking Heads songs, which leaves me both excited at the thought that these will soon grace my walls (they're available as giclee prints ranging in size from 11" wide to 48" wide, at prices from $33 to $300), and enraged that apparently the artist has been eavesdropping on my most deeply held obsessions. Get out of my head, you magnificent, mindreading bastard! Read the rest

Video: Violin performance by Gaelynn Lea

Enjoy this performance by violinist Gaelynn Lea. Her body is different than yours. So is her talent. Read the rest

Listen to this compelling mash-up of 50 songs from 1979

As The Hood Internet, Chicago producers Aaron Brink (ABX) and Steve Reidell (STV SLV) have been cranking out compelling mash-ups since 2007. The clip above cuts up and recombines 50 songs from 1979. They intend to release several more single year mash-ups this month. This one features:

ABBA, AC/DC, Anita Ward, Billy Joel, Blondie, Boomtown Rats, The Buggles, The Cars, Charlie Daniels Band, Cheap Trick, Chic, The Clash, The Cure, Donna Summer, Doobie Brothers, Earth Wind & Fire, Electric Light Orchestra, Fleetwood Mac, The Flying Lizards, Gang of Four, The Gap Band, Gary Numan, Joy Division, Kiss, The Knack, Kool & The Gang, Lipps Inc, M, Michael Jackson, Pat Benatar, Pink Floyd, The Police, The Pretenders, Prince, Queen, Rainbow, Rupert Holmes, Sister Sledge, The Specials, Squeeze, The Sugarhill Gang, Supertramp, Talking Heads, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Van Halen, The Whispers, Wire

Read the rest

Interview with founder of Sahel Sounds, a West African music label

Sahel Sounds is a record label, a recording project and artist collective focused on the culture in the West African Sahel. While based in Portland, Oregon, founder Christopher Kirkley frequently travels to West Africa to locate, record and work with musicians in that area. 

Sahel Sounds publishes a unique array of artists and genres including Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar, electronic synth composer Hama who plays modal, quarter tone “Arabic scales” on a Yamaha electronic keyboard, the sinuous singing and lilting melodies of Les Filles de Illighadad and a handful of other compelling artists.

Kirkley also writes extensively on the artists, how he met and recorded them as well as illuminating what makes their musical approach so distinctive. Also, the record label’s YouTube Channel features over 450 videos of the Sahel Sounds artists. 

Founder Christopher Kirkley took time to speak with Boing Boing to share his insights on the Sahel Sounds project. 

How and when did you start the label?

It was originally a blog that was kicked off in January of 2009. Simultaneously, I started the blog while I was traveling around West Africa to do this project of field recordings. But it was my own project and wasn’t financed by any external sources. 

What was the initial interest in this region of West Africa?

I heard some music from that part of the world and was really fascinated by it. However, I couldn’t find out enough information on that particular West African music online. I felt like I really need to go there myself and find out about it.  Read the rest

Puddles covers Crazy Train

Puddles' voice is that of an angel. An angel in clown make up, but sure.

I love this guy. Read the rest

Lizzo vs The Aristocats

Mike Lake's mashup of Lizzo's "Truth Hurts" with "Scales and Arpeggios" from Disney's 1970 animated feature "The Aristocats" is plain fabulous. Lizzo plays the scene far better than Eva Gabor ever did. (via Kottke) Read the rest

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