An Irish band's tribute to Aaron Swartz

Brian writes, "I play in band in Dublin, Ireland. In January 2017 we released an album called 'Long Gone' and on it we had a song called 'Papaya' which I wrote after watching The Internet's Own Boy. It is a tribute to Aaron Swartz. The title came when I was singing 'The panic is spreading like fire' I really spat out the 'like fire' and the rest of the guys in the band thought I was saying 'papaya'. The 'Simple, really, simple reallys...' came from RSS." Read the rest

Hear all 77 songs Weird Al covered on tour

From Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" to Alice Cooper's "School's Out," Weird Al and his band covered a different song for the encore each night for Yankovic's recent "Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour." Now he's put together a video of all of those cover songs, 77 songs for 77 cities. It's nearly half an hour long and there's no footage, just the music, but it's totally worth a look/listen (if for no other reason to appreciate the effort).

00:00 - Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple) 00:35 - Blue Suede Shoes (Elvis Presley) 00:52 - I Saw Her Standing There (The Beatles) 01:24 - Johnny B Goode (Chuck Berry) 01:40 - Do Wah Diddy Diddy (Manfred Mann) 02:00 - Dirty Water (The Standells) 02:13 - Honky Tonk Women (The Rolling Stones) 02:29 - Tutti Frutti (Little Richard) 02:46 - Wipeout – in 4 different keys (The Surfaris) 02:58 - All Day and All of the Night (The Kinks) 03:11 - Should I Stay or Should I Go (The Clash) 03:39 - Blister in the Sun (Violent Femmes) 03:56 - Uncontrollable Urge (Devo) 04:06 - 867-5309 (Jenny) (Tommy Tutone) 04:27 - Psycho Killer (Talking Heads) 04:50 - Hello There (Cheap Trick) 05:10 - Refugee (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) 05:34 - (They Long to Be) Close To You (The Carpenters) 05:56 - Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young) 06:14 - Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting (Elton John) 06:45 - Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry) 07:03 - Free Bird (Lynyrd Skynyrd) 07:17 - China Grove (Doobie Brothers) 07:36 - Rebel Yell (Billy Idol) 08:03 - Stuck in the Middle with You (Stealers Wheel) 08:11 - Accordion Boogie (Charles Magnante) 08:25 - Are You Gonna Be My Girl (Jet) 08:43 - All Star (Smash Mouth) 09:02 - Squeeze Box (The Who) 09:24 - Beat on the Brat (Ramones) 09:38 - Last Train to Clarksville (The Monkees) 10:02 - Beer Barrel Polka (traditional) 10:16 - Breakdown (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) 10:44 - What I Like About You (The Romantics) 11:03 - We’re an American Band (Grand Funk Railroad) 11:23 - Peaches (Presidents of the United States of America) 11:43 - It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) (The Rolling Stones) 11:58 - Gimme Some Lovin’ (Spencer Davis Group) 12:11 - Glad All Over (Dave Clark Five) 12:26 - Sunshine of Your Love (Cream) 12:47 - Particle Man (They Might Be Giants) 13:00 - Land of 1,000 Dances (Wilson Pickett) 13:18 - Crocodile Rock (Elton John) 13:34 - Viva Las Vegas (Elvis Presley) 13:45 - Fire and Rain (James Taylor) 14:17 - Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon) 14:35 - I Wanna Be Sedated (Ramones) 14:52 - It’s the End of the World as We Know It (R.E.M.) 15:10 - Born to Be Wild (Steppenwolf) 15:36 - Vertigo (U2) 15:54 - You Really Got Me (The Kinks) 16:10 - Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd) 16:33 - Suffragette City (David Bowie) 16:56 - Mama Told Me (Not to Come) (Three Dog Night) 17:19 - Radio Radio (Elvis Costello) 17:46 - Girl U Want (Devo) 18:00 - This is a Call (Foo Fighters) 18:24 - I’m Down (The Beatles) 18:43 - The Elements (Tom Lehrer) 18:55 - Funeral For a Friend (Elton John) 19:23 - (You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman (Aretha Franklin) 19:50 - God Save the Queen (Sex Pistols) 20:13 - No Matter What (Badfinger) 20:43 - Classical Gas (Mason Williams) 21:11 - Rock & Roll (Led Zeppelin) 21:40 - Funk #49 (James Gang) 22:01 - Good Lovin’ (The Young Rascals) 22:17 - Foxey Lady (The Jerry Hendrix Experience) 23:01 - Aqualung (abridged) (Jethro Tull) 23:08 - Hard to Handle (The Black Crowes) 23:25 - All Right Now (Free) 23:48 - Summer Nights (Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta) 24:14 - Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf) 24:39 - Rebel Rebel (David Bowie) 25:02 - Takin’ It to the Streets (Doobie Brothers) 25:26 - Not Fade Away (Buddy Holly) 25:56 - School’s Out (Alice Cooper)

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"With A Little Help From My Friends" covered on a mobile carillon

Most carillons are fixed in bell towers, but Chime Masters makes a mobile carillon, used here to play a lovely Beatles cover. Read the rest

Watch Weezer perform "Africa" live with Toto's Steve Porcaro on synth

On the heels of the successful fan campaign for Weezer to cover Toto's "Africa," and the subsequent online release of the song, they performed it last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Special guest all-too-brief synth solo by Toto's Steve Porcaro! Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you!

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New song and video from Death Cab for Cutie: "Gold Rush"

Today my friends in Death Cab for Cutie released the first song and video from their forthcoming album, Thank You for Today. Featuring a sample from Yoko Ono's "Mindtrain," the tune is a fantastic, funky, soulful shuffle with Ben Gibbard singing about the Seattle neighborhood of Capitol Hill that he's called home for two decades but now feels increasingly foreign. Not necessarily better or worse. Just different.

"As I've gotten older," Ben told NPR, "I've become acutely aware of how I connect my memories to my geography and [how] the landscape of the city changes. I'll walk down Broadway and walk past a location that used to be a bar I'd frequent with friends, or somewhere where I had a beautifully intense conversation with somebody that I once loved very much. The song is not a complaint about how things were better or anything like that. It's an observation, but more about coming to terms with the passage of time and losing the people and the moments in my life all over again as I walk down a street that is now so unfamiliar."

Death Cab for Cutie's ninth album, Thank You for Today, will be released August 17.

As a bonus, here's the sample source, Yoko Ono's Mindtrain from the album Fly (1971):

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New Yorkers: DJ Spooky is launching "Phantom Dancehall" in Brooklyn on Jun 13

Lisa Rein writes, "DJ Spooky is having a record release party Wednesday night for his new Phantom Dancehall album, which utilizes samples from legendary VP Records' Greensleeves sublabel." Read the rest

Moby is selling his record collection to benefit an animal rights org

In April, Moby sold a slew of his vintage synthesizers to benefit the anti-animal testing organization Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Now he's parting with 1,000 of his vinyl records with the proceeds going to the same group. The collection ranges from test pressings of his own albums to post-punk classics to 12-inches that he spun during his rave and club DJ days in the early 1990s. The sale launches Thursday on Moby's Reverb LP Shop.

“These are all the records that I bought and loved and played and carried all around the world,” Moby says. “I would rather you have them than me, because if you have them, you’ll play them, you’ll love them, and the money will go to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. So everybody wins. Well, except me, because now I don’t have any records.”

(Reverb)

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Watch Steve Martin do Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean"

Steve Martin takes a walk in Michael Jackson's loafers for "The New Show," a 1984 sketch-comedy TV program from Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. The New Show only ran for one season but this clip lives for eternity.

(via r/ObscureMedia, thanks, UPSO!)

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Smooth Criminal with every other beat removed

This bizarre masterpiece is the pinnacle of a new trend in music editing (compare to speed-ups and major-minor key swaps): "Gonna send you back your Nintendo. In your apartment blood stained carpet. Then your bedroom, duck down. Dadoom!" Read the rest

Scandinavian metal cover of Toto's "Africa"

Since everyone's doing posts about their favorite cover of Toto's "Africa," here's my frontrunner, because it's very Norwegian: metal and ironic and funny all at once. Read the rest

'This Is Nigeria' is that country's viral version of the Childish Gambino hit

Nigerian rapper Falz created This Is Nigeria, a parody of This Is America that switched out lyrics and imagery for social ills in his country: machete-wielding gangs, codeine use, internet scammers, and much more. Read the rest

Enjoy these delightful piano lessons from Mikael Jorgensen of Wilco

I don't play piano but I just can't get enough of this series of music lessons from my pal Mikael Jorgensen of Wilco and Quindar. The clips are smart. Funny. Earnest. And weird. Just like Mikael.

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The Beatles' "White Album" demos: listen and learn

One May day in 1968, The Beatles gathered in Esher, London at George Harrison psychedelic bungalow Kinfauns to make music. They jammed through numerous songs written during or after their time hanging with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India. Those demos are the skeleton of what would become the White Album. Some of those acoustic renditions have since been officially released or made their way to YouTube. Over at Rolling Stone, Jordan Runtagh takes us through the "Esher Tapes." Here are two of the tracks with Runtagh's commentary:

"Revolution"

Anti–Vietnam War demonstrations, Prague Spring, the assassination of Martin Luther King – John Lennon pondered the tumultuous events of early 1968 from his bucolic hideaway in the shadow of the Himalayas. "I had been thinking about it up in the hills in India," he told Rolling Stone in 1970. "I still had this 'God will save us' feeling about it: 'It's going to be all right.'" The sentiment would because a positive mantra in one of Lennon's most enduring songs; one he hoped would shake the youth out of the dreamily complacent Summer of Love era. "I wanted to put out what I felt about revolution. I thought it was time we fucking spoke about it." In the band's early days, he felt gagged by the unofficial code of silence that prohibited celebrities from speaking out about political matters for fear of antagonizing their audience. "For years, on the Beatles' tours, [manager] Brian Epstein had stopped us from saying anything about Vietnam or the war.

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Kamasi Washington's killer new soul-jazz track inspired by videogame arcades of yore

Cosmic saxophonist, composer, and spiritual jazz revivalist Kamasi Washington has released a new jam inspired by his teenage experiences at the videogame arcade. "Street Fighter Mas" will appear on Washington's forthcoming album "Heaven and Earth" out June 22. Listen:

Washington says:

When I was younger, I was in between the end of the arcade generation and the beginning of the console generation. We used to go to this place called Rexall to play Street Fighter. At Rexall, there would be different people from different hoods there playing the game. It was the one place that was like an equalizer. It was just about how good you were at Street Fighter...for the most part. In other places, you were afraid of these dudes; there, you would just play the game and it was what it was, you know? I was really good at Street Fighter, so where the song really came from was me jokingly saying I was going to have my own theme song so that when I showed up to play Street Fighter they’d play my theme song before I came in, like a boxer. In the context of the album, it was the connection that we got with those guys in our neighborhood. We used to call them OGs, the older guys that we looked up to.

In a lot of ways, for me, video games was the way I connected with them because I was never affiliated with any gangs, but I knew them and I was cool with them and that was mainly through the video games.

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What Toto's "Africa" is really about

I admit that I dig Toto's "Africa" (1982). No irony. I've always loved it. And once again, the song is all over our news feeds thanks to Weezer's fan-inspired cover of it. (My favorite cover though is this one by Low.) But what the hell is the song actually about? Based on comments from Toto, it seems the meaning has evolved as sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti. From Wikipedia:

Jeff Porcaro explains the idea behind the song: "a white boy is trying to write a song on Africa, but since he's never been there, he can only tell what he's seen on TV or remembers in the past."

Paich said:

At the beginning of the '80s I watched a late night documentary on TV about all the terrible death and suffering of the people in Africa. It both moved and appalled me, and the pictures just wouldn't leave my head. I tried to imagine how I'd feel about if I was there and what I'd do.

In 2015, Paich explained the song is about a man's love of a continent, Africa, rather than just a personal romance. In 2018, Paich explained the song is about a person flying in to meet a lonely missionary. As a child, Paich attended a Catholic school. Several of the teachers had done missionary work in Africa, and this became the inspiration behind the line "I bless the rains down in Africa."

More here: "The story behind Toto's 'Africa'"

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Fantastic psychedelic Levi's commercials from the early 1970s

In the early 1970s, Levi's ran these fantastic psychedelic TV commercials with narration by Ken Nordine, the beat creator of the pioneering Word Jazz albums of the 1950s that melded far-out poetry with hip musical accompaniment. Far fucking out.

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Enigma released the second part of Sadeness

Enigma's Sadeness (part 1) was riveting when it appeared in 1991, a peak of remix culture that transported millions to another place, the old world and the new age meeting in a feast of futuristic EDM. But it also encompassed musical tropes (Gregorian chants, appropriated "world music", new age spirituality, that drum loop) that were quickly and thoroughly debased. Within a few years, Sadeness and its sequelae seemed not only cheesy but vaguely problematic, other histories fed pell-mell into a white guy's synthesizer. The criticism is a little unfair, given that other similar projects -- Deep Forest, Adiemus -- were much grosser on that front.

Anyway, as Trump sailed into the White House in November 2016, Enigma finally released Sadeness (part 2) to little public attention or acclaim.

It's a slow electronica mashup of Bach's Toccata and Fugue. It's all that was good and bad and very bad about the "sampler mannerism" that followed the second summer of love and acid house and "techno" and that book by the KLF. Especially the setting of esoteric imagery against electronic beats that you can't dance to and the echoing murmur of Poe's law. It's unexpectedly obvious.

P.S. The best Enigma track is Out From The Deep, a one-off psychedelic rock trip to Atlantis that doesn't sound remotely like anything else they ever did.

DERCETUS I say, O Caesar, Enigma released part II of Sadeness.

CAESAR The breaking of so great a thing should make A greater crack. The round world Should have shook lions into civil streets And citizens to their dens.

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