Shut in sounds: Iggy Pop—No Fun

A performance in Portland, August 26, 2017. Read the rest

Group of quarantined musicians do a spot-on cover of Fagen's "New Frontier"

A few months ago, I posted the video for Donald Fagen's 1982 now-classic track, "New Frontier." At the time, I said that I couldn't get this tune out of my head. It hasn't left.

Here is a group of quarantined musicians doing a wonderful cover of it.

[H/t Steve Silberman]

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In quarantine, Thomas Dolby's kids turn dad's hit "Europa..." into "Corona..."

A couple of days ago, Thomas Dolby posted this video to Twitter and YouTube of a track called "Corona and the Pirate Twins," a spoof of his 1982 hit, "Europa and the Pirate Twins." The song is credited to Dolby Kids. Thomas included the following note:

"This is what my mischievous offspring have been getting up to during the Lockdown."

Here is the original video for "Europa..."

Bonus track:

And here is Thomas Dolby doing a touching home solo version of his achingly beautiful "Screen Kiss" from 1984's Flat Earth. He did it as a tribute to Matthew Seligman, the celebrated bassist who recently died of COVID-19. Seligman played bass on Dolby's recordings, including Flat Earth, and also played for Bowie, Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Murphy, and countless others. He was also a member of the Soft Boys.

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Robert Fripp launches weekly ambient music series

Today, Robert Fripp launched Music for Quiet Moments, a 50-week series of ambient tracks he'll be recording and releasing at home. If the first piece is any indication, this will be a welcome comfort. I found it seriously lovely and soothing. Healing, even.

About the series, Robert writes:

"Quiet moments are when we put time aside to be quiet. Sometimes quiet moments find us. Quiet may be experienced with sound, and also through sound; in a place we hold to be sacred, or maybe on a crowded subway train hurtling towards Piccadilly or Times Square. Quiet Moments of my musical life, expressed in Soundscapes, are deeply personal; yet utterly impersonal: they address the concerns we share within our common humanity."

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Shut in sounds: Crowded House perform "Don't Dream It's Over" from isolation

Well, this was inevitable.

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Kermit the Frog sings "Rainbow Connection" from quarantine

This is just too adorable for words. Kermit T. Frog, self-isolating in the swamp, sings his big hit, "The Rainbow Connection," while accompanying himself on banjo. Complete with him turning the camera on and off, a few sketchy chord and vocals moments. In other words: Star quarantine perfection.

As one commenter put it: "Kermit isn't the hero we deserve, but he's the hero we need." Read the rest

Shut in sounds: Donald Fagen's "New Frontier"

Soon after the sheltering-in-place orders started being issued, this wonderful song (and video) from Donald Fagen's 1982 Grammy-nominated solo album Nightfly began popping into my head. All these weeks later, it hasn't left.

"We've got provisions and lots of beer The key word is survival on the new frontier"

Indeed, except we don't have lots of beer and we're having a hard time laying in the provisions. Where's the 50s fallout shelter when we need it?

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Shut in sounds: Gary Numan's basement sessions from 2014

Speaking of Gary Numan, I just discovered these basement session videos from 2014 on the YouTubes. I especially like this version of "Are Friends Electric?"

There only seems to be three performances available. I assume there are more.

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Shut in sounds: Gary Numan singing and playing guitar from his den

So many artists are now playing music online from home. For many, it shows a different, more vulnerable side to them.

This is definitely the case in this set with the great Gary Numan. From his den, he plays guitar and sings, something he says he rarely does.

In the intro and the patter between songs, he spends a lot of time with clearly an aching heart over what we're all going through, showing real tenderness and compassion. And he spends lots of time apologizing for his guitar playing and the raw circumstances of the performances. No need, Mr. Numan. It all sounded perfect and heartfelt to me.

During the set, he does "Everyday I Die," "Bleed," "Crime of Passion," and "Down in the Park." On several songs, he is joined by his daughter, Persia.

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Shut in sounds: Nick Lowe and his son perform "(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" from their living room

As part of Rolling Stone's "In My Room" series, the legendary UK singer-songwriter, Nick Lowe, and his son, Roy, play a number of Lowe's recent compositions and his classic "(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding." He ends the 14-minute set doing a beautiful rendition of “I Read a Lot,” the title track to his 2011 album, The Old Magic.

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Shut in sounds: Oysterband—Early Days of a Better Nation

When we finally come out of this terrifying situation that the world has found itself embroiled in, the very best we can hope for is to become a better people than we were before COVID-19 struck, forcing us away from one another.

We'll have to work for it, but it's achievable. Read the rest

Shut in sounds: The Decemberists—Calamity Song

Let's take a moment to reflect upon the fact that, no matter how dire things are and, how more terrible they're expected to become, we're still able to issue some control over our lives. By staying indoors as often as we can, social distancing when we're out and, enacting strict quarantine procedures at the first sign of illness, we all have the ability to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

That's one helluva a lot more than you can say about our ability as individuals to steer the course of disasters like a nuclear exchange, monsoon or earthquake. Read the rest

Shut in sounds: Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band—We Deserve a Happy Ending

I'm not sure that we deserve a happy ending. But like the rest of you, right now, I'm hoping like hell for one. Read the rest

Shut in sounds: Richard Thompson—1952 Vincent Black Lightning

1952 Vincent Black Lightning is a song that makes me think about fresh starts, old habits, love and loss—topics that we all currently have way too much time to ponder, just now. Read the rest

Shut-in sounds: 33 of the best industrial albums

Here's another musical round-up to keep you occupied while holed up in your pandemic command bunker. The Pitchfork title of this piece is "The 33 Best Industrial Albums of All Time," but homey don't play that horse race. Your mileage may vary. My mileage varies. What would you add to this list?

27 Chris and Cosey Heartbeat 1981 “Industrial music for us was about being industrious,” Cosey Fanni Tutti reflected of her time in the pioneering group Throbbing Gristle. “It wasn’t about industrial sounds.” Her point was proven when she and bandmate/partner Chris Carter formed a new duo after TG’s dissolution, veering away from the group’s harsh textures into lighter, more melodic territory. The music that comprises Heartbeat, their debut album, spans multiple genres—minimalist techno, spacey synth-pop, stretches of eerie ambience—while maintaining a rough, corroded edge. From the grinding pulse of opener “Put Yourself in Los Angeles” to the dazzling sci-fi title track, its vision and melding of textures influenced scores of electronic artists; it also provided a path for fellow industrial musicians to maintain their intensity while learning to lighten up and evolve. –Sam Sodomsky

20 Swans Greed/Holy Money 1986 Desecration, self-loathing, flesh, power: This is the scripture of Swans, the infamously loud and transgressive New York noise band led for decades by Michael Gira. By Greed/Holy Money, they had blown up their sound—two bassists, three drummers, the vocalist Jarboe—to become a chamber group of hulking, post-industrial aggression, marching against the bull market of New York’s cocaine decadence in the mid-’80s. Read the rest

Shut in Sounds: Warren Zevon—Splendid Isolation

It's been an anthem for cheeky introverts and hermits, for years. Now, it belongs to us all. Read the rest

Shut in sounds: Devotchka—Done With Those Days

This little ditty from Devotchka's 2018 album This Night Falls Forever, is both beautiful AND timely. The masks. The coming storm. the promise to be there for one another.

Love it.

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