Tag Archive: Music


If you missed it, Daft Punk premiered a 15-second clip of a new track, which likely features Nile Rodgers, in an ad during “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend. Lucky for you, some genius has looped the snippet for 10 straight hours, so you can get really psyched for the album. Wonder if it’s gonna be “Disco Fever” or “Disco Inferno” when the EDM bros finally get their hands on it? Read more here: http://aol.it/XSKeTU

Kraftwerk‘s fusion of art, beats and electronics has become a template copied by musicians everywhere. Now they plan to take London’s Tate Modern by storm

Kraftwerk 1981 tour

Kraftwerk on their 1981 UK tour. Photograph: Fraser Gray/Rex Features
Back in September 1975, a band played in Britain for the very first time. On stages from Croydon to Bath, from Southport to Yeovil, they wore smart suits and ties and played peculiar instruments. There was no clamour for tickets, no feverish press. This review of a half-full show in Newcastle was par for the course: “Spineless, emotionless sound with no variety, less taste… [and] damn little attempt to pull off anything experimental, artistically satisfying or new,” wrote Keith Ging in theMelody Maker. “For God’s sake,” he railed, “keep the robots out of music.”

Here in the 21st century, Kraftwerk‘s forthcoming gigs at Tate Modern are the hottest tickets around. Back in December, demand for them crashed the gallery’s website; angry fans who missed out stormed the venue, while thousands raged online. For eight nights in February, Ralf Hütter, Fritz Hilpert, Henning Schmitz and Falk Grieffenhagen will play each Kraftwerk album since 1974 in turn – from their fourth, Autobahn, to 2003’s Tour De France Soundtracks – with 3D film versions of their iconic visuals. They will wear neoprene neon suits and stand behind expensive technology. They did the same to rapturous reception in 2012 at New York’s Moma and at the Kunstammlung in their hometown, Düsseldorf, last month.

These are art-event spectaculars to which everyone wants entry because no other band since the Beatles has given so much to pop culture. Kraftwerk’s beats laid the foundations for club music: for hip-hop, synth-pop, techno and house. The sounds they invented have been sampled by hundreds of artists, from Madonna to R.E.M, from Missy Elliott to Fergie. Coldplay and Jay-Z have had hits with their elegant melodies and their image has influenced David Bowie, Daft Punk and Kanye West. We also now live in the kind of world their future-obsessed lyrics predicted: we find Computer Love online, models smile from time to time and Europe Endless exists.

For hardcore followers, the fact that this band named after a power station are playing in one is also irresistible. The band that remaining founder member Hütter always called musikarbeiter – musical workers – will be creating energy themselves, in their own Turbine Hall.

Kraftwerk’s story begins in 1968, in Düsseldorf, a city closer to Belgium, Holland and France than the Iron Curtain. Two young men born just after the end of the second world war meet on a music improvisation course. Ralf Hütter plays keyboards, Florian Schneider the flute; they perform their first gig at the city’s Cream Cheese Club. Playing in Organisation, a progressive, free-form group, they become obsessed with synthesisers, which are newly invented. In 1970, the wealthy Schneider buys one. The same year, they see Gilbert and George in the city’s Kunsthalle: two men wearing suits and ties, claiming to bring art into everyday life. The same year, Hütter and Schneider start bringing everyday life into art and form Kraftwerk.

Kraftwerk’s first three albums do not feature in the Tate gigs, but they hold clues to the aesthetic roots of the band. The cover art for Kraftwerk(1970) and Kraftwerk 2 (1972) have pop art traffic cones on their sleeves, suggesting a more industrial take on Warhol’s Velvet Underground banana. Tracks have mechanical titles, such as Spule 4 (Inductor 4) and Wellelange (Wavelength), and then come the songs about Germany. Some, such as Heimatklänge (The Bells of Home), are gentler, but Von Himmel Hoch (From Heaven Above) is provocative. Named after a carol by Bach, it features synthesisers replicating the sounds of warplanes and bombs. It also reveals Kraftwerk trying to make a new national music, rooted in everyday sounds, made by machines that offered a new future.

Next came Autobahn, named after another German invention. In spring 1975, a radio edit of its 22-minute title track became an international hit. Its synthesisers mimicked fast traffic and car horns; its celebration of driving clicked with western audiences. Soon after, Wolfgang Flür and Karl Bartos joined the band on electronic percussion, as did the new smart aesthetic on stage. Electronic music suddenly had its John, Paul, George and Ringo, although they looked and sounded very different to the rock bands of the time.

It’s not that Kraftwerk didn’t flirt with sinister ideas. Radio-Activity (1975) began with the sound of a geiger counter, evoking nuclear dread. But their music also played with double meanings and humour. Ohm Sweet Ohm (say it out loud) took central European pop into the realm of technology, while Radio-Activity‘s title track hinted at the utopian possibilities of the wireless. (It also says much that the 1991 remix of this song mentioned power stations Sellafield and Chernobyl in negative terms.) Throughout the melodies and methods, their vocal lines and lyrics, there is a touching innocence and simplicity.

Hütter often namechecked the Bauhaus movement, and liked its internationalism. The band’s songs started to feature words in different languages; they got inspired by James Brown’s funk, and even punk (years later, Hütter admitted that the start of 1977’s Showroom Dummies – “eins-zwei-drei-vier” – came from The Ramones’ “one-two-three-four”). Autobahn’s chorus The (“wi’r fahr’n fahr’n fahr’n”) echoed The Beach Boys’ Fun, Fun, Fun. But a statement of Hütter’s from 1979, pinned to a noticeboard in Chris Petit’s cult film Radio On, reveals how Kraftwerk linked the past and the present. “We are the children of Fritz Lang and Werner von Braun,” it began, naming the film director who fled the Nazis, and the scientist who made the V-2 bomb and the Apollo mission rocket, Saturn V. “We are the link between the 20s and 80s. All change in society passes through a sympathetic collaboration with tape recorders, synthesisers and telephones. Our reality is an electronic reality.”

This forward-thinking spirit had already started to infect pop. David Bowie adored Kraftwerk, writing the track V-2 Schneider for his 1977 albumHeroes (the band would namecheck him back on Trans-Europe Express). African American DJs also found an odd kinship with the Germans. Keen to find a new musical language, they were familiar with the urban sounds Kraftwerk were using; 1978’s The Robots became particularly influential on the dancefloor, and in the burgeoning B-Boy and breakdancing scenes. Afrika Bambaataa fused the melody of Trans-Europe Express and the rhythm of 1981’s Numbers to create Planet Rock, one of hip-hop’s pioneering tracks. Trailblazing electro group Cybotron used a loop from 1977’s Hall of Mirrors; its founder, Juan Atkins, would create techno, and from there came modern dance culture.

Ever since, using a Kraftwerk sample has been shorthand for credibility. Jay-Z’s 1997 Sunshine sampled The Man-Machine, while Coldplay’s Talk made a melody from Computer World into a stadium-rock riff. Music producer DJ Food, a collector of Kraftwerk cover versions, says the band’s influence can be heard today among the micro-genres that have evolved from dance and R&B. “Hear dubstep producer 6Blocc’s cheeky reinterpretation of Numbers/Computer World 2 disguised under the title,Digits. Or across the pond, juke and footstep producers such as Traxman have shoe-horned Kraftwerk samples into songs such as The Robot. Kraftwerk have been part of the lineage of dance culture since the late 70s – approaching it without them is impossible.”

Read more about Krafwerk here: Why Kraftwerk are still the world’s most influential band | Music | The Observer.

What Kraftwerk are about now is the souped-up live experience. Playing in galleries, they align themselves with art over pop. Catherine Wood, curator of contemporary art and performance at Tate Modern, has had several meetings with Hütter. He approached her about his idea for the shows in 2010, through German gallery owner Monika Sprüth. Wood was then flown out to Düsseldorf, where she visited Kraftwerk’s Kling Klang studios. This notoriously mysterious space, where outside contact has always been forbidden, even by telephone, was moved 10 miles outside the city four years ago. Inside, Wood found an impeccable, minimalist office and a huge studio, with four robots against a wall, lit in glowing green lights.

 

STARS ON KRAFTWERK

JUAN ATKINS
Musician; father of techno
I liked Kraftwerk from the first time I heard them on Showroom Dummies; the first single I bought was The Robots. Their music was totally synthesised, really pure, very melodic and very funky, and that was hard to do with early electronics. They also listened to James Brown a lot, and you can hear that. I was inspired by the precision and the tightness of their sound… they were a cog that changed the direction of things. Without them, electronic music would be totally different. There probably wouldn’t even be dance music.
Juan Atkins plays at London’s Netil 000 on 2 February

SARAH CRACKNELL
Pop singer/songwriter, Saint Etienne
My friend Douglas introduced me to Kraftwerk in the very early 80s. I hardly believed him when he said Ralf und Florian was recorded in 1973. How could that be? It sounded like future music to me. I loved the sparse simplicity of their songs, and the repetitiveness. If a lyric or melody sounds good, why change it? Their influence on Saint Etienne has been indirect but strong. We recorded [2000’s] Sound of Water in Berlin with [electro band] To Rococo Rot, who were Kraftwerk nuts. [TRR bassist] Stefan was from Düsseldorf too, so he got authenticity bonus points! We played at a festival in a Spanish bullring a few years ago, and Karl Bartos was on before us. I wasn’t expecting him to dress in full robot regalia, but I thought he was going to look a bit icy at least. Instead he was virtually whooping, “Come on! You wanna hear Trans Europe Express? Let’s do it!” It was Kraftwerk’s greatest hits and, to be honest, it was great – probably a lot more fun than seeing them at an art gallery.

PETER SAVILLE
Artist; album sleeve designer
Autobahn was the first album I bought for myself. It made me curious about classical music, the idea of Europe, and that cover had a profoundly significant effect: it made me realise how a greater landscape of possibility could come from one image. It made us think about travelling through a continent, but also travelling through time. It looked like a cathedral and a power station. Factory’s industrial aesthetic came from there too, and that imagery came to define Manchester, the first industrial city. Kraftwerk playing at the Manchester Velodrome [in 2009] meant everything. It broke my heart that Tony Wilson wasn’t there to see it.
See some of Peter Saville’s designs here (unofficial site)

NIGHTWAVE
Electro musician (UK bass; footwork)
I grew up in socialist Yugoslavia, so these records were difficult to come by, but my dad played their music when I was little. My first impression of Kraftwerk was that it sounded like being in a computer game or a sci-fi movie. It was sometimes quite dark, but it could also be beautiful and playful, like a journey through this weird unknown land. It cast a spell that led me to eventually have a go at my own electronic production. The euphoria I experienced seeing them in 2000 in their neoprene … it was the best boy band there ever was.
Hear Nightwave here

_amanda-palmer-1

As previously announced, Amanda Palmer was one of the featured speakers at this year’s TEDconference in Long Beach, Calif., and her talk is now available to watch online.

Through stories about street performing and eventually a solo career, Palmer’s talk “The Art of Asking” focused on her belief that the music industry should re-think the way it funds music. Instead of asking fans to buy music, Palmer says, “Let them.” The former Dresden Dolls frontwoman’s tested this theory when releasing music for free and asking fans to help. Through a Kickstarter account, Palmer’s latest album Theatre is Evil earned about $1.2 million completely through donations. Read more here: http://bit.ly/YY9viR

Check out Amanda’s full TED Talk in the video here: http://on.ted.com/Amanda

 

Listen: New Glass Candy:

 Glass Candy: “The Possessed” (Extended Runway Edit) listen here:

Listen: New Glass Candy: “The Possessed”

Extended edit from After Dark 2

Glass Candy: “The Possessed” (Extended Runway Edit)

Johnny Jewel has shared a new track from Glass Candy, which will appear on the forthcoming Italians Do It Better compilation After Dark II. The version of “The Possessed” above is an extended edit Jewel premiered at a fashion show in Paris, according to Gorilla vs Bear.

Although the sequel to After Dark was announced last summer, there’s still no word on when it’ll come out. Check out the lyrics for “The Possessed” here.

Johnny Jewel has shared a new track from Glass Candy, which will appear on the forthcoming Italians Do It Better compilation After Dark II. The version of “The Possessed” above is an extended edit Jewel premiered at a fashion show in Paris, according to Gorilla vs Bear.

Although the sequel to After Dark was announced last summer, there’s still no word on when it’ll come out. Check out the lyrics for “The Possessed” here.

 

 

It begins with a heartbeat. Released in 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon was Pink Floyd‘s eighth studio album. It would become one of the best-selling albums of all time, and its iconic cover image still hangs in college dormitories everywhere.

The record turned 40 this week. To mark the occasion, Weekend Edition asked All Songs Considered hosts Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen where they were when they heard Dark Side for the first time. Hear the full version of this story by clicking the audio link on this page.


BOB BOILEN: Back in 1972, I worked in record stores in Rockville, Md., and a huge Pink Floyd fan. They were coming to the Kennedy Center, and I was totally, totally psyched. My hair was down on my shoulders, much like the band members. I’d give anything to have that hair back.

They came out and performed this piece of music. Everybody in the audience, no doubt, their jaws just dropped. You had no idea what it was — and you have to understand, in 1972, if you don’t know what it is, there’s nowhere to look it up. It was like, “OK, when am I ever going to hear this amazing music again?”

It was nearly a year later. The truck that was carrying that record, I knew where it was gonna show up so I could get the record, like, four hours earlier than I would have had I waited for it to come to the store I worked in.

ROBIN HILTON: I was probably 12 years old, and I was with a friend who had brought the record over. We were playing chess, and it just blew my little mind.

I remember the song “Time.” I can’t tell you how many college roommates I awakened in the middle of the night by blasting the alarm clocks going off. There’s this line in the song “Time” that still resonates with me today. I still think of it all the time, it says, “You’re young and life is long and there’s time to kill today.” Boy, the older I get, that sure turns out to be true.

It was so crazy to imagine how they could even pull this off; technically, how could they create these sounds? We’re hearing so much crazy stuff now in music and nobody gives it any thought — because you can do anything now, right? But when I listen to Dark Side of the Moon now, 40 years later, it still sounds fresh.

Read more about Pink Floyd here: http://n.pr/WxKDRd

 

The-Who-Larry-Busacca

Roger Harry DaltreyCBE (born 1 March 1944), is an English singer, musician, songwriter and actor, best known as the founder and lead singer of English rock bandThe Who. He has maintained a musical career as a solo artist and has also worked in the film industry, acting in films, theatre and television roles and also producing films. In 2008 he was ranked number 61 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest singers of all time.
The Who, along with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, changed music and started a rock and roll revolution. The band broke through the local scene in the 1960s and began to gain a huge following, producing many classic rock hits and performing at many famous festivals, such as Isle of Wight and Woodstock. These concerts, and incredible studio albums in the early 1970s (including Tommy, Who’s Next, and Quadrophenia) moved the band into elite status. The legendary band has sold 100 million records and charted 27 top 40 singles in the UK and US, in addition to producing 17 top ten albums. The Who‘s surviving members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey continue to tour and were recently honored at the Grammys for a lifetime achievement award and at the Kennedy Center Honors. As rated by AOL Radio listeners, here are the top 10 songs from the band that many consider to be the greatest rock band of all time.
Read more here: http://aol.it/15oPFPS
10
One of the earliest singles from the Who, was written by Townshend in 1967 and was titled ‘Pictures of Lily.’ One of Townshend’s narrative songs, this tune includes the singer beating insomnia due to a ‘picture of Lily,’ although he later finds out later that Lily is dead. Townshend has admitted that the song is merely “about masturbation.” Regardless of its meaning, the song became a top 5 hit in the UK and remains one of the Who’s most popular songs from the 1960s.
Track
09
‘The Kids Are Alright’
The debut album from The Who, ‘My Generation,’ was released in 1965 and included this track, which was later released as a single. The song was written by Townshend as a tribute to the Mod Movement in England, specifically targeting the rebellious British youth. The song is still a radio favorite, and has been covered by many modern rock bands, including Pearl Jam and Green Day.
Decca
08
‘Happy Jack’
Happy Jack was the first single to make the top 40 in America and was a top 5 UK hit. The song is rare, in that bass player John Entwistle joins Daltrey on the lead vocals for the song. Townshend reportedly wrote the song about a man he saw on the beach, who didn’t mind the fact that children were laughing at him. The unique music video is still a treat to watch; It features the Who attempting to rob a safe before they get distracted by a cake, which leads to a lot of wacky behavior from the members of the band.
Decca
One of the more pop sounding rock songs from the Who was their 1981 single ‘You Better You Bet,’ written by Townshend for the album ‘Face Dances.’ The song, which contains references to T.Rex. and their own album ‘Who’s Next,’ was the last single by the Who to reach the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and their last top 10 single in the UK. Daltrey has the lead vocals in this one, with Entwistle and Townshend both providing backing vocals.
Warner Brothers
06
‘Magic Bus’
Magic Bus was originally written by Townshend in 1965, but wasn’t officially released until 3 years later. It was one of the Who’s most popular songs and it became a live staple at concerts. The song is another simple one, telling the tale of a man who wants to buy a bus so he can visit his girlfriend, but the driver does not want to sell it. The musical arrangement was unique for containing Latin percussion instruments, known as claves.
Decca
When one thinks of ‘classic rock,’ it is hard not to think of this song, one of the most successful Who songs of all time. Included on the famous album Who’s Next, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again,’ was a rebellious song written by Townshend about a revolution. The song is well known for Daltrey’s scream and for including one of the Who’s best instrumentals ever. The hit, which remains a concert staple, was the last song the original lineup ever performed together; It was played in 1978, four months prior to the death of drummer Keith Moon. The song charted in the UK and America, and has been covered multiple times, most notably from Van Halen.
MCA
04
‘Behind Blue Eyes’
‘Behind Blue Eyes’ is one of the softest ballads from the Who, but became an international hit for the band. Also released off of ‘Who’s Next,’ the song was originally written by Townshend as a character for his ‘Lifehouse’ project, a film that would have been similar to ‘Tommy.’ Townshend said he wrote this song, which is sung by Daltrey, to show “how lonely it is to be powerful.” The song begins acoustically, but turns into a rock anthem, with another strong guitar riff. The tune remains a favorite on radio stations and is played at nearly every Who concert.
MCA
03
‘Pinball Wizard’
As the most popular single off ‘Tommy,’ Pinball Wizard strongly connects the audience to the character of Tommy, who in the song becomes a pinball champion, despite being ‘deaf, dumb, and blind.’ This was the last song written for Tommy, and wasn’t originally going to be included. Although Townshend once said it was “the most clumsy piece of writing, [he’d] ever done,’ the song became a commercial success, peaking at Number 4 in the UK and charting in America. The song is a live favorite, and has been covered many times, most notably by Elton John, who sung it in the film version of ‘Tommy.’
Decca
02
‘Baba O’Riley’
Often mistaken for the title of ‘Teenage Wasteland,’ ‘Baba O’riley’ is one of the most recognized and most popular rock songs of all time, although it was never released as a single. ‘Baba Oriley’ was also written for Townshend’s Lifehouse project, and found its way onto ‘Who’s Next’ as the opening track. Daltrey sings most of this tune, although perhaps Townshend sings the most reconizable middle eight: “Don’t cry, don’t raise your eye, it’s only teenage wasteland.” Townshend claimed that the song in part was about what he witnessed during their performance at Woodstock. Part of his message was that, despite the fact many teenagers were on a lot of drugs and experiencing brain damage, they were celebrating. .
Decca
01
‘My Generation’
Arguably the band’s biggest hit, ‘My Generation’ was written by Townshend in 1965 about rebellious British youths and the message that older people “just don’t get it.” It was their highest charting song in their home country, reaching #2 in the UK and became a very influential rock track in America and all over the world. The famous lead vocals of Daltrey, contain a stutter, which is quite unique and was requested by their manager. ‘My Generation’ was Number 11 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and is mentioned more often than any other Who song as one that helped shape rock and roll.
Decca

 

Courtesy Columbia Records

Courtesy Columbia Records

After more than three decades together, synth-pop pioneers Depeche Mode are excited as ever to unveil new music.

On March 26, the band will release their eleventh studio full-length, Delta Machine. Ahead of the album’s release, Depeche Mode will webcast their Live on Letterman performance from New York’s historic Ed Sullivan Theater on Monday, March 11 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT via CBS.com. For those unable to catch it during its first airing, the entire performance will be repeated multiple times immediately following the live broadcast. Shortly thereafter, the set will be made available on-demand via VEVO.

During a recent interview, frontman Dave Gahan joked with KROQ’s Kevin & Bean about the electronic band’s storied 32-year history. “We’ve been that band that nobody understood, then we’ve been the band that everybody tried to imitate, and suddenly we were the band that everybody says, ‘oh we were influenced by.’”

Read more interviews here: Depeche Mode To Webcast ‘Live on Letterman’ Concert « Radio.com News.

 

New video.  Bjӧrk “Mutual Core”

The video, directed by Thomas Huang, will be shown every night during March at the Times Square’s big screens. This song taken from Bjork’s latest album “Biophilia”

David Bowie’s first album in 10 years, The Next Day, is now streaming on iTunes two weeks ahead of its official release date.

Read more here about Bowie‘s new album: http://bit.ly/149FP1Z

The Next Day officially hits stores March 12th via Columbia Records (pre-orders are ongoing). Below, watch the video for the album’s latest single, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”, which stars Bowie himself and Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton.

The Next Day Tracklist:
01. The Next Day
02. Dirty Boys
03. The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
04. Love Is Lost
05. Where Are We Now?
06. Valentine’s Day
07. If You Can See Me
08. I’d Rather Be High
09. Boss Of Me
10. Dancing Out In Space
11. How Does The Grass Grow
12. (You Will) Set The World On Fire
13. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die
14. Heat
15. So She (Deluxe Track)
16. I’ll Take You There (Deluxe Track)
17. Plan (Deluxe Track)

 

Martin Gore, Frank Ocean (Miguel Medina, Matt Kent Getty Images

Martin Gore, Frank Ocean (Miguel Medina, Matt Kent Getty Images

During a recent interview, Depeche Mode lead singer Dave Gahan revealed that vocalist Frank Ocean has collaborated with the band’s main songwriterMartin Gore.

“We were in the studio in New York, and we were filming and recording some live tracks toward the end of the session. I was singing, Martin [Gore] on guitar, a few of the other guys,” Gahan told Entertainment Weekly about a session for Depeche Mode’s forthcoming new album, Delta Machine.

Suddenly in the doorway, I sensed this presence, and I realized there was this guy standing there just watching,” Gahan continued. “An assistant came up to me in between songs and said, ‘Do you mind? Frank Ocean is here working in another studio and really wants to meet you guys.’ I wouldn’t have thought he would have even known who we are, but it turns out he’s a big fan.”

Read more here: http://bit.ly/126pyiP

Depeche Mode’s Delta Machine is scheduled for release on March 26, followed by an extensive world tour. North American dates have yet to be announced.

-Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local

 

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