Both of these fine journalistic institutions kinda missed the musical boat on this one by not including a Spotify playlist of each of these lists. So, in about 20 minutes I was able to pull together the Spotify playlist for many of the songs from the NPR list, with a few additional songs from the Billboard list added for good measure.
The guitar pioneer Les Paul left us today. What’s most interesting is that not only did he invent the electric guitar, but he also experimented and created new recording techniques:
There he experimented with recording techniques, using them to create not realistic replicas of a performance but electronically enhanced fabrications. Toying with his mother’s old Victrola had shown him that changing the speed of a recording could alter both pitch and timbre. He could record at half-speed and replay the results at normal speed, creating the illusion of superhuman agility. He altered instrumental textures through microphone positioning and reverberation. Technology and studio effects, he realized, were instruments themselves.
A short, but great, interview with Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows on his favorite “summer song”, ‘Save It For Later’ by English Beat, and the experience he had when he saw what would eventually be English Beat’s last show. I would have to enthusiastically agree with him…its a favorite of mine and the way he describes the “absolute joy of the song” is spot on.
And while I’m on the subject of NYC radio stations, WRXP is a breath of fresh air in the vapid morass that is, and has been, the NYC region’s music radio stations (If I’m late to discovering RXP, shame on me). For years we’ve had to suffer with cookie cutter, top 100 pop crap stations. Finally, someone has put together a station that incorporates new, underground artists, along with classic songs and artists from the past 0-30 years. And the DJ’s know what they are talking about….Matt Pinfield is excellent. WXRT is a great change of pace on the NYC area’s radio dial and I wish it great success so long as it does not get swallowed by internet/satellite radio.
MTV has released an online video site that houses all the videos that have ever run on the network (we won’t talk about its name – MTV Music or Music Television Music – or the fact that these days MTV is anything but Music Television).
The Most Popular area, which as of today looks like a retro 1980′s top video list with video “classics” like Dire Straits Money for Nothing, aHa’s Take on Me, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, or – wait for it – Toto’s Africa.
Good lord, what is going on in our world? One hit wonders from the 1980′s having reunion tours. Really bad bands having reunion tours. Fake bands having reunion tours. Its a trend and a buzz that will not subside!!
The other day I was coming home from work and I just happened to dial up the Fresh Air with Teri Gross podcast. Its not a podcast I listen to regularly, however whenever there is a good interivew on NPR, it always seems as though Teri Gross is the interviewer. In any case, the podcast I dialed up was from March 2 and it featured an interview with Grandmaster Flash, arguably the godfather and first true star of rap/hip hop music. Wether you are a fan of rap/hip hop or not, take a listen. Its an amazing interview in that Grandmaster Flash is able to transport you back to the early 1980′s when he was honing his craft and just investigating how far he could push the limits. What was also amazing was when Teri Gross asks him to do a voice over of what he was doing (artistically) while they listen to his seminal “The Message” mix.
Another big part of New York’s long music legacy was lost to the history books this past weekend when CBGB OMFUG (Country BlueGrass Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers is the long version of the name) unceremoniously closed its doors. And now, NYC is one big step closer to being a homogeneous plastic concrete Mall of America. I’m not going to claim to be anything close to a punk rocker, and I sadly never even set foot in the place. But I am aware of its place in music history, the legends it helped create, and the legend the venue itself became. In recent years, CBGB fell into some level of disrepair and the level of music innovation never did rival that time in the mid-to-late 1970′s when acts like the Talking Heads, The Ramones, Blondie, and others established themselves there. But you always knew that it was there as a living, breathing piece of NY and American music history. And now, its not there. Rumors are that they will try to take it apart and rebuild it in (gasp) Las Vegas, but obviously it will never be the same. What are they going to do next, close McSorley’s?