As the entire world mourns the loss of Prince this last week, his hometown of Minneapolis, MN has pulled out all the stops in paying tribute to one of the most iconic figures the world has known in years. At last night’s game versus the Cleveland Indians, the Minnesota Twins players each stepped up to the plate to a Prince song of their choosing. Lead-off hitter Eduardo Nunez walked up to the plate to “1999”, while Joe Mauer chose “7”, and clean-up hitter Miguel Sano picked “Kiss.”Other tributes included a pre-game set of music performed by Dudley D, Prince’s tour DJ, purple-infused graphics, as well as the team showing Purple Rain on Saturday night.
Camp Springer Music & Arts Festival announced the first phase of their 2016 lineup yesterday, and it sounds like the makings of an incredible weekend! The festival, set to take place at Stable Gate Barn & Vineyard in Castleton-on-Hudson, New York on the weekend of July 29-31 will feature headlining performances by Start Making Sense, the talented Talking Heads tribute band currently making a name for itself on the touring circuit, 8-piece soul powerhouse Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band, and Buffalo, New York indie outfit The Reign Kindo. The bill also features sets by sibling-led New York soul-pop group Lawrence, bluegrass Jerry Garcia tribute Deadgrass, and a pair of exciting CT-based up-and-comers (West End Blend and Eggy), as well as MNDLS, Kalahari, and Chet Steddman.In addition to some fantastic music, Camp Springer will offer live visuals by liquid light masters A Case of Space & Lucin, as well as a Silent Disco, yoga and meditation sessions, a live art show, local food and craft vendors, and much more. For more information, tickets, and lineup updates, visit the festival’s website.
Like any other living ecosystem, music also experiences evolution. It inevitably becomes a product of environmental factors, cultural effects, and human impact, which are all intrinsically influenced also by time. A study was published last year, entitled “The Evolution of Popular Music,” that sought to decipher such evolutionary trends within this artistic phenomenon. Research concluded there to be three main evolutionary leaps: soul, disco, and hip-hop.The study was fascinating, analyzing the musical fossil records from over the last fifty years. An engineer at Queen Mary University of London, Matthias Mauch, conducted his research by dissecting thousands of songs from the “U.S. Billboard Hot 100” between 1960 and 2010 and pursuing a comparative, technical study. His team analyzed 30-second samples of over 17,000 songs to determine the trends within this fifty year time span. Because music is highly mathematical, it can easily be separated between harmonics, chord changes, rhythm, and timbral qualities. Patterns are then identified using information retrieval and text-mining tools.Despite popular beliefs that diversity in music is decreasing over time, Mauch’s study found the opposite. The collected data provided no evidence of chart homogenization, however, it did show that music trends contain periods of stasis followed by quick rapid change. “You take something that exists. And that in biology would be genes. But it’s not genes here. You just take some styles. You recombine them, like genes are recombined, and you change them as well—a bit like mutation,” Mauch explains. Past trends suggest that while some might assume music to be in a plateau of unoriginal, re-presented content, we could actually be on the verge of some sort of musical revolution. Music, as an ever-evolving creature, has gone through it’s own fair shares of makeovers over the last fifty years. The future isn’t as bleak as we may think!IFLS demonstrates the evolutionary timeline perfectly:From 1960 onwards, the dominant seventh chord all but disappeared from music. Examples of this chord can be found in “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets or “I Feel So Bad” by Elvis Presley. This was treble-ing news as it signaled the ‘death’ of jazz and blues.Mauch says 1964 was the first of our three music revolutions: the rock and soul revolution. For rock, think “Sympathy For The Devil” by The Rolling Stones, and for soul recall “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye.The dominant seventh chord was replaced with the minor seventh: “Lady Marmalade” by LaBelle or “That’s The Way (I Like It)” by KC & The Sunshine Band as the ‘60s crept towards the ‘70s.By the end of the ‘70s, Mauch comments: “We can really see the influx of funk, which is really turning into disco,” with hits like Tragedy by The Bee Gees.As the ‘80s rolled in, it signaled the disco, new wave and hard rock revolution in 1983. However, the ‘80s became a sluggish time for the progression of music. 1986 stands out as a period of minimum change in diversity where chart-toppers all sounded the most alike. For example, “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by The Communards, “Living On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi, and “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna were all hits in 1986.Just when music was in a progression depression, it was saved by rap and hip-hop in 1991. Tracks like “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J led the biggest explosion of change in music since 1960. “This is so prominent in our analysis, because we looked at harmony—and rap and hip-hop don’t use a lot of harmony. The emphasis is on speech sounds and rhythm,” said Mauch, whilst discussing which elements of music they used to categorize the songs.This brings us to modern day music; anything after 2010 wasn’t included in the analysis. How would you define modern music? Is it the incendiary sounds of bands like the String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee, and Phish? Or is it taking a more electronic route, selling out arenas with DJs like Bassnectar and Pretty Lights? Perhaps Miley Cyrus defines the contemporary moment of modern music. With the common denominator being passion, it all comes down to the musical DNA we all grew up listening to, how it’s influenced our creative trajectories, and how it comes together in a way that can be packaged, re-packaged, and sold in the end.As you can see, we’ve been here before. The only constant being change is what justifies this matter. Science says!“Mama Said Knock You Out”
Now a few shows into their European tour, AC/DC has been getting on quite swimmingly with their new frontman, Axl Rose. The Guns N’ Roses singer joined the crew only recently, when longtime lead singer Brian Johnson was informed by doctors that he would have permanent hearing damage if he continued to perform at the arena level.According to a new interview with AC/DC members Angus Young and Cliff Williams, Rose doesn’t want to give up the job once the tour dates are over. “We were committed to finishing this tour, so that’s been our main goal, and Axl’s helping us,” Young said. “I know he’s very excited. He keeps saying can he do more? But we don’t really know at the end how we will [proceed]. But we wanna get [through] this tour, which we were committed to doing. We wanna finish it.”Watch the interview below.Axl Rose is only the third-ever lead singer for AC/DC, a role previously held by founding member Bon Scott and his longtime replacement. Brian Johnson. With rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young getting an unfortunate diagnosis of dementia and longtime drummer Phil Rudd in trouble with the law in Australia, fans will question whether an AC/DC without so many of its core members is even AC/DC anymore.Still, for those about to rock, we salute you.[Photo via Getty Images]
Coming out August 19th, the new volume of the GarciaLive series focuses in on a great time in the career of Jerry Garcia. Taken from a performance in Palo Alto, CA on November 8th, 1976, Garcia teams with bassist John Kahn, drummer Ron Tutt, keyboardist Keith Godchaux and vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux for the performance. It was Donna who actually discovered this recording, which was thought to be lost for years. The tape was stored for decades in her garage!Garcia took advantage of the Grateful Dead’s mid-1970’s hiatus to truly explore new sounds and styles. Ever the open-minded musician, Garcia found himself dabbling in the gospel genre, and working up a cover of Mighty Clouds of Joy’s 1975 hit, “Mighty High,” for his solo band. While a studio version of “Mighty High” was recorded for Cats Under The Stars later on, this 1976 version is brimming with energy as Garcia infuses some disco grooves throughout.Listen to the new version of “Mighty High” ahead of the GarciaLive Volume Seven: November 8th, 1976 – Jerry Garcia Band album release, as premiered by Rolling Stone.You can also read more about this new archival release and listen to “After Midnight” here.
Former Saturday Night Live cast members Fred Armisen and Bill Hader have gone on to have well-established careers in the years since they were on the sketch comedy show. Now, the two are back and better than ever on their latest project Test Pattern, a new wave rock group that draws heavily on the music of the Talking Heads.The fictional band will be featured on the October 5th episode of Documentary Now!, titled ‘Final Transmission,’ which will include a full spoof of the Talking Heads film Stop Making Sense in full-on mockumentary mode. Prior to that airing, however, Test Pattern made their major network debut with another SNL album, on Late Night with Seth Meyers. The duo performed the kitchy track “Art + Student = Poor“, with Armisen doing his best David Byrne impression. Not only is the song funny, but it’s actually pretty good.Check out the performance below:[via Nerdist]
Joey Porter doesn’t get out much with his Juno What?! side project much these days. But when he does, you can be sure it’s going to be one hell of an electro-funk and disco dance party. Last night at Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins, CO was just that. Donned in Adidas track suits, The Motet keyboardist and company got things started early and didn’t let up at all, after a solid opening set from Space Orphan. The group, made up of Porter on keys and talk box, fellow Motet bandmate Garrett Sayers on bass, Dan Schwindt on guitar, and Tyrone Hendrix from Stevie Wonder‘s touring band on drums, played uber-funky tracks like “Take You Home” from 2014’s Stranger, “Take Control Of Your Body” from 2012’s Shameless, and the title track from the same album. Check out full video of “Shameless” below:
With The Wood Brothers forced to cancel their much anticipated set at the inaugural Suwannee Roots Revival festival due to a small health issue, the call went out for someone to save the day. That call was answered by none other than J.J. Grey and Luther Dickinson, available due to the unfortunate cancellation of Magnolia Festival, which was forced to close down in the after-effects of Hurricane Matthew. The Southern guitar heroes and songwriting brothers-in-arms from Mofro and the North Mississippi All-Stars fortunately were able to save the day. Reminiscent of Southern Soul Assembly, their occasional collaboration with Anders Osborne and Marc Broussard, the pair traded songs and stories with each other and the crowd, and joined together for a few choice moments.Our own Rex Thomson is on the scene all weekend, and captured a pair of videos showcasing the back and forth between the dynamic duo. Luther Dickinson got things going strong, pouring his heart and talents into a rousing rendition of “The Meeting,” which you can watch below:After that rabble rousing call to arms, J.J. brought tears to already misty eyes talking about his experiences during the recent storms and the wonder of being reminded at our insignificance in the fave of Mother Nature’s awe inspiring might. Give a listen to the moving speech by Grey and the song that followe, below:Look for lots more photos and videos to come next week in our jam packed round up of all the fun at the first annual Suwannee Roots Revival!
Get ready to get the led out at Brooklyn Bowl! Paul Green’s School of Rock and Rocks Off have announced that a ridiculous Led Zeppelin-themed show called “Zeppelin Bowl” will come to the beloved Williamsburg venue on December 28th. The show will feature a variety of artists from across the musical spectrum coming together to play the music of Led Zeppelin. Gene Ween, John Medeski, and Scott Ian (of Anthrax) top the eclectic bill, with many more unannounced special guests set to appear as well.More information can be found at the Brooklyn Bowl website, and you can purchase tickets on Friday, 10/21 at 10:00am at this link.
After winning the 2016 prize in literature earlier in the year, Bob Dylan decided not to attend the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden this Saturday. Citing “existing commitments” as the reason for his absence, instead, the poet-songwriter decided to send some choice words to be delivered by Azita Raji, the United States Ambassador to Sweden. Patti Smith was also tapped to perform in Dylan’s stead, who performed a beautiful rendition of “A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall” (which can be heard here).After acknowledging that he was “truly beyond words” for receiving the honor, Dylan’s remarks also acknowledge his surprise for receiving the prestigious award, with the singer stating, “If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel Prize, I would have to think that I’d have about the same odds as standing on the moon.”A good portion of Bob Dylan’s banquet remarks used a comparison of himself with Shakespeare to explore the concept of literature itself, subtly addressing the pushback surrounding his win from parts of the literary community:When [Shakespeare] was writing Hamlet, I’m sure he was thinking about a lot of different things: “Who’re the right actors for these roles?” “How should this be staged?” “Do I really want to set this in Denmark?” His creative vision and ambitions were no doubt at the forefront of his mind, but there were also more mundane matters to consider and deal with. “Is the financing in place?” “Are there enough good seats for my patrons?” “Where am I going to get a human skull?” I would bet that the farthest thing from Shakespeare’s mind was the question “Is this literature?” … Like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavors and dealing with all aspects of life’s mundane matters. “Who are the best musicians for these songs?” “Am I recording in the right studio?” “Is this song in the right key?” Some things never change, even in 400 years. Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, “Are my songs literature?” So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer.Dylan’s thoughtful remarks also reaffirmed the centrality of his songs in everything he does and the gratitude he has for the impact he’s had on fans’ lives: “I’ve been doing what I set out to do for a long time, now. I’ve made dozens of records and played thousands of concerts all around the world. But it’s my songs that are at the vital center of almost everything I do. They seemed to have found a place in the lives of many people throughout many different cultures and I’m grateful for that.”You can read Dylan’s full remarks below:Good evening, everyone. I extend my warmest greetings to the members of the Swedish Academy and to all of the other distinguished guests in attendance tonight.I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honored to be receiving such a prestigious prize. Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming. From an early age, I’ve been familiar with and reading and absorbing the works of those who were deemed worthy of such a distinction: Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus, Hemingway. These giants of literature whose works are taught in the schoolroom, housed in libraries around the world and spoken of in reverent tones have always made a deep impression. That I now join the names on such a list is truly beyond words.I don’t know if these men and women ever thought of the Nobel honor for themselves, but I suppose that anyone writing a book, or a poem, or a play anywhere in the world might harbor that secret dream deep down inside. It’s probably buried so deep that they don’t even know it’s there.If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel Prize, I would have to think that I’d have about the same odds as standing on the moon. In fact, during the year I was born and for a few years after, there wasn’t anyone in the world who was considered good enough to win this Nobel Prize. So, I recognize that I am in very rare company, to say the least.I was out on the road when I received this surprising news, and it took me more than a few minutes to properly process it. I began to think about William Shakespeare, the great literary figure. I would reckon he thought of himself as a dramatist. The thought that he was writing literature couldn’t have entered his head. His words were written for the stage. Meant to be spoken not read. When he was writing Hamlet, I’m sure he was thinking about a lot of different things: “Who’re the right actors for these roles?” “How should this be staged?” “Do I really want to set this in Denmark?” His creative vision and ambitions were no doubt at the forefront of his mind, but there were also more mundane matters to consider and deal with. “Is the financing in place?” “Are there enough good seats for my patrons?” “Where am I going to get a human skull?” I would bet that the farthest thing from Shakespeare’s mind was the question “Is this literature?”When I started writing songs as a teenager, and even as I started to achieve some renown for my abilities, my aspirations for these songs only went so far. I thought they could be heard in coffee houses or bars, maybe later in places like Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium. If I was really dreaming big, maybe I could imagine getting to make a record and then hearing my songs on the radio. That was really the big prize in my mind. Making records and hearing your songs on the radio meant that you were reaching a big audience and that you might get to keep doing what you had set out to do.Well, I’ve been doing what I set out to do for a long time, now. I’ve made dozens of records and played thousands of concerts all around the world. But it’s my songs that are at the vital center of almost everything I do. They seemed to have found a place in the lives of many people throughout many different cultures and I’m grateful for that.But there’s one thing I must say. As a performer, I’ve played for 50,000 people and I’ve played for 50 people and I can tell you that it is harder to play for 50 people. 50,000 people have a singular persona, not so with 50. Each person has an individual, separate identity, a world unto themselves. They can perceive things more clearly. Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried. The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.But, like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavors and dealing with all aspects of life’s mundane matters. “Who are the best musicians for these songs?” “Am I recording in the right studio?” “Is this song in the right key?” Some things never change, even in 400 years.Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, “Are my songs literature?”So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer.My best wishes to you all,Bob Dylan