Beck Portraits You Really Must Own

Categories: Beck

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PopMediaIllustrated on etsy
After a long hiatus, Beck has returned to the musical forefront with Morning Phase, a dreamy album that is swimming in accolades.

Fans need not anticipate another dearth of Beck tunes. According to Rolling Stone, Beck is already working on a followup album to Morning Phase that he hopes to release within the next year.

To celebrate the return of this folksy Los Angeles native, we've curated a collection of fan art from etsy that proves either Beck is really easy to draw, or his fans are really talented. We're assuming it's the latter. You can catch Beck at Coachella this year or on his North American tour.

This archival print by PopMediaIllustrated (above) should be album art. The appearance, shape and texture of this print has "limited edition vinyl" written all over it.

See also: Did Beck's Band (and Hat) Upstage Him on SNL?


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Did Beck's Band (and Hat) Upstage Him on SNL?

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We all get by with a little help from our friends, but surprise cameos during the musical guest performances on Saturday Night Live don't happen all too frequently. The Imagine Dragons/Kendrick Lamar reprise was a welcome one when they played SNL last month, and that had more to do with Kendrick saving the godawful arena gods from themselves with the addition of his verse than anything else. This week, with Beck, we got a similar distraction with appearances from Josh Tillman--aka Father John Misty--and Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. formerly of Jellyfish. Between the hat that Beck stole from the set of Witness, the symphonic, dirge-like quality of "Wave" and a bit of an identity crisis on hand for those fans who'd rather listen to Odelay on repeat or not acknowledge Beck's life after "Loser," we've got a bit of a bear on our hands to figure out, because Beck on SNL was one of the more surreal and true-to-life performances the show has seen in recent memory.

See also: "OMG Her Face!": America Reacts to Haim's SNL Performance

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The Week in Music Writing: The Way We Make Hit Songs Now

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How do we make hit songs now?
We present this free compilation of music writing that Voice writers are into this week, all by writers we presume were paid for their efforts. If you have a story you'd like to see here, drop us a line.



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Closing The Colony: A Visit To Times Square's Shuttering Sheet Music Outpost

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M.V. Jantzen/Flickr
In some ways, the Friday before last looked like business as usual at Colony Records, the venerable Theater District music-and-sheet-music retailer that recently announced its impending closing after 64 years of operation. At the counter, Warren Tesoro, an employee for 25 years, asked a middle-aged woman if she knew that the CD of Porgy and Bess she's buying is the karaoke version. (She did.) In the sheet music section, the largest in the country, a young Brooklyn-looking couple sight-sang a few lines of "The Ballad of John Henry"—the 19th century work-song about the humanity's futile struggle against technology—from a folk song collection before adding it to their stack. A few aisles away, Damian Wille, a musical theater student visiting from Appleton, Wisconsin, stocked up on vocal scores from recent Broadway shows: Shrek, Catch Me If You Can, Billy Elliot. At home, this music is "not easily" available: "I even looked for Shrek online, and I couldn't find it ... It sucks that it's closing."

Wille isn't the only one who thinks so. The day before, an employee of Academy Records—a vinyl-and-CD survivor with Manhattan and Brooklyn branches—had tipped the bad news to the blog Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, which confirmed it with the store's owners. Within 24 hours, the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Post had printed or posted news items about the closure. By afternoon, the word was literally on the street: even a woman collecting for homeless families on the sidewalk outside the store interrupted her spiel to say, "It's closing in three weeks." (Reports of the actual last day have varied.) Inside, co-proprietor Richard Turk fielded questions from a video crew and condolences from visitors like fellow retail vet Leon Geary, a dapper septuagenarian who worked at the Sam Goody chain's long-shuttered flagship store on 49th Street "from 1957 to 1981." Ken Jacowitz, a former Strand employee who comes in regularly to check out the store's collection of Beatles memorabilia, said, "I never really thought about leaving New York until I read about this today."

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Beck's Sheet-Music Gambit And Six Other Alternatives To Just Putting Out A Boring Old Record

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This week neo-pop superstar Beck announced the release of Song Reader, a new "album" in the form of sheet music. The finished product offers nothing to listen to; just 20 sheets of notation collected in a "lavishly produced hardcover carrying case," according to the publishing outfit McSweeney's, which is working with Mr. Hansen to release this artful experiment.

People praised the project; others derided it—although not surprisingly, many musicians leaned toward the former. As the Beauty Pill's Chad Clark put it: "There is zero incentive to release music conventionally right now. It just feels dumb/masochistic. Might as well try shit. Why not?"

A solid point, and one that many of Clark's musical brethren have taken well to heart. Here are some of the more innovative ways that artists are trying to get people to pony up for music these days.

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Governors Ball 2012: Saturday Vs. Sunday In The World Series Of "Can New York Host A Music Festival"?

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Jillian Mapes
Fiona Apple at Governors Ball on Sunday. Check out our gallery of pictures from the festival.
This weekend, Governors Ball took over Randall's Island for the latest installment of "Can New York City Host Its Own Major Music Festival?" Founders Entertainment, organizers of the second annual fest (that's what All Points West said, too), decided to go the "diverse" route, but at least they were nice enough to not get too mix-and-match, splitting up the lineup roughly day-by-day. Saturday could have been called the dance-y day, or the spring break day; its lineup included Passion Pit, Chromeo, Kid Cudi, Major Lazer, Santigold and Duck Sauce. Sunday, meanwhile, was a bit of a late '90s alt-rock time warp, with Beck, Fiona Apple, Modest Mouse and Built to Spill headlining amidst guitar-based indie bands from this era.

Sunday was visibly more well-attended—but does that mean it "won" the weekend? Taste is subjective—that much we can all agree on—so if you're a rave kid, you'd probably say Saturday won, whereas pretty much everyone else would say Sunday won (Beck's first NYC show in four years!). Since music festivals are often about the overall experience anyway, Sound of the City decided to measure the other ways that festival can satisfy—or annoy—attendees, using a 10-point rating system to score certain intangibles head-to-head (as well as a few bonus categories). Like golf, the goal is to have the lowest score in order to win. Which day emerged victorious? The answer below.

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Beck, Passion Pit To Headline 2012 Governor's Ball

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Beck.
The 2012 running of the Governor's Ball, which debuted last year as a single-day festival, will be bigger and bolder than its inaugural outing. Held this June 23 and 24, the festival is moving to Randall's Island, expanding to two days from one, and hosting Beck (playing his first NYC show since 2008) and Passion Pit as its headliners. Note that the two-day length means flexibility for sanity in the scheduling, so there'll be no overlapping set times. This is such a simple detail for maximizing festival enjoyment and yet it's one that's really hard to pull off, so kudos to the organizers for having this brave vision in their sights. Full list of confirmed artists below.

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Two New Lonely Island Songs Enter, Only One Leaves

Categories: Beck, Snoop Dogg

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The Lonely Island, they of "Jizz In My Pants" and "I'm On A Boat" (and Saturday Night Live) fame, release Turtleneck and Chain next week. Two guest-star-assisted songs have hit the internet in the past few days: "Turtleneck and Chain" (featuring Snoop Dogg) and "Attracted To Us" (featuring Beck). Both songs are just fine on their own, but we've decided to declare, once and for all, which of the two is the best Lonely Island song to surface this week. (Turtleneck and chain sold separately.)

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The 10 Best Remixes By Ad-Rock

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The Beastie Boys' Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 comes out Tuesday. But beyond the trio's newest collection of raffish rap japes, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz--the Beastie who isn't going gray and who isn't rumored to be related to Saved By The Bell's Screech Powers--has been steadily carving out a niche for himself as the unthreatening hip-hop figure to approach when an artist wants to swaddle a song in a classic coat of downtown New York chic. His latest effort, an electronically muted tweaking of fellow New Yorkers Rival Schools' "69 Guns," is a fine prompt to delve into ten of his most varied remix jaunts.

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The Six Most Decisive Wins In Pazz and Jop History

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Not quite
Having spent the last two weeks poring through Pazz & Jop 2010, I've learned everything from the two albums most statistically similar to a bootleg compilation of early Bob Seger (those would be Flockaveli and Ke$ha's Animal/Cannibal combo) to the number of writers who ended their comments with an ironic "Get off my lawn!" (surprisingly, only two). As fun as those pieces of information might be, the most significant statistic this year remains the record-setting margin by which Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy won the albums poll.

In 1971's inaugural P&J, Who's Next topped Sticky Fingers 540 points to 332, a margin of victory that would not be overcome until 1987, when Prince's Sign 'o' the Times accumulated 1.63 times as many votes as Bruce's second-place Tunnel of Love. That record survived the '80s, but the last two decades have seen it broken again and again. Below are the six most decisive victories in P&J history, charting each year's top 3, sorted by total points and, in parentheses, total mentions. (Thanks, of course, to Robert Christgau's P&J database.)

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