Elbee Thrie--the 20-year-old songwriter/producer/leader/everything-er behind the sprawling Bed-Stuy hip-hop collective Phony Ppl--just dropped the video for "Nice To Meet Me," and we've got the premiere after the jump.
Dreamy singer Solana Rowe, aka SZA--profiled in these very pages in this week's issue by yours truly--just dropped her latest EP, S, and we've got the exclusive stream and download below.More »
Fans of minimal emotional music, take heed! James Blake's new album Overgrown is out next week. But before it does, you can cozy up to it at one of several early listening parties around town this week, the details of which are as follows...
Dan Deacon is one of several big name musicians playing a free concert in Union Square tomorrow at 4 p.m. We spoke to him recently about why Occupy Wall Street resonates with him and why he considers himself a political artist.
Frank Hamilton Dan Deacon will play a free concert as part of tomorrow's May Day demonstrations.
Village Voice: You're playing a free show in Union Square for May Day, along with Das Racist, Tom Morello, Immortal Technique, and Bobby Sanabria. How did you get involved?
Dan Deacon: Someone sent me an email.
Cool. Great interview! Thanks!
No, the main reason I wanted to be a part of it is because during the peak of the Occupy movement last year I was recording the entire time. I was in Baltimore, so I never made it up to New York, I never made it down to Occupy Baltimore, and I felt like a huge shit-head about it the whole time. I was very excited for winter to end, to get more involved because I knew I'd have a lot of time and I'd be able to be less of an armchair activist and more actually in the mix. So when I got the offer it was something I had to do.More »
"Band seeking 1000 guitar players. Other instruments also welcome. Influences include Woody Guthrie, Tom Morello, Willie Nile, and Sergio Ortega."
Occupy Wall Street is raising a "Guitarmy."
For months, activists have been preparing for May Day, laying plans for teach-ins, bank blockades, marches and civil disobedience. But they're also looking to stage an enormous jam session.More »
When DJ Spooky invited the Occupy Wall Street Library to hold a book-party / dance-party at the chichi Vandam club Work in Progress, it was an open question how the revolutionary politics of the occupation and the glitz of the downtown nightclub scene would mesh.
The answer is: Not at all. The collaboration ended early with harsh words between the librarians and the club's management, as the occupiers packed up their books and left just as DJ Spooky was beginning his set for the club's well-dressed patrons.More »
If you have an email address, you've probably received at least one poorly written message that promises you a cut of some large sum of money if you'll just be so kind as to help out with a quick loan that will pay some of that windfall's processing fees. These attempts at fraudknown as "419 Scams"have been in existence for centuries; the modern version arose in Nigeria in the 1980s, and was given new life when bulk emailing made it easy to send millions of solicitations to suckers worldwide.
419 scams' financial success in Nigeria is perhaps impossible to estimate. A 2006 report estimated that up to £150 million a year was stolen from UK residents via this sort of robbery, though the report did not specifically break down how much money went to Nigeria. A 2000 U.S. court case found evidence that at least several government officials were involved in a scam that defrauded one U.S. national of $5.2 million, though the same case found that the U.S. national was unable to sue the Nigerian government since he knowingly entered into a criminal enterprise. But they have come to loom large over Nigeria's pop culture. The resulting films and songs let outsiders know that what might seem like a joke to Westerners (like those people who correspond with 419 scammers as a way of whiling away an afternoon) can fuel revenge fantasies, enable lifestyles, or serve as a source of national embarrassment elsewhere. Three tracks are below.
Last night as part of keeping my musical resolution about not falling in the trap of listening to old music and not new stuff I ran a Spotify search for music from this calendar year, and topping the list was a song apparently called "Perry 2012." Being that my roommate is a political reporter who was awash in the news of the Iowa caucuses as I conducted my search, I assumed that the song was actually about Rick Perry, the Texas governor turned GOP presidential hopeful who was in the process of coming in fifth in the Hawkeye State as I typed. And so I hunkered down in my chair and listened, and... the song didn't sound that bad? It melded thumpy chart-pop bounce and the aesthetics of the the label Slabco's charming bedroom synthpop offerings in such a way that it reminded me of a somewhat more twee update of the word-light, yet catchphrase-heavy 1991 techno breakthrough "James Brown Is Dead." Clip after the jump.
For those people who adore Kelly Clarkson and hate Ron Paul supporters, the inaugural American Idol's Wednesday night endorsement of Paul's presidential candidacy was especially painful. The move might have been merely confusing in years past, when Paul was a web-specific phenomenonthe equivalent of Carrie Underwood using a ragecomic as her next album cover, or Perez Hilton having a record labelbut the recent exposure of Paul's startlingly racist and homophobic newsletters from the 1980s shifted Kelly's gung-ho Paulophilia from quirky to offensive. It turned out that Clarkson (apparently honestly) didn't know about Paul's issues, but the course of excusing her endorsement raised a host of other problems. The resulting Twitfit played out like a weird kind of crossover special, including a co-sign from Michelle Branch, a sullen @-reply to music critic Matt Cibula, and Clarkson's revelation that she is a pro-Obama Republican. The stormy response was heartening, if also predictable (what books will Ron Paul supporters recommend I read in responses to this post? Leave your answer in the comments!), and both Clarkson's and Branch's responses to the criticismthat whether or not Paul was prejudiced, they certainly weren'twere helpful little distillations of the issues inherent in collectively supporting a presidential candidate who doesn't believe in doing things collectively.
In retrospect, though, the endorsement makes a depressing amount of sense, and not just because Clarkson and Paul are fellow Texans. For all the supposedly progressive politics of rock and pop, the structure of the business is incredibly entrepreneurial, with musicians required to front a remarkable amount of their own money for instruments, travel, and recording before they see any sort of return on their investment. There's no large-scale structure that can provide steady employment (and health insurance) while nurturing innovation, just a produce-or-die ethos that receives no subsidies or grants. In America, at least, one of the few areas of life in which government really does have minimal involvement is pop music.More »
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