drake in the anaconda video and van gogh’s ‘at eternity’s gate’
Here’s a 10-minute rough supercut with snippets of songs from Spoon’s new album, They Want My Soul, out in August. Go here to hear the full NPR interview.
— Pro tip: Listen to "Burgundy" and replace “rap” in your head with “thing you don’t feel motivated to do” and you will instantly feel motivated to do the thing.
As Jackson couldn’t fluently play any instruments, he would sing and beatbox out how he wanted his songs to sound by himself on tape, layering the vocals, harmonies and rhythm before having instrumentalists come in to complete the songs.
One of his engineers Robmix on how Jackson worked: “One morning MJ came in with a new song he had written overnight. We called in a guitar player, and Michael sang every note of every chord to him. “here’s the first chord first note, second note, third note. Here’s the second chord first note, second note, third note”, etc., etc. We then witnessed him giving the most heartfelt and profound vocal performance, live in the control room through an SM57. He would sing us an entire string arrangement, every part. Steve Porcaro once told me he witnessed MJ doing that with the string section in the room. Had it all in his head, harmony and everything. Not just little eight bar loop ideas. he would actually sing the entire arrangement into a micro-cassette recorder complete with stops and fills.”
Reasons why I laugh when people say he wasn’t a real musician.
Alex & Arielle
on the set of R U Mine? shoot [x]
You gotta go inward, to experience the outer space that was built for you…Individuality makes life better.
Pharrell Williams, G I R L, 2014
Through space the universe grasps and engulfs me like a pinpoint; but through thought I grasp it…All our dignity consists, therefore, of thought. It is from there that we must be lifted up and not from space and time, which we could never fill.
Blaise Pascal, Pensees, 1670
Kanye West (via weeknd)
I was talking to a dude over the weekend about Kanye, and I put forth my “collectively, we are not worthy of Kanye West” idea and he was kind of like “I think I get what you’re saying, but how so” and I said this and that, and then at one point I said something like “and you know what? he isn’t sorry.” and his face lit up. Kanye West is Kanye West, and he isn’t sorry.(via sorryeveryone)
With everyone putting out year-end lists, I thought it might be “fun” to revisit my favorite albums from 2012. I never posted a list here last year, though I found one I put on Facebook:
Much of this holds up for me, though there are albums I missed until months later (Chief Keef’s riotous Finally Rich), albums I embraced more tightly later on (Mac DeMarco’s 2, now one of the most cherished records I own), and albums I have ceased to give a shit about (Alabama Shakes and Big Boi).
The surprising part is how well those top 4 have aged. People who doubted good kid, mAAd city are few, far between, and quiet now. Oh, and the inevitable channel ORANGE backlash? I think Frank took care of that himself. Tame Impala’s Lonerism remains an intensely personal and honest humanization of awkward boy struggle in the form of terrifying and powerful psych pop.
It might seem dumb to give myself a mulligan on what I consider to be a fairly straight first shot, but it’s worth it if only to remember that a year is sometimes not enough time to measure how important a record is to us.
25 Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory
24 Todd Terje - It’s The Arps EP
23 The Orwells - Remember When
22 Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music
21 Grizzly Bear - Shields
20 Andy Stott - Luxury Problems
19 Lotus Plaza - Spooky Action At A Distance
18 Twin Shadow - Confess
17 DIIV - Oshin
16 Taylor Swift - Red
15 Ty Segall - Twins/Slaughterhouse/Hair
14 Miguel - Kaleidoscopic Dream
13 Father John Misty - Fear Fun
12 Tanlines - Mixed Emotions
11 Beach House - Bloom
10 Wild Nothing - Nocturne
9 Future - Pluto
8 Chromatics - Kill For Love
7 Chief Keef - Finally Rich
6 Royal Headache - Royal Headache
5 Mac DeMarco - 2
4 Grimes - Visions
3 Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE
2 Tame Impala - Lonerism
1 Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city
I spent about an hour in Audacity clipping Mac out of one of my favorite songs this year. I have only a limited knowledge of the program, so it’s admittedly rough. The hardest part was trying to connect the dots between his long verse around the two minute mark. I’m sure someone else could do a cleaner job than me, but let me know what you think?
Also this makes the song more of a vamp than a straight ahead pop song. You spend less time asking yourself “who the fuck thinks watching Bruce Almighty is romantic” and more time listening to Grande’s impressive vocal runs.
The best music to come out of the UK in recent memory has been complicated and highly intertextual: James Blake has been conflating deep dub with vocal-centric pop for a while now, Jessie Ware and Disclosure spike their soul affectations with dance hit mastery, Arctic Monkeys can’t seem to bury their love for Dre-era west coast hip hop production underneath their outer riffiness, and knowing how to genealogically unpack Jai Paul’s leaked demos from earlier this year requires its own anthropology course. I’ll push the loose narrative that, of late, a country whose music culture has often been chided as spastic, overly interiorized, and hopelessly anglophillic is responsible for some of the best and most genre-averse pop of the last few years. Admittedly, that’s just one British music narrative that exists right now—as you read this, Jake Bugg and Mumford and Sons are wearing stupid costumes and selling records by the crate, but pencil King Krule under the “Britain is blowing our minds right now” column. He’s a singer-songwriter whose voice is equal parts gorgeous and viscerally affronting, whose influences range from sleazy lounge funk to post-dubstep to minimalist hip hop to emotive punk rock. His debut album, 6 Beneath The Moon, touches all these bases and more, seemingly never running out of ways to surprise and delight you.
Before King Krule (I assume this is the inspiration), Archie Marshall had been lurking YouTube and mp3 blogs as Zoo Kid. Several songs on 6 Feet have evolved from those early recordings: “Baby Blue,” “A Lizard State,” “Has This Hit,” “Ocean Bed,” and “Out Getting Ribs,” the song that effectively started Marshall’s buzz cycle. For those who were expecting a considerable leap in sound from those early songs or from his stellar self-titled 2011 EP, you might be mislead by what is an intimate, sometimes soporific record in 6 Feet Beneath The Moon. We often perceive the early music of young prodigies as coming from a bedroom laptop—given Marshall’s underripe age and echo-happy, sample-laden production, I suppose this applies here—and wait for the record to come along that allows us to say, “[Artist] is expanding his sound from the bedroom.” Marshall isn’t ready to come out of there yet, why would he want to when there’s apparently still a wealth of stories left there to explore?
Often Marshall’s music seems to break script, as if he wrote these songs on a piano or acoustic guitar under conventional song structures until passions took him other places once the songs hit the studio. The album reaches a place where there’s little filter between the music you’re hearing and the outpouring of Marshall’s consciousness—you can’t predict when a melody or beat will halt abruptly and Marshall just lets words rip out of his larynx. 6 Feet Beneath The Moon is at times the prettiest record of the year and at other times the most excruciating. Marshall possesses a vocal tool kit that allows him to convey all emotions and any varying degree of those emotions simultaneously and within the same note.
On “Easy Easy,” the drums are left alone in favor of the same dense power chords that Kings of Leon mined for all their corny magic on “Use Somebody.” Then he includes the words, “If you’re going through hell/Just keep going!” Marshall is an old soul, and the good ones always seem to take the romantically familiar and try their damnedest to make you feel that old emotion as if it were the first time. The same can be said for his infatuation with lounge rock and jazz—when Marshall’s voice doesn’t sound like it’s coming from a very small church (“Out Getting Ribs”), it sounds like it’s coming from the same London cabaret stage that Richard Hawley just recorded a live album on (“Lizard State,” “The Krockadile”). And for what it’s worth, Marshall is also a dazzling guitarist: Not in a formal way but in the Mac DeMarco vein of making old chord progressions and funk riffs hit your ears in such a way that tricks you into thinking you’re hearing them for the first time.
Things I’ve read about King Krule’s album describe it as vaguely dubsteppy production-wise. Though the low end is very present, it’s only accurate to say that this album is built on a foundation of off-kilter rhythms that allow Marshall to float around, sometimes engaging the beat, sometimes using it for Big Boi-esque rhyme gymnastics, and sometimes ignoring it altogether. As a result, the record has an odd and sometimes jarring trajectory from song to song. There’s something to be said, though, for creating something so beautifully fucked and then allowing it to remain at least a little fucked. Other than the obvious—the shared affectation with lyrical complexity delivered with the frequency of a broken fire hydrant—Earl Sweatshirt is the most vocal King Krule fan on the internet because he’s one of the only other artists who can offer little else but the pairing of beat and vocal and still render riveting music. It’s not hard to imagine Earl’s droney verses stomping over “Neptune Estate” or Marshall belching a hook on Doris.
Like Earl Sweatshirt with Doris, a similarly long-anticipated record from someone under 20 years old that was released just a week before 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, there’s the sense that both artists left genius on the cutting room floor, that their respective debuts are enough to placate fans but fail to tap into their potential to appeal to larger audiences. Maybe they don’t want the 24-point typeface on the Coachella poster and are chill with the 16 for now. For Archie Marshall at least, it’s encouraging that he’s taking his time. Lesser artists jump the gun every day because they don’t have anything interesting to say. I’d put money on beholding a King Krule classic at some point, but Marshall knows that as long as he’s captivating listeners at gunpoint, there’s no need to force the issue outward just yet.