The week in Pop (& Hiss) and more
Pop & Hiss strives to provide the best, most relevant and entertaining music coverage of the week. Hey, it's a goal, be nice. Sometimes we have some posts that hit the mark. Sometimes we don't and others do. Here's a quick look at some of the best of what Pop & Hiss and The Times had to offer this week, as well as some stuff we missed.
From the ol' Pop & Hiss:
- Pop music spring preview: Notable concerts and albums in the coming weeks: Shows include Lykke Li and Lady Gaga; the Kills and Paul Simon are among the acts planning album releases
- U.K.'s Anna Calvi on her widescreen approach to music: The artistic reference points in the largely glowing reviews out of the U.K. of the debut album from English guitarist, singer and songwriter Anna Calvi, which came out this week in the U.S., are more often cinematic than musical. Her often eerie portraits of romantic obsession have drawn allusions to David Lynch’s gothic edginess, Sergio Leone’s mythological expansiveness and the ravishing beauty of Chinese director Wong Kar-Wai's films.
- Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' video: Making goddess culture accessible: Lady Gaga has every right -- and, you could even argue, a responsibility -- to fashion her own creation myth. The civil rights activism that serves as both gimmick and moral center in her art resonates more strongly if it’s backed by real political involvement; but since she’s an artist, after all, sometimes symbolic shows of solidarity are enough.
- Baths comes clean: It’s 3 o’clock on a bright February afternoon inside a downtown Los Angeles grocery store, and Will Wiesenfeld is on a quest. ”I’m addicted to this insane Japanese gum,” said the 21-year-old Chatsworth-based producer and singer as he searched the aisles of jelly-flecked soft drinks and exotic candies in a Little Tokyo market.
- Trent Reznor on finding the right notes for the 'Social Network' score: 'I saw a story about a guy who needs to prove himself': Reznor and Atticus Ross spoke with Pop & Hiss about composing the music for the film in late 2010. Now that the pair are Oscar winners ("To be standing up here in this company is humbling and flattering beyond words," Reznor said from the stage), Pop & Hiss presents the full, unedited transcript of the interview.
- Britney Spears continues comeback with leak of second single, 'Till the World Ends': As Christina Aguilera seems to be on the brink of a career -- and personal -- meltdown, her supposed rival, Britney Spears, is continuing the second act of her comeback with a new single, “Till The World Ends,” which surfaced online Thursday.
- South L.A.'s 'Global Awareness Through Hip Hop Culture Program' shuts down due to budget cuts: Due to budget cuts, the Global Awareness Through Hip Hop Culture Program, run since 2006 at the Accelerated Charter School in South Los Angeles, has been terminated.
- Doors to remain closed for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony rehearsals: Thwa-dump! That’s the sound of the door slamming shut to rehearsals for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2011 induction ceremony, a day after a pricey program went public that included admission to the warm-up sessions for the first time in the hall’s 25-year history.
- Winning and losing: Jeff Weiss ranks the Charlie Sheen musical tributes: As someone who can quote "Major League" like Shakespearean scholars quote "Macbeth," don't ask for my take on the Charlie Sheen saga. That is, unless someone wants to publish a 3,000-word think piece on the manic behavior of Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn. But since this is a music site and no one wants to read another armchair sociological tract, here's a roundup of the Sheen musical tributes that have popped up since he became America's favorite meme. Tiger Blood, Warlocks and goddesses included.
- Lost Arthur Lee and Love album 'Black Beauty' to be released June 7: A previously unreleased 1973 album by influential Los Angeles psychedelic soul band Arthur Lee and Love will surface belatedly on June 7 as the initial release from a new boutique reissue label, High Moon Records.
- Disaster in harmony: Michel Gondry's video for the Living Sisters: In this video for the Living Sisters' song "How Are You Doing?," disaster has never sounded so sweet. And disaster is everywhere, albeit in cutesy form, in Michel Gondry's vision of a day in the life of Eleni Mandell, Becky Stark and Inara George, the last of whom, at the time of the video shoot, was four months' pregnant with twins.
- Eminem claims he's a G.O.A.T., and offers evidenc: At the dawn of the Napster age, Eminem completists used to endlessly trawl for random guest appearances, freestyles and other free-floating flotsam and jetsam. From his appearance on Sway and Tech's "The Anthem," to appearances on the Madd Rapper album, to radio show freestyles, the young Slim Shady was snarling, elastic and lawless.
- Odd Future's Mellowhype sign to Fat Possum (?!) to remix and remaster 'Blackenedwhite' as physical release: We're not sure which is weirder: that Fat Possum Records would connect with L.A. hip-hop posse Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, or vice-versa.
- The Zen soul of Frank Ocean: An Odd Future affiliate goes smooth: Frank Ocean wants you to know that he does not make straight-up R&B. According to his Twitter feed, he believes that no artist can be hemmed into a single genre. He also believes in the power of Zen and Real Food Daily. He hasn't yet endorsed the latter's nachos, but he's probably a fan. The kid seems to have things figured out.
From our dead-tree edition:
- It's Alex Ebert's turn: On a steamy afternoon last August in Chicago's Lincoln Park, Alex Ebert led his folk-rock band Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros through one of the charged, evangelistic sets that put them on the national landscape. Fans had climbed trees in the forested alcove at Lollapalooza to see them, and after an hour they roared for an encore. Read more.
- Chick Corea and Gary Burton continue their musical conversation: When other musicians said no, Chick Corea and Gary Burton said yes. That simple affirmation sparked one of jazz's most celebrated collaborations, an improvisation-laced duo uncommon in its popularity, longevity and creative output. Read more.
- The Sunday Conversation: Sergio Mendes: Grammy winner Sergio Mendes, 70, one of Brazil's most famous exports, kicks off his 50th anniversary in the music business with a new album, "Celebration," compiling a half-century of hits; his first film score, the animated film "Rio"; and a special engagement at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood from Thursday through March 13. Read more.
Good stuff to be had elsewhere!
- The harshest critic of the new Lupe Fiasco record? Lupe himself. The Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot has a fascinating interview with the rapper on the making of his "L.A.S.E.R.S." Said Fiasco: " I hate this record, the process of making this record, and I love this record. What I had to go through was not fun, the ugliness I saw in people." Read more.
- Looking for answers as to why it's so difficult to get a good concert seat these days? This Consequence of Sound piece won't put your mind at ease, but illustrates the complexity that is the concert business in a rather simple manner, with plenty of insight into why so few good seats are actually available to the public. Read more.
- The iPad update scored all the big headlines, but there may be some changes ahead for Apple's music offerings, reports Bloomberg. According to the article, "Apple Inc. is in talks with record companies to give iTunes music buyers easier access to their songs on multiple devices, three people with knowledge of the plans said." Read more.
- Odd Future are all the rage, and now they show that have a sense of humor. Watch this Funny Or Die clip: "Odd Future Gets Signed."
Images: Anna Calvi (Kate Garner); Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' video (Interscope); Britney Spears (Jive Records)