For a few weeks I've been trying to think of the best way to share all the little tidbits of music news I find throughout the week. So I'mma try this, and see how it works: It's like the mp3 roundup, but different, because there's...well, no mp3s.
The history of San Francisco's Beatles House. Combining two of my great loves: The Beatles and murals.
Zoë Keating, Imogen Heap, Richard Branson, Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer, Josh Groban and more join forces for LIVE 4 Pakistan, a live fundraising event to benefit the victims of the 2010 flood in Pakistan. Hosted by Ze Frank, begins at 11 EST on August 31 (that's today, people!). Tune in here.
New t-shirt designed by Andrew Bird for the Yellow Bird Project, based on his "run-in with a peacock outside of his barn, while on his way out for a bike ride." Proceeds will benefit Pegasus Special Riders, Inc. and it's a pretty goddamn awesome shirt.
Jonathan Coulton, Wil Wheaton, John Hodgman and more are involved in JoCo Cruise Crazy, a cruise event departing from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on January 2, 2011 for which you can still buy tickets. I find this utterly weird and incredible.
A Finnish tango sung in Elvish. (I wasn't aware that Quenya, the language created for the Elves by J.R.R. Tolkien, was partially influenced by Finnish. The more you know!) This tango, minus the Elvish, is the national tango of Finland, and the annual tango festival in Finland called the Tangomarkkinat is the oldest tango festival in the world.
I am utterly fascinated by this since I've been taking tango lessons with my sweetie lately, and I think I may have found our music for the showcase in October. I'm hoping the novelty of the Elvish tango distracts from our outlandishly bad dancing.
Dead Man's Bones (Zach Shields and Ryan Gosling) perform their song "Pa Pa Power" along with the Silverlake Conservatory Children's Choir at a nursing home/retirement community. Along the way we get to meet some of the fascinating people who live there, as well as develop a more deep and nuanced appreciation for side ponytails and Ryan Gosling's sweater choices.
As a bonus? The song is good. (Don't make the mistake I did -- the first time I listened, I didn't realize my headphones were only halfway plugged in and I was all "this sucks!" But it doesn't. It's awesome, and well worth the dance party at the end.)
Video for the song "Silent Time of Earth" by Candy Claws. The video's art is from a 1944 Russian animation called The Stolen Sun, which the band re-edited to fit their vision. According to them,
"Our song is about the billions of years while the earth was coming to life, before humans appeared. Apparently, these are the special kinds of antics performed by the animals before they had to behave for us."
Special kinds of antics include, but are not limited to: Epic bear vs. crocodile battles, happy frog dances, seesawing hedgehogs, and adorable bear cubs playing hide and seek. I knew all the animals were keeping a secret from me! No wonder my cat wants to get outside all the time.
A marionette prawn dreams of adventure to the beguiling hum of cello strings. At least I'm pretty sure it's a prawn. How can I admire a fictional creature so much when I'm not even certain what species its supposed to be?
This is slower paced video that is absolutely gorgeous in its detail -- almost every frame looks like a still photograph, meticulously designed with intricate little touches throughout. And the Portland Cello Project never disappoints -- the music is understated and lovely and a natural accompaniment to quiet plans for exploring points unknown.
The video and the song for "Bonfires" by Rosie and Me go perfectly together. The entire experience is end-of-summer upbeat fun while the band goes on a picnic that inspires me to aim for even better picnics in my own future. I have been doing it wrong -- not enough colored smoke, not enough paper cutouts of animals, not enough dancing, and certainly not enough tambourine shaking. Rosie and Me have it all figured out. Maybe they'll invite me on a picnic someday?
Full disclosure: My entire adult life, I have been in love with Syd Barrett. I love his paintings, I love his lyrics, I love his song titles, I love his tousled locks and tie-dyed shirts and pea coats and ties. I lose interest in Pink Floyd almost altogether after his departure. I adore him. And I adore Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
As much as I adore Pink Floyd with Syd, Hans Keller here HATES them. I have room in my heart for string quartets AND experimental/psychedelic bands; Keller does not. I would call this interview passive-aggressive but that undervalues how aggressive it is on occasion. "Pink Floyd...you are going to hear them in a moment and I don't want to prejudice you...but four quick points I want to make...continuous repetition...proportionately a bit boring...*flicks cigarette*...terribly loud...perhaps, I am a little bit too much of a musician to fully appreciate them." I can only imagine how that would have gone if Keller wanted to bias us!
That said, I find this interview fascinating, and love watching Syd and Roger field the questions. And seeing Pink Floyd performing in 1967 is an incredible glimpse back in time. And also? Reading about Hans Keller on Wikipedia is a little bit amazing: He was one of the people (along with Susan Bradshaw) behind the Piotr Zak hoax in 1961 involving the invention of a fictional Polish composer who was broadcast twice on the BBC.
"By striking randomly and with deliberate senselessness at a collection of percussion instruments, the two had produced a strenuously meaningless twelve-minute 'work' of superficially 'avant-garde' character; this was completed by the addition of a selection of human whistling sounds (evidently meant to represent the 'tape'), and with the resulting chaos being edited into some kind of whole by BBC technicians."
Which is a lengthy digression, but isn't it just lovely how learning about one thing leads to learning about another?
A sample of a 20 minute projection set designed for Bat for Lashes' live performances, designed by Robin Bushell and Julia Pott (previously here). I saw Bat for Lashes a few years ago and the experience was absolutely overpowering -- this seems as if it would be doubly so. (Can something be double absolute? Anyway, you get my meaning.) Multimedia joy.
If you're going to perform a song about burning your mother in the furnace, make sure it's when a cold, gray light is streaming through the window and your best dog is there. Also, it helps if you're all magnificently talented with your instruments.
When you get a group of bunnies together with a telescope, anything can happen. I know this from experience, sure, but it's reaffirming to see it play out music video-style, too.
From the press release (I loved reading about the making of this video):
The video for [Kathryn Calder's] "Slip Away" was a pure collaboration between two very creative minds. The origin of it was born from Calder herself. The look of it is based on the original artwork she created, which is featured on Are You My Mother (out Aug. 10). The characters and landscapes were collaged together, creating a world in which the album and its listeners could live. The themes of the quest for something lost and bittersweet victories are all over Kathryn's record as well.
Kathryn then looked to her trusted friend Dean Tzenos' to put these elements together and make it all come to life. Dean elaborates, "This project brought me out of my comfortable computer chair and into a musty basement of puppets, props and National Geographic cut-and-paste landscapes. It was a lot of fun because I had to create atmosphere with practical effects. We attached LED lights to our fingers for the spaceship sequences, constructed miniatures of sock puppets and made use of an iPod Touch for a robot head. We breathed life into the puppets through composition, light, and the subtle and stark movements of puppeteers."