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'80s hip hop producer Larry Smith, RIP
Dec 19, 2014 11:27am | Brooklyn Vegan

"Rip to the greatest hip hop producer of all times.... Larry Smith. Produced my biggest and most significant hits." - Rev Run

Hip hop producer / musician Larry Smith, the man behind the sound of Run DMC's "It's Like That" and "Sucker MCs" as well as early singles by Whodini, Kurtis Blow (he co-wrote and played bass on "The Breaks" and "Hard Times") and others, has died at age 63. He suffered a dibilitating stroke in 2007 which left him voiceless, partially paralyzed and bedridden since. Last month, Ebony published an "unsung legend" feature on Smith, interviewing Run-DMC's Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels and Kurtis "Kurtis Blow" Walker and others. Said McDaniels:

He was a musician. Even today, you have beat makers and producers who are musicians. The best producers are musicians and DJs. Anybody can make a beat. I could make a beat and then put lyrics on it and it could become a record, but I'm not a musician. Larry knew music. What separated Larry way back then and what allowed him to make all those hits was the fact he was a musician. Run and I used to tease him because he talked like a musician. The jazz, blues, and rock musicians all call each other "cats." We would use our hip-hop slang, and he would always use his musician slang. Run and I were irresponsible little kids. We would giggle when he would say "other cats." We were like, "What the hell is he talking about?" But he was a musician. He could produce blues, r...

Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger team for HBO series about NYC music scene in 1970s
Dec 19, 2014 11:26am | Cosequence Of Sound

Martin Scorsese and Mick Jaggers long-in-the-works TV series about a ’70s New York City record label exec has been picked up by HBO. As Collider reports, the network has officially placed an order for the project and announced its cast.

The as-yet-untitled show which has been in development since 2011 will focus on the “drug and sex-fueled music business as punk and disco were breaking out”, according to a press release (via Rolling Stone). Scorsese is set to direct the pilot episode and, alongside Jagger, will serve as one of the show’s executive producers. Terrence Winter (Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos) has been tapped as showrunner.

Actor Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire, Third Watch) joins the cast as American Century Records president Richie Finestra, who must make a “life-changing decision” amidst the chaos of the ever-evolving ’70s music scene. His wife Devon, a former actress and model, will be played by Olivia Wilde (HerTron: Legacy). Ray Romano has also signed on as Zak Yankovich, American Century’s Head of Promotions.

This new HBO series is just one of many music-related projects from Scorsese. Previously, the renowned director released a George Harrison documentary and helmed Michael Jackson’s 1987 music video for “Bad”. He’s currently at work on a Ramones biopic.


Hip-Hop Hall of Fame to open in New York City
Dec 19, 2014 11:00am | Cosequence Of Sound

Since 1983, Cleveland has been home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, a venerable showcase of memorabilia highlighting music’s rich cultural legacy. However, there’s long been confusion over hip-hop’s place in the Rock Hall, a debate which has intensified as of late with the recent inductions of Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, and Public Enemy. Now, plans are in the works to finally give the genre a place of its own, thanks in part to the “Four Fathers of Hip-Hop” — Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Grand Wizzard Theodore, and Grandmaster Caz Brown — who have spearheaded a project to build a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame in New York City.

According to the New York Daily News, the first phase of the project is set to launch in 2015 with plans for two distinct locations: the first located in Harlem, near 125th Street, will feature a 12,000 square-foot museum space and an assortment of amenities, including a coffee and juice bar, merchandise shops, and a TV studio. The second location, a slightly larger, 50,000 square-foot spot in Times Square, will include an interactive exhibit and 90-minute guided tours. The two buildings are expected to officially open in 2017.

Already, the museum has secured a number of outfits, concert posters, and musical equipment from hip-hop stars of past and present, including Eminem, OutLast, Snoop ...

Listen: Pink Mountaintops Asleep With An Angel
Dec 19, 2014 10:55am | CMJ

The last we heard from Pink Mountaintops, they were wrapping up their excellently weird album, Get Back, this past spring. Now, the French clothing company April 77 has recruited the band for a 7-inch release. The A-side is Asleep With An Angel, a blistering, prom-night ballad, and you can listen to it below.

The post Listen: Pink Mountaintops – “Asleep With An Angel” appeared first on CMJ.

Peaking Lights playing NYE in NYC before Festival Nrmal
Dec 19, 2014 10:44am | Brooklyn Vegan

Photo: Peaking Lights @ Modern Sky Fest 2014 (more by Amanda Hatfield)

Dubby psych duo Peaking Lights are playing Mexico's upcoming Festival Nrmal in 2015, but before that they'll ring in the new year in NYC with a New Year's Eve show at Good Room (formerly Europa). It's a No Ordinary Monkey party, and also features Joubert Singers and special guest DJs. Tickets are on sale now.

Those are their only two announced shows at the moment. Watch a video from Peaking Lights' 2014 album, Cosmic Logic, below...

Continue reading "Peaking Lights playing NYE in NYC before Festival Nrmal" at brooklynvegan

Festival Nrmal 2015 lineup & tix (Swans, Future Islands, Black Angels, Omar Souleyman, Majical Cloudz, METZ & more)
Dec 19, 2014 10:39am | Brooklyn Vegan

Festival Nrmal is returning to Mexico from February 28 to March 1 in 2015, and the lineup features Swans, Phantogram, Future Islands, Black Angels, Machinedrum, Omar Souleyman, Majical Cloudz, TOPS, Twin Peaks, Peaking Lights, Kirin J Callinan, METZ, Boogarins, DJ Dodger Stadium, HTRK and more. Tickets are on sale.

Full lineup below...

Continue reading "Festival Nrmal 2015 lineup & tix (Swans, Future Islands, Black Angels, Omar Souleyman, Majical Cloudz, METZ & more)" at brooklynvegan

Nicki Minaj freestyles with Shaq, Grant Hill, and Kenny Smith watch
Dec 19, 2014 10:35am | Cosequence Of Sound

Nicki Minaj is making the rounds in support of her new album, The Pinkprint. Already she’s performed on Saturday Night Live, Ellen, and Jimmy Fallon, plus sat down with Elliott Wilson for an extensive Q&A. But it was her appearance on last night’s edition of Inside the NBA that proved most entertaining.

Minaj teamed with former NBA stars and current TNT analysts Shaquille O’Neal, Grant Hill, and Kenny Smith, along with host Ernie Johnson, for a very special hip-hop cypher. Smith undoubtedly stole the show with a surprisingly solid freestyle, Hill flamed out (in true Duke Blue Devils fashion), and Shaq took us back to the golden era of music, aka 1993’s Shaq Diesel. Johnson’s mic drop was also pretty awesome. Watch the full thing in full below.

Marilyn Manson Deep Six Video
Dec 19, 2014 10:33am | StereoGum

The video for Marilyn Manson’s crunching, seething new single “Deep Six” is about an undulating CGI black worm with Marilyn Manson’s face. Or maybe it’s about an undulating CGI black worm who swallows Marilyn Manson. Either explanation seems plausible. Also, that worm swallows a woman who doesn’t have any nipples. That’s pretty much all you need to know to figure out whether you should watch this strange and possibly upsetting video. Good song, anyway. Bart Hess directs. Watch it below.


TEEN & Klaus Johann Grobe list their favorite LPs of 2014
Dec 19, 2014 10:29am | Brooklyn Vegan

intro by Bill Pearis

Klaus Johann Grobe

Swiss duo Klauss Johann Grobe released their second album, Im Sinne de Zeit near the start of the year via Trouble in Mind and I'm pretty sure there's only been a handful of days since that I haven't listened to it. With only organ, bass and drums (and vocals in Swiss-German), they merge krautrock drive and tropicalia's spirit into one of 2014's grooviest albums. You can stream the whole thing via Spotify, and check out a video, below.

The band, which includes a third member on bass live, just wrapped up a European tour opening for Temples and spent most of the rest of 2014 playing festivals and touring the album. Hopefully, they'll head to North America in 2015, we shall see. KJG have given us their Top 10 LPs of the year, telling us, "These couple of records helped us make all the touring a bit more comfortable in 2014." You can check out their list with commentary, below.


Brooklyn's TEEN, who released their second album this year, included KJG's Im Sinne der Zeit on their Best LPs of 2014 list, after being wowed by them at the Netherlands' Valkhof Festival this summer. You can check out their whole list of the year's favorites below. TEEN spent most of their 2014 on tour, had all their gear stolen (and launched a successful PledgeMusic campaign to help them keep touring), and are currently on break...

Pink Mountaintops Asleep With An Angel
Dec 19, 2014 10:16am | StereoGum

Black Mountain frontman Stephen McBean also leads the sometimes-great side project Pink Mountaintops, and they released a deeply strange album called Get Back earlier this year. The French lifestyle website April 77 just recruited the band to release a new two-song 7″. The A-side is a bleary, twangy rocker called “Asleep With An Angel.” It doesn’t quite return the band to the heights of their incredible, underrated 2009 album Outside Love, but it’s a step away from the L.A.-style melted black plastic of Get Back. Listen below.


Torres listed her favorite LPs of 2014, playing a free NYC show
Dec 19, 2014 10:10am | Brooklyn Vegan

Grunge-folk singer Torres wrapped up a short tour with Strand of Oaks earlier this month that hit NYC on 12/4 at Bowery Ballroom. Anyone catch that? That's a picture of her and Strand of Oaks hanging out the NYC show, above. Her next NYC show is a free one, happening January 30 at Brooklyn Night Bazaar with Mainland and Ancient Ocean (aka John Bohannon, who's in Torres' live band). That's her only announced date at the moment.

She also posted a list of her favorite albums of 2014, which (like Strand of Oaks' list) includes her friend/collaborator Sharon Van Etten. (While we're talking about collaborators, both Sharon Van Etten and Strand of Oaks also happen to be J Mascis collaborators.)

Find out who else made her list, and watch a video of Torres & SVE's 2014 single "New Skin," below...

Continue reading "Torres listed her favorite LPs of 2014, playing a free NYC show" at brooklynvegan

Watch Real Estate Play Rarity In My Car In Brooklyn
Dec 19, 2014 10:06am | StereoGum

Real Estate played the Music Hall Of Williamsburg in Brooklyn last night, and they performed Smuggler’s Way obscurity “In My Car” — described by Alex Bleeker as “a beautiful, sephardic tune” — for the first time in a few years. Stereogum reader Joey Garza shot some video from the balcony. Watch below.


43 million Pandora streams of Happy earned Pharrell Williams a measly $2,700
Dec 19, 2014 9:55am | Cosequence Of Sound

Photo by Cathy Poulton

Pharrell Williams “Happy” was one of 2014’s hottest, most ubiquitous singles. It not only set charts and radio stations ablaze, but its corresponding music video went on to spawn countless parodies and even earn the R&B singer a coveted Grammy nomination. One would assume that a song of such caliber one that so heavily defined the year in pop music, as well as Williams’ own mighty comeback would have raked in millions from a streaming service like Pandora, right? Think again.

As Digital Music News reports (via Fusion), an email from Sony/ATV head Martin Bandier tells quite a different story. According to the CEO, a whopping 43 million streams of “Happy” on Pandora yielded only a measly $2,700 in royalties. This translates roughly into $60 for every one million plays. Take a minute and let that data sink in.

The numbers, which come from the first quarter of 2014, paint a dark, dark picture for Pandora. And as Pandora is currently the most used music streaming service on the market, these “Happy” (or unhappy, really) figures cast an even more daunting shadow on the streaming music system itself. For comparison’s sake, a 2013 report noted that Spotify paid a paltry $0.006-0.0084 per stream.

While Bandier’s email is a shocking revelation, it’s one that likely won’t surprise artists like Dave Grohl, Pink Floyd, Thom Yorke...

La Dispute Woman (Reading) Video
Dec 19, 2014 9:51am | StereoGum

The clanging, expressive Michigan post-hardcore band La Dispute released a very good album called Rooms Of A House earlier this year, and they’re heading out on tour in a few months with like-minded road warriors Title Fight and the Hotelier. They’ve also just shared a video for the intense, slow-building “Woman (Reading).” Director Niall Coffey filmed dancer Julie Ann Minaai executing some impressive moves in various locations around London. Watch it below.


Listen To Miguels New Surprise EP
Dec 19, 2014 9:50am | CMJ

Lonely winter kids, rejoice! Miguel has decided to make your week by casually dropping a new 3-track EP onto the internet this morning. The Prince-esque Nwa features a dark leather verse from Kurupt, Hollywooddreams sounds like a cut from Kaleidoscope Dream’s heavier parts and Coffee is classic, catchy Miguel pillow talk. Listen to the whole thing below.

The post Listen To Miguel’s New Surprise EP appeared first on CMJ.

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