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Stream Spoon’s Adventurous New Album ‘They Want My Soul’

July 29th, 2014 · Guitar


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Spoon have begun streaming their eighth record, They Want My Soul, which spans the group’s signature indie rock and excursions into electro-pop, in advance of its August 5th release date, via iTunes Radio. The group recorded the album with producers Joe Chiccarelli (My Morning Jacket, Counting Crows) and Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah).

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Earlier this year, frontman Britt Daniel described the album to Rolling Stone as “warmer and more inclusive” than their last record, 2010′s Transference. The group also previewed the album by sharing a 30-second video sampler of the whole LP, the garage rocky track “Rent I Pay,” a cover of Ann-Margaret’s “I Just Don’t Understand,” as well as releasing videos for “Do You” and “Inside Out.”

In July, the band announced that it would be beating Jack White at his own vinyl-fetish game by offering up the first-ever “vinyl gratification” preorder plan in July. Fans who preordered the LP edition of the album received a 10-inch that featured They Want My Soul‘s first single, “Do You.” “If like me, you’ve ever rushed home with a brand new record that you couldn’t wait to play —and couldn’t actually play until you slapped it onto your turntable — I hope the ‘Vinyl Gratification’ program will bring back some magic for you,” Daniel said in a statement at the time. “And I hope you’ll join us in supporting the independent record shops that have supported us for so long.”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/stream-spoons-adventurous-new-album-they-want-my-soul-20140728

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Jenny Lewis Shares Nashville Inspiration for New Album

July 29th, 2014 · Guitar


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Jenny Lewis performs at the Newport Folk Festival.
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Last summer, when Jenny Lewis left her Laurel Canyon home and hit the road for the Postal Service’s 10-year anniversary tour, she’d already been working on her third solo album for nearly half a decade. Her father had died in 2010, and Rilo Kiley — the band that saved Lewis from the reality-TV purgatoryreserved for most former child actors who appeared in episodes of Growing Pains and Baywatch as teens— had slowly fizzled its way into nothingness. Lewis was rootless. Apart from a Beck-produced recording of “Just One of the Guys,” a sun-kissed pop song about growing older in a world that reserves most of its attention for younger women, she didn’t have much to show for the album that eventually became The Voyager

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The Postal Service tour changed all of that. For the first time in years, Lewis didn’t have to worry about being a lead singer. That role went to Ben Gibbard, who spent his summer in front of a microphone singing “Such Great Heights” and “We Will Become Silhouettes” while his prettier sidekick bounced around the stage in a flurry of red tresses and black dresses, playing keyboards one minute and rhythm guitar the next. Those shows transported Lewis back to 2003, a time when music was still new and exciting. 

She returned home with purpose, determined to finish the album she’d started years before. With help from co-producer Ryan Adams, Lewis recorded The Voyager as soon as the tour wrapped, finishing the tracking sessions less than two weeks after the Postal Service played its final show. Like Rabbit Fur Coat and Acid Tongue, The Voyager finds Lewis updating the California pop/rock sound of Fleetwood Mac for the iPod generation, mixing in some folk, classic country and singer/songwriter influences along the way.

We talked with Lewis at the start of her summer tour to see what the voyage has been like.

You’ve been on the road this summer. Who’s in the band this time around?
It’s a brand new band. We even have one woman, Megan McCormick, who’s been on Nashville before. When I found out about that, I was pretty starstruck.

So you watch Nashville?
Hell yeah, I do. I love it. I was a big fan of Days of Our Lives growing up. It’s kind of like that, but with music.

You were a big fan of country music growing up, too.
I grew up listening to Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris and Laura Nyro. I think regardless of where people are from, country music is a through line. Those older songs have definitely been an inspiration for me.

Is it easier to access those country influences when you’re recording your own albums, as opposed to working with a band?
It’s easier to get into character when it’s your own music. When you’re in a band, there’s a certain shared dynamic. We definitely did a little of [the country thing] with Rilo Kiley, but I think we were basically a guitar-rock band. With my first [solo] record, Rabbit Fur Coat, we could really play with the imagery of the singular country singer, flanked by the Watson Twins. That’s such a powerful image. It’s harder to do that with a band, when you’re like, “I’m in a band with four dudes… and here’s me!”

Albums can feel like a snapshot of the time in which they were created: where you were, who you were with, what you were doing. The Voyager took years to make, though. Does it still feel like a snapshot?
It’s always a snapshot. Not everyone has to know about the process. In the end, the music tells the story. People don’t know it’s been five or six years when they go out to buy a record. They’re just like, “Oh, this sounds good.” [The Voyager] did take a really long time, though. I’d gotten into the schedule of releasing a record at least every two years, so this was a long break. It felt weird.

These songs were inspired by death, breakups and insomnia. Does releasing the album help you close the chapter on those hardships?
Maybe, but I have to go out and play these tunes every night on the road for a year. I’m not distanced from them yet.

When you’re playing them every night, you really have to live with them, too. Night after night.
Yeah, and they take on a new life. Songs are really interesting in that way. Sometimes, they grow with you. Sometimes, you outgrow them.

Speaking of growing, “Late Bloomer” finds you flying to Europe as a 16-year-old and falling in with a music fan who’s stalking one of her favorite songwriters. Fact or fiction?
There’s always a bit of fiction in everything that I write. “Late Bloomer” is a fable, in a way, based on a woman I met in Paris in the Nineties. She was following Sebadoh. [Sebadoh lead singer] Lou Barlow actually sings on that song, even though the song is loosely based on him.

What did Lou think about that?
I told him [the story] right away, and he was really cool about it. I can’t believe he actually came in and laid down some vocals. I would’ve been scared to death.

The Voyager was partially produced by Ryan Adams. The guy can be unconventional. What are some of the more unusual things he would do in the studio?
In some ways, I felt like he was needling me. He was winding me up. I was somewhat agitated at times, and I think it put me in a really cool place to perform those songs. Ryan is the most unique producer I’ve ever worked with, in his approach and behavior… He made me listen to five or six Creed songs, really loudly on these beautiful tube speakers. My ears were bleeding. And it was Creed! He was like, “This is great music. I want you to hear it.” And by the third song, I was like “Huh. Umm. Yeah, I can maybe see that.”

What was the point of that? What was he trying to prove?
I have no idea!

Why choose him as your producer?
I just went into [Adams' Pax-Am Studio] to record one tune, “She’s Not Me,” which was a song I’d been working on in this Keith Richards-ish open tuning. I couldn’t finish it, so I decided to go over there and cut it with him. We put together a band, including Griffin [Goldsmith, of Dawes] on drums and Ryan on guitar. By the end of the day, we’d recorded “She’s Not Me” live, two takes. And I was like, “Oh my god, Ryan is kind of a badass producer. And a great guitar player.” I had another song I’d just finished for this Anne Hathaway movie called “Song One.” Jonathan [Rice] and I were writing a bunch of songs for the movie, but they’d rejected that particular song, so I was like, “Ok, let’s do this one, too.” And when that was finished, Ryan said, “You should just come and recut your whole record at Pax. Next week.” And I said, “Ok!”

Ryan has a new record on the way, too. Have you heard “Gimme Something More?”
I haven’t. Is it rad?

It’s a great rock tune. Big guitars, big hooks…
Well, I feel like he probably recorded it close to the time that we recorded my record at Pax. Maybe the rock vibe was in the air.

So he tapped into the Jenny vibe?
No, I’d never say that. Not about Ryan. I tapped into the Ryan Adams vibe. 

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/jenny-lewis-shares-nashville-inspiration-for-new-album-20140728

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Ariana Grande Teams With Nicki Minaj, Jessie J for ‘Bang Bang’ Remix

July 29th, 2014 · Guitar


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A little over halfway into 2014, Ariana Grande already has two big hits: Her My Everything lead single “Problem” rose all the way to Number Two on the Hot 100, then the Zedd-featuring follow-up “Break Free” peaked at 15. After a few listens, it seems possible that the new “Bang Bang,” featuring Grande, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J, could match their success. 

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The track, available to stream here, will appear on the My Everything deluxe edition and on Jessie J’s own forthcoming LP. It seems as though the track won’t be appearing on Minaj’s The Pinkprint, but the Queens rapper still provides an almost song-stealing verse, moving at a tempo that recalls her work on tracks like Trey Songz’ “Bottoms Up.”

Not by coincidence, “Bang Bang” was produced by the same team – Max Martin, Savan Kotecha and Ilya Salmanzadeh – who produced “Problem.” As reported in Rolling Stone‘s May story on Grande’s rise, Martin and Kotecha spent three weeks at the beginning of the year in a Los Angeles studio working on a half-dozen songs for the pop star’s then-forthcoming album. Longtime Martin collaborator Shellback and Salmanzadeh, a new addition to the hitmaker’s crew, came in to contribute lyrics.

This all happened because Martin’s daughter loved Grande’s music. “He has a young daughter that’s a huge Ariana fan,” said Wendy Goldstein, and AR rep who had been trying to bring these artists together for the previous two years. “He said, ‘I’ve never seen my daughter excited about someone that I’ve worked with, and that’s really saying something.’”

“He’s the master of his craft because he knows how to teach it,” Kotecha said of Martin.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/ariana-grande-teams-with-nicki-minaj-jessie-j-for-bang-bang-remix-20140728

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Fighting Fire With Fire: Metallica Look Back on ‘Ride the Lightning’

July 28th, 2014 · Guitar


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“We were really broke,” drummer Lars Ulrich says, reflecting the state of Metallica as they were making their second album, Ride the Lightning. “We had to live day to day. A friend literally gave us his apartment to stay in while we recording. James and I slept in the bedroom, Kirk and Cliff shared his couch.”

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It was the spring of 1984, and the Bay Area thrash-metal quartet was holed up in Copenhagen, Denmark – Ulrich’s home country – recording at a studio they had picked for two reasons: hard rockers Rainbow had recorded their Difficult to Cure album there, and more urgently, it was cheap. At the time, Ulrich and vocalist-guitarist James Hetfield were both 20, guitarist Kirk Hammett was 21 and bassist Cliff Burton was the old man of the group at 22. Less than a year earlier, they had kicked out guitarist Dave Mustaine, who went on to form Megadeth, recruited Hammett and released their speed-limit-breaking debut, Kill ‘Em All, the record that defined thrash metal. Now they were working on the album that defined Metallica.

Thirty years later, Ride the Lightning stands out in the group’s catalog as the album that introduced melody to its arsenal. Songs like the heavy ballad “Fade to Black” and the crushing “For Whom the Bell Tolls” would serve as blueprints for later Metallica hits like “Nothing Else Matters” and “Sad But True,” and the eerie, nine-minute instrumental “The Call of Ktulu” demonstrated their range. The single “Creeping Death,” has become a concert staple, thanks to the way it can get 10s of thousands of metalheads at a time to chant “Die! Die! Die!” along with its outro.

The record has since gone on to be certified six times platinum. But when Metallica were making it, they were poor, young headbangers, trying to stretch their dollars. On the eve of the 30th anniversary of Ride the Lightning, Rolling Stone caught up with Ulrich, Hammett and production assistant Flemming Rasmussen, who recorded the group in Copenhagen’s Sweet Silence Studio, to find out how the album was made and what it means to them now.

Where did the title Ride the Lightning come from?
Kirk Hammett: I was reading The Stand by Stephen King, and there was this one passage where this guy was on death row said he was waiting to “ride the lightning.” I remember thinking, “Wow, what a great song title.” I told James, and it ended up being a song and the album title.

Was recording in Copenhagen fun at that stage in your life?
Hammett:
It was great when we started there, but we were homesick after three or four weeks [laughs]. It was three American guys and a Danish guy. It was easy for the Danish guy to fit in, but it wasn’t so easy for the three American guys to fit in. We were experiencing culture shock a little bit.

How did you handle your homesickness?
Hammett:
We didn’t really have anything else to do besides work on music and drink Carlsberg beer. We collected absolutely every single beer bottle in our friend’s apartment, because you were able to take in four six packs of empty beer bottles and get one six pack of full beer bottles back. Once we figured that out, that was a little thing that we did. Being homesick gave us the right amount of, I don’t want to say “depression,” but a little bit of longing that I think made its way into the recording process.

Were you good houseguests?
Hammett:
We totally destroyed our friend’s house where we were staying. We plugged up the tub in his bathroom. He had a huge videotape collection of all these bands, live on video. And part of our thing is we would wake up in the morning, pick out a music video to watch. Go to the studio. Come back from the studio. Put on some more music videos. And drink beer. That’s what we did.

Flemming, what were your first impressions of Metallica?
Flemming Rasmussen:
I had never heard of them, but I really liked them as people. The studio I worked at, Sweet Silence, was renowned in Denmark. My mentor was really into jazz, and he pulled me aside one day and said, “What’s going on with these guys? They can’t play.” And I’m like, “Who cares? Listen to the energy.”

Lars Ulrich: Flemming was completely in tune to what we were doing. He was recording us with lots of ambiance, and we wanted heavy sounds and big drums.

Hammett: We recorded Kill ‘Em All, at this local studio in Rochester, New York, and I think the biggest artist that might have used that place was the singer of Foreigner for some demos or something. I don’t know. But we were really excited to be at Sweet Silence Studios because that’s where Rainbow did Difficult to Cure. We were excited because we liked the sound of that album, and we were looking to get a similar sound for our album, using that studio and the same engineer, Flemming.

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How complete were the songs when you began recording?
Hammett: Three or four months prior to recording Ride the Lightning, we would do these small, theater shows where we would play were “Creeping Death,” “Ride the Lightning,” “Fight Fire With Fire” and “The Call of Ktulu.” Those songs were about 90 percent complete, in terms of arrangement and the guitar solos were already written.

Ulrich: We were hovering in New York in December and January of ’83 and ’84, and we wrote quite a bit of “Fade to Black” in New Jersey in the basement of our friend Metal Joe [Chimienti].

Songs like “Fade to Black,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Escape” were more melodic and slower than the songs on Kill ‘Em All. Were you trying to do something different, musically?
Ulrich:
It was the first time that the four of us wrote together and we got a chance to broaden our horizons. I don’t think it was a conscious effort to break away from anything musically. Obviously, listening to songs like “Fight Fire” and “Trapped Under Ice,” we were obviously still into the thrash type of stuff. But we were realizing you had to be careful that it didn’t become too limiting or one-dimensional.

All four of us were so into so many different things. And Kill ‘Em All was primarily written with James and I and Mustaine; so Kirk and Cliff didn’t really contribute to any of the songs on Kill ‘Em All. Ride the Lightning was the first time that both Cliff and Kirk got a chance to add what they were doing. They just came from a different school, especially Cliff, who came from a much more melodic approach.

Did you just jump right into recording right when you got to Copenhagen?
Hammett:
All our equipment got stolen in Boston, right before we were going to leave for Europe. The only things that we had were our guitars.

Rasmussen: James had this special Marshall amp that had been modified when he recorded Kill ‘Em All.We had to get all the Marshall amps from some of the metal bands that were in Denmark at that time, so like nine Marshall amps, and spent the first day testing them. We actually recreated James’ guitar sound on Kill ‘Em All, but just beefed it up. He was really pleased with that.

Hammett: It wasn’t a particularly fun or happy time. But we were glad to be at a great studio in good working conditions. Everything else outside the studio was a struggle.

How did Cliff come up with the descending bass riff in the intro of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”?
Hammett:
He would play that riff a lot in the hotel room, when him and I were hanging out. He used to carry around an acoustic classical guitar that he detuned so that he could bend the strings. Anyway, when he would play that riff, I would think, “That’s such a weird, atonal riff that isn’t really heavy at all.” I remember him playing it for James, and James adding that accent to it and all of a sudden, it changed. It’s such a crazy riff. To this day, I think, “How did he write that?” Whenever I hear nowadays, it’s like, “OK, Cliff’s in the house.”

Where did the bell sound at the beginning of that song come from?
Rasmussen:
We had an anvil in the studio, and Lars had to bang that; it could’ve been that or from a record of sound effects. But there was a really heavy, cast-iron anvil and a metal hammer, and we stuck them in an all-concrete room. He’d just go wang.

You were recording in February. Wasn’t it cold?
Rasmussen:
We were recording at night and it was freezing sometimes. We had big gas heaters heating up the drum room so Lars wouldn’t catch a cold. That studio is now somebody’s apartment, by the way. Somebody’s living room is where Lars actually sat and recorded Ride the Lightning. That’s kind of amazing [laughs]. I think I should move there.

One good story about the drums, though, is that Lars didn’t really like the snare he had. So he called up [management company] Q Prime, and this was about the time when Rick Allen, the drummer from Def Leppard, had had his car accident [in which he lost his left arm] so he was in the hospital, and Lars called him and asked if he could borrow his snare drum. It came on the plane the next day. So Ride the Lightning is actually recorded on Rick Allen’s Ludwig Black Beauty.

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Kirk, riffs from songs by your previous band Exodus, “Die by His Hand” and “Impaler,” found their way into “Creeping Death” and “Trapped Under Ice,” respectively. Did you bring those to the table?
Hammett:
No. What I think happened was our sound guy is when Lars and James were thinking about getting rid of Dave [Mustaine], our sound guy, Mark Whitaker – who was Exodus’ manager – gave them Exodus’ demos. I think “Die by His Hand” might have caught their ears. So when they were writing “Creeping Death,” they went, “Great. ‘Die by His Hand.’ Put it right there.” It was definitely not me going, “I have a riff here in this Exodus song, and it needs to be here in this Metallica song.” By the way, I wrote that “Die by His Hand” riff when I was, like, 16 years old.

Did the whole band sing the “Die! Die! Die!” chant in the studio?
Rasmussen: I’m pretty sure Cliff didn’t – well, it was Cliff or Kirk – but one of them just stood there moving his mouth. At one point, the other three decided not to sing, just to check it out, and either Cliff or Kirk didn’t say a word [laughs].

What was Cliff like in the studio?
Rasmussen: He was a one of a kind. It was the Eighties, and everyone was doing the punk thing with tight pants, but he was still wearing bellbottoms. He didn’t give a shit what people thought about him. He was a good musician, really nice on a personal level and a good poker player. As a bassist, he was more like a soloist than a regular bass player. The first time I recorded him, I tried all sorts of shit to make him feel comfortable, because he was used to the live environment. Eventually, I put his amp in another room, and he’d play in the main room like he was onstage, with the sound blasting from these speakers. It was pretty wild. I liked him a lot. It was a sad day when he died [in a bus accident while on tour in 1986].

You took a break in the middle of recording to do a tour. What was it like when you came back?
Ulrich:
When we got back, we had to sleep in the studio because we couldn’t afford any place to stay. Literally, we stayed in a room with all four of us on the floor.

Rasmussen: They were young kids. We didn’t have any problems with them staying at the studio. I had to kick some of them into the showers after a couple weeks because they kind of just smelled. When they put on the same T-shirt they had been wearing for like a week, “OK, new T-shirt.” “Right, I get it.” But you know, they were like kids are, I enjoyed it. We’d start recording at 7 at night and go on ’til 4 or 5 in the morning. So they’d just crash and sleep all day.

Ulrich: Mercyful Fate’s rehearsal room was right next to Sweet Silence Studios. We actually finished the last couple of songs we did for Ride the Lightning – like “Fade to Black,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Escape” – in their rehearsal room. We were obviously huge fans of theirs, but we also became friends and they were our peers.

Hammett: It was a trip meeting Mercyful Fate because their music makes you think the guys are a bunch of evil, satanic, human-sacrificing devil worshippers. But in reality, they’re all a bunch of goofy Danish guys. King Diamond had a bit of an aura about him, but you couldn’t find a sweeter, more funny guy than him.

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Ulrich: I remember we’d heard all the live, bootleg tapes where they’d talk about how, “Now we’re going to bring a roadie out and tap blood from him and offer it to the mighty dark lord,” and all this type of stuff. And all of a sudden, we were looking at the goose feathers that had been used for tapping blood from the roadies. It was very surreal. But there was a sincerity to it. It’s hard to not respect and hard to not totally appreciate that.

Hammett: At one point I thought Mercyful Fate were the heaviest heavy-metal band out there. I remember we played them a few of our songs on Ride the Lightning and Michael Denner, their guitar player, came up to me afterwards and said, “After listening to ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls,’ I thought Mercyful Fate was the heaviest band in the land, but I think now Metallica is the heaviest band in the land.” And I looked at him kind of shocked.

Flemming, was recording James’ acoustic guitar on “Fade to Black” straightforward?
Rasmussen:
We probably fucked around with that a lot. On some of these takes, we actually turned the tape around and recorded him playing part backwards while listening to the tape backwards to get mystery sounds in there. We also did that in the acoustic intro for [Master of Puppets'] “Battery.” They also recorded some electric guitar that fades in and out [on "Fade to Black"] in the background.

“Escape” is one of the catchier, more commercial songs on the album, but the band didn’t play it live for 28 years at the Orion Fest. Was it meant to be a single?
Rasmussen:
I remember them talking about that, because they were on this small, independent label, so that was their way of pleasing a major label, so they could get signed. Luckily, they went away from that whole pleasing-a-record-label thing.

Hammett: When we played “Escape” at the Orion Fest, we collectively agreed why we never play that song: It’s not really a great song to play live. It’s in the key of “A,” like “The Call of Ktulu” and “Metal Militia,” but the key of “A” doesn’t really work well for us for some reason or another. Playing that song was more of a novelty than anything else, but we loved playing all the other songs.

Were any labels courting Metallica while they were in the studio?
Rasmussen:
They had dealings with Bronze Records at the time, but they wanted the band to record everything again with the label owner’s son producing. They said, “It’s good, but it could sound better,” and everyone just looked and went, “What?” So the label kind of blew it. Bronze has since went bust.

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Ride the Lightning came out on July 27th, 1984, on Megaforce Records and, after the group signed with major label Elektra, it was reissued on November 19th of that year. What did you think of the reaction to the album’s more melodic songs?
Ulrich:
There was an odd reaction to “Fade to Black” and to the variety of the record. It did surprise us a little bit, I guess. People started calling us sellouts and all that type of stuff. Some people were a little bit bewildered by the fact that there was a song that had acoustic guitars. That was kind of funny because every great Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate record, that was part of their arsenal, too. The fact that we followed down that path surely couldn’t have surprised anybody.

Thirty years later, how does the album hold up in your opinion?
Ulrich:
Obviously it holds up very well. There’s kind of a youthful energy that runs through the record [laughs]. A good portion of these songs are still staples of our live set. And between “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Creeping Death,” “Fade to Black,” and “Ride the Lightning,” that’s not a bad batting average.

Hammett: I thought playing it in full at Orion was great. That album holds up really well. I love the sound of that album. It’s very analog. I think it’s our warmest-sounding album. By the time we recorded Master of Puppets, the days of just bashing it out were much fewer than in the Ride the Lightning days. Just bashing it out always led to a more natural sounding performance to me.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/fighting-fire-with-fire-metallica-look-back-on-ride-the-lightning-20140728

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Dave Harrington Turns Jazz Know-How Into Space-Rock Techno

July 28th, 2014 · Guitar

Welcome to Young Guns, our series exploring the most notable guitarists from the next generation of legends. For more interviews with the guitarists inspiring us right now, click here.

WHO: A 28-year-old guitarist who grew up in Morningside Heights on New York’s Upper West Side, Dave Harrington is dance-music wunderkind Nicolas Jaar’s partner in the duo Darkside. The two knew each other only in passing before a mutual friend recommended Harrington audition for Jaar, who was putting together a band to promote his 2011 debut, Space Is Only Noise. “We were touring for two years,” says Harrington. “In doing that we developed this language.” That shared tongue became the basis of Darkside’s lengthy, moody, instrumental space rock jams, which suggest equal parts Pink Floyd, Can and Richie Hawtin. (Above, watch an exclusive, in-depth video in which Harrington explains his influences and technique up close.)

HE’S GOT DEFUNKT: Though Harrington plays muscular, arcing lines in Darkside, his initial influences were a lot knottier. “I grew up in a house where jazz was the musical language,” he remembers. Harrington started out as a jazz bassist, taking lessons at the Harlem School of the Arts from Kelvin Bell of Eighties downtown favorites Defunkt and former Ornette Coleman and Marc Ribot sideman Brad Jones. “They didn’t want to tour all the time, so they taught lessons,” explains Harrington. “They were really on the fringes of some weird fucking music. That really became a musical community for me. I’m very lucky.”

ACCELERATED METABOLISM: Before working with Jaar, says Harrington, “I really didn’t know anything about techno or house music, beyond some Thomas Bangalter soundtracks. It was a crash course, a whole education.” It has, he says, shifted “the whole structure of the way I think about music. The rate of turnover is unlike anything I’ve encountered in any other music. It’s ouroboros-like, always digesting itself and spitting something back out.”

BLUNT INSTRUMENT: Harrington’s non-guitar background, he says, gives him a certain freedom in his playing. “It’s not a precious instrument to me,” he says. “On a technical level you can be very precise and it can be sharp, and it can also be blunt. I think about texture and rhythm and timbre before anything else. There’s a sense that Nico can coax any texture he wants. I turn to the textural potential of the guitar to try and meet that.” They’re also constantly reworking the set list; at a recent festival show in Lyon, France, they made a medley of two Darkside tracks, “Metatron” and “Heart.” “They’re in the same key, so it works,” he says. “Nico and I just had one of those great telekinesis moments — floating around in this weird limbo of being in between two songs we’d never done before like that. That was really exciting.”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/dave-harrington-turns-jazz-know-how-into-space-rock-techno-20140728

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Photo Bomb: Police ‘Breached Protocol’ With Lily Allen Handcuff Pic

July 28th, 2014 · Guitar


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On Sunday, Lily Allen convinced police escorts to place her in handcuffs for a staged photo at the Gold Coast airport in Australia prior to her performance at the Splendour in the Grass festival. Now, authorities are investigating the incident, claiming the officers breached standard protocol, according to Billboard.

Top 50 Tweeters in Music: Lily Allen

“#uhoh,” the singer tweeted over the weekend, along with a now-deleted Instagram link of the photo, which pictured Allen kneeling as an officer cuffed her hands behind her back. Before being removed, the photo had been “liked” over 7,700 times. 

“At her request, members involved placed open handcuffs for a photo opportunity,” an Australian Federal Police spokesman told the New Zealand Herald. “It appears the members involved were caught in the moment and standard protocol were breached. It is subject to internal processes.”

According to The GuardianGold Coast City Councillor Dawn Crichlow spoke out against the prank-gone-sour to Fairfax radio. ”I don’t appreciate a photo of. . . police playing around with their handcuffs. It’s bad that the federal police allowed this to happen and they should be hauled over the coals. Just a bit of fun would have been to give her the police cap and have a photo taken like that – that would have been fun.”

Allen released her latest LP, Sheezus, back in May. Earlier this month, she released a music video for the breezy synth-pop jam “URL Badman,” which takes aim at Internet gossip writers and web trolls.

The singer recently talked to Rolling Stone about the song’s personal inspiration. ”I wrote that after I put out the video for ‘Hard Out Here’ and everyone said I was racist,” she said. “I was really alarmed by that reaction. I stand by that video, and I know what my intention was, and I’m sorry that people interpreted it in a different way. A lot of that negative stuff came from females and the feminist blogger scene. What really pissed me off was the misogynistic, hipster, male bloggers that went after me in a completely different way. And I just thought, ‘Fuck you, I’m going to write a song about you.’” 

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/photo-bomb-police-breached-protocol-with-lily-allen-handcuff-pic-20140728

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Nicki Minaj Summons Her Superpowers as a Cartoon in ‘Steven Universe’

July 28th, 2014 · Guitar

Nicki Minaj’s larger-than-life persona is getting the animated treatment this summer in an episode of the Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe. As TV Guide Magazine reports, the episode, titled “Coach Steven,” was screened at Comic-Con on Saturday and will premiere Thursday, August 21st on Cartoon Network.

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In a preview clip of the episode, the rapper voices a gigantic and powerful character called Sugilite, the result of a fusion between the two characters Garnet and Amethyst. The two world-defending gems decided to join forces and summon Sugilite when faced with a critical task too large for either of them, though they’re warned that Sugilite can be “a little unstable.”

Steven Universe already has a dose of pop-star power from the British singer Estelle, who voices the character Garnet. Minaj is no stranger to cartoon voicework either, having lent her pipes to the animated feature Ice Age: Continental Drift. She also played herself in a 2012 episode of The Cleveland Show.

In other Nicki news, the rapper is set to release her second Pink Print single, “Anaconda” on Monday, July 28th. The Polow Da Don and Da Internz-produced track attracted plenty of attention earlier this week when Minaj gave fans an early look at the rear-flaunting cover art.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/nicki-minaj-summons-her-superpowers-as-a-cartoon-in-steven-universe-20140727

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Jack White Crashes Beck’s Encore in Providence

July 28th, 2014 · Guitar

Fresh off his headlining performance Saturday night at the Newport Folk Festival, Jack White popped over to make a guest appearance at another Rhode Island gig, joining Beck onstage at the Providence Performing Arts Center.

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As The Future Heart reports, White, introduced by Beck as “the best bartender in the world,” joined in for Beck’s encore and stayed for the whole segment. They started off with “Pay No Mind” and “Loser,” off the 1994 album Mellow Gold before closing out the show with an extended version of “Where It’s At.” The final number had another surprise guest in the form of Sean Lennon, who had opened the show with his band the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, on tambourine.

In addition to touring behind his new album Lazaretto and making surprise appearances at friends’ shows, Jack White also recently announced that he’ll be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a Detroit Tigers game next week. Beck, meanwhile, is on the verge of finally releasing a recorded version of his sheet-music collection, Song Reader. Although Beck himself only appears on one track on the album, which comes out on Tuesday, July 29th, Jack White is among the many other artists offering interpretations of the songs. 

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/jack-white-crashes-becks-encore-in-providence-20140727

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Dozens of Fans Require Medical Treatment at Keith Urban Concert

July 28th, 2014 · Guitar


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Keith Urban’s concert in Mansfield, Massachusetts on Saturday night was the site of medical mayhem as dozens of fans required treatment for alcohol-related ailments.

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Reuters reports that 46 concertgoers were treated at the concert, with some 22 transported to hospitals in the area, which is about 25 miles south of Boston. According to a joint statement by the town’s police and fire departments, authorities called in ambulances from five nearby communities to deal with the crowd’s medical needs. More than 50 people were taken into protective custody by police.

According to the Boston Herald, at least some of the medical attention was prompted by inebriated fans passing out and injuring themselves. “In total, Fire and EMS attended to 46 medicals resulting in 22 transports mostly alcohol-related,” Mansfield Police Chief Ron Sellon and Fire Chief Neil Boldrighini said in the statement. “The large number of medicals in a shortened time of approximately three hours caused the activation of a phase one EMS plan utilizing ambulances from five mutual aid communities. Police dealt with a steady stream of intoxicated persons as well, resulting in over 50 people being taken into protective custody and a number of others arrested for alcohol-related issues.”

Urban’s Raise ‘Em Up tour hits Cincinnati next, on August 31st, and extends through September 13th, where he’ll wrap up with an appearance at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. The country star will return as a judge on Season 14 of American Idol in January.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/dozens-of-fans-require-medical-treatment-at-keith-urban-concert-20140727

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16 Things We Learned After a Day at ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s House

July 27th, 2014 · Guitar


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Suzanne Yankovic, Nina Yankovic and Weird Al Yankovic
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The massive “Weird Al” Yankovic cult knew it was only a matter of time until the rest of the world joined their ranks, but few people could have foreseen what happened this past week when his new album Mandatory Fun became the first Number One comedy album on the Billboard charts since 1963′s My Son, the Nut by Allan Sherman. That was back when JFK was president and few people in America had heard of a new Liverpool band called the Beatles. There were still new episodes of The Twilight Zone on television. It was a long, long, long time ago.

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We happened to be visiting Yankovic at his house in the Hollywood hills for an upcoming story for Rolling Stone when his longtime manager Jay Levey told him the album was likely to debut on top of the charts. Tears welled up in Yankovic’s eyes and his wife Suzanne comforted him. “Sweetie,” she said. “It’s just people loving you like they always have.” 

Over the course of four hours, we spoke to “Weird Al” about his long career and took a tour of his entire house, down to his impressive collection of Hawaiian shirts in the basement. Here are 16 things we learned that day.

1. He’s never taken illegal drugs.
“A couple of times I’ve had Morphine because I’ve been in extreme pain,” he says. “But I’ve never done drugs recreationally. I’ve been around people that smoked dope, pot, Mary Jane, reefer. I enjoyed being around those people in college because it was very easy to make them laugh. But it was never my thing and my parents drilled into me not to ever take drugs, so out of respect for them I never did. Maybe when I’m 75 years old I might be ready for them. We’ll see what happens.”

2. Heavy D used to live in his house.
“I don’t know if he remodeled it, but a lot of things here in this house are very Heavy D-sized,” Yankovic says. “My wife is a wee woman, she’s not very tall, and it’s difficult for her to stand at our bathroom counter because they’re a little taller than normal. So everything in this house is a little oversized.”

3. It’s also possible a porno was filmed there once.
“My best friend from high school said to me, ‘Yeah, I think I saw a porn shot in your house,’” Yankovic says. “I think an Andy Garcia movie called Internal Affairs was shot here, too. There’s a lot of history here: rock roll, porno and the Yankovics.” 

4. His 11-year-old daughter Nina is incredibly cute and precocious.
“She’s such an ideal kid,” says Yankovic. “She likes playing outside, animals and nature. I was always watching TV at her age. Where did we go right?” During the course of our visit, she assembled a robotic arm that runs entirely on water, dressed up their rescue poodle Sandy in a penguin costume, read the 1967 out-of-print children’s book Animals of the Little Wood while perched on a beanbag chair and played with their pet bird Dina, a green-cheeked Conure. Nina named her that because birds evolved from dinosaurs. 

5. Some nights the entire Yankovic family camps out in a blue tent on their deck, which has a stunning view of Los Angeles.
“All four of us get into the tent,” says Nina, counting the dog as a member of the family. “We take out mini marshmallows and put them on sticks and roast them over a candle. It’s really fun. Sometimes an owl comes onto a tree and we look at him with binoculars.”

6. He was introduced to his wife Suzanne by their mutual friend Bill Mumy, who played Will Robinson on Lost In Space.
“I thought to myself, ‘Oh, I don’t know about this,’” says Suzanne. “Then I thought, ‘That’s kind of shallow of me to just be looking at a persona. People are often so different than how they appear.’ And we clicked immediately.”

7. They had multiple phone dates before they even met face-to-face.
“I hadn’t even seen her, but I already had a major crush,” says Yankovic. “She was asking me all these questions about my life and I said, ‘You can just watch my VH1 Behind The Music tomorrow.’ I guess we did get married a little late in life, but neither one of us had been married before and neither of us intends to be married again. The Behind The Music made too much of a big deal out of the fact that I was pushing 40 and still single. I wasn’t upset about it at all. I enjoyed being single. But when I got married I found I was even happier, and when I had a kid I was even happier, still.”

8. A large downstairs closet houses what deserves to be a “Weird Al” museum.
Not only are there what seems like 300 Hawaiian shirts in there, but everything from the multi-colored pants he wore on the Tom Snyder Show in 1981 and most of his early concerts to a stack of maybe 50 pairs of Vans sneakers to box after box of amazing artifacts. We pop open one labelled “High School” and see a book he made for his father in elementary school, songs he painstakingly transcribed for the accordion around the same time and the program for the 1976 Lynwood High School commencement ceremony. The valedictorian was none other than “Alfred Yankovic” and his speech was labeled “The Future: Its Price.” He freaked out the room by explaining that the ice caps were going to melt and threaten the human race.

9. He’s a stunningly methodical songwriter.
Each and every one of his lyrics go through countless stages before they reach their final form. He punches up a one of his final drafts of “Handy” — a spoof on Iggy Azelia’s “Fancy” about a cocky handyman — on his laptop. For every line he went with he has at least four other suggestions for himself. For example, he ultimately went with the line “When you window is busted,” but he also considered “Check my competitive prices” or “Got my own contractor’s license” in that same slot.

10. There’s amazing nerd artifacts all over his house.
Behind the bar, there’s a life-size Darth Vader mask sitting on the floor. We counted at least four books about Mad magazine as well as a recent issue with Duck Dynasty on the cover. Gold records for Bad Hair Day Off The Deep End and Even Worse are on the walls, along with an incredible fan-created painting of Al in his Big Edna uniform from UHF.  

11. He’s a voracious reader.
Here are just some of the books we noticed: Brain Droppings by George Carlin, Kink by Dave Davies, America Bizarro by Nelson Taylor, Rolling Stone: The Complete Covers, My Brother Was An Only Child by Jack Douglas, The Pythons Autobiography by the Pythons, The Complete Paintings and Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, Selected Poems by Walt Whitman, SoulPancake: Chew on Life’s Big Questions by Rainn Wilson, Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Positive Energy by Judith Orloff, Physiognomy: The Mark Seliger Photographs by Mark Seliger and The Sensual Home by Ilse Crawford.

12. He’s a vegan, mostly.
“Occasionally I cheat and eat dairy,” he says. “So I probably have to give up my hardcore vegan card. It began in 1992 when a friend gave me a book called Diet for a New America, which makes a very strong argument for vegetarianism for ethical, health and socio-political reasons. After I finished the book it was hard for me to rationalize eating meat anymore, so I stopped. At first, I couldn’t imagine not eating turkey at Thanksgiving, but it became pretty easy. I didn’t miss it.”

13. He’s set up a mini studio where he records music after his family goes to bed.
It consists of a large iMac, a microphone and a Kurzweil keyboard. “I really just make basic demos here,” he says. “But there’s enough so that I can work with the band later and get into more serious arranging.”

14. He hopes to make another movie one day.
“But it’s not going to be UHF 2,” he says. “People ask me about that all the time. That wouldn’t be my first choice, or even my 10th choice. I wrote a script for a Cartoon Network made-for-tv movie a few years ago. We had a deal and everything. We were getting ready to go into pre-production and the whole thing just fell apart. It taught me to never talk about things until they happen. I’m working on a few things now I’m not ready to talk about them. But if the right opportunity presents itself, I would love another shot at making a movie.”

15. Don’t expect a tour this year.
“I made the decision to take this entire year off the road,” he says. “But next year we’re going back on the road with a vengeance for the Mandatory Tour. Touring is exhausting for me. We do five or six cities a week because we’re paying for the bus and everyone’s salaries. I live in the back of the bus and physically save up my energy for the show. The rest of the band and crew has hotel rooms, but I just live in the back of the bus and watch satellite TV and surf online.”

16. He loves New Wave.
“Some of my favorite artists are the ones I was exposed to in college when I was doing a shift on the college radio show,” he says. “It was the late 1970s and New Wave and power pop were at their peaks. I was very into the Talking Heads, Devo, the Romantics and Oingo Boingo.” 

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/16-things-we-learned-after-a-day-at-weird-al-yankovics-house-20140725

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