A Playlist About Not Very Nice People

October 25th, 2010

Roger DaltreyThere’s a certain seductive quality to being the “bad man” in music — just about every other blues song is based upon this. But what happens when the bad man is not temptingly bad — they’re just somewhat distasteful or creepy? What happens when their misdeeds or crimes, large or small, are not something you might find sinfully enticing — just loathsome? This is not the stuff that triple-platinum hits are made of; nonetheless, several songwriters have had the courage to venture here. Here are a few of their psychological insights:

Tonio K. — H-A-T-R-E-D
Tom Lehrer — Poisoning Pigeons In The Park
Randy Newman — Short People
Tom Petty — Mary Jane’s Last Dance
Radiohead — Creep
Del Shannon — Hats Off to Larry
Stephen Sondheim — Assassins - “Unworthy of Your Love”
Sufjan Stevens — John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
The Who — Fiddle About
Frank Zappa — Bobby Brown (Goes Down)

Featuring DJ KA Playlist

September 18th, 2010

Armin van BuurenIt’s the end of summer — nothing better to send off the season than one last hot party. And, as everybody knows, the best parties demand the best DJs. So, if you’ve kept up with the latest in festival dance sounds around the world, you’ll enjoy our recap of some of the hottest DJs of the last few years. And if you haven’t, then check out some of the names you might want for your next party — provided you’re planning for a few thousand guests, that is:

  • Above & Beyond
  • Benny Benassi
  • Hernan Cattaneo
  • Deadmau5
  • David Guetta
  • Sebastian Ingrosso
  • Paul Oakenfold
  • Qbert
  • Markus Schulz
  • Tiesto

Wilco (The Playlist)

August 11th, 2010

WilcoAs those of you who listen to our podcast series already know (courtesy of Glenn Kotche), Wilco is curating the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA. We were planning to do a playlist for the festival — but Jeff Tweedy beat us to it. So, instead, here is a trip through Wilco through their studio albums — in mostly non-studio versions, of course. Wilco fans are invited to debate how we fared in our selections on the forum — and everybody else is invited to enjoy some of the smartest songs around:

1995: A.M. — “I Must be High”
1996: Being There — “I Got You (At the End of the Century)”
1999: Summerteeth — “She’s a Jar”
2002: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot — “Jesus, Etc.”
2004: A Ghost Is Born — “Spiders (Kidsmoke)”
2007: Sky Blue Sky — “Impossible Germany”
2009: Wilco (The Album) — “Bull Black Nova”

Living Jazz, Live

July 5th, 2010

Asphalt OrchestraIf there’s one musical genre that is best appreciated live, it’s jazz. So, as you look over the wealth of festival options available to you this summer, you might want to listen to some of the hottest performances from the past year. From classic vocal jazz to avant-garde experiments, we’ve got something for everybody. And never mind what Terry Teachout thinks — there’s plenty of fresh blood onstage and in the audience, along with some old foxes with new tricks up their sleeves.

Arve Henriksen & Per Jørgensen — NYI
Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden — For All We Know
Jaga Jazzist — One-Armed Bandit
Nancy King & Dan Gaynor — Perennial
Sarah Manning — The Peacocks
Medeski Martin & Wood — Cajun Boogie
Enrico Rava and the Jazz Lab Tentet with Gianluca Petrella & Gianluigi Trovesi — Rhapsody In Blue
Christian Scott Quintet — Rumor
Jessica Williams — Love and Hate
Matt Wilson Quartet — Rear Control

Festive Classical

June 1st, 2010

Ebene QuartetYou’ve heard it over and over again — classical music is dead, audiences don’t want tough music, if not for state patronage classical music would be gone. Well, guess what? As reported in our Culture News, classical music festivals are on the rise. And from looking at the performers and playlists on the bill for this summer’s concerts, the bulk of the offerings are anything but watered down. Who’d a thunk it — you treat your audience as intelligent adults, feature challenging new composers, intelligent reviews of the classics, or discoveries of forgotten masters — and whaddya know, they come! Here’s our guide to some of the best of what the summer festivals have to offer — and if you think we missed someone, or make any discoveries of your own, please don’t hesitate to share them with us on our Forum:

Mira CalixUmbra Penumbra
Joseph HaydnString Quartet Op. 64, No. 5 — Elias Quartet
Hans Werner HenzeGogo no Eiko — RAI Orchestra, Gerd Albrecht Cond.
Thomas Hewitt JonesIn My Craft or Sullen Art — Christina Haldane, Soprano
Michael JarrellCongruences — Ensemble InterContemporain
Frank MartinLe Vin Herbé — Ensemble Domestica Rotterdam
Maurice RavelSonata for Violin and Piano — Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin and Fazil Say, piano
Steve Reich2X5 — Bang On A Can
Giuseppe TartiniConcert in D — Markus Wuersch, trumpet and Peter Solomon, organ
Mieczyslaw WeinbergSonata for Solo Double Bass, Op. 108 — Petru Iuga, double bass