Random music news for Thursday, May 17, 2018

(If you’re a Sonic Youth fan, read this.)
Looking to learn how to play the ukulele? (Via Tom)
Will Elton John’s kid make the Premier League? FIght about this: The 20 most underrated classic rock bands of all time. (I’m not here. Read this. Is Bing getting better than Google? Another reason why you should get your kid to take music lessons. As for music news on May 17, 2018…

With people like Chris Brown and R Kelly no longer being promoted on streaming platforms by Spotify, are the Red Hot Chili Peppers next? Too early to tell, but… Here are 25 industry insiders to follow on Twitter. RIP revolutionary musician Glenn Branca. How is Brexit going to affect gigs and fans? We still don’t know who made it. You might be surprised. That’s what this group wants. Is Tidal paying record labels on time? Or when. Def Leppard meets the Deaf Leopards. It’s tough being a club owner in the former Soviet republic of Tbilisi. Maybe not. What should a mom do to prepare for a daughter’s first concert? Try this. (Via Tom)
If you were ever a fan of Silverchair, you should read this. (Via Moe)
Metallica still does not regret suing Napster. They’re working on it. On this day in 1902, the Antikythera Mechanism was discovered. Snoop Dogg has bought into Snoopy (the dog). Must be an oversight.)
This passes for music news in some circles: Kanye got rid of his phone. There will be a vigil for Chris Cornell on the first anniversary of his death tomorrow.
Random music news for Thursday, May 17, 2018

New Music From The Inbox: Courtney Barnett, Prep, Lucas, and more!

Artist: Courtney Barnett
Song: Sunday Roast
Album: Tell Me How You Really Feel
Courtney Barnett’s guitar skills shine on this warm and conversational track about a night with friends. Watch/Listen:

Artist: Lucas
Song: Anne Marie
EP: High Wire
This accessible alt-rock has hooks for days. Watch/Listen:

Artist: Pip Blom
Song: Pussycat
EP: Paycheck
Pussycat is some hooky rock with a good groove and an attitude from Pip Blom, which is the name of the band’s singer/songwriter/guitarist. This song was produced and co written by Lincoln Parish of Cage The Elephant and you can hear the influence in the solid grooves and grimy tones. Sunday Roast is the fourth taste from her highly anticipated sophomore album, out May 18! Listen: Listen:

Artist: Ellie Schmidly
Song: Where to Begin
Album: Blossom & Bone
Delicate guitar, sensitive piano, and beautiful vocals build a breathtaking world that is easy to get lost in. Watch/Listen:

Artist: Prep
Song: Snake Oil
EP: Cold Fire
Vibrant synths and clear vocals make this catchy song sound perfect for chilled out summer nights.
New Music From The Inbox: Courtney Barnett, Prep, Lucas, and more!

Remember Big Shiny Tunes? There’s a new book on how those CDs affected Canadian alt-rock history

C’mon, admit it. The latest is a long-needed study of how MuchMusic’s Big Shiney Tunes CDs.affected our alt-rock scene. In an era when we still had to spend $20 on a single CD for a single song, these things were godsends, becoming some of the best-selling discs in Canadian history
Shine: How a MuchMusic Compilation Came to Define Canadian Alternative Music and Sell a Zillion Copies by Mark Teo (Eternal Cavalier Press) is a look at how these discs came to be and what kind of impact they had on the national scene. You cannot have grown up in the 90s and early 2000s without owning at least three of these compilations. Mike Trebilcock of The Killjoys–a band that benefited from their BST participation–will perform. There will be a launch party for the book May 26 at the Supermarket in Kensington Market. Although we used to be rubbish at it, we’re getting better at documenting the history of Canadian music with each passing year.
Remember Big Shiny Tunes? There’s a new book on how those CDs affected Canadian alt-rock history

The Yanny/Laurel audio illusion is burning down the Internet

This happens because the brain can’t decide on a definitive interpretation,” Alais says. Remember the nutso virial Internet debate about the colour of this dress? Yanny or Laurel pic.twitter.com/jvHhCbMc8I
— Cloe Feldman (@CloeCouture) May 15, 2018

It got extra-weird for me. Is it “Yanny” or “Laurel?”

What do you hear?! Well, an audio version of The Dress has surfaced. What do you hear? Is it black and blue?   Here, the Yanny/Laurel sound is meant to be ambiguous because each sound has a similar timing and energy content – so in principle it’s confusable. “If there is little ambiguity, the brain locks on to a single perceptual interpretation. From The Guardian:
Professor David Alais from the University of Sydney’s school of psychology says the Yanny/Laurel sound is an example of a “perceptually ambiguous stimulus” such as the Necker cube or the face/vase illusion. “All of this goes to highlight just how much the brain is an active interpreter of sensory input, and thus that the external world is less objective than we like to believe.”
More here. “They can be seen in two ways, and often the mind flips back and forth between the two interpretations. When a friend forwarded me this text and I played it on my iPad, I clearly heard “Yanny.” But when I embedded THAT EXACT TWEET above, I heard “Laurel.” Then I went back to my iPad and I heard “Yanny” again What’s wrong with me? Or is it white and gold?
The Yanny/Laurel audio illusion is burning down the Internet

Can media’s future be predicted by radio’s past? (Hint: yes)

(Hint: yes) Can media’s future be predicted by radio’s past?
But actually, when we tune into the radio at home, we’re more likely to be doing it through a new technology like DAB or the internet than old-fashioned FM. And you’d be right, I admit. I’ve worked for the BBC, for Virgin Radio and companies in Europe and the US, helping prepare radio for what’s next. That makes radio more popular than Twitter, more popular than Facebook, more popular than email, and more popular than the internet itself. Radio is, of course, better than TV. Keep reading. Total time spent listening is down. And no wonder, since radio has embraced the mantra of choice, with three times the number of stations on new broadcast platforms than analogue. If you work in the radio industry or just like to listen, here’s a good state-of-the-union look at the medium by radio futurologist James Cridland (Via Medium)
I call myself a radio futurologist. Yet radio listening is only down by 8%.   Now, you might think that radio is yesterday’s technology. You might think its audience is dropping: yet radio is actually seeing record numbers of people tuning in. You might think that radio is old-fashioned. Actually, 9 out of 10 of us tune into the radio every week. I’m a writer, speaker and analyst concentrating on the future of radio. The last ten years have seen the invention of the iPhone, widespread broadband, Facebook, YouTube, 4G and the BBC iPlayer. Ah, you’ll say, but I bet the audience are spending less time with radio.

Where in the world are Canadian artists streamed?

Where in the world are Canadian artists streamed?
A new graphic by Cameron Gordon at Completely Ignored looks at where Canadian artists have their music streamed. And where they don’t.   Click on the graphic to see the whole thing.

Smashing Pumpkins want to party like it’s 1979 (or maybe 1995)

Smashing Pumpkins want to party like it’s 1979 (or maybe 1995)
Not a bad way to spend June 28th I say. If you want to get up close and personal with the band, enter the contest here! Live concerts are great, but when thousands of people are screaming, clamouring to get a view of the band, the music itself can get a little lost. Not to mention, it’s ridiculously easy to sign up for. The Smashing Pumpkins are back and ready to smash out some classic tunes this summer on the Oh So Bright Tour! But what’s cooler is the chance to see them live at a small house show in LA before the tour kicks off. If the house concert is anything like the music video, whoever wins is in for a wild night. The contest winner and a guest, along with access to the party, get round trip flights to LA, a two night stay in the Hilton, a Yamaha guitar and a cash card to travel around the city. They’re exclusively playing tracks from 1991 to 2000, off of iconic albums like Gish. The house party itself is inspired by the music video for “1979”, which is why the event is called 1979 House Party. The tour happens to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the band’s formation. Pretty cool. For fans of the band, an intimate performance is the ultimate treat. The Smashing Pumpkins have won two Grammy awards, sold over 30 million albums and they want to see you in LA for some intimate alternative rock. Not to mention, seeing such a prolific band in a small space is like meeting music royalty. As long as you remember your name and where you live, you can sign up in a matter of seconds. This will be the first tour of the band in 20 years that has all the original members on stage. The intimate performance assures that you’re smack dab in the middle of the stage dives and sweat.

Streaming is about to get a lot more interesting with the new YouTube Music

Streaming is about to get a lot more interesting with the new YouTube Music
The system will learn that so when you do sit down at your desk or whatever, you’ll see a home page on your desktop or app that will give you instrumental chillout music. Basically, YouTube music will learn your history based on activity, time of day, and location and then put it use automatically. Cool. Actually, a series of unique home pages. The killer app!–music videos. I used to be the company’s chief curator for Canada, but then Songza was sold and I was out of work. It has a new streaming service that bundles all the Google music services into one and replacing all the separate services. Both the app and the desktop version will change to include the music component of another service called YouTube Red. I have a feeling that the streaming world is about to get a whole lot more interesting. That will set it apart from Spotify and Apple Music,
The interface will be very personalized with each user getting a unique home page. If you’re already a Google Play Music subscriber like me (I subscribe to them all because knowing how this stuff works is my job), you will be ported over to the premium version of the new platform. We’ll get it sometime later this year along with 13 European countries. Remember Songza? Say you like instrumental chillout music when you’re at work. But that home page will change when you head home because it’ll know that you want something different. Driving music, say. Naturally, Canada will NOT be part of the soft launch on Tuesday. (The writer of that YouTube blog post was one of the founders of Songza. Read more here and here. ad-supported) and a premium version that will cost $9.99 a month. Now that user experience is being elevated to the next level. It did exactly this sort of thing. The new offering called YouTube Music will be very standard in some ways: a free tier (i.e. Only the US, Mexico, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand will get YouTube Music to start. And then when you get home, it will serve up another home page. Google bought the company a couple of years back and incorporated it into Google Play Music. Users will get access to thousands of playlists, the official versions of millions of songs and albums, artist-based radio stations and–Ta-dah! Such is the world of tech.)
And any time you want to click over to a video, you can do that. YouTube was trying to keep something secret until a grand unveiling on Tuesday, but there was a leak. (We knew they were working on this, so it was actually a very open secret).

It’s official: Pop music is getting sadder and more depressing

It’s official: Pop music is getting sadder and more depressing
On a scale from desperately sad to blissfully happy, songs fell by about 20 percent over the three decades. This can be worked out musically as, for example, sadder songs tend to be slower and sung in a minor key. It’s not your imagination: pop music is getting slower, sadder and more depressing. In fact, 20% “less happy.”
Using machine learning and various weird algorithms, a new study of more than 500,000 songs by researchers at the University of California determined that things are much more depressing today than they were 30 years ago. From The Daily Mail:
Lead author Dr Natalia Komarova said: ‘The whole reason I started this study was because I was listening to the songs my teenage daughter played and thinking, what on earth has happened to music?’
The researchers looked at an average of around 600 charting and 16,000 non-charting songs a year from 1985 to 2015, graded under criteria such as happiness, sadness and ‘brightness’. This adds to previous research that today’s song lyrics tend to dwell more on sadness, loneliness and social isolation. A word of warning to songwriters, though: Research also says that happy songs climb higher on the charts.

Senate votes to throw out new net neutrality regs

Senate votes to throw out new net neutrality regs
It was just a week ago that the FCC said it would begin rolling back Obama-era regulations on June 11. However, the victory, sweet as it is, likely won’t stop the Federal Communications Commission from continuing on the march toward rolling back protections put in place during the Obama administration. Senate Democrats used the Congressional Review Act in order to call the vote. “It’s disappointing that Senate Democrats forced this resolution through by a narrow margin,” the chairman said. Three Republican Senators voted with Democrats and Independents to pump the breaks on net neutrality changes. He’s very unlikely to go along. Such a win would be a huge victory for advocacy groups, online activists and tech behemoths like Google, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal and others that have been working to protect the regulations put in place in 2015. To no one’s surprise, Pai is not pleased. In the unlikely case that this works, it would make Pai’s changes dead in the water. “The Senate vote, on the eve of midterms, could have significant political effects,” Marc Martin, a telecom lawyer with Perkins Coie in Washington, told the Washington Post. The CRA “permits Congress to revisit — and reject — decisions by administrative agencies within a certain window of their approval,” the paper explains. That means internet service providers would not have the opportunity, for example, to establish bundles of service in which customers pay more for some streaming services – Spotify, Netflix, YouTube, etc – in order for access to those websites without being slowed down. “But ultimately, I’m confident that their effort to reinstate heavy-handed government regulation of the Internet will fail.”
He goes on to reiterate some of his state from last week, saying that the internet was “free and open before 2015… (and) it will continue to be free and open once the Restoring Internet Freedom Order takes effect on June 11.”
Pai says the Democrats and the three Republicans who voted with them used “scare tactics” in their opposition to his regulations and that his “light touch approach will deliver better, faster and cheaper internet access and more broadband competition to the American people – something that millions of consumers desperately want and something that should be a top priority.”
The FCC is not unified in its support of Pai’s regulations, by the way. If that somehow happens, and the vote goes in their favor, it would need the signature of the president. Our statement: pic.twitter.com/ZDAF0OugRa
— Future of Music Coalition (@future_of_music) May 16, 2018

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is urging its supporters to pick up their phones to call and email their representatives to double down on their support of the regulations as established by the Obama administration. Democrats would need to get a full majority of the 435-member House, which means every single Democrat and 22 Republicans. This put the FCC on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law and the wrong side of the American people.”
She vows to keep up the fight. The FCC’s net neutrality repeal gave broadband providers extraordinary new powers to block websites, throttle services and play favorites when it comes to online content. Together we’re going to keep fighting for a healthy internet, where diverse music communities and creators can thrive. The final nail hasn’t been secured in the 2015 net neutrality regs just yet, but this vote doesn’t really supply all that much oxygen either. So does the Future of Music Coalition, a longtime net neutrality supporter. In a statement released Wednesday, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the vote was “a big step to fix the serious mess the FCC made when it rolled back net neutrality late last year. It might buy some time. But it might not move the needle for that many voters. After all, the Republicans control the House of Representatives and there’s very little chance the Democrats could get the same support to force the issue there. The final tally in the Senate Wednesday was 52-47, with Susan Collins of Maine, John Kennedy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined the Democrats to vote in support of rolling back the changes voted into place by the FCC, led by Chairman Ajit Pai. It might also provide a little bit of room for court cases to proceed. The House has to use the same CRA to vote in favor of overturning the current FCC’s changes, Jacob Kastrenakes of The Verge explains. And they shouldn’t get to charge extra to deliver some content faster while slowing down others or get to prioritize their own content over that of competitors.”
So what happens now? The vote in the Senate “puts a bare majority… in step with the 86% of Americans who oppose the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality protections… We pay our ISPs plenty of money for internet access, they shouldn’t have the ability to block or throttle any application or website we choose to use or visit.

UK Landmarks Tour, Day 5 (Wednesday, May 16)

So we did this. Today is a free day for the group (“day at leisure” in travel agent itinerary-speak), so the group scattered to enjoy other areas of London. Now watch this Beatles video that was shot on May 19, 1966, in a park called Chiswick Gardens. But we had fun. Back on the road to visit more site tomorrow. Let’s start with some Clash, which was taken on a staircase in Camden Market. That was a bad (read: very expensive) idea. Then there’s this shot for the Beatles’ “Nowhere Man.”

Nerdy, yes. Two more pictures. And just down the road, the former headquarters of Swansong, Led Zeppelin’s record label. The artwork for the single was also shot on that same day. First, this is World’s End at 430 The King’s Road, the former site of Sex, the store in which the Sex Pistols were put together by Malcolm McLaren in 1975. I myself went shopping here. Without anything on the schedule, I had a chance to post these recreations of some album artwork.
UK Landmarks Tour, Day 5 (Wednesday, May 16)

Random music news for Friday, May 18, 2018

A 25-minute Foo Fighters song? Got too much money? A couple of lost Massey Hall windows featuring Bach and Beethoven have been found in a box in the basement. Then get rid of some of it on this new stupidly expensive iPhone battery case with a solar panel. Alexa is about to get some new voices…
…and Facebook is introducing voice posts. (Via Larry)
YouTube has just added songwriter, label and publisher credits to millions of songs. Check here. This is a good summary of my talk with Jared Smith, the president of Ticketmaster. From now until 11:59 pm Labour Day, our excuse is “Sorry, dude. Gotta make the most of it.” And here’s some music news for May 18, 2018. I love this day: the Friday before the beginning of the first long weekend of the summer. Deaf fans are looking for more access at live music events. He was injured, but he’ll be fine. Can you identify the guitarists who played these famous solo? Maybe. BBC Radio is feeling the challenge of the age of streaming. A nice Friday timesuck: What were the biggest songs the year you graded from high school? Burton Cummings was involved in a bad car crash in LA. Oliver Twist, in fact. This kid is just two years old and he’s already a better drummer than most people. Live Nation has established a fund for female-focused live music initiatives. Adele’s next project might be a musical. A nice find during the restoration. Dave Grohl wants to go all Rush-like. Good. It’s summer. A court has ruled that photos from Kurt Cobain’s death scene will remain secret.
Random music news for Friday, May 18, 2018

This guy turned Alexa into a BDSM mistress

A guy named Gary, a British designer who uses the handle Deviant Designs, decided to spice up his Amazon Alexa by turning his smart speaker into an NFSW BDSM mistress. And it’s not just what she says. Mistress Alexa never fails to make me smile pic.twitter.com/k28shbC55h
— Deviant Designs (@_DeviantDesigns) April 30, 2018

(Via IFLScience.com) Follow the video through right until the end.
This guy turned Alexa into a BDSM mistress

The Beasties Boys have a book coming called Beastie Boys Book

Beastie Boys Book is set for release November 1. Amazon describes it this way:
With a style as distinctive and eclectic as a Beastie Boys album, Beastie Boys Book upends the typical music memoir. Alongside the band narrative, you will find rare photos, original illustrations, a cookbook by chef Roy Choi, a graphic novel, a map of Beastie Boys’ New York, mixtape playlists, pieces by guest contributors, and many more surprises. It’s not the most imaginative title, but Beastie Boys Book promises to tell the whole story of the group from the perspective of the three members.
The Beasties Boys have a book coming called Beastie Boys Book