When an app has a 4.5 star rating only a month after release, you know you’re on to something special. Joining the likes of Bjork and Blur in the recent trend of musicians diving into the app business, Radiohead have unveiled a mysterious, not to mention trippy new app called PolyFauna.
Describing the new app, Thom Yorke says, “PolyFauna is an experimental collaboration between us (Radiohead) & Universal Everything, born out of The King of Limbs sessions and using the imagery and the sounds from the song Bloom. It comes from an interest in early computer life-experiments and the imagined creatures of our subconscious. Your screen is the window into an evolving world. Move around to look around. You can follow the red dot. You can wear headphones.”
It’s not just antitrust legislators who are up in arms about the behemoth merger between Universal Music Group and EMI. In a symbolic act of disapproval, British rock band Blur have threatened to withhold the release of any future material in protest. Part of the monster deal requires Universal to sell one third of EMI’s label holdings in order to reduce the overall market share held by just one company. Parlophone, Blur’s label, is part of the sell“off, and is currently under consideration from other giants such as Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.
Speaking to the Independent about the merger, Blur drummer Dave Rowntree said, “Artists are the only people currently being left out of the conversation, which is unfortunate. If the staff at the label are unhappy with the new arrangements they are free to leave, but the artists are not.” Blur and other Parlophone compatriots have voiced complaints about feeling like “pawns” in the corporate machinations of Universal and EMI, who they say are treating the artists as unimportant secondary assets merely to be shuffled around and reorganized. Currently, the band is using the leverage of the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), a type of pop star union, to initiate talks with Parlophone and see if they can facilitate alternate bidders for the label. If the new label proceedings do not go to Blur’s liking, the band may go through with a full strike and permanently withhold the release of any new material. In the words of “Song 2,” it’s not easy, but nothing is.
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The ’90s are about to face a crucial test, one that might determine if the Clintonian era even has a shot at matching the staying power of the Reagan ’80s, a decade that continues to resonate more than 20 years after it ended. Welcome back, ’90s stars Soundgarden, SWV, Garbage, Brandy, Matchbox Twenty, Green Day, the Wallflowers, Blur, Aaliyah (via creepy interloper Drake) and No Doubt.
A decade is a long time in life, and an eternity in pop music, especially when you’ve spent one in a state of virtual inactivity, as did No Doubt, the band that will release its comeback album, Push and Shove, on September 25 (the same day Green Day returns with Uno!, the first of a trilogy of albums that the rock trio will release in the coming months). When No Doubt put out its last studio album, Rock Steady, in December of 2001, George W. Bush was less than one year into his first term as President of the United States, Friends was the No. 1 show on TV, and dated acts like Shaggy, Crazy Town and Ja Rule were scoring No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100.
The world, still reeling from September 11 exactly three months earlier, had yet to hear of Barack Obama, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, iPads, iPhones and American Idol. Britney Spears was the biggest female pop star on the planet, and she was in love with Justin Timberlake, best known as heartthrob No. 1 in ‘N Sync, the world’s biggest boy band. In this post-millennial world, Rock Steady went double-platinum in the U.S. and produced three hit singles, including the Top 5 hits Hey Baby and Underneath It All. (more…)
Today is kind of a slow news day. And so, today, you get¦ rock stars in drag: the superlatives.
Most natural: Bowie
Most disturbing: Queen
Most frequent: Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones
Best homage: Blur (as Blondie)
Most dudes: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
Best pout: Ozzy Osbourne
Most confusing to high school jocks in 1994: Kurt Cobain
Most committed: New York Dolls
Best looking: Bono
Seems that he was right to do so, as today Blur has confirmed speculation (resulting from an extended teaser campaign) and debuted two new songs, “Under The Westway” and “The Puritan.” The band announced the live stream and then digital availability of the tracks via their official Twitter, @blurofficial. Check out the performances here with links to buy the tracks.