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More Flaming Lips / Pink Floyd Action

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Not content with their start-to-finish cover of Pink Floyd‘s landmark LP Dark Side Of The Moon from a few years ago, The Flaming Lips have now recorded and released a “companion” piece to that record, intended to be played simultaneously. It is called Flaming Side of the Moon.

I know what I’m doing today.

Dark Side is an album rife with its own mythology, which includes the details behind the making of the record, the subject matter of the songs, the mysterious audio snippets buried throughout, and, of course, the supposed connection to The Wizard of Oz (which is certainly coincidental at best, though the Lips say this release does indeed sync up). So it is a prime target for further creative explorations by sonic adventurers The Flaming Lips, who are no strangers to this kind of multidimensional, puzzle-piece recording, having created their own Zaireeka, an album released in 1997 on four different discs, also intended to be played simultaneously.

[UPDATE: The Flaming Lips report this was an April Fool’s Day joke. So, everything above, and it’s all real, and they did it, but… just kidding?]

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Pandora Responds To Royalty Controversy

Streaming radio giant Pandora has responded to allegations, most recently from classic rock giants Pink Floyd as well as music-biz critic and Cracker frontman David Lowery, that not only are their current royalty payments criminally low, but that they are currently lobbying for the right to reduce those royalties by as much as 85%.

Pointing the blame mainly at the RIAA, Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren has issued a lengthy and personal letter to users and industry personnel around the world. In the letter, which you can read below, the company denies plans to lower artist royalties and addresses ongoing concerns with their current compensation system. The message reads: (more…)

Your Country's Right Here: Andrew Osenga Gets Spacey with Folk

Andrew Osenga has taken folk music where, arguably, no artist has gone before”space.

How else to explain the Nashville-based singer/songwriter/producer/musician Osenga’s “story” Leonard, The Lonely Astronaut, released on September 18. Perhaps the album’s theme was born of his love of science fiction and folk? Sure, rockers have explored this concept for years”David Bowie‘s 1973 album Aladdin Sane and Pink Floyd‘s 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon come immediately to mind”but it’s fairly new territory for folk. Credit Osenga’s eclectic taste in music for the turn.

“I was into grunge and then Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, all the shows on the big stages,” he said of his early influences. “The music was heartfelt but they could hide the fact that they were heartfelt by putting on a big show. When I moved to Nashville I became friends with folk artists and really got into Paul Simon, Emmylou Harris…..And I’m a huge literary nerd, too, so that helped make this.” (more…)

SoundTrax: Home Is Where The Heart Is

Summer is beginning to come to a close, and it’s about time to start packing. As much as we hate to admit it, we need to leave the lake houses and beach bungalows behind and return to the real world. Home Is Where The Heart Is features an eclectic mix of songs about  just how great home is, whether you’re missing familiar surroundings or simply anticipating the happy return to your domicile. So load your trunk, say goodbye to summer friends, and begin the trek back home.

Here are 15 tracks from Native June, The Beatles, Seven Handle Circus, Rancid, The Dear Hunter, and many more to help you on your journey.

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Riffs, Rants and Rumors: The Sufis Serve Up Some Southern Psych

You don’t have to be stoned to be psychedelic. Sure, people tend to tag psychedelia as trippy, but that appellation has as much to do with the transporting quality of the best psychedelic music as it does with anything Timothy Leary ever espoused. After all, even Jimi Hendrix himself famously described the titular satori-like state described in Are You Experienced? as being not necessarily stoned, but beautiful. But if you’re after a more modern example, turn toward The Sufis, a young Nashville-based trio of psychedelic rockers whose driving force, Calvin LaPorte, observes, Bands who say they’re psychedelic but don’t really sound like they are, we encounter them all the time, and it’s pretty much guys who just smoke a lot of weed, and the music sounds better when you’re stoned. I think that’s what that kind of ‘psychedelic’ is, but we wanted to hone in more on the arrangement of psychedelic music.

Together with guitarist Jay Smith and drummer Evan Smith, multi-instrumentalist LaPorte pays homage to the swirling psych-pop sounds of the ˜60s on The Sufis’ self-titled debut album. And while his primary influences were making records before he was born, LaPorte comes by his inspirations naturally. He was first bitten by the paisley-patterned bug as a child, via his father’s record collection. I’ve been listening to that kind of stuff since I was six or seven, he recalls, The Beatles, I heard [Pink Floyd‘s Syd Barrett-fronted 1967 single] ˜See Emily Play’ really early on, seven or eight. And he [LaPorte’s father] had a lot of Beach Boys, that’s definitely one of the big influences. (more…)

The EditoriaList: 12 Bands That Continued On After Losing A Key Member

Bands are hard to keep together. People fight, quit, rejoin, remember, quit again, die and so forth. Sometimes that band member is so integral to the music that it’s pointless to go on”some bands realize this and pack it in. But often, the remaining members don’t want to give it up. Here is the good, the bad and the ‘meh’ of some big, post-departure acts.

 

THE GOOD:

The Rolling Stones

Thank you, Jeebus, that The Stones kept it going after the 1969 departure and subsequent death of band founder Brian Jones (but couldn’t they have stopped after 1981’s Tattoo You, oh mighty Jeebus?). Jones’ contributions to the band are not to be discounted, but by the time he left, he had been marginalized”for better or worse”by the Jagger-Richards power team (and by most accounts, by manager Andrew Loog Oldham, not to mention by booze and drugs). The Stones went on to produce some of their greatest work.

 

Pink Floyd

While some people swear by Syd Barrett-era Floyd, the mental unraveling and eventual canning of the former frontman heralded one of rock’s greatest and most unlikely metamorphoses. With Roger Waters taking the pole position (and with able assistance from Barrett’s replacement, David Gilmour), the band slowly shed their psych-pop identity in favor of spaced-out stadium rock.

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Riffs, Rants & Rumors: Jonathan Wilson's Canyon Spirit

With touches of everything from psychedelia to folk-rock to prog, singer/songwriter Jonathan Wilson‘s new album, Gentle Spirit, is something of a beard rocker’s”or more accurately, beard balladeer’s”wet dream, the kind of recording that sounds like it was meant for spinning seductively around a turntable while the listener sits cross-legged on the floor absorbing the credits and cover art like they’re part of a sacred text. And the seventy-eight-minute opus, lovingly recorded on analog gear, has indeed been made available as a double-vinyl LP.

But if you end up discovering Wilson’s work digitally, don’t despair”the experience isn’t analog-exclusive. The magic is still there, Wilson says, looking at a digital scan of a painting you love still conveys the intent, maybe not the detail and resolution, but the intent is still there. Besides, it’s not like Gentle Spirit was a live-in-the-studio recording; Wilson played the majority of the parts himself, diligently overdubbing each instrument as part of a long, laborious process. The one-man-band approachcomes very naturally, he says, I’ve always recorded that way. Gentle Spirit was the first record of mine that had guests helping me musically. I enjoy both sides, live tracking with others and also being completely alone, working it all out. While it’s not a concept album, Gentle Spirit nevertheless has the feel of a slowly unfolding song cycle that makes a long elegant arc. It’s not the kind of thing you just throw together. I had a vision for the basis of the record, Wilson affirms, the bulk of the songs and the record’s meaning, but many things unfolded along the way, the record took many, many months to finish, it was an extended process.

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Jenna Bryson Gains Insight From Industry Legend Don Ienner

Jenna Bryson isn’t your typical rising talent. You won’t find a long-winded backstory or moment of musical revelation in her bio”just Jenna, her songs and her humble personality. It’s these traits and more that helped the LA songwriter rise the ranks of the June Artist Access Premium Member Competition on OurStage, eventually landing her a mentoring session with one of the music industries most sought after resources”IMO president/ founder and former Sony Music and Columbia Records chief, Don Ienner.

In the nearly forty years of working in the music industry, Ienner has helped further the careers of legends like Springsteen, Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd and has guided the passage of talents like John Mayer, Dixie Chicks, Alice in Chains, Jeff Buckley, Beyoncé, Matisyahu, Franz Ferdinand, Nas, Lauren Hill, Cypress Hill and many, many more.

Bryson and Ienner recently sat down for a chat in NYC and, well, we’ll let her tell you all about it herself. Check out Jenna’s video below”featuring a performance of her winnings song Happy and a personal recount of her mentoring session with Don Ienner. Want a mentoring session with industry powerhouse Rob Stevenson? Sign up for OurStage Premium Membership and enter the August Artist Access Competition now!

Riffs, Rants & Rumors: Tunnels To Dark Places

While there’s no denying the appeal of music that operates on an instant-gratification level, offering tricked-up tunes full of carefully baited hooks, in the end the albums that really stick with you will almost always be the ones that provide a truly immersive experience. That’s the way it is with The Blackout, the latest release from Tunnels. It’s a record that unfurls its sonic secrets slowly and purposefully, setting a darkly dreamy mood that feels perfectly suited to sweaty, sluggish summer nights, which is ironic, considering that it’s inspired chiefly by the emotionally chilly musical subgenre colloquially known as cold wave.

Nicholas Bindeman is the man from whom all the sounds on The Blackout emerge. The multi-talented Oregonian is seemingly too young to have experienced cold wave’s heyday first-hand, when its perfect 1980s storm of synth pop and post punk blended into an effectively overcast vision of new wave’s dark underbelly. But that hasn’t stopped him from assimilating those sounds into his own music. Pressed for specifics, he rattles off a list of synth-toting ˜80s cult heroes that you just know is only the tip of his inspirational iceberg. Crash Course in Science, Charles de Goal, Martin Rev, Snowy Red, Tuxedomoon, Jeff and Jane Hudson, blah blah blah, it just goes on, he exclaims. I do truly love the music from that era, and while it’s not exactly an original influence these days, it is what it is, the collective unconscious has spoken.

The abject-but-accessible vibe that permeates many of the tracks on Bindeman’s album has as much to do with his own sensibility as his record collection, though. There’s a element of myself on there that can’t really be attributed to any specific influence, he asserts, something nocturnal, something slightly cold and melodramatic. And from the disembodied-sounding, electronically processed vocals on opening track Crystal Arms to the memorably misanthropic Gary Numanisms of How I Hate You and the deliciously creepy, Pornography-era Cure feel of the bass and guitar lines on Dead Ringers, The Blackout duly weaves its mournfully magical spell, pulling you effortlessly along in its eerie, electronic undertow.

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Jenna Bryson Wins Mentoring Session With Don Ienner

Don Ienner is a name synonymous with success in the music business. He’s helped further the careers of legends like Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Pink Floyd, and guided the passage of talents such as Beyoncé, Nas, Alice In Chains and many more.

He’ll now be lending his time and expertise to one lucky OurStage Premium Member. Who might you ask? None other than Jenna Bryson, Grand Prize winner of the June Artist Access Competition. By submitting her song Happy, this So-Cal songbird has won a mentoring session with one of the music business’s most sought after and highly respected resources.

Join us in congratulating Jenna on her win, and stay tuned for her upcoming interview. For more info and music, check out Jenna’s OurStage profile. You’ll soon find that she’s as gifted and humble as they come.