Currently listening to Chelsea Morning by Joni Mitchell.
It was rumoured that Bill Clinton was inspired to give Chelsea Clinton her name when he heard this song, but I dug out a bit of information from the New York Observer where Chelsea herself says that the real inspiration was Leonard Cohen’s ‘Chelsea Hotel’. Also below, for your listening pleasure.
One of my favourite indie bands, the Fleet Foxes, have recently released the animated video accompanying ‘The Shrine/An Argument’, a song in their latest album Helplessness Blues. Director Sean Pecknold started a collaboration with the band on the song ‘White Water Hymnal’ in their debut album, and they’ve continued the relationship.
Will Hermes writes for Rolling Stone magazine and is a contributor to NPR’sAll Things Considered, amongst other things. His latest book is titled Love Goes to Buildings on Fire, and is about four decades in New York City’s music scene. To accompany the release of the book, he’s created some playlists via Soundcloud which highlight one month periods in 1973, 1974 and 1975 – an absolute delight to listen to and an excellent way of promoting a book.
Relevant and entertaining content creation is the way forward.
I recently came across this video of Glenn Kotche, Wilco‘s drummer, playing a piece he calls the Ramayana. One thing led to another and I wound up reading a few of his interviews. Essentially he uses a snake drum, as well as a variation of a kalimba, (an African thumb piano) to produce sounds – each of which he assigns a character from the Ramayana to. He says he was also inspired by some of the original field recordings of vocal chants from the last century.
You’ve got to love Songkick. Pleasantly surprised by their new ‘Concert Report‘ feature. It’s one of those things I didn’t know I wanted, as Steve Jobs is famously supposed to have said. Well done, guys.
A few months ago I went to a Jónsi gig. I remember before the gig, someone who’d been to see him play the previous day said to me on Twitter that if I didn’t feel emotional, I had no heart. It isn’t easy to describe what it was like, but this timelapse video of a Jónsi gig in L.A recently (which had the same images projected on the screen) comes pretty close. The constantly changing backdrop was part of why it was so beautiful, and it’s also a stunning use of 2 Canon 5D MK II cameras. Read more about the shoot here.
I watched rock-jazz musician Elew play in London last year; he’s recently released his first music video, a rendition of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ directed by Japanese filmmaker Ryuhei Kitamura. Also interestingly, it was shot on location at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa in Hollywood, California – Elew’s PR agency refer to it as ‘a groundbreaking partnership between musician, director and hotel’ – I’m a fan of brand partnerships when they’re done well, as I think this has. There’s something very Matrix about the video itself – take a look.
The main thing I learned is that the more I can forget about being embarrassed when I make something, the more it is going to mean something to somebody else. I can’t anticipate what it’s going to be or how it’s going to be perceived, so the quicker I let go of something I make, the better.
Democracy is a very unrealistic and difficult thing in the context of a band. It’s best to hope for a benign dictatorship.
I started writing from the viewpoint of America as this imagined space, the America that exists in everyone. There is nothing more abstract to me than the idea of a country. These solitudes exist so apart from each other in this sea of white noise and information. And the beautiful thing is they keep transmitting to each other in the hope that somebody is going to find them. And the beauty is that people still do, still find some meaning in another person, in a relationship, find some way to communicate, even though more often than not it’s in a way not what they intended. Because some communication is better than giving up or not communicating at all.
To people who say I’m acting like an indie artist on a major record label I say ‘I don’t now any other way.’ I’ve been trained historically not to expect things I make to go through the roof, and that if I make the record I believe in, it will grow incrementally, and that the record I made three years ago will be more appreciated now than the record I’m currently making. [….] When somebody makes a piece of music, and they aim for a target and hit it, that purity is lost on a lot people, because what it may communicate to future generations is the love for money or the desire for fame. But the ability to do that is human, an it’s insanely powerful and profound to connect with a fan like that. Some people in the record industry may not think so, but I would welcome that sort of connection. But that’s not something I could even think about, let alone control. The only kind of ‘direct marketing’ we’ve ever been good at is going out and playing for people. And the only thing I can be confident about is that I do everything I can to stay focused on the act of making music, not how it will be perceived or how much it will sell. Because as soon as I do that, the music is fucked.