Where Did The Term “World Music” Come From (and Should We Still Use It)?

music-notes-map-of-the-world-map-michael-tompsettImage: Michael Tompsett

“World Music” is one giant dump of a genre. Anything that sounds foreign or speaks in a different language can be shrugged off as world music. You can also define world music by what it’s not; it’s not mainstream or popular music, or it’s not music that belongs to you. World music is always someone else’s tradition.

My favorite description of world music comes from a fRoots magazine quote that I read a long time ago: “local music from out there.” It’s accurate, but it’s not right. Should we reduce an entire culture and history to just a place “from out there”?

Ian Birrell from The Guardian makes a good case that world music is an outdated and offensive term that puts non-western musicians into a sort of musical ghetto in which no person dares to enter. David Byrne, probably one of new wave’s most prominent ambassadors of world music, hates the phrase. Many people feel this way.

I understand that some people don’t care about where music comes from – I actually talk about it here – but I think we should all be aware of how the phrase “world music” causes confusion.

Many non-Americans consider Appalachian music and bluegrass to be “World Music”, yet we just call it “folk” or “Americana”. Is folk music world music? Was Bob Dylan a world music artist? What happens if you’re from South Africa but you sound like TV On The Radio (like BJK JKS)? Is that considered world music? I don’t think so.

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So where did the actual term “World Music” come from?

The best answer I know of comes from this Guardian piece: in 1987 Ben Mandelson and Roger Armstrong of Ace Records imprint GlobeStyle were meeting in a London pub trying to sell their current stock of records from around the world that weren’t selling. They came up with and coined the term “World Music” as a marketing tool to round up all the music that didn’t fit into the typical genre names. Having all this music titled under one description made it more appealing for record stores to stock those albums; it was a convenient short term solution that turned into a long term point of reference that we still use today.

I’m sure Mandelson and Armstrong didn’t mean any harm when they began using this phrase to make their records more accessible, but is it time that we move on from “world music”? What should we say instead? I have questions and only observations:

Trying to lump such diverse music under one umbrella hurts these musicians and what they represent. “Rock music” has plenty of variety, but very few people will complain about having the rock tag because it’s associated with sex, drugs, and, maybe once upon a time ago, profit. But to lump a bunch of music together that only has its non-Americanness (that’s a word right?) in common is lazy and, more importantly, disrespectful. For example, it’s easy to lump any music that comes from Africa and just say that it’s “African music”, but Africa is a diverse continent (and not a country) that has many different cultures and music. North African is not the same as West African, and the music reflects that. Even just “West African music” is a stretch.

I don’t have a fancy new phrase to coin here, but I think whatever replaces the term “world music” should put an emphasis on its place within a community or how much ties it has with the culture that it’s from. Maybe that’s the true meaning of world music.

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You Don’t Need To Understand Art

james_2249735bPhoto: ALAMY

Back in September I was in Boston for a weekend visiting a good friend of mine who goes to Harvard. While she was in class, I killed time in the best way that I knew how – by exploring all of Harvard’s bookstores. This campus, according to several proud locals, has the most books stores per capita in America. I didn’t try and validate this, but Harvard seems like a reasonable place to have the most book stores in one concentrated area.

My favorite bookstore was the famous Harvard Book Store near Harvard Square. This store has been selling books since 1932 and it has pretty much every book you could ever want and more. Throughout the shelves are notes from the staff pointing out their selected favorites and why you should read them. Some notes were poetic and moving while others were short and funny, and they were all convincing. I was looking through the shelves and I found a note explaining why you should read James Joyce’s Ulysses, one of my favorite books and a notorious pick for being one of the most pretentious too-hard-to-read books along with Infinite Jest and Gravity’s Rainbow.

The person who wrote this (someone named Craig) knows how off-putting this book can seem. He also knows that reading Ulysses is an amazing reading experience if you have the right attitude.

Harvard

The note reads as thus:

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“You will need: Backpack, Flashlight, Patience, Sense of Humor

You will not need: Guidebook, MFA, Intimate Knowledge of Irish History, Prerequisite Reading Of Any Kind

Here’s the deal: you’re not going to get everything. This is perfectly fine. Why should you? Do you really understand your favorite song, or your favorite painting? That is: Is there really some concrete Statement being made that explains why you like what you love? There’s no reason to demand this from a novel. See if you like the words – how they sound. Treat it like a song. It is a beautiful song, an optimistic one. Yes, it is the most optimistic work of art that I have ever experienced. It is a magic spell, a love song for life. Don’t interrupt it with maps or facts. This is a breathtakingly well engineered sequence of words that are heartbreaking, hilarious, and hopeful.”

– Craig

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This note is about Ulysses, but you can apply this to music. You can apply this to all art.

You don’t need to understand art. Learning about the process of creating art and understanding its context in which it was created can help strengthen your appreciation, and if you create or write about music then it helps to know what you’re involved with. But it is not necessary.

Music is an escape. It comes from nowhere and it hits you in places you didn’t think existed. It’s communication that often doesn’t require words and it only needs to say one thing – you are not alone. I feel this too. It is a lie that tells the truth. It’s a complete mystery. It is my favorite thing in this world.

Music is the most wonderful thing, especially when there’s still wonder to it.

I think the Internet is taking away a lot of the mystery of art. Do you have a favorite musician? You can follow him/her on at least 8 different platforms. You can look up everything about that person and the information on the music. There’s probably a couple of thinkpieces out there about your favorite album and how it actually represents this and it actually means that and you’re supposed to understand it in this one way. And so on.

Steven Hyden makes a good point in his recent discussion of Kid A of how that album’s release changed the way we talk about music:

“If the music on Kid A no longer seems revolutionary — I eventually learned how much was cribbed from Brian Eno and Aphex Twin — the way in which listeners engaged with Kid A was legitimately new. For many music fans of a certain age and persuasion, Kid A was the first album experienced primarily via the Internet — it’s where you went to hear it, read the reviews, and argue about whether it was a masterpiece.

So much of what we now take for granted about the discovery and subsequent discussion of new music was ushered in with Kid A. Some things have changed since then — advance streams subsequently became traffic generators for media entities like NPR, and now streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music have emerged as go-to clearinghouses for sneak peeks at upcoming albums like the recent Drake/Future mixtape, What a Time to Be Alive, which debuted on Apple’s Beats 1 radio earlier this month and then immediately went up for sale on iTunes. In contrast, the pan-platform availability of the Kid A stream seems inconceivable today.

But the routine established by Kid A for how albums are digested remains in place: Listen early, form an opinion quickly, state it publicly, and move on to the next big record by the official release date. In that way, Kid A invented modern music culture as we know it.”

Modern music culture in 2000 that is. But then social media comes into play:

“Of course, old data must always make way for new on the Internet. As Pitchfork and countless other music sites have come to essentially ape the language of the old-world mags they supplanted, the wildness of Web 1.0 has migrated to social media, the principal arena for experiencing moment-by-moment reactions to the biggest “event” albums of recent years. (‘The new Pitchfork is just people talking about stuff on Twitter,’ says DiCrescenzo, who left the site in 2006.) The rosy Gen X nostalgia forKid A has since been overshadowed by the mountain of tweets expended for albums like Jay Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne, Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, and Beyoncé.

The never-ending dialogue can seem overwhelming. In the space of a few days last week, Ryan Adams’s remake of Taylor Swift’s 1989 went from being a playful lark to a referendum on gender bias and the pop vs. rock divide. It was enough to make the act of listening to breezy pop songs feel like drudgery.”

That’s what listening to pop music feels like these days. Drudgery. I can’t just listen to something and enjoy it for what it is. I’m not allowed to just like Taylor Swift; I have to love her or hate her. I have to form an opinion and I have to share it now. Music needs an agenda. It has to mean something for all people.

Yet to enjoy music for its mystery is a beautiful thing. Knowing and understanding a song’s place within a specific context is nice, but sometimes I just want don’t want to think. I want to feel it. I want to feel inspired, feel grotesque, feel anything at all. Take me to a place where I’ve never been before. Cheer me up when I want to feel happy. Keep me company when I feel alone. Fill up the space in my head when I feel like something is missing. Come as you are.

Let music be what you want it to be.

Thanks Craig for reminding me of this important lesson. Now go out and read Ulysses. And enjoy the words.

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Musicians And Their Favorite Books: PJ Sauerteig (Slow Dakota) – Leaves Of Grass

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(photo: PJ Sauerteig)

Welcome to Musicians And Their Favorite Books. Every month a musician writes about one of their favorite books and how it influences their work.

PJ Sauerteig is a recent graduate of Columbia University, and a classically trained pianist from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Aside from his work as Slow Dakota, he also manages the boutique label, Massif Records, split between New York and Indiana. This past June, PopMatters argued that Bürstner and the Baby was the best concept album of this decade so far. Slow Dakota’s new double LP is due out Spring 2016.

The following piece is in PJ’s own words.

“Leaves Of Grass” – Walt Whitman

I bought Whitman’s Leaves of Grass my freshman year of college, but didn’t end up opening it until the beginning of senior year. The poetry is so divine, so transformative, that I remember feeling like the first 21 years of my life had been wasted; for to see the world without Whitman’s clarity seems a blundering, pointless affair. It is that moving. And there is no other book I know (besides The Holy Bible, perhaps) that makes me feel like a more complete and compassionate person every time I pick it up.

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Leaves of Grass is effectively Whitman’s life’s work – a massive volume of poems spanning the years of Whitman’s life. Inside, one finds poetry of all shapes and sizes: tiny little whispers nestle up against massive works like “Song of Myself” – perhaps the most famous of Whitman’s poems. A collection so sprawling cannot be summed up; it is, like The Holy Bible, about simply everything. One page shows brotherly love, while another depicts The Civil War; one depicts lilacs in bloom, the next: slaves at auction. Science, religion, the stars, the sea, the trees, death, eternity, and the sweetness of touch; America’s greatest poet leaves no leaf unturned.

If there is a nucleus to Whitman’s magnum opus, it is the divinity of mankind – a devout reverence for the limitless power and beauty of the human race. Indeed, Whitman seems to ache with love for his fellow man – to the point that it nearly overwhelms him. More specifically, Leaves of Grass spells out a throbbing and moving image of the American Spirit: the eternal vigor of farmers, of blacksmiths and laborers along the frontier; nascent democracy; New York; and the unspoiled fields through which Whitman walks with his friends and lovers. But he turns his eyes also to firemen, and grief, and the smoke flickering after a great battle. To read Leaves of Grass is to peer into our history when it was still budding and incomprehensible.

“If Whitman’s work teaches young writers one thing, it is that not all great poetry is melancholy.”

Whitman’s life and persona are just as fascinating; on paper he is larger than life – a magnanimous bonfire of charisma and affection (both platonic and erotic) for everyone around him. All-seeing, all-understanding, and full of both ego and grace: Whitman often seems almost Christ-like in his magnitude. (In one poem, Whitman even speaks to Christ with an intimacy that only comrades share: “My spirit to yours, dear brother/… We few, equals.”) For, as a poet, Whitman understood that myth supersedes fact. In his personal life, he would write anonymous reviews of his own work, and submit them to be published in different newspaper and journals. An iconic photograph of Whitman shows a butterfly perched on his outstretched finger, signifying his deep communion with the natural world. The butterfly, it turns out, was fake, and made of cardboard. What’s even more curious is the amount of Leaves of Grass Whitman wrote from the confines of New York City.

Screen shot 2015-09-27 at 8.45.19 PM(Photo: Jaq King)

Given that this is a music blog, after all, I’ll briefly mention how Whitman has shaped the way I write song lyrics. Slow Dakota’s first three records came out before I’d read any Whitman, but Whitman plays a central role in our upcoming double LP, The Ascension of Slow Dakota. And I mean that quite literally; the album’s final song is an imaginary conversation with Walt Whitman on an airplane. When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d (Whitman’s great elegy for Lincoln) is also a tremendous influence on the album; and lilacs pop up in several songs as a symbol of both grief and new life. The Ascension also aims to be expansive (at around 15 songs), and to cover a grand host of themes and topics – taking an obvious cue from the size and scope of Whitman’s masterpiece.

And finally, if Whitman’s work teaches young writers one thing, it is that not all great poetry is melancholy. No, no: Whitman shows us that great poetry can boil over with unrestrained joy and celebration – miles away from anything like The Wasteland. In this way, his work defies our cultural archetype of the suffering genius, the hopeless poet. And so, he urges me to not rely on darkness as a necessary tool, and that profundity doesn’t have to be so damn gloomy. Most of all, I read Whitman to be reminded that kindness – and affection – have a great wisdom all their own.

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You can find Slow Dakota via:

Bandcamp

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Watch This Pakistani Orchestra Cover Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”

Pakistan’s Sachal Studios Orchestra, an orchestra based in Lahore, Pakistan, does this wonderful and essential cover of Paul Desmond’s “Take Five”, the jazz standard made famous by the Dave Brubeck Quartet on the essential Time Out (1959). It’s one of those songs that you’ve already heard a million times, yet it sounds so fresh in a different context that it’s like you’re hearing this music for the first time again.

Supposedly Brubeck was a fan of this cover and called it the most interesting version of “Take Five” that he had ever heard.

This orchestra also does equally great covers of R.E.M. and The Beatles.

Thanks Open Culture for this story.

Listen to Brubeck’s original “Take Five” below:

Buffy Sainte-Marie, The Woman Who Won This Year’s Polaris Music Prize

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The annual Polaris Music Prize goes to the Canadian artist who made the best album of the year, and this year it went to Buffy Sainte-Marie for her 2015 record Power in the Blood.

Truth be told I never heard of Buffy Sainte-Marie before this week, yet I recognized every other act who was also nominated for this year’s prize (Drake, Tobias Jesso Jr., The New Pornographers, BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah, Caribou, and the soon-to-be-renamed Viet Cong). I decided to do some research on her, since Polaris has a pretty great track record of nominations, and I’m sad to report that I’ve been missing out on such a talented artist who has been making great music for 50+ years. But I’m also happy, because now I have a few new albums to check out.

Buffy_Sainte-Marie_3_(Repetities_1968-03-06_Grand_Gala_du_Disque_Populaire)

Buffy Sainte-Marie is an electro-acoustic folk musician in the vain of Björk or Kate Bush trying to be more like Bob Dylan, and she was an innovative figure in early psychedelic folk. She does everything from protest anthems, to heart-on-your-sleeve love songs, and to straight up jams with a full band. She is also a visual artist and an activist who focuses on the rights of Native Americans (she herself is a Cree). She also appeared as a musical guest on “Sesame Street” from 1976-81.

Power in the Blood is both a celebration of an influential career and another milestone for an artist who has always gone her own way, and it’s worthy of Canadian music’s highest honor.

Check out “It’s My Way” and her revision version that opens up Power in the Blood below.

“It’s My Way” (1964)

“It’s My Way” (2015 reversion via Power in the Blood)

The Poetry of Ryan Adams

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(Photo by Neal Casal)

Ryan Adams is the greatest artist of all time an artist known for his idiosyncratic interpretation of several different musical styles. His favorite music is metal and/or punk rock, but he’s written some of the best Americana music of the past 20 years. He also wrote the best album not made by The Smiths, produced a Fall Out Boy EP, and is about to release his Taylor Swift cover album. And there’s that GAP commercial he did with Willie Nelson. The point is that he can do it all.

His ability to maneuver through various styles is a testament to his skill as a writer, especially with his lyrics. Even in his early days pinned as the next Gram Parsons, his way with words added depth to his deceivingly simple arrangements (“I was born into an abundance of inherited sadness”, “I’m as calm as a fruit stand in New York and maybe as strange”, etc). And even when he moved beyond Americana, Adams’ lyrics didn’t lose any of its potency or imagery but simply adaptive to its surroundings. I don’t always know what he’s singing about (bullets from a candy gun?), but very few writers can express themselves so well in a furious punk jam, a soft acoustic ballad, or anything in-between.

So how does Adams sound when you only have his words and no music? You get Infinity Blues and Hello Sunshine, his two poetry books that showcase a writing totally unhinged, unfiltered, and (mostly) unedited.

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“my money goes to old fucking men in chair uptown / married for twenty years / who lie to me / and say, / ‘one day you will laugh'”

“SOS Searchlights”

Infinity Blues, published in 2009 by Akashic Books, feels like something Adams has been wanting to release for several years, a sort of build up of lyrical prose that probably didn’t match well with any of his music. There are 144 poems, though a poem can be a free verse spanning many pages, a short story told in essay-form, or just three lines (“don’t just stand there / say something / say something” – Say Something). There’s no sense of filter or form for Adams’ writing, and maybe that’s the point – to express what he couldn’t express on his records.

“Hollywood / I could go there / because it kills everyone equally”

– “Annihilator”

Like a lot of his music, the poems here are various shades of melancholy, from the angry and spiteful to the lonesome and wishful. One minute he’s talking about his father the drunk, the next he’s comparing a girl to a lighthouse, and so on. Many of the poems are about very abstract visualizations, but the highlights here are the most direct and personal. Sometimes he’s addressing his critics head on like in “Joy”:

“I am trying to show you something

about yourself

not me

that a person can do anything

and

that is what hope is

so,

with all due respect,

fuck you if you dismiss this”

And sometimes it feels like he’s just talking to us, like in “c’mon, let’s go”:

“so go outside and watch the stars come up

don’t get caught up in way that it’s designed

it isn’t for us

to analyze

it’s up there for us to feel”

Though for all its melancholy, there’s plenty of humor to lighten up the mood. The titles of his poems sound like inside jokes or fake names for the metal bands he’s always wanted to start. The first line of “I Refuse” reads, “I refuse to edit*”, and the * refers to a note from the editor saying that the poem was originally 32 pages long. You’ll either laugh or roll your eyes, depending on whether you’re a fan or not. None of these poems will probably change your mind about his music, so this collection is very much for the fans.

“what’s more important – / first kiss or last?”

 – “Blue Wars”

But as much of a fan I am, I’ll admit that there were times when I thought the poems were too long and weren’t actually saying much. This quote from John Ciardi, one of the many translators of Dante’s Inferno, does a good job confronting this issue:

“Poetry is not made of words but of word-complexes, elaborate structures involving, among other things, denotations, connotations, rhythms, puns, juxtapositions, and echoes of the tradition in which the poet is writing. It is difficult in prose and impossible in poetry to juggle such a complex intact across the barrier of language. What must be saved, even at the expense of making four strings do for eighty-eight keys, is the total feeling of the complex, its gestalt.”

Adams is saying a lot in his poems, and a lot of it feels like too much, but he’s painting a picture using the same word-complexes that makes his music so great. He is a master of creating an overall mood, which is made clear in these poems.

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“i don’t go to bars / my body is a prison already / why drown it”

“FutureFucked”

Hello Sunshine, also published in 2009, is a shorter and less demanding read that generally follows the same mood as Infinity Blues. Since this collection is a quicker read, I recommend reading these books together to get the full experience.

Here are a few of my favorite poems from Infinity Blues:

For My Father, the Drunk

When I shave I save the mustache

for last

it reminds me of my dad

and I wish I had a dagger

I would put it in my chest

this is the place

he would not feel it best

for my heart

it is his

as he held me back

when my mother’s hand broke the glass

through the door

to grab my shirt

and try and kill me some more

when I moan about things I cannot change

and all that money

that I could have saved

but spend

killing her pain

THAT is my mother’s wish

I tuck myself into bed

but

I will never rest

she turned me into a shark

maybe from the poison

and roaches

that crawled over my brother’s face

in housing

unfit for children

where someone got raped

raped

and beaten

black and so blue

no love even now at 33 will ever get through

with the words as a shield

and a metal vest

this is the place where I feel best

paranoid

and hopeless

I take my pills for days

I take my pills for days

I was a nightmare dreams could never save

poor girls who tried

became saints in a book I bind with my veins

one sunday

this will pass

but not go away

screaming my way out from the ass-end of bars

I was back then nothing but scars

but for my father,

the drunk,

who married a stripper when I was five

I hope you close your eyes peacefully

and die

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pa-paw special

the truth is

i am always

getting my

feelings hurt

because they

are bigger

than me or

my hands

and i have

my grandfather’s

hands

capable and daring

digits

ten

far from

zero

making

somethings

out of nothings

being a believer

these were things

he liked

and pranks

he loved them

i miss him every day

i miss his laughter

and his football commentary

and eating t.v. tray dinners

with him

and his war stories

and how

he loved my grandmother so

so

so much

he had a hat

he had a cane

he had an overcoat

and a suit for when

needed

and he fought in two wars

and cried cried sometimes

silently

as i sat beside him

both of us looking

out into the light

shifting through

the spaces in the

leaves of the

magnolia tree

in front of the

house

where i really

grew up

he couldn’t stand

Dave Letterman though

the way i can’t stand

Carson Daly

so there was that

but

easily forgivable

for the man who

said to me once,

“Ryan, you are not like other children

you are special and it will be tough

but just never forget this

if you never forget anything in your life…

Never…

Bet…

Against…

Yourself.”

my grandfather

That is who i would like to be

when i never grow up

for growing in.

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The Statue of Liberty Is French, Asshole

Shock sets in

the blast of the hot air touches her face

like a lover might have

with hot electric sand mouth

and cabinets inside her

made of grot

from over the ocean

a witty french girl with spikes

almost mossy

a shade of green

sick tone

the statue of liberty

is on the outs tonight

for a hot bang

in the

stinking piles

of garbage in Brooklyn

Oh, you know

roof parties

and

and sensible girl gives it up

one night a week

i mean

one night a year

in that same

that

same dress

how

are

they to know that

those

easy boys all of them those easy boys

you

are

so

stupid

fuck you

says the Statue of Liberty

to Brooklyn

pissing

into

an

ocean of

dead

bodies

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Lighthouse

when a woman leaves

she leaves

and leaves

with scents

and all the smells

of the house

when a house is calm

go

with

her

she takes with her the essence

of a place

painting the insides invisibly

while you were not looking

or shall i say, i

 

when a woman leaves

her smalls

are small

hells

each much nastier than a sting

burned into your bed

in a fiery ring

and with her went the candles too

white ones, delightful ones

lit from time to time

shining

when she left she took the pictures

too

no diety confusion

or something

either way my retinas are masked with shadows of lines of the burn mark of her face inside

tonight i missed

that scent

that smell

which is why i sleep with her sweater

it is still there

fading in the rest of a wooden ship

with a white flag

and battered sail

from storms passed

where calm is now

a lighthouse is a lighthouse with or without

a light

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And here is my favorite poem from Hello Sunshine:

Moon

So Moon…

you seem distant

dull even

lifeless

but

so much projection around you

so much projected onto you

the sun, for one

all up in your business at night

it is so hard for you to hide

and

you wallflower satellite

so many sing songs for you

in your name

you are unmoved

you neither like

nor dislike

it

the attraction

you feel distant and you hover in place

if this were the prom

you would be back arched onto the gymnasium wall

watching the others dance

indifferent

but you also feel no pressure

even though

the sea it relies on you to know when to give and take

itself to the land

its tide entirely up to you

you don’t remember how

you don’t remember when

the sea gave you that power

you don’t care

back up against the wall

band playing a slow dance number

lipstick smeared on every other shoulder

moon,

wow

they love you down here

but

you don’t care

you’re so cool

moon

so cool

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13 Random Velvet Underground Covers To Prove That Yes, They Really Were That Influential

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I usually try to stay away from listicles, but this one was way too much fun to make.

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David Bowie – “I’m Waiting For The Man”


R.E.M. – “Femme Fatale”


Joseph Arthur – “Heroin”

Note: Joseph Arthur recorded an entire Lou Reed acoustic tribute album that you can find on Spotify.


Bryan Ferry – “What Goes On”


Galaxie 500 – “Here She Comes Now”


Nirvana – “Here She Comes Now”


Joy Division – “Sister Ray”


Swervedriver – “Jesus”


Cowboy Junkies – “Sweet Jane”


Phish – “Cool It Down”

Note: Phish covered all of ‘Loaded’ live. It’s also on Spotify and it’s pretty great.


Cat Power – “I Found A Reason”


The Decemberists – “I’m Sticking With You”


U2 – “Satellite of Love”

Note: I know this was officially released as a Lou Reed solo song, but this song was written while Reed was in VU. You can hear a rough demo here.

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An Incomplete and Bias list of 20 Music Websites That You Should Follow

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The Internet is a big place. Most of the time it seems like a cruel and unusual vacuum that sucks away all your free time, but sometimes you find a place where you discover something great.

My job is to find great music and to share it with you while giving my personal spin in my presentation. Sometimes I need help finding those great tunes, and that’s when I turn to my fellow writers and editors who are also passionate about sharing new music. These are some of the music websites that I like to visit whenever I want to hear something new. Some of these websites you may already follow, but I think each of these websites are worth checking out for various reasons.

A note about myself: I love rock, indie, and alternative artists, and that’s my bread and butter when it comes to discovering new music. I also enjoy rap, hip-hop, jazz, and country, but I don’t usually go out of my way to find hidden gems in those genres. I’d like to think that these websites cover a good base, but all these websites are skewed towards my own personal taste, so take this list with a grain of salt. I also know that I’m leaving out a lot of great blogs – please forgive me that I didn’t include [your favorite blog].

I also tried to stay away from some obvious picks (Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, Brooklyn Vegan, Pigeons & Planes, etc).

This list is also alphabetically ordered and not ordered by “greatness”.

Enjoy!

Austin Town Hall

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The Deli (Philly)

Note: Each major city has their own Deli, but the Philly one is the most updated and it usually has the best music.

Dingus

GoldFlakePaint

The Grey Estates

IndieGlobe

Indie Music Filter

Indie Shuffle

The Line of Best Fit

My Old Kentucky Blog

Quick Before it Melts

The Quietus

Rare Candy

Raven Sings The Blues

Silent Shout

Songlines Magazine

Sound Of Boston

Tiny Mix tapes

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