Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The first time I heard the Tom Tom Club's song 'Genius of Love' off their eponymous debut album I thought 'Hey, that’s Mariah Carey's song.' Turns out I was only half-right. Back in 1995, when I was twelve, Mariah Carey's hit 'Fantasy' was playing on every Top 40 station and I was choreographing dance routines to it with my friends. The rhythms in Tom Tom Club's upbeat 1981 hit made 'Genius' a hip hop sampling favorite too. Public Enemy, Tupac Shakur and T.I. have all used snippets of the track. Mariah Carey created 'Fantasy' as a remix and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five made 'It's Nasty'.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The music industry is dying, and the smart money says the key to success is giving music away for free. Scott Blaszak has a better idea: he’ll pay you $10 to download his album. “Free is not enough!” Blaszak says. He has a name for his revolutionary business model: “PremiFree.” You saw it here first
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Ronald D. Moore has one of the coolest jobs in Hollywood -- he gets to play god in science fiction worlds that he creates. Before 're-imagine' and 'reboot' were buzzwords, Moore re-invented the cheesy 1980s TV show “Battlestar Galactica” as an allegory for the War on Terror. His new series on the Syfy Network is called “Caprica,” and it's a prequel to “Battlestar.” For Studio 360's series on works of art that have changed people’s lives, I talked with Moore about how “Star Trek” has been his creative muse since he was a kid.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The next time you hit the club, you may find yourself rocking out to a song sung by a nine-year old.
I'm amazed at the buzz swirling around Willow Smith's first single 'Whip My Hair.' The song is sassy, confident, and already receiving comparisons to Rihanna. Of course, it's no secret that Willow comes from an entertainment dynasty: she is the daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith and at the tender age of nine, she's inked a record deal with Jay-Z's Roc Nation.
Friday, September 10, 2010
When guests come into Studio 360 and get settled, I tend to have a bit of friendly small talk with them before we start the Official Interview. But as Jonathan Franzen and I chit-chatted earlier this week as we prepared to talk about his terrific new novel Freedom, one bit of that talk wasn't so small. When I passingly, joshingly used the verb phrase 'to man up,' it struck a nerve.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
The latest mash-up album from New York producer Max Tannone is both relaxing and inspirational. Tannone combines reggae beats from artists like Michael Prophet and King Jammy with lyrics by “conscious rapper” Talib Kweli. The juxtaposition of smooth reggae melodies and Kweli’s edgy social commentary works surprisingly well, and pays tribute to the Jamaican artists who influenced the birth of rap itself.
Friday, September 03, 2010
British graffiti artist and political activist Banksy has been venturing into more mixed and varied mediums lately, adding performance art and even sculpture to his distinctive repertoire. With his reputation for subversive social commentary, it was only a matter of time before Banksy addressed the worst oil spill in history.
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
HTML5 is here, and if you're like me you have no idea what that means. Thankfully, (and in a sentence I never thought I'd write),Arcade Fire and Google are here to help. The indie band and the internet behemoth teamed up to make a music video called 'The Wilderness Downtown' with HTML5, showing just what the internet of the future looks like.
Monday, August 30, 2010
This new live album from post-rock darlings Mogwai might sound better than their studio records. The effects-laden guitar melodies tower a bit higher, but the inevitable crash of drums and strums is more deafening than ever. Special Moves is a collection of great songs spanning the band's entire career, accompanied by a DVD of gorgeous, black-and-white footage from a performance in Brooklyn. For the uninitiated, live albums don't normally act as good introductions. In this case, one could make an exception.
Friday, August 27, 2010
V.V. Brown virtually exploded onto the music scene this summer - and followed up her popularity in the charts and online by touring with Owl City, doing the rounds on talk shows, and lending her songs to commercials and TV shows. So even if you don’t think you know her music, you probably do. The British singer songwriter mixes pop, soul, rock, punk, and hip-hop to create a seasoned sound that belies her young age. V.V. describes her style as “musical mashed potatoes”- although I don’t know if Grace Jones, Eartha Kitt and Amy Winehouse qualify as potatoes.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Swag is supposed to impress people. Right, Soulja Boy? That's why I was a little surprised by the Independent Film Channel's promotional offering for their new series The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. These folders are sure to make you look unimpressive in the eyes of your co-workers.
Friday, August 20, 2010
I like to collect old road maps, and when the need arises for me to draw a map for a visiting friend or relative, I'll admit I fancy myself a pretty good cartographer. But sometimes I find myself the artist of a bizarrely scaled and oddly detailed map which names all the trees, statues, and potholes in the vicinity but omits important details like street names.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Before yesterday, I had never heard of Bill Savory. For this, I'm thankful: If I had known about Savory, I would have wasted a lot of time and energy being very upset with him. As a sound engineer in the 1930s, he made nearly 1,000 unique recordings of seminal jazz musicians -- and refused to let anyone hear them.
Monday, August 16, 2010
House of the Devil uses a familiar horror movie plot of a babysitting gig gone horribly wrong and turns it into something surprising. Samantha has no idea that her employers are raving Satanists -- but before the night is over, she'll become painfully aware. Rather than confuse torture and gore for genuine scares, director Ti West creates an atmosphere of terror that relies almost entirely on what you don'tsee. There will be blood, but not for nearly two-thirds of the film, in which practically nothing 'happens.' It's the most scared you will ever be by an (almost) empty house.
Friday, August 13, 2010
The biggest piece of bad news of the last 4 months seems to be getting less bad: the Deepwater Horizon oil well is plugged, and the spill is disappearing from the surface of the Gulf fast. As the catastrophe fades the photographer Zoe Strauss is doing her part to keep our focus on the disaster – and how it continues to affect people who live on the Gulf.