Any normal person driving past RCA Studio A, practically hidden on Music Row street corner, would imagine the place was an apartment complex rather than one of the most important buildings in country music history. Now Ben Folds, an anchor tenant at the Music Row building, is airing out about how he thinks Nashville should be kept as the musical city its known for and while he’s not opposed to progress, he’s urging the Nashville and the development crew “to take a moment to stand in silence between the grand walls of RCA Studio A and feel the history.”
Folds also urged the city to read his open letter expressing his passion for preserving the Nashville musical landmark and those like it. He then goes on with a lengthy list of the artists who made the studio so great. The full letter can be read below.
Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of Pittsburgh’s finest music writers joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Scott Tady!
In case you missed it here’s what he played with commentary by Scott.
The Shins, "So Now What" - OK, Natalie Portman isn't Nostradamus, and The Shins' "New Slang" didn't exactly change our lives like she predicted 10 years ago in "Garden State." Though fess up: That's where most of us discovered the dreamy pop beauty of The Shins who last week debuted their new single "So Now What," another lovely slice of yearning, hope and renewal that appears -- surprise, surprise, on "Garden State" director Zach Braff's upcoming movie, "Wish I Was Here." The Shins' James Mercer wrote this soundtrack song after seeing the film about a 30-something father seeking a new purpose in life. I can't vouch for the movie, but I'm digging this song, and look forward to the rest of the soundtrack (out July 15) which includes Bon Iver, Paul Simon and a Coldplay-Cat Power collabo.
Tijuana Panthers, "NOBO" - The SoCal garage-punks' new single has been stuck in my head for a month, so watch out. This song is both chill and tension-filled, hazily sung from the point of view of a guy questioning choices of bohemian friends. Hailing from Long Beach, a sketchier side of the fun-in-the-sun California dream. I'm guessing the Tijuana Panthers have listened a lot to the Velvet Underground.
"Pig In A Pen" is classic bluegrass and what do ya know, it's about life on the farm. 70s bluegrass supergroup Old & In The Way, featuring Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia and other bluegrass legends, performed this traditional tune on its self-titled first album which also includes Stanley Brothers and Rolling Stones covers. There's some big talent on this album, but overall it's pretty catchy, kids got nothing like this nowadays...
In a recent interview with The Guardian Lana Del Ray offered comments about her idols in music, but is now getting backlash from the daughter of one of those idols. Frances Bean Cobain, the daughter of late Kurt Cobain, took to Twitter yesterday to respond to Del Ray’s “I wish I was dead already” comment from a recent interview in which she discussed Cobain and late singer Amy Winehouse.
Frances Bean wrote last night in a series of tweets at Del Ray, "I'll never know my father because he died young, and it becomes a desirable feat because people like you think it's 'cool.' Well, it's [deleted] not. Embrace life, because you only get one life. The people you mentioned wasted that life. Don't be one of those people. You're too talented to waste it away." She later clarified she wasn’t attacking anyone by tweeting "I have no animosity towards Lana. I was just trying to put things in perspective from personal experience."
In other Cobain family news, Courtney Love is still trying to diminish her late husband’s reputation, but this time saying Cobain "wanted [fame] bad," and his attitude against being in the spotlight was all a sham. "I’m too stubborn to allow myself to ever compromise our music or turn us into big rock stars," Cobain said in an interview to be aired in National Geographic's upcoming documentary on the Nineties, The '90s: The Last Great Decade?
However, Love says Cobain was desperate to be the world’s biggest rock star saying “He wrote to every major [and] minor label, 'We’ll pay. Let us be on your label.'” Love also discussed Cobain’s life and death in a recent Vanity Fair profile pretty much solidifying how mad she still is at him. “If he came back right now I’d have to kill him, for what he did to us. I’d [deleted] kill him. I’d [deleted] him, and then I’d kill him,” she said.
In lighter news, Foo Fighters are getting more concerts as the band recently booked two gigs in South Africa, a country the band has never toured in its twenty years. Dave Grohl and the rest of his band will play December 10 at Cape Town stadium and Johannesburg's FNB Stadium the 13th with Kaiser Chiefs and BLK JKS providing support on both dates.
With one single phrase, Ohio Players wrote one of the biggest jams of the 70s, and though love is like a rollercoaster, the song is a staple. I wouldn't exactly hand my kid the original album Honey with a half naked woman on the case, but hey when you've got big hair and a funky dance groove, who doesn't wanna get up and dance? This song reminds me of a cosmic bowling night when I was a kid, hearing the song and moon-walking after a strike, then maybe seeing two old timers gettin' down like its 1975. Whatever the case step into the time capsule because all kids love funk, heck everybody should love funk.
I don't think anyone aspires to live in a trash can like Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street, but this song from the Elmopalooza soundtrack featuring Aerosmith's Steven Tyler perfectly sums up the carefree, 2 year-old mindset and is sure to get everyone rockin' out. Oscar was always my favorite on Sesame Street, he was always called "The Grouch," but if a beat-up old shoe is your most prized possession, you truly are an optimist. Tyler really grinds this classic sing-along with some grit, but the song is anything but trash.
The Icelandic pop-star Björk has made an impact as not only having great music, but integrating it with art, making for the unique visually exciting things she does. Now the singer is getting some recognition from the Museum of Modern Art in New York that will hold a full scale exhibition in March 2015 featuring Björk's many visual and musical works.
If you didn't know Björk as much of a writer, you will also get a taste of that as the exhibit will also be presented with a biographical and fictitious piece co-written by Björk and Icelandic writer Sjón Sigurdsson. Björk's music videos, album art and live performances are a sight to behold, and as if all this wasn't enough for fans, the singer will also release a new, immersive music and film commission that Björk made with director Andrew Huang (Atoms for Peace's "Before Your Very Eyes," Björk's "Mutual Core") and 3-D design company Autodesk.
Check out the music video for Björk's song "Human Behaviour" from her first album Debut
Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of Pittsburgh's finest music writers joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Andy Mulkerin!
In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Andy:
Wye Oak, "Before" - This is the lead track from the Baltimore duo's latest album, Shriek, which sounds considerably different from their past work, because it was written without any guitar. It's still a pretty great record, and that speaks to Wye Oak's songwriting capabilities.
Pujol, "Circles" - The latest from the Nashville garage-rocker is called Kludge, and this song is one of the highlights. Good, smart writing laid over hard-rocking guitars, and a great tune for summer.
It's been almost forty years since Peter Gabriel quit Genesis and while the chances of him and the rest of the band reuniting anytime soon are pretty slim, there is reason to rejoice for a different kind of upcoming Genesis reunion. Gabirel's team confirmed today that the band's prog-rock era lineup (Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford) would begin work on a feature length BBC documentary Genesis: Together and Apart. No official air date has been confirmed.
The documentary will outline the band's history, it's evolution of sound, and the band's radio-friendly commercial success in the Eighties following Gabriel's departure from the band.
No official word on if any of this will lead to any touring, long awaited by fans, but this is the closest thing to a reunion that's been seen from the band in many years, so who knows what might happen.
WYEP’s Reimagine Media project is a teen-led program that focuses on media creation, creativity, and discovery. WYEP plays an integral role in shaping and supporting ten of the best Pittsburgh high-school bands by providing them with outlets to express their creativity.
Each band involved in the project received the opportunity to record one song at The Church Recording Studio, which was included in the inaugural Reimagination compilation CD. The CD is diverse, with genres ranging from rock to reggae, country to hip-hop, blues to soul, and everything in between.
Matthew Spangler, WYEP Director of Education & Community Engagement, initiated this project in order to give the burgeoning musicians “a taste of what it is like to be a professional musician, while working alongside professional producers and recording in a professional recording studio.”
Because the Reimagine Media project aims to give young musicians a glimpse into the life of a professional musician, WYEP provides the bands with numerous outlets to perform their music live. The bands performing at WYEP’s Summer Music Festival on Saturday, June 28 starting at 2:00pm are Hat Co, Jessica Bitsura, FYFS, and The Options.
Each of bands could not sound more different, but their songs on the CD exhibit a high level of professionalism, energy, and musical talent.
Hat Co’s song featuring Zoe Z., “Gold Chains,” has an R&B / Soul flavor. Zoe sings with a mature confidence, emotion, and power, which is usually difficult for young musicians to convey through a recording, but Zoe does it successfully.
Jessica Bitsura’s song, “That Smile,” has all the components of an enjoyable country-pop song: a melodic voice, acoustic guitar, delicate harmonies, and a powerful kick-drum.
FYFS’ song, “Don’t Look Back,” has a unique feel in that the band has the ability to genre-hop. The song begins as a danceable rock-punk tune and then shifts to a laid-back reggae jam. The band’s talented horn section gives the band another distinctive quality.
The Options’ song, “Sonder” is a ‘50s do-wop song with a modern twist. It’s not often that we hear this classic genre incorporated in music today, but it is refreshing to know that young musicians today are still influenced by the sounds of the past.
As an alumni participant of WYEP's Reimagine Media project and now a current intern at WYEP, I am pleased to know that WYEP is continuing the tradition of recognizing and nurturing Pittsburgh’s most talented high-school musicians and bands.
Please support the future of music and the Reimagine Media project at WYEP’s Summer Music Festival on Saturday, June 28 at 2:00pm at Schenley Plaza.
Lisa Fierstein, WYEP Music & Programming Intern