Entries Tagged 'Music' ↓

Looks Like the Ruler’s Back: Sade’s Next Album Out In Three Months.


Hallelujah! Kids, hear this: The immaculate chanteuse, Sade, announced on her web site today that

The highly anticipated new body of work from SADE Soldier Of Love, will be released WORLDWIDE on February 8, 2010.

The cover, shown above, appears to portray the artist from the rear, in Spanish garb. She’s wearing a couture black-and-silver backless silk dress, pale pink roses in her hair, and large silver hoop earrings, as she overlooks the ruins of Teotihuacan in Mexico.

sadeHelen Folasade Adu, 50, right, leads a namesake group with three instrumentalists. The band has sold over 50 million records, since the release of their debut album, Diamond Life, in 1985.

The upcoming release, her sixth studio work, continues the artist’s prerogative for near decade-long gaps between albums.

Love Deluxe (1992) her fourth CD, was released four-and-a-half years after Stronger Than Pride, her third.

But Lover’s Rock followed eight years later, in November 2000. Soldier of Love‘s February delivery will place it at 9 1/4 years since the Nigerian-Britlish song stylist’s previous work, and less than a month after her 51st, January 16 birthday.

No word on singles or track listings yet, but, hey, believe me: We can wait.

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before.


What is science-fiction?

csicsery-ronayistvan_mugTo Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr., right, you can describe it many ways. But, in the end, “more than a literary genre or a social passion,” sci-fi, or sf, “is a way of organizing the mind to include the contemporary world.”

Well and simply said, and there’s more where that came from. In his book, The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction, Csicsery-Ronay is bullish on sf. A professor of English at DePauw University, and coeditor of the journal Science Fiction Studies, he argues eloquently and passionately for a reconsideration of the form, and for its social utility and intellectual depth.

The title of his book alludes to what he describes as “a constellation of seven diverse cognitive attractions,” pulls, or features, sf possesses, and that make it compelling to fans. These include everything from the way it creates new language to how it handles the notion of history.

Like sf itself, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr. is a mother lode of ideas. He’s a guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, November 20, at 2 pm ET.

One way sci-fi movies used to let you know you were in the future was to make the president Black. But given that he actually is, does that job now fall to Black female rockers, like Danielia Cotton, above, or perhaps journalist Farai Chideya‘s Sophia Maria Clare Lee, the lead in her new novel, Kiss the Sky?

portrait-faraiIn it, Chideya, right, weaves a fast-moving story of sex, drugs, racial politics, and rock-and-roll; a modern tale of a woman who wants it all, but who also keeps getting in her own way. An ultra-modern woman herself, with credits from Newsweek, MTV, and NPR—where she hosted this blogger numerous times—and other media, Chideya makes no bones about the fact that she’s always wanted to be a novelist. Plus, now that she is one, she gladly shares the good news of how she did it, encouraging others to tell their own unique stories. As she notes in her essay, “How Do I Write A Novel,” “writing — not just the product but the process — is as individual as our fingerprints.”

You can hear Farai Chideya’s and Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr.’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

Brushin’ That Bittersweet Dirt Off Your Shoulder: Jay-Z vs. The Verve.

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The YouTube I found earlier, before someone yanked it down, had video, as opposed to these stills. However, the track—a mashup of Jay’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” with the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”—bangs. Rock that, Mr. President.

It’s Too Funky In Here.

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I think this speaks for itself, fam.

The Blueprint Three: Behold The Trio of Books You Must Own In Order To Conquer the Modern Music Business.




When 19-year-old computer geek Shawn Fanning created and released Napster, his internet file-sharing application, 10 years ago, he had no idea that his little experiment would completely overturn the massive, multi-billion music business. He just wanted a way to share digital music with friends. But what started as an experiment by a bored college student quickly became the loose bolt that would yank the industry from its rapidly rotating axle.

Fanning and Napster were quickly lambasted by many, hailed as heroes by many more. But their story is only a small part of what Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot, in his new book, Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music, above, calls “the laptop generation”:

An uprising led by bands and fans networking on the Internet. Ripped tells the story of how the laptop generation created a new grassroots music industry, with the fans and bands rather than the corporations in charge.

Those businesses fell apart not only because the technology made change irresistible, but also because, for years, the business refused to come to grips with what was happening to their field. That’s the subject of Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper‘s text, Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Rise and Fall of the Record Industry in the Digital Age, above middle. In Knopper’s opinion,

after the incredible wealth and excess of the ’80s and ’90s, Sony,
Warner, and the other big players brought about their own downfall
through years of denial and bad decisions in the face of dramatic
advances in technology.

Greg Kot and Steve Knopper are guests today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, October 2, at 2 pm ET.

But they’re talking about how we got here. What should an artist do, in today’s realm, to manage a career in the digital age? Attorney Steve Gordon‘s book, The Future of the Music Business: How to Succeed with the New Digital Technologies, above top, is designed as a guide for the artist / entrepreneur who wants to take control of their career. It

provides a legal and business roadmap to artists, music industry professionals, entrepreneurs and attorneys. It focuses on the rules pertaining to the music business and the new digital music industry, how artists and entrepreneurs can use the new technologies to succeed, new business models, plus interviews with artists and entrepreneurs who are inventing the future of the music business.

You can hear Kot’s, Knopper’s, and Gordon’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

Allen Shellenberger, 1969-2009


Usually, when I write an obituary in MEDIA ASSASSIN, it’s for someone whose work has affected me in a profound way over time. People who come to mind include comedians Bernie Mac and George Carlin; writer Arthur C. Clarke; dancer Cyd Charisse; chanteuse Eartha Kitt; architect Jørn Utzon; and, obviously, singer Michael Jackson.

281x211In the case of Lit drummer Allen Shellenberger, right, who died last Thursday in his mother’s home of brain cancer, a month before his 40th birthday, I’m familiar with, literally, three minutes and forty-eight seconds of his output. But even though I couldn’t have named the drummer or his band from memory this morning, what I knew of him affected me enough to, a decade later, instantly recall that I could dig up more about him by Googling “Lit, Pamela Anderson.”

I’m speaking of the band’s hit single, “Miserable,” from the Orange County natives’ 1999 platinum album, A Place in the Sun. Most of all, though, I’m talking about the track’s eye-popping music video, top, by director Evan Bernard.

Continue reading →

All Right. You Win.


I give up. I mean, I just cannot out-hip you, especially in that 100% cotton, cream-colored, $15 Threadless.com TypeTee, available in all sizes, above, telling the world that, if it makes a sound, you’ve already probably turned your nose down on it.

You win. Now, go away.

Leave the shirt behind, though.

Don’t Try Scratching These Glasses.


Scott Urban of Urban Spectacles, the Chicago-based custom eyeglasses maker whose “Beergoggles” delighted readers of MEDIA ASSASSIN weeks back, is at it again. This time, its his “Singing None” frames, fashioned from vinyl records, that will make your eyes happy. Look closely: You can still see record grooves in them. Scott Urban’s frames, made to fit your very own nose and noggin, start at $500 a pair. For that money, what’d be really cool is, when you put them on, if they made the music industry disappear.

“Rap is now [officially] dead.”—billy

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Thanks to a heads-up from one of my readers, billy aka mr_spacials, I’ve got some good news, and some bad news, for you:

The good news is that, if you’ve got musical skills, you may get to use them and win cash prizes in a brand new contest, above.

The bad news is that you have to listen to talking head John Tesh’s flat, flavorless “rapping,” quote-unquote, to get the details.

Best. Use Of. “Rapper’s Delight.” In A Commercial. Ever.


Yet, “Rapper’s Delight” isn’t the best aspect of “Cog,” a 2-minute Honda commercial, produced by Nike stalwarts Wieden + Kennedy, which aired in the UK during 2003. That would be its sheer visual inventiveness and luscious backstory, one of filmmakers going to insane limits to create a vision that, until the moment the lights go dark, only exists inside their heads.

I recently discovered this spot while doing research on Rube Goldberg machines…and I was looking those up as an aspect of some religious writing I’m doing…which is, I should say here, what I’ve always loved about the net and, certainly by extension, Wikipedia: Its serendipitous nature, and that, following it, you never end up where you started or expected…that being, I think you’ll agree, what this advertisement is about, too.