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Tag: Rock (71-80 of 558)

Kurt Cobain's life and legacy: A conversation with biographer Charles R. Cross

Twenty years ago, we lost Kurt Cobain. Few singular stars were as deeply influential as the Nirvana frontman, who smashed apart the otherness of the rock star persona and made it a more egalitarian pursuit.

No two Nirvana albums were ever alike, and it seemed like Cobain’s musical horizons were continuing to expand when he left us. His approach to singing, his songwriting style, and his band’s shifting dynamics so permeated rock radio that there seemed to be an entire subgenre of hit-making bands (Bush, Silverchair, Sponge, and the like) who seemed to exist solely as Nirvana avatars. READ FULL STORY

The Unsung Melodies of Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain’s old home sits in Seattle’s quiet Denny-Blaine neighborhood, a posh place with water views where people probably kept to themselves even before an iconic rock star died in their midst. The room over the garage where the Nirvana singer’s body was found on April 8, 1994, after he ended his life at 27 with a gunshot wound to the head, is now gone, and the house is ­isolated by a large fence, an imposing gate, and some Middle-earth-level greenery growing up around it, so fans tend to stick to Viretta Park next door. There, a pair of benches have acted as a standing tribute to Cobain, with decades’ worth of messages etched into the wood by grunge pilgrims from around the world. I’ve made this trek myself ­multiple times, and as I sit on one of the benches, the same question that has occupied alt-rock devotees for the past 20 years tugs at me: Had he not died so young, what would Kurt Cobain’s music sound like now?

 

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Crossing Rocket From The Crypt off my musical bucket list in Brooklyn

At this point in my career as a guy who writes about music, I have crossed off almost everything on my bucket list or allowed for the fact that it is impossible to do some of those things. For example, I always wanted to see Metallica—one of my favorite bands of all time—in as small a room as possible, and I did in fact get to do that last year. On the other hand, I allow that my window for interviewing David Bowie has almost certainly closed (and my chance to talk to Kurt Cobain was gone before I ever got started).

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Hear Tenacious D's cover of Dio's 'The Last In Line' -- EXCLUSIVE

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If a Mount Rushmore-style monument existed for metalheads, the late Ronnie James Dio would certainly be on it. As the frontman of Dio, Rainbow, and Black Sabbath (and a bunch of others), he’s more than earned his spot. And even if you don’t care much about smashes like “Holy Diver” or “The Mob Rules,” you have to give Dio credit for giving the world the metal horns.

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Wu Tang's 'Shaolin,' and five other all-time crazy box sets

Sure, the forthcoming Wu-Tang Clan album The Wu: Once Upon A Time In Shaolin… will only be available to one person and is “presented in a hand carved nickel-silver box designed by the British Moroccan artist Yahy,” but how does this one of a kind musical artifact stack up against some of the other, crazier box sets in music history? (Or even the Wu-Tang bike?)

Check out some of the most extreme (and extremely expensive) box sets in history:

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Fleetwood Mac return with Christine McVie for the first time in nearly 15 years

For years, the members of Fleetwood Mac have been touring as Fleetwood Mac, but hardcore fans have been missing one thing: Keyboardist Christine McVie, who hasn’t been with the group since 1998.

But now she’s back, and the classic Mac lineup—McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood—has new music and is headed out on the road again. Dates are still coming together, but the first show will be September 29 in Minneapolis.

McVie and Buckingham are working on new songs for an album, which would be the first recording with the classic Fleetwood Mac lineup since Tango In The Night, which came out all the way back in 1987.

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What would Kurt Cobain's music sound like today?

In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, I ruminate over the anniversary of the death of one of the last great rock stars with a simple question: Had he not died in April 1994, what might Kurt Cobain’s music have sounded like now?

In order to find some possible answers, I talked to Cobain’s friends and collaborators about his potential musical directions; the master playlist craftspeople at Beats Audio took those cues and built a batch of songs that help extrapolate what Cobain might have sounded like had he lived.

“Cobain always seemed like an old soul and I agree that he would have continued to explore more acoustic music, as opposed to electric,” says Beats’ Scott Plagenhoef. “He wrote personal lyrics but they were opaque and non-linear and he never wrote narratives. There is also a temptation to assume major creative forces like Cobain would remain progressive into their older age but the fact of the matter is that was never a quality that he displayed even during his lifetime. There is no indication he would have embraced electronic music, for example.”

The playlist includes a handful of tracks that seem like inevitable Cobain compositions (Elliott Smith’s “Waltz No. 2 (XO),” Wilco’s “How To Fight Loneliness,” The White Stripes’ “We’re Going To Be Friends”), as well as some reasonable stretches (EMA’s “California,” Cat Power’s “He War,” Lambchop’s “My Face Your Ass”). Spin the whole thing here while you consider what might have been.

What do you think Kurt Cobain would have sounded like in 2014? Let us know in the comments.

'This Is A Trent Reznor Song' now has a Nine Inch Nails-biting video

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A few weeks ago, a dude named Frederick Scott tickled Nine Inch Nails fans with “This Is A Trent Reznor Song,” a loving tribute to the NIN frontman’s songwriting and performance tics. It was awesome, and one of the better musical parodies on the entirety of the Internet.

Now comes the next stage: Scott’s video for “This Is A Trent Reznor Song,” which borrows elements from the clips for Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” and “The Hand That Feeds.” Once again Scott nails it, with the same kind of video effects from “The Hand That Feeds” and the commitment to spooky photography and weird lighting from the classic “Closer.”

It’s a little more outwardly funny than the song itself—the reaction shot Scott gives to the bottle of milk is particularly fantastic—but it still retains the same kind of reverence for Reznor’s work as the track.

Check out the video below. And while you’re at it, check out some of the clips from Nine Inch Nails’ Tension tour, one of the better live music experiences from last year.

 

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The Stooges drummer Scott Asheton dies

Scott Asheton, the drummer for punk icons the Stooges, has died at 64. The immediate cause was not disclosed, but he had suffered a major stroke in 2011 after a live performance in France.

Aside from Iggy Pop, Asheton was the last remaining core member of the band; his older brother Ron, the guitarist, passed away in 2009, and bassist Dave Alexander died in 1975.

The Stooges’ initial run fit the punk-rock ethos of burning bright and fast: They released a trio of now-classic albums beginning with their self-titled debut in 1969 and followed by 1970’s Fun House and 1973’s Raw Power, before breaking up in 1974 in part because of Pop’s heroin addiction.

Scott went on to play drums in Fred “Sonic” Smith’s Sonic Rendezvouz, and later in Scot’s Pirates, Sonny Vincent’s Rat Race Choir, and his own band Rock Action. He rejoined the Stooges in 2003. The group was famously nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame seven times before finally being inducted in 2010 by fellow Michigan native Madonna.

Pop posted a message on his official Facebook page yesterday: READ FULL STORY

Mock stars: The era of anonymous bands, from Foster the People to Imagine Dragons

Who wears the leather pants in music these days? Men still turn out smash songs by singing over guitars. But not since Mumford & Sons strapped on their suspenders have any rock hitmakers broken out as true stars, famous for anything other than scaling the charts. What do you know about the guys in Bastille or OneRepublic, the two bands currently sitting pretty in the Hot 100 top 10? Maybe you can name their singles (“Pompeii” and “Counting Stars,” respectively). But they don’t give off even a glimmer of the cherished emblems of the classic Rock Star: turbulent souls, incendiary lyrics, boa-draped fashion statements, dangerous good looks.

Instead, we’re saddled with mock stars: guys with paltry backstories, little apparent fire under their asses, and indifferent bedhead. And dudes these recent chart-cloggers be. In addition to Bastille and OneRepublic, there’s Imagine Dragons, Capital Cities, AWOLNATION, and Foster the People—all entirely male. They are not entirely terrible. Their modern rock does sound approachably modern, folding in synths and drum machines, with hooks that resonate rather than kick you directly in the acorns. These songs live in the rock fan’s friend zone: ever present, not unpleasant, but deeply unsexy.

L.A. trio Foster the People (pictured) were responsible for one of the biggest and most compelling mock-star smashes to date: “Pumped Up Kicks,” from their debut Torches, has sold more than 5 million copies since the song’s release in 2010. The deceptively sunny track, which frontman Mark Foster made as a demo and never rerecorded, takes the perspective of an unhinged, gun-toting kid; it’s like “Jeremy,” Pearl Jam’s schoolboy-psycho song, minus the anguish and that poor recess lady.

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