27: The Most Perfect Album

From Radiolab, an album of new songs dealing with each of the 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

I’d venture a guess that most Americans (like us, before we started this project) can’t name more than one or two amendments to the Constitution, let alone remember that there are 27 of them. But these 27 “insertions” to our founding document outline our basic rights as Americans. Not only that, they show a country changing and evolving and re-imagining itself; striving (and not always succeeding) to be better.

With that in mind, the team at More Perfect challenged ourselves to come up with a way to give these words the swagger they deserve. So we invited some of the best musicians in the world to create songs inspired by each of the 27 amendments; a kind of “Schoolhouse Rock!” for the 21st Century.

How the Beatles Wrote ‘A Day in the Life’

After John’s reprise, the orchestra returns for an even greater swelling of sound. It was like something blowing up, a tremendous wreck, the explosion of a gun inside a car. And then, after all the chaos and destruction, what next? George Harrison had suggested a fade to humming. But it didn’t work. Paul thought that the song needed firmer resolution. Three Steinway pianos and a harmonium were rolled into action, and at every keyboard the players were instructed to hit the single chord of E major simultaneously and hard, with the sustain foot pedal down, letting it carry as long as possible. There were nine takes. The tone is so big, so capacious and resonant because Martin and Emerick thought to put the recorder on half speed. It’s the sound of peace.

A look back at the creation of the final song on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

05.22.2017Tagged with:    

Time-lapse Music Video

Really beautiful. I love the part where the people suddenly spill into the street and onto the opposite side, before the cars surge through the intersection.

04.07.2010Tagged with:    

Motorhead’s Ace of Spades on Ukulele

03.22.2010Tagged with:    

OK Go explain why you can’t embed their new video

The band OK Go has a new video for their song “This Too Shall Pass”, but you’re not allowed to post it on your website. Now, this is a band that owes much of it’s exposure to the viral web. How many people first heard about OK Go because of their treadmill video?

Why, you might ask, would this new video be any different?

The catch: the software that pays out those tiny sums doesn’t pay if a video is embedded. This means our label doesn’t get their hard-won share of the pie if our video is played on your blog, so (surprise, surprise) they won’t let us be on your blog. And, voilá: four years after we posted our first homemade videos to YouTube and they spread across the globe faster than swine flu, making our bassist’s glasses recognizable to 70-year-olds in Wichita and 5-year-olds in Seoul and eventually turning a tidy little profit for EMI, we’re – unbelievably – stuck in the position of arguing with our own label about the merits of having our videos be easily shared. It’s like the world has gone backwards.

Pretty much describes what’s wrong with the music industry these days.

So instead, let me invite you to enjoy this great little video of OK Go practicing “This Too Shall Pass” with a choir for a performance on the Tonight Show.

02.10.2010Tagged with:    

Cecilia/Amanda – Previously Unreleased Elliott Smith

Available for free download from indie record label Kill Rock Stars is “Cecilia/Amanda,” a unreleased Elliott Smith song recorded in 1997 (scroll down to the bottom for the download link). On April 6, 2010 Kill Rock Stars will add Roman Candle and From a Basement on the Hill to their catalog, giving them the full set of Smith’s independent releases.

We Three Kings – New Video from Blondie

Brand new song and video from Blondie. Apparently there’s also a new album due out next year.

You can download the song for free on Blondie’s site.

12.16.2009Tagged with:    

Jawbox Reunites!

Jawbox, one of my all-time favorites, played together for the first time in 12 years on Jimmy Fallon last Tuesday. Alas, it was only a one-time thing, to plug the re-issue of For Your Own Special Sweetheart, remastered by Bob Weston and released in a collaboration between indie record labels Desoto and Dischord.

They did “Savory” for TV, and 2 more, “FF=66” and “68,” that you can watch online.

(thx, rae)

12.12.2009Tagged with:    

An Indie Rock Alphabet Book

Birthdays, puppy dogs, breakfast in bed…
Nothing could be better than Radiohead

Rhyming book of ABCs from Paste Magazine with great illustrations.

(via coudal)

12.06.2009Tagged with:    

WTF? – New OK Go Video

Fun video for the first single off OK Go’s new album, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky.

There is also a ‘making of‘ video with commentary from the band.

(via kottke)

12.02.2009Tagged with:    

Califone: All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

I’m really enjoying the new Califone record, All My Friends Are Funeral Singers. I’ve been a fan for a long time, and it’s great to see them putting together quality releases again and again.

I loved this bit from the Pitchfork review:

“Giving Away the Bride” is one of the most radical deconstructions of normal rock production in the band’s catalog, eschewing even their normal roughly recorded acoustic guitars for a spaced-out beat and a monster of a distorted electronic bass figure, over which Rutili floats dreamily, intoning like a blues singer from the 1930s who got lost and tripped into the 21st century. The otherworldliness is so well-developed that it’s genuinely startling when the piano drops almost four minutes in or the live drums take up the rhythm a minute after that. If the band had hits, this would be among the greatest.

As Harry at Owl and Bear notes, no Califone release has received a score below 8 at Pitchfork. That has to be some kind of record.

11.28.2009Tagged with:    

Intimate Ella Fitzgerald, Rediscovered

Twelve Nights in Hollywood is a new box set of Ella Fitzgerald performing over a twelve day period in a small jazz club in Los Angeles. Remarkably, none of the tracks have been released before, despite a scarcity of live recordings in small venues, and despite the quality of the performances.

Gary Giddins, the veteran critic and author of “Jazz,” agrees. “This ranks on the top shelf of her live recordings,” he said. “It’s about as good as it gets.”

Why these tapes stayed locked in the vault for nearly half a century — and what it took to set them free — is a tale of a producer’s neglect, a jazz sleuth’s obsession and a string of happy coincidences.

11.28.2009Tagged with: