• Blood Orange Dev Hynes TED Talk Synesthesia

    Blood Orange Gives TED Talk About Hearing Colors

    It might sound like stoner ramblings, but Dev Hynes can, like, hear colors, man.The musician and producer better known as Blood Orange gave a TED Talk at the annual Technology, Entertainment, Design conference in Vancouver, Canada, on Thursday evening about how his synesthesia — a neurological phenomenon that causes two or more senses to cross wires, more or less — first drew him to music as a kid."I was 13 years old at music school talking to my teacher," he said, bathed in swirling light while playing a keyboard.

  • Speedy Ortiz

    Speedy Ortiz Declare War on Boring Old Guitar Solos (and Hairspray)

    Who: In 2011, Sadie Dupuis packed up and left her native New York — as well as the Brooklyn grunge trio she fronted, Quilty — for the decidedly less crowded streets of Northampton, Mass. It was there, while pursuing an MFA in poetry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (where she would later become a teacher), that she met drummer Mike Falcone (a library science student), guitar teacher Matt Robidoux, and bassist Darl Ferm; the newly formed quartet adopted her solo moniker, Speedy Ortiz. Inspired by Happy Valley's legendarily fertile rock scene, the band became fast friends with the roster of local label Exploding in Sound, which released their debut EP, Sports. "We all come from a background of really loving historical, small scenes," Dupuis says.

  • Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan / Photo by Ryan McGinley

    NSFW? Bat for Lashes on 'Intense Struggle' Behind 'The Haunted Man'

    There was a time, not that long ago, when Natasha Khan would have rather been dealing with crust and filling than laboring over the third Bat for Lashes album. Exhausted from months of touring to support her breakthrough 2009 record Two Suns — which earned critical acclaim and nominations for both a Mercury Prize and BRIT Award — the singer returned home to her native England and decided that "baking pies" seemed more appealing than slogging through another album cycle."It was like, 'Oh my God, I never want to do music again,'" Khan says over the phone from a New York City hotel room following an afternoon of photo shoots.

  • Stars / Photo by Norman Wong

    How Stars Learned to Set Themselves on Fire Again

    New album be damned, Amy Millan wanted to enjoy her summer. The Stars' frontwoman, who provides the high, honeyed half of the group's boy-girl vocals, managed to persuade her bandmates to push the release of their sixth LP The North from May to September 4 so she could spend time sunning herself poolside. "We're a fall band," she says from her Montreal home while her 17-month-old daughter cried in the background. "I really took advantage of it because for the next two years we're going to be on the road." That laidback attitude permeated the making of the veteran indie-pop band's latest release. After 10 years and half-a-dozen records, they have nothing left to prove. "We've been doing this so long we were like what's the point? Why are we doing this?" Millan says. "We looked at each other and said, 'Well, we make each other laugh.

  • Dawn Kasper / Photo by Aaron Richter

    The Exhibitionist: Artist Dawn Kasper Is a Piece of Work

    L.A. artist Dawn Kasper has cultivated a reputation for bold, bizarre, and sometimes painful performance art — from branding the words love and truth into her biceps with metal letters and a propane torch to slumping over in pools of "blood" and playing dead in highbrow galleries. But when she found herself living hand-to-mouth and without a studio for the first time, she felt like her entire résumé had been erased. Instead of resigning herself to plan B, Kasper, 35, pitched an idea to the curators of the Whitney Biennial that would solve her problem and earn her a coveted spot in the contemporary art show: setting up shop in the Manhattan museum, where she could work, interact with patrons, and store her belongings for the show's three-month run.

  • Girls / Photo by Sandy Kim

    Girls (the Band) Were on 'Girls' (the Show) Despite Tweet Beef

    The Girls fight is over! Or, at least, Girls frontman Christopher Owens appears to have set aside his grudge against the HBO show to license a cut from his Father, Son, Holy Ghost to the buzzed about series that shares his band's name, just months after directing a Twitter tirade at its makers for copping the moniker. Despite vowing their music wouldn't appear on the show's soundtrack (the exact Tweet: "I wonder what other indie bands' music they'll be playing on their show, not ours.") the San Francisco pop-rock act's plucky love song "Magic" was featured in last night's episode "She Did" during a surprise wedding scene as the mystery bride and groom emerged. (We won't spoil the bizarre twist.) The track wasn't just ambient background noise; a bumbling officiant called attention to it when he awkwardly instructed the off-screen soundperson to cue up the music.

  • Indiana State Fair tragedy / Photo by Joey Foley/Getty

    Festival Tragedies: Why Did They Happen?

    With economies around the world struggling in recent years, the live-concert business inevitably has declined and adjusted. As a result, music festivals have proliferated, allowing attendees to see multiple acts, and promoters to charge lofty ticket prices. But the logistics of these large-scale events — managing hundreds of thousands of people over the course of a weekend, often during volatile weather conditions — are obviously vast and complex. And last summer, saw a startling number of festival-related tragedies, in particular the collapse of at least three oversize stages, which killed 12 and injured dozens of fans. All of the disasters began with the sudden onset of violent weather or extreme heat, but the official cause of each incident varied.

  • To the Moon and Beyond: Spencer Krug's Giant Leap

    To the Moon and Beyond: Spencer Krug's Giant Leap

    "I sound like a real dick right now," says Spencer Krug. The avant-rock whirlwind is smoking a pre-show cigarette and chatting on the phone from small Norwegian town where he just arrived with his collaborators Siinai, a proggy Finish rock act with whom he crafted With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery, his most recent effort, released this spring under his Moonface moniker. Krug can't recall the name of the tour stop, but that's not what has him worried. Instead, he's concerned about coming off cold, calculating, like a businessman tallying up fans, many of whom have probably had trouble keeping track of him as he's flitted from project to project over the years. "Wolf Parade had a real built-in audience by the time we hit our third record," Krug says of his beloved indie rock band, which dissolved last summer. "There were some really loyal, amazing fans that followed us along.

  • The Raveonettes' Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner

    The Raveonettes Celebrate 10th Anniversary With New LP 'Observator'

    Even after crafting five studio albums of beguiling cotton candy melodies and teeth-rattling distortion, Raveonettes guitarist-songwriter Sune Rose Wagner, who along with singer-bassist Sharin Foo is currently celebrating ten years as a band, is still a man without a plan when it comes to bringing his seductive noise-pop jams to life. "I have these moments of insanity where I just pick up stuff from people and the world around me," says Wagner about his writing process for the new Observator, due September 11 on Vice, "then I'll sit and think about what happened." Hey, whatever works. Disorganized as its genesis may have been, Observator is another dark, sterling collection of fuzzy guitars and boy-girl harmonies. Wagner spoke with SPIN about struggling to craft the record, a recent debilitating injury, and a decade of the Raveonettes.

  • Grimes at Pop Montreal / Photo by Richmond Lam

    Burning Down the Loft: Inside Montreal's DIY Scene

    Even before she became quirky electro-pop live wire Grimes, Claire Boucher found it impossible to smoke and brood alone on her balcony in Montreal's Mile End neighborhood without attracting attention. But now, as the city's most buzzed-about export, it's become a bit of a problem."Everyone walking by is like, 'Hey Claire! How's it going? What's up?' and I get knocks on the door all the time," Boucher says from her mom's Vancouver basement, where she's seeking solitude before releasing her 4AD debut, Visions (out now in the U.S.), and embarking on an extensive tour of North America and then Europe. "Mile End is nice, but my one concern is it's too social, and it's hard to get stuff done."The pulsing heart of Montreal's loft scene is crammed into a three-block radius, where decades earlier a textile industry boomed. A few members of Godspeed You!

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