• Post-Rock Supergroup Inventions Conjure Transfixing Debut

    Post-Rock Supergroup Inventions Conjure Transfixing Debut

    Can there be such a thing as an ambient music supergroup? Feels like a contradiction in terms: Two titans of sonic landscape design join forces to show the phonies how it's done. Yeah, no, it's hard to make ambient music sound bad-ass. But so what if Inventions aren't Damn Yankees. The duo, comprised of Explosions in the Sky guitarist Mark T. Smith and Eluvium mastermind Matthew Cooper, has turned in a debut album that's perfectly befitting their post-rock bona fides.Inventions works for all the reasons post-rock ambient experimental noise-scape music is supposed to work. It features glacial builds with satisfying crescendos; guitars that twinkle like stars in a desert sky; electric static obscuring dulcet melodies; sub-bass that works more like a drawn-out bear hug than something with rhythmic purpose, enveloping you in a prolonged, low-end thrum.

  • neil young, ponomusic, sxsw 2014, a letter home

    Q&A: Neil Young Plots Retro-Tech Revolution With Pono, New Album 'A Letter Home'

    Amidst the chaos of SXSW, Neil Young announced the arrival of his long-gestating PonoMusic, which Neil and CEO John Hamm insist isn't really a device or a digital music service (although it happens to be both) but rather a movement — a 360-degree revolution (the word is used frequently) that will not only restore us to the pre-MP3 elysian days of hi-fi music-listening, but in doing so also save the entire music industry, right down to its clerical workers. If all of this sounds a little fuzzy, that's because it kind of is: The only thing you can do right now is donate to the movement on Kickstarter, where the service has raised $3.1 million at press time, which is nearly four times its original goal. After listening to Neil's keynote address on Tuesday, SPIN sat down with the rock legend in a suite at an out-of-the-way hotel in Austin.

  • Tyler, the Creator Nearly Incites a Riot at SXSW

    Tyler, the Creator Nearly Incites a Riot at SXSW

    Does Tyler, the Creator thrive on chaos, or does he thrive on subjecting other people to it? There's a difference. One tendency you tend to associate with artists, the other masochists. To wit: During his headlining spot at the Converse/Thrasher "Death Match" at the Scoot Inn Thursday afternoon, Tyler incited hundreds of people outside the already-packed venue to break down the gates, nearly causing a riot just hours after two people were killed and 23 injured outside his scheduled show at the Mohawk.

  • Foster The People

    Foster the People Settle for Modern-Pop Pastiche on the Bloated 'Supermodel'

    Raise your hand if you spent your 2011 Playa Del Carmen vacation driving up and down the Mexican Riviera listening to Foster the People's Torches. Anyone? Anyone? That was just me? OK, fine, but still: It was a pretty boss record, right? Not exactly something you're going to love and cherish for the rest of your days (no "Tenth Anniversary of Torches" features coming your way in 2021), but good the way a new Taco Bell menu item is good: old flavors re-imagined into something vibrantly new, art and science and focus groups collaborating on something spiritually empty yet delicious.Actually, I made up the focus-group thing; I have no idea if that happened. Still, it sounded like it did, given the record's perfectly balanced indie/dance/soul/pop equation.

  • Jay Z, Kanye West

    Jay Z and Kanye West's SXSW Concert Was Masterful but Predictable

    AUSTIN, Texas — Perhaps the biggest surprise about the Jay Z and Kanye West double-header at the Austin Music Hall on Wednesday night was its complete lack of surprises – no Beyoncé cameo, no Daft Punk appearance, no mention of a sequel to Watch the Throne, all of which were rumored. Not even the fact that Kanye was wearing a miniskirt was noteworthy: that shit's old hat by now. If I sound a little disappointed by the lack of bombshells, SXSW has only itself to blame. Over the years, the festival has conditioned us to expect the unexpected – Justin Timberlake has parachuted in, Lady Gaga is due to pop out of a giant Doritos bag any day now. Even Hova himself was a surprise guest the last time the duo performed here in 2011, during Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music showcase, for which Ye trotted out a full marching band.

  • Neil Young, Pono, SXSW

    Neil Young Pitches Pono Music Service at SXSW as Alternative to Digital 'Shit'

    When Neil Young tells you that there's something out of whack with the way you're listening to music, then you can't help but listen, which is what those of us who had assembled in the main hall of the Austin Convention Center were doing on Tuesday afternoon as the legendary rocker paced the stage, eerily resembling Steve Jobs during one of the Apple guru's famed keynotes."There was really something wrong," Young said, recounting the period in the '80s when the industry crossed over from analog to digital. "And it was that we were selling shit.

  • Skrillex at The Independent, San Francisco, February 3, 2014 / Photo by Tom Tomkinson

    Skrillex (and Dave Chappelle) Staged a Bay Area Takeover

  • Mark Kozelek of Sun Kil Moon / Photo by Getty Images

    Sun Kil Moon Drop 5,000-Plus Words of Sad-Bastard Knowledge on the Balls-Out, All-In 'Benji'

    We already knew a decent amount about Mark Kozelek — the insanely prolific, inimitably morose frontman for the legendary Red House Painters and now Sun Kil Moon, a man whose oeuvre includes full-LP tributes to both AC/DC and Modest Mouse, who has acted in Steve Martin's Shopgirl and Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous, who's not shy when it comes to expressing grievances about his critics or fans or ex-girlfriends — but now we really know him.We know which of his family members has died, and in two grisly cases, exactly how. We know his friends from the old neighborhood in Massillon, Ohio: Mark and Brett and Rick Stanyon. We know he's got a gut, and that lately his prostate's been buggin' him, that he pees too much, that his "first fuck" was a girl named Maryanne, that he loves his dad and is going to be inconsolable when his 76-year-old mom passes away.

  • Warpaint at Union Pool, Brooklyn, January 17, 2014 / Photo by Chad Kamenshine

    Warpaint Walk the Fine Line Between 'Hypnotic' and 'Snoozy' on Album No. 2

    The first and last time I saw Spiritualized — seated in the balcony of Hollywood's Palace Theatre on November 12, 1997, during the Ladies & Gentleman We Are Floating in Space tour — I fell asleep. My friends razzed me accordingly, and with good reason: This was freakin' Spiritualized in 1997, arguably at the height of their powers. How could anyone nod off in the presence of such next-level exploratory ambient shoegaze post-punk radicalness? All these years later, Warpaint's lovely and harrowing sophomore album suggests an answer: There is a fine line between sleep and hypnosis, between faded and fading, and if as a band you choose to exist on that line, you risk leaving your listeners dozing instead of dazed.Now, Warpaint, though a bit noodly and navel-gazing, are nonetheless well-respected. Formed in 2004, they gigged around L.A.

  • beats

    Is Beats Music All It's Cracked Up to Be?

    Imagine your favorite song; now ask yourself why it's your favorite. Some reasons are quantifiable — the musical key, the genre, the tempo, the release date, the instrumentation, and anything else you can train a computer to measure — and others aren't, such as what you were doing the first (or last) time you heard it. You also "discovered" that song, somehow — via the radio, via a blog, via friends and loved ones — and shared that discovery with friends and loved ones in turn. Let's call this whole shebang your experience of music, the process responsible for the emotional connection to this thing you love and cherish.Now guess what? That emotional connection — it's missing! You've lost it!

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