Marc Hogan

writer

Biography

  • Photo by <a href=Aurelien Guichard" width="620" height="413" />

    OK Computer: A Race to Figure Out Who'll Love What Songs

    As easy and fun as it can be to romanticize our responses to art, we are not unique snowflakes. Streaming services such as Pandora and MOG already have sophisticated algorithms in place designed to predict what music we'll like, as the New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones described in a 2010 essay. And for years now, businesses from Amazon to UPS have been using algorithms for everything from purchase recommendations to scheduling deliveries, as the Economist reported way back in 2007. Increasingly, tech whizzes can predict what listeners will like, at least in theory. A column over the weekend in the Guardian underscores just how far the process of turning human idiosyncrasies into data has already come.

  • Conor Oberst / Photo by Getty Images

    Watch Conor Oberst Play Two Unreleased Acoustic Ballads

    Over the weekend, Conor Oberst took the stage at Newport Folk Festival, joining — and in turn being joined by — My Morning Jacket's Jim James during each band's respective set. The Bright Eyes frontman, who also played alongside James as one-third of Monsters of Folk, has a touring schedule that's a mix of solo dates and gigs with his long-dormant rock group Desaparecidos. As TwentyFourBit points out, Oberst played a pair of new songs during a recent solo stop in Fairfield, Connecticut, and you can watch a decent fan video of the performance below. Listed on the set list as "You Are Your Moms" and "Kick," according to the YouTube post, both songs are slow and serious acoustic ballads, at least in these incarnations. In particular, the one labeled as "Kick" focuses on a lost Camelot.

  • Arctic Monkeys / Photo by Getty Images

    Everything You Need to Know About Music at the Olympics Opening Ceremony

    Britain has played an outsize role in pop music history, so it was only fitting that pop music would feature prominently in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. For those who missed all or part of the Games' four-hour opening ceremony on Friday night, though, what might be remarkable is just how music-soaked the proceedings really were. Yes, James Bond and Queen Elizabeth II — or facsimiles thereof — parachuted out of a helicopter or something. Well done, Danny Boyle, director of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire. But the music, overseen by '90s rave overlords Underworld, was worth noting in its own right. Paul McCartney, Arctic Monkeys, and Dizzee Rascal were among the live performers. Underworld performed, too, joined by Two Door Cinema Club singer/guitarist Alex Trimble.

  • Animal Collective, Panda Bear Unveil Trippy New Songs on Radio Show

    Animal Collective, Panda Bear Unveil Trippy New Songs on Radio Show

    Monday doesn't have to be blue, thanks to last night's debut of Animal Collective Radio. In fact, the mischievous racket-makers premiered a new song on the broadcast that would suggest even a lowly Monday could be out of this world. "Today's Supernatural" — out digitally tomorrow — is the first single from Animal Collective's upcoming Centipede Hz, which clambers to Earth on September 4 via Domino. AnCo member Panda Bear hosted this week's show, which you can hear

  • Blur's Graham Coxon, Damon Albarn, Dave Rowntree, and Alex James / Photo by Getty Images

    Blur's '21' Box Set: 21 Key Rarities You Need to Hear

    Even among box sets, Blur's 21-disc Blur 21, which arrives July 31 for the British band's 21st birthday, is a behemoth. But then, the London quartet of sophisticated pin-up frontman Damon Albarn, Sonic Youth-enamored guitar saboteur Graham Coxon, fringe-wearing bass idol Alex James, and drummer-animator-pilot-activist Dave Rowntree turned out to be a box set type of band. The recent winners of a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music allowed no single style of music to define them. Their biggest U.S. hits, from "Girls and Boys" to "Coffee and TV" by way of "Song 2," each arrived as if by a different band, and each was in different ways unrepresentative of the group's discography as a whole.

  • Jack White (Jim Bennett) / Neil Young (Getty Images)

    Austin City Limits 2012's 5 Most Wrenching Set-Time Conflicts

    Next year's Austin City Limits might go the Coachella route and expand to two weekends. Those attending this year's festival might be wishing they had two weekends to choose from already. ACL has announced its full 2012 schedule, and while organizers have generally done a great job of avoiding overlap between acts with similar appeal, festival-goers will be faced with tough choices when it comes to some of the biggest names on the bill. Yes, Red Hot Chili Peppers headline Sunday night unopposed, and most people know which side they're on when it comes to Avicii and the Black Keys on Friday night, but that doesn't mean the weekend will be free of dilemmas. Luckily, for those torn between Big K.R.I.T. or Father John Misty, Poliça or Tennis, M83 or M. Ward, there's still plenty of time. ACL takes place October 12-14 in Austin's Zilker Park.

  • Actress

    Download Actress' Cloud-Techno 'ShockTherapy101' MP3

    Techno spins yarns. No less than any other genre, at least from this interloper's perspective, the realm of mesmerizing electronic beats has benefited from telling stories. It's a vast simplification, sure, but while Chicago house focused on jacking your body, Detroit techno was cranking out readymade post-industrial narratives — which partly explained why rock critics gave it shine years before guys like LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy helped the indie kids learn to love disco and house. London producer Darren Cunningham, who released the SPIN Essentials album R.I.P. under his Actress pseudonym earlier this year, shares Derrick May or Juan Atkins' knack for putting abstract, cerebral music into language the punters can understand. Dummy, which points to Actress' newly posted track "Shocktherapy101," also quotes a Cunningham interview to argue that R.I.P.

  • Slug Guts

    Watch Slug Guts' Sax-Skronked 'Scum' Video

    Earlier this week, Australian noise rockers Slug Guts released their third album, Playin' in Time With the Deadbeat, via Sacred Bones Records. The newly posted video for murk-mongering opener "Scum" plunges us right in the middle of the six-piece band's dank scrum, looking out into a swamp of guitar and bass-guitar necks. Cigarettes are puffed, no-wave saxophone is honked, and raw-throated vocals are howled. And then Slug Guts push everything into the red. Directed by Aussie filmmaking duo Sam Dixon and Adric Watson, it's a stark and harrowing introduction to an album forged out of what the label describes as a year of mental hospitals, courtrooms, jail cells, funerals, and rehab centers.

  • Lana Del Rey Covers Nirvana's 'Heart-Shaped Box,' Weakly

    Lana Del Rey Covers Nirvana's 'Heart-Shaped Box,' Weakly

    Stop the Internet: One week after Lil Wayne Photoshopped himself onto the cover of Nevermind, Lana Del Rey has covered Nirvana. Last night at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, Australia, the Born to Die singer performed a version of In Utero's "Heart-Shaped Box," as celebrity blog Oh No They Didn't points out. The fan video doesn't do her vocals any favors — the Saturday Night Live haterade contingent should find plenty more to hate here — band cuts it off in mid-line. But the dramatic orchestral backing does manage to bring Kurt Cobain's blunt, dark, anti-glamorous thoughts into Del Rey's blunt, dark, glamorous world. Countdown until Foo Fighters or Hole cover "Diet Mtn Dew" ends in 3... 2... 1... Courtney, you mad?

  • Watch Pink's Vintage Cinematic 'Blow Me (One Last Kiss)' Video

    Watch Pink's Vintage Cinematic 'Blow Me (One Last Kiss)' Video

    "I've had a shit day," Pink sings, without a trace of shittiness, on "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)," the first video selection from the take-no-prisoners pop singer and songwriter's forthcoming The Truth About Love. Like the peppy, guitar-spiked electro-pop song itself — not to mention its title — the video combines shit-day #dumpedpeopleproblems with a certain easy savoir faire. Directed by Dave Meyers, who has been working with Pink since her very first single in 2000 (and also directed videos for Jay-Z's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway," among others), this black-and-white clip has an Instagram-style old-film look, with French text. Pink's relationships don't exactly work out, but red spills over the monochromatic palette more than once. It wouldn't exactly be a spoiler to note that in the end, when Pink has nothing left to lose, she soars.

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