Marc Hogan



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    Alan Lomax's Massive Collection of Field Recordings Goes Digital

    As Jay-Z gets set to perform a pair of benefit shows next week at Carnegie Hall, and tastemakers like Diplo routinely seek out plainspoken music from impoverished areas both rural and urban, it might be tough to remember there was ever a divide between so-called high and low culture. In the mid-1930s, however, when folklorist Alan Lomax started making field recordings across the South, hillbilly music and African-American blues were considered, well, déclassé. The music in Lomax's vaults helped pave the way for everyone from Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones to Spinal Tap, and soon it will all be streaming online. Lomax's vision of a "global jukebox" is coming true.

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    'Soul Train' Creator Don Cornelius Dead at 75

    The creator of Soul Train would wish viewers love, peace, and soul at the end of each episode, and now he's left us for good. Don Cornelius, who hosted the nationally syndicated music show from its inception in 1971 until 1993, was found dead early this morning at his Sherman Oaks, California, home, according to the Los Angeles Times. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, sources told the newspaper on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing. Cornelius was 75. In the 1970s and 1980s, Soul Train helped draw attention to music by African-American artists, with memorable performances by Michael Jackson, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone, and other legends. The young dancers who would show off their moves on the program helped blaze a trail for more recent dance TV shows like FOX's So You Think You Can Dance?.

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    Watch the Darkness' Cartoonishly Excessive 'Nothin's Gonna Stop Us' Clip

    When the going gets tough, artists hoping to capture the moment have a couple of options: feel our pain, or help us pretend that the pain doesn't exist. For the Darkness, the over-the-top hair-rockers best known for the wonderfully cheesy early 2000s excess of "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," there wasn't even a choice. "Nothin's Gonna Stop Us," the English band's first song since 2005's One Way Ticket to Hell... and Back is all Queen falsetto, Starship exuberance, rainbows, and unicorns. Its video opens with a BBC reporter declaring, "Everyone everywhere is feeling very sad," and imagines a time when a tween-age girl would be able to own a record player and a million pieces of band-related merch. Animated hijinks pour forth from her pen, involving flying guitars, flamingos, medieval swordcraft, and a multi-armed boxer playing a guitar solo.

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    Frank Black Duo Grand Duchy Debut Warhol-Infused 'Silver Boys' Video

    All that's missing is the Campbell's Soup. Pixies frontman Frank Black and his wife, Violet Clark, make a whole bunch of direct allusions to Andy Warhol in "Silver Boys," the propulsive, synth-buzzing advance track from their upcoming second album as Grand Duchy, titled Let the People Speak (out April 10). Directed by Art Brut and Los Campesinos! video whiz Alex de Campi for production company gravitysleeps, the "Silver Boys" clip drives home the Warhol connection even further, featuring Black and Clark amid Warhol-style imagery, Warhol quotes, and plenty of hedonistic scenes worthy of the artist's old Factory stomping grounds. Turns out LCD Soundsystem weren't the only ones familiar with the sound of silver.

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    See Foo Fighters Conquer the World in 'These Days'

    Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters only have a couple of festival dates — and a Grammy TV performance — left on the schedule after a whirlwind tour that took the arena-tested rockers around the world (read our review of the tour's Minnesota kickoff). If you can't make it to New Orleans Jazz Fest or Bamboozle, the video for midtempo Wasting Light anthem "These Days" might be the next best thing. As Foo Fighters move from delicate verses, kept brawny by the heavy rhythm section, to a full-throated, pedal-to-the-metal chorus, the video shows footage from the band's tour of Australia and New Zealand.

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    Adele Confirms She'll Sing at the Grammy Awards

    The artist widely expected to take home a lion's share of trophies at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards will also be taking the stage. Adele is scheduled to sing at the Grammys on February 12, the British singer confirmed today via Twitter. The tweet reads: "Ima be, Ima be singing at the Grammys. It's been so long I started to forget I was a singer! I can't wait, speak soon xx" Adele will be up for six awards at the event, tying her with Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars, both previously announced as among the ceremony's performers.

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    Hear Fucked Up's Chinese New Year Singles

    As if bashing out SPIN's No. 1 album of 2011 wasn't enough cause for celebration, Fucked Up have their favorite annual holiday festivities to prepare for: the Chinese New Year. On February 7, the majestic David Comes to Life pummelers will release "The Year of the Tiger," their fifth 12" single devoted to an animal of the Chinese Zodiac. Featuring director Jim Jarmusch, dark synth-popper Austra, and Annie-Claude Deschênes of "Black Flag"-waving post-punks Duchess Says, the 15-minute A-side will evidently be streaming in the widget below as soon as it comes out. In the meantime, psyche yourself up by using the same widget to hear Fucked Up's four previous Chinese New Year singles since 2006, all of which are totally batshit.

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    Any Other Bands Want to Sue Newt Gingrich?

    Whatever your political persuasion, and whatever else Newt Gingrich might be, he's the ill-tempered old man who tells other people to do as he says, not as he does. Which is pretty much the apotheosis of uncool. So it's not really surprising the Grinch has been hit with a lawsuit by '80s rockers Survivor, whose Rocky-famous "Eye of the Tiger" was used at a recent campaign event, and served a cease-and-desist letter by British band the Heavy, whose "How You Like Me Now" he also purloined. Then again, these days it's not really surprising when any prominent politician, but especially a Republican, happens to get hit with complaints about his taste in theme music. Foo Fighters, Heart, John Mellencamp, and ABBA all went after John McCain's campaign for its use of their songs in 2008, with Jackson Browne going so far as to file a lawsuit.

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    Jesse Jackson Ready to Occupy the Grammys Over Controversial Cuts

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson has waded into the debate over Grammy Awards organizers' decision to slash nearly one-third of awards categories this year. Ahead of the February 12 ceremony, the civil rights leader sent a letter to the head of the Recording Academy calling for a meeting about the cuts, which some musicians view as ethnically discriminatory, the New York Times' ArtsBeat Blog reports. Jackson also hinted at the potential for protests. Neil Portnow, the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, expressed openness to hearing Jackson's views. "We are receptive to meeting with the Rev. Jackson to explain how our nomination process works and to show the resulting diverse group of nominees it produced for the 54th Grammys," Portnow said in a statement quoted by the Times. Diversity has never exactly been a hallmark of the Grammy Awards.

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    First Spin: Hear the Twilight Sad's Full 'No One Can Ever Know'

    "The kids are on fire in the bedroom," James Graham sings in the opening minutes of the Twilight Sad's 2007 debut Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, a collection of accordion-streaked noise-rock anthems as gut-wrenching as it is compelling. "There's people downstairs," the thickly accented lead moper begins on the Scottish trio's 2009 Forget the Night Ahead, which ups the racket-making ante without quite keeping the lighter-ready choruses. In the early moments of No One Can Ever Know, which marks a shift toward brittle, Factory-ready post-punk, he howls, "Safe to say, never wanted you more / And then you ask for one more go." This time he's deadly serious. Where the Twilight Sad's latest could easily have gotten more deeply mired in the same boggy Moors as its predecessor, No One Can Ever Known instead heralds an ambitiously minimal change in approach.

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