Sonny Rollins at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, May 2, 1998.
(Frans Schellekens/Redferns/Getty Images)
Sonny Rollins at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, May 2, 1998.
(Frans Schellekens/Redferns/Getty Images)
Beach Bunny In & Out of TikTok, Sonny Rollins' Solo Trip, Leonard Cohen, BTS, Glastonbury at 50...
Matty Karas, curator February 25, 2020
quote of the day
The Rolling Stones, I didn't relate to them because I thought they were just derivative of black blues. I do remember once I was in the supermarket up in Hudson, New York, and they were playing Top 40 records. I heard this song and thought, Who's that guy? His playing struck a chord in me. Then I said, 'Wait a minute, that's me!' It was my playing on one of those Rolling Stones records.
rant n' rave

Laissez les bons temps rouler!... Prediction from PITCHFORK's reviews editor: Pop bands shall be selling their turntables and buying guitars. Or, perhaps, selling their digital apps and buying analog synths. The editor, JEREMY D. LARSON, put it this way in interview for TODD L. BURNS' excellent MUSIC JOURNALISM INSIDER newsletter: "As the market becomes saturated with songs-as-content and A.I. being able to compose entire pieces without a human even touching it, I think our relationship to music will shift toward extracting it from digital spaces." That's a weirdly Wall-Street-analyst way of putting it (invest in live-band R&B futures!), but also a reasonable assessment of pop's current direction (or one of its directions anyway). Within 10 minutes of closing my Music Journalism Insider email Monday morning, I came across two stories on the buzzy Chicago band BEACH BUNNY, whose particular extracted-from-digital approach leans toward what you might call bubblegummy emo (RIYL: CHARLY BLISS, BEST COAST, KATY PERRY) and which became an overnight TIKTOK sensation last year through no apparent effort of its own. The NEW YORKER's CARRIE BATTAN writes about how Beach Bunny's direct lyrics and short, catchy bursts of melody are tailor-made for TikTok, while PAPER's ELI ENIS talks to singer/songwriter LILI TRIFILIO, who appreciates how the app's users have engaged with her music while making clear she doesn't want to be the frontperson of a "TikTok band." "Music that blows up through social media, those bands sometimes get categorized in a certain way," Trifilio says. "Which I'm trying to avoid." Which seems the smart way to go. But she's taken a look nonetheless. Which means, based on my own 20-minute investigation, she's seen an endless scroll of teens playing her song "PROM QUEEN" on ukulele, guitar or piano, or giving a "Prom Queen" guitar tutorial, or playing all the parts in a ska arrangement of the song, or lip-syncing their way through 20- or 30-second videos that reflect the song's body-positivity message. A throwback to the days of music videos and unplugged instruments. Be still my MTV heart. And most of them with no apparent throwback intention. Just kids taking as much delight in the simple pleasure of working out pop songs on ukulele or guitar or piano as in expressing themselves with vertical videos aimed at 15 minutes (or seconds) or viral stardom but also aimed at the more basic human need of expressing something. Analog art in the digital space of the moment... DAVID MARCHESE's NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE interview with SONNY ROLLINS is as smart and insightful as music Q&As get. Q: "Is your relationship with silence different these days?" A: "I used to look at TV a lot. Then I realized, this is very negative. Images and lies and bad for your eyes: I made sure that mantra got in my head, and I stopped looking at TV. I do listen to the radio. I’m trying to get away from that. Silence to me is meditative. To get into that silent space is a huge thing"... LIVE NATION and RYMAN HOSPITALITY (parent company of the RYMAN AUDITORIUM and the GRAND OLD OPRY) are among the music stocks that took a hit Monday in a coronavirus-inspired stock market sell-off... An investigation of PLACIDO DOMINGO by the AMERICAN GUILD OF MUSICAL ARTISTS, which represents opera performers, found a "clear pattern of sexual misconduct and abuse of power," the ASSOCIATED PRESS reports. A second investigation, by LA OPERA, is under way. "I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I have grown from this experience," Domingo said in a prepared statement... Prog-rock hits of 2019... RIP BOB COBERT.

Matty Karas, curator

February 25, 2020