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Fri August 31, 2012
The Week In Music: What To Read Now, Labor Day Edition
Originally published on Sun September 2, 2012 10:31 pm
No rest for the weary. It's been another whirlwind of a work week — over here we rejoiced that our hip-hop stream is up and running and then mourned the death of industry executive Chris Lighty. We wondered if Thelonious Monk could win a jazz competition were he alive today. Renaud Garcia-Fons left us speechless.
But that's not all that happened. Use the extra day off to get caught up on the music world with these five stories. Read 'em on the beach, by the lake, in Philly, on Randall's Island or on your couch — just read 'em.
Lizzie Widdicombe's New Yorker profile of music mogul Scooter Braun is not just an encounter with the force behind young superstars Justin Bieber, The Wanted and Carly Rae Jepsen, it's a snapshot of the changing (not dying, according to Braun) music business today: an interdependent culture in which Twitter followers, perfume brands, start-up investments and licensing deals play just as big a role as the music. It also shows that some things don't change: Teenage boys are sullen, sensitive and like to punch people in the crotch. --Amy Schriefer
It's theater — I mean, convention — season in politics right now, and the Republican gathering in Tampa offered up much pop-cultural fodder to frame the party's platform presentations. Before Clint Eastwood stole the whole shebang by talking to a chair, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan got critics' tongues wagging by declaring himself a tried and true rocker whose iPod "playlist starts with AC/DC and ends with Zeppelin." Randall Roberts of the Los Angeles Times speculated on what else might have made Ryan's tunes list. Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston pointed out that Ryan's idea of rock is, well, pretty conservative. And at The Washington Post, Chris Richards offered a handy-dandy guide to the conventions' overall musical offerings. —Ann Powers
The last time I read Devin Friedman, it was for his Rick Ross profile in GQ, which is full of telling and funny details that complicated my view of the Miami rapper and ringleader. This piece, about the Las Vegas superclub Marquee, made me laugh, too, at least once a paragraph. Though Friedman is often dismissive of the music that fuels the scene he's describing, he turns a necessary spotlight on the businesspeople investing heavily in EDM right now — and profiting from it. --Frannie Kelley
It's not often that a band without a publicist or a top-tier label gets covered by a national press outlet. But that's just what happened on Thursday in The New York Times when Jon Caramanica shed light on two of the year's more irresistible indie albums — Waxahatchee's American Weekend and Swearin's self-titled LP. The hook here is that the songwriters behind the bands — Katie and Allison Crutchfield, respectively — are mirror-image twin sisters, a fun footnote that's entirely superfluous once you share in their tales of adolescent turbulence. We fell hard for Katie's album earlier this year and included Waxahatchee's "Be Good" in NPR Music's 50 Favorite Songs of 2012 (So Far). —Otis Hart
If "Here Comes the Hotstepper" floats into your brain as often as it does mine, this is the longread interview for you. Remi remixed Ini Kamoze's mid-'90s reggae hit into a global phenomenon but most famously collaborated with Amy Winehouse and produced for The Fugees and Nas. For LargeUp, he reminisces and predicts the future: "Right now I'm already thinking into next summer, what's gonna actually sting," he says. "I understand that after this large electronic barrage that people fiend for the simplest organic sound that tickles the emotion to come back into it, more than being technically sandblasted. ... What's gonna happen in 2013? The same thing that happened in '93. People are just fiending for something that actually feels like cooked food." From his lips. --Frannie Kelley