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01 Jun 2011 14:50


Music: Lady Gaga gets assist from Amazon in million-selling week

  • 1,108,000 number of copies of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” sold in its first week, the tenth-largest week of sales in SoundScan history
  • 1,140,000 number of copies 50 Cent’s “The Massacre” sold in its first week back in 2005; Gaga’s album is the largest sales week since then source
  • » Lady Gaga’s album set a record for digital sales, but Lady Gaga can’t get all the credit. Amazon was selling the album for 99 cents on its first day (even though it kind of backfired), contributing about 440,000 copies in the first week. Not surprisingly, Amazon’s deal upset some retail outlets, namely music stores who lost sales because of the insanely low price Amazon sold the album for. (Best Buy also had a similar deal, where they gave an album away with a cell phone. And it also sold at some kinda weird outlets, like CVS and Whole Foods.)

09 Aug 2010 21:13


Music: “Hurley”: Weezer somehow tops itself with weird cover art

  • If anyone was wondering if Jorge Garcia would be able to find work after “Lost” ended, wonder no longer. Weezer’s new album cover, “Hurley,” tops “Raditude” in sheer randomness. It’s also their first record on Epitaph, which isn’t a major label. There are no words for how utterly bizarre this is, but then again, based on Rivers Cuomo’s recent stage antics, it’s par for the course. source

24 May 2010 20:37


Music: Cell of Sound: Phil Spector produces album in the Big House

  • She’s fantastic on this album. She sings better than anyone else could have! I trusted her with my life and songs and production—because she’s that good.
  • Jailed songbird Phil Spector • Regarding the album he produced for his wife, Rachelle Spector, while in prison for the murder of Lana Clarkson. The crazy sounding “Out of My Chelle,” with its equally-crazy name, is due for a June release. It’s his first production in over 30 years, though we’re sure he didn’t expect it to happen under these circumstances. If you want to produce our next album, Phil, we’ll give you a pack of smokes. source

11 Mar 2010 22:40


Music: Dark Side of the download: EMI can’t split up Pink Floyd’s albums

A court told EMI that they couldn’t take Pink Floyd’s beam of light and turn it into a rainbow using the prism of the iTunes Music Store. Bad news, guys. source

13 Feb 2010 19:32


Music: Saturday Mixtape: Johnny Cash is the new 2Pac is the new Nick Drake

  • This weekend’s release of “We Are the World 25,” which features Michael Jackson taking on a few lines beyond the grave (both in the song and the video), got us to thinking about the artists with seemingly never-ending vaults, in part because we’re sure Jackson himself will be a victim of this kind of musical grave-robbing. Here’s a sampling of the state of posthumous releases:

  • 1. Johnny Cash died way back in 2003, but he has a new album coming out, and “Ain’t No Grave,” held together by a rhythm made of dragging chains, is actually pretty good. Surprising it didn’t get a release back then, honestly (he recorded a lot of tunes with Rick Rubin in the years before his death). It’s one of Cash’s better late-period tunes.
  • 2. Nick Drake’s “Family Tree” probably never would’ve seen the light of day had Drake lived to an old age, but the 2007 release of privately recorded demos stands above the fray of most of the grave-robbing reissues by the guitarist. On “Bird Flew By,” you can hear a lot of the blues influence in his guitar-playing.
  • 3. Jeff Buckley may perhaps have the legacy most damaged by posthumous releases – even moreso than 2Pac. He had one amazing album and one aborted attempt at a second album that was released as an incomplete work. And a lot of live recordings. “Live at Sin-é” may be the key example: A short EP initially, it was reworked as a monster 34-track compilation in 2003. It’s not necessarily the worst release of his, just the best example.
  • 4. 2Pac has tons of posthumous releases (including a live album for a show he wasn’t even headlining), but some of these at least have interesting approaches. In the case of 2004’s “Loyal to the Game,” Eminem produced the entire thing off of some tapes Tupac Shakur’s mom gave him, which means it has some interesting productions and top-of-their-game guests. But it still feels kinda grave-robby, even though it’s respectfully done.
  • 5. Michael Jackson will likely follow the same path as the other stars here, and “This Is It” is really only the beginning. We gave the song a good review when it first came out, and the reason it sounds solid is because it was recorded during his still-interesting “Dangerous” era. We’re sure he has some huge vaults. And there are significant financial reasons for digging into them. We’d like to see them go the Elliott Smith route here, with compilations respectful of his legacy. But a Jeff Buckley-style “everything must go” is more likely.

26 Jan 2010 10:34


Music: Pitchfork throws out a make-them-famous rating for Beach House

25 Sep 2009 18:59


Music: Pitchfork likes Girls, throws them a huge rating

  • 9.1 rating for Girls’ “Album,” a fuzzy chunk of catchy pop source

22 Aug 2009 19:38


Music: Our Saturday Mixtape peers back into some of 2000’s best tunes

A word of warning: This is not a top songs of the year list for us. Rather, these are five good songs from 2000 that are worth your time. And yes, we plan on doing this with every year of the decade over the next few months. Agree with these choices? Disagree? Debate here.

  • 1. Elliott Smith’s later period is one highly debated by fans. He went big around the time of “XO” and went even bigger around the time of 2000’s “Figure 8.” For some fans, this made the album a bit of a wash, but the single, “Son of Sam,” still holds strong nearly a decade later.
    2. It’s easy to forget, but The Mars Volta started from the split of the At the Drive-In, a band which did more to justify Thursday’s existence than it did The Mars Volta. A precursor to screamo, “One-Armed Scissor” is far less embarrassing than that descripiton sounds.
    3. What a shame. Grandaddy’s “The Sophtware Slump” is a great album best known as the answer to a trivia question. The question: “What album was Jason Lee’s son, Pilot Inspektor, named for?” A damn shame for a great album. “Jed the Humanoid” is a definite highlight for sure.
    4. Yo La Tengo will likely never break out of its cult audience, but they make great musical arguments why they should. “And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out” is one of the band’s peaks, and “You Can Have it All” is a quiet triumph.
    5. For us, hearing Radiohead’s “Nude” on 2007’s “In Rainbows” gave “Motion Picture Soundtrack” context. Many superfans were spoiled by a spare acoustic version of the song that made the “Kid A” version seem overly grand. But in the context of “Nude,” you see exactly what the band was going for. Worth revisiting for sure. source

10 Jul 2009 18:06


Music: Update: Sufjan Stevens is (kinda) coming back (but not really)

  • State No. 3? Nope. Try reworked 1st album. Oh, Sufjan, how you tease us. Just a week ago, we were begging – no, pleading! – for your return to indie pop’s most famous serial novel. Well, this week, you showed back up, yeah, but you’re announcing the release of a reworked version of your first album, “Enjoy Your Rabbit.” “Run Rabbit Run,” the reworked album, will be reimagined by Osso, who’s helped Stevens in the past. OK dude, appreciated, but it’s no “Alaska”, which we’re sure will feature that destined classic, “Oh Sarah, You Media Showoff (the Ballad of Wasilla, A Stop on the Bridge to Nowhere).” source

25 Jun 2009 20:51


Culture: The legacy that Michael Jackson left behind, good and bad