Tinariwen – Tassili
I’m addicted to their music, which has an almost hypnotic trance-inducing effect. Their latest album enhances their Desert Blues sounds with some English lyrics and guest artists like Nels Cline, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and members of TV On The Radio.
If you spend any time in San Francisco, you may have heard the Jugtown Pirates playing their unique brand of bluegrass around the ferry building. They now have a new album, Darda, which they funded with a Kickstarter project. It’s now available in iTunes and it’s fun & enjoyable, even if you’re not into bluegrass. It has a more polished sound with styles raging from rock, alt-country, and blues.
One of my all-time favorite albums, Paul Simon’s “Graceland“, will turn 25 this year.
This is the one album that changed my life. At the time it was released, I had pretty much lost all interest in music, but when I heard it for the first time, it was like what I’ve been waiting my entire life to hear. I wasn’t a big Paul Simon fan, and before “Graceland”, I never knowingly heard African music.
“Graceland” got me interested in African music and inspired me to seek out more of it. After listening to it for a few months, I took the huge step of going to the “International” aisle at the record store and buying a cassette by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I found that I loved the music and started looking for even more exotic sounds.
Around the same time, Peter Gabriel started collaborating with Youssou N’dour, so I took another big step and bought Youssou’s album “Nelson Mandela”, and by that time I was totally hooked.
If it wasn’t for “Graceland” I might have never discovered African music and reignited my love of all music.
I just submitted a minor update to iDjembe that adds Retina display graphics, a new icon, and a new app info screen. For some bizarre reason it’s selling fairly well, so using it to cross-promote Removr and my upcoming game, Sugar Rush, may help the sales of my other apps.
Speaking of Sugar Rush, the first beta went out yesterday. I’m still waiting for some of the final graphics & sounds. The release is scheduled for Apr. 28.
I’m thrilled about Arcade Fire winning Album Of The Year last night, not only because I’m a big fan, but because it’s also a great big “up yours” to the major record labels.
While the other nominees are represented by major labels with huge promotion budgets, Arcade Fire is represented by tiny Merge Records and spends very little on promotion. The other nominees sold over a million records, but The Suburbs only sold less than 500,000. This is one of the few times quality and actual talent beat style & mainstream marketing. Arcade Fire’s success proves that you don’t need to have a manager to promote a carefully crafted image, lots of marketing muscle, and a huge record company behind you. I hope this trend continues.
Google Instant has inspired several other instant search services, including Youtube Instant. The latest and one of the coolest services is iTunes Instant, developed by 15-year-old Stephen Ou in only 3 hours. iTunes Instant lets you search the iTunes Music Store and get instant results as you type.
I couldn’t leave without a post about Arcade Fire’s new album, The Suburbs. I’ve been looking forward to this album all year, and it lived up to my expectations. The album is closer to Funeral than Neon Bible, with most of the songs following a common theme of living in the suburbs. It feels a lot more intimate than their earlier albums, and there are no big, powerful songs like “Wake Up” or “No Cars Go”, although “Month of May” is becoming one of my favorite songs. I’ve listened to the full album at least once a day since it was released, and I really love it.
I’m thrilled that this album reached #1 on Billboard’s album charts, for the first time. Usually I hate most of the top albums on the charts.
Members of the group Tinariwen have posted a message on their Facebook page saying that they were stopped at Denver airport on their way to DC and arrested by TSA. Unfortunately this is an all-too-common situation for artists visiting the US.
If you haven’t heard of Tinariwen, they’re a west African group of Toureg nomads who play some of the most hypnotic, intoxicating music.