THE EDIT: 07/16
A BITE-SIZE RUN-DOWN OF THE BEST STUFF OF THE WEEK.
1. The Defiant Ones on HBO
HBO's four-part documentary traces the unlikely—but unbelieveably successful—partnership between Jimmy Iovine (engineer, producer, founder of Interscope Records) and Dr. Dre (producer, rapper, all-around legend ). It opens with the selling of Beats by Dre Headphones to Apple for 3.2 billion dollars, then backtracks to trace the very separate paths each man took which eventually led them to each other.
Impressively thorough and well-crafted, the documentary manages to not only provide a history of two very different sides of the music world (Iovine started out working with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon, while Dre stands as a founding father of Gangsta Rap as a member of N.W.A.), but also a history of the music business at large—the inner workings of record label politics and the rise of CDs and streaming being significant plot points.
Besides that, I don't think I've seen any documentary that manages to pack in more superstars. I mean they interview everybody. Springsteen, Patti Smith, Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Trent Reznor, Ice Cube, Bono, Kendrick Lamar, and that's just off the top of my head. All offer up pearls of wisdom worthy of pinning to the bulletin board above your desk, while the unlikely rise of both Iovine and Dre will most definitely light a fire under your ass.
If you're interested in music, business, or just how to go after your dreams, it's worth your time.
Oh and it introduced me to the three new loves of my life: J.J. Fad
3. GAP Playlists From the 90's
I love a nostalgia trip as much as the next person, so when I heard about this blog being run by a former GAP employee whose sole mission is to recreate in-store playlists from the years 1992-2006, I knew I was going to love it.
Want to know what was being played in October of 1999? So did I. Turns out this is what you were hearing when your mom dragged you into the store because she needed a sweater for the Christmas card photo. Macy Gray? Wilco? Sixpence None The Richer? I can practically smell Sbarro's pizza.
4. Pitchfork's Thomas Mars and Jason Schwartzman Interview
I'm well-known to have a love/hate relationship with Pitchfork. I think they can be a little pretentious, a little biased, a little self-righteous, but when they do stuff like this, putting two of my favorite people together (actor/former member of Phantom Planet Jason Schwartzman and Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars) for a new feature called "Family Matters", I can forgive them for some of their past sins.
Thomas Mars is married to Jason Schwartzman's first cousin (Sofia Coppola), making them extended family who also happen to actually like each other. It's not a groundbreaking article, but cool if you like either of these two guys.
I actually said "Yaasss Jason" out loud when I read this:
"I’m always interested in what you’re listening to—just knowing what someone’s been listening to or watching is not small talk to me. That’s the biggest talk. When you talk about or listen to an album together, the album can instantly change. You can learn so much."
You can read the full article here.
5. Las Rosas
None of the this week's new releases really caught my ear, so I'm going with an album that was new to me this week. Las Rosas hail from Brooklyn, New York and with just one LP come off as masters of fuzzy, psychedelic, hook-laden garage rock. There's not really a bad song in the bunch. How could there be when they sound exactly like a modern incarnation of the Kinks? That is if the Kinks wrote a song about O Magazine ("Ms. America").
Favorite Tracks: "Mr. Wrong" "Black Cherry" "Boys" "Ms. America"