In what will be the second biggest Bob Dylan-related news item this week, the 71-year-old premiered a new track from his upcoming album Tempest during a preview for Cinemax’s post-24 counter-terrorism show, Strike Back.
And again, we cue the HAS BUZZFEED HIRED ANYONE NEW TODAY Tumblr. Jonah Peretti’s Iowa Writers Workshop for People Who Love Videos of Domesticated Animals Stuck in Boxes has hired its first music editor.
Jay-Z might be from Brooklyn—and may season his songs with references to the borough liberally, not including his memorable Reasonable Doubt duet with The Notorious B.I.G., “Brooklyn’s Finest”—but does anybody remember the last time he played a proper concert there? Odds are, unless you’re an obsessive who tracks his every movement—or a Phish fan—you may not.
Fear not, though. The modest opening of the Barclays Center (the new home of the NBA’s Nets, of which, Jay-Z is an investor) will now shove this seemingly arbitrary but actually earth-shatteringly important query into irrelevance, as Jay-Z will not be playing one, or two, but three shows to open the new stadium, this September.
Things There Should Be Draconian Punishments For
Unless you’re seeing a concert in a stadium, getting a good sight-line is hard enough as it stands: Unless you are tall-folk, you’re trying to see over the head of front-row tall folk. And if it’s not tall (or taller) folk—now that nearly everyone’s cell phone has a halfway decent camera affixed to it as a standard feature—it’s their phones. And if it’s not tall people’s phones, it’s everyone else’s phones. Because cell phones are now as standard a live music fixture as overpriced drinks and that high-pitched “eeeeeeeeee” sound of your hearing dying. And the desire to Instagram or Facebook or Tumblr a moment at a concert from one’s phone is—as going to pretty much any concert in 2012 will demonstrate—apparently insatiable. And we, as a people—or at least, the people of some respectably metropolitan cities—are better than that.
Or so one club would like to think.
REMARKS WERE MADE
On Sunday, New York City’s world-famous hip hop radio station, Hot 97, held their yearly Summer Jam concert. Earlier that day, one of the station’s DJs, Peter Rosenberg, decried the oeuvre of Summer Jam headliner Nicki Minaj while introducing another act, Kendrick Lamar. His charge was about Minaj’s recent single, which has a decidedly pop-oriented slant to it: ”We’re all about that real hip-hop, not ‘Starships.’”
Adam Yauch, a founding member of the Beastie Boys—otherwise known as “MCA”—died today in his native New York City after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was a crucial component in the rise of hip hop as a culture and rap as an art form, and instrumental in the group’s transition: from their early days as a punk outfit and then a brash and belligerent party-rap act, to one of the most sonically deft acts in the history of contemporary music. Never content to rest on their laurels, the Beastie Boys always surprised their listeners, contemporaries, and critics with each subsequent musical course they charted. Yauch’s influence on the lasting relevance of the Beastie Boys, their evolution, and their cultural purview can’t be overstated.
The Mysteries of Brooklyn
If Bedford Avenue is the main street of modern day Williamsburg, North Sixth Street is the hipster haven’s Broadway. Home to the first proper grocery store (Tops), concert venue (Northsix), swap meet (Artists and Fleas) and grotesque theme restaurant (Sea), North Sixth Street has long been the grand stage of Williamsburg.
Now performing on North Sixth Street (even if Northsix is long gone, replaced by a Manhattan concert conglomerate) is the Original Music Workshop.
Conceived by Kevin Dolan, a former tax attorney who also happens to be an organ virtuoso, the Original Music Workshop seeks to provide a venue bridging new and old Williamsburg, sustaining music of all types for all ages. As the rest of the neighborhood continues its inexorable gentrification, Mr. Dolan hopes to preserve a tiny corner of Williamsburg cultural past, as well as one of its historic industrial buildings.
“It’s amazing you can knock down anything and build whatever you want,” Mr. Dolan said in an interview. “I’m hopeful that at least the south side of this block will still maintain its feel into the future.”
In advance of Fiona Apple’s new album–her first since 2005, and bearing a characteristically unwieldy title–the singer has released a new single. It’s called “Every Single Night,” and with its twee plinkiness and scatty, anxious vocals, it’s no huge departure, which is precisely what any fan of Ms. Apple would hope for.
Trouble in TahitiLeonard Bernstein
“We really don’t want to be jerks,” Jamie Bernstein told The Observer recently. “Who wants to be a jerk?”
Ms. Bernstein was sitting at the dining room table of her Chelsea apartment, talking about the legacy of her father, Leonard Bernstein. It’s that legacy that she doesn’t want to be a jerk about.
Along with her sister and brother and the small staff and board of the Leonard Bernstein Office Inc., Ms. Bernstein is in charge of overseeing the future of Lenny. This intimate group is the gatekeeper for all things Bernstein, giving the final approval for new productions, adaptations and arrangements.
That Whole Austin Situation
For a few weeks every year, pity poor Austin, Texas, when South by Southwest results in the tragic occupation of the town by New York City’s hipster and media set. Even Jay-Z was taken aback by the way his hometown was essentially imported to the Lone Star State. Think of it as one big Friday Night Lights fetishist party, or the metropolitan intelligentsia version of Spring Break in Daytona Beach. As they network among the endless river of new media panels, music industry showcases, and food trucks, occasionally something interesting happens.
Like when a Harlem rap crew brought forth absolute chaos upon SxSW’s denizens last night at a VICE party. Naturally.