Latest news

    SF Opera completes triumphant ‘Ring’ again

    San Francisco Opera’s modern-set, 21st-century production of Wagner’s massive 19th-century masterwork “Der Ring des Nibelungen” concluded Sunday with a bang, with the company’s former music director Donald Runnicles having guided the orchestra throughout 17 hours of music with agility and sensitivity. After opening Tuesday with “Das Rheingold,” the troupe’s revival of Francesca Zambello’s 2011 production of the four-opera “Ring” cycle continued its epic journey Wednesday with a moving “Die Walküre,” which introduced new heroes and heels to the four-part tale — and a fair share of heroic performances. As in all of the SFO’s “Ring” operas, water is a prominent ... Read More

    Oliver Ackermann of APTBS quiets down — for now

    Oliver Ackermann didn’t plan to refine the industrial-strength onslaught of A Place To Bury Strangers, his group that’s been called the loudest band in New York. But a couple of force majeure incidents changed the singer’s mind. The first was in 2014, when Death By Audio — the effects-pedal design firm and live-work space he created seven years earlier, which included studios and an all-ages music and art venue — fell victim to Vice Media, which bought the warehouse and evicted everyone. Although one incensed co-worker filmed a tell-all documentary “Goodnight Brooklyn: The Story of Death By Audio,” Ackermann stayed ... Read More

    Sonos bundles offer audio options for home theater, vinyl and more

    There are several speaker sets on offer. One deal offers two Sonos One speakers for $379, three of them for $549 and four Ones for $729. You can get two Play:5 speakers for $899, and a Playbar (or a Playbase) with two Sonos Ones for $999. There are home theater sets, too, consisting of either a Playbar or Playbase with a subwoofer for $1,299 or the same with two add-on Sonos Ones for $1,649. Finally, you can grab a Play:5 and turntable bundle for $799, two Play:5s with a turntable for $1,249 or two Play:5 speakers with a turntable and ... Read More

    YouTube’s revamped music charts focus on what’s hot right now

    This is the first "dedicated external signal" of activity on the most viewed new music on YouTube, according to the company. That's a big shift from before, where YouTube was previously focused on total views. You can still view all-time demand for artists and videos (now with some unspecified improvements), but it's clear that YouTube wants your eyes on what's happening right this second. As to why? The trending charts are coming just days after Billboard started giving more weight to paid streams, but YouTube's Stephen Bryan was adamant in a conversation with Rolling Stone that this wasn't a reaction ... Read More

    Phil Spector’s famous sound (and cruelty) drove The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson to wretched obsession

    Getty/Bloomsbury Publishing/Salon Excerpted from “The Beach Boys’ Smile” by Luis Sanchez (Bloomsbury, 2014). Reprinted with permission from Bloomsbury Publishing. The drift of influence between Brian Wilson and Phil Spector was fraught with one-sided expectation and imbalance of respect. It played out to mortifying effect when Brian offered one of his own songs, “Don’t Hurt My Little Sister,” for the wall of sound treatment, pitching it as an arrangement for Darlene Love in the summer of 1964. Spector took the gesture as an opportunity to embarrass his eager admirer. At first he humored Brian by taking the time to record an ... Read More

    R.E.M.’s first ever show: Opening band at a birthday party in a church

    I.R.S Records/Bloomsbury Publishing/Salon Excerpted from “R.E.M.’s Murmur” by J. Niimi (Continuum, 2005). Reprinted with permission from Bloomsbury Publishing. It was back in Macon that Bill Berry first encountered Mike Mills, a fellow high school student. Mills is arguably the band’s closest thing to a “native” Southerner: though he too was born in California, like Buck, Mills’s parents moved to Georgia while he was still a baby. As a teenager Mills was a clean-cut straight-A student, while the teenage Berry was something of a long-haired stoner, and the pair did not get along well until the day they both happened to ... Read More

    HD vinyl is a promise, not a product

    HD vinyl skips a few of those steps, supposedly shaving a few weeks off manufacturing time. Music is fed into CAD software where it's converted into a 3D map of bumps and grooves. That data is etched into a ceramic pressing plate using a laser. Since HD vinyl eliminates the need for electroplating, the promise is faster production and reduced pollution. Switching a pressing plant over will hypothetically be as easy as swapping out a nickel plate for a ceramic one. It's a little like direct metal mastering, a technique introduced in the '80s. But that uses copper. Ceramic is ... Read More

    Deezer now creates weekly playlists based on your listening habits

    Flow will have daily recommendations in addition to genre stations, and as you'd expect, you can favorite any song and add it to a new or existing playlist. As The Verge points out, there are also Flow playlists full of brand new music, and those will refresh weekly. This is the sort of thing that was more or less Pandora's bread and butter in the early days of music streaming. Back in 2013, Apple added Genius Shuffle to iTunes which grouped similar songs automatically. Microsoft's now-defunct Groove Music did similar, but with streaming, while Apple Music and Google Play Music ... Read More

    ‘Breaking Bad’ prompts Badfinger resurgence

    [unable to retrieve full-text content] to see original story and photos ... Read More

    M. Lamar alters consciousness in ‘Lordship and Bondage’

    Over the past decade, New York-based composer, countertenor and multimedia artist M. Lamar has railed against race, class and gender inequality in critically lauded works “Surveillance Punishment and the Black Psyche,” “Speculum Orum,” “Negro Antichrist” and “Funeral Doom Spiritual.” In his new show, “Lordship and Bondage: The Birth of the Negro Superman,” which premieres Friday at Old First Concerts, the Alabama native, former San Francisco resident and twin brother of “Orange Is the New Black” star Laverne Cox is hoping to finally free himself from “the muck of the mundane of talking about racism and class identity.” “I see it ... Read More

    Cry Cry Cry together again after 20 years

    When Cry Cry Cry hits Berkeley on Sunday, it will be exactly two decades since the folk supergroup issued its sole self-titled album of cover songs. But it’s not technically a 20th anniversary tour, says New York singer Lucy Kaplansky, who formed the trio with Dar Williams and Richard Shindell. The idea came from promoter Steve Lurie, who wanted the band to reunite for 2017’s Hudson, N.Y. Clearwater Festival. “The night we played that concert, I was just overwhelmed. I had waves of chills, so we immediately thought, ‘Hey, let’s do some more shows!’” she says. The group even recorded ... Read More

    James Taylor tells of Inheaven’s origins

    James Taylor — singer-guitarist for great new English outfit Inheaven, which hits The City next week — believes he was fated to have a musical career. It started when his parents christened him James at birth, in reference to their favorite actor James Dean (not the American folk rocker). Naturally, he was regularly fire-and-rain razzed growing up, he says, “Which was not bad, overall, because Taylor was a lot bigger in America than in Britain, so I didn’t get hassled as much at home. But all my American friends always mentioned it.” Even when Taylor met future Inheaven bassist-vocalist Chloe ... Read More