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    Spotify reveals its most-played music for its 10th anniversary

    Drake tops the list of most-streamed artists of all time, followed by Ed Sheeran, Eminem, The Weeknd and Rihanna. Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" was the most-streamed song of last year, but it was apparently listened to so often that it also tops the service's most streamed songs of all time list. It's followed by "One Dance" by Drake, "Closer" by The Chainsmokers and Halsey, "rockstar (feat. 21 Savage)" by Post Malone and "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran. Rihanna may be fifth on the most-streamed artist of all time list, but she was the first artist to reach one ... Read More

    Vaccines score with ‘Combat Sports’

    British rockers The Vaccines corrected their course on “Combat Sports,” a knockout return to form and 2018’s best record so far. It’s a contrast to the band’s third album, 2015’s “English Graffiti,” which began with lofty artistic ambitions. Tired of the proto-punk riffs that defined 2011’s “What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?” and 2012’s “Come of Age,” frontman Justin Young had a chip on his shoulder. “We felt like we’d been pigeonholed, like we were functioning within these very small parameters. We wanted to prove that we could make a production-heavy record, that we could make pretty songs and ... Read More

    Kamasi Washington: Heaven and Earth

    The latest from the saxophonist and bandleader is a multi-genre feast of musical ideas, his most sweeping and complete statement yet ... Read More

    Pure Bathing Culture takes on Blue Nile’s ‘Hats’

    Portland musicians Daniel Hindman and Sarah Versprille met at 18 while studying jazz performance at a New Jersey college, and there was an initial romantic spark. “Sarah had beautiful jazz hands, and slowly, over time, I couldn’t resist them,” says Hindman of the girl who eventually became his significant other and co-founder of the ethereal synth-based duo Pure Bathing Culture. “But it’s funny, we became best friends, roommates and bandmates first, and didn’t really become a couple until our late twenties,” says Hindman. When PBC on its recent fourth album decided to recreate, note for note, one of its all-time ... Read More

    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