80Fitz beatboxing

Helium Beatbox

Watch 80Fitz, professional beatboxer / YouTube extraordinaire, beatbox to various songs and character voices while inhaling helium.

Check out more from 80Fitz's YouTube Channel
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Travis 1y
Bon Iver's Cryptic 22

Bon Iver Finally Released a New Album, But Why Was it Released on September 30th?

After a 4-year long hiatus, presumably living up the hipster lifestyle, Bon Iver has released their newest Album 22, A Million to instant critical acclaim. The album marks a stylistic change for the group from their folk roots to experimental/electronic alternative rock. The 35 minuet long LP is a beautiful collection of a refreshing new sound; Singer/Songwriter Justin Vernon leads in 10 equally interesting tracks which he describes is about “finding yourself.” The whole album is an interesting work to digest and interpret. From the often vauge lyrics, down to the way the tracks are stylized ( 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄), the whole album feels like something we haven’t fully decoded yet. Needless to say, 4 or 5 listens in, I’m still discovering what Bon Iver is trying to portray in this short, but expansive work. What is most curious to me is the timing of 22, A Million’s release.

The Western music world revolves on a calendar year of 10/01-09/30. This time frame is the eligibility period for the Grammy Awards (aka the which white musician came out with the “edgiest” album this year awards). For example, if an album came out this year on 10/01/2016, it wouldn’t be eligible for the Grammy Awards until they are presented in 2018. Yesterday was the final day than an album would be considered for the 2017 Award show. Yesterday was also the day that 22, A Million was released.

If this was brought up to Justin Vernon, it would be immediately dismissed. During his past acceptance of Grammy Awards, Vernon has said he “felt out of place, and overwhelmed” while accepting awards for his two previous Albums Bon Iver, Bon Iver, and For Emma, Forever Ago (I just realized right now that all their albums have commas in them. That’s weird. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?). But the timing just seems too strategic. If it were intentional, Bon Iver has some stiff competition to go up against: Radiohead, Beyonce, Kanye West, James Blake, Adele, Frank Ocean. All of these artists have challenged the status quo in terms of what to expect of music in 2016 (all in very different ways), and Bon Iver has done this as well. It seems that in a year where the unexpected is to be expected in the music industry, Bon Iver can rush in and own that narrative; it’s been theirs for a long time.

If the ultimate prize was the goal, a better release date would have literally been the day after. Q4 in the music industry is looking bleak (Rick Astley is releasing an album for Christ’s sake). Releases from Lady Gaga, The Weekend, and Beck might keep music listeners satisfied for a time, but it’s nothing like the behemoth of Q2 and Q3 2016. The sheer amount of good music that has been released this year is going to make for an interesting Grammy Awards in 2017. Bon Iver would have held the high bar for the 2018 awards, but instead they will go head to head with their peers in a match that they can definitely compete in, but probably not win.
Perhaps I’m reading into this a little too much. Like I said before, Vernon would be lecturing about the satisfaction and merits of songwriting over winning a lousy Grammy award. For now, I’m excited to continue to listen to this great album, and continue to speculate about the potential Grammy drama.
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Kids playing violins with light sabers

These Kids Performed the Star Wars Theme Song on Violin and its Incredible

The Star Wars theme song incredibly played by Quebec schools École de l'Harmonie St Édouard and École secondaire de La Seigneurie.

The kids are playing in great spirits despite the fire that blazed through their school only a week prior, cancelling classes for all teachers and students. The cause of the fire was unknown.

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Travis 2y
Best songs of 2016 album covers

The Best Songs of 2016.. So Far

1. Same Drugs - Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book
"Where did you go to end up right back here? When did you start to forget how to fly?"

Simple yet powerful, "Same Drugs" from Chance the Rapper’s 3rd Mixtape is hauntingly relatable. Presented as an abstract anecdote from Chance’s personal life, the song describes the ebb and flow of relationships and growing up that is nostalgic of a simpler time. And the rest of the album continues on the same brilliant path, often times feeling like the collective wisdom of hip hop has culminated to this moment. It’s one of those rare works that demands your attention and has it (almost) the entire way through.

2. All Night - Beyoncé - Lemonade
"With every tear came redemption, and my torturer became my remedy."

Beyoncé wears many hats in Lemonade, this year’s most critically acclaimed and talked about album. In her interpretation of the final stage of grief, Beyoncé challenges what Redemption means in "All Night", the ballad that we have been waiting for from Queen Bee since "Halo". Described as her favorite on the album, "All Night" is the most lyrically impressive as it treads on the most familiar territory for Beyoncé: Love. In an album full of eclectic emotions, this song is the most emotional, pulling the heart strings of all listeners, new and old. In the wake of infidelity and darkness, Beyoncé escapes in "All Night" in the most beautiful way.

3. Never Be Like You - Flume (Feat. Kai) - Skin
"I would give anything to change this fickle minded heart that loves fake shiny things"

In his sophomore Attempt, Flume ventures from the Electronic music that once made him popular. This is introduced to us in the form of "Never Be Like You": a wonderful marriage of Trap effects and ambient sounds that epitomizes what we love about EDM in 2016. With the help of unique vocals from Canadian EDM vet Kai, "Never Be Like You" explores self - destruction and loss, heavy themes for electronic music. The rest of the album has not yet dropped, but is highly anticipated. If the whole work of Skin is anything like "Never be Like You", EDM fans will be in for quite a treat.

4. Burn the Witch - Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
"This is a low flying Panic Attack"

Staccato Strings and vicious energy are at the genesis of Radiohead’s cautionary tale "Burn the Witch" and everyone is immediately drawn in. As its title suggests, "Burn the Witch" paints a picture of mass hysteria and authoritarianism, a history our country has trouble owning. Although unintentionally political, Radiohead succeeds in their first release in 5 years at being just as strong with metaphor as they are musically. The piece comes to an exciting end with Thom Yorke chanting in vibrant falsetto "We know where you live", reminding us all the ever growing talent of this great rock band.

5. Untitled 08 | 09.06.2014 - Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered
"In today’s day and age we practice the self-pity of taking the easy way out."

"Why so sad?" Kendrick asks as he laments in Untitled 08 about coming ahead in the face of adversity. Like many Kendrick Lamar songs before, Untitled 08 is racially and socially driven often touching on the financial struggles and tribulations of the black community. Although sad in content, the music is very alive with pounding drum beats and major key, reminiscent of To Pimp a Butterfly’s "King Kunta". Untitled Unmastered often feels more like a mixtape than just a release of previously unreleased Kendrick Lamar demos, but that is exactly what is special about him; all of his music exists in his world and we are just living in it.

6. Timeless - James Blake - The Colour in Anything
"You know you slide out when you slide in with graceful shadow."

James Blake has had a busy year so far, dropping a surprise album, being on another surprise album (Lemonade. Song: Forward), and continuing to innovate electronic music. The peak of this on the album is in the song "Timeless", a hauntingly beautiful song that is harder and harder to digest the more and more you consume it. The lack of a definitive beat and excess of ambiance make "Timeless" one of the best songs to drop this year. The more we listen to James Blake, the more we yearn for him and his uniquely unexpected sound.
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Tom Delonge To The Stars

Tom DeLonge claims he will release four albums this year

Tom DeLonge shared on his Twitter page last night that he will be releasing four albums this year, surprising us with a new single called New World playing in the video above, along with two more tracks coming out in the next few weeks.

Due to the timing of the tweet, there is speculation that this is DeLonge's response to Matt Skiba claiming that Blink-182 "feels like home" on the latest episode of Mark Hoppus' podcast, which went live yesterday evening as well.

Anyway, it looks like Tom will be releasing an album called To The Stars, an effort expected to contain new Blink 182 demos, "along with a few extra tracks", on April 20th.

Two more tracks are to be released before the album's official debut, releasing on March 23rd, and April 6th.  No other details have been released on the other records that DeLonge claims he will be putting out.

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Travis 2y
57th Grammy Awards

Grammy Predictions

2015's Grammy Awards is going to one of the first in my life where I am actually versed in what is going on. This past year, I have really committed to broadening my musical horizons, and I ended up purchasing some of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year. A more appropriate title to this post would have been "Grammy Wining Wish List", but I will try to keep my biases to a minimum. Here is a selected list of who I think should win.

 Album of the Year

Morning Phase, Beck
Beyoncé, Beyoncé
X, Ed Sheeran
G I R L, Pharrell
In the Lonely Hour, Sam Smith

I am a forever fan of Beyonce, and her wonderful music making. I own all of these albums, except Beck's and I can truly say without a doubt that Beyonce is the clear winner here. The music in this album is some of the most complex R&B that has ever existed. The song structures are non-traditional, and exciting. Even the release of this album was groundbreaking. If this album does not win, then all faith in the Grammys will be lost.

Record of the Year

“Fancy,” Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
“Chandelier,” Sia
“Stay With Me (Darkchild Version),” Sam Smith
“Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift
“All About That Bass,” Meghan Trainor

Sia's 1000 Forms of Fear is an album that deserves higher praise than what the Grammys have decided to bestow upon it. Chandelier as its lead single is one of the most refreshing pop ballads that have come out in a long time. Unfortunately for Sia, I'm pretty confident that Sam Smith might take this one home. For the record (pun intended): All About That Bass is a plagiarized mess of a song. Plagiarized things don't deserve to win awards. Shake it off is great. Fancy is my Jam. Stay With Me is a great cry yourself to sleep song. But Chandelier is golden. 

Song of the Year 

“All About That Bass,” Meghan Trainor 
“Chandelier,” Sia
“Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift
“Stay With Me,” Sam Smith
“Take Me to Church,” Hozier

Here’s the deal with the record/song of the year confusion: Song of the Year is awarded to the songwriter of the song. Record of the year is awarded to the artist/production team. Sometimes artists are singer/songwriter (like Sia, Hozier, and that plagiarizer Megan Trainor). Sometimes they are not. Song of the year allows special recognition for these people.

Hozier came out of nowhere this year with his debut Take Me To Church. The composition of this song is astonishing. The content is metaphorical and interesting. This is a no brainer. I do think that Sam Smith might take this one as well unfortunately. Nothing against Smith, he just isn’t the best.

Best New Artist

Iggy Azalea
Brandy Clark
Sam Smith

If you have never heard of Haim, then you are missing out. Their Debut album Days Are Gone contains some of the most unique music that has come out this year. These sisters are also BFFS with Lorde and Taylor Swift, so you know they are legit. If I had my way, they would win. But I once again think this will go to Sam Smith.

I think this is a great time to point out that Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour is a fantastic display of music making. The songs are all great and he has such an interesting vocal timbre that mostly everyone enjoys. It just isn’t the best, but it will most likely be perceived as such. Iggy Azalea pleasantly surprised me this year with The New Classic which is also a great album. I will say the same about Bastille’s Bad Blood. All of these albums are great, I listen to them regularly. But Haim deserves this one. They are the clear winner. 

I don’t know who the fuck Brandy Clark is.

Best Pop Vocal Album

Ghost Stories, Coldplay
Bangerz, Miley Cyrus
My Everything, Ariana Grande
Prism, Katy Perry
X, Ed Sheeran
In the Lonely Hour, Sam Smith

Ed Sheeran is the most talented person on this list. X is a great album. Prism by Katy Perry is one of the biggest disappointments that happened this year. Ariana Grande will never be worthy especially with these contenders. Lol Miley. Bangerz is my Jam, but it’s also not worthy of this award. Sia should have a nomination here. Coldplay might win it. Sam Smith might as well. Ed Sheeran deserves this the most.

Best Traditional Pop Album 

Partners, Barbra Streisand
Cheek to Cheek, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
Night Songs, Barry Manilow
Nostalgia, Annie Lennox
Sending You a Little Christmas, Johnny Mathis

I so appreciate Lady Gaga bringing traditional Jazz standards to the younger generations. These songs will live on for a long time because of her. I do however think that Barbra deserves this one. Partners is a phenomenal album with great collaborations.

Best Rap Album

The New Classic, Iggy Azalea
Because the Internet, Childish Gambino
The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Eminem
Oxymoron, Schoolboy Q
Blacc Hollywood, Wiz Khalifa
Nobody’s Smiling, Common

I’m not exaggerating here when I say that Childish Gambino’s Because the Internet is one of the best albums that came out this year. The composition is world class in this album, and the content is some of the most relatable and believable rap that has come out in a long time. It’s just a good album. Go buy it.

There are of course so many more categories to weigh in on. These are the ones that I am most familiar with.

In general, I think Sam Smith will take the most Grammys home this year. His popularity has skyrocketed Grammy voter awareness. Unfortunately in major awards, it’s not always about the art, but about the popularity. We can only hope that the Grammy Voters truly vote for what they believe is the best.
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Whatevo 2y
Nirvana: Nevermind album cover concept

What Lies Beyond the Borders of Famous Album Covers

The Bigger Picture, a clever project created by UK-based digital design and marketing agency, Aptitude, fabricates creative photos illustrating zoomed out album covers, many of which you probably recognize.

These photos illustrate unexpected scenes beyond the cropped borders of the album covers.  Some of the covers include Nevermind by Nirvana, Off the Wall by Michael Jackson, 19 by Adele, and more.

Justin Bieber: My World album cover concept

Michael Jackson: Living in the Future album cover concept

The Beatles: Abbey Road album cover concept

Adele: 19 album cover concept

You can view more from the company's website at http://www.aptitude.co.uk/
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Whatevo 2y
Courtney Love on stage

Courtney Love's Sound Engineer Didn't Get Paid So He Isolated Her Vocals and Guitar. Good God...

This is what happens when you don't pay your sound engineer... and when you sound like complete shit.  This is a video of Hole performing Celebrity Skin live at Don Hill's in NYC, September 11, 2010.  The sound engineer for the show that night (and other nights that week) allegedly didn't receive payment for their work at the venue, so one sound engineer decided to get revenge by isolating the singer/guitarist's vocals and guitar from the rest of the performance, resulting in nothing more than nails on a chalkboard.

The video is said to be someone else's live footage.. all that changed was the original audio was muted and the live recordings of the same performance were synced with the video.
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Whatevo 2y
Las Vegas airport

Man shoots his own music video while stuck at the Las Vegas Airport

What do you do when you're stuck at the Las Vegas Airport overnight? Shoot a music video on your iPhone, that's what!

Richard Dunn was waiting alone at the Las Vegas Airport overnight for a 6 a.m. Delta flight and got bored... so he decided to shoot some video with Celine Dion's "All By Myself" as the song.

"I had a person behind a ticket counter give me a roll of luggage tape before she left.  I then used a wheel chair that had a tall pole on the back of it and taped my iPhone to that.  Then I would put it on the moving walkway for a dolly shot.  I also used the extended handle on my computer bag and taped the iPhone to my handle."

Pretty hilarious, sir!
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Whatevo 3y
8-bit harmonica

8-bit Harmonica - Blow into the cartridge for music

This harmonica not only has a Famicon cartridge case, it also produces 8-bit sound when you blow into the cartridge!  The 8-bit sound in this harmonica is achieved using a set of pipes that you blow into that are programmed to reproduce the chiptune sounds as heard in the original Super Mario Bros.  Multiple modes allow you to switch between playing music or the coin sound effect from the game.  Whether you're a video game fan or not, this is definitely a cool idea!

Source:  Basami Sentaku via YouTube
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