News and Commentary

Ten Musical Notes and New Music for the Week of January 14, 2018

This week’s new music, courtesty of NPR, has a Spanish feel. Above is Héctor Guerra’s – “Vida,” featuring Mariel Mariel and below is “Vagabundos de Otro Mundo” by Adan Jodorowsky featuring León Larregui.

Matt Wong at Guitar World discusses training yourself to listen to music better. How to actually do it is complicated. The idea is clear, however: How people listen is important. There are ways to improve – or perhaps sharpen is a better word – these skills. Wong offers exercises in learning how to be a better music listener.

Sony, Warner Brothers, Capitol Records and others are suing Fit Radio. The companies claim that Fit is unlawfully using copyrighted material with their fitness apps.

You heard it all here.

The presidency of Donald Trump is so divisive and controversial that an Irish music critic discusses the need to limit the amount of times he is mentioned in reviews and commentary. The idea is that the current situation is so overwhelming that it is not unreasonable to bring him up continually. Doing that, however, reduces the impact of mentioning Trump when he is more directly relevant. Meanwhile, the Talking Heads sort of weigh in.

Forbes offers ten take-aways on the BuzzAngle Music 2017 U.S. Report. There is a link to the research itself. It was the third consecutive year of growth for the American music industry.

Rosencrans Avenue, which runs for 27 miles through South Los Angeles and Compton, is the subject of a feature in the LA Times by Randall Roberts and Priya Krishnakumar. The road figures prominently in hip-hop history. An historic irony is that it is named after a Civil War general.

It’s nice to see that Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the South African group that teamed with Paul Simon on the iconic “Graceland” album, still is going strong. The band will perform at Sonoma State University on January 26 and Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, CA, on the two following nights.

Music fans planning their 2018 vacations may want to check out the schedule for Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s amusement part in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Not surprisingly, considering the co-owner (Herschend Family Entertainment is the other), there is lots of music on tap.

A Japanese study published in the journal “Personality and Individual Differences” found that men with higher testosterone levels are less likely to enjoy sophisticated music such as classical and jazz, according to Pacific Standard. The study was based on reactions to 25 15-second musical extracts by 37 Japanese men and 39 women.

James Jackson Toth wrote a long piece at NPR. The bottom line: He doesn’t like streaming. According to the BBC’s Clemency Burton-Hill, listening to classical music once a day will improve your life.

Def Leppard has for the first time released its music catalog to streaming services, according to Newsweek.

Our New Things: Links to Music Sites and Info on Analog Tech and Vinyl

TDMB has focused on music and musicians. We will continue to do that, of course. We're also expanding our coverage to include vinyl and analog equipment.

More specifically, we'll look at this huge and interesting world from the perspective of music lovers who want a better experience, not committed non-audiophiles.

Check out is some of what we've written so far:

-- Assessing the Value of Vinyl Records: An Overview

-- 7 Quick Tips on Optimizing Your Turntable Cartridge

-- Why Vinyl Records Continue to Thrive

-- Finding the Best Amplifier

-- Finding the Best Phono Preamp

-- What Speakers Do I Need for My Turntable?

Check out more articles on analog equipment and vinyl.

The site also is home to The Internet Music Mapping Project, an effort to list and describe as many music-related sites as possible.

Our Music

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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