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Ten Musical Notes and New Music for The Week of November 27, 2017

The new music this week (or at least newish music highlighted in a Vox piece posted yesterday) is from the late Sharon Jones — everyone still hates hearing that. The song, of course with the Dap Kings, is “Call of God.” Below is Sia’s “Santa’s is Coming for Us.”

It always seems to come to this. It happened with The Beatles, it happened with Credence, and it is happening with Steely Dan. The “it” is litigation. Anyone interested in the details can check out the NPR story. The bottom line is that art is about commerce as well. The fabulous Michelangelo show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC shows his artistic brilliance. It also showed that his patrons paid him well. In any case, the fight is over who owns Steely Dan Inc. which, presumably, controls the band’s catalog. Naturally, this has the makings of a pretty good Steely Dan song.

The AV Club, by way of Pitchfork, writes that Frank Ocean may have an album on the way. The piece notes Ocean’s general evasiveness and unpredictability. It says that he once promised to make five albums by the time he turns 30. The big three-oh was last month, and Ocean hinted on Tumblr that he indeed has made the fifth record. It could be a joke, or fans could have a treat in store.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: What's New is Old Again
Everybody misses Sharon Jones

Steve Martin is quietly approaching icon status. He of course is best known as a comedian. Martin, however, also has written successful novels and is a professional-level banjo player. Philly.com has a nice overview story, called an advance, about his appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra on January 27. The occasion is the Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball. Previous guests included Rod Stewart, James Taylor, Jill Scott, Billy Joel and Sting, the story says.

Rolling Stone has posted what it considers to be the 50 top songs of 2017. The site loves lists.

Billboard has an interesting story based on a dinner with Jimmy Iovine, the head of Apple Music. Iovine is a legend. He was an engineer for John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen, produced Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stevie Nicks and U2, the story points out. He’s done much more, which is discussed in the story. The story covers a lot of ground, but focuses mostly on what he sees as the challenges record labels face today.

The New York Post reports on a study by Soundtrack Your Brand that found retail workers get depressed during the holidays because they are forced to listen to non-stop holiday music. The company, which is partly owned by Spotify, surveyed more than 2,000 customers and workers. Some of the workers say that “a lack of variety in songs affected them negatively.”

An interesting piece at The Verge uses the animated Pixar movie “Coco” as a jumping off point for discussing the link between dementia and music. The movie, Rachel Becker writes in her story, is said by experts to get a lot of things right. The article says that there is a link that seems stronger in some cases than others. It seems that music can be an effective treatment.

Big Think also has a good piece up this week. It focuses on research published in Current Biology on research that suggests that “common circuitry inside the brain” means that bird song, human speech and music all come from what Philip Perry describes as “common jumbles of neurons firing in particular patterns.” Interesting: Perry writes that there are 6,906 languages in about 250 language families.

If you are headed to Finland, turvallista matkaa. Once there, however, you may have trouble finding the music you want. As of a couple of days ago, YouTube had blocked thousands of music videos because it had failed to reach a licensing agreement with Teosto, the local performance copyright agency. The news was reported by The Next Web via YLE, a Finnish news outlet. Teosto represents 30,000 artists, all of which were blocked. December 6th is the nation’s centennial.

Austin is a cool city (figuratively, not literally, of course) and a hotbed of music. So why not buy a venue? One is available. Billboard reports that The Parish is being auctioned on eBay. It is a 5,300-square-foot venue with a capacity of 425 people. The auction opens today at noon central time. ATX Brands is the seller. The buyer gets a venue where the likes of Pete Townshend and Slash have performed and assume a 12-year lease with two five-year renewal options.