Today we’re launching a weekly blog series in which we discuss the music we’re featuring on youtube.com/music -- and why. We’ll share the videos that have us tweeting obsessively, playlists which delve into all the great new (and old!) music scenes percolating on the site, and even the occasional streaming album premier. Sure, we’re only scratching the surface of YouTube’s vast musical universe -- but you’ve got to start somewhere, right? Welcome to the first edition, and we hope you discover some great music with us!
Dig for Fire’s SXSW Lawn Party Highlights
We had a big presence last week in Austin. Besides our excellent party, we were also psyched to partner this year with the taste-making New York record store Other Music and indie videographers Dig for Fire to present their two-day Lawn Party. The list of performers was stellar: James Blake, !!!, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and many more. Dig for Fire has graciously put together some exclusive videos for us, featuring live performances and backstage interviews. Kick back and watch; now’s your chance to feel like you had a VIP badge.
Music Discovery: The ‘80s are back...again!
This week also sees the release of a new Duran Duran record and The Cars’ first single in 24 years. Yes, you read that right: it seems the current love affair with the ‘80s is not just inspiring indie bands anymore; it’s actually resurrecting iconic ‘80s bands themselves. Which is, let’s admit it, kind of awesome. Who doesn’t want to hear more from Ric Ocasek?
Why the ‘80s obsession, why now? The ‘80s were a disposable, plastic era that celebrated artifice, and two hallmarks of the ‘80s -- cassette tapes and VHS -- were precursors of the portable entertainment era we now find ourselves in. (It’s no accident both have attained a sort of nostalgic chic in recent years. In the age of the iPod, cassettes are undeniably cute and lo-fi.) But the long, slow boil of this retro trend is actually cooking up some great music, whether you’re listening to the well-known Daft Punk or lesser-known acts like Tape Deck Mountain. We feature both bands -- and oodles more -- in our playlist “The ‘80s Are Back...Again!”
Full Album Premiere: Pharoahe Monch’s “W.A.R.”
If you haven’t heard of Pharoahe Monch, now’s the time to jump on the bandwagon. This underground emcee is one of the lyrical princes of hip-hop, the kind of lyricist others turn to for inspiration. He’s an unflinching truth-teller with a political edge, and his deft, literate lyrics will stun you with their sound as much as their sense: the man is a master of the internal rhyme. Monch returns this week with his third full-length, “W.A.R. (We Are Renegades),” and we’re streaming it to you, in its entirety, this week.
Stay tuned and check back next week to discover more music.