Coldplay announce “final” album A Head Full of Dreams

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Coldplay

December 4 2014

Coldplay is just seven months removed from the release of its sixth studio album, Ghost Stories, but already the band is in the studio working on No. 7. Not only that, but Chris Martin already has a title for the LP, which he revealed during an interview with BBC Radio 1 on Thursday.

The new album will be called A Head Full of Dreams and Martin considers it the band’s final chapter. He explained to Zane Lowe, “We are right in the middle of [recording] … It’s our seventh thing and the way we look at it it’s like the last Harry Potter book. That’s not to say there won’t be another thing one day, but this is the completion of something. It was great to go from Ghost Stories right back into the studio. Now, we’re making things that sound different. It’s a very fun time to be in our band.”

“I have to think of it as the final thing we’re doing, otherwise we wouldn’t put everything into it,” he continued.

Martin added that the band does plan to tour behind A Head Full of Dreams, something they did not do for Ghost Stories.

Listen to Martin’s full interview below. The part about the new album begins at the 3:15 mark.

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Chris Martin @ Zane Lowe 04.12.2014

 

 

Uploaded on Dec 4, 2014

Magic has topped the Zane Lowe’s hottest songs of the year charts and Chris Martin comments on it. Furthermore, he reveals the title of the upcoming album “A head full of dreams”.

12 Things We Learned From Howard Stern’s Interview With Neil Young

Howard Stern's long-anticipated interview with Neil Young was full of amazing revelations. Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/12-things-we-learned-from-howard-sterns-interview-with-neil-young-20141014#ixzz3GADorywW Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

Howard Stern’s long-anticipated interview with Neil Young was full of amazing revelations. 

By Rolling Stone

Howard Stern has been asked many times over the years to name his number one dream guest and his answer has never changed: Neil Young. His dream finally came true Tuesday morning when Young entered his studio at SiriusXM headquarters in midtown Manhattan for a 90-minute interview promoting his new book Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars, his new digital music service Pono and his upcoming album Storytone. Here are 12 things we learned from the incredible interview.

 

1. Young was understandably nervous about appearing on the show for the first time. “I woke up this morning at 4:30,” he said. “I was thinking to myself, ‘God, what’s he going to ask me about?’ I couldn’t go back to sleep. Some of the thing we got into in a very kind and nice way could have upset my family and my kids. We didn’t do that, which I really appreciate. People say things without understanding the depth of damage they do to people’s lives.”

2. He’s smoking weed again, occasionally. “I do it every once in a while,” he said. “Just a little tiny bit.” Stern gave it up years ago because it makes him paranoid, but Young had the solution. “Try black pepper balls if you get paranoid,” he said. “Just chew two or three pieces. I just found this out myself. Try it.”

3. He wasn’t kidding last week when he said he’s never going to perform with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young ever again. “Playing with Stills and Nash in that band was really great,” he said, intentionally leaving out a certain other member. “I wish [Crosby] the best with his life. There’s love there. There’s just nothing else there. [A reunion] will never happen. Never happen, no, not in a million years….You have to think about things before you do them. If you make a mistake, you have to fix it right away. [A reunion] will never happen. You don’t have to worry about it. It’s easy to say ‘no.'”

4. His relationship with Crosby remains strained, though he didn’t get into specifics. “There’s nothing to apologize for,” Young said. “It was fixable, but it didn’t get fixed.” Stern asked if it was Young’s fault it didn’t get fixed. “Absolutely not,” said Young. “I did everything I could to make sure it got fixed…We were together for a long time. We did some good work. Why should we get together and celebrate how great we were? What difference does it make? It’s not for the audience. It’s not for money, either. When you play music, you have to come from a certain place to do it and everything has to be clear and you don’t want to disturb that. I like to keep the love there, and if the love isn’t there, you don’t want to do it.”

5. Even 45 years later, he’s still pissed about all the cameras onstage at Woodstock. “They didn’t have to be right there on the stage,” he said. “They’re cameras, hello! Use zoom, dickhead. We were playing music and there’s some jerk standing there in black clothes. We’re playing music, get out of there.”

6. He finds it difficult to tell stories about the old days without saying the name of a certain person. “I love the Woodstock movie,” he said. “If you listen to when they introduce Crosby, Stills and Nash, you can tell…Wait a minute, did I say the full name of the band there? Okay, when the guy says, uh…I have to get this right…When he says, uh…Stills, Nash and Young, you can tell he cut. They had to take my name out.” Later in the interview, he referred to Crosby’s 1971 album If I Could Only Remember My Name as a work by “whatshisname.” Stern joked that Crosby wouldn’t like Pono and Young facetiously said, “This Pono player is poisonous. It’s going to kill something? Isn’t that what he said?”

Stern didn’t understand what he was referring to there, but it was clearly these recent comments that Crosby gave to The Idaho Statesmen: “I happen to know that [Neil is] hanging out with somebody that’s a purely poisonous predator now. And that’s karma. He’s gonna get hurt.” Crosby isn’t backing down, telling a fan recently on Twitter that he has “no regrets.”

7. Bono gave him advice about how to write more commercial music. “I sung all the songs in Greendale,” Young said. “And Bono commented that the songs needed hooks that went over and over again and more people could hear them.” Young didn’t take him up on the advice.

8. He’s tremendously disappointed in President Obama. “He just opened up the Gulf of Mexico to fracking,” he said. “Like the Gulf of Mexico didn’t need a break…Politicians are empowered by the system to do nothing but take money from the corporations that control them. Obama campaigned on change and hope, and they’re fracking in the Gulf of Mexico. Barack, hello! Wake up, buddy.”

9. The first batch of Pono players are sold out. “We’re going to try and make more in January,” he said. “We’re starting to build and scale up, but the demand for them was awesome…We’re making this for people that want it. We’re not making it for people that don’t want it, but they may not know then want it until they hear it. It’s a gentle revolution. We’re not trying to bowl over the world. We don’t think success is anything you can tangibly see. It’s a smile.”

10. His newest hobby is paddleboarding. “I’m going out paddleboarding with my girlfriend tomorrow morning,” he said. “It’s a beautiful thing…I can’t worry about the paparazzi. You can’t see them anyway. They are taking pictures from behind trees. You can’t think about that.”

11. He’s psyched about his upcoming album Storytone. “It was a great experience,” he says. “I was in a room with all these musicians. We did it all at once. There’s no overdubs. Be great or be gone. That’s what my producer David Briggs always said. You only have one shot at a time and you can’t go fix it. I knew where I wanted to go with the songs, and the orchestra had charts and an arranger and everything…It was done with up to a 90-piece orchestra. We did it live in the room like Sinatra.”

12. Sharing a Toronto apartment with Rick James in 1966 was nonstop fun. “We did some wild things,” he said. “It’s all very hazy to me now. I’m glad I made it through that stage. It got a little dicey. There were some drugs going on. I remember singing one song for about a day and a half.”

New Gojira Album Is ‘Deeper, More Personal,’ Joe Duplantier Explains

Joe Duplantier of Gojira

Joe Duplantier of Gojira

Gojira Interview: Soundwave TV 2014

Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier gave an update on the upcoming new album, confirming plans to go more personal with the fresh material.

Discussing the follow-up to 2012’s “L’Enfant Sauvage,” Duplantier told Metal Hammer Magazine Show, “Something I started with ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ was that I talked more precisely about my demons.

“Before, I was just talking about fear in general, when you get stuck in a situation inside. Now, I go deeper. It’s becoming more personal. I’m not scared to talk about my fear, my jealousy and my weaknesses in a more precise way,” the frontman concluded.

The record is tentatively due in 2014 and will hopefully mark the group’s strongest work to date. “We feel very optimistic [about] the future, and we’re already enjoying a lot the new stuff,” Joe said during a separate AMH TV chat. “We want to make the strongest album we can do. I mean, all the bands always say they try to make the strongest album, but this time, I think we will really do it.”

During the rest of the interview, Duplantier discussed leaving France and the experience of becoming a dad. Check out the full chat below.

‘Who the F&^% Is Flume’ and How Did He Beat One Direction on the Charts?

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Harley Streten aka “Flume”

 

The Aussie electronic producer is already huge in his home country. Now it’s time for the world to meet him.

 

Austin, Texas is approximately 8,463 miles from Sydney, Australia, but Harley Streten, known to the world as Aussie electronic producer/DJ Flume, will know it well over the next four days. It’s the first day of South by Southwest and Streten is still fighting jetlag from the night before, preparing for what seems like 438 different shows and showcases.

He’s already huge in his native country, with a 2011 EP and last year’s self-titled album both getting wide acclaim (and the latter beating out One Direction on the charts, but more on that later). Now it’s time to “conquer,” to borrow a phrase so liberally used, America, as the DJ is in the midst of a cross-country tour before touring his home country.

We caught up with the 21-year-old to discuss clueless record label execs, living with your parents and the horrors of working at Hard Rock Cafe.

Your album came out in Australia on the same day as One Direction last year and you beat them out of the No. 1 spot. This had to be a career highlight, right?

We knew it was coming out on the same day and we were just like, “Straight up, it’s not going to happen. There’s no way we’ll beat them. F-ck that. It’s impossible.” And then it hit No. 1 and it was nuts. I just sat there with a Maker’s Mark on the rocks to celebrate. I was shocked. It was funny because I’d get messages from all these tweens and 1D little girl fans like, “What the f-ck? Who the f-ck’s Flume and why is he No. 1?” That was the best part of it all.  I posted one girl’s tweet. It got a bit heated.

Your bio says you found your first music production program in a cereal box. Is that true or are you already creating some mythic backstory?

[Laughs] It’s totally true. I was shopping with my dad when I was quite young and there was a promotion going on with a CD inside a Nutri-Grain cereal box. It was a simple loop-based program and there was some competition like, “Make a song with this and you can win something.” I thought that sounded cool. The whole concept of how music was laid out in layers and can be broken down, but came out as one piece of music was really intriguing for me.

“If we’re going to work together, I need 100% creative control and your label bosses can suck a d-ck.”

You’re only 21. Do you have your own studio already?

My studio is my bedroom in my parents’ place still. I’m planning on buying a place and just renting it out whilst living at home. A lot of the ideas came about while I was traveling overseas with a friend backpacking around Europe for three months. I had just gotten my first-ever laptop, so I’d sit in a café for a few hours and write some tunes. I’d bring them home and make them into proper songs.

The album alternates between more electronic free-form tracks and more traditional verse/chorus pop structure. Was that the plan going on?

It really was a natural thing. I didn’t have a big concept like, “I want it to sound like this.” It was just me spewing out ideas. The Flume thing was always a side project. I was doing big-room house-y stuff under the name Heads. It never really went anywhere. A label picked up [the Flume tracks] and I realized there is some potential in this. The album came out of it. When I’m going for a chill track, it’ll come out chill, but you can still dance to it because my roots are in dance music.

Yet there’s still that pop structure in a lot of your work.

Yeah, when it comes to that, I like the idea of a pop structure. But I also like more progressive things. I always loved the “build a beat up and then drop it” concept. My first ever musical love was trance before I moved on to Moby and M83 and then the whole French electronic thing of Justice and Daft Punk. I bought my best friend Homework when I was 9 years old. It moved on to more house and techno-y stuff and finally it came to all the “weird” shit like Flying Lotus and Shlomo. Electronic has always been my main thing, but Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm is in my Top 5 of all time.

Flume – sintra

Are your parents supportive or do they scream at you to “Turn that sh-t off”?

[Laughs] We got the house renovated and they just put f-ckloads of insulation in my room. You could kill someone in my room and my parents wouldn’t know. They’re just glad I’m making money off this. When I went out of school, I had a phase where I’d just play computer games and smoke bongs.

I’ve never had a studio, but I really do want to get one just outside of my house. Then I can go to work. I can’t chill out at my home because now it’s, “F-ck, I have to do this and this.” If I could get up at 9 and be like, “I have to go to work” and go to the studio and get in my headspace, get my stuff done and leave, I can relax.

Do you see yourself producing for others in the future or just doing stuff for yourself?

I’ve gotten requests to work with some bigger, high-profile acts, but I don’t want to do that until I’ve established a really strong brand and name for myself. I’m thinking maybe after the second or third album is when I really want to start branching out and doing things like ghostwriting. That’s really interesting to me because it gives you boundaries and I find that boundaries inspire creativity. I also want to score a film; it’d be another challenge production-wise. It’s not just, “Time to write the best song you can.” It’s try and write to this image, which is a completely different headspace to write with.

Do you have any dream artists you’d want to work with?

People often ask, “Will you go down the pop road and want to work with the Christina Aguileras?” and I tell them, “Absolutely. But it’s not like I’d be writing what you normally hear them singing to. It would be music that I’m 100% happy with. It’d be like a killer tune like OutKast’s “Hey Ya”; it’s pop music, but ‘good’ pop music.

So If Christina gave you a suitcase full of money and said, “I want a beat like this,” what would you say?

I’d say, “Look, if we’re going to work together, I need 100% creative control and your label bosses can suck a d-ck because this is the way we’re going to do it. And if you’re not cool with that, that’s cool. We don’t need to work together ‘cause it’s just going to be a pain in the ass for me and I’m not going to enjoy it.” You have A&R dudes coming down like, “Hey man, can we get some more sparkle on the hi-hats?” I’ve heard that with remixes for major labels and from now on, if I’m ever doing a remix for a major label, they have to agree that I have 100% creative control.

Flume – “What You Need”

What’s the worst suggestion you’ve gotten back from a label?

It’s called a sh-t sandwich. It’s like, “Hey! Really nice! Love the track!” Then in the middle, it’s, “I think it would be cool if you could change this, this and this.” Then at the bottom, it’s, “But great work! We can do this and this with the track!”

What was your last full-time, non-music job?

I was a waiter at a Hard Rock Café in Sydney. I hated it; such sh-tty customers. The worst thing about it was whenever someone had a birthday, they’d tell you and you had to bring out a free dessert with a candle on it , get the whole restaurant to quiet down and yell, “Listen up everybody. It’s blah blah’s birthday and she’s turning f-ckin’ 18 so on the count of three, I need you all to say Happy Birthday.” This would happen four times a night. I just got so sick of it.

Last year was your first visit to the U.S. What was the most surprising thing?

Hollywood was a bit of a letdown. I expected it to be super-busy with glamorous shops and sh-t happening, but it’s actually a big, quiet place with not so much going on. It was way less glamorous than I had the perception of from the media and the movies. I live in Australia so that sh-t is a long way away, but it’s not that great [laughs]. But I had chili dogs and chili chips with cheese which was nice because no one does that in Australia.  Oh, and washed down with a Cherry Cola which is super American.

You’re playing the Ultra Music Festival, which has long been an epicenter for dance music. Do you feel lumped in with the whole EDM scene?

There’s a lot of copycats out there, especially with this whole EDM thing. I just did an interview and apparently I’m now an “EDM artist”. It’s weird, but I don’t mind it. The “EDM scene” isn’t even a thing in Australia or Europe. It’s only in the U.S. America discovered dance music and now it’s EDM.

 

Flume Boiler Room London LIVE Show

 

 

Is Charli XCX A Pop Star?

Charli XCX. - Courtesy of the artist

Charli XCX. – Courtesy of the artist

 

Though British singer Charli XCX was discovered at raves when she was in her mid-teens singing , most music followers first learned about her around 2011 or 2012 when she was older but still not in her 20s. Not just a tangle of big black hair and Tumblr-ready, ’90s-indebted style, she already had a tender voice and a mature pop songwriting sensibility. She may have been an emissary of the U.K.’s electronic underground, but mainstream fame seemed like a definite possibility. As more of her own material dripped out, she also benefitted from the slow-growth massiveness of a song she wrote and is featured on. In 2013 she released her debut album True Romance, a strong but underrated project that didn’t quite gain her the audience some had hoped or expected for her.

Thankfully, Charli XCX’s opportunities have not shriveled up. She sings the chorus on “Fancy” by Iggy Azaela, which is showing signs of being 2014’s song of the summer. Her own cut “Boom Clap” is a single from the soundtrack to this year’s big teen romance weeper The Fault in Our Stars and even got a video treatment featuring clips from the movie and Charli vamping around Amsterdam.

Still, it’s unclear how interested Charli XCX is in mega-stardom and what compromises she’s willing to make to get there. To discuss Charli’s journey so far and her place in the pop landscape, Ducker spoke with , a former staff member of Stereogum and Complex.

 

 

When did you first become aware of Charli XCX?

Maybe the end of 2011? I saw a song of hers, I can’t remember which, on a blog. I like pop music, so I was interested in her because she was kind of perverting it, but I wasn’t that blown away. Then she put out “Nuclear Seasons” and I was totally blown away by it. I still think it’s her best song.

What do you mean by “perverting it”?

“Perverting it” probably isn’t what I mean, but taking it somewhere a little bit darker, like Siouxsie Sioux and Katy Perry have a baby vibes.

What’s interesting is that Charli XCX — at least in the version of her starting around 2011 — seems to always have had an interest in pop music, even if at first we weren’t seeing her in the usual pop contexts.

I totally agree with you. What she is doing is in line with this pervasive trend in “indie” (for lack of a better distinction) where a genre outside the realm of rock becomes reformatted and “made weird” until the weirdness becomes acceptable. It happened with R&B, it’s happened with pop music via Charli and Grimes and Sky Ferreira. I think all of them are admittedly invested in pop music, but their instincts skew a little bit left of the center.

How exactly is Charli making pop weird? And what’s the evidence that her form of “weirdness” is now acceptable?

There has been a slow march toward weirdness across the board in pop over the past few years, particularly in terms of costuming. But even when Lady Gaga was wearing a meat dress, her music was hardly boundary-pushing, at least sonically speaking. Charli’s aesthetics lean more toward both goth and rave club cultures. Her hair and moon boots are the perfect look for old NYC establishment Limelight — which is, sadly, now a mall — and their goth night Batcave. “Nuclear Seasons” is like if was writing for Dead Can Dance. Her rave credentials are all over her bio — and the boots belong there, too — but there aren’t many pop stars going so far as to . She is genuinely alternative, but what makes that acceptable in 2014 is easy access to alternative culture. You don’t have to hunt anymore. Everything is laid out on Tumblr for you and anywhere else you might look for influence is mining from Tumblr, too.

Pop ambition or appreciation isn’t new in “indie” artists (though Charli signed to Atlantic in the U.K. in her mid-teens, and her first U.S. label IAMSOUND licensed her tracks from them), still, it’s surprising when the pop artists who lean to the weirder side actually find mainstream acceptance.

I don’t want to pretend to be an expert on how the music scene in the UK works, but I know she was performing at raves when she was very young and I think her way of writing is more acceptable there and is considerably more mainstream than it is here. The ways she’s become more mainstream are interesting, though. And it’s not necessarily a meteoric rise. She wrote a huge song, she is on the hook of a different huge song and she has a song on a soundtrack that favors indie artists.

That’s kind of my question: How big is she in the mainstream, really? To people who have been following her career, it’s kind of surprising that she’s on this year’s potential song of the summer and that she has a single on The Fault of Our Stars soundtrack, but how much name recognition does she actually have in mass culture?

I am curious about that, too. I would imagine she’s still in the “Who The Hell Is Charli XCX?” club a la and “.” I haven’t seen The Fault in Our Stars because I try to stay away from things that want to emotionally manipulate me, but depending on the placement “Boom Clap” has in the movie, that’s what I think could send her over the edge. I wonder how faceless she is or is not because of “Fancy.”

On a street level, do you hear about or from teenagers who are obsessed with Charli XCX, or at least are into her? Have you gone to any recent performances of hers?

The last time I saw her perform was at an industry event, so I don’t think that counts. And I don’t spend that much time around teenagers. I do know that there is an army of teen girls on Twitter who are obsessed with Charli, and all together, but I can’t tell if that’s an indie thing or not. Kitty makes me lean toward indie, Sky makes me lean towards not.

Let’s go macro and talk about why it looks like Charli XCX could make it super big. As we’ve said, there are plenty of young artists who are interested in pop but have not-so-mainstream sensibilities. Why has Charli broken through to the extent that she already has?

Well, “Fancy” is constructed perfectly — Iggy’s lyrics are easy, it sounds like a song, the hook makes people feel good when they sing it and because there is so much push behind Iggy right now, it gets Charli placement on things . Having written “I Love It” also gives her “street” cred.

Were you surprised True Romance didn’t bring her more mainstream success?

I was.

Why do you think it didn’t connect on the level that it could have?

I guess it just wasn’t the right time. She was sandwiched in between a massive Taylor Swift album, the reinvention of Miley Cyrus (though both Charli and Miley have this “Tumblr” aesthetic [please forgive me for saying that], Hannah Montana fans were definitely ready to grow up with her), as well as a new Katy Perry album. All the while, the songs that were getting the most burn over that summer had a totally different sound. ,” so it’s hard to be an esoteric pop star and breakout when women with huge fan bases are bringing something new and everyone wants to hear Marvin Gaye-cribbed tunes that are wedding-primed.

Now it takes a lot longer for new artists to solidify a hit, and we have the summer to see what happens with “Boom Clap.” It could potentially re-write the success of True Romance.

It’s an interesting situation where “Boom Clap” wouldn’t have gotten the positioning it has if True Romance weren’t so good and she might not have given it to the soundtrack had True Romance been more of a success.

I agree. And if True Romance had completely crossed her over, she might not have been asked to be on that soundtrack, period; although, we wouldn’t be having this conversation if that was the case. Movie soundtracks are not the events that they used to be, so is littered with pop artists who have some mainstream notoriety, but still haven’t achieved a higher level of success, save Ed Sheeran, I suppose.

You talked about how crowded last summer was, but Lorde still broke through. Similar hair, too. What’s different about her storyline/trajectory/relationship to her fans?

One day we’ll learn that the vocal melody on “” was actually an Illuminati-constructed earworm that brainwashed even rap radio into playing it, despite how incongruous it is to certain rap aspiration tropes. Jokes aside, the alternative that Charli offers is production-based, whereas Lorde rebukes pop as a whole. She sings about not wanting to be told to put her hands in the air on “Team,” but Charli is still ready to be a part of the party. It’s not just Lorde’s songwriting that is catchy, it also appeals to people who have animosity toward pop materialism, be it for things or for partying.

 

 

Have you noticed that the two big songs that Charli XCX is featured on, and is probably best known for, are her pushing this “young, wild and free” idea, while all of her own songs are usually really romantic and lovesick?

Maybe it’s just sonically, but even when Charli is lovesick, she bleeds youth and freedom to me. Even when she’s singing romantic overtures, she seems so cool while she’s doing it. You don’t look to Charli for that heartbreak empowerment right after you’re dumped. She helps you once you’ve gotten your bearings. And with “Fancy,” I think she’s, at least somewhat, graduated to being able to flex like that.

I imagine that the perception of Charli XCX to those who first heard of her through Iggy Azalea is akin to hearing Ke$ha for the first time on ” before “” was released a half year later. I’m not familiar with Ke$ha’s musical background, aside from her having a songwriting deal. I don’t know what would have happened if Ke$ha’s first single had been pine-y, but we all know the “young, wild and free” schtick worked for her. Charli gets to keep doing things her way post-“Fancy” because even her lovesick anthems are free-spirited.

So you don’t think the romanticism is what’s holding her back, when the biggest songs by Katy Perry, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and Kesha are about living in the moment and kind of obliterating yourself in the pursuit of fun?

The bigger song on Bangerz is a huge romance bummer.

Pop is a B-U-M-M-E-R!

 

 

Will Bikini Kill Ever Make The Rock Hall Of Fame?

Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna in 1993.

Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna in 1993.

Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

This past year has seen the return of several female-fronted and female dominated alternative rock bands from the 1990s. Last week the pop punk band released Whoop Dee Doo, its first new album in ten years and its first for rising indie label Burger Records. just finished its first tour with all of its original members since 1997 and have a full-length in the works. spent part of 2013 playing 1993’s classic Last Splash album in its entirety at shows and have more performances and new music coming. independently released a Kickstarted album, Magic Hour. Courtney Love, however, said in an that she won’t be hitting the road with Hole’s mid-’90s lineup.

As more of these reunions are surely on there way, it’s crucial to remember why the proliferation of these groups were so important in the first place. Though all-female or female-fronted acts may not have been the hugest or best-selling groups of the alt revolution, the way they presented themselves and their sounds (as well as the sheer number of them) helped define what made this era of rock so different from the ones that preceeded it. While the treatment of these acts in the ’90s was far from what you’d hope for in a gender-equality utopia, what they did in this decade made important strides. Their influence can be heard and felt today in acts like White Lung, Speedy Ortiz and Perfect Pussy and bands beyond that direct lineage. How they will be remembered is worth considering as alternative rock from the ’90s is about to start getting formally canonized. ‘s into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year seems to be the official start, is probably next, and , and Rage Against the Machine may be coming in the near future. But will Hole ever get in? Will ? Will ?

To discuss how these female-centered acts will be remembered, as well as the ’90s revival in general, Ducker talked to , the creative director of Afar Media, an early fashion blogger at her site White Lightning (whose spirit lives on at ). Spiridakis Olson, who was a teenager for most of the ’90s, remains a devotee the decade’s culture.

What were the core bands for you when you were coming of age in the 1990s?

In my intense formative years — like 1994 to 1996, when was 15, 16, 17 — my favorites were Operation Ivy, , , , the Smashing Pumpkins. , and Hole — all the ones that sound so trite now because “the ’90s” is a fashion description. Those were my obsessions. Then it was Bikini Kill, Tuscadero, that dog., the Muffs, Mary Lou Lord … I can keep going.

Many of these bands are female-fronted and/or majority female. Were you conscious of or particularly drawn to bands that had a distinctive female presence? Or was that just what was out there at the time?

I was drawn to those bands because they were the girls I wanted to be; or they were the girls that looked like and sang about stuff I was interested in and wanted to be a part of, but wasn’t sure how to find it. It makes me feel like I’m 100 years old to talk this way, but I was the “alternative” girl in my suburban high school where the majority of the kids were into or or, like, Top 40. The only few other kids who were into the music I liked were boys, and I hung out with them a lot. You couldn’t friend someone on Facebook or read their blog or whatever. I didn’t know how to find the girls that were “my people.” A lot of these bands made me happy, those were the girls [I was looking for]. They were so smart and pretty and had sick style, and I loved the music.

It’s funny, since “” has become such a trite thing, but those bands and what they were doing as performers and musicians were definitely a big deal. Without them, I wonder if we’d mainly be looking at 1990s alt rock as just sad boys who had a thing for 1970s hard rock.

SO TRUE.

With some of these female-dominated bands coming back recently, have you gone to see any of them play or checked out any of their new music?

I saw the Breeders a few times last year, and I saw the Muffs a few weeks ago. I don’t think I would see any incarnation of Hole that was playing now. I would kill to see the Julie Ruin. I have not really checked out any of the new music! Is that awful of me, or what?

Well, one step back, how were the Breeders and the Muffs?

The first time I saw the Breeders last year was at Webster Hall [in New York]. It was exciting and I got a little emotional. They played Last Splash in its entirety in order. Kinda rad. The second time was at in LA, and we are lucky enough to attend that every year with all access, so we watched from the stage. That blew my 16-year-old mind more than a little.

The Muffs played three weeks ago at the here in Oakland and they were so good. It’s crazy that that voice is still the same. Kim [Shattuck] was still the coolest girl in the room, I have to say. I was heart-eye emoji style over her. Why were so many Kims so cool in the ’90s?

I haven’t seen either in their comebacks, but I’m going to see the Breeders when they play the Hollywood Bowl in September with . The Muffs actually had an in-store at Amoeba here in Los Angeles tonight that I had to miss, but I still remember seeing them when they played the Fillmore in San Francisco in the late 1990s, which when I think about it now, seems like a pretty big deal. The space was about three-quarters full and the Groovie Ghoulies opened. Kim kind of mooned the crowd at the end of their set through two holes that were worn through her vintage babydoll dress.

She is amazing. She looked the same at Burger Boogaloo. How is that possible? Sickest hair, cutest minidress.

So yeah, the new music … I listened to the new Muffs, and it’s pretty good and it sounds like a Muffs record, which is I guess what you’d want. I also dig the fact the . The new Veruca Salt songs that have come out are fair. I didn’t listen to the new Luscious Jackson. It feels bad not getting into the new music, because why shouldn’t they be making new music, but it’s kind of hard for me to get excited about it. On one hand I don’t want them radically reworking their sound to try to be relevant; but on the other hand, you kind of want it to feel like they’ve been evolving over the past 20 years.

Ugh, it’s so true.

I mean, has kept putting out records for the past 20 years, and I think it’s good she’s not the same person that she was when she made Exile in Guyville, but the music that has come from those changes at times have been very… rough.

Of course I was obsessed with her, too. She is one of the few who seems to be repulsed by who she was in the 1990s. I held on until whitechocolatespaceegg, but it was like, ? I could get into a new Muffs record, maybe. Veruca Salt I didn’t like enough then to warrant wanting to get into their 2014 sound.

This round of reunions is weird for me because it’s the first time that bands that I saw or could have seen are coming back. With, like, the , it was great because I had never heard those songs done live before, and they were amazing when they came back the first time in 2004. But if I go see Veruca Salt now, am I trying to re-live something from my past? That makes me feel weird.

Yeah, the ’90s reboot trend is starting to wear thin. I saw Pavement play three nights in Central Park four years ago and I am not ashamed to say I was pretty much high/close to tears the whole time. I felt like a Beatlemaniac. The tickets were sold a year in advance and they were one of the first [of their era] to do the reunion thing. I would have felt similar for the Pixies because I never saw them live either. But it’s getting to be a weirder and weirder thing. Who are the Veruca Saltians? Is this a big thing?! There are seminal ’90s bands and then are … ’90s bands.

Should they go full-on nostalgia and do a package tour? That’s what Everclear, Soul Asylum, Eve 6 and Spacehog are doing this summer on the .

This is where it gets weird because I would sort of totally go to that.

I draw the line there.

So why would you go to the Summerland tour?

I have a really cheeseball love for “Santa Monica” by Everclear, and also “In The Meantime” by Spacehog. Those are epic songs, but I love them the way people like Katy Perry now. So I would go to get drunk and sing, “.” My husband and I have a playlist we call “Grody ’90s” that’s all our favorite radio alternative songs: “,” “”… Eve 6 doesn’t factor in for me though.

Would a Veruca Salt, Liz Phair and Tracy Bonham tour seem crass? Because when they’re packaged together, it just seems like nostalgia, not “overdue appreciation” or “something for the true fans.”

I mostly agree, but I do think there is this other part to it where there are these huge numbers of teenage girls who are tapping into old Liz Phair et al for the first time because “NINETIES” and it’s changing their lives the same way it did mine. So it’s cool for them to be able to see the live shows.

I know you’ve had a long relationship with Tavi Gevinson and are involved with . Do you feel like those women and the young women who read them understand what the 1990s were actually like, especially in terms of how the female-fronted/dominated bands were treated?

I guess, inasmuch as I understand what the 1970s were like. Although there are way more avenues now for women’s stories (or anyone’s stories!) to be told and shared. The women and girls I work with at Rookie are so much more sophisticated and tuned in than I ever was, it’s insane.

Do they have an idealized vision of this era?

I think a little bit, sure. But so do I! And if the majority of what gets shared has this rose-y nostalgic tint, how could it not be idealized?

It’s going to be interesting to see how the larger industry regards these bands and how they fit into the canonization of rock. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seems like it mainly exists just to celebrate people who made money for executives, but I’m curious if any of the bands we’re talking about will ever get in there. eventually made it, but will Hole? Will Bikini Kill? Do they deserve to, or is their importance best reflected elsewhere?

Of all the bands we have been talking about tonight, I think Hole would be inducted. How many women do they choose though? I know I’m being salty, but it’s old men as far as the eye can see. If Heart and Laura Nyro are just getting inducted now, I would say that Hole will make the list in 2026.

hen there’s something like The Punk Singer documentary, which is reaching a bigger audience since it’s streaming on Netflix and . At first I thought it seemed premature to do a documentary about Kathleen Hanna’s life, but I can see why it’s so important to have that out there right now.

It’s so important. I wished it was hours longer. It’s not premature to tell her story, because it’s not even just about her, its about a movement! I want to hear more. I went to Seattle recently and at that there is such a comprehensive, intense retrospective on Nirvana that I was like, Right, right, we get it and we have heard it and they were great, but why does it have to be about Kurt Cobain all the time? Like there’s his green striped tee shirt, preserved archivally. In this nostalgia wave so much is spent on The Legend of Kurt. There was more to the music than that. [The Punk Singer] didn’t seem premature to me at all. I wondered why it hadn’t happened already.

Who are some other female figures or movements from that era that you think more attention should be paid to?

I am sure there are a million documentaries I haven’t seen, but I would gladly watch more about riot grrrl. I wanna see more Babes in Toyland and and Bratmobile. Is there a documentary?

Not yet! Are there any bands that you’d like to see come back?

Maybe no one else. Is that a cop out? I think I reached the tipping point.

That’s fair. I’d like to see Elastica, I never got to the first time around and I think the stuff they were referencing really caught on in a broader way in more recent years. Also, I know it’s early, but I’d really like to see Sleater-Kinney together again, doing new shows and making new music.

I never got into Britpop in any way, it kinda passed me by. Sleater-Kinney would be cool. I would go see Mary Lou Lord in a hot second.

Tom Petty On Cheap Speakers And George Harrison

tom-petty-2014-joe-pugliese-05-billboard-650

Tom Petty – Photo Billboard

August 4, 2014

On a recent night in San Diego, was doing what he’s been doing for close to 40 years: leading his band The Heartbreakers on stage, playing the old hits and inaugurating new ones. He’s just started touring behind Hypnotic Eye, the band’s latest album in a prolific career — and if you ask Petty how it feels to still be kicking after all this time, you’ll get an uncharacteristically bashful response.

“It’s actually kind of embarrassing now; it’s such a love fest,” the 63-year-old rocker says. “I don’t think any of us pictured doing it at this level, at this age. “How could you?”

Musically, Hypnotic Eye is a throwback to early Heartbreakers albums; it’s driving rock with a bluesy vibe. But lyrically, Petty says, it’s very much about what’s going on in America today. Petty recently spoke with NPR’s Melissa Block about his long friendship with a late Beatle and why it pays to hear one’s own music on a bad car stereo. Hear the radio version at the audio link and read their conversation below.

Tell us about writing the songs for Hypnotic Eye and thinking about what tied them together. What do you think that is? What makes this feel like a collection of songs to you?

Tom Petty: It’s observational. I think it has a lot to do with American culture, without getting too strict about it or trying to be preachy. I don’t really take a side; I just invented characters that had their points of view.

Let me ask about one of the characters that I think you might be talking about, the speaker in the song “Power Drunk.” Who’s this guy?

Well, the guy singing that song is in some situation where he’s feeling, maybe, a little frightened. The line, “Pin on a badge and a man begins to change,” that’s pretty self-explanatory, really. There’s a lot of power-drunk people around these days.

Do you think about that? You said you don’t want it to be preachy; is that a line you’re pretty careful about not crossing?

I just tried to kind of explore this gap between the poor and people that get so wealthy that making more money really wouldn’t change an hour of the rest of their lives. And yet they’re obsessed with making more money, regardless of how that affects other people.

Maybe it’s a moral question of, “Do you want something so bad that you don’t need, even though it will hurt others?” ‘Cause we’re looking at a very different time in America right now. We’ve rubbed out the middle class, which was really the whole point of the thing for a long time — meaning America.

It’s interesting, because I wonder if you see yourself as part of that group of people who are on top? Who are securely in that 1 percent?

Yeah, I am. But I don’t do anything that hurts anyone. I come from a very humble background, but I guess I did live the American dream of getting into something I loved and working really hard at it, and there were financial rewards. I don’t think that’s ever been the guiding light of our band, but it’s nice.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: American Dream Plan B [Official Audio]

 

 

It’s really astounding, when you think about it, how long this band has been together. The original members go back to 1976 — so, coming up on 40 years.

Actually Mike, Benmont and I go back further than that, to 1970.

Mike is your guitar player Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench on keyboards. When you listen to Heartbreakers songs, you can tell from the very first notes what song they are. I wonder what that’s like for you, knowing that there’s this direct tie from the very beginning of a song to what millions of people know and remember about that song.

Well, it’s a tremendous thrill. I mean, if I think about it very long, it frightens me.

Really? Why?

‘Cause it’s kind of like, “Did I do that?” Music is a real magic: It affects human beings, it can heal, it can do wonderful things. I’ve had two people contact me in my life about coming out of comas to their family playing a song to them of mine, that they had liked before they were injured. They credited the song having something to do with that. I find that fascinating. A lot of people have told me, “This music got me through a really hard time,” and I can relate to that.

When I think about Tom Petty songs, I think they’re songs you want to play with the windows open and the top down, driving really fast. I wonder if, when you’re recording a new album, if you ever do that: if you take a rough recording and take it out for a drive, see how it sounds on the highway, outside the studio?

Yeah, I have done that. I think it was the Wildflowers record, we had a rental car; we wanted a kind of average sound system, not too expensive. So as we did each mix we would transfer it over — I think it was probably cassettes in those days — and take it out and listen to it in the car. There was a terrible moment when one of the crew returned the car and got a different one.

With the cassette still in it?

Well, not with the cassette in it, but we wanted that system. There was a real panic, so we had to send him back to find that same car.

But what’s the idea there?

Well, I’m trying to hear what it really sounds like. Studios have really good playbacks, good speakers and tuned rooms that are made for accuracy, soundwise. We tend to work most of the time with really inexpensive speakers that are probably worse than most people have.

Really?

Yeah, because if I can get it to sound good there, when I bring it up to the big speakers it’s pretty amazing.

How do you hear The Heartbreakers growing or evolving the longer you play with them? What’s changed?

There’s a lot of things. In Hypnotic Eye, one of the things that I was most pleased with, and that I really wanted to make happen, was what we didn’t play — the amount of space in the arrangements. The more air in the arrangement, the bigger the track sounds to me. We didn’t try to create walls of sound on this one; it was more like sonic textures.

I like to create lots of different guitar sounds, and I’m fascinated with how sounds go together. When you get something that works in a particular way, it’s kind of like mixing two colors together and getting a new one. Am I getting a little too esoteric?

[Laughs.] In the best way.

I probably sound like a pretentious ass here, but that’s kind of the way I see it. I just look at it like, between the speakers, when you come in there’s a blank canvas, and when you go out there’s actually something on it. And as simple as that sounds, it’s a tremendous rush to this day to me, to just make something happen.

You spent quite a bit of time with the late , and sang with him in the Traveling Wilburys. What do you think was his biggest influence on you?

We became very good friends, really, for decades. I don’t like to bring it up that much, because are so special that people might see it as boasting or something. But he actually became my friend, past being a Beatle to me. It was like having an older brother that had a lot of experience in the music business, someone who I could go to with my troubles and questions.

Traveling Wilburys – End Of The Line

 

 

I think [spirituality], probably, was the greatest gift he gave me. He gave me a way of understanding a higher power without it being stupid, or having tons of rules and books to read. But the best thing I can say to people that are curious about that is George was probably everything that you thought he was, and then some more. Very funny man; he could just kill me with his humor. He was a great guy and I miss him terribly.

I know you’ve talked a lot about first seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 — I guess you’d have been 13 — and that was basically what made you think, “Music, band, that’s what I want to do.” So to go from that to being that close with him and that intimate with him must have been quite something.

Strangely enough, we got along very well right away. He was the kind of person that, when he came across a good thing or the potential for a friend, he really was aggressive about it. And he had a way of knocking out anything that was extracurricular, or in the way of what was really going on. He could get you comfortable with him very quickly. I was always asking Beatle questions, and probably annoyed him. But, you know, he liked The Beatles, too. He liked talking about it and remembering it.

Do you have one George Harrison memory that really stands out?

I have thousands, you know. Thousands and thousands. We’d be here all day talking about George.

How do you gear up and get ready to go out on tour?

That’s easy, because just absolute fear takes over. I am in a state of shock.

Is it still thrilling in any way, or does it feel so familiar that that thrill is gone?

No, I get a thrill. My adrenaline gets so high from a concert that after it, I usually just pace until sunrise. I can’t come down from it.

Seriously?

Yeah, you kind of spend the whole day gearing up for it, and the night getting over it. You just want to be as wonderful as everyone thinks you are, and you know you’re not. So something takes place where you reach down and pull from so deep inside your soul that this music happens, and you all reach the place you wanted to reach together, you and the audience. Getting over that takes all night.

So a lot of pacing?

I pace, yeah. People deal with it in different ways, but I tend to walk around a lot.