July 2011

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Influencer SpotlightsMusic

Influencer Spotlight: Arjan Writes

“The pop don’t stop.” is a pretty good summary of today’s featured Rdio influencer, Arjan Writes. Armed with his oft-read blog, pop culture, music (and video) Twitter stream, Arjan brings his expansive knowledge of pop music to Rdio. Blogging since 2002, Arjan is an official blogger for the GRAMMYs, contributes on-air to CNN, and is involved in a variety of music-related projects.

What can you expect if you follow him? Get an early introduction to music like his Hot Picks.

ArjanWrites.com Hot Picks:

Pop fans, as if you needed any more reasons to follow Arjan on Rdio, try one of his expertly-created playlists — Indie PopNo Doubt Essentials and music inspired by HBO’s True Blood, Season 4.


∞  July 21, 2011 — 11:40PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: Sondre Lerche

Norweigan singer/songwriter Sondre Lerche mastered a lot of music from beyond his hometown—he’s a student of world. His latest album, a self-titled sixth album, touches on the sound of America, Rock ‘n Roll, with an undercurrent of complex guitar rhythms. If you’re curious about his musical past, who he believes contributed significantly to music, or what he listens to before a show, read (and listen) below.

Five Questions with Sondre Lerche

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Sondre Lerche: Van Dyke Parks is an amazing composer, arranger and all around guy whose work and spirit I really treasure. His album Song Cycle is a great, wild place to start.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    SL: I’ve yet to hear Meaninglessness by Jon Brion. It seems impossible to come by and I’m really curious what it sounds like. Also looking for A Tabua de Esmeralda and Africa Brasil by Jorge Ben.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    SL: Pretty much anything that was playing on MTV from 89 to 92.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    SL: Into
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    SL: lots of things I won’t bore you with

∞  July 21, 2011 — 1:09PM

MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday, July 19, 2011

There’s a solid roundup of albums in this week’s New Music Tuesday picks, but don’t forget about the singles—listen to brand new music from 50 Cent,CommonWaleChiddy Bang and more. Hit play on this week’s New Music playlist and keep reading to learn more.

Playlist Notes

  • Crystal Antlers, Two-Way Mirror
    As you previously read, Crystal Antlers are a Long Beach-based band that crushes many musical styles into one wicked package.

  • Imogen Heap, Propeller Seeds
    Multi-talented musician Imogen Heap is well known for her work with duo Frou Frou, but she is also a prolific solo artist. Her latest single is an intricately layered, atmospheric track with a very cool back story. Put on your headphones and hit play to fully experience this song’s inventive sound-scape and mesmerizing vocals.

  • Portugal. The Man, In The Mountain In The Cloud
     If you’ve heard Portugal. The Man mentioned in casual conversation, they’ve paid their dues—it’s time to pay attention and give their music a spin. Their sixth album is an enthusiastic nod toward addictive rock rhythms.

  • Blink-182, Up All Night
    Since the band went on hiatus, Blink-182’s members have kept busy. Lead singer Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker created +44 while Barker also appeared on reality television and added his drum soundtrack to hits which snowballed into a solo album. Meanwhile the third band member, Tom DeLonge, created the band Angels & Airwaves. The boys are back together now, touring with My Chemical Romance—this single is the first off their sixth album, Neighborhoods.

  • Theophilus London, Timez Are Weird These Days
    He’s a little bit old school, very inventive and an absolute original. Borrowing from history, Theophilus London’s debut album was also assisted by TV on the Radio andSantigold’s producers.

∞  July 19, 2011 — 1:52PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: Crystal Antlers

They play loud, fast and free—that is apparent on their new album, Two-Way Mirror. The freewheeling Crystal Antlers blend a variety of styles to create genre-bending music. So with their second album in your headphones, their answers to Five Questions with the Band, and their list of Long Beach Punk bands, open your mind to the Crystal Antlers way of seeing things.

Five Questions with Crystal Antlers

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Crystal Antlers: Sun Ra. A lot of people know about Sun Ra, but I’m not sure how many really realize how incredibly important and prolific of an artist he was. He created so much over such an extensive career, and there was so little known about him outside of music.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    CA: Probably some old reels of Captain Beefheart demos…I bet there’s a lot of amazing stuff that no ones ever heard.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    CA: Ronnie James Dio…My dad had a mix tape he would always listen to in the car when we’d go camping in Death Valley. It had all these Dio songs and weird early 80’s synthesizer versions of Beethoven symphonies.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    CA: holding other people on their shoulders and pushing them through an acoustic ceiling. (happens sometimes)
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    CA:  Moving to another country.


Long Beach (ish) Punk Bands

1. Black Randy And The Metrosquad, “Marlon Brando”
2. Suburban Lawns “Green Eyes”
3 . Rhino 39 “Sleep Walking”
Descendents “Hope”
4. Things To Come “Character of Caruso”
5. Black Flag “Fix Me”
6. Minutemen “The Punch Line”
7. Middle Class “Insurgence”

∞  July 19, 2011 — 12:16PM


Get Ready to See Harry Potter with The Soundtracks

Ten years since the first movie hit theaters, and fourteen since the first published book touched store shelves, the final installment of the epic Harry Potter series is here. If you’re one of the lucky midnight viewers, relive the most exciting moments with the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 soundtrack. Still waiting to see it? Get excited by the previous Harry Potter soundtracks and athemed playlist.

Harry Potter Soundtracks

∞  July 15, 2011 — 4:55PM

Label SpotlightsMusic

Paper Bag Records on Rdio

Toronto-based Paper Bag Records started nearly 10 years ago as a hyper-local venture, focusing on Toronto’s vibrant music community. Soon enough their roster expanded to include bands from across Canada such as The Acorn and You Say Party! We Say Die!—then they jumped the ocean, releasing albums from Sally Shapiro and Under Byen. Paper Bag Records has a history of releasing critically-recognized music, such as the 2011 Long List Polaris Music Prize-nominated PS I Love You album, Meet Me At The Muster Station, and Young Galaxy’s Shapeshifting.

Paper Bag Artists

For a complete list of artists who are or have been on Paper Bag Records, check Wikipedia or PaperBagRecords.com. Follow @PaperBagRecords and Like them on Facebook for immediate updates on their new artists, albums, news and touring information. You can also browse their albums on their Rdio label page.

∞  July 15, 2011 — 3:23PM

Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks: Waste Not, Want Not

Tips & Tricks Many monthly cellular data plans are limited these days — but luckily that doesn’t mean your Rdio experience has to be limited as well.

There are a few easy ways to conserve your data without restricting your Rdio Mobile apps (for iPhone, Android and Blackberry)—this week’s Tips & Tricks is here to show you how.

Tip 1: Sync Your Tunes

Save data by syncing your tunes. Synced music is stored directly on your device, and does not need a connection to play. Whether you’re Online or Offline, playing synced music won’t use any data.

Tip 2: Stream and Sync over a Wifi Connection

Connect to Wifi for high-quality streams and faster syncing without taking a toll on your monthly 3G data plan.

Tip 3: Customize Your Sync Settings

To minimize date usage while syncing your tunes, edit your Settings. On an iOS device, go to Settings and tap Advanced—you can select “Wifi Only” to make sure the phone won’t ever sync over 3G. On an Android device you can do this by going to Settings, tapping Enable Background Syncing and selecting “Wifi Only.”

Now you can listen to Rdio on-the-go, worry-free. If you’ve got any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

∞  July 14, 2011 — 3:01PM


An Introduction to: The Damnwells

The Damnwells sound like a band that’s been places, traveled around and experienced life. This isn’t a stretch—they’ve seen numerous incarnations since lead singer Alex Dezen recruited some friends to jam with him in 2001. They even had a documentary made about their journey called Golden Days.

Their easy-going songwriting and straightforward Americana-tinged songs seem like the perfect road-trip music or a soundtrack for your next cookout. They’re bringing their music to a town near you during their No One Listens To The Band Anymore tour. If you’re in Los Angles, we have a pair of tickets to give away. Everyone else can enjoy their mix of addictive touring songs, “Damngood Music by the Damnwells”.

Five Questions with the Damnwells

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    The Damnwells: Unless you were under a rock for much of the 90s (or weren’t born yet), you probably remember that catchy Del Amitri song “Roll to Me.” What you might not know is that lead singer and songwriter Justin Currie has since made a couple of solo records that are simply brilliant, especially the gut-wrenching opus What Is Love For? That’s my favorite record of the last 12 months.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    TD: Right now, at this very moment, I have “Veronica” by Elvis Costello stuck in my head. I guess I would listen to that.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    TD: So many. HendrixZeppelinDusty SpringfieldArethaStevie Wonder(though I have yet to meet him, he lived in the next town over), The Replacements / WesterbergHarrison. I could go on.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    TD: Alive
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    TD: Hang-overs    

Win Tickets to The Damnwells in L.A.

If you live in Los Angeles, you could go see the band on us—we have a pair of tickets to their July 29th show at The Mint. Tweet @Rdio with the name of the song that you’d most like to see The Damnwells perform live, and include the hashtag #DamnwellsLive. Do that before 2:00 PM PST on Monday, July 18 and we’ll randomly select one lucky winner. Read the Official Rules for more information.

∞  July 14, 2011 — 10:32AM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: Ellie Goulding

Although she left drama school to become a musician, there’s a sense of the dramatic in Ellie Goulding’s music. Breaking into the British mainstream, she worked with Frankmusic and was chosen in the BBC’s music critic poll as the “Sound of 2010.” Ellie hasn’t disappointed, with an incredibly popular (and as you may see on Rdio) heavily listened-to debut album, Lights. Ellie answered Five Questions for Rdio which reveals much about her musical heritage. She also created a playlist reflecting her trademark blend of electronic and pop.

Five Questions with Ellie Goulding

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Ellie Goulding: I know this seems ridiculous, but it is surprising how many young people don’t know who Stevie Nicks is. She has inspired so so many female singers and songwriters, and yet a lot of people still think she is a “he” because of the name. I was in the same room as her lately and felt truly honoured. Her voice really gives me chills and shivers and she has had an incredible life.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    EG: It would be Wild Beasts’ new record, Smother on vinyl. They get labelled as dream indie pop, but you can never quite pigeon hole them. They make distinct melodic piano driven pop songs about love and sexual desire, with really beautiful guitar riffs, and the singer Hayden has an incredible vibrato. It’s all I listen to at the moment.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    EG: The PretendersSimply Red and Seal. Random I know, but whenever I squint my eyes and think really hard about what music I used to be around, I always concluded with these artists. We lived in the middle of nowhere so we were always driving to somewhere with a CD on.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    EG: Hopeful
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    EG: My childhood

∞  July 13, 2011 — 12:11PM

MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If your musical tastes run the gamut, you’ll be rewarded this week. Brand new albums, spiffy remixes, singles as a teaser for upcoming albums, and the succinct EP — you’ll find everything in this week’s New Releases. If you don’t know where to start or just want to sample a bit of everything, we put together a New Music Playlist for you. Listen to it, pick out what you like and keep exploring.

Playlist Notes

  • Washed Out - Within And Without
    Ernest Greene didn’t invent Chillwave but he just might be contributing one of the best examples of it this year. Dream-like and soft around the edges, get lost in your brain listening to Washed Out’s debut album, Within And Without.

  • Fair To Midland - Arrows And Anchors
    If you’re not already a fan of Progressive Rock, you might overlook something with that label. Don’t miss Fair To Midland—a Texas band dedicated to relentless guitar rhythms, bass drum kicks and a flurry of lyrics.

  • Incubus - If Not Now, When? 
    The voice of Incubus’ lead singer, Brandon Boyd, is familiar to millions. Their seventh album is refined and mature, with a mellow vibe that compliments a 20-year-old band.

  • Sons And Daughters - Mirror Mirror
    With sparing and desolate sounds, Sons and Daughters stretch their music to the limit in their fourth album, the forebodingly-named Mirror Mirror.

  • William Elliott Whitmore - Field Songs 
    From the American Heartland comes singer-songwriter William Elliott Whitmore—he bellows and banjo-picks his way along the journey.

  • Basement Jaxx Vs. Metropole Orkest - Basement Jaxx Vs. Metropole Orkest 
    Expecting the usual electronic do-re-me? Basement Jaxx might not be the ones performing but they are the maestro of this orchestral collaboration. Listen to Basement Jaxx songs as interpreted by the Metropole Orkest, a choir and conductor/arranger, Jules Buckley.

  • The Kooks - Junk of the Heart (Happy) 
    It’s been four years since the The Kooks released their popular album, Konk. This new debut single marks the arrival of their long-awaited third full-length album, due in September. Listen to get a taste of the trademark hooks and catchy choruses that pushed these indie-pop stars to the top.

∞  July 12, 2011 — 12:00AM