Artist Spotlights

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Artist SpotlightsMusic

Rdio Exclusive: Get Acquainted with Milagres

Milagre

Brooklyn indie rock quartet Milagres' new album, Glowing Mouth, was born of solitude and confinement. Singer-songwriter Kyle Wilson wrote the album after a back injury left him bedridden for months, and provided the spark necessary for his return to songwriting. Back in New York, Wilson met up with the rest of the band and added instruments and power to his demos, which now make up their debut LP.

Glowing Mouth officially drops September 13, but it's exclusively available on Rdio right now. Grizzly Bear and Arcade Fire fans should find something to love here, as should fans of any music that’s as affecting as it is grandiose. Check out the album now, as well as Wilson’s responses to our Five Questions:

Five Questions with Milagres

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Kyle Wilson: I could make a long list: Harry Partch, Arvo Pärt, Stanley Jordan, Scott Walker, Krysztof Penderecki... In particular I think there are a lot of musicians in the jazz and classical world who are really influential and important, but very obscure.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    KW: I would probably be more excited to have access to any unrecorded music in the world, but since I don’t, I’m listening to an album by Linda Perhacs that I stumbled on while I was putting together this playlist. It might be a stretch to say that the internet gives one access to all recorded material, but it seems to come pretty close.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    KW: My earliest memories of music are pretty random: Leon Redbone (I listened to this on cassette when I went to bed), ZZ Top, Chuck Berry, and Raffi (I have his autograph somewhere!). But the Beatles' Please Please Me was the first album I actively sought out. From there I explored my father’s vast record collection and learned the classics fairly well. Nirvana’s Nevermind was probably the first album I spent my own allowance on, but my adolescence was filled with stuff like Pavement, Neutral Milk Hotel, Tom Waits and Husker Du - as well as classical music which I had begun to study academically. 
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    KW: Captivated.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    KW: Life.
Artist SpotlightsMusic

Six Degrees of Jason Schwartzman

Coconutrecordsnewpressphoto

He's primarily known as an actor, but Jason Schwartzman is something of an exception to the ”celebrities making music” rule.

Schwartzman’s first band, Phantom Planet, preceded his acting career by four years, and provided the theme song to the early 2000s teen-soap The O.C. in the form of their single, “California.” He left the band to pursue acting, and his first lead was in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore — which, incidentally, had a pretty great soundtrack — but Schwartzman continued making music thereafter. He assisted in the making of Ben Lee’s 2005 album Awake is the New Sleep, and in 2006 formed Coconut Records, the name under which he’s since recorded two albums.

Schwartzman’s been the star of numerous films and TV shows, for which he’s also consistently provided the music. He contributed to the soundtracks for both Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Bored to Death, and wrote the score for 2009's Judd Apatow film Funny People. Lastly, Schwartzman has written tracks for the film Slackers and the television show Smallville.

He has a number of more distant connections to the music world as well—his brother Robert is the California pop quintet Rooney's lead singer, and his cousin, filmmaker Sofia Coppola, is married to the lead singer from French rockers Phoenix.

Obviously Schwartzman’s got a wide variety of musical connections and has dabbled in a number of areas, but have we missed any? You can add who else you think deserves to be included in our collaborative Six Degrees of Jason Schwartzman playlist below. And is Schwartzman the only person whose musical connections run this deep? What musicians do YOU think warrant a Six Degrees exploration?

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Must Hear: The One AM Radio

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Formerly vocalist Hrishikesh Hirway’s solo pet project, The One AM Radio is now a full-fledged dream-pop trio with four studio albums under their belt. The Los Angeles-based group’s latest album is 2011’s Heaven is Attached by a Slender Thread, which showcases their catchy arrangements and dreamy soundscapes. The band are avid Rdio users—check out their personal One AM Radio profile—and have created a fantastic playlist of songs for driving alone, late at night. Check out 5 questions with the band and listen to the Empty Cities playlist below.

Five Questions with The One AM Radio

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Hrishikesh Hirway: I love the Radio Dept. I’ve never been so happy to feel so sad as when I put on their music. They’ve gotten a lot more attention since when I first heard them, but still, they deserve to be much bigger.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    HH: I’d put on “An Endless Searching for Substance” by 23 degrees. I actually don’t know if it’s good or not! It might very well be a little cheesy. But I listened to it a lot in the mid-90s, when I was first getting into electronic music and didn’t have any guidance. I would just spend hours in record stores listening to whatever I could find, which is how I discovered this record. I was visiting my sister in western Massachusetts, and I came upon this CD. It was downtempo, ambient at times, and I’d often go to sleep listening to it. I lost the disc at some point, years ago, but I thought of it recently and suddenly really wanted to hear it. I tried to buy it online, but it seems to be out of print. I remember being in love with some of the sounds on the record; these pretty, round, bell-like synths.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    HH: My mom and dad had all these cassettes of Indian music that were soundtracks to films I’d never seen. Friends and relatives would bring them from India, or occasionally they’d buy one at an Indian grocery store that doubled as a video rental place. A lot of times there was no cover art, just a dubbed tape with a very neatly handwritten tracklisting. All these different movies had “playback singers” — meaning, the actors on screen would lipsynch, and the voice you actually heard was someone else — and invariably, the female vocals were sung by either Asha Bhosle or Lata Mangeshkar. They’re sisters, and they were (and probably still are) the biggest stars of Indian popular music. Of the two, I had a slight preference for Asha. When I think of music from my childhood, I hear their voices.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    HH: Like the records I just mentioned, we hope people are forming a memory that they’ll look back on with nostalgia when they listen to our music.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    HH: When we wrote music for the new album, we were thinking about the cool shock of air when you first crack a window while driving alone at night, the amber light that gets cast over the whole city when everything’s closed, and how lonely dance records can make you feel.

Check out all the band’s music by following them on Rdio. For more info, check out their official website, and keep up to date with the band on Twitter.

∞  August 31, 2011 — 11:20AM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Win Tickets to Butch Walker in ATL or Toronto

Butch Walker

Butch Walker and The Black Widows' new album is officially out Monday, but if you're on Rdio you can already stream The Spade in its entirety until next Tuesday. Not only that, we have Butch's Five Questions, a playlist of Songs The Black Widows Love and two pairs of tickets to give you—one in his Atlanta hometime and the other in Toronto. Keep reading to learn more about this music veteran, how to see him live, and if you still crave more, follow Butch Walker on Rdio

Five Questions with Butch Walker

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Butch Walker: Is this the part where I'm supposed to say me? Kidding. I think it's probably someone I don't even know of.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    BW: I do have access to it. It's in the next room, as I type. It's probably my rare copy of The Clash (Live At Shea Stadium) given to me by Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols as a gift. I asked him if he really wanted to give that away and he said, "never been much of a fan...."
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    BW: The Monkees. Isn't it obvious?
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    BW: Listening?
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    BW: Quitting?

WIN BUTCH WALKER TICKETS

If you're in Atlanta, GA or Toronto, CA, you could see Butch Walker live for free — Rdio has two pairs of tickets to give away. How to enter? Put your name, email address, date and location you wish to win into the form below between now and August 29th at 3:00 PM, and we'll randomly pick one winner per location. For more information, read the Official Rules.

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Getting to know: D. Gookin

D Gookin small

Since he was just five years old, music fascinated Mike Birnbaum. Now he is better known as D. Gookin, the groove-inflected, sound-manipulating solo artist from New Haven, Connecticut.

After learning piano, guitar and drums as a kid, he set off to school for music production, where he found Aphex Twin and Squarepusher's IDM, DJ Shadow's collages, and jazz. In 2008 and 2009, D. Gookin released his first EP, When You’re Lonely, Everybody’s a Celebrity, and self-released an LP, How 2 Deal.

Just yesterday, he released his first full-length album for Moongadget Records, titled Spiral Style, which lists inspirations as wide-ranging as, “slam-dancing, Fat Boy Slim, general grooviness, vocoders, PacSun, and the feeling of freedom that comes with a wandering mind." After you give it a spin, check out D. Gookin’s answers to our “Five Questions,” and his self-chosen playlist, Music that Moves Me.

 

Five Questions with D. Gookin

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    D. Gookin: Female from New Haven, CT
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    DG: Juiceboxxx's soon to be released 1st full length, I Don’t Wanna Go Into the Darkness.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    DG: "Bad Hair Day" by Weird Al Yankovic.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    DG: Slam-dancing.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    DG: Sizzling parking lots by the beach.

∞  August 24, 2011 — 12:32PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: Blue October

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Thanks to the golden ears of a music vet (Kid Rock’s former Manager), Blue October exploded from their Texas homebase to the rest of the nation. Sixteen years later, the rock quintet (including the brothers Justin and Jeremy Furstenfeld) still delights fans with new music and their awesome live shows. Today’s new album, Any Man in America, covers difficult but heartfelt subjects like divorce and separation.

Curious what makes Blue October tick? Rdio heard from bassist Matt Noveskey—listen to his playlist, “Songs I'm listening to right now” and read Five Questions with Blue October.

Five Questions with Blue October

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Blue October bass player, Matt Noveskey: Jeremy Enigk—founder of Sunny Day Real Estate and The Fire Theft. He's been imitated by legions of musicians and songwriters, many of whom may not even realize it.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    MN: Will Hoge - Blackbird On A Lonely Wire
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    MN: Fleetwood Mac or Michael Jackson
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    MN: Connected
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    MN: Telling it like it is
Artist SpotlightsMusic

Rdio Pre-Release: Listen to Dom's Family of Love

DOM

Dom is back from their debut EP, Sun Bronzed Greek Gods, with another morsel of summertime pop fun, the EP Family of Love. Although this new release isn’t available to the world until next week, you can stream it right now on Rdio.

And while you’re listening to, Tweeting about and Facebook Sharing Family of Love, we have Five Questions with Dom and an especially spunky playlist, Caggot Funts mixxx 69.

Five Questions with Dom

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Dom: Judy Nylon
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    Dom: John Coltrane's A Love Supreme
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    Dom: Ace of Base
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    Dom: High
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    Dom: What Mariah Carey would sound like on acid with The Spiders from Mars as her backing band

∞  August 2, 2011 — 10:47AM

Artist SpotlightsGiveawaysMusic

All About: The Black Lips

The Black Lips stand apart in Atlanta—though they hail from Georgia, which is typically associated with southern hospitality, these guys unapologetically rock out. Their sixth album, Arabia_Mountain, was their first ever created with the assistance of a producer—Mark Ronson (yes, the same one behind “New Direction (Mark Ronson Dub Remix)”).

We have three great things for you related to the Black Lips today (four, if you count the Exclusive remix). Black Lips singer-guitarist and new Rdio Influencer Cole Alexander answered Five Questions with the Band and put together a playlist: “music that the black lips like to listen to on road it inspires us. some of this music sounds nothing like the music we make. but i want to make some music like this.”

Finally, we have a pair of tickets for their Empty Bottle show in Chicago, to celebrate their Lollapalooza appearance and East Coast tour. So press play on this playlist and dig in.

Five Questions with the Black Lips

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Cole Alexander: Robert Lee “Sugar” Hightower (of Slim & The Supreme Angels and The Supreme Angels
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    CA: Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville’s legendary paper recording of the voice of Abraham Lincoln. Technically it’s phonautograph. Not sure if it actually exists but there is some speculation that it is buried deep in the vaults of the Library of Congress unbeknown to them
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    CA: Nirvana and The Beatles
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    CA: KOOKIE
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    CA: Spiderman being MOLESTED

Win Tickets to See the Black Lips in Chicago

We have two tickets for the August 5th Lips show at the Empty Bottle in Chicago to give away. How do you enter? Tweet a link to the Black Lips’ “New Direction (Mark Ronson Dub Remix)” track on Rdio, plus the hashtag #BlackLipsRemix—do that between now and Wednesday, July 27th, 2:00 pm PST and we’ll randomly select a winner. For more information, read the Official Rules.

 

If you can’t see them in Chicago, the Black Lips are coming to a city near you:

  • July 27 Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theater (tickets)
  • July 28 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar (tickets)
  • July 29 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom (tickets)
  • July 30 Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell’s (tickets)
  • August 01 Pittsburg, PA @ Mr. Small’s Theatre (tickets)
  • August 02 Lexington, KY @ Buster’s Billiards and Backroom (tickets)
  • August 03 Nashville, TN @ Exit/In (tickets)
  • August 04 St. Louis, MO @ The Firebird (tickets)
  • August 05 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle (tickets)
  • August 06 Chicago, IL @ Grant Park - Lollapalooza (tickets)
  • September 08 Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre - Hopscotch Festival (tickets)

∞  July 27, 2011 — 3:04PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

An Introduction To: Release the Sunbird

Relying heavily on the sound of a simple six-stringed acoustic guitar, Rogue Wave’s Zach Rogue sets out to create sweet and memorable songs in his new side project, Release the Sunbird. This debut album weaves his comforting voice with a little bit of melancholy. Not only can you hear the Come Back to Us on Rdio but we also have Five Questions with the Band and a playlist of Release the Sunbird’s “Favorite songs right now with names in the title.

Five Questions with Release the Sunbird

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Zach Rogue: We live in the age of the Internet, so most things have been heard of at this point. There’s this songwriter/musician from Detroit in the 70’s named Ted Lucas who I’ve been enjoying lately. I’m only aware of one of his records, but it is pretty timeless. The guy had an amazing voice and the record I have is really stripped down, just vocals and acoustic guitar, mainly. Pretty much the best Sunday morning music imaginable. Such a great voice.

    Another band I’ve been listening to lately is this Parisian band namedHerman Düne. The 2-piece band is certainly not unknown, but is pretty under appreciated in the US. The singer sorta looks like a hipster Raffiand the songs have a lot of playful wordplay in them. New record (Strange Moosic) came out in May and the songs are really great… 
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    ZR: I have a computer, so I sort of do already. When are these questions from, 1994? That said, the other day I was listening to an old vinyl 7” of Stevie Wonder doing the Beatles “We Can Work It Out” and that was pretty damn awesome. You ever watch YouTube clips of him on Sesame Street? Pure gold. It’s hard to believe how long people were allowed to play music on TV back in the day. I think I saw him do like a 7 or 8 minute song. So cool. Plus, he really knew how to rock a turtleneck.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    ZR: Probably that Marlo Thomas project called Free to Be You and Me. My Mom used to play it all the time, while trying to install far-out fringe hippie ideals like gender equality and freedom of expression. There was also of lot of Carole King, Beatles, Joni MitchellKinksStonesByrdsCSNY,Simon & G-funkJames TaylorTom Petty, and Jefferson Airplane. There was a brief period of Thompson Twins worship, which I found at the time puzzling, but have grown to now appreciate.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    ZR: Under the authority of gravity
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    ZR: Obeying the laws of physics

∞  July 26, 2011 — 12:30PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

An Introduction To: Army Navy

Created in Los Angeles, Army Navy began in a bedroom. Although their self-titled debut album initially arrived without much hoopla, its popularity spread through fans dedicated to their habit-forming songs. Their second album, The Last Place, is only a few weeks old and is already in many a Heavy Rotation.

What makes Army Navy tick? What did these fellows grow up listening to? What music inspires them? Find the answers below in Five Questions with Army Navy, and listen to the musical version of their answers in the Army Navy-built playlist.

Five Questions with Army Navy

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Army Navy: I don’t think Teenage Fanclub can ever get enough respect… those albums are pop gems
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    AN: Right this second I was putting on Miles Davis Live At Fillmore East
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    AN: Weird AlThe SmithsT-RexABBAR.E.M.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    ABRV: Singing Along.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    AN:  Girls and trying to write a better song than the last song I wrote

∞  July 22, 2011 — 10:37AM