Over at Riff Magazine, my old pal David Gill looks back at the birth of distortion and its position as “central to rock and roll as the sex and the drugs.” From Riff:
In March 1951, a 19-year-old Ike Turner was recording his saxophonist Jackie Breston’s song “Rocket 88,” an ode to the Oldsmobile 88 (and later inspiration for Public Enemy’s “You’re Gonna Get Yours”). (Listen above.) Turner played his guitar loud, so loud, in fact, that his amplifier couldn’t handle it. The resulting distortion is the stuff of legend in the fable of rock and roll, giving voice to the intensity of the times.
The 1950s in America were the best of times and the worst of times. A victory in World War II and the spoils that came with it led to a baby boom, sprawling suburbia, rising standards of living, and a new thriving middle class, while at the same time racism, sexism and economic exploitation lingered in this landscape of opportunity. America also clung to its puritanical origins, cultivating a Victoria-era disdain for exuberance and physicality into a repressed and buttoned-down society that mocked, scorned and punished deviation from the norm.
As the 1950s progressed, the rising wave of progressive hedonism embodied by the new musical phenomenon of rock and roll crashed on the limitations of American culture. That tension is evident in Turner’s guitar tones, in its refusal to obey or to conform.
June Chikuma is the Japanese composer behind the beloved soundtracks to Nintendo’s Bomberman series and countless other videogame, TV, and film scores. Now, Chikuma’s 1986 album “Divertimento” has been expanded into a new edition titled Les Archives, available from the Freedom To Spend label. The vinyl edition of Les Archives also includes a limited 7″ […]
Sheck Wes, the “Mo Bamba” guy, didn’t like a new music video and stiffed the production company, so they posted a funny remix. “Got a gun, but it’s just a paint ball gun” approaches Weird Al-level good.
Mallwave is a microgenre of bedroom electronic music and smooth jazz meant to evoke nostalgia for the vibrant mall scenes of the 1980s and 1990s that many of the music’s composers are too young to have experienced or at least remember. Think of Mallwave as a hauntological soundtrack for an Orange Julius-fueled consumer culture where […]
Everybody’s on Instagram to be seen, but what separates the average selfies-and-food account from the true influencers? Chances are, it’s not random chance. Check out our favorite online tools geared to get you the kind of visibility advertisers dream of, from educational courses to optimizing apps. PostFly Instagram Automation If you’re looking to get the […]
The wheel. The light bulb. Throughout history, the best technology has always been simple and elegant. That’s especially true for a good pair of earbuds, which should sound like they’re packing an orchestra and feel like they’re not even there. Hitting that sweet spot especially hard are the Cresuer Touchwave True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds, which […]
The keyboard is one of the most universally loved instruments, and it’s relatively easy to learn. So why do so many kids hate their piano lessons? It’s likely they weren’t being taught Pianoforall, an innovative yet simple method that lets students discover what’s great about music right away. Taught by pianist and therapist Robin Hall, […]