Recent Articles

David Bowie 1947 – 2016

It’s difficult to believe that David Bowie passed away because it’s difficult to believe that he was a mortal man. Throughout his astonishing music career, he shape-shifted unpredictably. The one thing that remained a constant during Bowie’s many phases – he was always relevant.

Pub Rock: Pour Another One

Originally an underdog movement led by bands with small but passionate followings, the roots of pub rock stretch back to pubs of the United Kingdom during the early-to-mid 1970s. Bands like Brinsley Schwarz, Rockpile and Eggs Over Easy exemplify the genre of pub rock which later helped spark the sound of English punk.

Remembering Freeform Radio

In reference to our new genre station Classic Rock Album Tracks

“Classic” doesn’t have to mean listening to the same exact songs for the rest of your life. Hearing Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker” for the trillionth time inspired me to build Pandora’s Classic Rock Album Tracks station. Don’t get me wrong; I really like Steve Miller Band. But when my local classic rock radio station plays that song seven times a day…well, its sonic patina gets moldy.

Vinyl

I’m a dude who was born in the early ‘70s – classic rock was the soundtrack of my youth. I remember Jimmy Page’s fierce guitar riff from “Bring It On Home” cranking from my dad’s Camaro speakers; the magical accompaniment of turning over the engine of my very first car. Today, sadly, my local station thinks that playing the reggae infused “D’yer Maker” constitutes “Getting the Led out.”
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Eric on #MusicologistMonday

When my mom told me she had hired a babysitter for the weekend, it stung my conflated 11-year-old ego. Thankfully she picked a cool one. “Hey man, I like your KISS shirt!” was the first thing Pam said to me. She wore black denim bellbottoms and parted her long brown hair down the middle. “I can bring over some records this weekend when we hang out.” Of course I instantly trusted Pam and her taste in music. The following Friday she arrived with a grip of vinyl including AC/DC, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Heart and Alice Cooper. Every song blew my impressionable young mind. As each track faded out, I couldn’t wait to hear what she would play next.
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Introducing #MusicologistMonday

Music is human. Everyone has a unique relationship with music –what might be the soundtrack to someone’s first kiss may also be another’s breakup song. The process of making music requires human touch. Similarly, the process of selecting music for others also requires human touch.


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Go Skateboarding Day: Skate Rock

Ever since my first day working at Pandora, I’ve always wanted to make a Skate Rock genre station. With the 11th annual Go Skateboarding Day coming up this Sunday, I thought it might be the perfect time to drop in on this rabbit hole. As a native Californian, I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t a skateboard in my possession. But it wasn’t until age 12 that I first became aware of skateboarding as a lifestyle, replete with its own soundtrack.

fc065ab0-04c8-487a-8792-daf84ab531b2_zpsvkcfdicoIt was the summer of 1983 and I was learning how to pump the transitions of a big wooden halfpipe in the North Tahoe woods when I overheard some older guys. They were talking about punk bands I’d never heard of. When I mentioned that I liked The Clash and The Jam, a guy with bleached bangs hanging over his left eye barked at me, “That British stuff’s for girls!” He told me that real skaters listened to The Misfits, Black Flag, JFA, Agent Orange and other “skate rock” bands. My next trip to Clementine’s Records in Kings Beach found me starting a skate rock collection that I still obsess over today.


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BBQ & Sing-Alongs: CMA Festival Day 4

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They said today was going to be the hottest day of CMA 2015 and they were right. Word to the wise: when the weather app on your magic rectangle tells you that it’s going to be high in the 90s, make sure to stay hydrated… with water.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 10.23.51 AMGood thing Darius Rucker was playing in the air-conditioned convention center on the CMA Close Up Stage. He was also doing a Q&A panel and talked about the songwriting and recording process. “Sometimes you’ll write 50 songs,” he said, “but you’ll have to pick 13.” He also humbly stated, “I truly believe that I was a singer in a cover band that got really lucky.” During a stripped-down acoustic rendition of “Alright,” some of the audience could be heard singing along. But of course it was when he and a fiddle player launched into his breakthrough cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” that the entire audience lit up and joined in, singing every single lyric with him. Rucker also gave props to his influences and inspirations such as Al Green, Radney Foster, Dwight Yoakam and Miranda Lambert, whose “More Like Her” he added to his quiver of covers. Even Hootie fans were rewarded with an old-school treat when he dusted off a more countrified take on “Let Her Cry.”
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