Recent Articles

Pandora Discovery Den 2015: Day 4

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We’re following Friday’s feast of Americana with a plethora of sweet Saturday rock ambrosia. Brooklyn basted Ex Cops set the tone with indie pop confectionary perfection. Imagine all the flavors of vintage Sarah Records sprinkled over a glossy, synthy foundation.

Next up, Zella Day’s beautifully bittersweet melodies intertwine with the complex flavors that can only come from a magically produced concoction of keyboard wizardry, next-level production and timeless melodies culled from a lifelong collection of vintage vinyl.
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Pandora Discovery Den 2015: Day 3

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For SXSW’s Friday menu, Pandora offers hearty courses of tangy, twangy Americana – beginning with a serving of Andrew Combs’ sophisticated songs. You’ll detect hints of Ryan Adams on the surface, but the deeper flavors recall Guy Clark and Mickey Newbury.

Follow this up with a side of Israel Nash’s desert folklore. Dripping with buttery vocal inflections and timeless guitar tones, Nash cooks up the kind of Neil Young inspired love songs that would make Lucinda Williams blush.
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The Fundamentals Of Soul

Honoring the Fundamentals Of Soul gave us an opportunity to take you through a journey that explores the vast galaxies that comprise a thriving universe of blues, soul, hip-hop, jazz, rock and Afro-Latino music. We’ll touch on foundational star constellations and the orbiting planets of our Soul System in a new selection of stations, debuting on Pandora now, during Black History Month: http://www.pandora.com/music/fundamentals-of-soul

Click the image to explore deeper:

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Jack White’s Musical Lineage

Our curation team collaborated with in-house artist Carolyn Jaeger to produce this graphic of Jack White’s musical lineage, layered in the rings and bark of his own music. Vining upwards are the branches and leaves of the artists he’s produced and/or collaborated with. And of course his tree’s roots are robust with the influences that helped birth his sound, tone and vision. Click the image for detail.

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Hail to the King!

As we celebrate what would have been Elvis Presley’s 80th birthday, it’s crucial to remember four important sentences once sung by Mojo Nixon:

“Elvis is everywhere. Elvis is everything. Elvis is everybody. Elvis is still The King.”

Maybe Nixon wasn’t aware of it at the time, but the chorus of this 1987 recording can also be juxtaposed to the four main eras of Elvis.

Elvis is everywhere.

elvisrocknrollThis perfectly describes young Elvis. Memphis Elvis. In 1954 Sam Phillips rolled tape at Sun Studios of Elvis recording Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right (Mama).” By blending blues, honky tonk and rockabilly; Elvis changed the game. For a while it looked like teenagers and rock ‘n’ roll might just take over the world. Suddenly this young blue-eyed, pelvis-swaying sensation was everywhere. He was omnipresent.
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Putting The Hip In Holiday

This last Tuesday, Pandora sent out the push notification: “Our music curators think you’ll love Hipster Holidays Radio this holiday season. Try it today!” If you’ve ever seeded or thumbed-up anything deemed cool, indie or “hip” – you received that notification. It’s really that simple.

Pandora is headquartered in a hip part of Oakland, California – which means each day, our employees walk streets considered by many to be a West Coast epicenter of hipsterdom. But this recent social conversation around the term “hipster” got us thinking more critically: what’s the history behind this word, anyway? Being the OCD music and pop-culture geeks that we are, the subject was researched! And, wouldn’t you know it, the word has a deep musical tie in.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 10.53.58 AMThe origin of the term “hipster” has nothing to do with boutique fixed-gear bicycles. But it pedals back to 1938 when Cab Calloway jokingly wrote The Hepster Dictionary to accompany his sheet music – it was a glossary of jive terms spoken by “hepcats” (African American jazz enthusiasts). So then “hepcat” evolved into “hipster” by the 1940s. In June of 1948, Anatole Broyard wrote a piece for Partisan Review entitled “A Portrait of the Hipster.” In it, he describes hipsters as blues and jazz informed delinquents on a quest for self-definition.
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Inside the Collection: Halloween Metal

Around mid October I went costume shopping and heard Christmas carols wafting from the store’s speakers – a full two weeks before Halloween! Does anyone care about timing anymore? We do. No matter what your taste in music is, Pandora’s Curation Team and I have your Halloween soundtracks covered. Our Family Halloween station is more fun than frightening – I’d love to teach my sister’s kids how do dance “The Monster Mash.” And if Ray Parker Jr. “…ain’t afraid of no ghost,” why should they be? A couple of the Halloween parties I’ve been invited to are Walking Dead themed. That’s why I’m loading up my phone with Halloween Party – it makes me want to drink pumpkin ale and dance like the zombies in “Thriller.” Also, you don’t have to enjoy Halloween ironically to dig Hipster Halloween. It’s got everything from Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall to Dead Moon and The Black Keys. And should your inner goth be craving some darker cuts, tune into to Ghostly Grooves. Or for a more sophisticated way to induce goosebumps, click on Spooky Symphonies while reading some Edgar Allan Poe.

HALLOWEEN 1978.jpgOf course, Halloween Metal is my favorite. While curating this station, I was getting all kinds of awesome memory flashbacks. Fittingly, one of my earliest metal memories took place on Halloween. In second grade, my best friend Dave and I convinced our parents to buy us KISS costumes. Back then you could get a plastic mask and accompanying Halloween smock in a grocery store for the price of a couple cheeseburgers. Dave wanted to be Gene Simmons and I wanted to be Ace Frehley (admittedly, part of me still wants to be Ace Frehley). But as Dave and I put on these costumes, I remember looking in the mirror and feeling kind of dumb. Because even back then I knew that the real “Space Ace” wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a plastic bib with a picture of himself that read, “Ace Frehley!” Still, that night our trick-or-treating efforts yielded tons of candy.
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