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.
Of 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. Read More →
Bethany Mota is one of the most recognizable names on social media, most notably for her fashion and style video blogs with over 7 million YouTube subscribers (with 500 million views). The current Dancing With The Stars contestant released her debut pop single “Need You Right Now.” It was recorded with fellow YouTube star Mike Thomas and co-directed by Kevin Jonas (Jonas Brothers).
Called the “proud daughter and shining star of West Africa” and “the golden voice of Mali,” singer Awa Sangho has been active since the 1980s, having toured the world with the legendary Ensemble Koteba. From Mali, she relocated to New York in 2011 and recorded her debut album Ala Ta, bringing together traditional African sounds and instrumentation with slightly jazzy touches. She has performed and toured with artists like Salif Keita, Manu Dibango, Amadou & Mariam, Habib Koite and Oumou Sangare. Read More →
Without the tense, dissonant music supporting our most cherished nightmares, we’d hear only the entirely un-frightening stomp of blood-soaked boot heels, the tickling scrape of fingernails on the coffin lid, or the sing-song chirp of a final warning screech. For certain, horror without its musical accompaniment would be as mirthful and merry as any skip through a midnight cemetery overrun by a murder of rabid crows.
But add some music – discordant violin stabs, bludgeoning timpani thunder strokes, creeping bass synthesizers, or the solemn knell of funeral bells – and you turn a cheerful image like an empty noose swinging in an abandoned corn field beneath a sickle moon into something truly chilling. Read More →
Sweater Beats is a Brooklyn-based producer who makes music for the bedroom. Combining sampled R&B vocals with Trap and boogie beats, he creates futuristic slow jams for the next generation. Seducing his studio to create remixes and originals both on Kastle’s label Symbols and Bondax’ label Just Us; listen for the forthcoming release Cloud City on HW&W.
Otis Brown III
Otis Brown III is best known in jazz circles as one of the two drummers with Joe Lovano’s Us Five – and for backing up its original bassist Esperanza Spalding in her solo career. Brown has also just released his debut album The Very Thought Of You via Blue Note Records. He is joined by an impressive roll call of artists like pianist Robert Glasper, saxophonist John Ellis and singers Bilal, Gretchen Parlato and Nikki Ross on tracks like “You’re Still The One,” a gospel reinvention of the Shania Twain hit single. Read More →
SoShy began her rise to fame in 2009 with the international hit “Morning After Dark” which she co-wrote and sang with Timbaland and Nelly Furtado. She performed the song live across the world, including the American Music Awards and Late Night With Conan O’Brien. Her debut album Crack The Code drops this fall along with its single “Whaeva Man,” which she describes as ‘Street Pop.’
Known for remixing Diplo and A-Trak, Kid Kamillion has also collaborated with Kid Sister, Mannie Fresh, Boys Noize and Spank Rock. This young fella’s been busy! Born in New Orleans, Kid Kamillion’s experience with southern hip-hop, New Orleans bounce and electronic music clearly influences his style. His new single “Pump This Party” overflows with trap beats, quirky samples and a very danceable vibe. Read More →
More often, it seems like deep house is part of the pop vernacular – there’s a common producer behind many of today’s hits: Robin Schulz. Widely known for his remix of Mr. Probz’ “Waves,” Robin’s debut album Prayer finds him remixing “A Sky Full Of Stars” by Coldplay and “Prayer In C” by Lilly Wood & The Prick. Upon first listen one is struck by a unified sound with emotional pop vocals, catchy riffs and plenty of reverb tying it all together. It’s stylistically similar to the Saint-Germain-Des-Pres Café compilations, but with a lot less jazz. If you’re digging on Clean Bandit, Duke Dumont, or Kiesza; you’ll find a lot to like in Prayer.
Combining rock, soul, folk, jazz and country; RCA Records artist Elle King is preparing to release her much anticipated debut album featuring the single “Ex’s & Oh’s.” This track has been compared to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” but with a naughtier edge. This “banjo slinging baby” is also the daughter of actor and comedian Rob Schneider (Saturday Night Live, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo).
Owl John is the solo project of Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchinson who recently released an album of the same name produced by band mate Andy Monaghan and Olympic Swimmers’ Simon Liddell. He has so far garnered accolades from Mojo and Under The Radar for his experimentation with atmospheric, electronic and bluesy influences as heard in the album’s opener “Hate Music.” Read More →
You know how music can bring back a flood of old memories, emotions and even certain smells or tastes? Building Pandora’s Progressive Bluegrass station totally did that to me. I was introduced to the genre by way of San Francisco’s beloved Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival – an annual weekend-long concert in Golden Gate Park featuring traditional bluegrass bands, non-traditional bluegrass bands and everything in between. I’ve been attending almost every year since its 2001 inception. Because the event always happens the first weekend of October, just listening to David Grisman, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, Carolina Chocolate Drops or Robert Plant & Alison Krauss brings back all kinds of autumnal vibes – the shedding trees, a crisper coastal air and darker beers.
The first time I’d ever heard there was a music genre called “progressive bluegrass,” I admittedly envisioned the guys in Rush playing banjos and fiddles. Up until then, the only time I’d ever heard the word “progressive” used in relation to music was when describing prog-rock. Bob Dylan went electric at Newport Folk Festival in 1965 – this was around the same time that The Byrds’ first album was released. So if adding amplifiers and drums to folk created the term “folk-rock,” why wasn’t progressive bluegrass simply named “bluegrass-rock?” While curating the songs on this genre station I learned why. Not all progressive bluegrass involves the simple addition of electric guitars and drum kits. In fact, most bands comprising the genre still adhere to playing classic acoustic instruments. But what’s progressive here is that these musicians have decidedly moved beyond the purists’ parameters of the traditional stringband blueprint to explore new and different possibilities. Read More →
Recently awarded Best Country Female Artist at the 2014 Nashville Independent Music Awards, Erica Nicole generated media buzz after revealing to Billboard her longtime struggle with hearing loss. Despite her struggle, she is making an impact on Country radio with the release of her new single “It’s Comin’ Down” which, at #73, was the highest charting radio single by an independent artist on its debut week.
Dubbed as “the lovechild of soul music” by Time Out magazine, British singer-songwriter Myles Sanko has received critical and fan acclaim. His original funk and soul music is inspired by James Brown, Bill Withers, Otis Redding and Al Green. In addition to the release of his album Forever Dreaming, he has worked with funk kings Speedometer and toured with former James Brown funk diva Martha
High. Read More →
I LOVE MAKONNEN
I LOVE MAKONNEN is the stage name of Atlanta-based R&B and hip-hop artist Makonnen Sheran. His rise to prominence began after Drake remixed his song “Tuesday.” Another one of his tracks reached Miley Cyrus, who shared it on her Instagram. He has recently signed to Drake’s label, OVO Sound, and has begun work on a collaboration project with Mike Will.
You+Me (pronounced “you plus me”) are a country-folk duo formed by singer-songwriter Alecia Moore (aka Pink) and Canadian musician Dallas Green (aka City And Colour). They recently unveiled their debut single, an acoustic love song “You And Me” and will release their debut studio album, Rose Ave., on 10/12.
Recently named “Best Of What’s Next” by Paste Magazine, Saint Pepsi began experimenting with remixing, genre shuffling and mashing up tracks by Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen – receiving recognition by multiple music blogs. He recently released his first non-remix track on the Carpark record label, “Fiona Coyne,” a summery synth-pop love letter to a fictional character on the TV show Degrassi.
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SPZRKT (pronounced Spazzy Rocket) is Xavier Adams, a 24 year-old R&B singer who three years ago, auditioned for The Voice, America’s Got Talent and American Idol but never made it past the first round. Now under his moniker, his eclectic debut album Bonfire is drawing comparisons to artists like John Legend, Gnarls Barkley and MGMT.
The Artwoods were an English rock, R&B and freakbeat band that were active between 1964-1967 and was fronted by Arthur Wood, the brother of Ronnie Wood (of the band Faces and later The Rolling Stones). The band released seven singles and one studio album on the Decca and Parlophone labels, including “What Shall I Do” and “In The Deep End.” They also put out a handful of R&B/blues covers like Leadbelly’s “Sweet Mary” and Sam & Dave’s “I Take What I Want.” But they never landed a hit despite having a formidable reputation as a live attraction. Read More →