Music Monday: Weekly Curator Picks

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Kacey Musgraves continues to follow her own arrow.

Kacey_MusgravesFollowing the success of Grammy-winning Same Trailer, Different Park, the country singer-songwriter pulls off another win on Pageant Material, with the tolerance-promoting sing-along “Biscuits” already generating “song of the year” buzz. She continues to find ways to assert her own convictions and individuality without sounding preachy or judgmental. And it’s a beauty! –Michelle Solomon

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CURATOR’S DISCOVERY

Leon Bridges debuts with Coming Home.

Leon_BridgesJumping onto the scene with lead single “Coming Home,” newcomer Leon Bridges’s debut is a welcome dose of classic feel-good soul that will take you right back to the ‘60s. His earnest vocals move effortlessly through the album, heavily influenced by his gospel roots and southern sensibility. –Kike Aluko

 

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Sweating to Katy Perry?

When it comes to working out, putting in those long hours at the gym just isn’t the same without music.  And let’s be honest, with winter upon us, we figured it’s about that time for some musical motivation to help burn off those hearty winter meals.

Pandora’s got your workout stations covered – with everything from Spinning to 80s Cardio to Bollywood Workout, our curation team has created a whole host of workout playlists to keep you sweating.

With so many options, we took a look at your favourite workout stations so far for this year, with Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout being the unanimous favourite overall. Breaking it down, Hard Rock Strength Training and Rap Strength Training came out on top for men, while Pop Fitness and Yoga Fitness stations ranked highest for women – interesting, given that Yoga came in as the top group exercise for both sexes. Read More →

Music Monday: Weekly Curator Picks

933_MusicMonday_BlogThis is how you reissue an album.

Rolling_StonesThe Rolling Stones totally get it. Sticky Fingers (Super Deluxe) comes with 23 extra songs. There’s an alternate version of “Brown Sugar” with Eric Clapton playing a mean sounding slide guitar. The Gram Parsons inspired “Wild Horses” gets the acoustic strip-down. And a live cover of “Little Queenie” boasts a bionic boogie. –Eric Shea

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CURATOR’S DISCOVERY

Hudson Mohawke Radiates Creativity on Lantern

Hudson_MohawkeScottish producer Hudson Mohawke (real name Ross Birchard) vaulted from Glasgow obscurity to Kanye West producer and, arguably, inventor of trap music. But on his second album Lantern, he doesn’t aim for hits, instead exploring jittery noise, surprising samples, and emotive vocals, delivering a remarkably assured and innovative work, aglow with inspiration and soul. –Party Ben

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LGBTQ Hip Hop On Pandora

Hip hop is a powerful artistic tool for expression. In celebration of Pride we are highlighting some of the LGBTQ performers who’ve chosen hip hop as their canvas. These are MC’s who come out with courage, rocking rhymes with an emphasis on sexual orientation and gender expression. The music blasts a message of empowerment to the communities they represent, from the underground to the mainstream.

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The Beginning

Often under fire for lyrically depicting misogyny and homophobia, hip hop may seem like an unlikely medium for LGBT artists, but not so. LGBTQ hip hop has roots in old school classics. Rappers like Queen Latifah, Da Brat, Medusa, Bahamadia and Invincible were showing and proving back in the day without wearing their identity on their sleeve. Those who loved and supported these artists saw the writing on the wall and connected with their art, style and vibes. This began to tear away the fear and open up opportunies for artists like Cazwell, Deadlee and Angel Haze to put their stamp on hip hop.

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Music Monday: Weekly Curator Picks

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Troy Ave takes you to the streets of Brooklyn on Major Without a Deal. 

Troy_AveGetting down with Puff Daddy, Mase, Fabolous, Jadakiss and Cam’ron gives the album a Bad Boy throwback feel, but the singles with Ty Dolla $ign and A$AP Ferg keeps the sound updated and soulful. “Doo Doo” is a fun song for a sing-along. –J Boogie

 

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CURATOR’S DISCOVERY

Last Comic Standing finalist releases her first comedy album.

Nikki_CarrNikki Carr comes on strong with her new release, Trophy Wife. The Bronx native tackles topics ranging from coming out as a lesbian on national TV, discrimination in hand-washing and missing child photos on milk cartons, and her distinctive gap tooth. –Kelly Anneken

 

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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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Dad Jokes: Happy Father’s Day

As long as there have been dads, there have been dad jokes—groan-worthy quips and puns designed to embarrass sons, daughters, and anyone with good taste who happens to be in earshot.

1117_DadJokes_Insta_V1Remember taking a visit to the salon or barbershop and proudly announcing to your father that you got a haircut? Dad would take a long, hard look at your head and say “A haircut? Looks to me like you got ‘em all cut!” Or that all the times you said “I’m hungry,” only to have Dad zing back with “Nice to meet you, hungry, I’m Dad!” And of course sometimes Dad needed no prompting wax philosophical: “Without geometry, life is pointless.” Read More →

Music Monday: Weekly Curator Picks

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Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard record an album together for the first time in 32 years.

Willie_NelsonNot since 1983’s Pancho & Lefty has the Red Headed Stranger and The Hag stepped into a studio and cut an entire album together. Django and Jimmie (named for the two outlaws’ childhood heroes) sounds as timeless as their previous long-player, albeit more weathered. –Eric Shea

 

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CURATOR’S DISCOVERY

Slow your roll on the streets of South Side Los Angeles and roll one up tight for the new Dom Kennedy.

Dom_KennedyWest Coast rhymes over soulful beats floating in the sunshine. The next generation of hip-hop knows how to kill it over any tempo, so lean back and vibe out to By Dom Kennedy. –J Boogie

 

 

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Country Built

Today we add another great guest blogger to the list of venerable scribes who have written for us.  First Anthony DeCurtis wrote about the legendary Rolling Stones, recently Alan Light gave us his take on Josh Groban, and now James Sullivan is talking COUNTRY BUILT. James is the author of four books, including biographies of James Brown and George Carlin, and a frequent contributor to the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, Rolling Stone and more. He’s at www.jamessullivanauthor.com and on Twitter @sullivanjames.  

country builtCountry music is often called a storytelling music. As the great songwriter Harlan Howard once said, it’s “three chords and the truth.”  On Pandora’s new specialty station, Country Built, we’re recalling some of the best stories about American music.

Your host, Otis Gibbs – himself a mighty fine songwriter in the traditional American mode – is your tour guide through more than half a century of landmark recordings by timeless artists. Each episode of Country Built will also feature a special appearance from a “future” representative of the style. Read More →

Music Monday: Weekly Curator Picks

933_MusicMonday_Blog Your Old Droog mines his Coney Island home for dirty rock loops and fiery rhymes.

Your_Old_DroogOften compared to old school MCs Nas, Big L and Kool G Rap; Your Old Droog resurrects classic lyricism with a new flavor. Thick New York accents dropping rock references over production from beat masters DJ Skizz, El RTNC and Marco Polo on Kinison. –J Boogie

 

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CURATOR’S DISCOVERY

Thee Oh Sees continue to kick out the frazzled garage jams on their fourteenth (!) release.

Thee_Oh_SeesWith the mellow haze of last year’s Drop putting an end to the band’s brief hiatus, frontman John Dwyer and a muscular new line-up produce more fuzzed up, Nuggets-like finery on Mutilator Defeated At Last – adding yet another gem to their extensive discography. –Michelle Solomon

 

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