Picks of the Week

Carrie Underwood’s first single from Storyteller tells a story.

1 Carrie Underwood

Anyone who thought that the country superstar was too posh to wax blue collar is in for a surprise. “Smoke Break” is a lighter-hoisting anthem for the working people. Underwood’s narrative spins a salt-of-the-earth country rocker that empathizes with anyone who has ever flirted with their vices after a stressful day. –Eric Shea

CURATOR’S DISCOVERY

Longhaired, bellbottomed riff worship from Down Under.

2 Hydromedusa

Aussie, hard rock heads Hydromedusa deliver some serious, seventies style, retro-psych, proto-metal swagger. They infuse a classic psychedelic heaviness with bristling punk rock energy. Hydromedusa sounds like it could be a genuine lost psych rock artifact from back in the day, brimming with big riffs, fuzzy bass, yowled vox and yeah, cowbell! –Andee Connors
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It’s Listener Love Day! (almost)

1376-INSTAGRAMHEADERPandora turns 10 next week, (September 9 to be exact) and, rather than celebrate alone, we want to celebrate with all of you. Our offices are just a bit too small to accommodate the nearly 80 million of you who tune in each month for an in-person party, so we decided to make September 9 Listener Love Day. What is this day you ask? Simply put, it is our gift to you. It’s a day of all music and zero ads as a thank you for listening and thumbing over the past decade.

The Details:

• Who: All Pandora listeners in the US

• What: Ad-free listening – all music, all day

• When: September 9th, 12am-12am ET

We promise to keep this short, but it’s hard since each and every one of you has played a huge role in making Pandora the most streamed music platform in the world. Together, you have listened to 74 billion hours of music, thumbed up or down over 55 billion times and created 8 billion stations. Those are a lot of big numbers, but it boils down to one simple thing – when Pandora was created 10 years ago, we had one goal – to play the best music for each listener. That has not changed, it will not change, and we thank you for spending the past 10 years with us – here’s to decades more!
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Darian on #MusicologistMonday

The earliest memory I have is being carried into a church on my mom’s hip, hearing this rhythm that sounded larger than life and thinking, “I am that sound!” My mother always told me that I was cursed to be a drummer because when she was pregnant with me, she recorded eight disco albums. My mother and her sister, better known as The Duncan Sisters, also sang background for Little Richard. My father is a trumpet player and back then he was touring with Z.Z. Hill until Z.Z. died. Both parents say that I began playing a full drum kit at age two — I would jam along to a live Michael Jackson album. They say I would play the whole album and hit all the hits with the drummer. I don’t remember any of that. But I do remember obsessing over the grooves, parts, hits and fills that drummers recorded for artists like James Brown, Pleasure and Herbie Hancock (to name a few).
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Picks of the Week

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B.o.BB.o.B. gets you high on the funk with Psycadelik Thoughtz.

His perfect mixture of soulful harmonies, funky bass, southern slang, vocoder and spaced out beats provide the soundtrack for a spaceship landing in Georgia. Back and Forth has a funky steppers vibe, and guests Jon Bellion and Sevyn Streeter add to the flavor on this surprise release. –J Boogie

CURATOR’S DISCOVERY

Bay Area gem radiates goth-folk garage-rock gold.

Calls

“Don’t know it yet/ You’re going to love me,” warns gauzy voiced Kati Knox, as if she’s casting a siren’s spell. Her Oakland based band Calls has a penchant for recording bewitching, lo-fi songs. Drenched in reverb and analog hiss, Tiny Flowers sounds like John Dwyer produced it in Paula Frazer’s home studio. –Eric Shea

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Michelle Solomon on #MusicologistMonday

It was predestined that I was going to be in love with music from the get-go. My parents were both immersed in the progressive, bustling music scenes of the ‘60s and ‘70s. My dad was a San Francisco hippie who played music during the Summer Of Love. My mom emigrated from Mexico to LA’s San Fernando Valley; as a teenager she fawned over The Monkees, The Doors and Thee Midniters. My dad built out a very ample LP collection that included San Francisco stalwarts Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe & The Fish and Moby Grape along with such British Invasion staples as The Beatles, Donovan and The Who. Whether on turntable, tape deck or Discman, music never got lost in my upbringing and education. During college I fell into San Francisco State University’s music department and enjoyed semesters playing piano, singing in operas and musicals. I also savored lectures about the history of rock ‘n’ roll, the roots of jazz and music of the world’s peoples. I took what I learned and applied it to my first job out of college working at a local record shop where research, discovery and sharing between employee and customer were heavily encouraged. Suffice to say; my path to Pandora was firmly rooted.
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