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 →

Pandora Whiteboard Sessions: Everclear performs “The Man Who Broke His Own Heart”

Everclear is an alternative rock band from Portland, OR. Their style is rooted in hard rock with punk influences, and features dynamic vocals and electric guitar riffs. Other artists that can be heard on their station include Blink-182, Weezer and Third Eye Blind. They came by the office and played “The Man Who Broke His Own Heart” off their latest album Black Is The New Black.

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.” 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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CMA Festival Day 3: Women Of Country Music

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Carrie Underwood’sBlown Away,” in 2012, was the last huge chart-topper by a female country artist. Recently a radio consultant, in comparing country music to a salad, referred to male country artists as the “lettuce” and the female country artists as the “tomatoes.” Subsequently, a few of country music’s female luminaries (including Martina McBride and Jennifer Nettles) are speaking out against these remarks in an effort to put women in country music on equal footing as men, the debacle has been dubbed #TomatoGate.

GG2A9424Rootsy chanteuse Sunny Sweeney also offered her two cents on the matter with a screened a t-shirt depicting a cartoon image of her hoisting a salami over the text, “Sunny Sweeney – Breaking Up The Sausage Party.” When I heard she was playing CMA 2015 I made it a priority to see what she’s been up to. Read More →

From Kelsea Ballerini to Zac Brown Band: CMA Festival Day 2

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Contrary to Thursday, Friday showered us in sheets of rain. It was the kind of hot summer rain that finds its way into many country songs, and most of the CMA fans seemed to welcome it. As some of the Pandora crew and I ducked under a tent, Kelsea Ballerini took the stage to an enthusiastic round of hoots and hollers from her fans. I was excited to see her live, I heard that she put on an amazing show the week before at Marathon Music Works for our Pandora Country event (she opened for Dustin Lynch and Thompson Square). I was further intrigued because of recent Taylor Swift comparisons – Ballerini also writes her own songs.

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Ballerini confidently strode on stage, slung an acoustic guitar over her shoulder and sang “Yeah Boy.” Her crowd didn’t need warming up – they were instantly fervent. I paid for a cold beer and when I turned back around, the audience seemed to double in size. For a second I doubted myself but then Ballerini said, “There are so many of you! I just got word that there are over 4,000 people here right now!” And the sound of 4,000 people cheered back at her in panoramic sound. She then introduced her next number “Peter Pan” as a song about boys who didn’t want to grow up. The catchy “Dibs” got heads bobbing and the crowd sang along. But the spectacle of her set was a ‘90s mashup medley that blended Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, ‘N Sync, Backstreet Boys and Destiny’s Child. Following that she covered an especially impassioned version of Rihanna’s “Take A Bow” as her fans chanted, “Kelsea! Kelsea!” and waved their hands in the air like some kind of country-pop tent revival. Read More →

Honky Tonks, Blazing Heat, Twang & Swagger: CMA Festival Day 1

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Three members of the Pandora crew and I had just missed Kenny Chesney. He played outside on Broadway in downtown Nashville and after stepping out onto the balmy Southern night following a hearty soul-food dinner; we heard the explosion of applause to what was his last song. So the four of us decided to go honky-tonkin’ at Robert’s Western World across the street. Don Kelly Band was blazing through some old hillbilly standards with help from a 20-year-old guitar prodigy named Daniel Donato. This amazing six-string jedi looked like a young Rory Gallagher and picked a Telecaster like Don Rich on steroids.

IMG_7712But it was A Thousand Horses who really set the tone for this year’s CMA Music Festival. The band sauntered on stage over a droning organ before launching into “Landslide.” Armed with three, soulful, female, backing singers, they rocked with the timeless soul of Delaney & Bonnie through a nitty, gritty, Lynyrd Skynrd swagger. Lead guitarist Bill Satcher was kicking out the jams with a punchy tone that recalled The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion era Black Crowes. There was a palpable excitement in the crowd when Michael Hobby strapped on a Gibson acoustic guitar. After he strummed the first few chords to “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” the audience ignited in applause. But their fans really went wild when Hobby announced that they were now going to play their number one single, “Smoke.” For a few seconds, the roar of the crowd even eclipsed the band’s audibility. After walking away from their set with “Trailer Trash” stuck in my head, I realized that A Thousand Horses is everything that I’ve ever wanted from Kid Rock and Shooter Jennings. Southern Rock is alive and well at CMA Music Festival. Read More →

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 →