Inside the Collection: Western Swing

Most times, the first things you’ll notice are the hiss, pops and crackles of the antiquated fidelity. The genre’s earlier recordings are delightfully haunting – as if you’re hearing ghosts play scratchy old records. And then the slide guitars and fiddles sound like they’re laughing joyously over buoyant rhythms. But when those bouncy horns, piano and guitars saunter in; that’s when you’re hearing some top-shelf Western Swing. And should some cartoonish vocals pipe-in with a high-pitched, “A-ha!” you can be certain that you’re listening to Bob Wills, the king of Western Swing.Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 12.12.51 PM

Every few years I go through a Bob Wills phase – and by proxy, a Western Swing phase. Subsequently, I just updated Pandora’s Country & Western Swing station with a bunch of my all-time favorite tunes from this realm (as well as some Classic Country and Honky-Tonk for complimentary flavor). Read More →

Pandora Whiteboard Sessions: The Dismemberment Plan performs “Let’s Just Go To The Dogs Tonight”

The Dismemberment Plan is a Washington, DC based indie rock band featuring Eric Axelson (bass), Jason Caddell (guitar), Joe Easley (drums), and Travis Morrison (vocals and guitar). The four piece came by Pandora’s Oakland HQ to play “Let’s Just Go To The Dogs Tonight” from ‘Uncanney Valley‘ on Partisan Records.

Inside Song: Genre Through the Lens of a Songwriter

It happens, without fail, every time I carry an instrument in public. I’m usually at the airport. I’ll have a saxophone or a guitar strapped to my back because it’s too fragile to check underneath the plane. I ease it into the overhead bin and as I settle into my chair, the person seated next to me asks, with genuine warmth and curiosity, what type of music I play.

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What type of music do I play? I’ve encountered this enough times that you would think I’d be prepared with a quick, easy answer. After all, people only ask out of interest and kindness, they are not expecting a discussion of aesthetic philosophy and music theory. I should just politely say, “rock” or “jazz” and ask them what they do. But the problem is, I (and most songwriters I know) don’t think of the music we make in terms of genre. Read More →

Enjoy Pandora on Your Pebble Watch for iOS!

pebble_app_storeThe Pebble Smartwatch began its life with a simple question: what if a watch could pair with your phone and run apps right from your wrist?  We’re happy to announce that Pandora is now one of the apps that can be controlled from only an arm’s length away.  Starting today, you can download Pandora in the Pebble app store for iOS.  This is the first “wearable” technology device that Pandora is available on, so we’re excited to provide yet another way to take Pandora with you wherever you go.

Using the Pebble, you can view and change stations, thumb songs up and down, skip, play and pause tracks – all from your wrist!   If you already have a Pebble that is paired to your mobile device, you should get a notification that you can install Pandora, or you can start the install process at any time from the Pebble Settings Page. Read More →

Inside Song: Searching For A Perfect Song

As a musician and songwriter I understand the hard work, the agonizing over detail and second-guessing that goes into creating music. I respect anyone that rises to the challenge of wrestling with songs. But a third of the way into my workday as a music analyst, after closely listening to hours of music, my ears and brain can get tired. Songs can start to blend into each other. It’s amazing that my job involves spending the day with the thing I love most – music – but like a mid-afternoon cup of coffee, it can really help to have a pick-me-up, a surprise, something that perks up my ears.

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I prefer to have as few pre-associations with new music as possible. Promotional photos, Facebook pages, album art, can color my perception of a band – actually affect how I hear the music – so I try to listen as “blind” as possible. I’ve already piled on enough baggage just from the band name alone. I’ll bet you have some general idea of what you’d imagine Sküll Krüshr might sound like, or Lil’ Ca$h. Read More →