Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth (below) once authored a book celebrating the old-fashioned cassette mixtapes, so, appropriately enough, when his band put out a newfangled online mixtape, it was accompanied with the graphic of a cassette tape, its spools spinning as the music plays.
The mix, "SY Mixtape #8", is streaming on Sonic Youth's website at ind.pn/gzd6KN. It features some tracks from their forthcoming soundtrack to the French film Simon Werner a Disparu (to be released through their experimental music "SYR" labelled series), some late 1980s Daydream Nation-era demos and a wonderfully poised acoustic version of their 1986 song "Star Power", which was first performed, rather surprisingly, by the band in 2009 on US teen drama Gossip Girl.
A return to a shiny happy REM?
As with recent Woody Allen films, people are quick to declare new material from REM as a "return to form", followed only by the sad realisation that it most certainly isn't. The last decade hasn't been terribly kind to the once mighty US band. Now comes their new album, Collapse into Now, released on 7 March. In recent weeks there's been a drip feed of new tracks from the record – the latest being "Mine Smell Like Honey" – with four songs now on their website at remhq.com. Lo and behold the early signs are good, with the song "Oh My Heart" being a standout – there's nothing particularly groundbreaking here, but they evoke REM in their early 1990s pomp, which feels like a good thing. Let's not mention a return to form, but hopefully the good start can be sustained.
When I saw headlines in several music blogs last week mentioning Shea Stadium, I assumed remastered recordings of The Beatles or The Clash or some other world beating band playing at the New York Mets baseball team's former home in Queens were on the way out. In fact, this is an entirely different Shea Stadium: an underground music venue in fact, just a short hop away in Brooklyn. The venue has recorded many of the bands while they played there over the last two years, and now they've put the recordings online. On liveat sheastadium.com there's over 50 hours of music and live sets from the likes of Julian Lynch, How to Dress Well and the Fresh & Onlys, among many others.
Amanda Warner proves a cut above
The electro artist MDNR – aka Amanda Warner – started appearing on people's radars last year, and picked up a guest slot on Mark Ronson's latest album to boot. Now she has a new single out called "Cut Me Out". It pitches her high vocals against a bank of synths and great shuddering beats. The track is the latest free download from www.greenlabelsound.com.