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Drac-factor: Ten Recording Artists with Definitive Dracula Appeal

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, October 19, 2014 11:30pm | Post a Comment
Dracula vampire elvis halloween costume
Halloween approach-eth and the pumpkin-spiced hype is unrelenting. What's more, a new vampire movie hit theaters this Fall -- Dracula Untold, a dark, Marvel-esque origin story starring Welsh hottie Luke Evans as Prince Vlad (the Impaler). While time will only tell if this particular incarnation of the Dracula legend is truly franchisable immortal, it got me thinking about recording artists who could suitably don Dracula's cloak. Stars that possess a kind of timeless magnetism, like Elvis Presley, pictured above -- you just know he'd be down to drink some blood. Or, similarly, stars who naturally exude a kind of Draculaic vibe, sharp-dressed with cheekbones to match. With this in mind, I've come up with a short list of ten living recording artists who possess a definitive undeadliness, or Drac-factor, as I reckon it. So cover your necks or succumb willingly, here come some Drac-tacular candidates for your consideration:
 
David Vanian the damned dracula vampire halloween young ones spooky goth punk rock band
Dave Vanian, lead singer and ever-present member of The Damned, has been serving that undead-and-loving it look since the band began in London in 1976. Vanian, a stage name that stems from a play on the word "Transylvanian", took his patent gothic chic looks to new heights when The Damned appeared as the spooky musical guest on an episode of The Young Ones to perform a song that may or may not be called "Nasty". It is worth noting that The Damned are distinguished as the first British punk band to release a single, an album, have an album hit the UK charts, and tour the United States. That said, if you don't have The Damned's 1977 debut LP Damned Damned Damned in your collection, surely some kind of vinyl vampire is coming for you i.e. I don't know how you can sleep at night. That's a buy or die record, folks.

RIP Isaiah "Ikey" Owens

Posted by Billy Gil, October 14, 2014 02:52pm | Post a Comment

ikey owens amoeba

Musician Isaiah Randolph "Ikey" Owens has died at the age of 38.

Owens was on tour with Jack White at the time in Puebla, Mexico. White's label, Third Man Records, issued this response via their website:

It is with great sadness that we tell the world of the passing of the incredible musician Isaiah "Ikey" Owens. He will be missed and loved forever by his family, friends, bandmates and fans.  

Ikey Owens was an astounding keyboard player in Jack White's backing band. He also played with Mars Volta, Free Moral Agents, and many other projects. 

Out of respect for Ikey, the remaining shows of the Jack White Tour in Mexico have been cancelled. 

We will all miss you Ikey. You were and are an incredible artist.

Owens has played with many L.A. and Long Beach bands over the years, first coming to prominence mainly as a keyboardist for such bands as Crystal Antlers, Long Beach Dub Allstars, El-P, Mastodon, Saul Williams and The Mars Volta, bringing explosive energy to the live shows of whatever band he was playing with at the time as well as on records like The Mars Volta's De-Loused in the Comatorium and White's latest record, Lazaretto. Owens also had his own bands, Free Moral Agents and Look Daggers.

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New Neil Young Album 'Storyone,' Coming in November

Posted by Billy Gil, September 25, 2014 10:49am | Post a Comment

neil youngNeil Young has a new album on the way called Storyone, coming out sometime in November on Reprise, as Pitchfork reports.

Whereas earlier this year, Neil Young released A Letter Home, an album of lo-fi covers that was recorded in Jack White’s recording booth studio, Storyone could have an altogether different feel. Young talked to Billboard about wanting to record an album with an orchestra on mono using one mic:

“I want to do something like that where we really record what happened, with one point of view and the musicians moved closer and farther away, the way it was done in the past. To me that's a challenge and it's a sound that's unbelievable, and you can't get it any other way. So I'm into doing that.”

He’s already released “Who’s Gonna Stand Up?,” a pro-environment rally song with a 92-piece orchestra and choir. You can hear that and check out the lyrics below:

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Beck's 'Song Reader' Album to Finally Come Out, Featuring Performances by Jack White, Jeff Tweedy and More

Posted by Billy Gil, July 9, 2014 09:33am | Post a Comment

beck capitol records

Photos via Capitol Records

Ever the iconoclast, Beck’s last “album” was something called Song Reader, which consisted only of sheet music written by the musician. Though it has been performed publicly since its 2012 release, there’s never been a proper physical release until now.

The album, called Warby Parker Presents Beck Song Reader (the glasses maker is producing the album and will release Beck-created, limited-edition “black cherry” Carmichael eyeglass at the same time, according to Rollingstone), will have tracks written by Beck and performed by Jack White, Jack Black, Jeff Tweedy, Jarvis Cocker, Norah Jones and Beck himself. It’s out July 29 on Capitol. You can preorder it now.

Warby Parker also will release a new version of the Song Reader book, with some new prints from artist Marcel Dzama. Warby Parker also put on the Song Reader show in L.A. last year. Lest you think they’re some BS corporate company getting their name on an ostensibly cool album, Warby Parker wil donate a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair of the Beck glasses they sell as part of their "Buy a Pair, Give a Pair" program. And they’re donating the proceeds of the album to nonprofit 826 National, which helps kids ages 6 to 18 with creative and expository writing. Co-founded by writer Dave Eggers, they're a great organization with eight locations around the United States, including right here with 826 LA; I highly suggest checking out all the cool things they do.

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The Best Albums Made By Jack White

Posted by Billy Gil, June 18, 2014 04:15pm | Post a Comment

jack whiteJack White, he of many a blues-rock band, broke records this week when it was announced his second solo album, Lazaretto, sold 40,000 copies in its first week—on vinyl alone. That’s the biggest week ever for a single vinyl album since Soundcan began recording vinyl sales in 1991, according to Rollingstone. (Lazaretto also sold 41,000 CDs and nearly 57,000 downloads in its first week.)

To celebrate that achievement, both for White and for vinyl as a medium, which White has publically championed, we’re counting down the best albums written or co-written by Jack White. We’re leaving off those he produced, since there are so damn many of them, as well as Loretta Lynn’s excellent Van Lear Rose, which White produced and played on but only co-wrote one song of, and live releases. Let us know if you agree!

12. The Raconteurs Broken Boy Soldiers

the raconteurs broken boy soldiers lpThe first album made by White and his friends in The Greenhornes and Brendan Benson is a blast, albeit a green one, sounding like a record quickly made by friends that nonetheless had some gems, including the catchy “Steady As She Goes.”

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