SXSW Song of the Day: Jerry Williams – Mother


According to her SXSW bio, Jerry Williams is an unsigned, self funded 21 year old singer/songwriter from Portsmouth. Curse those millenials for being so damn self sufficient and driven. I didn’t even have my first job until I was 21 and this girl here is playing showcases at SXSW already. Her tracks, from what I have heard of her, are delightful pop fun and she must have some good friends in film schools because her videos are all of pretty good quality for a self funded artist.

Check her out! She is playing at an unspecified time in Austin during SXSW.

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Meet Clairo, the YouTube Star Turning Teenage Awkwardness Into Viral Gold

Pitchfork: What was it like having a song go viral right as you started college?

Clairo: Honestly, it was very hard to do well in school and deal with crazy internet viral videos at the same time. I felt like I was living a double life—my life itself didn’t really change, but people started recognizing me, which I was totally not prepared for. I ended this semester with a 3.0. Got a C in econ. That was the hardest class of my life, whatever. But I like going to school while I’m doing music. It keeps me from getting too overwhelmed about the industry when I can just do my math homework.

What led you to the confidence you display in the “Pretty Girl” video?

I had a moment where I was doing a bunch of things that I don’t usually do to make myself feel like I was pleasing another person. But then I realized that I’m totally fine with myself without those things. At the time I wrote it, I was like, “I’m OK with what I am and how I do things and how I look.”

Making music has always made me happy. When I go through a situation, the best way for me to get over it is to bundle up all of my emotions about it, put it in a little shell, create something, and then let it go. Making a song is the ideal way to do that. I’m someone that needs to talk about my problems. I call my mom every single day at school just to vent about random stuff. Singing is the same thing.

Putting it in a song can make things clearer.

Yeah, it’s like how your friends will come to you for advice, but you don’t follow your own advice. When I find myself in a screwed-up relationship situation, my friends are like, “Why didn’t you just do what you said I should do?”

Clairo: “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos”
(via SoundCloud)

Who do you look up to as a lyricist?

Frankie Cosmos has definitely been a huge inspiration to me. She’s helped me be really honest lyrically and to not be afraid to say exactly how I feel, regardless of how it might make me look. I’m not hiding anything. I want my music to be as raw as possible. And that’s what I love so much about her. I also grew up on Norah Jones and I still love her—I seriously would name my child after her. I love talking about love and relationships, and those two artists have really shown me that it’s totally fine to write a million songs about that.

Have you ever met anyone that left you starstruck?

I saw one of the Haim sisters on a plane one time. She was listening to SOPHIE, and I was like, “She’s so cool.” I was going to say something to her, but I ended up not doing it. I also remember meeting the Jonas Brothers at a meet-and-greet. I wanted to talk to Nick Jonas so bad, but nothing would come out.


Marlene VerPlanck (1933-2018)


Marlene VerPlanck, a polished jazz vocalist who began her recording career in 1955, had a strong second career in the 1960s and ’70s as a prolific jingle singer, sang backup on Frank Sinatra’s Trilogy album and had a third career recently as she toured and performed to critical praise, died January 14. She was 84.

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Despite being diagnosed in November with pancreatic cancer, Marlene continued to sing in New York and New Jersey and planned to perform in February, according to her site. Marlene kept the bad news to herself, unable to bear the pity of friends or bring down their spirits. Relentlessly upbeat and self-sufficient, Marlene in recent years broke bones after falls but made her gigs anyway, despite the pain and need for care. The hospital or doctor came later. Even in December, when traveling to venues resulted in complete exhaustion, she would sing as many songs as she could in perfect form, never letting on that she was gravely ill.


Marlene was a dear friend and in constant email touch. She was a big fan of JazzWax, and from time to time mischievously dropped off a loving tin of her remarkable eggplant parmigiana with a fresh-baked roll at my apartment. Her enclosed note would express concern that my work schedule might be causing me not to eat. I last saw Marlene in July, at the Benny Golson and Jimmy Heath concert at New York’s 92Y. She was excited about the future.

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A singer who came up at the tail end of the big-band era, Marlene first recorded for Savoy in early 1955. She was backed by Joe Wilder (tp), Hank Jones (p), Eddie Jones (b) and Kenny Clarke (d). "They couldn’t find anyone else," she’d joke about the A-list sidemen. That year, she sang briefly with Charlie Spivak, where she met arranger Billy VerPlanck. They joined Tommy Dorsey’s band together and soon married.

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By the late 1950s, Marlene sang the hot notes in the John LaSalle Quartet, a singing trio plus Marlene (she’s on the cover above). But by the 1960s, as the demand for jazz singers dried up, Marlene smoothly transitioned into the jingle-singing business, a lucrative and steady gig. Her voice was heard singing "Mmm Good" on Campbell Soup ads and the warm "Yeah" in Michelob beer ads, to name just two popular campaigns.

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For more on Marlene’s career, read my JazzWax interview with Marlene in 2013 here.

Here are my favorite clips of Marlene on recordings:

Here’s Marlene singing If I Love Again in 1955…

Here’s Marlene with the John LaSalle Quartet in 1959 singing The Night We Called It a Day

Night We Called It a Day

Here’s Marlene singing Speak Low in 1993 with Saxomania in Paris…

Speak Low

Here’s Marlene singing Hey There in 1996…

Hey There

Here’s Marlene singing As Far As I’m Concerned in 2010…

As Far As I’m Concerned

Here’s Marlene singing Love Dance in 2012…

Love Dance

Here’s Marlene singing How Little We Know in 2014 with Harry Allen on tenor saxophone…

How Little We Know

Here’s Marlene singing Certain People in 2015 with John Pearce on piano in the U.K. Dig that final note, in her 80s…

Certain People

And here’s Marlene’s voice singing on a 1970s Michelob ad…

I miss Marlene . Given her relentlessly fizzy personality, I never imagined I’d be writing this tribute. She worked hard and loved jazz right up to the end. She wouldn’t have it any other way.


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Leaks, Rumours & Hype: What to Expect at NAMM 2018

New synths from Arturia and Waldorf, plus some big releases away from NAMM. We take a look at the synths and drum machines to expect this month.

Arturia MiniBrute 2… and more

After eight years on the market, Arturia have upgraded their popular MiniBrute analogue synth. The French company have transitioned heavily into hardware over the last few years, having previously been best known for their software synths. With the MicroBrute, MiniBrute, DrumBrute and MatrixBrute, the line-up is already impressive, but the new MiniBrute looks like a big step up from the original, with a wealth of semi-modular patching options, Keystep-inspired sequencer, new keyboard with aftertouch and a mysterious Arturia Link feature. You can see it in action above.
Intriguingly, Arturia are also promising to reveal at least one more product tomorrow (Tuesday 16th). As we said in our long-term DrumBrute review, we’d love to see a second drum machine from Arturia, but what’s probably more likely is a synth that fills an obvious gap in the Brute line-up: the huge jump from the affordable MiniBrute up to the flagship MatrixBrute. We’ll update as and when we hear.

Other trends: more analogue polysynths, more modular

Speaking of which, we won’t be at all surprised if this year sees the announcement of more analogue polysynths of all shapes, sizes and price points. There’s been speculation for years that Arturia could create a polyphonic addition to the Brute line-up, but there are various other brands who could potentially bring something to the table here. Korg struck an early blow with the affordable and excellent Minilogue last year, but there’s certainly room in the market for more budget options and it’s always interesting to see the high-end options boutique brands like Modal Electronics offer.
[quote text="we won’t be at all surprised if this year sees the announcement of more analogue polysynths of all shapes, sizes and price points."]
It probably goes without saying that Eurorack modular will continue to expand at an alarming rate. If anything, the pace of the entire sector still seems to be rising at an exponential rate, with more new brands arriving and existing players adding to their ranges. We’ll bring you the highlights from the show when we see them.
waldorf stvc

New Waldorf string synth

Details of a new Waldorf synth have emerged via a good old-fashioned leak by an American retailer. The STVC is a string synthesiser and vocoder based on the company’s underrated Streichfett string synth, grafted into a 49-key keyboard with built-in gooseneck microphone. It offers 16-voice polyphony with velocity and aftertouch, plus loads of effects. If the Streichfett is anything to go by, it should be a load of retro fun. The unit will be priced at $899.99.


Surprisingly, some of the most eagerly anticipated new product releases this month won’t actually be at NAMM. Behringer alone have teased and leaked more products over the last few weeks than most of their rivals put together, with their Minimoog Model D clone finally hitting retailers, the ‘accidental’ leak of various synth clones in development and now the announcement of an Oberheim OB-Xa clone and official confirmation of the Roland VP-330 clone the company has been teasing for months. However, company founder Uli Behringer announced after last year’s NAMM that the brand would no longer be exhibiting at trade shows.
Likewise, Moog’s stand at last year’s show was unusually sparse, shifting the focus from instruments onto some of the pioneering artists we’ve lost in recent years, but the company have gone a step further this year, deciding not to exhibit at the show despite the release of their new DFAM drum machine. Source:

Hypermedium Make Us an Exclusive Mix of New and Unreleased Music

Akis Sinos and Timos Alexandropoulous have released just three records since founding Hypermedium in 2015, but the pair’s less-is-more approach—combined with its elusive catalogue, from the gqom-style “drum’n’drone” beats of Audioboyz to the manic rave music of EVOL—has led to no one being able to pin the ‘Hypermedium sound’ down. Or as the Athens-based duo put it in a Stray Landings interview, their north star is “contemporary electronic music; whether this be computer music, noise collages, more club-oriented sounds or excursions into futurism.”

That’s not about to change anytime soon, either, as Hypermedium cue up confirmed exclusives from Siete Catorce, Dave Saved, and NPLGNN. Here’s a peek into their creative process—an exclusive Needle Exchange mix complete with a little commentary and a complete lack of tracklisting. Because what fun would that be? Fans back home in Greece should also look out for Hypermedium’s Death of Rave party when it touches down at Temple Athens this Friday….

For this mix we used unreleased material by friends and allies, new music that we’ve been recently spinning and upcoming Hypermedium stuff.

A lot of people seem to be confused lately with the diversity of the music we choose to release. We hope that this mix will give them an idea of the way we think about music, making connections by clashing heterogeneous styles and concepts. Instead of thinking through categories and genres or striving for the continuity of BPM matching, we find it more interesting to explore the outside of those boundaries, trying rather to get inspired by the unexpected benefits of disruption and the cross-pollination of things.

We’d like to dedicate this short mix to our crew and friends in Athens for all the love and support during the last two years.

Death of Rave flyer


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Mixes Of The Week: 15/1/17


This week’s top mixes include Afriqua at Portland R&S release party, rRoxymore’s leftfield selections and Lee Gamble’s hip-hop explorations.

rRoxymore’s Leftfield Selections. Musician, producer and DJ rRoxymore‘s multifaceted career has seen her producing on Ataris, studying composition in Paris and releasing techno in Berlin. In this recording, she performs a 90-minute RA Live set of leftfield selections, techno and house from Holger Czukay to Wally Badarou to Minnie Riperton at London’s Brilliant Corners. Stream above.

Afriqua at Portland R&S Release Party. Following up on his recent critically acclaimed EP Aleph on techno institution R&S, a recording via Playedby of Berlin-based techno producer Afriqua, aka Adam Longman Parker, playing a two-hour selection of sophisticated percussive workouts at a release party in Portland, USA. Stream above.

Lee Gamble’s Hip Hop Explorations. "The mix itself is made of edits of mixtapes, skits, radio shows and some individual tracks… I guess it’s more of a collage (in the radiophonic/concrete sense) than a conventional mix." Leading experimental artist Lee Gamble describes his new XLR8R podcast of hip-hop explorations. Stream above, download here.

Nabihah Iqbal’s Crack Mix. A soul-infused party mix from Nabihah Iqbal, who dropped her debut LP Weighing of the Heart in late 2017 and was previously known as Throwing Shade, featuring an extended dance mix of ‘Lullaby’ by The Cure, as well as soulful house classics, afro-beat reworks and power pop from Sage, Keytronics EnsembleRoy Ayers and more. Stream above, an interview with the artist here.

OMG JAPAN 2: Japanese Pop (1980-1989). The second ‘OMG JAPAN’ mix from Listen To This focuses on Japanese pop songs from the 80s – "most of them with a synth funk backbone" – a time when Western culture swept away Japan’s isolation, resulting in musical experimentation of many kinds. "The candy-coated appeal of these songs can’t deflect from their progressive (and often deeply subversive) nature." Stream above.

A Mix for Mark Fisher. Titled ‘Towards Lucid Explorations’, No Signal Sound puts together a special mix in memory of and dedication to activist, cultural critic and writer Mark Fisher, who worked under the alias K-punk, on the one year anniversary of his tragic passing. Featuring tracks by Mark Fell, Gabor Lazar, Goldfrapp, Burial, El-B, Stan Tracey and more. Stream above. Source:

Pi’erre Bourne Is a Hit-Making Rap Producer Who Wants to Be the Next Kanye West

After the crazy year you’ve had, what are you looking to do next?

I’m looking forward to putting out my project, signing a couple artists and putting out their projects, and working with some top-tier artists—whether it’s rap, pop, EDM, it’s no limits. I don’t want to box myself in. I might work on some video games—trying to speak some stuff into existence. I’m cool with a lot of the artists out, and we’re setting trends and pushing the culture forward. But I want to do other things that kind of shock people.

What kind of other things?

I really want to do music for games. You know how Grand Theft Auto had the radio stations and shit? That. And I just want to do the sound for shit. It don’t even have to be the music. It could just be sound effects. I be having crazy ideas in my head. I be hearing shit that might not go good on a beat for a rapper but might be great for something else—like the sound when somebody opens a door. I’m just trying to let everybody know, I don’t wanna just make trap beats. I want more.

Anything my ear hears where I’m like, “Yo, what the fuck is that?” I wanna explore. Since I was little I’ve been like that—just trying to record whatever I hear that I like. When we was in Australia, some Japanese band was playing some Titanic song, but I didn’t know it. I told someone I was going to sample it, and they was like, “No you ain’t, boy!” I would’ve played myself, would’ve went into the studio and made a hit and then lost all my money.

Pi’erre Bourne: “Yo Pi’erre!” [ft. Playboi Carti]
(via SoundCloud)

In a perfect world, what do you want to be able to say that you’ve accomplished when it’s all said and done?

A successful cartoon, a successful sitcom, a successful record label. It’s so much shit, bro. I wanna open up restaurants, stores, a fucking laundromat. I think I have the potential to be just like Dr. Dre, a billionaire. As long as I stay focused, the sky is the limit.

A lot of distractions come with celebrity. What’s your plan for staying focused?

I’m going to stay in the studio. Last night, Uzi was trying to get me out of the studio. We were in Boston, and I told him come through. He calls me back later while I’m recording and says, “Pi’erre, I got the hoes!” And I’m sitting in this booth on FaceTime just like, “Can you please get on [my mixtape]?” I don’t like the club like that. Ain’t no telling what can happen in that environment. There’s a lot of hatin’-ass muthafuckas. Rap music can bring a lot of good energy, but you’ve really gotta stay on your Ps and Qs. Even when you’re just having fun, somebody could be in the corner plotting.


Billy Collins on Sonny Rollins


A couple of weeks ago, Billy Collins sent me an unpublished poem. Billy is a former U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-2003) and author most recently of The Rain in Portugal (Random House). His poems always have a jazz feel—improvised, deft and witty. Between the December holidays, Billy wrote a poem about Sonny Rollins. Before we get to his verse, here’s a note Billy sent along with background:

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"The poem began on a morning walk/run that I’m in the habit of taking on a sandy path that runs around a lake here in Florida. I had my earbuds plugged in, and I happened to be listening to Sonny Rollins’s Way Out West. The album—if we can still use that word—with its amazing photo of Sonny on the cover in a 10-gallon hat and a giant cactus in the background, is a favorite of mine, as is Rollins himself. [Photo above of Billy Collins by Bill Hayes]


"To make a poem out of this, you just have to add the self-aggrandizing fantasy of imagining you are playing rather than just listening. Don’t millions of commuters "become" Elton John or Emily Lou Harris as they sing along on the drive to work? As I wrote the poem, I had to add the disappointing fact that I am me, not Sonny Rollins. So that’s how the poem came about; I started thinking about it on my walk and composed it as soon as I got back home. I’ve never seen Sonny play alas, but he has been one of my jazz gods."

Here’s Sonny playing I’m An Old Cowhand. Listen while reading Billy’s poem below…

I’m An Old Cowhand (Alternate Take)

Being Sonny Rollins

One of the dangers of piping Sonny Rollins

into my earbuds on my morning outing

is that I start wishing that I were Sonny Rollins

as I face again the blunt fact that I am not.

I usually run along a curvy cinder path

on the edge of a lake that sparkles in the sun.

I spot a heron, a pair of ducks and 5 white ibises,

but the fact remains that I am still not Sonny Rollins.

I watch hundreds of scattered black birds

wheeling and squawking in the sky

but that cowbell intro to “I’m an Old Cow Hand”

reminds me that I am someone other than Sonny Rollins.

Most of the runners and dog walkers

give me some kind of morning greeting.

Then a guy about my age shoots me a look

that says There’s no way you are Sonny Rollins.

That does it. If I am not Sonny Rollins,

then none of you other people are either.

Not you in the track suit or you with the collie—

not one Sonny Rollins in the pack of you.

And so I began exercising the muscles

of sarcasm as I continued to put down

everyone in sight for being inferior

to Sonny Rollins and every other jazz giant,

a pointless habit that ended only

when I found you at home in the kitchen,

you who have no desire to be Sonny Rollins,

you who dream only of being Anita O’Day.

—Billy Collins

Last weekend, I read Billy’s poem to Sonny. He roared with laughter, adding, "Oh, wow. Yeah, I’ve heard of Billy. That’s great, man."

JazzWax note: A reissue of Sonny Rollins’s Way Out West (1957) is due in a couple of weeks. More on the new release when I review it.


s e n d u s t . 2

Part 2 of a 2 part series focusing on artists from the Silent Records net-label.

[ambient audio constructions, compositions & treatments interspersed within an agglomerative, interstitial spectrum]
: )

Experimental Ambient/Drone/Glitch – 85:09


01 Yves De Mey – Lichtung
02 Emil Klotzsch – sctl15
03 Chris Russell – Opacity (excerpt)
04 Rag Dun – Standing at the Speed of Light
05 Grey Frequency – Cascade
06 Mike Rooke – Basidium
07 Viridian Sun – Elixer Sonic
08 Steinbruchel – scene 01 (excerpt)
09 Kevin Keller – Anicca
10 Kris Force – Tears of Sybil
11 Tegh – They Were From Somewhere Cold (Pjusk remix)
12 Michael Northam – Cutting Fetters
13 Off the Sky – Wool (excerpt)
14 Khem One Ensemble – Astral Engines
15 Lowell Levine Sims – Coil (w/ outro wash)
16 David Colohan – Landfall at William Creek



Concert Review: Stanley Jordan, January 13, Blues Alley


Watching Stanley Jordan play guitar is like watching water flow. It’s a fluid motion. It’s entrancing and calming and enrapturing all at once. It carries an elemental energy. It’s a force of nature.

Jordan, a Chicago native, took the stage at Blues Alley, a cozy and intimate club down a small alley in Georgetown, and proceeded to fill the venue with music in a way that I didn’t know was possible. I don’t play guitar myself, but my basic understanding was that you place the notes with one hand, and strum with the other. Not if you’re Stanley Jordan. Jordan plays with a two-handed tapping technique. Meaning that he both taps and plays the note with the same finger. Meaning that he plays with about twice the speed of other guitarists. When imagining the speed of his fingers, think classical violin player rather than guitarist. He also sometimes simultaneously plays piano while he’s doing this.

Jordan made his way on Saturday night through “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix and “Fragile” by Sting, as well as a number of classical covers, alternating between guitar, guitar/piano, and guitar/piano/singing. Each piece was about six minutes long – enough time to get totally lost in the song, and if you looked around the club everyone had this vaguely amazed/starstruck/mesmerized/dreamy look as they watched Jordan play. You could’ve heard a pin drop – nobody wanted to miss a single note.

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