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Music Dump - Skrillex's Necks Woos Drake's Fiona Apple

A recurring weekly feature where we highlight some of the best and/or most interesting music writing from across the web.

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You Masculine You by Mark Richardson (Pitchfork): Reading a record review, there's a temptation to see it as a total summary of the album, as an attempt to be as authoritative as possible. Yet, as Richardson points out, it's hard to avoid identifying with people who come across as being like you, and hearing something extra in that music because of the identifying. And so Richardson hears something in Bill Callahan's music that a female critic might not, and a female critic hears something in Grimes (pictured) that Richardson might not - different albums speak to different experiences in different ways. Of course, Bill Callahan and Grimes are both fundamentally humans, with human experiences; men and women aren't that different under the surface in most ways. And so, while it might take a bit more effort to understand what Grimes is trying to say if you're male, it doesn't mean that the experience isn't worth it.

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Yes, Fiona Apple's Performances At SXSW Really Have Been Mindblowing By Nitsuh Abebe (Vulture): It's great to hear that Fiona Apple has a new album coming out soon, and even greater to read Nitsuh Abebe (who, by the sounds, is much less of a Fiona Apple fan than me - I'd pick Apple over JAMC any day) talk about how spellbinding her recent performances have been. And it's great to read not just because I'm a fan, but because Abebe discusses in detail exactly what makes that performance so good: Apple's ability to be simultaneously totally professional and to seem like she's putting every inch of her soul into the song.

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On The Cover: Drake by Claire Hoffman (GQ): In case you thought that Drake was just playing at being a loverman? Ms Hoffman is just interviewing him about his stuff, and suddenly, whoompf! He presses some buttons on a 'bookshelf' and suddenly it swings open to reveal the ultimate bachelor pad bedroom, complete with a video screen in the roof. And he is not just showing this to Ms Hoffman for the purposes of the interview, if you get what I mean.

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Icons - The Necks: 'We're Not Real Big On Emotion In Music' by Aaron Curran (Mess+Noise): The Necks are easily the weirdest (relatively) popular Australian band. I mean, their songs are influenced by both modern minimalist classical music a la Philip Glass or Brian Eno and improvisatory jazz a la Keith Jarrett, and typically go for an hour, often being mindnumbing repetitive.  And yet they have a dedicated fanbase! Their album Sex was voted as the 47th best Australian album in JJJ's Industry Top 100, and believe me, they are by far the strangest-sounding thing on that list (and they're higher on that list than John Farnham's Whispering Jack!!!). And the secret to their success is that they're really fucking amazing, of course. Curran talks to bass player Lloyd Swanton about why they play what they play, and how it works.

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2012: The Year Of The Dissolving Diva by Katherine St. Asaph (The Atlantic): Last year, St. Asaph argues, pop music seemed dominated by women, and not only by women, but by strong, pioneering types - your Lady Gagas and Beyonces. Except that in 2012, these women seem to have receded from the music scene a bit; Beyonce's more famous for a baby than for excellent songs like 'Countdown' or 'Love On Top', Lady Gaga's album has finally yielded all the singles it will yield. And Madonna's new music has been widely panned. The calm before the storm? Or is the current chart pop Zeitgeist weakening, to be replaced by more "masculine" music (Gotye, Foster The People, etc)? Time will tell.

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Why The Loved And Hated 'Now Noise' of Skrillex Really Is Kind Of Punk by Daphne Carr (Capital New York): Skrillex currently has a top 5 single in Australia, and that's pretty awesome! In amongst the David Guettas and LMFAOs of the world, some dude is selling heaps of records making music which sounds to me like Aphex Twin or late 1990s Prodigy (actually, Aphex Twin's 'Come To Daddy' was allegedly taking the piss out of late 1990s Prodigy, but I digress) but with extra wubwubwub. Of course, those hardcore electronic music fans widely think Skrillex is a pretty shit DJ, and Carr makes the argument that Skrillex isn't trying to make good electronic music for those fans; he's making electronic music for people who used to be (and perhaps still are) Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance fans. (He did used to be the frontman for screamo band First To Last). And it's working for him.

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A Weird Thing About Having Aspergers... by David Grossman (One Week One Band): Grossman is an Aspie (aka a sufferer of Aspergers Syndrome, a mild form of autism), and it feeds into his musical obsessions - he's at the point where nobody questions him when he claims that nobody questions him on the accuracy of his knowledge of the minutiae of an album. And the 1990s lo-fi rock of Guided By Voices is famous for its total lack of respect for the niceties of traditional pop song structure - GBV were totally happy to put a 48 second half-finished song on an album with 40 songs on it, often recorded poorly. For Grossman, this stuff almost overwhelms his base desire to totally know an album inside and out. And for him, there's something about listening to a song like 'Demons Are Real' that lets him forget he's an Aspie for a moment, lets him just feel the music.

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How The World's First Rock Concert Ended In Chaos by Jude Sheerin (BBC News Magazine): 60 years ago almost to the day, on March 21st 1952, a record store owner named Leo Mintz noticed that there were a bunch of white teenagers who were digging some of the black R&B he was playing. And so he felt like maybe he should put a concert on for these kids with his mate Alan Freed, a DJ. Elvis was a year away from even stepping into a recording studio at this point, and so the acts at the concert were the likes of Paul Williams and the Hucklebuckers. Nevertheless, the show really did end in chaos, as twice as many people as the venue would hold tried to cram into the theatre. And the rest really was history...

Tim Byron
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