By

With Cornucopia, Björk thrillingly celebrates our future rather than her past

Björk at “Cornucopia” | photo by Santiago Felipe | via facebook.com/bjork

On “Future Forever” Björk promises to “build a musical scaffolding.” With Cornucopia, her meticulous and magnificent new staged concert at New York’s The Shed, she does exactly that. 

While the audience settles, bird songs and sweet jungle sounds loop. This creates a unique nature-like atmosphere inside The Shed’s industrial interior. After the lights dim, The Hamrahlíð Choir, an Icelandic children’s choir, appears in front of the stage. They preform a darling set, including a cover of Björk’s own “Cosmology.” Once they walk off, an animated video for “Family” is projected onto the curtains of dangling strings that guard the stage. As a glowing purple and yellow Björk fills the frame, the curtains thin out, revealing a stage made of mushroom-like platforms. Finally, singing the gibberish that opens “The Gate”, Björk arrives.

Continue reading →

By

PREMIERE: The Underwater Sounds share cover of Bjork’s “Joga”

underwater sound
Underwater Sound | photo by Samuel Markey Photography

As we learned in the most recent High Key feature on Sonni Shine, The Underwater Sounds are calling it quits next month. For six years the reggae fusion outfit lifted spirits at over 600 shows and released several records, a run that culminates with February 5th’s farewell show / record release party for Visions of Love and Light pt. 2 at Underground Arts. For now, though, we have the premiere of “Joga,” a cover of Bjork’s song that has become a staple of The Underwater Sounds’ live show.

Continue reading →

By

Rock Mom #2: Bjork

BjorkThere’s no way Bjork Guðmundsdóttir isn’t like an impossibly fun mom. Just watch the “It’s Oh So Quiet” video if you don’t believe me. Her son Sindri (pictured) was born in 1986 when she was in The Sugarcubes; in 2002, she and partner Matthew Barney had a daughter Ísadóra.

[continue reading]

By

Farewell, Trocadero: Remembering the famed Philly venue in 20 concerts

Red Fang at The Troc | photo by Matt Shaver

If your social media timeline was anything like mine, last night it was filled with photos of ticket stubs and memories of the fabled Chinatown club The Trocadero, in the wake of reports that the venue is closing this month.

Though The Troc itself has yet to make any kind of official announcement or statement on the matter, it certainly seems as though its tenure in Philadelphia is ending; fewer and fewer concerts have been showing up on the calendar of its 1000-capacity main room, and its schedule since the beginning of 2019 has been filled with cancelled, postponed, or moved-to-other-venue shows. Continue reading →

By

It’s Shallow: A humdrum year in Oscar’s musical nominees

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born | still from video

For all of the so-called advances made by alterna-world music makers such as Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor team, Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, and Bad Seeds’ Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, when it comes to Oscar-nominated film scoring and orchestration, the same wealth of weird feeling and oddball aesthetics has not been afforded to the Academy Awards’ Best Original Song category.

Sure, 1993 gave us two songs from Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia (the film’s musical bookends from Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young), with one victor in The Boss. The 1998 Oscars welcomed the tender-hearted Elliott Smith and his acoustic guitar quietly singing “Miss Misery” from Good Will Hunting, Björk got nominated for “I’ve Seen it All” for her Dancer in the Dark starrer in 2000. Hip hop tracks such as “Lose Yourself” and “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” got actual Oscars in 2002 and 2005, respectively. If you want to stretch that which is alternative (and Bruce and Young do that already) and lump classic rock white guys into the mix, Sting, Dylan and U2 also got noms for merely OK songs. That’s about it, though, when it’s come to Oscar-nominated tunes from artists we think of as beyond the mainstream. Or, at the very least, not David Foster.

Not a great track record for modernist music such as rap, indie and electronica. It’s even worse when you consider that the 2019 lot for Oscar’s Best Original Song category — at a time of #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo — is littered with mediocre white men, and may be the most un-original list of possible winners since Randy Newman started working for Disney (OK, I love Newman, but not his drunky, treacle-spun film songs). Continue reading →

By

One-Two, One-Two, Keep It On: Listen to the January 2019 edition of What’s The Frequency?! on WXPN

Listen to the ish because we kick it ’til dawn

On the second Friday of every month, WXPN’s John Vettese hosts WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY?!?!!, a four-hour, request driven showcase of 90s and 90s-adjacent music. If you can’t tune in live, we’ve got archives of each episode for you here on The Key.

It’s funny how some classics experience a new life. In the January 11 edition of #WTFXPN, we started the show off with a cut from Bay Area hip-hop faves Luniz, “I Got 5 On It,” that is seeing a new life thanks to its inclusion in the trailer for Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us. The day after the trailer dropped, Genius.com reported a huge spike in searches for the song.

On the either side of that, there are the classic-then-classic-now sorts of 90s cuts (Green Day’s “She”) and the firmly-remaining-in-the-underground cuts (“The Boatman” by Brighton anarcho-folk punks Levellers), and we heard the whole gamut on this month’s show, along with a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion jam for the folks headed to see him at Johnny Brenda’s, the amazing Beastie Boys’ fan fave jammer “Get It Together” (featuring incredible bars from Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest), and a small celebration of to the 20th birthday of Britney Spears’ debut album Baby One More Time. Listen back to the show and peruse the playlist below.  Continue reading →