Forgotten Gems & Dusty Classics: Don Byas, Rex Griffin, Furry Lewis, Memphis Minnie, Lonnie Johnson

Amassing rare and forgotten music is a peculiar sort of hobby — one that slowly transforms into an addiction. It’s not that I don’t love mainstream music. It’s just that the thrill of listening to some forgotten gem that everybody else has overlooked is powerful. It also feeds into the collector’s impulse I have to overturn every stone to find that song, and my love of complete collections. Not surprisingly, I also like to collect comic books. I guess I’m the type. In any event, here are five lesser-known musicians that I believe everybody should give a listen to, dating as far back as the 1910s and focusing on jazz, folk, and blues. Don Byas (1912 – 1972) I discovered

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Top Pops! June 2013: CocoRosie, Swahili, Sisterfella, Statistics, Elusive Parallelograms

“Pop music shouldn’t always get a bad rap,” says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of indie pop highlights across a selection of styles, updated every month to keep you funkeh. June’s installment features a couple morbid songs from CocoRosie, dancey tracks from Swahili, Sisterfella, and Statistics, and an unlikely inclusion from Elusive Parallelograms.

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Aural Devastation, June 2013: The Dillinger Escape Plan, Deafheaven, Kylesa, Set and Setting

In this month’s Aural Devastation, Kylesa return with a new album and Deafheaven redefine black metal as they know it — plus songs from The Dillinger Escape Plan, Sun and Setting, and Sleeping in Gethsemane.

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Stellar OM Source – Polarity Music Video (MV of the Week) + Process Interview w/ Christelle Gualdi

“I am a devotee of letting nocturnal dreams / daydreams guide you when looking for inspiration. I am most interested in those moments where intuition is free. The dreamed image of the Japanese girl dressed in a kimono and walking along the edge of a swimming pool surrounded by fog was so strong, it defined mood. The challenge was then to stick to the image memory while actualizing.” – Christelle Gualdi of Stellar OM Source

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Tycho – Ascension Music Video (MV of the Week)

We’ve raved before about the visual work of San Francisco graphic designer and ambient electronic musician Tycho, aka Scott Hansen — but how exciting that similarly-styled graphic designer and director Charles Bergquist has now been enlisted to turn both of their still image styles into moving image! Both Bergquist and Hansen are known visually for their use of overlaid imagery and washed out colors, and the video for “Ascension” possesses all of these elements. But unlike any hand-held video edited together by any ol’ dream pop band with a penchant for Polaroid dreaminess, this is a well-executed, high-quality visual treat that feels pulled straight out of a fashion magazine universe. It also incorporates the best of both Bergquist and Hansen’s

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Top Pops! May 2013: Royal Canoe, Empress Of, AM & Shawn Lee, Starlight Girls

“Pop music shouldn’t always get a bad rap,” says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop highlights across a selection of styles, updated every month to keep you funkeh. +++ FULL POST + TOP POPS! COLUMNS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS Empress Of – Systems EP (Terrible Records) Brooklyn-based Empress Of is picking up where Blonde Redhead left off. With a little Twin Sister and a dash of Beach House for good measure, Empress Of features a strong female voice backed by slittery guitar lines and tingly electro-keyboards. It’s mystical and wandering, but also tightly put together. The one-woman project (the name behind the moniker is Lorely Rodriguez) has been getting quite the bit of internet buzz over the past few

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