RIP: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, famed classical singer

RIP: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, famed classical singer

From The New York Times:

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, the German baritone whose beautiful voice and mastery of technique made him the 20th century’s pre-eminent interpreter of art songs, died on Friday at his home in Bavaria. He was 86.

His wife, the soprano Julia Varady, confirmed his death to the German press agency DPA.

Mr. Fischer-Dieskau was by virtual acclamation one of the world’s great singers from the 1940s to his official retirement in 1992, and an influential teacher and orchestra conductor for many years thereafter.

He was also a formidable industry, making hundreds of recordings that pretty much set the modern standard for performances of lieder, the musical settings of poems first popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. His output included the many hundreds of Schubert songs appropriate for the male voice, the songs and song cycles of Schumann and Brahms, and those of later composers like Mahler, Shostakovich and Hugo Wolf. He won two Grammy Awards, in 1971 for Schubert lieder and in 1973 for Brahms’s “Die Schöne Magelone.”

Mr. Fischer-Dieskau had sufficient power for the concert hall, and for substantial roles in his parallel career as a star of European opera houses. But he was essentially a lyrical, introspective singer whose effect on listeners was not to nail them to their seatbacks, but rather to draw them into the very heart of song.

• Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau:

Azealia Banks drops debut EP 1991 and Fantastic mixtape, according to my mom

I was unaware that it was Mother’s Day when I took my mom to The Olive Garden for breakfast, so I really dodged a bullet with that. And I mean a metaphorical bullet of course. Anywho, my slave-driver of a boss at TMT, Mr P a.k.a. “Slave-Driver,” slapped a news story on my desk the same morning about Azealia Banks releasing her debut EP, 1991, on Interscope/Polydor May 29, digitally, and June 12, physically.

I had no fapping clue who Azealia Banks was. Though, I did think of the “Ashley Banks” character from classic 80s sitcom Freshest Prince, and the episode where Carlton Banks becomes her manager. In order to get some deets, as the kids say, I slid over a cloth napkin to my mom at the table, which read in black lipstick, “Who the fuck is Azealia Banks?”

My mom laughed so hard she squirted breakfast wine out of her nose. “You don’t know Azealia Banks? Never heard “212” featuring Lazy Jay?” I shook my head, indicating I had not heard such a Lazy Jay. My mom continued, “She’s all over Pitchfork. Don’t you read Pitchfork?”

After explaining to my mom that I only go to the Pitchfork Media website to play Sudoku puzzles, she patted me on the pants. To help me out she showed me the “212” video on her phone, and told me the her full-length album, Broke with Expensive Taste, will be out this fall. Thanks, Mom!


I turned in this article at the buttcrack of night, and then I got a page from “Slave-Driver” that Azealia Banks is releasing a mixtape. From a payphone I called him, and he said things like, “Don’t screw this up,” and, “There’s a lot of money riding on this.” Regardless, Banks announced via Twitter that her mixtape, Fantastic, will drop July 4. Too-da-loo.

• Azealia Banks:
• Interscope:

Lawrence Arabia’s new album The Sparrow takes flight in late July

Sunshiney New Zealand crooner Lawrence Arabia is back with a third album of 60s-influenced pop on Bella Union. The Sparrow is the follow-up to 2009’s Chant Darling, which won the hearts of even the most charcoal-souled critics and put the fellow who toured as Okkervil River’s bassist and supported Feist on a jaunt or two front and center. Of course, James Milne (as Lawrence Arabia’s birth certificate calls him) has been doing the music thing for nearly a decade, so he knows his way around a stage, having been a member of both The Brunettes and Ruby Suns. Milne has also contributed to film soundtracks like Eagle vs. Shark and produced original tunes for TV, film, and theatre.

Recorded in late 2011, Arabia’s third album was the work of Milne, Elroy Finn, and Connan Mockasin, who all holed up together in a big house in Surrey, England that they called the Japanese Academy. (Such charming people. I call my house That F*$%ing Apartment Where Everything Breaks Down & Which Will Probably Collapse On Top of Me in an Earthquake. Mark my words, dear reader.) Although you may think from listening to the album that an entire orchestra was also bunking at the Japanese Academy, it is my journalistic duty to tell you that strings and horns were added later at Roundhead Studios in Auckland. Sorry to dispel any romantic orchestral notions. Arabia mixed and produced the album himself. The Sparrow takes flight (sorry, I had to, it’s just begging for it) on July 24, and Lawrence himself is flying around New Zealand just before then (with more US/EU tourdates coming soon). Check out the dates below the album trailer.


07.13.12 - Christchurch, New Zealand - St. Michael’s and All Angels
07.14.12 - Dunedin, New Zealand - Sammy’s
07.20.12 - Auckland, New Zealand - Auckland Town Hall
07.22.12 - Wellington, New Zealand - Wellington Opera House

• Lawrence Arabia:
• Bella Union:

Aesop Rock to tour North America this summer like it’s his freakin’ JOB. Oh wait…

It’s been nigh on five years since rapper/producer/my total bro-dog Aesop Rock has done the whole “make an album and tour on it” thing as a solo artist. Maybe that’s because doing all of that stuff totally sucks and the music industry is a soul-crushing, creativity-vaporizing, family-and-friends-alienating sham-machine whose sharp, rusty, metal implements are oiled by the hot blood of a declasse group of bound and gagged musical pack mules and all that stuff. Or maybe it’s just because he’s been busy working with other artists and chillaxing with some kombucha. Personally, I don’t really know or care which, as long as all music everywhere is always readily available, high quality, and free!

Speaking of which, dude’s putting out a new record on July 10 via Rhymesayers called Skelethon that I should probs totes find a good rip of somewhere. It features Kimya Dawson, Rob Sonic, DJ Big Wiz, Allyson Baker of Dirty Ghosts, Hanni El Khatib, and some other dudes, maybe. I don’t know. Who cares, right? Where’s the MP2’s for my Winamp? Oh, and then a few days later he’s hitting the old dusty trail to promote the thing, backed up by Rob Zombie and DJ Big Whig or whatever their names are (and p4k sayz the openers are Edison and Dark Time Sunshine). I’ll probs go to one of the shows and kick it with a beach ball and whatnot, if my buddy that works security at Chicago’s Metro can hook it up, of course. Anyway, here’s a vid for one of the new tunes. I’m out.

Skelethon tracklisting:

01. Leisureforce
02. ZZZ Top
03. Cycles to Gehenna
04. Zero Dark Thirty
05. Fryerstarter
06. Ruby ‘81
07. Crows 1
08. Crows 2
09. Racing Stripes
10. 1,000 O’Clock
11. Homemade Mummy
12. Grace
13. Saturn Missiles
14. Tetra
15. Gopher Guts


05.27.12 - Shakopee, MN - Soundset Festival
07.13.12 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre
07.15.12 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
07.19.12 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
07.20.12 - Vancouver, BC - Venue
07.21.12 - Seattle, WA - Seattle Block Party
07.23.12 - Salt Lake City, UT - In The Venue
07.24.12 - Denver, CO - Summit Music Hall
07.27.12 - Madison, WI - Barrymore Theatre
07.28.12 - Chicago, IL - Metro
07.30.12 - Toronto, ON - Mod Club
07.31.12 - Montreal, QC - Corona Theatre
08.02.12 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
08.03.12 - New York, NY - Irving Plaza
08.04.12 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
08.05.12 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
08.07.12 - Atlanta, GA - The Loft
08.09.12 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
08.10.12 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s
08.11.12 - Austin, TX - Mohawk
08.13.12 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theater
08.14.12 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theater
08.15.12 - San Diego, CA - Belly Up

• Aesop Rock:
• Rhymesayers:

Dylan Ettinger tours the United States; somewhere, a baby bird learns to fly

Sometimes you think about all the things that are going on in the world right now, as you live your everyday life. Things like… butterflies going extinct, Stephen Colbert making a cameraman laugh with boundless joy, a child in Uzbekistan putting the final stitches on your Urban Outfitters short shorts, a baby bird building a home with its mama bird. Beautiful things. Terrible things. And into the midst of all that worldly clamor comes psych/synth/dub mad genius Dylan Ettinger, merrily driving his tour van deep into the heart of tour land. (That’s from a nursery rhyme my roadie uncle Knifeface used to sing me to sleep with. What? You’ve never heard of it? Ha ha what are you, some kind of child laborer in the former Soviet Union?!?!) To keep things short, Dylan Ettinger was on tour yesterday, he’s on tour today, and if you live in the Eastern half of these great United States of ours, he’s probably coming on tour somewhere near you.

And in his mystical van, Mr. Ettinger has a magical record! (This is also part of the nursery rhyme. Try to stay with me.) It’s called Lifetime of Romance, and it came out on the always fabulous Not Not Fun label a few weeks ago. The critics have been lapping this thing up, so you might have to elbow Simon Reynolds to get to the merch table. But it’ll be worth it. You can check out the video for The Cure-inflected lead single “Wintermute” here. Just don’t do it at work. Unless, like, you work at a naughty Weimar Republic-era cabaret. Dylan Ettinger is on tour throughout the month of May.


05.17.12 - Madison, WI - Mickey’s Tavern
05.18.12 - Minneapolis, MN - Palmer’s
05.19.12 - Minneapolis, MN - Yeti Records
05.19.12 - Iowa City, IA - Public Space One
05.20.12 - Kansas City, KS - FOKL (Kansas City Psych Fest)
05.21.12 - St. Louis, MO - Negative Cold
05.22.12 - Knoxville, TN - TBA
05.23.12 - Atlanta, GA - Space 2
05.24.12 - Ashville, NC - Izzy’s Coffee Den
05.25.12 - Lexington, KY - Backlot
05.26.12 - Brooklyn, NY - Body Actualized Center
05.27.12 - TBA
05.29.12 - Columbus, OH - TBA

• Dylan Ettinger:
• Not Not Fun:

The Pirate Bay attacked, not by Anonymous, but by anonymous former member of Anonymous (anonymously?)

Earlier this week, FACT Magazine reported that Swedish site The Pirate Bay had been cyber-attacked, knocking the file sharing site offline for a full day. Originally, it was thought that the attack may have come from famed hacktivist group Anonymous, simply because the style of attack — a disturbed denial of service (DDoS) attack — had been previously used against Virgin Media by Anonymous after Virgin’s ISP began blocking The Pirate Bay in the UK following a court-ordered injunction.

Eventually, though, Anonymous came forward, anonymously, and declared that they were not responsible for the attack, noting that the DDoS form of attack in and of itself represented the type of censorship the group fights against. The Pirate Bay followed suit by posting on their Facebook timeline that Anonymous was not a suspect. Oh, but how the plot thickens!

A “former” Anonymous member going by the somewhat less anonymous name of “Nyre” has come forward to claim responsibility for the attacks, announcing, “The Pirate Bay was a press-release Website for Anonymous,” a group Nyre purportedly no longer cares for. As CNET reports, though, there are still reasons to be skeptical. Checking out Nyre’s Twitter account reveals some other issues he (or she… no, let’s be honest) had with the site, including a lack of his preferred type of pornography available for download. Nyre also seems to have some pretty strong racist and homophobic tendencies, so I think we’ll just stop talking about him now.

The Pirate Bay is now up and running again, so if you still use the site, you can stop worrying and get back to downloading your preferred type of pornography.

• The Pirate Bay:



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