RIP: Robin Gibb, Bee Gees lead singer

RIP: Robin Gibb, Bee Gees lead singer

From Rolling Stone:

Robin Gibb, one-third of the Bee Gees, died Sunday after a long battle with cancer, his spokesperson has confirmed via a statement. Gibb was 62 years old.

“The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery,” reads the statement. “The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”

Two years ago, Gibb battled colon and liver cancer, but despite making what he called a “spectacular recovery,” a secondary tumor recently developed, complicated by a case of pneumonia.

Gibb was born in Manchester, England, in 1949, along with twin brother Maurice. (Maurice died in 2003 of complications from a twisted intestine; eerily, Robin had surgery for the same medical issue in 2010.) Along with their older brother Barry, the brothers began harmonizing as a trio in Australia, where the family moved in 1958. Although the Bee Gees had some success in Australia – they hosted a weekly variety show there – they didn’t truly arrive until they returned to England and signed with manager Robert Stigwood. Robin’s quivering, vulnerable voice was featured prominently on several of the group’s earliest and most Beatles-eque hits, including “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” “I Started a Joke,” “Massachusetts,” and “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You.”

Although he looked and sounded like the meekest Bee Gee, Robin grew into the family rebel. By 1969, he and Barry were feuding over whose song should be singles, and Robin, then 20, was declared a “ward of the state” by their father when his drinking and partying seemed to take over his life. “It happened so fast that we lost communication between us,” Gibb later recalled. “It was just madness, really.”

But it also Robin who, in 1971, made the first call to Barry to reunite with his brothers. Robin’s solo career had stalled, and Barry and Maurice’s attempts to continue as the Bee Gees as a duo had floundered as well. “If we hadn’t been related, we would probably have never gotten back together,” Robin said at the time. Robin’s voice was heard, beautifully, on the chorus of their minor 1972 hit “Run to Me.”

The Bee Gees’ massive second wind arrived with their proto disco hit, “Jive Talkin’,” in 1975; two years later, their contributions to Saturday Night Fever made them bigger stars than ever. Most of the hits from that era featured Barry’s falsetto voice, but the brothers’ vocal blend remained an indelible apart of their sound.

• Robin Gibb:

Cooly G won’t be playing you, that’d be lame; debut album Playin Me set for July release on Hyperdub

The official release (though you can stream the entire thing for free here) of Laurel Halo’s debut album Quarantine next week should temporarily satisfy our desire for experimental pop mixtures of the Hyperdub-ian variety. But while that album seems almost impossible to pin down stylistically (same goes for Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland’s Black Is Beautiful), what about Hyperdub’s more danceable roots? Besides Burial (who wouldn’t be tasked with so public a responsibility anyway), who else is carrying the flag for the label these days?

I knew I’d heard the name Cooly G before, and it wasn’t through an erroneous belief that she was the sister of a Sacha Baron Cohen character. She’s appeared on several acclaimed mixes, including the Kode9 edition of DJ-Kicks, Martyn’s Fabric 50, and the massive label undertaking 5: Five Years of Hyperdub, released in 2009. On July 17, Cooly G a.k.a. Merrisa Campbell will be releasing her debut album Playin Me on Hyperdub. Initial impressions suggest a unique and soulful take on the burgeoning UK funky sub-genre; as a press release notes, “[o]n Playin Me she displays the full spectrum of her sound, plummeting from her sometimes melancholy, sometimes romantic songs through to her more menacing, trackier sound.” Indeed, corroborating the “romantic” aspect of things is the inclusion of the track “Trouble,” a cover of the Coldplay song by the same name.

Despite the unavoidable tendency of myself and others to lump Campbell in with a particular scene, she has understandably shied away from that: “I don’t really want to call my music anything right now, but the album is much more melodic and… a bit girly. A bit more about me, Merrisa, rather than Cooly G. People probably think I’m hard because I make hard tunes, but I’m not really that hard!” Check out a preview of Campbell’s softer side below.

Playin Me tracklisting:

01. He Said I Said
02. What This World Needs Now
03. Come Into My Room
04. Landscapes (featuring Sinbad)
05. Good Times
06. Sunshine
07. Trying
08. Playin Me
09. Trouble
10. What Airtime
11. It’s Serious (featuring Karizma)
12. Is It Gone
13. Up In My Head

• Cooly G:
• Hyperdub:

Diplo wants you to Express Yourself on bangin’/spankin’ new EP

2012. America’s in turmoil. Fighting, name-calling, and a severe lack of good times have gripped the nation. The only thing people can agree on is Gotye. But wait! Before you despair, remember Diplo. The beat-droppin’ genre freak may have first appeared in our hearts and sound systems several years ago, but now, in the era the Mayans predicted would signal a great interplanetary change (or something) it seems more and more likely that Diplo is a gift from a party rockin’ future, who has traveled back in time to save us from wack parties, inane electro, and the two dudes in LMFAO. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen of discerning taste, Diplo is back!

So party people, you can stop holding back. Diplo’s here, with a brand spankin’ new (emphasis on the spankin’) EP and he wants you to Express Yourself. Out on the DJ/producer/all around cool dude’s own Mad Decent label on June 12, Express Yourself is a non-stop dance-a-thon bending electro dance jams into New Orleans Bounce contortions and EDM splits before shooting that crazed, wailing genrebaby out of a Dancehall cannon. Always the busy fella from the future, Diplo is half of Major Lazer, and has recently worked with Beyoncé and Usher. Express Yourself is his first solo album since 2004’s groundbreaking Florida, and you can check out closing track “Set It Off” below.

Express Yourself tracklisting:

01. Express Yourself (feat. Nicky Da B)
02. Barely Standing (feat. Datsik & Sabi)
03. No Problem (feat. Flinch & My Name Is Kay)
04. Move Around (feat. Elephant Man & GTA)
05. Butters Theme (feat. Billy the Gent & Long Jawns)
06. Set It Off (feat. Lazerdisk Party Sex)

• Diplo:
• Mad Decent:

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: