SoundCloud “Next” upgrade leaves Beta behind, giving us something to write December music news about!

SoundCloud "Next" upgrade leaves Beta behind, giving us something to write December music news about!

Hey! Stop paying attention to all of those holiday Apple ads and spicy cookie smells and invitations to slack off at work and all that stuff and LISTEN TO ME tell you about some intangible tech thing that’s happening.

Did that work? Is anyone here? Just you and me? Well fuck, I dunno. You might care about this sort of thing, right? So okay, here we go. As Hypebot reports, the newly redesigned and majorly upgraded “Next SoundCloud” officially launched yesterday (December 6, 2012, Gregorian Jesus Calendar), leaving behind its cozy, private beta-version shelter for the wide, cruel world of all ignorant “device” users at large. That’s right, DJ-ToWhomItMayConcern, it’s now the one and only platform for all SoundCloud users! And, oh shit, you’ll never guess what? This re-engineered platform shit “increases engagement more than 30% over the previous version,” allowing users to enjoy such impressive-sounding predicate nominatives as “reposts,” “updated mobile search,” and “UX updates on both iOS and Android.” So you’d better damn well enjoy them, whatever they mean! Oh. Wait. Shut up. Here’s what they mean:

— A new “Explore” page, improved search, related sounds suggestions, a “Continuous Play” feature, enhanced Facebook integration stuff, a feature called “Sets” that allows you curate sounds you like into one single waveform, reposts for more obnoxious sharing, and real-time notifications of all that obnoxious sharing.

Wow. Hey, are you still here? Arg. Probably not. Well, whatever. I’m late for my train to the airport anyway. Umm, here’s some last minute facts before I’m out the door for the year: SoundCloud creators now post 10+ hours of music and audio every single minute! Holy shit! Also, they now reach over 180 million people — 8% of the entire internet population — every single month! (Even December, maybe! So long, reader…)

• SoundCloud:

RIP: Sarah Kirsch, formerly known as Mike Kirsch, of Pinhead Gunpowder (with Billie Joe Armstrong), Fuel

From Green Day:

Sarah Kirsch, was an important figure and driving force in the ’90s Bay Area punk scene and beyond. She continues to be an important part of our community, our culture, our music scene, and many of our lives.

Even if you don’t recognize this name, you probably know Sarah. She has been a huge part of the punk/radical community for decades as Mike Kirsch (Fuel,Sawhorse, Pinhead Gunpowder, John Henry West,Torches To Rome, Bread And Circuits, Please Inform The Captain This Is A Hijack, Baader Brains,Mothercountry Motherfuckers, etc.). She not too long ago came out as a proud trans-woman, and almost immediately was confronted with these terrible health problems

Sadly, Sarah passed away on December 5th.

• Pinhead Gunpowder:

Kraftwerk super psyched about impending royal baby, bring their residency to London’s Tate Modern

In honor of Kate Middleton’s baby bump (what isn’t, am I right?) Kraftwerk are bringing their epic CATALOGUE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 residency to London’s Tate Modern. After all what could be a better commentary on the impending arrival of the good ol’ royal stork than a bunch of electronic music swirling its way through the grand, sorta dystopian-lookin’ Turbine Hall of the Tate? You know, sometimes a giant box of bubblegum cigars just ain’t gonna cut it.

In reality, of course, Kraftwerk are actually coming to London to spread music (because they’re a band), art (because it’s in an art museum), and love (because one of the shows is on Valentine’s Day). The Teutonic hippie robots will be doing the same sort of thing as their eight-night residency at New York’s MoMA earlier in the year, and, as previously reported, will be performing each of their albums in their hometown of Düsseldorf, Germany this January. Tickets for the Tate Modern events are £60 and go on sale next week. Dates and their corresponding albums are listed below.

02.06.13 - Autobahn (1974)
02.07.13 - Radio-Aktivität (1975)
02.08.13 - Trans-Europe Express (1977)
02.09.13 - Die Mensch-Maschine (1978)
02.11.13 - Computerwelt (1981)
02.12.13 - Techno Pop (1986)
02.13.13 - The Mix (1991)
02.14.13 - Tour de France Soundtracks (2003)

• Kraftwerk:

[Photo: Ian Witlen]

Devendra Banhart perks up his fluttery voice, announces new full-length album Mala

Devendra Banhart’s foray into the soul-crushing world of major record labels must’ve left him a bit shell-shocked, because since the release of What Will Be (TMT Review) in 2009, courtesy of Warner Bros, he’s been mostly, but not entirely, missing in action — popping up now and again for both short-lived collaborations and abbreviated (in my personal experience) live performances. He opened for Swans in Los Angeles about a year-and-a-half ago, and if I recall correctly, illness prevented him from exceeding the 20-minute mark. Or maybe, just maybe… he was symbolically expressing how sick he was of all the suits representing him! I’ve been reading too many novels lately.

2013 will see the formal return of that Spanish-speaking folk musician. On an as-yet unspecified date, Banhart will be releasing Mala on Nonesuch. He and bandmate Noah Georgeson produced the album, and that’s about it as far as details go at the moment. Stay tuned!

• Devendra Banhart:
• Nonesuch:

Das Racist break up, dissipating into mist and then transforming into a box of pizza and a sack of tacos

My heart has been chopped up and sprinkled on a pizza. That pizza has been stuck inside a taco. Now that taco has been consumed and, as you may recall, my heart was inside that taco. What I’m trying to say here is that, as reported by Stereogum, Das Racist have broken up. Before splitting, the group put out two mixtapes and one album, along with a song you love/hate.

Eschewing any sort of formal press release, the announcement of Das Racist’s split came during Munich’s On3 Festival, where the group was scheduled to perform. Instead, Das Racist member Heems did a solo set, in which he prefaced his performance of Das Racist songs by saying the group had broken up. Which, based on the group’s history, could have easily been a joke. Except that the group’s other primary MC Kool A.D. later tweeted that he had quit the group months ago, though was instructed not to talk about it. So it’s probably not a joke. In an interview with Spin, Das Racist’s hypeman Dapwell spoke about their break-up. So it’s definitely not a joke. According to Dapwell, the group had plans for a second full-length, a farewell tour, and a TV show, but those plans have all been scrapped.

Though Das Racist is no more, it’s unlikely that any of its members will disappear any time soon. Both Heems and Kool A.D. have each put out two solo mixtapes this year. Furthermore, Heems runs the Greedhead labels, which seems to be doing just fine for itself. As for Dapwell, I’m sure he’ll pop up again, just like Batman.

• Das Racist:

2013 Grammy Awards nominees list revealed: dearly departed LMFAO honored among other indie groups

The pageantry! The Ke$ha! The music, maaaaan! That’s right, America’s annual experiment in musical soul-searching — the Grammy Awards — is just around the corner. And this year, America’s got a lot to answer for! Like, come on, seriously, THIS is what you came up with for electronica nominees? And wow, why do so many of these songs have such idiotic names? But there are also many things to be excited about. For example, who will the good boys and girls of Grammy High nominate to be this year’s King of the Grammys? Coldplay or Frank Ocean? The nerd with a heart of gold or the douchey football captain? (Not saying either one corresponds with either high school stereotype; don’t sue me, Chris Martin. Love ya, Frank.)

This year’s list of nominees skews a little bit younger and a smidgen cooler. Nearly all the “Best Album” nominees could be considered “indie” under the right light; you’ve got yer Mumford & Sons vs. Jack White vs. fun. vs. The Black Keys vs. Frank Ocean. You’ve got Björk and Gotye going head to head for Best Alternative Album. You’ve got the haunting realization that Drake actually named a song “HYFR (Hell Ya F***ing Right).” Oh, and did I mention party rockers from hell LMFAO are up for an award? Award as in “being rewarded for something positive”? But that’s the magic of the Grammys, see! Just when you sink into your comfortable “Ooh, let’s see if M83 wins” awards show hole, they throw a “Sexy and I Know It” in there. Keepin’ ya on your toes, like. Check out the full list of nominations over at Billboard.

• Grammy: