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From Rolling Stone:

Dave Grohl rose to the occasion of being this year’s official Record Store Day Ambassador by putting out a special vinyl release: Songs From the Laundry Room, which collects four solo recordings he made while still a member of Nirvana. The tracks are raw-sounding, early versions of the Foo Fighters songs “Alone + Easy Target” and “Big Me” (recorded in 1992 and 1994 respectively), as well as a cover of Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America” from 1991 and the previously unreleased (and notably Nirvana-esque) “Empty Handed,” recorded the same day as “Alone.” Prior to its release, he told Rolling Stone that these recordings – which are streaming below – were the seeds for what would become Foo Fighters.

Side A: 1) Alone + Easy Target 2) Big Me
Side B: 1) Kids In America 2) Empty Handed

Brought to you by Frederick Scott, the same guy who gave us with This Is A Trent Reznor Song, Unintelligible 90s Rock Band Guy kicks it off with Alice In Chain’s Layne Stanley’s favourite word, ‘Yeah’.

Will Butler, the keyboard player and jack-of-all-instruments for Arcade Fire, has been playing smaller stages lately and liking it. Arcade Fire plays sheds and festivals — led by his brother, singer Win Butler — but he’s been playing 150-seat clubs as a solo artist who’s just released his debut album, Policy.

After receiving an Oscar nomination for his collaboration with Owen Pallett for the soundtrack to Spike Jonze’s film Her, Butler decided to make the record he’d been dreaming of. Butler is always in motion in this World Cafe session.

While NPR’s Microphone Check was at SXSW right after the season one finale of Empire, they spoke to Malcolm Spellman, who’s one of the writers and now also a producer on the show. They talked about the show’s effect on the hip-hop culture market, what it demonstrates about ongoing changes in Hollywood and the ways its storyline is particularly American.

“At the core of this country, this story is appealing, including the criminality at the base of it,” says Spellman. “Because on a macro level, some rough-ass people came here, served the natives, and built up their shit. And they felt righteous in doing it because they had to do what they had to do. It was problems back home, you know what I’m saying?”

California-based music producer and photographer YITT (YepImTheToaster) has created “I Really Like A Hole,” a really great mashup duet of the songs “Head Like a Hole” by Nine Inch Nails and “I Really Like You” by Carly Rae Jepsen. It a pretty ambitious task, and works so well, you can imagine it as a dance-floor stomper at any hour.

In 1966, a novelty record of the best kind (well, in my life it was the greatest album I had as a kid for a few weeks) was a children’s album called Batman and Robin, essentially to ride the popularity wave of the Adam West Batman TV series. The album was mostly instrumental, which excited me to no end for some reason, but I just realized who played on it: While it was credited to “The Sensational Guitars of DAN & DALE,” the actual studio band was made up of members of Al Kooper’s Blues Project and Sun Ra’s Arkestra

Bruce Eder’s deeply-researched Allmusic overview:

No, Batman and Robin doesn’t match the importance of the Blues Project’s own official recordings, or anything that Sun Ra was doing officially, but what a chance to hear these guys kicking back for a half-hour’s anonymous blues jamming. Everything here, apart from the Neal Hefti “Batman Theme” is public domain blues built on some familiar material (including Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Bach), one cut, appropriately entitled “The Riddler’s Retreat,” quotes riffs and phrases from a half-dozen Beatles songs, and another, “The Bat Cave,” that’s this group’s answer to “Green Onions” (and a good answer, too). Along with Sun Ra, who dominates every passage he plays on, Steve Katz and Danny Kalb are the stars here, romping and stomping over everything as they weave around each other, while Gilmore, Allen, and Owens occasionally stepping to the fore, Blumenfeld makes his percussion sound downright tuneful in a few spots, and some anonymous female singers throw out a lyric or two on a pair of cuts, just as a distraction.

This year marks the 101st anniversary of Sun Ra’s birth. I’m going to play this album in his honour all day.

H/T to Dangerous Minds

David Blaine begins his visit to Here’s The Thing by pushing an ice pick through his hand. He tells host Alec Baldwin that he began training his brain to overcome pain at a young age. Blaine grew up in Brooklyn, an only child with a single mother. He spent many afternoons at the local library and he channeled his isolation and loneliness into an early fascination with magic. Today, Blaine is an acclaimed street magician and sleight of hand artist, and also performs staggering feats of endurance: He has balanced on a 100-foot pillar for 35 hours; hung in a transparent box for 44 days; held his breath for more than 17 minutes at a time. He calls it magic, but says his work is mostly about mental toughness. “Anything I do, anybody could do… It’s playing with that line of how far can you push yourself before you crack, live in front of an audience, that I’m intrigued by.”

Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story—a memoir of life as an artist, of music, marriage, motherhood, independence, and as one of the first women of rock and roll, written with the lyricism and haunting beauty of Patti Smith’s Just Kids.

Often described as aloof, Kim Gordon opens up as never before in Girl in a Band. Telling the story of her family, growing up in California in the ’60s and ’70s, her life in visual art, her move to New York City, the men in her life, her marriage, her relationship with her daughter, her music, and her band, Girl in a Band is a rich and beautifully written memoir.

Gordon takes us back to the lost New York of the 1980s and ’90s that gave rise to Sonic Youth, and the Alternative revolution in popular music. The band helped build a vocabulary of music—paving the way for Nirvana, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins and many other acts. But at its core, Girl in a Band examines the route from girl to woman in uncharted territory, music, art career, what partnership means—and what happens when that identity dissolves.

Evocative and edgy, filled with the sights and sounds of a changing world and a transformative life, Girl in a Band is the fascinating chronicle of a remarkable journey and an extraordinary artist.

This is part one of five exclusive clips, to be published every day this week at 5pm GMT.

KIM GORDON: GIRL IN A BAND | 1. Chapter One by Rough Trade on Mixcloud

The Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, recently talked with Theda Sandiford, who is the VP of Commerce at Republic Records and Island Records, where she handles VEVO, Spotify, Youtube and more. Sandiford got her start at WBLS and then became the first black programmer of a major market country station. In 1994, she was nominated for “Programmer of the Year Award” by the CMA. She moved to Billboard to run the Hot 100 chart, then went on to work at Def Jam. After spending time working with an online games startup, she came back to the music industry, and currently works at Republic.