A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: DAVID BYRNE
New show from Talking Heads front-man at the Hudson Theatre, New York
We’re on a road to nowhere, that’s for sure, and David Byrne is taking us there. The silver-haired former Talking Heads frontman has set up shop at a theatre in NYC until Feb 16th, 2020 and is performing his show called American Utopia, an adaptation of his most recent studio album. When a version of the show debuted in England this June, NME gave it high praise and the New York production is garnering equally positive reviews.
With songs like Burning down the House, Psycho Killer, And She Was, Once In A Lifetime, and Road to Nowhere, you could say this is a jukebox musical. But as with everything Byrne does, there is a difference. There is no discernible storyline, but rock’s renaissance man weaves political and social commentary through the performance with monologues in between songs. His musicians have no cables attached to their instruments, which means they can move and dance around untethered to the stage. And the dancing plays a crucial but undefined role. The band wears the classic “grey-off-the-rack” suit made famous by Byrne in Jonathan Demme’s movie “Stop Making Sense”. What strikes me about the show is how relevant and fresh the songs sound. If you think about some artists from his era – not to mention names – when they play their hits, it’s like listening to a karaoke version of the track. With American Utopia, everything sounds like it was recorded yesterday. Fresh and crisp. Byrne has managed to reinvigorate his back-catalogue and play it to packed houses eight shows a week. Not bad for a 67-year-old. And he may ask himself: how did I get here?
AD OF THE WEEK: DANISH CANCER SOCIETY
Thanking the smokers.
Clever use of reverse psychology from the Danish Cancer Society and agency &co in their latest ad in the fight against cancer. Just like the famous love song, “I’m Not in Love”, this ad takes the usual ideas behind the fight against smoking and cleverly turns them upside down by actually thanking smokers. Normally vilified members of the public are lionised for having the decency to hide their habit from the younger generation. And in doing so, are not passing on the addiction to the next generation. We all know how addictive it can be. I had my first cigarette when I was 7, smoking in the woods on the outskirts of my boarding school. Fortunately the habit never took hold, but many friends were not so lucky. Advertising is often maligned. Here it shows us its friendly side.
CHECK OUT THE FIRST PLAYABLE RECORD MADE FROM RECYCLED OCEAN PLASTIC
A record has been made from recycled plastics. The brainchild of Mercury Prize winner Nicky Mulvey, Cornwall-based Sharps Brewery, Keynvor and vinyl manufacturing company Tangible Formats, the 10-inch record is the first of its kind ever made.
Made with plastics found on the coastlines of Cornwall, the record is entitled ‘In the Anthropocene’, and profits from physical sales and digital streams will go to UK-based charity, Surfers Against Sewage.
NOMINEES FOR 62ND GRAMMY’S REVEALED
Its the talk of the town, the nominees for the 62nd Grammy Awards have been revealed, there are a ton of categories but here is a peak a some of the top categories
Album of the year:
Bon Iver – ‘i,i’ // Lana Del Rey – ‘Norman F*cking Rockwell’ // Billie Eilish – ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ // Ariana Grande – ‘thank u, next’ // H.E.R –’ I Used to Know Her’ // Lil Nas X – ‘7’ // Lizzo – ‘Cuz I Love You’ // Vampire Weekend – ‘Father of the Bride’
Best New Artist:
Black Pumas // Billie Eilish // Lil Nas X // Lizzo // Maggie Rogers // Rosalía // Tank and the Bangas // Yola
Check the entire nominee list here
APPLE MUSIC FOR BUSINESS OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES
Harrods, Levis Already on Board
Apple Music has partnered with PlayNetwork to launch Apple Music for Business. Businesses can use a dedicated iOS app with CURIOPlayer Z8 music players.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is testing a beta version of the service in Harrods and Levi’s stores. Apple Music for Business will feature human-curated playlists from PlayNetwork’s music supervisors. The move was expected as Apple filed a trademark application for the name ‘Apple Music for Business’ last year.
The official Apple Music for Business landing page describes the service as ‘revolutionary world-class music curation.’
Harrods in London had a custom Harrods Playlist built by Apple. The retailer advertises using a mix of classical, ambient, and electronic music in its stores.
JA RULE NARROWLY AVOIDS PUNISHMENT FROM $100M FYRE FESTIVAL CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT
Ja Rule has escaped punishment from a $100m Fyre Festival class action lawsuit.
The case against Ja Rule, who co-founded the failed festival with Billy McFarland, was dropped on Monday by New York City southern district judge P Kevin Castel. The verdict comes after an appeal by Fyre attendees, who were disputing the claim that Ja Rule was unaware of the organisational mishaps plaguing the festival.
Ja Rule’s lawyer, speaking to Complex, described the verdict as “total vindication” for the rapper, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins. Billy McFarland has already been found guilty of wire fraud in 2018, subsequently being sentenced to six years in jail and a $25m fine.
McFarland still remains a defendant in the $100m lawsuit.
APPLE’S NEW AND IMPROVED 16-INCH MACBOOK PRO HAS ARRIVED
A newly designed keyboard, complex speaker system, faster graphics and more.
The latest version of Apple’s 16-inch Macbook Pro has officially been revealed. The most anticipated update is the switch from a “butterfly” style keyboard to a “scissor-switch” style for a more reliable, stable and quiet design.
Now including an AMD Radeon Pro 5000M graphics card, the most powerful graphics card in a Macbook Pro, as well as 8GB of VRAM, the device will have smoother game play and faster effects in design applications.
The sound is also infinitely better too, featuring a 6 speaker sound system and force cancelling woofers to send the bass half an octave deeper.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash