Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stuck in Your Head

It seems like there's always a tune going in my head. Oliver Sacks talks about this phenomenon in his book, Musicophilia, referring to these particularly "sticky" tunes as earworms. Often it seems like they are tunes we don't even really like, and it afflicts everyone, from Young Folks to Old Man (see what I did there? I just two named two tunes that have been earworms for me that I don't actually like).

Sacks talks about the science behind this in the book (or you can read a nice little interview with him here), but there's really no explanation as to why certain tunes become earworms for no apparent reason. For years now, one of my most recurring earworms has been an old Grateful Dead tune, Here Comes Sunshine. Understand that I was never a Deadhead, and I never even owned the album this song is on, Wake of the Flood. In fact, I didn't even know the name of the tune until I sat down to write this and tracked it down by trial and error on the internets. And yet that ten-note guitar phrase has probably been my most haunting earworm for the past few years. WTF? Do other people have these seemingly random, unexplainable earworms?

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Angel of Rock and I are starting to prepare for our SXSW sojourn next month by hitting the complete official showcase listing and going through five letters per week. This week is 'A' through 'E.' Anyone is welcome to join us and send your suggestions, whether it's bands you already know and want us to check out, or something that sounds worthy of further exploration to you. There are thousands of artists at this thing, so I welcome all the help we can get!

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The good folks at NPR Music ran a piece about the Malian ngoni master Bassekou Kouyate this past week, which you can check out here. The piece ran on All Things Considered on Tuesday, which was also the release date of his new album, I Speak Fula. It's a great record, and Bassekou is well on his way to legend status. Not only are we presenting him with our friends at Walker Art Center on April 10 at The Cedar, we'll have the band for a few extra days for some special programs with schools and the community. It's a rare and wonderful opportunity that speaks to the core of The Cedar's mission. Here's what to look forward to:

Bassekou Kouyaté & N Goni Ba concert au Womex 2008
Uploaded by mondomix. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.


Veronica Fever said...

SXSW, on first glance:

If you don't mind crowds: Fanfarlo, The Low Anthem, Midlake, Pete Molinari

For Angel: Darker My Love, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Serena-Maneesh (and I know I needn't mention the Raveonettes)

For Mr. Fig: Robert Gomez, Trespassers William, Jenny Owen Youngs, Dengue Fever.

For Veronica, should she make it: She & Him...wherein I fling myself at the girl singer.

Lepus Rex said...

Giving the list a quick scan: Ooh!
Allo Darlin' is fantastic, and I recommend the Hell out of them. Damn, I hope they come to Mpls on this trip. Or at least Chicago. Aaand... eek, So Cow, I love, and The Lovely Eggs. But take into account that I *also* love Best Fwends...

Have fun. :)

Mama E Dub said...

Better check out Bomba Esterio to see if my underwhelming response to their vid was off base. Same thing for Fool's Gold?

Please check out the new Boom Pam line up for those who can't. Alas!

Angel of Rock might want to check out Naam.

No Te Va Gustar from Uruguay might be cool. So might Ecuadorans with brass section RoCola Bacalao

Main Fig might want to see Spleen United -electronica from Denmark. Best go see what The Very Best's live show is like.

Wonder what Quantic is doing...I think of him as a reggae producer but this project sounds different.

Have fun guys!