Streams

John Schaefer

John Schaefer appears in the following:

Everything That Happens Will Happen to David Byrne

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

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David Byrne has been one of my very favorite musicians for a long time. One of the reasons he has remained a favorite is because he has never rested on his back catalogue. His career has been full of ...

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Are jam bands toast?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bands like the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers basically set the standard for what we now call "jam bands" - groups that tour a lot, that have extended periods of improvisation in each song (the jam), and that have built up a rabid group of followers who form a ...

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Barack'n'Roll

Monday, March 09, 2009

There are so many ways that Barack Obama has made history that it almost seems silly to point to another one, but just look at how much music and art has been directly inspired by him, both during the campaign and in the wake of his election to the Presidency. ...

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A Title? I Can't Be Bothered...

Friday, March 06, 2009

Every day I write stuff on the Soundcheck blog, usually because I’ve thought a bit about the subject of the show. Today I just didn’t feel like it. It’s not that I’m lazy, or slothful. It’s not because I haven’t thought long and hard about today’s program. I have. Quite ...

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Writers, and musicians - sometimes the same people

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Daniel Handler has sold over 55 million books, mostly under his pen name Lemony Snicket, so it's not the like the guy needs to take on side jobs. But he does.
First, it was the songs written with Stephin Merritt (of the band Magnetic Fields, and others) for ...

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La musique ist der language internazionale

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Making fun of the French has become almost a national pastime. (Saturday Night Live in 1989: this week the Berlin Wall fell and East and West Germany were reunited. In a related story, France offered to surrender.) It's really not fair, but let's face it, sometimes the French just make ...

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A New Line on the Horizon?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

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Rock needs U2. Rock music has always been about larger than life characters, big sounds, over the top emotion and drama (on stage and off) - everything writ large, on an arena-sized scale. And the iconic rock acts have ...

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Toroidal activation patterns of tonal space. Wait. What?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Last summer, I began working on a documentary film about an Iranian mystic and musician named Ostad Elahi. A number of neuroscientists have taken note of Elahi's music and the way he intended it to act upon a person's state of consciousness, and it seems that this man's mystical ...

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Gimme More Greed

Friday, February 27, 2009

Philosophers, spiritual leaders, and economists can all debate the topic of "greed" - is it the root of all sins, as St. Paul once wrote, or is it simply a form of self-interest, and therefore a part of our biological imperative to self-preservation? What's wrong with wanting it all, and ...

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Why the Indies Are Singing "Take A Chance On Me"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

When ABBA sang "Take A Chance On Me," it was clearly a piece of light, romantic fluff. Today, it's a business proposition. As musicians look for new business models (you might've heard rumors that the old business model ain't working so well anymore), some are going straight to the fans ...

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Chris Brown and Rihanna: An Old, Sad story

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The story of Chris Brown's alleged assault of a woman -- a woman that many believe to be his girlfriend, the the even more popular singer Rihanna -- may be news, but it's not new. Sadly, musicians are as prone to domestic abuse as anyone else. James Brown's treatment of ...

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the (changing?) face of American composers

Monday, February 23, 2009

The American Music Center's survey of composers is a typical good news/bad news affair. Most composers described themselves as working more now than ever before, yet the average income is only $45,000 - which might not be too bad in lots of places, but for the composers concentrated in ...

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Musical Gluttony - Not Always What It Seems To Be

Friday, February 20, 2009

Last week, we started our series on the Seven Deadly Sins in music with the #1 sin on the sin charts: Lust. That was an easy one - it's hard to imagine any body of songs in any style that doesn't contain a few songs, at least, about gettin' ...

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Oscar's smackdown

Thursday, February 19, 2009

As so often happens, this year's nominations for the Academy Awards are full of "what were they thinking" moments. For me, the biggest oversight is in the nominations for best original score, where Carter Burwell's music for In Bruges didn't get a nod, despite being so integral to the ...

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Touring the New Alice Tully Hall

Thursday, February 19, 2009

For two years and $159 million, Alice Tully Hall has undergone a complete renovation. The new Tully has towering glass walls that open onto the corner of 65th street and Broadway. The interior is simple and intimate, and includes an adjustable stage that can be extended or contracted.

The concert hall ...

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Meet the New Hall, Same as the Old Hall

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Alice Tully Hall is in exactly the same place as it always was; the renovation was unable to change the "footprint" of the hall within the larger building, or to move walls or even seats. These restrictions make the changes that have been made all the more impressive. The vaguely ...

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Morrissey Matters

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I was a little concerned that today's Smackdown, about the singer known simply as Morrissey, might be one of those 'small circle of friends' kinda things. Interesting to fans of his band The Smiths and no one else ...

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Why lust rocks.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast. It's also great for shaking your butt. And so, we begin our mini-series on music inspired by the 7 Deadly Sins with the first and most fun of them - lust.

Strangely, I don't hear a whole lot of lust in ...

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Another one - oops, make that two - bite the dust.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

So in short order, we learn that Sirius XM satellite radio is going to file for bankruptcy, and that Muzak, the company whose very name has become a generic word for insipid background music, has already filed for bankruptcy.

I won't miss either one. I just don't spend enough ...

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