Blog Posts by Nicole Cifani

  • Rise Against Encourages Gay Youth That ‘It Gets Better’

    "Make It Stop (September's Children)" is the latest video from rockers Rise Against, and it comes loaded with a powerful message. The video serves as a poignant anti-bullying message that speaks to members of the lesbian, gay, bi, and transgendered youth community, spreading the message that "It Gets Better."

    The band performs in a darkened gymnasium while we see several instances of bullying happening around the school. In the last minute or so, we hear encouraging messages from real people who have been harassed in the past or understand what the victims are going through.

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  • Got Apps? Yahoo! Launches ‘Play’ For Android

    Launching today, Play by Yahoo! Music is an all-in-one music player for Android phones. The native mobile MP3 player provides a home base for your music files while taking your on-the-go listening experience to a whole new level.

    The player offers users a wealth of cool new features like song identification, smart shuffling, social sharing, along with a steady stream of music news.

    The player seamlessly integrates with your music library to automatically sort songs by album and artist. It also creates smart playlists and fills in any missing cover art. While listening, Play integrates with Yahoo! Music news so you can see the latest news about the artists you're checking out.

    When it comes to social integration, the app scrobbles your listening history to the music discovery site It also makes it super easy to send status updates about the music you're listening to using Twitter, Facebook, email, text, and a host of other applications native to Android.

    Unlike iTunes,

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  • Zimmer And Rodrigo Y Gabriela Score One For Johnny Depp

    Last week, Disney released the fourth installment of the wildly-successful Pirates of the Caribbean film series, On Stranger Tides. The film stars Johnny Depp as the inimitable Captain Jack Sparrow, Penelope Cruz as pirate Angelica Maron, Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa, and Ian McShane as Blackbeard.

    In addition to an energized cast lineup, Disney envisioned a score for their fourth outing at sea to take a fresh and inventive approach.

    Enter Hans Zimmer, one of the film industry's most sought-after composers. His impressive career has encompassed more than 100 film and TV scores, winning an Academy Award for his work on The Lion King along with Oscar nods for Inception, Gladiator, and Sherlock Holmes.  He's also won two Golden Globes and three Grammys.

    Zimmer invited acclaimed guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela to his studio to lay down some tracks for this film. The two are considered to be one of the premiere guitar-playing duos in the world. They've sold over a million albums and have

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  • Towncraft: Documenting A Music Scene In Little Rock, Arkansas


    In 1986 there wasn't much to do in the town of Little Rock, Arkansas. Out of boredom with their scene and armed with an intense interest in what was happening musically in the rest of the country, a group of local kids got together to create music.

    The result sounded like nothing they'd ever heard before, and created a spark that ignited a powerful underground scene in the unlikely conservative southern town. 

    The scene rapidly grew over the next two decades and reverberated through the country, contributing to genres like punk, rockabilly, indie rock, and beyond.

    The documentary Towncraft provides an intimate view of the folks who came together to build their music scene from the ground-up. It's an excellent illustration of how DIY culture can happen through efforts like handmade 'zines, home recordings, bootleg shows, and good old-fashioned word of mouth.

    The film and soundtrack features Ian Mackaye from Fugazi, Jason White from Green Day, Ben Nichols from Lucero, members of

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  • Dance Music Producer Martin Solveig Takes On Stadiums, Headbands

    Dance music impresario Martin Solveig released the third episode of "Smash" on Friday, the high-budget, ongoing video series leading up to the release of his new album by the same name.

    The series is a clever way of creating cool videos while simultaneously letting fans preview music from the release. Each episode is a minimovie meets music video, sometimes nearly 10 minutes in length. The storyline features Solveig alongside the dapperly-dressed fictional 'manageur' LaFaille as they devise elaborate hijinks to expose Martin's music to the masses.

    The premiere episode accompanied the hit single "Hello" and was shot in front of a live audience at the Roland Garros tennis world championships in France.

    In the most recent episode, LaFaille imagines a stadium-sized stunt to grab the world's attention. Taking over the Stade de France - France's biggest and most prestigious football stadium - the crew shot the final, over-the-top scene in one take at the France vs. Croatia friendly on

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  • The Chemical Brothers Score One For ‘Hanna’

    Following in the footsteps of Trent Reznor and Daft Punk, British electronic duo The Chemical Brothers are next in line to lend their golden touch to the silver screen.

    Out this weekend, Hanna tells the story of a young girl raised in the wilds of Finland with a very unusual childhood. While most kids enjoy things like sports or video games, Hanna was trained to be the perfect assassin by her ex-CIA father. As she gets older, she's sent into civilization for the first time on a top-secret mission where we see her show off her skills to the fullest.

    The Chems are a great fit for the action-packed flick featuring Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander and Olivia Williams. With energy reminiscent of Run Lola Run, we follow Hanna across Europe as she eludes secret agents and faces revelations about her life during a turning point in her adolescence.

    The Soundtrack is available now, and the film is due April 8.

    Hanna (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - The Chemical

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  • The First Location-Aware Album: Bluebrain Presents ‘The National Mall’

    The Washington D.C.-based band Bluebrain are the first to create a site-specific album that responds directly to listener location.

    Taking cues from The National Mall in downtown D.C., the album syncs songs and melodies to a listener's location as they travel to various zones within the Mall.  

    The album will be delivered as an iPhone app and works by tracking a users location via the phone's built-in GPS feature. Hundreds of zones within the Mall are tagged, and the sound plays according to where the listener is located in proximity to them.

    The zones overlap presenting standalone melodies, rhythms, instrumentation and pace specifically designed for each.

    Separated from cultural and historical reference, the album pushes the boundaries of deconstruction not only in song but in the way a very album can be produced and presented.

    The National Mall is the first in a series. Upcoming works include audio designs for Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, and a piece that will stretch the

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  • When Old Is New Again: From Cassettes To Multicolored Vinyl

    Monetizing music ain't what it used to be. In an age where digital music files are easily ripped, downloaded and distributed, the urge to pay for that great new album has steadfastly declined.

    Alongside torrents, mixtapes, and social websites like Hype Machine, Exfm and We Are Hunted, streaming services like Rdio, Rhapsody, MOG and Spotify make music discovery easy.  It's been reported that with an annual growth rate of nearly 95%, subscribers to cloud-based music services will exceed 161 million in 2016.

    This makes it easier for an artist to share their work with the masses  - but how can that same artist pay the bills with the concept of free?

    When it comes to the actual making money part, bands have no choice but to get creative. And many are doing just that - by inventing new channels and resurrecting familiar ones.

    The indie-rock band Radiohead is perhaps the ultimate example of exploring new distribution opportunities in the 21st century. In 2007, they incorporated a "pay what

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  • The Upsetter: The Life & Music of Lee “Scratch” Perry

    The documentary The Upsetter: The Life & Music of Lee "Scratch" Perry is a captivating tale that documents seventy years in the life and career of iconic artist, musician, and producer Lee "Scratch" Perry.

    Hailing from Kendal, Jamaica, the musician is known as the godfather of reggae and dub with a heavy hand in the offshoot genres of ska, rocksteady, and drum and bass. Among his career highlights, he's also the man and producer behind reggae legend Bob Marley.

    Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Benicio Del Toro, the film features songs and iconic archival footage selected from Perry's extensive career. The incredible footage spans nearly five decades and features Lee's renowned studio The Black Ark and his band The Upsetters. It also features Bob Marley and the Wailers, Paul McCartney, The Clash, and the Beastie Boys, all of whom Perry produced songs for at some point. 

    Outside of learning about Perry's experiences, we're taken on a journey experiencing first-hand what life

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  • Cool New Soundtrack: ‘Sucker Punch’ Delivers

    Soundtracks have always been a great way to discover a variety of new music from favorite artists tied together by a common theme. The music to the upcoming film Sucker Punch is no exception. It features a wicked and diverse lineup of artists covering familiar songs, alongside additional re-workings by the actors themselves.

    Written and directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen, Dawn of the Dead), Sucker Punch follows the story of a young girl institutionalized by her wicked stepfather. She retreats to an alternate reality as she tries to escape from the asylum, ultimately weaving a tale that blurs the line between fantasy and reality.

    The soundtrack, two years in the making, is unlike any other. The Kills' Alison Mosshart teamed up with Autolux's Carla Azar on a version of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows," while Bjork delivers a remix of her 1995 single "Army of Me."  The soundtrack also includes a mash-up of Queen's "I Want It All" and "We Will Rock You."

    If that's not enough, the

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