Review: Natalie Hemby – Puxico

In the summer of 2015, when I put Chris Stapleton on the last-ever incarnation of AbsolutePunk.net’s Absolute 100—a feature dedicated to celebrating up-and-coming, under the radar artists—I asked a pair of questions that have since proved to be prophetic. The first was “If given the opportunity, how many of country music’s gun-for-hire songwriters could make better records than any of the artists they write for?” The second was “How many of them could make masterpieces?” More than I thought, apparently.

Since Stapleton’s breakout success, the songwriters seem to be taking back Nashville. 2016 brought major critical and/or commercial successes for Maren Morris (who had previously written for Kelly Clarkson and the TV show Nashville), Brandy Clark (who had previously written for Sheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert, and Toby Keith, not to mention a slew of co-writes with Kacey Musgraves), and Lori McKenna (who penned two of the biggest hits in modern country with Tim McGraw’s “Humble & Kind” and Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush”). Hopefully, these big successes will push Nashville labels to take chances on more of their top songsmiths. Who knows how many stars are waiting to be born in the liner notes of your favorite country records.

Chris Cheney & Phil Jamieson Will Star in the Aussie Run ‘American Idiot’ Musical

Chris Cheney of The Living End and Phil Jamieson of Grinspoon will be playing the lead cast members in the Australian run of the American Idiot musical.

The Aussie rockers will both take on the role of St Jimmy in the Brisbane shows, a role Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong performed on occasion throughout the musical’s North American run. Cheney will play the role from February 23rd to 26th and Jamieson will take over from February 28th.

Sigur Rós Post Casting Call for Fans

Sigur Rós have posted up a casting call for fans of the band in the Los Angeles area:

we are casting for a short documentary exploring the lives of sigur rós fans. if you have been to numerous live shows and have a strong connection with the band in a way that has really impacted your life please submit. we’re looking for people based in los angeles, california – and are available over the next few weeks

The Rise and Fall of McDonald’s Happy Meals

Nina Corcoran, writing for Consequence of Sound, about the history of McDonald’s Happy Meal:

Kids wanted a clear distinction between their food and their parents’ food. Bernstein decided to give them that. Shortly after being assigned the task of bringing the “Menu Ronald” to American audiences, Bernstein took note of his son’s habits at breakfast. Instead of staring at his cereal while eating it, he scanned the cereal box’s illustrations over and over, drawing a line through its mazes and reading the jokes characters told. Bernstein instructed his creative team to set to work on paperboard boxes modeled in the style of lunch pails. The restaurant’s iconic Golden Arches, he told them, had to be handles. The company asked nationally known children’s illustrators to design content for the sides of the boxes, eight items total, that incorporated jokes, games, comics, stories, or anything else that might capture a child’s imagination.

I remember as a kid when getting to go to McDonalds was treated like an event, a special occasion.

‘La La Land’ Soundtrack Lands at Number Two on Charts

The La La Land soundtrack has hit number two on this week’s Billboard charts. The Weeknd remains at number one.

Meanwhile, following La La Land’s big night at the Golden Globe Awards, the film’s soundtrack flies from No. 15 to No. 2. Starboy earned 63,000 equivalent album units (down 10 percent) in the week ending Jan. 12, according to Nielsen Music, while La La Land jumps to the runner-up slot with 42,000 units (up 83 percent).

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day. It feels like his words are needed now more than ever.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

Chrome 56 Adds Native FLAC Support

The next version of Chrome will bring support for the FLAC audio codec directly in the browser.

Chrome 56 is currently in the beta channel and should hit stable in about a week. When released, it will bring support for the FLAC audio codec directly in the browser. This will provide a quick way to play those files, with the Mac being the biggest platform to benefit due to a lack of native support.