Here’s this week’s Essential stories and the best new music we’ve heard this week (that hasn’t already featured on the blog). We start off with new Local Natives. ‘Breakers’ is the first taster of forthcoming second album Hummingbird, out in January. There’s 10 stories below and then the rest of the music is on page 2, including a Villagers remix, new Holy Ghost!, another live Grizzly Bear story, and some great new acts, too, including the majestic Wolf Alice.


You probably haven’t heard of it, but Echo Nest powers products from the likes of Spotify, Vevo, and MTV
Instead of making its service directly available to listeners, the Echo Nest markets its data to power popular music services’ custom playlists and radio stations.

Trent Reznor: And Then I Realized, I Needed My Major Label Back…
“The great part of self-releasing has been controlling your own destiny. Nobody having any approval. Finishing a song at midnight and putting it out the next day. Getting fans excited with no leak, because you have the only copy, and you uploaded it and you hit publish. And wow, that’s fun, it felt great particularly after a long career in the weirdness of labels.”

File-Sharers Buy 30% More Music Than Non-P2P Peers
True music enthusiasts simply want to consume, sample and discover as much new music as they possibly can, and the most straightforward and convenient way to do this is through file-sharing networks. For this group file-sharing is mostly complementary.

This Pitchfork Cover Story with Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Khan is as in-depth as they come and looks amazing
Her relationship with the Brooklyn musician who inspired that album had ended, and she felt a vast emptiness in her own home. “The loneliness and quiet starkness of that is overwhelming,” she says earlier in the summer, on an unbearably hot July day in a London pub garden. “I tried to rehabilitate myself, rebuilding some sense of who I am without the music.”

Megaupload Is Dead. Long Live Mega!
It will be up to users, and third-party app developers, to control access to any given uploaded file, be it a song, movie, videogame, book, or simple text document. Internet libertarians will surely embrace this new capability.

They say bloggers shouldn’t write about their friends. Nialler 9 shows why you should
Here was a friend pursuing his musical craft with full support of 17 friends and the assembled crowd. It wasn’t about perfection or being the best, just being honest in celebration and enjoying the creation. It was an infectious feeling, and it brought me back to why I tried my hand at music in the first place. It was a reminder of part of the reason I love writing about music. And it took a good friend to remind me.

CMJ Snapshot: Talking Shop on Ludlow Street
Near the vans, musicians whispered about how the gig had gone as they waited to load their gear and head home. Bouncers played an endless game of guess-my-age with young patrons trying to slip into the clubs. On the street several people in the music business — publicists, booking agents, major label executives, tour managers — held profanity-laced sessions on the state of the industry, which was generally judged to be not so hot. A panhandler butted his way through them, head down like a bull, insisting on the need for them to part with change. A man in a magician’s hat and white cape sold roses to the crowd.

CMJ hosts a panel on ‘Music Journalism Exploded’
Caryn Ganz, the editor in chief of 27-year-old legacy music magazine SPIN described a time when she was holding the magazine’s website together single-handedly by writing all of its content in 15-hour days. SPIN was acquired by Buzzmedia in July, and Ganz was clearly delighted that there was now cash to hire a news editor and a social media editor. “What is news shifts every second,” she said, describing the pressures of keeping up. “Every second is a deadline.”

For The Ladies: R. Kelly, Teddy Pendergrass And The State Of R&B
Hip-hop has always been challenging for adult women. Even women who grew up with it and love it as a genre have problems with many individual artists and songs. Moreover, the youth orientation of hip-hop makes it seem like even “emo” MCs like Drake are talking to teens or young adults — not women with kids or ex-husbands. R&B and soul have always been about adult situations and adult emotions, with songs of devotion, desire and delight aimed squarely at women. R&B, unlike hip-hop, is where the conversation is overwhelmingly about love and usually aimed at seducing or at least engaging women listeners. Ladies like to be the center of attention, and they always are in R&B. So concerts aimed squarely at them makes perfect business and aesthetic sense.

Taking Stock Of The MP3 At Midlife
A lot of the important historical changes in media are now happening in the sort of spaces between hardware and user experience, below the threshold of your average consumer’s perception. They pay attention to the new iPhone. They don’t necessarily pay attention to the format in which they receive the music except inasmuch as they want their devices to be compatible with each other.