August Beats presented by @thursplay

thursplay

Our friends at @thursplay have compiled this playlist for August.

First up on this August Beats edition by @thursplay is the single “Now is the start” by A Fine Frenzy from her upcoming 3rd album “Pines” to be released in early October. Find also indie rock band Grizzly Bear with their second released tune “Yet Again” from their upcoming album of same name, to be released in September.

What about Muse’s new album “Madness”? Sure you get a preview of that on this playlist as well! Listen to their new song “Madness”: looking forward to listen to their whole new album?

Still on this playlist: English alternative rock band Band of Skulls with their great new song “Lies” followed by indie/electronic/folktronica band Canon Blue with “Indian Summer (Des Moines)” and by New York City-based rock band Hooray for Earth, who also has a new album out. Listen to their single “True Loves”.

What else? From his latest album “Blunderbuss”, listen to Jack White´s catchy “Missing pieces” song, Imagine Dragons with “My Fault”, Atlas Geniues with “Trojans” from new album “Through the glass”, Angus Stone with “The Wolf & The Bluter”, Seventeen Evergreen with “Polarity Song”, Bat for Lashes with “Laura” from album of same name and more.

What have you listened to the most during this month of August? Let us know by sharing your favorite beats with us on Twitter using the hashtag #thursplay.

Enjoy the playlist!

Cover Me!

Some songs are so closely associated with certain musicians that it’s hard to believe they weren’t the first to perform them.

“Respect”
Best-Known Version: Aretha Franklin
Original artist: It’s an Otis Redding song. When it came out on his 1965 album Otis Blue, it wasn’t a hit or even a single. Franklin covered it two years later. When he heard her version, Redding reportedly said, “That little girl stole my song.” He was right—it became a #1 hit and Franklin’s signature song.

“Got My Mind Set on You”
Best-Known Version: George Harrison
original artist: Harrison’s 1987 comeback hit was a cover of an obscure 1960s soul song recorded by James Ray and written by Rudy Clark (who also wrote “Good Lovin’” and “If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody”). Harrison had wanted to do the song ever since he was with the Beatles—he thought it was well written, but badly performed on Ray’s recording. (He especially disliked the “horrible screechy women’s voices singing those backup parts.”)

“Killing Me Softly With His Song”
Best-Known Version: Roberta Flack
original artist: In 1971 Los Angeles-based singer Lori Lieberman saw Don McLean perform “American Pie” and was so moved by his concert that she wrote a poem called “Killing Me Softly with His Blues.” Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel later wrote music for it, changing “blues” to “song,” and Lieberman recorded it—but it went nowhere. Flack read an article about Lieberman on an in-flight magazine, thought the title of the song was great, and later, upon hearing it, decided to record it herself.

“Tainted Love”
Best-Known Version: Soft Cell
original artist: It’s arguably the definitive 1980s synth-pop song, but Ed Cobb of the Four Preps wrote it in 1964 as a ballad for a little-known soul singer named Gloria Jones.

“Mama Told Me (Not to Come)”
Best-Known Version: Three Dog Night
original artist: Randy Newman wrote it, and Eric Burden and the Animals first recorded it in 1967. Newman later included the song on his 1970 album, 12 Songs, which didn’t receive much attention at the time. But later that year, the song became a #1 hit for Three Dog Night, who transformed Newman’s slow, funk-influenced tune into a revved-up rock song.

“Greatest Love of All”
Best-Known Version: Whitney Houston
original artist: Though it’s one of Houston’s best-known songs (and widely regarded as one of the sappiest ever written), it was first sung by George Benson for the 1977 Muhammad Ali movie The Greatest. So is the song about Ali? No—lyricist Linda Creed actually wrote it about battling breast cancer, which would later claim her life at age 37.

“Don’t Know Much”
Best-Known Version: Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville
original artist: The song was cowritten and performed in 1980 by Barry Mann, who wrote dozens of hit songs in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, and is best known for his 1961 hit recording of “Who Put the Bomp?” Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers and Bette Midler both recorded “Don’t Know Much,” but it wasn’t a hit until the Ronstadt/Neville duet was released in 1989.

“That’s What Friends are For”
Best-Known Version: Dionne Warwick and Friends
original artist: Rod Stewart. He sang the song (written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager) for the end credits of the 1982 comedy film Night Shift. That version went largely unnoticed, but it became a smash hit when Warwick performed it with Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder in 1986 to raise money for AIDS research.

Originally published in Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into Music”. Translated from original text in English. Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader books are currently printed in English only.

Can you solve Spotify’s Tech Puzzles?

If you like a puzzle, here’s a mighty challenge for you! Are you techy enough to solve Spotify’s Tech Puzzles?
We use these puzzles to screen candidates who want to be part of Spotify’s development team. They’re a great way to find really talented people to come and work for us and help Spotify to be the best music service.

Click the tests below and see if you can solve some of the Tech Puzzles that previous candidates have tried out. They’re pretty challenging – but fun too!

Download the puzzles here and here as a PDF or click on the shelves below to browse the Puzzles.

If you want to find out more about working at Spotify, check out our jobs page.

Good luck!

Our Interview with Nathan from Gossip

London blew my mind at first – there were so many radical freaks here…”, Nathan Howdeshell from Gossip

Nathan Howdeshell, founder member and guitarist with Gossip since 1999, dropped by the Spotify office this week to DJ in the Soundrop room. Sat surrounded by notes scribbled with ideas for tracks, bottles of cold beer and water and a softly-humming laptop, Nathan plays a Jacques Renault remix of New York’s Midnight Magic, some Danish no-wave from Iceage, the spaced-out dub of Wisconsin’s Peaking Lights too and the Anglo-German singer-songwriter, Anika.

“There’s so much cool stuff on Spotify,” he laughs. “I do a little record label of my own and I’m finding things on here that even I’ve forgotten about…”

The Gossip formed in rural Arkansas, how did underground music reach you there?
Mostly from pen pals writing to each other. That’s how Beth and I found out about Riot Grrrl and that’s what really got us started. There were a lot of mixtapes going around and I set up a show for Calvin Johnstone’s band when I was still in high school.

Was alcohol really banned in your home town, Searcy?
Yeah – it was a shitty-ass town! You’d have to drive 30 or 40 minutes just to buy a bunch of wine. As you can imagine, London blew my mind when I first came here – there were so many radical freaks. Nowadays most of my friends are scattered throughout the world, but the British were the first people to accept The Gossip, so it does always feel a bit special here, especially for Beth. We felt like those free jazz cats going to Paris in the 60s. England always had their hands out, ready to accept us.

You clearly enjoy DJing…
Oh I really do. I play a lot of records at parties – but I’m a selector. I play at a honkytonk dive bar near me and it’s all old country records. Doc Boggs, Skip James, Johnny Cash – I want people to dance and have fun. My dad’s a hillbilly who only listens to country music and I find myself loving it more and more. At home on the farm I fix fences and take care of cattle and country is the soundtrack to my life.

What five records made you the person you are?
The No New York compilation of late 70s downtown NYC bands is way beyond punk, it’s so cool. Suicide’s first album is amazing – they called themselves punk in 1972, before anyone had ever used the phrase to describe a sound. The first Stooges album is an incredible record as is Charles Mingus’ Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. And, of course, the first Ronettes LP.

Does anything link all of them?
Minimalism. I like primitive sounding music and they’re all very primitive! I like the spirit of rebellion that you can hear in them.

What’s the greatest record ever made?
Well, everything came from blues, so it must be a blues record. That’s a hard question. That first Suicide album I mentioned already is one of my favourite records ever, it still sounds futuristic, that’s pretty amazing. But then, Jackie Brenston’s song Rocket ’88′ was probably the first rock and roll record back in 1951, so that’s kind of important too!

10 Odd Things You May Not Know About Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa, who died in 1993 aged 52, once said his job was to, “extrapolate everything to the extreme” and his vast catalogue of music proves this over and over again. The ultimate rock and roll iconoclast, Zappa’s first band, The Mothers of Invention, were regulars on LA’s Sunset Strip during the rise of psychedelia – in fact it was Frank himself who popularised the phrase, “Freak Out” by calling his first LP that. His music mixed up pop and soul, jazz and acid rock, swaggering near-metal and austere modern classical ideas. He could play a melody by Stravinsky just as convincingly as a Motown chorus as he had a desire to mix the complexity and dexterity of symphonic music with the noise and excitement and accessibility of great pop music. Is Frank Zappa for you? Why not dive in and find out…

10 Odd Things You May Not Know About Frank Zappa

1. In 1968 he appeared on The Monkees TV show dressed as guitarist Mike Nesmith. Later he was shown “playing” a car by repeatedly beating it.

2. There are 115 Zappa songs “with sexual topics” listed on his Wiki Jawaka page.

3. Zappa has had newly discovered fish, jellyfish and a fossilised snail named in his honour.

4. As a child Zappa suffered from sinusitis, which a doctor tried to remedy by inserting radium capsules into his nostrils.

5. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening once declared Zappa to be, “my Elvis”.

6. Every year the German town on Bad Doberan hosts the Zappanale where only Frank’s music is performed.

7. Zappa’s son Dweezil was named after his wife’s strangely shaped little toe.

8. Stevie Wonder thanks Frank Zappa in the sleevenotes to his legendary 1976 album, Songs In The Key Of Life – no one is quite sure why.

9. In 1992 he appeared as the voice of the Pope in an episode of Ren & Stimpy.

10. Zappa’s 1971 film 200 Motels was filmed in the same studio as A Space Odyssey, look closely and you may spot the black monolith from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic.

Enjoy Zappa’s music on Spotify.

Spotify App of the week: Armada Stream 40

The Armada Stream 40 app features 40 of the label’s highlight tracks, including all release info, a link to its full release and artists, as well as its previous position, amount of weeks in the charts and more. Now you can explore the archive and go back in time to relive memories, create a playlist of a particular week or share it with friends through social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr.

Click here and enjoy this Spotify App now on your desktop.

The sounds of August courtesy of Sharemyplaylists.com

We present you the music selection that our friends from Sharemyplaylists have handpicked for this month.

Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time

Does this playlist look familiar? It should. Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time has been in our Top 50 Chart for a record-breaking 88 weeks! There are now 100,000 playlists and counting for you to discover here at SMP – and this is one our most successful ever. Find out more about this landmark occasion, and the competitions we’re running to celebrate, by clicking here.

Music Map of Great British Bands

Join us, won’t you, as we take a musical journey through Great Britain. Our tour guide is Pello, who will lead us through the Isles of Wonder, stopping off Liverpool and Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff, and pretty much everywhere in between. Great idea. Great playlist. And check out the map to with it.

’70s Pub Jukebox

Have you ever wondered what tunes were popular in The King’s Arms, Newark-On-Trent, during the 70s? Nah. Neither have we. But we’re glad we found out, thanks to this brilliant playlist created by Ian Williams. A pint, a packet of pork scratchings and music from Lou Reed, Hawkwind, the Rolling Stones, the Kins, T. Rex. Amazing.

NOW That’s what I Call A No.1

Next, we move to the very latest edition to the Now Music, a playlist spanning over six hours and 57 tracks, featuring some of the biggest number one songs of all-time. From All Saints to Adele, George Michael to Gnarls Barkley, Spice Girls to Steps, this one’s a cracker.

Curiosity: Songs About Mars, Space, and Stuff

Being science geeks, we love this playlist created by roboticbears. And, yes, we also love it because it’s full of good music. But we love it most of all because of its description: “It’s not often that I get to create a playlist that features Spice Girls, Misfits, and The Backyardigans while remaining thematically consistent. Thanks, NASA.”

Electrospective Playlist

Next up from EMI Music US, a must-hear mixtape for fans of electronic music. From Kraftwerk to Guetta, this playlist charts “key moments in the development of electronic music”. Over 6 hours – spanning 48 tracks – of amazing music.

It’s A Mans World

Agent3613 is feeling brutish, boorish, virile and generally manly on his newest playlist – a playlist of the manliest songs ever. Johnny Cash, the Doors, Alabama 3, Eazy-E, Motorhead and many, many more make up the numbers on this testosterone-charged collection.

Smile Jamaica

Celebrations to mark Jamaica’s 50th anniversary and musical heritage began this month. And we thought we’d join in the celebrations in the only way we know how – playlists. Just like this cracking creation from Daryl Fenton. He’s put together the classic NME compilation from 1983, Smile Jamaica. Featured here: everyone from Lord Creator and Jimmy Cliff to Gregory Isaacs and Black Uhuru. A must-hear mixtape.

Alt-J- Collective Memory

Next up, a playlist created by one of our favourite new bands, alt-J. Drummer Thom Green has selected the tunes that have been “exciting him for the past few months”. Everyone from Sei A and Tapes, to Radiohead and Gojira. As eclectic as it is brilliant. Check it out.

Gilles Peterson All Winners of 2012 #1

We’re big fans of Gilles Peterson here at SMP. So is niniouz, the user who’s created a playlist based on his recent all-winners show – his favourite music from his first three months at new radio station BBC 6 Music. As you’d expect, it’s eclectic – spanning jazz, hip-hop, house, afrobeat and beyond. Check out more playlists dedicated to Peterson here.

Our Interview with Jessie Ware

I hide behind metaphor and fantasy…”, Jessie Ware

South London’s Jessie Ware transfixed a packed Spotify office this week with a spectacular voice and a set of none-more-sultry torch songs. Jessie began her professional life as a backing singer for Jack Penate before first appearing on a record with producer SBTRKT. After an intensive burst of song-writing activity with David Okumu from The Invisible (who wrote recent single Devotion), Kid Harpoon, with whom she wrote Wildest Moment, and the house music producer Julio Bashmore, Ware’s album – also called Devotion – is now a real, striking and wonderful thing. “I owe an awful lot to those three,” she says. “They really brought me out of my shell.”

What music did you grow up listening to?
Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and the Grease soundtrack. My mum loved soul, but my dad wasn’t much into music – i think the last record he bought was Tina Turner’s Private Dancer!

Was a there a particular song that made you want to be a singer?
Yes – it was Maria McKee’s, Show Me Heaven. I wanted to do it on Stars In Their Eyes! It’s so uncool, but that was the one for me. Maybe I’ll do a cover of it – it could become a live favourite…

What was your first experience of singing live?
I was 10 and I sang the first verse of Away In A Manger in a Christmas Carol Concert on my own. It was a swinging sort of jazzy version. Everyone looked at me and went, “Oh, you’re good!”

How much will we learn about Jessie Ware by listening to Jessie Ware songs?
A lot! I’m everywhere, but I do sometimes hide behind metaphor and fantasy. A little bit of distance is good. Wildest Moment is about my best friend – her wildest moment was throwing a mudpie in my face – while Taking Water is about my little brother. To be honest, that one can make me cry before I’d even started it. I’m getting used to that level of emotion. You can tap into the emotions straight away.

Who do you think has done it all right?
Sade. Annie Lennox. Frank Ocean is doing it right currently. All three are great soul singers and they all know what they want to do. There’s a confidence in their music.

What do you want from all this?
I want to see some of the world, play a few hot places – like Brazil! I’d like people to know the words to the songs and I’d like to tour a lot. And I’d like to make a second record. Does that sound greedy?

Not at all. Finally, what is the greatest record ever made?
Oh wow, that is such a mean question. For nostalgic reasons, Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The sentiment and story-telling is incredible and the songs and the lyrics are just so beautiful. But also, Sade’s Diamond Life! That record never gets boring. I could imagine being on a desert island listening to her singing to me forever and ever.

Exclusive music from the session will be available on Spotify from September the 3rd.

#MusicMonday playlist brought to you by @MonaFims

Our friend @MonaFims has this #MusicMonday’s recommendations.

Monday and time for a brand new playlist!

We start this week with a singer/songwriter from Santa Monica, CA: Zach Yudin also known as “Oregon Bike Trails”. I love the nostalgic, retro pop feel of his music and especially his song “Cayucas”. We continue with another American: This time an old favorite from Athens, Georgia: The amazing “Of Montreal” with their catchy song “First Time High”

Next song in our playlist this week is by a Canadian indie rock band, formed in Belfast in 2004: “Paper Lions” and their song “Ghostwriters” from their lastest album “At Long Creek”

We continue with two bands from Australia. First a four-piece indie pop band called “San Cisco” and their song “Reckless” and then time for a rhythmic and catchy indie pop tune called “Mr Polite” by “The Jungle Giants”

Last song in our playlist this week is Grizzly Bear’s second single from the forth coming album called “Yet Again”.

If you have song suggestions for next week’s playlist, be sure to drop them in Mona’s Spotify Inbox.

Subscribe to the playlist and you will get a mix of twenty new Feel-Good tracks every Monday.

How To: Embed a Spotify Play Button on your Blog, Forum or Website

Since we launched the Spotify Play Button earlier this year, many bloggers, forums and websites have started using our Play Button to share music in a easy and elegant way. You can also add a Play Button to your website, forum post or blog.

All your fans have to do is hit play to enjoy the music.

Follow the simple steps below and you’ll have your site singing in seconds.

1) Open Spotify and right click on the Album, Track or Playlist you would like to embed.

2) Click on “Copy Embed Code”.

3) Paste this code in your blog or website in the HTML editor view.

4) That’s it!

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