How Wallpaper. Got a Record Deal, Local Artists Tackle Nick Drake's Pink Moon, and More
From SF Weekly's latest print music section:
Wallpaper. Gets a Record Deal: It was around 10 o'clock on a Friday night in December when Ricky Reed walked into a meeting at the Sony Music building in Beverly Hills with no idea what to expect. Less than 36 hours later, Reed -- the creative force behind a comically crunked-out Oakland pop-hop outfit called Wallpaper. -- had signed to Epic Records, an imprint of the Sony empire run by the celebrity record executive and X Factor judge L.A. Reid.
In the span of a weekend, Reed, whose real name is Eric Frederic, morphed from a promising but small-time independent Bay Area artist to a new star in the pop machine responsible for radio staples like Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" and Rihanna's "Umbrella." It's a sharp change for Wallpaper., whose boisterous, bass-heavy funk is half a parody of the hit parade, and half a winking embrace of its charm. While much radio R&B embraces the bling-flashing, bottle-popping fantasies of mainstream hip-hop, Wallpaper. songs glorify drinking Two-Buck Chuck and cruising in your friend's mom's minivan. Its biggest hit, "#STUPiDFACEDD," is a bouncy blast of self-deprecation about getting wasted at a friend's apartment. Reed calls his songs "pop music for the 99 percent" ... [continue reading]
Light From Nick Drake's Pink Moon: During his lifetime, Nick Drake only sold a few thousand albums. Since his accidental overdose on antidepressants in 1974, his influence as a musician and songwriter has been incalculable. His stripped-down, emotionally raw music still sounds fresh and new today. Pink Moon, the last album he made before passing away, features Drake accompanied only by guitar and piano. Its stark, desolate beauty suggests a man trapped inside his emotions, yet displaying a chilling state of grace in his isolation. It was that quality that attracted local trumpeter and composer Darren Johnston to Drake's music and led him to contact Lyz Luke at UnderCover Presents about putting together a concert based on the music of Pink Moon.
The idea of having local musicians recreate classic albums -- and the formation of UnderCover Presents, the organization that makes these shows happen -- came together a few years ago, in a spontaneous outburst of creativity. Luke explains: "I was talking to Charith Premawardhana of Classical Revolution, who had an evening to fill at Coda (now Brick and Mortar Music Hall). I suggested recreating the Velvet Underground & Nico album by asking local bands to each play one song from the album. We made a wish list of performers at 3 one morning, and by the next afternoon everybody got on board. Within four weeks, we put together the show and sold out two nights"... [continue reading]
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