Music News: New app plays an album when you point your phone at its cover


The Current's Jesse Wiza tries to scan her favorite album cover.
The Current's Jesse Wiza tries to scan her favorite album cover. (Jay Gabler/MPR)

A new Glitch app called Record Player is "basically Shazam for album covers," as Pitchfork puts it. Here's how it works: you open the app, point your phone camera at an album cover, and your Spotify account starts playing that album.

Cool...but when would you use it? "The tool might come in handy in a busy record store where all the turntables are in use," muses Pitchfork, "or on a lonely night when you want to see if your bored selfies resemble some lost '70s psych-rock classic."

Here's another new Spotify feature: an option under the "share" menu will let you post your currently playing song to your Instagram story. If your friends see it and want to tune in, they can hit a "play on Spotify" button to listen themselves. The feature isn't yet available for everyone, but Spotify says it will be soon. (Billboard)

Meanwhile, Billboard has announced that it's going to start weighting paid streams at three times the value of ad-supported streams when calculating chart performance. So if your friends are paying Spotify users, the artists you recommend will get much more of a bump.

Remembering Jabo Starks

Drummer Jabo Starks, best-known for his years playing with James Brown, has died of leukemia and other ailments at age 79. Along with "funky drummer" Clyde Stubblefield, who died last year, Starks is one of the drummers most closely associated with Brown and his signature sound. Among the singles featuring Starks are "Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine," "Super Bad" and "The Payback."

As the New York Times notes, "All those songs, like most of Brown's work, have had long afterlives. They have been sampled in songs by hip-hop artists like L.L. Cool J, Kendrick Lamar, A Tribe Called Quest, the Roots, the Black Eyed Peas and Kool Moe Dee."

"If you can't pat your feet and clap your hand to what I'm doing, then I'm not doing anything worthwhile," said Starks, who also played with Bobby "Blue" Bland and B.B. King among many others.

In 2016, Starks visited The Current to play on a session with Sonny Knight. He told Bill DeVille about his years playing with Brown.

Brian Wilson postpones tour to undergo back surgery

Brian Wilson has postponed his May tour dates to undergo immediate back surgery. "As some of you might know, I have been having some issues with my back that ha[ve] very recently gotten worse," wrote Wilson, 75, on Twitter. "My doctors have told me that I need to have back surgery immediately. They are optimistic that this will finally relieve the pain."

"I know what it's like to have the (Wilson) back gene," wrote Wilson's cousin and sometime bandmate Mike Love on Facebook, wishing the Pet Sounds mastermind well. (Rolling Stone)

Ariana Grande covers Kendrick in the style of Evanescence

Ariana Grande took over The Tonight Show on Tuesday to promote her new single "No Tears Left to Cry" and announce the title of her forthcoming album, Sweetener. She and host Jimmy Fallon performed a segment of the show's recurring "Random Music Generator" skit, in which participants need to sing popular songs in random styles. Fallon sang Ed Sheeran’s "Shape of You" as a ska jam, while Grande triumphed by reworking Kendrick Lamar’s "Humble" as a goth-rock anthem in the style of Evanescence. (Rolling Stone)

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