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    A ‘Simpsons’ Joke Comes True for Cypress Hill

    The famed California hip-hop group played with the London Symphony Orchestra — 28 years after “The Simpsons” dreamed up the collaboration.There is now an answer to at least one chicken-or-egg “Simpsons” prophesy: The episode did come first.But then, 28 years later, came the concert.“Simpsons” fans mixed with Cypress Hill fans on Wednesday at the Royal Albert Hall, a stately concert venue in the English capital, for a one-night-only collaboration between the London Symphony Orchestra and the American hip-hop group. Some were there for beats. Others had come to see a joke become a reality.“We came for the meme,” said Nick Brady, 30, who was with his brother. “We stayed for the music.”The evening had been foretold by a 1996 episode of “The Simpsons,” called “Homerpalooza,” in which Homer Simpson takes his family to a festival and then falls in with the stars.In the TV show, a festival employee arrives in a backstage area flanked by tuxedo-clad musicians. “Who is playing with the London Symphony Orchestra?” he calls out. “Somebody ordered the London Symphony Orchestra … possibly while high? Cypress Hill, I’m looking in your direction.”The hip-hop group huddles, whispering. Then, thinking fast, one says: “Uh, yeah, yeah, we think we did. Uh, do you know ‘Insane In The Brain’?”“We mostly know classical,” one orchestra member says, in a posh British accent. “But we could give it a shot.”We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    At 75, the Aldeburgh Festival Is Bigger Than Benjamin Britten

    When the composer Benjamin Britten died in 1976, it wasn’t clear how the public would remember him.There was Britten the rooted composer, firmly set in his native Suffolk, England, and the Aldeburgh Festival with his life partner, the tenor Peter Pears; Britten the establishment composer, friendly with the “Queen Mum,” the creator of “Gloriana” and the first composer to receive a peerage; and Britten the immediate composer, whose belief in art’s purposefulness meant he consciously avoided what he called writing for posterity.Others, however, were committed to the posterity of Britten’s work on his behalf. Rosamund Strode, a Britten assistant since 1964, became the founding archivist of the Britten Pears Foundation, and set the guidelines for one of the most comprehensive composer archives in existence.What, though, of his festival?The Aldeburgh Festival program from 1948.via Aldeburgh FestivalPeter Pears, left, and Britten.George Roger, via Aldeburgh Festival“Understandably, particularly after Britten’s death, and later after Pears’s death, there were people who wanted to properly protect what they felt were the sacred flames, because they were nervous of whether this thing was going to carry on after the two founders of this organization,” Roger Wright, the departing chief executive of Britten Pears Arts, said in an interview. Those people “needn’t have worried,” he added, “but there were bumpy times, and it’s very easy to forget that.”In the end, the Aldeburgh Festival, which recently celebrated its 75th edition, has produced many more editions without Britten than with him.The festival has gained a reputation for consistency, with well-attended, well-reviewed and richly programmed seasons. This year was no exception, including a new production of the church parable “Curlew River” alongside “Sumidigawa,” the Noh play that inspired it. (The show was filmed for a future BBC broadcast.)We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Cigarettes After Sex and Gen Z’s Passion for Dream-Pop

    The buzzy band that makes woozy, sensual music is releasing its third LP and starting an arena tour. It’s part of a wave reviving the fuzzed-out aesthetic of shoegaze.In 2016, a four-year-old track by a struggling Brooklyn band called Cigarettes After Sex blew up on YouTube, and soon the group’s brand of crisp, lovesick minimalism was selling out clubs all over Europe. At a tour stop in Prague, Greg Gonzalez, its leader, saw unticketed fans weeping in the street.“OK, this is bizarre,” Gonzalez remembered thinking. “But that showed me that this is doing what it’s supposed to do. This is music that’s meant for emotional people that are in love. That’s what music did for me. So I thought, that’s what I want my music to do for somebody else.”Eight years later, that pattern has repeated for Cigarettes After Sex, on a far grander scale. Although largely ignored by the mainstream media, the band’s spare, crystalline ballads have again caught fire online — this time on TikTok — racking up almost 10 billion streams around the world. Its third album, “X’s,” will be released on July 12 via the indie label Partisan, and an exhaustive global tour includes sold-out stops at Madison Square Garden as well as the Kia Forum near Los Angeles, and arenas throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South Africa and Australia. By stealth, Cigarettes After Sex has become one of the biggest cult bands in the world.Its success is also a high-water mark in rock’s latest retro revival, for shoegaze and dream-pop — appropriately nebulous terms for a range of music from the 1980s and early ’90s, when groups like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Cocteau Twins and Lush cloaked melodies in waves of shimmering guitar or synthesizers, along a sonic scale from gauzy reverie to caustic noise. Long a recurrent strain in indie-pop, the sound has been catapulted by TikTok to a new level of popularity among Gen Z acts like Wisp, Sign Crushes Motorist and Quannnic that are posting millions of streams and dotting festival lineups.Cigarettes After Sex represents one end of this spectrum, with a carefully calibrated, almost cinematic approach: a hushed, dark landscape punctuated by splashes of color from Gonzalez’s guitar, topped by his whisper-soft, almost feminine singing voice. But in an interview in an East Village hotel bar, Gonzalez — who in person speaks in an easy, rapid-fire baritone — said he sees Cigarettes After Sex as fitting more in a tradition of classic, moody love songs, referencing Marvin Gaye, Françoise Hardy and Al Green.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Mary Martin, Who Gave Many Music Stars Their Start, Dies at 85

    Her loyalty to artists and her eye for talent made her a force in a male-dominated business. Among her accomplishments: introducing Bob Dylan to the Band.Mary Martin, a Grammy-winning talent scout, manager and record executive who helped start the careers of a long list of future legends, including Leonard Cohen, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell — and who introduced Bob Dylan to the Band — died on July 4 in Nashville. She was 85.Mikayla Lewis, a documentary filmmaker and close friend, said she died in a hospice from complications of cancer.Among the musicians whose work exists somewhere between rock, country, folk and Americana, Ms. Martin was a legend in her own right, widely respected for her fierce loyalty to artists and her keen eye for budding talent.“She saw the bumpkin in me, and she also saw something that was going to develop,” Mr. Crowell said in an interview. “She was one of those people who just said, ‘Shut up and let me show you something of the world that you may not have seen.’”Ms. Martin and Rodney Crowell in a scene from “Mary Martin: Music Maven,” a forthcoming documentary. Ms. Martin helped Mr. Crowell get his start. “She saw the bumpkin in me,” he said, “and she also saw something that was gonna develop.”Mikayla Lewis/ “Mary Martin: Music Maven”A chain smoker with a keen love of football, she seemed to know everyone, and she had a knack for being in the right place at the right time.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Joe Bonsall, Tenor Voice of the Oak Ridge Boys, Dies at 76

    His vocals on songs like “Elvira” were a key to the evolution of the group, originally a Southern gospel quartet, into perennial country hitmakers.Joe Bonsall, who for more than 50 years was the tenor voice of the Oak Ridge Boys, one of the most popular and enduring vocal groups in the history of country music, died on Tuesday at his home in Hendersonville, Tenn. He was 76.His publicist, Jeremy Westby, said the cause was complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the neuromuscular disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. (Mr. Bonsall issued a statement in January saying that he was retiring from touring with the Oak Ridge Boys but would remain a member of the group.)Originally a Southern gospel quartet, the Oak Ridge Boys had 17 Billboard No. 1 country singles, as well as 17 more that made the country Top 10, after reinventing themselves as a country act in the early 1970s. The group, which has sold more than 41 million records worldwide, was formed in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in the early 1940s, and disbanded and reformed twice before its lineup stabilized with Mr. Bonsall’s arrival in 1973.“Elvira” (1981) and “Bobbie Sue” (1982), two of the group’s best-known No. 1 hits, featured Mr. Bonsall on lead vocals in place of the regular lead singer, Duane Allen. William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban, who sang baritone and bass, rounded out the four-part harmony quartet during its heyday in the 1970s and ’80s.The Oak Ridge Boys in 1982 with the Grammy Award they won for “Elvira,” one of their 17 songs to reach No. 1 on the Billboard country chart. From left: Mr. Bonsall, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban.Reed Saxon/Associated PressAmong the group’s other No. 1 hits were “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” (1979), an early Rodney Crowell composition, and “American Made” (1983), a wry topical number that showcased Mr. Bonsall’s clean, resounding tenor. (“American Made” was later used in a television commercial for Miller Beer.)We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Carol Bongiovi, Jon Bon Jovi’s Mother, Dies at 83

    Nicknamed Mom Jovi, she founded the Jon Bon Jovi fan club, and earlier was a Marine and a Playboy bunny.Carol Bongiovi, the mother of the pop star Jon Bon Jovi, died at a hospital in Long Branch, N.J., on July 9. She was 83.Her family confirmed the death in a statement on Wednesday.Ms. Bongiovi, a former Playboy bunny and U.S. Marine, according to her family, was also the founder of her son’s fan club, which she ran from a flower shop in suburban New Jersey, and came to be known to some fans as Mom Jovi.“Our mother was a force to be reckoned with,” Bon Jovi said in the statement. “Her spirit and can-do attitude shaped this family.”Carol A. Sharkey was born on July 12, 1940, in Erie, Pa. In 1959, she joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where she met her future husband, John Bongiovi Sr.After they were discharged from the military, the couple married and raised three sons in Sayreville, N.J., starting with Jon, born in 1962.Ms. Bongiovi worked as a bunny at the Playboy Club in New York City when Jon was growing up, the singer told Larry King in 2006.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Megan Moroney Sings a Message About Messy 20-Something Life: It’s OK.

    The rising country star writes about disastrous love and learning big lessons with charm, wit and solid hooks. Her new LP, “Am I Okay?,” is due Friday.The budding country star Megan Moroney was 36 stories above Times Square last month, waiting to meet some of her biggest fans, who were among the first invited to hear “Am I Okay?,” her eagerly anticipated second album.As she prepared to greet her guests in the glass aviary atop the Hard Rock Hotel, Moroney admitted she’d culled them via social media, group chats and meet and greets. “They don’t know I stalk them,” she said after slipping into a cobalt mini dress from Zara and a pair of metallic Balmain stiletto boots. Her hair teased into a butter-blond cloud, she joked, “It’s 20 pounds of hair and 10 pounds of makeup.” It’s a look her fans recreate to varying degrees, but they’re also drawn to the way Moroney embraces the moments most people airbrush out of their Instagram-perfect lives.One example is the closer of “Am I Okay?,” which is due on Friday: the spare, simple “Hell of a Show.” It’s just a verse and a chorus, a raw artist singing over an acoustic guitar about being jerked around by a self-absorbed boyfriend, pulling it together to slay a crowd of people who “love me better than you could’ve,” but still crying herself to sleep.It’s hard to believe there’s anyone who isn’t clamoring for the attention of this 26-year-old rising songwriter. Moroney was the leading female nominee at the Academy of Country Music Awards this spring, competing for top prizes alongside Kacey Musgraves and Lainey Wilson. Her rocket-ship trajectory began with “Tennessee Orange” in 2022, a Romeo and Juliet ballad for fans of SEC football, which earned her 18 record company offers and nominations for both the A.C.M.s’ and the Country Music Association Awards’ song of the year. (She ultimately signed with Sony’s Nashville and Columbia’s New York divisions.)Four years ago, when Moroney released her first EP, she seemed like just another attractive Nashville hopeful in a city overstocked with them. At least on paper. But she had ideas about how to become a star, and they started with her songwriting. Wry, vulnerable and a real reflection of how 20-somethings drink and wreck their hearts, Moroney’s songs are authentic in a way the Music Row system can rarely access.Moroney onstage during the CMA Fest in June.Amy Harris/Invision, via Associated PressWe are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    The 15 Songs That Hit No. 1 This Year (So Far)

    Hear tracks by Shaboozey, Sabrina Carpenter, Kendrick Lamar and more.Shaboozey reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 this week for the first time with “A Bar Song (Tipsy).”Daniel PrakopcykDear listeners,It’s Caryn the editor here again, seizing control of the playlist one more time (don’t worry, you’ll have Lindsay back next week).On Monday, Shaboozey reached the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 with “A Bar Song (Tipsy),” making him the second Black artist to hit No. 1 on both the all-genre singles chart and Hot Country Songs. Somehow both milestones came this year: Beyoncé did it first with “Texas Hold ’Em.”The news got me scrolling through what’s topped the Hot 100 so far in 2024 — over the last 27 weeks, 15 songs have done it. And we’re going to listen to all of them in The Amplifier today.It’s always interesting to see how the official chart stacks up against cultural vibes. It may feel like the summer of “Espresso,” but Sabrina Carpenter’s Certified Bop hasn’t hit No. 1 in the United States (yet). It doesn’t just seem like Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” is dominating 2024: It is, with 11 straight weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. But only one of its songs — its opener, “Fortnight,” featuring Post Malone — has spent any time atop the Hot 100. Ariana Grande’s “Eternal Sunshine” has had two songs summit the singles chart; Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter” had the one. Billie Eilish and Chappell Roan haven’t hit No. 1 yet this year, but I wouldn’t count them out.The longest run belongs to “I Had Some Help,” by Post Malone featuring Morgan Wallen (six weeks, five of them consecutive). Two songs from the Kendrick Lamar vs. Drake beef hit No. 1; perhaps unsurprisingly considering the outcome, they were both Lamar’s.So let’s take a trip through the recent past together — and for fun (or counterprogramming), see how the biggest songs of the year (so far) compare to our critics’ best songs of the year (so far).We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More