Music News: L.A. company announces protective 'Micrashell' for concertgoers


The Current Music News for April 29, 2020 (MPR Video)

A Los Angeles company that used to apply its creativity to projects like designing really cool Skrillex shows, has announced a new suit designed to protect wearers from catching or transmitting COVID-19 at concerts. It looks like a spacesuit you'd wear to a rave.

Production Club calls the suit a "Micrashell," and promises that wearers can "see clearly through a protective shield, breathe safely through a filtration system, drink, vape, have sex and even charge their phone." They've really thought this through. You drink and vape through custom canisters, you can adjust your own sound system, and you can even set your communication system to talk to specific groups of people and, when the rave really gets rocking, modulate your voice.

Sorry, they're not for sale yet. The company says it's currently conducting a feasibility analysis. (Vice)

SXSW hit with class-action lawsuit over ticket refunds

SXSW has been hit with a class-action lawsuit over its refusal to refund tickets for this year's event. The festival says that ticket holders can choose free registration for 2021, 2022, or 2023 and get a 50% discount for one additional year — but two ticketholders are suing the festival for what they call "an unenforceable, illusory, unilateral option contract that allows SXSW to sell credentials, cancel the festival for any or no reason whatsoever, and retain all customer payments while leaving plaintiffs and the class without a remedy."

The question, of course, is whether the Texas festival can refund tickets. Insurance did not cover the coronavirus-related cancellation, and SXSW has laid off a third of its 175 year-round employees. (Pitchfork)

Statler Brothers leader Harold Reid dies at 80

Singer Harold Reid has died of kidney failure at age 80. He sang bass in the Statler Brothers, the quartet best-known for the top ten hit "Flowers on the Wall," a 1965 single that gained newfound cultural currency — if some dark associations — when Quentin Tarantino picked it for the soundtrack of 1994's Pulp Fiction. The New York Times says Reid was "the de facto leader" of the Statler Brothers, who weren't actually brothers but landed four number ones on the country chart and helped inspire pop country vocal groups like Alabama and the Oak Ridge Boys. Reid was also "the funny man of the group," whose fans included Johnny Cash: he frequently asked the Statlers to open for him.

Sanitizer is the new hip-hop swag

A month and a half into America's COVID-19 lockdown, Jon Caramanica is noticing that hip-hop videos feature a new kind of swag: masks, gloves, and cleaning supplies. Artists whose videos have been very literally sanitized include DaBaby, Rich Brian, and French Montana — who shows off his private jet and his hazmat suit in the video for "That's a Fact."

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