Happy New Year's Eve to all!  We had an amazing year at BTR in 2007, and we want to share some of our highlights with you, our loyal listeners. Some of our BTR DJs compiled a traditional New Year's Eve countdown of their favorite albums from 2007, and due to the abundance of good music this year, you'll find many different choices. However, a couple of albums did get numerous picks from our DJs, including Of Montreal's, Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? and Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings', 100 Days, 100 Nights. Pay close attention to all of the picks because you may see something you missed, and, if so, you'll have to run out the record store and  pick yourself up a New Year's gift. So, look below and you will find the cream of the crop in indie music from the year 2007. DJ WYNN 5)  Manu Chao - La Radiolina 4)  John Reuben - Word Of Mouth 3)  !!! - Myth Takes 2) The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible 1) of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? DJ MOJO 5) Monocle - Outer Sunset 4) The Retail Sectors -The First Steps to End the Life (Si Begg Remix) 3) Pash - The Best Gun 2) Kinetic - An Arny Of Lovers Can Be Beaten 1) Rahim -The Same DJ LAURA C CHORD 5) Fjord Rowboat- Saved the Compliments For Morning 4) Animal Nation - Time Zone 3) Basia Bulat - Oh My Darling 2) The Houseplants - Living Room 1) Joel Plaskett Emergency - Ashtray Rock DJ PAT 5) Lavender Diamond - Imagine Our Love 4) 1990s - Cookies 3) Arizona -  Fameseeker and The Mono 2) Illinois - What The Hell Do I Know? EP 1) Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights DJ LATOLA 5) The Ones To Blame - The Ones To Blame 4) Battles - Mirrored 3) The Main Drag - Yours As Fast As Mine 2) The National - Boxer 1) of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? DJ RACHELANDTHECITY 5) Harlan  T. Bobo - I'm Your Man 4) Bad Veins - Demos 3) Cloud Cult - The Meaning of 8 2) Dappled Cities - Granddance 1) Sea Wolf - Leaves in thew River DJ REPETE 5) Maido Project - Safran 4) Skidmore Fountain - Break 3) The Alternate Routes - Good and Reckless and True 2) Standfast - Beneath and Beyond 1) My Teenage Stride - Ears Like Golden Bats DJ EMILY 5) The Ones To Blame - The Ones To Blame 4) Ingrid Michaelson - Girls and Boys 3) 1990s - Cookies 2) Joan As Police Woman - Real Life 1) of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? DJ JEFF K 5) Lotus -  Escaping Sargasso Sea 4) Meiko - Meiko 3) Sharon Jones and The Dap  Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights 2) Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War 1) Band of Horses - Cease to Begin DJ DREW 5) Beirut - Lon Gisland EP 4) The Beautiful Girls - Ziggurats 3) Gogol Bordello - Super Taranta! 2) Chaka Demus & Pliers - Back off the Wall 1) They Might Be Giants - The Else DJ MAXIM 5) The Go! Team - Proof of Youth 4) Arcade Fire - Neon Bible 3) Flight of The Concords - The Distant Future 2) Care Bears on Fire - I Stole Your Animal 1) The Brunettes - Structure and Cosmetics DJ ANNIE 5) White Rabbits - Fort Nightly 4) Ra Ra Riot - Ra Ra Riot EP 3) Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights 2) of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? 1) Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Listen up for tracks off all of these albums right here on BTR!! LINK TO THIS ARTICLE:    
Hi! My name is Rachel. But you can call me Rachelandthecity. I host a few radio shows here on Breakthru Radio (The Bloggeratti, Makeshift Music Hour, Live from the Hitone, On the Road with Rachelandthecity, and The Ardent Sessions) and I have my very own music blog called Scenestars. 2007 was a really great year for me. I was lucky enough to get to travel all over the country and check out some of the best music around. Seeing live music is one of my favorite things in the world - so I thought since I have been crowned your blogger-of-the-week, I would spend this time recapping some of the great festivals/conferences I was lucky enough to attend and give you a few tips for the upcoming season - which seems to start earlier and earlier every year! The first conference I attended last year, and the one that is coming up very soon is The International Folk Alliance Conference that is held in my hometown, Memphis, TN at The Marriott Hotel. The North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance was officially formed back in 1990 in Philadelphia, but recently moved their headquarters to Memphis. I am not sure how long the conference, which happens every February, has been taking place - but 2007 was the first year it was held in our fair city and word is it will be held here for at least the next 15 years.Unfortunately, I was only able to attend one night of the three day conference this year because I was busy getting ready for my own showcase at SXSW (more on that later) but the night I did attend was well worth it. I did not have many expectations and planned to spend most of my time in The Memphis Room with a bunch of my friends like Holly Cole, Cory Branan, Blair Combest, Jed and Kelly, Jimmy Davis, Dan Montgomery and Keith Sykes.  From L-R: Kelly, Jimmy, Jed, Keith Holly Cole Cory Branan Check out my profile on Holly Cole or listen to a recent set from Cory Branan on Live from the Hitone. Or take a listen to my show 10 Degrees of Memphis where I highlighted all the Memphis based artists that played the festival. Of course, after I got there I realized how big this conference actually is. I traveled from room to room (yeah, they actually had impromptu sets from artists in various hotel rooms! Like this one from Susan Marshall, Dave Cousar and Rock Steff!!!) checking out as much music as I could. It was a super cool, low key event! By the end of the night I had also taken in kickass sets from Glen Phillips (does Toad the Wet Sprocket mean anything to you?) and one of my favorite artists from the Righteous Babe label (other than Ani DiFranco, of course!), Hammell on Trial!! If you get the chance to see this guy live - DO NOT MISS IT!!    Hammell and Me Anyway, if you get the chance, come on down to Memphis and check out this awesome festival before it gets huge and annoying! WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20 1:00pm-5:00pm *PRE-CON WORKSHOPS (Marriott) SERFA Launch (Southeast FA Region) Board Training with Susan Schmidt Tim Sweeney’s Guide to the Music Business CLE (Continuing Legal Education) Memphis Music Tours 5:00pm-6:30pm Welcoming Party/Exhibit Hall Sneak Preview 6:59pm Folk Alliance Awards Show (CC) 9:00pm-12:00am Feature Shows (2-3) (Marriott) 9:00pm-2:00am Private Showcases (Marriott) THURSDAY-SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21-23 9:30am-10:45am Breakfast, Breakout Sessions (Marriott) Peer Groups (Thursday) Regional Meetings (Friday) Regional Block Booking (Saturday) 11:00am-12:30pm Keynote (Thursday), Membership Meeting (Friday) 1:00pm-4:00pm Panels, Workshops (Marriott) 2:00pm-4:00pm Private Showcases (Marriott) 3:00pm-6:00pm Exhibit Hall (Cocktail Party @ 5:00pm) (CC) 6:30pm-10:30pm Performance Alley (Marriott) 10:30pm-12:00am Feature Shows (2-3) (Marriott) 10:30pm-3:00am Private Showcases (Marriott) SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24 10:00am-12:00pm Closing Breakfast (Marriott) 1:00pm-5:00pm *Graceland Tour 1:00pm-5:00pm Pool Party (Marriott) 6:00pm-9:00pm Closing Party (Gibson Lounge) More Photos: Glen Phillips Hammell on Trial [Link to this post]
Poseidon's trident! It's been a while since I made an entry, shame on me. Well, it's that inevitable time of year when 'Best Of' lists take center stage. I always struggle with these things, as so much of it depends on my current  mood. Of course, throughout the year some albums are never deleted from the iPod, and those are the ones that usually make the list. My top five will be revealed on New Year's Eve, along with the rest of the BTR family's. I have to say, I keep wanting to break it down into categories, like "Top 5 Independently Released Albums of 2007," "Top 5 'Indie' Label Albums of 2007, " and "Top 5 Major Label Albums of 2007." Hell, make it a Top 10. That said, 2007 has been a banner year for the Florida underground music scene, with fantastic releases from ASPE, Warren Hixson, Mumpsy, The Ones To Blame, Black Kids, Sean Moore and Lauris Vidal. I can't wait to see what 2008 has in store.
Please tell me I'm not alone here.   Please tell me that you suffer from irrational hatred too.   You know that feeling of really hating something or someone but not being able to put into words why. You just do. No reason. No explanation. No previous history. Just a pure unadulterated and completely irrational hatred. I'm talking about Kate Thornton.  Reese Witherspoon. Heat magazine. Or Dick and Dom in da Bungalow.   And while I try to be open minded, my irrational hatred extends to music too. There are just some things in music that I don't like. And I'm not talking obvious targets like 'Pop Idol' or Westlife. There are many, many reasons why those are evil. I mean things that most people probably wouldn't mind, don't notice or just plain don't let bother them. But not me. Oh no, these are things I despise. From the very pit of my being. However, in order of presenting some kind of balance and prove that there are indeed exceptions to every rule, tonight I'm gonna try and explain a few of my irrational hatreds in music and then offer up songs that totally contradict what I say. Or in plain terms, songs I like that contain things I hate.   We start, with the saxophone. I hate the saxophone. Hate it. Truly despise the thing. There are no redeeming factors. None. Not one. Some people may try and tell you that the saxophone is sexy. Sensuous. Seductive. These people are wrong. These people are close to being legally retarded. The saxophone is sexy in the same way that roadkill is. It's the soundtrack of a dinner party from hell. It's middle aged sales execs thinking they're hip. It's an evil, evil sound. And yet, on Ryan Adams' 'New York, New York', I can't help liking it. Maybe it's the fact that it comes in right at the end. Maybe it's the fact that it's quite understated. Maybe Ryan Adams has some kind of special power that stops anything associated with him from being shit. I don't know. I can't say. The only thing I know, is that this song contains one of the few saxophone moments that I have ever been able to tolerate.   Next up, slap bass. A sound so hideous that even typing the words makes me want to pour acid down my ears. Possibly the least cool sound ever invented by mankind. It screams middle aged man trying to be funky. Two words. Mark King. If there were crimes against instruments, slap bass would be the equivalent of beating your wife. Your disabled wife. It's an abomination. But, for some reason beyond my comprehending, Lamb manage to wrestle slap bass away from middle management bores and transform into it the writhing, convulsive, driving force behind this track.   And my final irrational hatred? Well, it's not so much an element of song. Or an instrument. It's more just a whole god damn band. And who might that be? In who's direction do I point my unexplainable bile? Why, none other than the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now, I can't tell you exactly when my hatred for them started but it's definitely been some time. It was sometime at school that's for sure. And I can't explain why. I just plain don't like them. I could say it's their particularly asinine funk-rock fusion. It could be the way they still wear three-quarter length shorts when they're old enough to know better. It may even be something as simple as having a bass player called Flea. I just don't know. What I do know however, is that my irrational hatred for them disappears the moment I hear the gorgeously laid back guitar intro to 'Scar Tissue'. It's just such a simple melody. No pretence. No fake posing. Just a great, slightly melancholic pop song. Of course, three and a half minutes later, my hatred returns and The Red Hot Chili Peppers are once more the aural equivalent of a bird shitting on your head.   Read more from Coxon by visiting to die by your side.   [Link to this post]
So, I don't really buy into the who "New Year's Resolution" thing. I've tried it before and it didn't work out. But there are some things I'd like to accomplish in the New Year. I'd like to exercise more and eat better... but doesn't just about everyone want to do that? I mean, I don't really understand why I need a new year to resolve to do that. Hmmm... What else? Well, I'd like to see more shows (haha). Like I don't already see enough! There's just so much great music out there and I want to see it all... unfortunately shows cost money so I can't always do everything I want to. Perhaps I should resolve to create a bigger budget for shows in the 2008.... that sounds like a good one! I mean, music makes me happy and if I'm happy everything in life is better. Another thing I'd like to do is grow my hair long. I always get it to about the length it is now and chop it all off. I've never really had hair more than 2 inches past my shoulders. So, I guess in 2008, I'd like to not chop all of my hair off and just get it trimmed. So, what's something else I'd like to do?  Get organized (but again, who doesn't want this). I'd like to really get the house in order. Fill up the filling cabinet I bought (that's still in its box).  Unpack some boxes that have remained packed since we moved. Get rid of tons of clothes and give them to charity... Speaking of charity, I'd like to volunteer more in 2008. I used to be a big proponent of helping others and since I've entered the real world this has sorta fallen to the wayside. I think it's time for me to get out there and do something for others. Well, for someone that doesn't believe in "New Year's Resolutions," I sure have a lot that I want to accomplish. But, it's not necessarily that I want to do these things in the coming year... I want to do these things all the time. So, I'll make these my "Life's Resolutions" and I'll get around to them at some point. - Em
I listen to music all day, every day, for 365 it's fitting that I should end the year with a musical bang. Who: Steel Pulse Where: Revolution in Fort Lauderdale When: Dec. 31 2007 (Open Bar from 9:30 - 10:30) Where will you be? Don't sit at home watching the latest robot mold of Dick Clark. If you're in the area join me for toasts and to get toasted. Steel Pulse would have wanted it that way.
Tis the season to be generous and kind.  You're supposed to spend money on your loved ones, and when you do you are supposed to feel good about it.  Well one way to insure you feel good and broke is getting some concert tix for one of the huge headlining tours playing in the arenas in your home town.  Since my transformation from youth to immature adult I’ve seen concert prices grow faster than my shoe sizes.  Thankfully, most of the shows I attend are in small venues/bars and those covers or 2 drink minimums haven't changed.  In my attempt to see The Police at MSG though, I found myself in the wrong tax bracket.  Call me old fashion or just cheap, but average income fans shouldn't have to pay hundreds or even thousands to see a show.  The newest “tween” craze (and hottest concert tix in America) "Hannah Montana" is having parent fight to the death for thousand dollar tix.  Just a preemptive note to my unborn children, if you ever want thousand dollar concert tickets don't ask cause you won’t get, but daddy will put on, for you and your friends, a karaoke concert....for free!!!
For a while now, whenever I have spun the excellent track "Who Cares?" by the Bridgeport, CT band The Alternate Routes, I have wondered about the one line: "I see my life in clips and phrases; picture shows and written pages." I swore it was an omage to another track from the 1990s, but couldn't place who. Recently a more 1990s intuned friend (and google savy) was able to pull up the lyrics to an Eve 6 song that uses the same line. Omage or not, the line is actually an expression, so the intention is still unknown. Regardless, while we tend to make song lyrics into how they make us feel in the moment, it's interesting to ponder the origins as the creator intended... PS - Off to Central America for a little vaca. I'll have some music reflections upon returning...
This is part six of our ongoing series on Adolescence. Thanks to the marvelous Colleen and BreakThru Radio for having us this week! Part One (Rebecca Wiener) Part Two (John Gruen) Part Three (Tess Lynch) Part Four (Jess Grose) Part Five (Molly Young) Part Six Z ~ Zeppelin Because I fell in love with Zeppelin IV and "Stairway to Heaven" in seventh grade. Every time the marching band was bussing to a parade, I listened to that epic song and "When The Levee Breaks" on my Discman. It got me psyched to play my trombone. Y ~ "Youth is wasted on the young" – Billy Corgan I got into the Pumpkins at the tail end of my adolescence. Although, this was back when Billy had long hair. In fact, when I still had hair. X ~ Ex As in I had a few ex-girlfriends. Many of them dumped by yours truly (read "K" for further study). The only one I still hold a slight grudge with = "M". W ~ Winona My hometown. And yes, Winona Ryder is named after the town; we were born in the same hospital. V ~ Vanilla Ice I was one of the millions of kids who bought To The Extreme. U ~ "Unbelievable" -- EMF (mp3) T ~ They Might Be Giants The first "alternative" group I listened to. I loved their short songs. The obtuse lyrics. And making the accordion cool. When Clarissa Explains It All debuted on Nickelodeon, she was into TMBG. Which intensified my crush on Melissa Joan Heart. Clarissa never explained why her two favorite words were 'no', either.   "Road Movie To Berlin" -- They Might Be Giants  (mp3) S ~ Swimming My sport of choice starting in fifth grade, all the way up to my senior year. At one point in time, I was ranked the 11th fastest 500 Freestyle swimming in the start of Minnesota. I swam against the future-Olympian Thomas Malchow all four years of high school. (He always beat me.) R ~ Raps (Yo MTV) I spent many afternoons park on the couch watching Ed Lover and Dr. Dre. Watching the early stages of Hip Hop (back when it was called Rap). I was partial to the Native Tongues (De La, Tribe, Jungle Bros) and Ice-T. Q ~ Q-Tip A Tribe Called Quest's debut album (People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm) was the first rap tape I ever bought. Tip's haircut inspired "D." "Bonita Applebum" -- A Tribe Called Quest (mp3) P ~ Pink Floyd In some ways, I see my discovery of Pink Floyd as the end. I dated this girl who was into Floyd. (On our first date, we made out with "Momentary Lapse of Reason" on in the background. Because of her, I became a man.) O ~ O'Connor, Sinead Her big hit was all over the radio. I remember biking to middle school with my next store neighbor singing the song like it was Metal. Thinking some heavy distortion would make the Prince song that much better. "Nothing Compares 2 U" -- Sinead O'Connor (mp3) N ~ Nirvana It amazes me that within a year or two my musical tastes jumped from rap to alternative. The tumultuousness of adolescence. M ~ (I Touch) Myself I made out with my eighth grade girlfriend (call her Maria) while this video was all over MTV. I used to bike over to her house in the icy cold afternoons of January. Of course, Maria dumped me on Valentine's Day. "I Touch Myself" -- The Divinyls (mp3) L ~ "Love Song" -- The Cure (mp3) The video freaked me out. But it was a good "slow dance" number for our Middle School Fun Nights aka dances. Not that I got many slow dances in middle school. Never knew the '40' referred to the number of members in the band. We like to play Where's Waldo with the hidden bear in this picture. Can you see him? K ~ "Kingston Town" -- UB40 (mp3) Yet another make out song. This time, I dumped the girl. Mostly because I didn't want to string her along. I started dating her for our eighth grade trip to Valley Fair. I wanted someone to hold hands with on the bus ride up (it was two hours long), sit next to on the rides and then snuggle on the way home. Once summer rolled around, I decided to end it. You might think this makes me an asshole; I dumped her was because she was head-over-heels for me. It was that I didn't want both of our first times to be tainted by my unrequited love. J ~ Jane's Addiction My sister got a mixtape from a college friend with "I Would For You" on it. I got their first, self-titled album and became a huge fan. I might be able to argue that my college exploration into Buddhism can be traced back to "Pigs In Zen." I ~ Industrial: After shaving my dreads, I got into industrial music. Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, stuff like that. Thankfully, that phase didn't last very long. "Jesus Built My Hot Rod" -- Ministry (mp3) H ~ Haircuts: My adolescence was a confusion sandwich served on bad-haircut bread. See "F" and "D" for further study. G ~ Golf My spring sport. I only went out for the high school team because they played on the city's only country club. F ~ Flattop   My sixth grade haircut that earned me the nickname Spike. That got me a few dates because the girls liked to "pet" my head. E ~ Everything I Do I Do It For You Maybe the best song to come out of a movie in all of the '90s. D ~ Dreadlocks Thanks to a love of nappy headed rappers, I decided to get dreadlocks my freshman year of high school. What the hell was I thinking? This haircut did nothing to help me with the ladies. C ~ Chocolate Chipwich Is there any better type of dessert than vanilla ice cream smashed between two chocolate chip cookies? I still love those things. B ~ Bike I rode my bike everywhere. Swimming, golf course, just around town for exercise. With headphones connected to either my Walkman or Discman, I'd play some tunes and pump the pedals. A ~ AA Bondy This guy has nothing to do with my adolescence. But I really like this song and felt like sharing. "There Is A Reason" -- AA Bondy (mp3) Besides critiquing music for the blog The Late Greats, Lucas Stangl dabbles in poetry, fiction and screenplays. If you Google him, you can read more of his work.   [Link to this post]
  The annoying thing about being an Anglophile is that you are constantly waiting for the bands you're excited about to come to the States. Generally you have to wait for music showcases or individual tours, which sometimes take years depending on how quickly they become popular, and if not at all, you must listen to your records and daydream of cloudy, soggy days walking around Camden Town. Luckily we have the interweb! And this post is all about spreading the wealth one musical crumpet at a time.   To download (right click - save as)   Download: Hot Chip: London, UK: DFA Remix download   A gorgeous dubby remix from DFA of "(Just Like We) Breakdown" by pasty London lads Hot Chip.   ..............................................................   Watch: Battle: London, UK: watch "Demons"   Not to be confused with the American nerdrific technical rock group Battles. Battle (UK) is a very talented London based indie outfit that no one has really picked up on yet. I saw them at SXSW 2006 with ¡Forward Russia!, who have since garnered a significant amount more press attention than Battle. I'm not sure, but I suspect it could be because of the matching t-shirts.   Singer/guitarist, Jason Bavanandan (say that five times fast), has intensity dripping out of his pores and an impossibly idealistic point of view. Their band name comes from their struggle to do what they are passionate about musically.   Fo' serious people. But it works well and Battle have been compared to The Smiths, The Cure, and early '80s Talking Heads.   My favorite track is Demons but you can peruse their site for more streams including Zane Lowe endorsed tracks "Children" and "Tendency".   Download: Battle: One More Night (Live) - Download   ..............................................................   Download: Good Shoes: Morden, UK: "Small Town Girl" (Demo) download   As an Anglophile it is mandatory that I love bands who show off their terrible cockney English accents. Good Shoes is definitely one of those bands. It's no Billy Bragg drawl but it makes the grade. In addition to the accent, they play friendly and fast, with just enough quick guitar work and tension to make you want to bop around and join in. Their full length "Think Before You Speak" has just been released in the UK.    Watch: Good Shoes: Photos On My Wall Nice backwards/forwards action in this video.   ..............................................................   Download: The Cribs: West Yorkshire, UK: "Men's Needs", CSS Remix download   I read somewhere that there was controversy over the naked lady spouting blood in the video for "Men's Needs." Apparently MTV2 would not play it before 9pm because it was "too shocking." As for the song, I actually prefer the CSS remix to the more generic and repetitive original version.   ..............................................................   Download: Mystery Jets: Twickenham, UK: "Hounds of Love" cover of a cover -  download   The Mystery Jets, four Twickenham boys (and one cool dad), are our modern day Dexy's Midnight Runners. They bang on pots and pans, look like they live by a fresh spring meadow and write romping good songs. And it was fun seeing Art Brut going nuts for them at SXSW last year. Unfortunately, customs would not let them in our country, so we missed out this past June. But you can still have their original cover of The Futurehead's cover of Kate Bush's classic song. Whew.   Download: Mystery Jets: "Diamonds in the Dark" download   ..............................................................   Download The Rakes: London, UK: "The World was a Mess but His Hair was Perfect" download   I've seen them more times live than their very few visits to the States would imply and, as this NME review puts it, "[Live] the Rakes are rather special. They may adhere to the post-punk-funk blueprint of bands like Wire and Joy Division but every song is a potential single..." And although I know the March 2007 released second album, "Ten New Messages," does not communicate the same struggling twentysomething feeling, or have the same urgency and Englishness about it as the debut album "Capture/Release" had, I still appreciate them. "The World was a Mess…" is one of the great tracks off of the new record, originally 15 minutes long and interestingly enough written for a Dior Homme fashion show in 2006. I also love the B-side track "Ausland Mission," the only song written and sung by the guitarist, Matthew Swinnerton. Plus, lead singer, Alan Donohoe has got moves that rival Mark E. Smith.   Download The Rakes: "Ausland Mission" (Demo) : download   Download The Rakes: "Terror" from Capture/Release LP download   ..............................................................   Download: Klaxons: London, UK: "Golden Skans" Erol Alkan Remix download The Klaxons are a guilty pleasure for me, and the album version of this song is all hook and no filler and it.   ..............................................................   Download: Artic Monkeys: Sheffield, UK: "You Know I'm No Good" Amy Winehouse (Cover) download   Sod it! I have no idea where this came from but it’s pretty hi-larious.   Daphne Yang nerds out at   [Link to this post]
It's time once again to briefly break down a few albums we're digging here at BTR. In all, December has been kind to our ears, with Santa depositing a wide variety of albums into our coffers. Let's do this! Supermoon Zap Mama A staple of BTR's Worldwide Hour, Zap Mama is kind of like a Long Island Ice Tea; you can't believe that so many different flavors can make something so darn good. Fronted by the uber-talented Marie Daulne, a striking woman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zap Mama dropped their first full-length via Luaka Bop Records in 1993, Adventures in Afropea, Vol. 1. Since then Daulne and her all-female a cappella quintet have released six more albums, with Supermoon boasting some of the best production quality of them all. The music itself is a deft blend of various musical styles, including salsa, hip-hop, R&B, afro-pop, jazz and dub. "1,000 Ways" kicks it off, with a dope bassline and beautifully layered harmonies. Sticking Fingers Into Sockets Los Campesinos! An octet from the UK with a thing for exclamation points, Los Campesinos! create that insanely upbeat flavor of indie rock that makes being skinny exceptionally cool. The lynchpin of their sound, besides the excellent harmonies and instantly gratifying anthems, is the twinkling sound of the glockenspiel. It's almost ubiquitous within their music, punctuating everything like the exclamation points the band holds so dear. Check out songs like "You! Me! Dancing!" and "We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives" for a skip and a smile.   EP Bad Veins Our BTR Artist of the Week from December 12th to December 17th, Bad Veins have roared into circulation amongst the BTR DJs. Click here to read Rachel Hurley's feature on the Ohio-based band! Fulton Lights Fulton Lights If you've been hankering for an album to enhance the darker moments of the winter season, Fulton Lights is your huckleberry. In "Thank God For The Evening News," the piano sounds like it came straight out of Silent Hill. Actually, the title alone gives it away. Have you ever watched the evening news? The other day I made that mistake, and was treated to stories of kidnapping, arson, burglary, and the dangers of buying produce at the grocery store. "Something might be wrong with your broccoli...We'll tell you what, in just a minute," the anchor teased. So, yes, the music is dark, but that doesn't mean it isn't good. It's quite fantastic, actually. Andrew Spencer Goldman sings in a voice that sounds like it's on the brink of cracking, though it never does. The music unfolds slowly, creating immense amounts of space, due to the pensive style of drumming utilized. The guitarwork reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd, and the production quality is just as lush. It sounds like a heartbreaking amount of love went into this album. Check "Autumn Anthem," "The Monkey On Our Backs," and everything else. Each song is an adventure. "Fire In The Palm Of My Mind" features production from none other than Oktopus, of Dalek, which is reason enough to buy this record. 
1. You Know That I’m No Good – Arctic Monkeys.    If they were gonna do Amy Winehouse, I think they should have covered, “Rehab.”  But whatever.  This is hot.  A rare cover that is as good and vibrant and original as the original.  The last time I felt this strong about a cover released at the same time as a current hit was when I heard Rilo Kiley’s cover of “Such Great Heights.” Plus: The Arctic Monkeys are making a play for best coverband, giving us an awesome version of The Strokes' "Take It Or Leave It" as well...What'll they do next?   You Know That I'm No Good-The Arctic Monkeys.    Bonus: Take it or Leave it-The Arctic Monkeys     2.  My Humps – Alanis Morissette.   Okay, I just wrote that it’s rare to find a cover that is as good and vibrant and original as the original.  Here’s one that’s better.  Will.I.Am, what hast happened to thee, since the advent of lame Fergie?  (Note: As far as I know, this single has not been officially released, thus making it independent even if the artist is on a label.  Nevertheless, I'm sure someday it'll be an official release.  It's too good to sit on mixtapes and bootlegs.)    3.  DJ MUGGS VS. GZA – Grandmasters Remix Album.   I expect that most of who you heard of 2004’s Grandmasters Album, credited as being done by “DJ Muggs vs. GZA.”  The album was largely slept on by all but the truest Hip Hop Headz, and that’s sad, really, because it’s so different from everything else being produce nowadays: No chipmunk soul, no blends, no guest spots thrown hastily in to market a new product.  It was true hip hop: The DJ and the rapper clearly working out a concept and driving it home on each track.  (The conceit is that street life is a chess game, and the tales are told through that analogy.)  The remix album is equally powerful: It updates the ’04 originals, adding some of the more modern elements without sacrificing the honesty and truth of the original.  The original album is one of those that changes for me each time I hear it, and this remix promises to do the same.  Queen's Gambit-DJ Muggs vs. GZA (remix)    Full review here.  4.  FINEST WORKSONGS: ATHENS BANDS PLAY THE MUSIC OF R.E.M.   Wanna hear what it would sound like if Patterson Hood, the muscle and main engine of the fabulous Drive-By Truckers, replaced Michael Stipe?  Well, this is as close as you’re gonna get.  With contributions from x, y, z, and covers of great songs like Pilgrimage, Circle, and Don’t Go Back To Rockville, this “tribute” album is really a live concert showing how great the old, I.R.S. R.E.M. songs have withstood the test of time.  Now all we need is nice indie celebration of the songs of Leo Sayers.  (Long Tall Glasses by Jack White, anyone?)    Belong (REM cover)-Patterson Hood    5.  PETER BJORN AND JOHN – "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard."    At first blush, it sounds not-all-that-different from the original.  Same pace, same beat.  But the lower octave and the upright bass give this song a folkier--and darker--feel.  I had no idea what this song was about when Paul Simon sang it, but it made me feel hopeful.  This version seems cynical.  Love the whistle-break, too.  Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard   5 BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS OF 2007 (SO FAR)   1.  MARK RONSON’S “Version” and VARIOUS – “Bridging the Distance.”    To quote a wise old lady, “Where the beef?”  Sure, Lily Allen doing The Kaiser Chief is great, and I think updating Pat Benetar’s “Invincible” is a great idea, too (I have all Pat’s albums—my first rock-gal crush).  But soooooo much filler.  On the “Distance” collection, there’s simply no excuse to make this a double-album.  There’s enough material for one solid disc here, though, which is more than I can say for “Version.”  When “Version” is good, it’s a lot of fun (and it is worth buying for the times that it does succeed, by the way).  But when it’s lame, it’s Kasabian doing a horn-infused remix of “L.S.F.”  How many versions of that song can K release before they officially turn themselves into one-hit wonders?   2.  KAISER CHIEFS – Yours Truly, Angry Mob    “Ruby,” the first single, was promising:  A chanting, fist-pumping chorus and a postpunk hook a la Franz Ferdinand, even it was almost identical to that Na Na Na Na one they did last time around.  But the rest of the album brought absolutely nothing to the table.  “I Predict a Riot” was one of the greatest singles of its year, on an overall solid debut.  This must be the sophomore slump.   3.  TIMBALAND    To quote The Clipse: Eghk.  Not one great song on the album, and most of it is derivative and unlistenable.  And I'm a huge fan of the first five Missy E albums--even “So . . . Addictive"--so you can't accuse me of just hatin' for no reason.  I admit that I seem to be the only person in the world who didn’t find Sexyback catchy.  I mean, Justin has a great voice—so whose genius idea was it to have him sing with distortion, burying his ability in a mix of fuzz???  Oh, wait, it was Timbaland’s idea.  Also, I can’t stand that Nelly Furtado single.  I think the mighty have fallen.   4.  DEMOCRATS    POTUS’ ratings are lower than whale poop—the lowest in recent history.  Real people, more and more of them, are getting hit by the AMT, and there’s no respite in sight.  In order to pay for his tax cuts, key Administration officials intentionally misstated their budgetary requirements, some in the neighborhood of a billion dollars, which leads to begging, bowing and scraping before Congress.  Career Federal Employees’ morale couldn’t be worse, with politicals forcing agencies to change their fundamental agendae to suit temporary right-wing goals.  And all the Republicans throw up is a guy whose opinion flip flops more than Kerry (McCain was against the war before he was for the war before he would have managed the war differently) and a man with mob ties (Guilliani's solution to what ails the middle class is to repeal an estate tax that affects less than 2% of the country).  The next generation is obese and is looking at a world where America is hated, there’s no health care, and there’s no social security.  So what great plan do the Dems come up with? None.    5.  THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE QUEEN    With a pedigree including Verve, The Clash, Fela Kuti, Blur, and the Gorillaz, not to mention production by Dangermouse, I never expected something boring.  R.I.P. Gorillaz.  You’re sorely missed. Read more from Eko by visiting Berkeley Place. [Link]
Has indie-rock jumped the shark? I've noticed recently that just about every new band that is hyped up recently on most blogs and in the music press has been making just about zero impression on me. I thought it was just another manifestation of the inevitable ebb and flow of acts coupled with the inevitable burnout of everyone trying to "discover" someone new, and was willing to write off my own ennui as just another symptom of the grand cycle of music. But then I read something Paul wrote and (while simultaneously wishing he'd write for a wider audience more often) it alerted me to the fact that I was not alone. He said: I don't know if I'm just getting bored with the typical sound so prevalent in indie rock these days or what, but all the best songs this year (so far) have been straight up pop singles. I'm pretty sure I'm not embracing them in any "ironic" way either—they're just better and probably less sonically calculated than what the indiekid bloggers have anointed as genius. I countered with a pithy quip in an "indie bloggers killed the radio star" vein, but Paul countered that – while bloggers shoulder a portion of the blame for giving mediocre artists so much goddamn exposure -- the music itself has done gone flaccid. And you know what? For the most part he's right. Christina Aguilera is a hell of a lot more fun, and aurally rewarding, to listen to than Margot & the Nuclear So and So's. Most artists are adhering to a few select templates for indie rock success and the end result is a whole bunch of music that is just as bland and faceless as anything you'll find on corporate radio. So it's not surprising that a lot of this stuff is now finding it's way to corporate radio. There is lots of music coming out now that I enjoy, and a lot of it is not indie rock. Even JB commented a few weeks ago that she's noticed my DJ sets have slowly been moving towards the realm of the electronic and dancey and further from the rockin' and rollin'. The rock and/or roll is still there, but there is a whole bunch more synth / bass / fucked-up beat-stylee pop-lock-and-roll finding its way into my sets. When she said that I immediately realized she was right, and I immediately hearkened back to the last time this sort of shift made itself apparent in my DJ sets, and that time was 1996/1997, which was not so coincidentally the same time as Big Beat and drum-n-bass and all that other bang-bang-boogie stuff started to creep onto the indie rock radar. Alternative was mainstream, indie rock bands were being called up from the Minors before they had fully developed and the true innovation was happening in unexpected places. So maybe when guitars have forsaken us (or at least less thrilling) we turn to the dance floor to save our souls all over again? I don't know. I'm not really offering any answers here. This is just and instance where a quick observation by a friend blossomed into an online discourse which then led to further private (well, private in that this portion of the dialogue is one-sided (for now)) reflection and deeper questioning of the subject in hand. And I'm glad that happened, because it reminded me that I've experienced this situation in the past and things did indeed get better. There's always beauty to be found, sometimes you just have to look away from where you're used to seeing it and open yourself up to sources from which you would least expect beauty to make itself known. And that is why I'm excited about the new Avril Lavigne album, and less than impressed with Peter Bjorn and John. (Although I've heard the latter's live show blows the former's away.) Read more from Jim by visiting Chicagoist. [Link to this post]
Some albums are well worth waiting for. Scarecrow Collection (SCC) released their second album radio frequency disaster in April, but due to some transatlantic snafus it took forever to reach the desk of Here comes the flood. OK, rant over. There is no stinker/filler track song among the 13 tracks. The album navigates with ease between genres with a few constants: great keyboards and proud vocals. They have been playing live a couple of hundred times and it shows: the songs sound tight but loose, which is lot easier said than done. SCC made a record that many an aspiring jam band can only dream to pull off on day. No signs of the dreaded "second album" syndrome - radio frequency disaster is a 101 for what a rocking jam band outfit should stand for in 2007. Catch them live now, so that you can bore your kids with stories about how you saw SCC way back when they were still playing in intimate venues. The Scarecrow Collection are: Joe Fee: drums Gerard Fee: guitar, vocals Ed Fritz: keys, vocals Nick Setteducato: guitar, vocals Mike Sojkowski: bass radio frequency disaster is released on Harmonized Records. Tracks: I Won't Leave You There Grateful Act That Way All The Things Faster Put You Down Don't Ever Change Shadows Bottle Shell It Out Sometimes Moon Will Always Rise Muse MP3: Scarecrow Collection - Act That Way MP3: Scarecrow Collection - Put You Down MP3: Scarecrow Collection - Bottle (Live at the Acoustic Cafe, Bridgeport, CT - 2006/11/17) MP3: Scarecrow Collection - Hey My Friend (Live at the Gathering Of The Vibes, Mariaville, TN - 2006/08/18) » » » Read more from Hans Werksman by visiting Here comes the flood [Link to this post]
Not many people who own Metal Machine Music listen to it. Or if they do, it's been years ago. It was the great fuck you record that Lou Reed came up with, four sides of noise and feedback with completely fake credits on the back sleeve. Today it is heralded as a forerunner of the things that Sonic Youth came up with, with a horde of feedback freaks on their tail. Lou Reed was really stoned back then, messing about with guitars, amps and tape recorders. The record company pulled the original double LP after it had been for sale for only three weeks. Fast forward to 2002. German avant-garde music Zeitkratzer have gone to the trouble of transcribing the whole thing. They do a short tour performing the whole thing (in empty halls, most of the time), but they convince Lou Reed that his piece can be heard in a live setting. He joins the band on stage at ca concert at the Berlin Opera House, march 17, 2002. Before the show Reed is interviewed on stage, at ease, and joking about the hazards of you playing live. Do they fuck up? No, they don't and you can hear it on the live album and watch the whole thing on the accompanying DVD. MMM starts swinging around the 45 minute mark, it is rock 'n' roll in a demented kind of way. Metal Machine Music is not as scary as it was when it was released back in 1975. Feedback, loops and such have entered the songs of zillions of indie musicians. Still, it's nice to have a live version and the seriousness of the German ensemble make pretty clear that they think that they are performing an important piece of music. And it is, in a way, but let's not forget that it is first and foremost the ego trip of a very talented and at the time totally out of it guitar player. He had fun with it then and now that it has entered the high halls of serious music he must be laughing his ass off. Metal Machine Music is released on Asphodel. » » Read more from Hans Werksman by visiting Here comes the flood [Link to this post]
Multi-instrumentalists can't do less is more. They gotta show off. Not so for Tyler Ramsey, an Asheville, NC, based musician who plays guitar, piano, bass and percussion. O yes, he can handle the vocals too. His new album A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea is a 101 for an acoustic album. Tyler knows how to hold back and let his instruments do the talking, creating a dreamy atmosphere that is not only filled with wine and roses, but also some deep felt angst and weltsmertz. Backed by Bill Reynolds on electric ands upright bass and Brian Landrum on drums he paints his songs like a picture, adding color with a few extra players on fiddle, violin, viola, cello, pedal steel and vibraphone. A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea will be available from Echo Mountain Records. Release date: January 15th 2008. Tyler Ramsey was invited to join Band of Horses this year as their new guitar player. MP3: Tyler Ramsey - Chinese New Year MP3: Tyler Ramsey - When I Wake » » Read more from Hans Werksman by visiting Here comes the flood [Link to this post]
Holly Cole had to leave home to discover it. At 18 she hightailed it out of Memphis and moved to Los Angeles. After high school she lucked out and was offered a job with Sony Pictures Entertainment in ad sales, where she eventually worked in the finance department. After growing up watching her brothers live out their rock and roll fantasies by being in bands, for the first time Cole began to acquire the courage to write her own music. It was in LA that she booked her first weekly gig at Coffee & Sympathy on Venice Beach and found her distinctive voice. Those experiences, along with the ups and downs of past relationships, culminated in her first EP, entitled Fearless & Free.  It was released last year on Makeshift Music.    "I was a writer before I was a musician" says Cole. "After high school I needed a place to get away to learn to be myself, I wanted to really just cutoff and go find myself, I guess."   More than simply finding out who she was, Cole seems to have figured out all of the different things she could be. She returned to Memphis after a year in LA to attend the Memphis College of Art to study painting. Although she did not finish the program, the training did eventually come in handy as she has paid several musicians with paintings for their contributions in the studio, including cellist Jonathan Kirkscey and bassist Mark Stuart.   Influenced by the lyrical stylings of R.E.M and Aimee Mann, Cole's voice is reminiscent of Kristen Hersh of Throwing Muses fame, sometimes dark and forlorn but also lighthearted at times. The six songs on the EP display a wide array of styles from brooding folk rock to more twangy alt-country. The content of Cole's songs overflow with depth and color, while transporting the listener to the scene of the crime.    "I used to write strictly about relationships but that got kind of boring so now I write more about human nature" says Cole. "It's like with (the R.E.M. song) "Nightswimming," you know exactly what it feels like to be there when that song is happening. That's what I want my songs to be like. You know what that feeling is, you're there, and it's a visual style, not an abstract one."   Cole's EP was not her first foray into recording, but she feels like it finally happened the way it was supposed to. Scheduled for studio time four days after the Easley-McCain Studio (Memphis) fire in 2005, she tends to look at the problems she has had to overcome in getting her career off the ground more as speed bumps than road blocks.  Along the way she has met the people that have influenced her music the most, including JD Reager of Glossary and Unclaimed Recordings.   "JD has been such an influence on this record because he made the songs exactly the way that it sounded in my head" says Cole. "I feel like everything has happened for a reason, because I don't think I was really ready until now."   As for her move back to Memphis from the larger, more musically connected city of Los Angles, it's a move Cole says that she does not regret.   "I missed Memphis and something about it is just alluring, I think anyone that moves away misses it, it's enchanting" says Cole. Cole is currently working on new material for a record due for release in early 2008. She has already booked a show for the 2008 SXSW Music Conference and plans to tour extensively in the spring. LINK TO THIS ARTICLE:
First a little history. When Neil Young started out on his guitar, one of his heroes was Randy Bachman, a performer who could play the Shadows instrumentals really well. Bachman would later perform with the Guess Who and of course the heavy rock group Bachman Turner Overdrive. In his Guess Who days keyboard player Burton Cummings was his right hand man and a few years back they got back together again as Bachman Cummings. The two seasoned veterans decided it would be a good idea to go back to their roots and cut an album with the songs they grew up with and were a heavy influence on their style. So you get an obscure Beatles track from A Hard Day's Night, a raging version of Who Do You Love with Not Fade Away thrown in to make sure you understand that Buddy Holly was a big Bo Diddley fan. Bachman can show off his Hank B. Marvin licks in two Shadows tracks, Burton Cummings finally gets to play the piano part of Little Queenie and the album ends with an update of one the big Guess Who hits American Woman. Buy Jukebox at their website. The deluxe version comes with a behind the scenes interview DVD where the two musicians explain how the album came into fruition. Tracks: Baby Come Back - The Equals (Eddy Grant) Who Do You Love - Bo Diddly / Buddy Holly / The Rolling Stones (Ellas McDaniel) I'm Happy Just To Dance With You - The Beatles (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) The Walk - Jimmy McCracklin (Jimmy McCracklin) Don't Talk To Him - Cliff Richard & The Shadows (Cliff Richard / Bruce Welch) Man Of Mystery - The Shadows (Michael Carr) Ain't That Just Like A Woman - Fats Domino (Claude Demetrius / Fleecie Moore) Little Queenie - Chuck Berry / Bobby Rydell (Chuck Berry) Good Times - Sam Cooke/The Rolling Stones (Sam Cooke) Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan (Bob Dylan) Judy In Disguise (With Glasses) - John Fred & The Playboy Band (Andrew Bernard / John Fred) Don't You Just Know It - Huey 'Piano' Smith & The Clowns (Huey P. Smith) Yeh, Yeh - Georgie Fame (Jon Hendricks / Rodgers Grant / Pat Patrick) Agent Double-O Soul - Edwin Starr (Charles Hatcher / Bill Sharpley) The Letter - The Box Tops (Wayne Carson Thompson) Ain't That Loving You Baby - Elvis (Ivory Joe Hunter / Clyde Otis) American Woman 2007 - The Guess Who (Randy Bachman / Burton Cummings / Jim Kale / Garry Peterson) MP3: Bachman Cummings - Who Do You Love MP3: Bachman Cummings - American Woman 2007 » Read more from Hans Werksman by visiting Here comes the flood   [Link to this post]
Okkervil River is offering a digital mixtape called Golden Opportunities as a free download. These guys have excellent taste.   We recorded these songs at radio stations, at shows, in peoples' apartments, in hotel stairways. They were done here and there all around the United States and Europe, with the eventual intention of being rounded up in this collection. You can download artwork for the album from this site for making a physical copy of the CD packaging. April Anne (John Phillips) Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear (Randy Newman) I Want To Know (Charles F. Olsen/Ed Sanders) Do What You Gotta Do (Jimmy Webb) I Came Here To Say Im Going Away (Serge Gainsbourg/Trans. By W. Sheff) The Blonde In The Bleachers (Joni Mitchell) Antarctica Starts Here (John Cale) Listening To Otis Redding At Home During Christmas (Will Sheff) Solo (Sandy Denny) » I Want My MP3s! »   Read more from Hans Werksman by visiting Here Comes the Flood.   [Link to this post]
Jon Foreman, lead singer of the uber-selling band Switchfoot, has revealed plans to release a series of four solo EP's over the coming year, aptly titled according to their release schedule as Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. Having decided that major label is not the way to go with the band deciding to move to their own label, Jon has taken the retreat from the spotlight one step farther with these EPs, which offer a personal release for him. “Because of the autobiographical nature of these songs, they became a self portrait that was far too personal for a band to release,” says Foreman. “Tim, Chad and the rest of the band have been pushing me to get these types of songs out there for years. So I decided to let them go.” Fall, the first EP, which is available now, starts with somewhat of a melancholy morbidity to it to match the season with The Cure For Pain (listen below). Its acoustics feel mournful, Foreman's voice pulled out from deep within him. The feelings continue with the second track, Southbound Train. Like the leaves falling from the trees, there's a sense of fading here: fading love, fading beauty, fading memories. The remainder of the EP's tempo picks up, but the sense of weariness in Jon's voice remains. The EP closes with a sense of loss realized; "My love goes free..." Here is a brief timeline of the upcoming EP releases… November 27, 2007: The Fall EP will be available digitally and at his website January 15, 2008: The Winter EP will be available digitally and at his website January 15, 2008: A two disc collection featuring both the Fall and Winter EPs will be available at all physical music retailers and at his website Note: Spring and Summer EPs will be release within the first half of 2008 (exact street release dates TBD) Jon Foreman - The Cure for Pain Fall EP Visit his website, his label Credential Recordings, and become his friend on MySpace.   Read more from Sean by visiting Mainstream Isn’t So Bad…Is It? [Link to this post]
You know you have to be doing something right when the original hard rock grrrrl Joan Jett is impressed enough when she sees you play once and signs you to her label (aptly titled Blackheart Records) on the spot. If that's not enough evidence, then how about when your idol (in this case Morrissey) invites you along to open for him, and you've only put out one album. Cha-ching! So is the case with San Antonio trio Girl In A Coma. Looking at the girls should tell you that they've got a lot of spunk, and it certainly comes through on the album. Think Joan Jett meets Karen O: more traditional rocking out sound meets new style turn the amp to 11 eardrum-jarring snarls. That being said, of course there are some tracks, such as Road to Home below, with some comparatively easier elements to them (in the vein of Maps - and not the acoustic version - to continue my YYYs analogy), but for the most part the girls keep up the grrl power from start to finish here. For any fans of the TV show LA Ink, the girls stopped in while playing in LA at the beginning of this month and were taped for one of the episodes. Nina Diaz, the group's lead vocalist supposedly got a tat (not sure what of) - check out the show to get the low-down. In the meantime, enjoy the following tracks, then check out the album (which has been out for a while). Girl In A Coma - Say Both Before I'm Gone (watch the video)  Girl In A Coma - Road to Home Both Before I'm Gone Visit their website, their label Blackheart Records, and become their friend on MySpace.   -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Joan Jett and The Blackhearts - Crimson and Clover (Tommy James and the Shondells cover) I Love Rock N' Roll -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Tour Dates 12/13 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald's w/The Cliks 12/14 - San Antonio, TX - Ruta Maya Riverwalk w/The Cliks & Kick It 12/15 - Dallas, TX - The Cavern w/The Cliks 12/18 - Corpus Christi, TX - The Pavillion w/The Toadies 12/19 - San Antonio, TX - White Rabbit w/The Toadies 01/16 - Clermont-Ferrand, France - La Cooperative de Mai w/Morrissey 01/18 - Strasbourg, France - La Laiterie w/Morrissey 01/19 - Lille, France - Aeronef w/Morrissey 01/21 - London, England - London Roundhouse w/Morrissey 01/22 - London, England - London Roundhouse w/Morrissey 01/23 - London, England - London Roundhouse w/Morrissey 01/25 - London, England - London Roundhouse w/Morrissey 01/26 - London, England - London Roundhouse w/Morrissey  01/27 - London, England - London Roundhouse w/Morrissey 01/30 - Doncaster, England - Doncaster Dome w/Morrissey 02/01 - Sunderland, England - Empire w/Morrissey 02/02 - Edinburgh, Scotland - Edinburgh Playhouse w/Morrissey 02/04 - Paris, France - Olympia w/Morrissey   Read more from Sean by visiting Mainstream Isn’t So Bad…Is It?   [Link to this post]
Bring up the name Booker T. & The MG's, and the majority of people will connect it with the instrumental Green Onions (only the second track the members recorded - and actually first intended as the B-side!). What most people don't realize is that the group was the house band for legendary Southern soul label Stax Records. What that means is that if you listen to almost any track recorded by the label in the 60's, whether it's Sam & Dave, Wilson Picket, The Staple Singers, or countless other Stax artists, you're also listening to Booker T. & The MG's. Notable members of the band included Isaac Hayes (of Theme From Shaft fame - who sometimes played keyboard), Donald "Duck" Dunn, and Steve Cropper (who both can be seen in the 1980 classic The Blues Brothers as members of "The Band"). And while their names have settled into relative obscurity, their influence on Rock & Roll was monumental. Besides being the session musicians that helped their label-mates sound so good, their style of playing (The MG's stood for Memphis Group, and their Memphis sound was what helped defined Southern soul music) was appreciated by many, including The Beatles (John Lennon was a huge Stax fan). What brings Booker T. to mind is the current revival of soul and funk courtesy of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (The Dap-Kings being the house band of Daptone Records). Besides putting out some quality material of their own, various members of the group worked as session musicians on Amy Winehouse's Back To Black and performed as the backing band on its supporting tour. Thankfully, it seems that they're getting the credit they deserve and not being left in Amy's drug dependency hazed shadow. Booker T. & The MG's - Green Onions The Complete Stax/Volt Singles: 1959-1968 (disc 2) Booker T. & The MG's - Time Is Tight : Time Is Tight 7" Booker T. & The MG's - Johnny, I Love You : Time Is Tight 7" B-side Visit the Official Stax Museum site and the current Stax Records site, and Buy some Booker T. & The MG's -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The Blues Brothers - Everybody Needs Somebody To Love The Blues Brothers Soundtrack The Clash - Time Is Tight (Booker T. & The MG's cover) Super Black Market Clash -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Ain't It Hard Dap-Dippin with Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings Amy Winehouse - Monkey Man (Toots & The Maytals cover) You Know I'm No Good Single Read more from Sean by visiting Mainstream Isn’t So Bad…Is It?   [Link to this post]
What do the bands Ghostland Observatory and Shapes and Sizes have in common?  Nope, it's not crazy fan encounters or similar on-the-road hijinks- not even the same country of residence.  So what could it be?  The answer is Austin, Texas.  How so?  Read on and find out as we catch up with some of our BTR artists on tour. Ghostland Observatory Ghostland Observatory has been busy as of late.  Coming off of a hectic year, the Austin, Texas-based band, comprised of producer/drummer Thomas Turner and frontman Aaron Behrens, is getting ready for a well-deserved break. “All is good,” Turner tells us.  “We are wrapping up the year with a couple of shows, then we get some time off.” The boys, who don’t call themselves a band but rather an “agreement between two friends to create something that not only heals their beat-driven hearts, but pleases their rock ‘n’ roll souls,” certainly has been busy.  They have released two studio albums, an EP, and three live albums since 2005 – three this year alone – and their next album, “Robotique Majestique,” is due out in February 2008.  They also appeared at just about every music festival this year including Lollapalooza, CMJ, SXSW, VooDoo, Vegoose and Austin City Limits...just to name a few.  Oh, and did we mention the “Live from Austin, Texas” DVD released this year as well? “The Austin City Limits festival was one of the best [shows to date],” Turner says.  “There were so many people, plus we got to bring the most powerful lasers on the planet!” Aside from Austin, Ghostland Observatory considers Seattle, Washington and San Francisco, California among their favorite cities to play.  However, one of their most noteworthy fan encounters happened in Houston, Texas when “two lovely ladies” made Turner a cape. As for whether or not Turner and Behrens use their touring experiences as inspiration for songwriting, Turner merely philosophizes, “I’m sure the road creeps into the writing process, as does everything around you…” Shapes and Sizes After touring for the last several years, Montreal rockers Shapes and Sizes are taking a well-deserved break from touring in order to write, practice and focus on their next record.  Made-up of members Nathan Gage, Calia Thompson-Hannant, Rory Seydel, and John Crellin, the group released their second full-length album, titled “Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner” this past May.  The band counts Montreal, QC, Louisville, KY and Rochester, NY as their favorite cities to play gigs.  However, the magic must really happen in Austin, TX, because like Ghostland Observatory, Shapes and Sizes considers that city to be where their first really great show on the road occurred. “We played in this big warehouse that had a huge garden and a live turkey.  We played with Peter and the Wolf, who’s remained a good friend since then,” Gage says before adding, “It was a benefit for the space and they had free beer, so the place was packed with happy people.  We had a great time.” Another highlight of touring was in Brooklyn, New York at Union Hall.  It was for their CD release and they played with Brooklyn band Flying, as well as a string quartet that played music by Sufjan Stevens. Despite their extensive touring, Gage insists that Shapes and Sizes have a lot less weird things happen to them on the road than other bands do. “Some bands have a way of attracting mishaps and strange people,” Gage explains.  “We’re pretty tame on the road.  We try to get to bed as early as we can and try not to drink too much in the face of free beer…but sometimes we slip a bit.” It’s okay, Nathan.  When there’s free beer involved, sometimes we all slip a bit… Listen up to BTR for great tracks from Ghostland Observatory and Shapes and Sizes!  And catch Ghostland Observatory LIVE at the House of Blues in Dallas, TX on December 30th.
The 20th annual Boston Music Awards were held last weekend at the Orpheum Theatre. Killer performances, combined with an eclectic list of award-winners, made this award show true to Boston. Pop artists JoJo and Matt Nathanson shared the stage with Boston's top Americana band Girls Guns & Glory. I'm pretty sure this is something you'd never see on the Grammy's. Dropkick Murphys took home yet another Outstanding Punk Band of the Year award. BTR Boston Scene's own State Radio took the Outstanding Live Act of the Year award. Bang Camaro made a sure name for themselves at the BMAs this year too. Aerosmith bassist and cancer survivor Tom Hamilton was honored at the awards too. Expect to hear the music of the BMA winners on upcoming episodes of the Boston Scene as well as Jam Session.
Morning Recordings has returned with the release of their second full length album, titled The Welcome Kinetic. The band is headed up by Pramod Tummala, who previously spent time as a founding member and principal songwriter of the Chicago-based band, Melochrome. For those of you familiar with Melochrome, Morning Recordings feels like a logical extension of where Melochrome was growing and evolving into before its members went their separate ways. Their latest release, which came out back in October, opens with and instrumental piece, The One Hundred Hills, which blends the incongruous notes of a tinkling xylophone and a wailing trumpet masterfully. Going deeper into the album will reveal pieces that focus as much on the instrumental aspects of the music as much as the lyrical / vocal content. You'll feel as if you're sleepwalking through a melancholy etherealness that washes over you with the lightest of ambient strokes. Harmonious vocals, such as in We Loved The City Years, only supplement the already audibly satisfying melodies. Enjoy the following keeping in mind they are only part of ten tracks that meld into one musical statement. If you haven't picked it up yet (or even if you have), here's your chance to win a super-deluxe holiday gift set which will include a copy of The Welcome Kinetic CD and poster, a Music For Places CD (the band's first release) and poster, and a CD-R of the digital-only Let’s Love EP. (the EP the band released between the two full length albums). Talk about holiday cheer - you won't need any mistletoe if you give this prize pack to a significant other! All you need to do to enter is head over to Mainstream Isn't So Bad, leave a comment (or e-mail me) with your name and e-mail address and you'll be in the running. I'll pick a lucky winner next Tuesdayish and notify them faster than you can say "I got coal in my stocking!" Morning Recordings - We Loved The City Years The Welcome Kinetic one from their last EP Morning Recordings - Just Be Still Let's Love EP and one from their first album: Morning Recordings - Can't Help Fading Away Music For Places     Visit their website, their label Loose Thread Recordings, and become their friend on MySpace. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Melochrome - An Afterthought This Is Motion Read more from Sean by visiting Mainstream Isn’t So Bad…Is It?   [Link to this post]
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Johnny Cash’s Christmas special from 1976. The following year, Johnny came back to release another special, one which once again featured Johnny and June and a collection of their friends. This one is also now available from Shout! Factory and is the perfect alternative to watching The Santa Clause (any of them). As with the one from 1976, the show features Johnny and June interacting and celebrating with family and friends. But where as the previous year primarily included other performers from the country music scene, the 1977 show brings together alumni from Johnny’s years at Sun Records, including Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis, who sing some of their own material (Orbison’s Pretty Woman, Perkins’ Blue Suede Shoes, and Lewis’ Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Going On) and team up with Johnny on others.  Besides including numbers from these acts, Johnny shares his feelings for and some personal memories about these entertainers with whom he use to tour and record with. There are also some recollections of Elvis (who had died two months before), as well as a song dedicated to him (This Train Is Bound For Glory). Compared to the previous year’s special, this one feels a lot more genuine. Johnny’s memories in particular feel less scripted and more intimate. And as far as the guests go, the 1977 line-up would completely kick the ‘76 crew’s arse from here to the barn and back. If you’re looking to get that last gift for someone, I would absolutely recommend this DVD as the perfect stocking stuffer. Johnny Cash & Roy Clark – Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1977 Carl Perkins – Blue Suede Shoes Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1977 Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, & Carl Perkins – This Train Is Bound For Glory Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1977 Visit Shout!Factory and order the video!     Read more from Sean by visiting Mainstream Isn’t So Bad…Is It?   [Link to this post]  
Punk tends to be a descriptor I avoid using nowadays. To me, it evokes the "greats" -- from the Dead Kennedys to Iggy Pop, from the Ramones to the Clash, from the Buzzcocks to Wire. It loosely refers to a plethora of artists who, during the 1970s and early-1980s, focused on the D.I.Y. aesthetic, but rarely limited themselves to the style that is now described as "punk music" (think Blink 182, Sum 41, New Found Glory, heck, even Green Day to an extent). Today's "punk" scene has not only lost the first-generation authenticity in terms of aesthetic style that the originators held dear, but also the creativity that guided so much of what they produced. Just when I start to give up on the genre as being literally too passé for my tastes (I know, right?), I find Chocolat ( -- and I don't mean the Depp movie or the cute Japanese singer. Chocolat is a bombastic rock group from Montreal (of course) that plays some of the most genre-defying punk you've ever heard and will get the pleasure to hear in the foreseeable future. Thems the brakes. Every song, most of which are sung in gritty, tough-as-gravel French, carries a sharp, convulsive hook, features a wide array of instruments, tempos, keys, and all that "advanced" stuff (listen to "Le Monde est Verde" back-to-back with "Gabrielle" and you might think you're listening to two different band altogether), and, most importantly, seems to have been written with the utmost energy and excitement. It's hard to imagine these guys playing anywhere outside of a grimy subterranean club. I just love how every song, from the jam-outs to the tightly-constructed speedier bits, plods along with such deliverance and strut. At times, Chocolat may sound a little hokey -- "Johnny Depp" being the prototypical goof-ball song, lyrically at least -- but with musicians like these, a ravage funkiness and flail, and foot-stomping rhythms, they might just be the most likely candidate for best punk band of 2007.   Read more from Nik by visiting BiBaBiDi.   [Link to this post]
It's always with a strong dose of skepticism that I approach a singer-songwriter. I'm continually unimpressed by artists who work alone and, in my mind, refuse to work with a band, which would merely help them make better music. However, this is, I will admit, a grossly unfair way to look at solo acts, so I've been trying to open up more and more to individuals, and my quest is proving fruitful. Le Volume Courbe ( released her first LP, I Killed My Best Friend, on Astralwerks ( nearly two years ago, and sort of just disappeared. The Londoner-by-way-of-Paris has arrived back on the folk music scene, though, with a phenomenal harmonica-driven junkyard tune, "Freight Train," that Vashti Bunyan only wishes she had written. It -- unlike the earlier works -- is confident and assured; less of a bedroom brooding over lost loves and an experiment in guitar theory and songwriting, and winds up being a true song (of which there genuinely aren't many on the debut record). But I'll let you all draw your own conclusions. Just keep in mind that this girl is good friends with and was mentored in a way by Kevin Shields. Oh, the glory of MySpace spying… Read more from Nik by visiting BiBaBiDi. [Link to this post]
By now, if we haven't heard specifically of Friendly Fire Recordings (, we most likely have heard something by their most successful band, Asobi Seksu ( &, a Japanese female-fronted Brooklyn neo-shoegaze group that's received an astonishing amount of [much deserved] critical acclaim. But like I said, you probably have heard something by them ... Unfortunately, most of the other Friendly Fire artists are overshadowed by Asobi Seksu (which is the case with most independent labels), and to be perfectly honest, that's a shame since there're quite a few other bands signed to the label that deserve equal -- if not more -- attention. I'm personally most psyched about the label's latest signing, the Whitsundays (, a psychedelic outfit from Alberta, Canada, although they sound more like they ought to be from San Francisco circa 1966. It seems that comparisons to Love, the Zombies, the Kinks and other psych-pop/rock originators come too easily today, and with little thought. Using a sitar merits a Zombies parallel, for example. While there are a few groups that genuinely sound like a slice of American popular music history (Caribou's more recent material, Of Montreal), few can authentically claim it. The Whitsundays have been added to that small list with their forthcoming eponymous debut full-length. The band expertly jump from seductive psych-pop ballads to mind-warping odysseys over the course of their ten-track album (and that's too short), and have no remorse, blatantly -- but with the utmost savvy -- ripping a couple vocal harmonies tricks here and there, pulling a few bass lines or warbley keyboard/organ hooks, or including a drum rhythm or fill that's suspiciously familiar. While I'm not aficionado when it comes to the psychedelic movement of the 1960s, I can safely say, though, that the Whitsundays don't sound derivative ... they just sound like another piece of the puzzle, another player on the board. While comparisons can -- and will -- be made, it's unfair to dub them a rip-off ensemble. Just remember, the Whitsundays is the closest you'll come to something this psychedelic and this 60s, today. But that's not why you should really be listening to them: they simple rock hard.   Read more from Nik by visiting BiBaBiDi. [Link to this post]
Ok, so I realize every blogger, DJ, would-be music writer and essentially anyone with a keyboard and a dream is posting their end of the year picks, but I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the great music of Winter '07. Often this time of year is overlooked as everyone scrambles to complete their holiday shopping and decide on their top music picks for the whole year, but I've decided to pay a little attention to the tracks on my mp3 player right now. Of course, as the music director here at BTR a ton of great stuff crosses my desk each day, but I challenged myself to trim the list down to just a few picks.  You've heard some of these great tracks already on BTR, but if you haven't checked them out I suggest you put them on your holiday wish list immediately! As the host of The Mixtape Show, I'm used to creating mixes for all occasions, so I wanted to create a list for winter that every snowman (or woman) can enjoy. The Forms, "Knowledge in Hand" Having thoroughly enjoyed their debut album a few years back, I was excited to see what The Forms had in store for their follow-up. Luckily I wasn't disappointed with their self-titled jem. "Knowledge in Hand" wasn't my first pick from the album originally, but after seeing the New York quartet perform it live, I was hooked. The vocals are breathtaking and the guitar riffs are catchy- definitely a must for any winter '07 playlist. Shout Out Louds, "South America" Who doesn't want to retreat to a warmer locale in the blistering cold?  This Shout Out Louds track will leave you hoping for warmer weather immediately. From their fall release Our Ill Wills, this tune is my personal pick when the cold wind starts blowing.  Spoon, "The Ghost of You Lingers" The haunting melodies in this track might remind you of whispering winds, but Britt Daniel's voice is surely enough to keep you warm. Listen to this track with a mug of hot cocoa by the fire! 1990's, "See You At The Lights" An upbeat track just had to make this list, and 1990's serve up just the right mix of catchy vocals and hopping melodies.  These Glasgow rockers have been making waves with their debut Cookies, and with good reason. Of Montreal, "Suffer for Fashion" Between the knee-high boots and weather-inappropriate dresses, no song better sums up winter from a female's perspective than this Of Montreal track. With one of the best albums of last year, Of Montreal certainly proved themselves with this enticing song. White Rabbits,"While We Go Dancing" Oh, White Rabbits. I rang in the new year with a "Kid on My Shoulders". By the time spring rolled around I was "Plot"ing to catch your live shows at South by Southwest, and while the summer sun burned my ivory skin I was joining the crowds to swim in the "Sea of Rum."   In all seriousness, there's no question as to what my most-played track  of 2007 was. "While We Go Dancing" is a stellar song that's perfect for getting out on those cold winter nights. Dance your chills away with these cute Brooklyn boys. Listen up for these great tracks and many more, here on BreakThru Radio! LINK TO THIS ARTICLE:
Canada has a tight grip on the pop music scene for nearly a decade strong now, and for just cause. Not a single band arriving on American soil from our Northern Neighbor has been bad in any sense since the post-Arcade Fire influx began. From World Parade to the Unicorns to the New Pornographers and many more, all the Canadian provinces [whose names we can pronounce] have consistently dolled out sweet indie-rock, swooning ballads, heavy hardcore, and noise-pop alike to endless masses of Stateside fans and they don't seem to be ceasing or even slowing production any time soon! (Who would've thought the day would come when Arcade Fire headlined for LCD Soundsystem at the Hollywood Bowl!? Canada -- you win. Our staples just ain't big enough to match yours.) Anyway, it's the smaller guys that attract me the most, though. Spiral Beach ( & is the latest hidden gem that's crossed my path. The young Toronto quartet unabashedly makes fluffy bubblegum pop with enough attitude to show up the likes of the B-52s and X (in their heydays, of course). They combine this suave sort of start-stop shuffle that'll keep you dancing in new and original ways the whole night long with endless quantities of quirk -- from shouty vocals harmonies to Talking Heads-esque funky bass lines to eerie Halloween anthems that evoke the Cramps if they focused more on craftsmanship. Spiral Beach is, in my mind, one hell of a special band. They've plenty of life ahead, can clearly write a solid never-to-be-forgotten pop tune, and have the musical ingenuity to keep both themselves and their listeners on their toes and wanting -- no dying -- to hear more. Now if only they would reach that impossible-to-attain tipping point and invade the lower portion of the North American continent ... I feel a second wave of Canada Fever coming on ... only this time, it'll be more contagious and infectious than before. Keep your ears open. Read more from Nik by visiting BiBaBiDi. [Link to this post] 
Listen to the Paper Bag Records Showcase! It's no surprise that the Toronto-based indie label Paper Bag Records has rapidly become a leader in the Canadian music scene.  It began in 2002, as a home for Toronto-based bands such as Broken Social Scene and Stars. As PBR continued to grow they expanded their range outside of Canada and went international. The label's acts now include the Danish bands Under Byen (pronounced Oh-na-Boon, it’s another one of those Rebecca Romijn/Brett Favre things) and Figurines, as well as Sweden’s Sally Shapiro. The PBR roster is becoming as much a staple of the indie-kid diet as the beer that shares its initials. The first release by the label was Broken Social Scene's instant classic, You Forgot It In People.  The album was a hit but PBR did not stop there. They continued to release many other great albums. The standout list includes hits such as, The Deadly Snakes' Porcella and Tokyo Police Club's A Lesson in Crime. Paper Bag Records' current roster is certainly not living in the shadow of these monumental releases, as recent signings include Ottawa based group, The Acorn and Vancouver natives, You Say Party! We Say Die!. We are very pleased to welcome Paperbag Records to the BTR family, and look forward to hearing what they come out with next!   Listen up for Paper Bag artists now on rotation here at BTR! And, look out, they may be coming to a city near you!! Upcoming Tour Dates: Uncut 12/14/07- The Silver Dollar, Toronto, ON 01/12/08- Tattoo, Toronto, ON 01/19/08- Club Absinthe, Hamilton, ON Tokyo Police Club 12/15/07- The Middle East Downstairs, Boston MA _______________________________________________________ You Say Party! We Say Die! 12/5/07- Theatre Le Granada, Sherbrooke, QC 12/6/07- La Dagobert, Quebec City, QC 12/8/07- The Metropolis, Montreal, QC 12/13/07- The Royal Albert- Winnipeg, MB 12/14/07- Amigo’s, Saskatoon, SK 12/15/07- The Hi Fi Club, Calgary, AB _________________________________________________________ The Acorn 12/14/07- Pepper Jack Café, Hamilton, ON Visit Paper Bag Records online!
It seems as though independent record labels are a dime a dozen these days. One would think that with major labels buying up all the small ones and recording, producing, releasing, and distributing music becoming less and less lucrative (re: not a good investment), there would be fewer independent companies around. This, it seems, is not the case. One label I particularly follow is the New York City-based Music Related (, a provider owned and operated by Trevor Sias who, when recording his own solo material, goes under the name Pandatone ( Music Related is especially notable as it was the label that began exposing the American market to the exploding music scene in Japan with the release of Shugo Tokumaru's debut LP, Night Piece. M.L. isn't just for Japanophiles, though. The label is keen to expose any artist or group too shy or not bearing the appropriate resources alone to promote their otherwise unknown and unexposed craft. From the deft guitar noodlings of Tokumaru to the spastic lo-fi punk of Macdonald Duck Eclair and Micro Mach Machine to the serene ethereal ambient experiments of the Sea to many more artists representing a tremendous array of genres and nationalities, ML is a label not to be missed and to be taken seriously. In addition to ML's providings, Mr. Sias also recently created Creation-Centre(, a digital label that offers free EPs of an equally awing spectrum of music. Between Music Related and Creation-Centre, Mr. Sias is, in his own small way, making all us music lovers reassess how we find, listen to, digest, and grow to love music. He, like us, is just trying to find something special in the overwhelmingly vast world of record stores, online peddlers, taste-makers, and media marketing. All hail the small as it's where the future lies and, more importantly, where we can all find something that's precious speaks to us.   Read more from Nik by visiting BiBaBiDi.   [Link to this post]
TUNE INTO THIS WEEKS SHOW! I am very excited to say BTR has added Fool’s Gold Records to its library. If you don’t know Fool’s Gold is an indie label started by one of the best dj’s in the world, DJ A-TRAK.  This dudes talents on the tables are amazing and now he focuses his work on signing new artist, producing and much more. I was able to catch the Fool’s Gold Showcase at this year CMJ and it was definitely something to talk about. With a mix of hip-hop, electronica, & pop this label is exactly the vibe Party Hour looks for. So for this weeks show I feature a couple cuts from Fool’s Gold’s own KID SISTER. Energetic rhymes, funky beats & attitude to match, Kid Sister is sure to become a favorite here on the show. So for this weeks show, I will be serving up an hour of dance/ electronica that sure to make you sweat.  Be sure to tune in! Till next time, Peace!
As the year winds down, I always like to look back at the best (and sometimes worse) of the last 12 months in music.  As Mr. Reggae here at BTR, I’ll stick to what I do best and bring the love of the dub on “DJ Drew’s Best Reggae Albums of 2007” (waiting for copy write/trademark on that title, I called it first).    In no order, far be it for me to list these albums to my brilliant audience, these are just recommendations (if you haven’t already heard these releases):   Ticklah Vs. Axelrod – Ticklah -          Easy Star Records does it again with another clean, studio friendly dubbed out gem for your speakers.  In the tradition of the great and bizarre dub producers Victor Axelrod plays both Ticklah and Axelrod in some sick twisted schizophrenic experiment we all benefit from.   Collie Buddz – Collie Buddz -          Summer scorcher.   You know by now my feeling on new dancehall, but this one was much different.  Some great culture riddims and Collie Buddz rides them like a veteran.  Good for old school and new school reggae fans alike.   Running Free – Ali Campbell -          Known as UB40 lead vocalist, Ali does a little more of the same and just a little more of something different on this solo album.   Still has the clean, drum machine uk roots sound you’ve come to expect from UB40, excellent lovers rock stuff (warning:  some ladies might melt at the first sounds)   Cool Out & Coexist – Dub Trio -          Album recorded over 2 days of shows and packaged on ROIR Records for your ears to try and understand.  The progression of the band has moved more and more towards heavy hardcore punk/metal breakdowns and away from the dub grooves.  Its more about the ambient moments between the harshness.  Still amazing to hear 3 guys make sounds a dozen lesser men couldn’t produce.   Try them all out, they are in their own ways great 2007 soundtracks.  And while your at it, check out the “Best Non Reggae Album of 2007” La Cucaracha  by Ween.  There is a reggae song on there (The Fruit Man).  Let me know how you feel about the picks and if you have any of your own.!
Longtime BTR artist Skidmore Fountain out of Brooklyn will be playing two great shows this week! First they head to New Paltz , NY Thursday to with Quitzow and Setting Sun at Oasis. Then! Catch them in NYC at Arlene's Grocery on Friday. Show starts at 10pm. You might recall Skidmore Fountain from BTR airplay with recent hits "Dance Political" and the title track off their Break album. If you haven't already seen them in concert, and you happen to be in the area, Skidmore Fountain's shows do not disapppoint!
So, I'm a slacker with the whole blog thing and I apologize to anyone who may read this blog or my blog on my website. I really need to make this more a part of my daily schedule but for some reason it's something I always forget to do. Well, I guess that's why they invented post-it notes. I'm actually staring at a pack right now and I've selected a pink one to write in big, bold sharpie letters "UPDATE BLOG". hmm... we'll see if this helps! Anyway, I’m devoting the rest of this blog to the music I can't stop listening to. 1) CSS - I was familiar with the band but for some reason I never really got into their music until that I-pod commercial that includes their song "Music is My Hot Hot Sex".  Now I'm hooked on their upbeat and fun style. 2) Of Montreal- Ok, so the album has been out for a while. I listened to Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer? quite frequently when it first came out. But, it's back with a vengeance it seems with every listen I find something new that I didn't notice before... love it! 3) Edmund Cake - Now, this is a band I was not familiar with until we added Lil' Chief Records to the rotation here on BTR. They totally rock. I love finding new music that I was completely unaware of. Just when you think your music collection is complete, you find something that makes you realize just how much great music is out there for you to explore. 4) Ghostland Observatory - I love this band to pieces. I mean, I really, really, really love this band. After seeing them LIVE for the first time at CMJ, I LOVE them even more. Their live show is so fantastic. The lead singer is just luminous on stage and it really makes the music come to life. So much so that when I listen to their tunes now I get visuals of him dancing and singing on stage. Seriously, and it makes me want to dance all funky along with the beat. Of course, I only do this when no one is watching because that is when the time when the best dancing is done. 5) 311- ok, not a BTR a band but they came up in the same grassroots style as a lot of artists are doing these days. They are my all-time favorite band. I grew up with them. I latched on in 6th grade and never looked back. I've seen them 23 times live and in 8 states... I've slowed down a bit in my older years but every so often I pop one of their CD's in and I'm taken right back to my first 311 concert in 1999. (Which was also the first time I crowd surfed.) I love how music can do that, take you back to all sorts of amazing memories. 311 especially does that for me since I grew up with them and they continue to evolve and put out new albums, and I in turn am evolving with them. Anyway, I'm already getting psyched for 311 day this year... i can't wait! That is, if I get to go... I've run into a HUGE problem. SWSW, Langerado Festival, and 311 day all coincide. EEK!  311 is actually playing Langerado Festival in Florida... which, by the way is going to be freaking incredible. Here's just a taste of the line-up- 311, Beastie Boys, R.E.M., Ani DiFranco, of Montreal, !!!, Ghostland Observatory, Blind Mellon, The Bad Plus, Shout Out Louds, Busdriver... and so many more! It's sick! But, SXSW is looking pretty sick as well. Then there is 311 day. 2 years ago, if i remember correctly, the band played a 58 song set!!! Alrighty, so I'm basically torn. Maybe I'll end up flying back and forth... who knows? But I'll definitely be checking out some amazing music either way! AND, hopefully I'll see some of you there! word, Em        
The older I get, the quicker the year seems to pass by. It's a good thing music helps me keep track of the year. January  2007 - The beginning of the year started with my home coming in Miami, and  the release of my favorite album of the year, Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? It took me a couple of month to realize Of Montreal's brilliance, but it came during the playful, mind-drilling beats of "Cato As A Pun." I hear so much of music's past in the album, but Of Montreal does a fantastic job of molding it into their own modern masterpiece. March 2007 - I've just spontaneously bought airline tickets to California and passes to Coachella, and while I'm staring at my newly robust credit card bill...I feel no remorse what so ever. Two reasons why: 1) Bjork is playing and I've been trying to see her live since Debut and 2) The Arcade Fire are playing on the same night and I've just memorized all the lyrics for Neon Bible. Sad Lyrics + Upbeat Tempo = My kind of music to sing in the morning shower July 2007 - I didn't attend any summer festivals, but luckily Gogol Bordello provided me with enough mash material on Super Taranta! to drench my clothes with sweat at home. Ive just recently jumped into the Klezmer scene, but I now have a new found appreciation for accordions. October 2007 - I'm having a quarter life crisis. Maybe it's the nervousness I feel about being the best man at my best friend's wedding, or the fact that I'm turning 25 in a couple of months, but I'm starting to say "I feel old" in my head...over and over. 100 Days, 100 Nights from Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings is the perfect record to fall into my lap. Motown always perks me up, and the broken hearted lyrics make me feel that life isn't so bad. These are some albums that are sure to provide content for my end of the year show. E-mail me your favorites at
If nothing else, The Boo Radleys proved that the great British public haven't got a clue when it comes to buying records. The adventurous, psychedelia-tinged majesty of second album 'Giant Steps' passed by largely ignored. Full of inventive ideas, style and tempo changes, it remains one of the best records of the '90's and in 'Lazarus' contains one of the best singles from that time. Yet it's failure to reflect it's critical successful with sales spurned songwriter and guitarist Martin Carr to make a grave mistake and pander to the masses. I wouldn't dream of using the phrase 'sold out', but with follow up album 'Wake Up Boo', The Boo Radleys went in search of pop hits.   And they got them.   Or rather it.   Over-play spurred on by the lack of imagination of radio breakfast shows, the initially likeable single 'Wake Up Boo' became so ubiquitous that it threatened to turn the band into a one hit wonder. Indeed the whole album was so desperate to be liked, that it sacrificed the adventurous spirit of The Boo's in favour of one dimensional pap. Sorry, pop. No actually, pap. They rode the Britpop wave and nearly wiped out.   Luckily, chart success and mainstream acceptance didn't suit The Boo's and they soon retreated into the comfort zone of substance over style. Sadly, the record buying public didn't accompany them and despite a few minor hits, both 'C'mon Kids' and 'Kingsize' passed by largely un-noticed before the band finally went their seperate ways.   All of which, is a long introduction to this track. A song that capture the innocence of youth perfectly. Maybe it's the cheery handclaps in 'Wish I Was Skinny'. Or the wistful tone of singer Sice's voice. Or lyrics that, despite being written about Sice and Martin's childhood friendship, reflect thoughts we've all had. They evoke memories of a halcyon summer that only ever exist in your dreams. Forget your cyncism. Forget your doubts, your fears and be swept along on a wave of nostalgia of late summer eves hanging with your mates. Days when anything was possible.   Read more from Coxon by visiting to die by your side.   [Link to this post]
Hang out with Lottie every Thursday on BTR. She'll make your head explode. Seriously. Also check out her other monthly shows like Spotlight on the City and Sideshow Acts. On Fridays, she hosts All Access. After you done listening, clean up your mess.
Please tell me I'm not alone here.   Please tell me that you suffer from irrational hatred too.   You know that feeling of really hating something or someone but not being able to put into words why. You just do. No reason. No explanation. No previous history. Just a pure unadulterated and completely irrational hatred. I'm talking about Kate Thornton.  Reese Witherspoon. Heat magazine. Or Dick and Dom in da Bungalow.   And while I try to be open minded, my irrational hatred extends to music too. There are just some things in music that I don't like. And I'm not talking obvious targets like 'Pop Idol' or Westlife. There are many, many reasons why those are evil. I mean things that most people probably wouldn't mind, don't notice or just plain don't let bother them. But not me. Oh no, these are things I despise. From the very pit of my being. However, in order of presenting some kind of balance and prove that there are indeed exceptions to every rule, tonight I'm gonna try and explain a few of my irrational hatreds in music and then offer up songs that totally contradict what I say. Or in plain terms, songs I like that contain things I hate.   We start, with the saxophone. I hate the saxophone. Hate it. Truly despise the thing. There are no redeeming factors. None. Not one. Some people may try and tell you that the saxophone is sexy. Sensuous. Seductive. These people are wrong. These people are close to being legally retarded. The saxophone is sexy in the same way that roadkill is. It's the soundtrack of a dinner party from hell. It's middle aged sales execs thinking they're hip. It's an evil, evil sound. And yet, on Ryan Adams' 'New York, New York', I can't help liking it. Maybe it's the fact that it comes in right at the end. Maybe it's the fact that it's quite understated. Maybe Ryan Adams has some kind of special power that stops anything associated with him from being shit. I don't know. I can't say. The only thing I know, is that this song contains one of the few saxophone moments that I have ever been able to tolerate.   Next up, slap bass. A sound so hideous that even typing the words makes me want to pour acid down my ears. Possibly the least cool sound ever invented by mankind. It screams middle aged man trying to be funky. Two words. Mark King. If there were crimes against instruments, slap bass would be the equivalent of beating your wife. Your disabled wife. It's an abomination. But, for some reason beyond my comprehending, Lamb manage to wrestle slap bass away from middle management bores and transform into it the writhing, convulsive, driving force behind this track.   And my final irrational hatred? Well, it's not so much an element of song. Or an instrument. It's more just a whole god damn band. And who might that be? In who's direction do I point my unexplainable bile? Why, none other than the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now, I can't tell you exactly when my hatred for them started but it's definitely been some time. It was sometime at school that's for sure. And I can't explain why. I just plain don't like them. I could say it's their particularly asinine funk-rock fusion. It could be the way they still wear three-quarter length shorts when they're old enough to know better. It may even be something as simple as having a bass player called Flea. I just don't know. What I do know however, is that my irrational hatred for them disappears the moment I hear the gorgeously laid back guitar intro to 'Scar Tissue'. It's just such a simple melody. No pretence. No fake posing. Just a great, slightly melancholic pop song. Of course, three and a half minutes later, my hatred returns and The Red Hot Chili Peppers are once more the aural equivalent of a bird shitting on your head.   Read more from Coxon by visiting to die by your side.   [Link to this post]
They say you should never meet your heroes.   I extend a similar courtesy to reading, watching and listening to interviews with them too.   Mainly due to the fact that most musicians will ultimately let you and their music down the moment they open their mouths. Not that it stops them spouting forth on whatever subject they deem worthy of opinion. And lord help us if they've a new record out to promote 'cause you can be sure there'll be some faux controversial soundbite for the media to get their knickers in a twist about. Normally how X popular band aren't as good as Y band. After a while it all becomes so tiresome. And predictably obvious.   Not to mention the fact that musicians are rarely as interesting as they perceive themselves. They generally tend to be either terribly worthy. Utterly pretentious. Ridiculously out of touch with reality. Or sadly as dull as ditchwater. And I don't know about you but I find it hard to seperate the music from the musician. It's what I call the Robbie Williams effect. I know I'll never be able to judge his music with an unbiased mind because I would always come back to my knowledge/opinion of him as an utterly insufferable, jumped up, arrogant cock.   Which calls to mind an interesting question ... if one of your favourite artists/bands were to be found guilty of some hideous, heinous crime, how would you approach their music from that point on? Would it cloud your opinion of music you loved before you knew of their guilt? Would you stop listening to their music altogether despite it defining moments of your own life? Tough question. One I don't honestly know I could answer unless the situation arose.   Read more from Coxon by visiting to die by your side.   [Link to this post]
Those Thanksgiving leftovers are getting stale, but the music at BTR is still coming fresh out of the oven. It's true we have access to magic yeasts and charmed seasonings, the secrets of which we won't divulge here, but of course that's besides the point. Though we're busy working on all of our Best Of lists for 2007, we haven't forgotten that new music is revealing itself around every corner. Here are a few of our picks for the month of November, ones  we are very thankful for indeed... The Notebook Phonetic To all ya'll keeping track of the "Hottest White Rapper With A Decidedly Non Hip-Hop Background" Leaderboard (see Matisyhau, Brother Ali) it appears there is a new phenom of note, and it proves once more that hip-hop is as universal as climate change. Self-taught in the ways of beats and recording, Sydney Eubanks is doing all he can to expose the hip-hop scene in Sitka, Alaska. Known as Phonetic, the 28-year-old MC dropped his first full-length, The Notebook, on the Anchorage-based Ice Box Entertainment back in 2005, and hasn't looked back since. The Notebook features well-wrought beats, solid rhymes and a no-nonsense style akin to the underground indie hip hop of the mid-to-late nineties. Phonetic himself has a memorable voice, with good projection and no shortage of clarity. "Friends" is an instant hit, featuring a fantastic Dionne Warwick sample that Phonetic dances over with ease. It sounds like what might happen if a modern day DJ chopped up the theme song from a 1950's-style family sitcom, like Patty Duke or Father Knows Best, and then threw a beat behind it.  "Clockin' In" further showcase's Phonetic's deft taste for samples, with a cut from a well-known surf rock theme matched up against some serious bass. "City By The Sea" finds Phonetic musing about life in the small Alaskan town he calls home. "Where the men outnumber the women five to one, it's a little shitty city by the sea," he cracks, before observing "I'm not fond of the bar called Pioneer, but how many other fathers met their wives here (mine did!)" Obviously, the man has some beef with his hometown, like everyone else, but he also gives it credit, at one point saying "Where in the six months of darkness it fits to be an artist." Open Field Taken By Trees A scant three songs was all we initially had received from Taken By Trees, but it was more than enough to make a better-than-good impression. A solo project from Victoria Bergsman, former lead singer of the popular Swedish band The Concretes, Taken By Trees turns out to be somewhat  musically sparse in comparison. Of course, with such a halting voice, Bergsman doesn't need much in the way of instrumental accompaniment, and she proves it in songs like "Tell Me" and "Sunshine Lady." She sings in a style comparable to her Swedish contemporaries, such as Sarah Assbring of El Perro Del Mar and Suzanne Mosson of Standfast. Chances are you've heard her lulling voice already, as Bergsman's pipes were prominently featured in the megahit "Young Folks," by Peter Bjorn and John. In fact, if you fancied that song, it's likely you'll really enjoy Taken By Trees. A good starting point would be "Lost and Found," a summery song that rolls along like a joint from the 1960s. It's bound to pop up on Gray's Anatomy at some point, if it hasn't already. The only odd moment on the album comes with a cover of Wayne Wonder's 2003 hit "No Letting Go," a song I hate to admit liking. Bergsman's treatment strips the song down to the bare essentials, including some spirited clapping and subdued cymbal builds.  It doesn't quite reach the same emotional peak as the original, but it's still a lot o' fun. Songbook The Nudie Suits Living in the weird bubble of the United States, it's hard to keep up with all the fantastic music coming out in other countries. You can make a determined effort to forage for foreign sounds on the Internet, but there's always going to be more that you miss, versus find, which is quite unfortunate. So, stumbling upon an album that came out in Australia back in 2003 - an album unbeknownst to us until the twilight of 2007 - well, it makes for a rather muted excitement. We all want to happen upon that new shit and be the first to share it with our friends (which you can of course do with this album from The Nudie Suits). But it sucks to know that it's actually over four years old and known to  quite a lot of people, just not ones in your geography. Of course, Songbook is what I'm talking about, an album stacked high with porch country twang, swinging piano bar rhythms and a pop music mentality.  Every song is  your new favorite, until you hear the next one, and after a few rounds of that, you're like, "Well shit,  these fellers would be rolling in cash if they got themselves on the radio." The clapping starts with "Dancing Like A Huxtable," a foot-tapping jaunt with plinking pianos and muted lap steel guitar, and doesn't quit until the eighth song, "Those Blows," or at least until the beat kicks in 30 seconds later. It's as if The Nudie Suits couldn't hold off from rollicking, not even for 60 seconds. By the time you get to the last song, "You've Been Doctored," I doubt you'll want to share this album with anyone, simply because it's too good. The Melbourne-based band is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Mark Lyons, lap steel guitarist Dionne Taylor, violinist/keyboardist Tamasin Taylor, bassist John Pain and drummer Tim Robinson. Everyone backs up on vocals, and everyone sounds damn happy to be there. Structure and Cosmetics The Brunettes In the beginning, Heather Mansfield and Jonathan Bree were a couple. It's currently unclear if they still are, but what we do know is that their latest album is a smashing success. Structure and Cosmetics blazes napalm out the gate with the soaring boy/girl vocals of "B.A.B.Y.," immediately alerting us to the chemistry between the two brunettes. As the song progresses, it becomes obvious that all the hype about Bree's meticulous production practices is no tall tale. The man must have spent an ungodly amount of time in the studio, which is wonderful, because it will take just as many hours of listening to fully appreciate all the nooks and crannies of this sonic feast. It turns out that Structure and Cosmetics is of those rare albums where things never get boring. Usually you start listening to a record, and at some point, start skipping around a bit. Maybe things have started to drag, or, even worse, started to suck. But that never happens with this particular full-length. Most people are talking about the song "Her Hairagami Set," and it's true that the song is a triumph, but I can't get enough of the opening one-two punch of "B.A.B.Y." and "Stereo (Mono Mono)." The latter both utilizes and emphasizes the left and right speakers via the boy/girl vocals of Mansfield and Bree (Mansfield on the left, Bree on the right), making it absolutely necessary to enjoy this one in high fidelity. The band can be found on the New Zealand-based Lil' Chief Records, though  Structure and Cosmetics was released in the States via Sub Pop. Hummingbird single Born Ruffians It seems like I've been listening to Born Ruffians for years, though the trio from Toronto, Ontario has yet to release a proper full-length. Well, that day will come in early 2008, around February, I hear tell, which is much to look forward to... Maybe they'll play at SXSW a month later? Yeah? We can always hope! Anywho, we have the Hummingbird single to chew over in the meantime, which features two new songs and a cover. "Hummingbird" itself is a spirited romp up and down a fine Mitch DeRossier bassline, with high-pitched quips from Luke LaLonde to cheer along to. "Kurt Vonnegut," the second fresh offering, features much group singing and harmonizing, as well as Steve Hamelin's perfectly matched drum-to-vocal synchronicity. It's the longer of the two songs, and has an ending you'll be singing along with for weeks. The third song is a cover of Grizzly Bear's "Knife," which is quickly becoming one of the most beloved songs of our generation. Everyone wants a piece of it, whether it's a church choir from the southwestern United States or an up-and-coming indie band from the northeast. Born Ruffians do a solid treatment of the track, in a decidedly Born Ruffians fashion. LaLonde handles the vocals with some of that Ontario soul power, wistfully coaxing the "whoas" and "ohs" out of his gut like an inspirational preacher. It's not to be missed. LINK TO THIS ARTICLE:
Ever dreamt of a place you've never visited?   Felt a familiarity and affinity with something you've never actually experienced?   That is the feeling evoked by the eponymously titled debut album from Mono In VCF. Picture an Autumn morning in 60s Paris. A framed perfect picture scene. Fallen leaves disguise the ground. The sun shines deceptively bright. Desperately clinging to the end of it's season. Refusing to admit defeat to the brisk chill that creeps in to replace it. A couple walk arm in arm, disturbing the leaves with each footstep. Wrapped in warm coats, they smoke carefully rolled cigarettes. Talk of mortality. Of love. Of worries and fears. It could be a snapshot from an obscure new wave film. But instead of subtitles and film score, these 11 songs are the soundtrack.   Opening credits belong to 'Escape City Scrapers'. Sweeping in on dramatic orchestral keys, it's a bold, dramatic start. A tale of longing to flee that which holds you back, it sets the precedent for the songs that follow. Keenly observed melodrama combined with widescreen romanticism. There's a sense of perpetual longing. Much of the lyrics seem like unspoken conversations. Words and thoughts that fill the mind but would never dared be spoken out loud. Kim Miller's delivery is somehow both coldly detached yet emotionally warm. At times seeming so intimate as to be whispered in your ear for your sole consideration.   Much of the record appears to deal with unfulfilled lives. Of acceptance that dreams will never be realised. Of wasted days and missed opportunities. 'There's No Blood In Bone' epitomises it. A tale of lovers so entwined they can't escape the inevitable separation. Eerie keys fluctuate over a melancholy hip hop beat, heightening the tension and melancholia. A wall of sound built up by shoe gazing guitars that shimmer in the depths with a subtle strength. 'Masha' is wistful and haunting. 'Chanteuse', a dreamlike, other worldly experience.   What's most refreshing is the band's unwillingness to settle for mediocre, indie obviousness. It's the antithesis of those one dimensional copycat bands. Mono In VCF sound like no other band you'll have heard this year. With aspirations above and beyond the average guitar band, they've created a record that is more than just a collection of songs. As with all the great records, the album works best as a whole. While heavy on atmosphere, the production is light of touch. Instruments float around one another. Layers build delicately around the vocals, creating a true sonic soundscape. 'Mono In VCF' is a glorious cinematic experience. Sweeping and majestic yet never unnecessarily grandiose or overblown. Never once misplacing or over egging the restrained, deft touches. Like an empty house, it echoes with memories of what came before. Hints at influences as wide and varied as Ennio Morricone, My Bloody Valentine and David Axelrod, without once being so obvious or lazy as to name check them directly.   As the final credits roll, the instrumental 'We Could've Owned The World' ushers you back into the real world. Back into the light, the realisation tht you've experienced something very special. 'Mono In VCF' is a timeless record that wouldn't seem out of place in any decade, made by a band who deserve to be huge here and now.   Mono In VCF - chanteuse from the album 'Mono In VCF’   Read more from Coxon by visiting to die by your side.   [Link to this post]
With so many songs written about it, you don't have to search very hard to find a love song.   In fact, cast an eye over the charts most weeks and you'll soon be reaching for someone else's fingers and toes to count them.   What you might struggle to do however, is find a decent love song. A song that isn't over sentimental. That rises above one dimensional, proto-sixth form poetry. That doesn't pander to simple clichés. Or insult the listener with sappy rhyming couplets. And very rare does a love song say anything about the subject that a millions other love songs haven't already said a million times before. From love found to love lost, you'd imagine every single aspect of the topic had been rung dry. That any further songs would be drowned out by the sound of several barrels being scraped. But no, still they're released. Rock bands with sleeves rolled up and fists clenched tight. Boy bands sat on stools clicking their fingers and swaying in time. Warbly woman with power ballads blazing. Laddish indie bands showing that they’re human too. Normally as the third single. Or alternately saved for their part in the race for Christmas number one. All vying for a piece of your heart. Aiming to say something about your relationships past, present and future. Hoping to be the song you choose as the first dance at your wedding or the last song at your funeral. All cynically aimed to wring a tear from your eye and a pound from your pocket.   But really, what do anyone of these songs say about us? About our relationships? About love? In the most parts, not much. Very rare are they anything more than generic, over romanticised nothings. Very rare does the emotion ring true. Isn't a funeral depressing enough, without having the trite sentimentality of 'Wind Beneath Your Wings' blasting away? Wouldn't you consider your relationship on the rocks if 'your song' was Robbie Williams' 'Angels'? I mean, really, could love songs be more bland or banal?   And yet, every once I a while, a love song comes along that shows all the others for the pretenders that they are. For me, there is no better love song than 'Into My Arms'. A song that is not only honest and restrained but one that avoids all cliches. Not once does it slip into unnecessary proclamations. Not once does it dip into the well of sentimentality. While the instrumentation is simple and understated, lyrically it is complex. Tackling both love and religion in an intelligent manner. The belief in an intangible emotion compared with the disbelief of an equally intangible higher spiritual plane. Nick Cave's stark imposing baritone voice juxtaposed again the gentle, graceful piano. The song is moving, personal, melancholy and strangely uplifting. The tale of a man willing to go against his own beliefs for the sake of love, 'Into My Arms' is simply a beautiful song. Never has it sounded more so than in this live version.   Nick Cave - into my arms (live solo piano version) original version available on 'The Boatman's Call'   Read more from Coxon by visiting to die by your side.   [Link to this post]
Here are pictures from the Longwave show at the Crazy Donkey: Read more from Kenyon by visiting Advance Copy.   [Link to this post]
U2: PopMart Live From Mexico City DVD (Island/Interscope) filmed: December 3, 1997 release: September 18, 2007 Having already a decade for reflecting upon, U2's PopMart--a step up stage-wise from Zoo TV--was indeed overly over-the-top and ambitious. Despite the criticism the tour and record received (U2 has "lost its way," the tour wasn't quite ready to go yet), Pop and Popmart were an experiment and something different. There was nothing that compared to an enormous LED screen and a huge glittering lemon in which the band is revealed to be inside. You had to see it to believe it. Offering a light statement about consumerism, PopMart was F-U-N and free of political meandering. In Mexico City in particular (this recording has previously been issued on VHS), a good portion of the crowd could barely see, if at all, the actual U2. The place is gigantic. Even so, they seemed to appreciate every last song (unlike the poseurs in New York, who weren't familiar with "Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me"). The setlist in Mexico (count how many times Bono says "Mexico," it's a lot) is a satisfying assortment, with the bulk coming from The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby and Pop. There are some surprises, both good and bad--the Edge singing "Sunday Bloody Sunday" solo, Bono forgetting lyrics to "Desire." The rest is brilliant and colorful, making the more "intimate" and "sincere" subsequent tour for All That You Can't Leave Behind look plain. [there is also a two-disc version with unreleased live audio and video, documentaries, a PopMart tour visuals montage, and more].   Read more from Kenyon by visiting Advance Copy.   [Link to this post]
First, I brought you my list of BTR's Top Love Songs. Just like there are many love songs in the BTR library, there are also a ton about drinkin'. So, here are my top picks... (in no particular order) 1. He Brings Out the Whiskey in Me - Amy Millan What a wonderful chorus! When you're gettin' over troubles around When you're gettin' over lovers that have let you down When you're paying for the past It all don't seem so bad When ice is ringing in your whiskey glass 2. Thinkin' About Drinkin' - The Ones to Blame   I've been thinkin' about drinkin' all day long I've been sittin' here by the bottle hopin' you would call Well I kind of had enough I'm gonna get me some of that whiskey stuff and tomorrow morning I won't remember you at all 3. Intoxication - Brad Maiden (for the genius drunk, the know it-all, the person that believes they discover the answer, but only after they have had  A LOT to drink....) Hold on a minute, I think your seeing the light.... 4. Pour Me Up Another - Amy Millan Lady love has only seen me crying and the nights have forgotten who I am but singing is always easy when you're drinking so pour me up another before bed 5. For Esme With Scotch and Water - Coin Opera I picked this song simply because of the opening line. The title is great, too. One more whiskey, before I leave. 6. Liquor Store - The Meat Purveyors So Romantic... Well, my wife won't be home 'til a-quarter-'til-four, will you give me a ride to the liquor store? 7. Recovery - New Buffalo Time for beerChequered cheerNow you're hereI can see so clearlyNo more question marksSympathy cardsIt's in the starsTroubled times are clearingNow it's recoveryLooks like it's gonna beOkayIt's a new dayRecoveryLooks like it's gonna beOkayIt's a new day8. Too Broke - Sam Championand so you wanna gobut it's not fairand you're halfway thereand I'm too broke to go get drunk 9. Lived in Bars - Cat Power there's nothing like living in a bottle and nothing like ending it all for the world 10. Alcohol-Gogol Bordello Yeah o yeah you seen me walk On burning bridges Yeah o yeah you seen me fall In love with witches And you know my brain is held Inside by stitches Yet you know I did survive All of your lovely sieges And you know that I'll pick up Every time you call Just to thank you one more time Alcohol And you know that I'll survive Every time you come Just to thank you one more time For everything you've done Alcohol Alcohol And I'm sorry some of us Given you bad name yeah o yeah, cause without you Nothing is the same Yeah o yeah I miss you so Every time we break up Just to hit a higher note Every time we make up Who's crawlin' up my spine - alcohol I've been waiting long long time - alcohol Now you teach me how to rhyme - alcohol Just don't stab me in the back with cartisol Now we reunite - alcohol And forever be divine - alcohol Screw a light bulb in my head - alcohol may that ceremony be happy or sad... Listen for these, and many other drinking songs here on BTR!  I'll drink to that! LINK TO THIS ARTICLE:
Richard Hawley: Lady's Bridge (Mute) release: October 2, 2007 style: solid full lite rock ballads similar: Kid Silver, Divine Comedy, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett rating: **** Solo record after solo record, Pulp guitarist Richard Hawley has been phenomenal. Lady's Bridge is another triumphant work, especially when his full, deep vocal joins an orchestra. Hawley's song are for people that love great, timeless music without needing to remember the melody. He writes ballads that Richard Ashcroft dreams of putting in his own solo material. When he's not singing ballads, Hawley adapts to a Smiths "Vicar in a Tutu"-like rockabilly swing. Get jealous.     =================================     Hell on Heels: Dogs, Records & Wine (Dionysus) release: October 23, 2007 style: '60s garage jumping on the couch with bratty girl pop-punk rating: **1/2 Awesome name for an all-girl band with a Hammond organ. There may already be enough girl rock bands singing about the same things, but not enough with the organ. The quartet makes sure they fit the part of rebellious youth from the late 50s/early 60s with perfect red lipstick, scarves around the neck and styled haircuts. The girls practice some tough love--"Through With You" and "Pretty Mess" for example. For "Can't Buy Cool" they toss in another obligatory inspiration, early girl vocal groups. The cover of "I'll Come Runnin'" has a country-honky tonk-punk walk, but you know what, Hell on Wheels needs to get REALLY angry about stuff. They need to get infuriated with the world and bleed passion. Otherwise the Donnas and Runaways are gonna kick their ass.   Read more from Kenyon by visiting Advance Copy.   [Link to this post]
Click to listen to our Lil' Chief Records Showcase! Once again, it's time for BreakThru Radio to welcome another fantastic record label into rotation on our station.  Get ready to turn your speakers up because this one is spectacular and guaranteed to make even the Gloomiest Gus smile! The label, known as Lil' Chief Records, is based out of Auckland, New Zealand and they produce the type of perfect, pop music that is irresistible to any ears which hear even the slightest snippet. Having formed only five short years ago, Lil' Chief Records has managed to round up some of New Zealand’s finest artists. Since it's inception in 2002, the label has signed such acts as The Brunettes, The Nudie Suits, Shaft , and Voom. All of which you'll be hearing a lot of here on BTR because these groups are stellar! Our deepest and most sincere thanks go out to Lil' Chief's founders - Jonathan Breem Scott Mannion, and Lawrence Mikkelsen for rounding up such a fun and cheery bunch of artists and packaging them in such an accessible fashion. Be sure to listen to our specialty showcase, featuring one of our new favorite labels. And, listen up for the Lil' Chief Record's artists on all of your favorite BTR shows.      The Nudie Suits      Ryan McPhun And The Ruby Suns      Edmund Cake       The Brunettes THE BRUNETTES ON TOUR!! Nov 20 2007 8:00PM The Brunettes D:qliq Luxembourg Nov 21 2007 8:00PM The Brunettes Recyclart Brussels Nov 22 2007 8:00PM The Brunettes Samba Resille Toulouse Nov 24 2007 8:00PM The Brunettes Teatro Verdi Maniago Nov 25 2007 8:00PM The Brunettes Mattatoio Culture Club Carpi Nov 28 2007 8:00PM The Brunettes The Croft Bristol, England Nov 30 2007 8:00PM The Brunettes Speakeasy @ Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland Dec 1 2007 8:00PM The Brunettes Whelans Dublin, Eire Dec 2 2007 8:00PM The Brunettes venue tba Galway, Eire      Shaft      Voom      The Reduction Agents
Control directed by Anton Corbijn limited U.S release October 2007. seen at Cinema Arts Centre, Huntington. How Joy Division was able to function as a band at all is a miracle. Filmed in an appropriate black and white by ultra-known photographer/music video director Anton Corbijn, Control tells the ill-fated story of short-lived, troubled vocalist Ian Curtis. Luckily, Corbijn had been familiar with the band since they existed. In lesser hands, Control wouldn't have given the story a respectable treatment, for Joy Division--who was just about to go on a brief U.S tour before Curtis' death--made music that many hold close to the heart. If the focus for you is the band and its music more than Curtis himself, you may feel slighted. In fact, the post-punk band and its music is almost incidental and isn't looked at in a bigger picture to show the significance and innovation at the time, nor do we see the band discussing their songwriting or how the first song came together. Some of that is intuitive, and putting the music into perspective was only realized the following 25 years after Joy Division's demise. Control is an examination of Curtis, beginning in 1973 when we see him listening to David Bowie, smoking cigarettes and meeting his future wife (whose memoirs provides much of the details of the film). Getting married is usually a turning point in an artist's career later in life--they settle down and lose the angst. Like Nirvana, this was not the case. We can speculate about what "might have been" had Curtis not took his life so early, but it's evident from what we know about his existence that his troubles resulted in brilliant music. The songs in Control--by the actual actors as well as Joy Division themselves (plus the Killers covering a song during the end why?)--are dispersed appropriately, with some coinciding with the tragic plot (the live versions are abridged..awkward!). In a different time and place with different people, the story would have unfolded differently--Curtis' epilepsy, for example, could have been under better care in 2007 by doctors, his bandmates, manager, wife and mistress. Whether it's fate or freewill, a piece of music history is already written.   Read more from Kenyon by visiting Advance Copy.   [Link to this post]
So earlier this year The Go! Team released their sophomore full-length called Proof Of Youth. I know I'm way behind here, but like its predecessor (2005's Thunder, Lightning, Strike) it is full of volcanic youthful energy, classic horn arrangements, and is just so damn much fun and so melodic it is really hard not to crack at least a little smile when listening. And while Proof Of Youth didn't knock me on my ass like their debut did, it is more of the same cheer-core guitar squalor backed by hip-hop beats the girls and guys from The Go! Team imported from England last time. Check it out. MP3 | The Go! Team - The Wrath Of Marcie Proof Of Youth MP3 | The Go! Team - Doing It Right Proof Of Youth   [Link to this post]
After we humans have made Earth uninhabitable to our own species, all the insects, myriapods, and other creatures with exoskeletons will emerge from under the floorboards and loudly proclaim, "Hooray! Those fuckers are finally gone!" Then there will be a party. A huge and jubilant celebration. It will be a great party marking the end of humanity and the beginning of a new era. The music played at that party will be from Black Dice's new album Load Blown. It sounds like a digital swarm attacking your eardrums. It is the soundtrack to the post-apocalyptic dance party. It is practically seizure-inducing, but hypnotic in a way that I can't begin to explain. Load Blown is off-putting, difficult, stunning, and downright awesome. MP3 | Black Dice - Kokomo Load Blown MP3 | Black Dice - Bananas Load Blown   [Link to this post]
If you’ve ever visited the website Stranded in Stereo, you know just how much it has to offer.  Hell, it offers just about everything: music reviews, interviews, MP3s, film and TV reviews and interviews, gear reviews, event information, a kickass compilation CD/DVD with music, videos, and movie trailers, an opinion column, AND a music store!  Run by the Planetary Group, Stranded in Stereo is poised to take over the music blog-o-sphere. The Planetary Group was started in 1996 by Chris Davies and Adam Lewis as a music marketing company, focusing on radio promo, publicity, and eventually online promo.  Stranded in Stereo (the website) developed out of that to reach consumers who aren’t actually a part of the music industry. “There are people out there that are simply fans who want to hear new music,” explains head editor and former BTR Blogger of the Week Dany Sloan (for his personal music blog, Exitfare).  “With Stranded in Stereo, its websites and its parties, we reach them.  We want to connect as many music fans out there with new music, both from artists they’ve heard of and the people they will be all over in the future.” One of the main ways that the Planetary Group reaches out to readers is through their blog, Hyperbola.  Hyperbola is the main one for staff members to use to write about shows they attend, things they do outside of work, music they like in general, etc.  The blog allows fans a more personal look at the staff, allowing them to connect with them further, one of the main goals of Planetary Group. “With the bands and labels we work with, we want them to know that we’re there for them,” says Sloan of the group’s goals.  “Our job is not to just get people results, but it’s to answer all of their questions and to be as communicative as possible.  As the years go on, we want to provide as many options for bands as possible, both on a national and international level.” The Stranded in Stereo site became so popular that Sloan found his inbox filled up with great new music he wanted to share with fans of the site, but had no room for.  Thus was the birth of SIS the blog (  Run by blogmaster and editor Rusty Roberts, the SIS blog provides the perfect forum to showcase new music, MP3s, and videos.  Occasionally, there are other contributors, but Roberts, who along with Sloan has also been featured as BTR’s Blogger of the Week, is the primary writer for it. “Stranded in Stereo is unique because I give writers full reign to review things they like and allow them to run as many new ideas as they can by me,” brags Sloan.  “I nix things from time to time but I’d like to say that our writers have a ton of artistic freedom.  One thing I don’t allow are negative reviews.  I’m not trying to be all ‘nicey nice,’ but I don’t want to waste people’s time with reviews that slag off albums.” Like any good music website, SIS is constantly shining the spotlight on the best artists in the biz.  They run interviews and include mp3s, videos and tour dates on the blog. “[How closely we work with a band] is up to the band,” says Sloan.  “Seafood recorded some exclusive acoustic tracks earlier this year, which was neat.  I’ve been a fan of that band for years and it was great to work with them!” The Stranded in Stereo name does not just end with the site and the blog.  Perhaps the biggest promotional tool that the Planetary Group offers is the Stranded in Stereo dual disc CD/DVD compilation.  It features the best new music and film, complete with exclusive tracks, music videos, and trailers for upcoming feature films.  Currently, the Stranded in Stereo compilation is released four times a year: during South by Southwest in March, in July, during CMJ in October, and again in November.  We put head editor Dany Sloan in the hot seat to convince us just why we – and all of you – should sign up for the CD/DVD. Give me your pitch on why everyone should sign up for it.  Without using the words “it's free.” It's free!  Haha, just kidding.  But seriously, there are many pros about signing up for Stranded In Stereo – it's not one of those typical samplers that come in a slipcase and look unappealing.  Each volume has artwork from an up and coming artist, while the music combines new efforts from established groups and some of the best unsigned talent.  On the DVD side, you'll be able to see videos that MTV might touch if they had a clue, and really, where can you watch new videos on TV anymore? How closely tied in with the site is the compilation CD? We started out using the site to focus on the bands on the CD/DVD, but we realized that we wanted people to come back every day, not just every few months, so we've been very aggressive about getting new content up every single day.  Plus, the site doesn't just feature music – we have movie, TV and gear reviews, as well as columns, all of which will expand in 2008. Talk to me about some of the artists featured on it: Did you need their permission?  Are there exclusive tracks? Most of the artists on the sampler are happy to be on it, as many of them are new bands trying to get a foothold in the industry.  We do need permission, but that is pretty easy to get as people are pretty excited about the 20,000+ impressions. What about the film trailers/music videos? Those are another story, but in the end, it's not that difficult since [from the movie studio’s perspective], it's an important way to reach a consumer audience. How has it gone over so far with your audience? We have received an overwhelmingly positive response.  On top of that fact that it is free, the packaging is HUGE for people.  The artwork is unique: it's aesthetically pleasing and the benefit of hearing new bands first is huge for our audience. Has it been pimped on any other media outlets yet? Blogcritics, Rock Insider, Gorilla vs Bear, Arcane Radio Trivia, etc. What's your favorite thing featured on it? As a teenager in the '90s, MTV still occasionally featured videos, and I would always stay up late on Sunday nights to see 120 Minutes because it was my only place to see stuff from Sonic Youth, Jawbox, Shudder To Think, Hum, etc and I would gladly sacrifice sleep for that.  Now I can see any video I want to on YouTube and whatnot, but I typically associate my computer with work, so the fact that I can pop in a DVD and watch new videos from Bloc Party, Jamie T, Black Lips, The Subways, etc. is really fucking awesome. If you’d like to get in contact with Dany Sloan, you can email him at  Be sure to visit and sign up to receive the free compilation CD/DVD!
The MP3's below are a repost Jeff Tweedy's sold out solo performance at Chicago's Vic Theatre on March 5th, 2005. It was easily one of the best shows I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot). Tweedy played over 35 songs both old and new and was even joined onstage for the final few songs by all his Wilco bandmates. It is amazing to hear just how quiet 1200+ people can be at times during the show. Did I mention that the sound quality is also totally amazing. Here it is for your enjoyment, or the original post can be found right here. Disc 1 MP3 | 01. Thax Douglas - Jeff Tweedy #8 MP3 | 02. Someone Else's Song MP3 | 03. Remember The Mountain Bed MP3 | 04. I Am Trying To Break Your Heart MP3 | 05. Airline To Heaven MP3 | 06. Was I In Your Dreams MP3 | 07. Wait Up MP3 | 08. Black Eye MP3 | 09. Radio King MP3 | 10. Chinese Apple MP3 | 11. Bob Dylan's 49th Beard MP3 | 12. Someday Some Morning Sometime MP3 | 13. Blasting Fonda MP3 | 14. Someday Soon MP3 | 15. Nothingsevergonnastandinmyway (Again) MP3 | 16. Summer Teeth MP3 | 17. ELT MP3 | 18. I Can't Keep From Talking Disc 2 MP3 | 19. Gun MP3 | 20. We've Been Had MP3 | 21. Candyfloss MP3 | 22. Henry & The H-Bombs MP3 | 23. Acuff-Rose MP3 | 24. I'm The Man Who Loves You MP3 | 25. Misunderstood MP3 | 26. Laminated Cat MP3 | 27. The Family Gardner MP3 | 28. How To Fight Lonliness MP3 | 29. John Wesley Harding MP3 | 30. Political Science MP3 | 31. Hummingbird MP3 | 32. The Late Greats MP3 | 33. Passenger Side MP3 | 34. California Stars MP3 | 35. I Shall be Released [Link to this post]
  Centro-matic has a great new EP out now called Operation Motorcide whose 8 songs are non-album tracks from the recording sessions that produced the band's stellar 2006 album Fort Recovery.  Leftovers (however), these are not.  I'm thoroughly convinced that Will Johnson and company are unable to make music that doesn't tug at your heartstrings a little and leave you yearning for more.  Centro-matic's music is can plaintive and honest but also raw and powerful.  The songs on Operation Motorcide (despite their greatness) were left off Fort Recovery because they wouldn't have worked as well on that album as they do here; a perfect companion piece to Fort Recovery as well as something to tide us fans over until the next record. MP3 | Centro-matic - Atlanta Operation Motorcide MP3 | Centro-matic - Circuits To Circuses Operation Motorcide More music at The Hype Machine or buy from Amazon |  Insound | eMusic   Read more from Eric by visiting Can You See the Sunset from the Southside? [Link to this post]
The songs from the sold-out Jeff Tweedy show at Chicago's Abbey Pub back on January, 25th 2006 are reposted here by request. The other two Tweedy shows I have will also be reposted sometime in the next few weeks. If you really want to, you can even view the original posting of these tunes here. Also, if yr going to see Lucero at the Metro tonight, I'll see you there. Should be a blast. MP3 | 01. Intro MP3 | 02. The ruling Class MP3 | < sound system problems, banter > MP3 | 04. Summerteeth MP3 | 05. Was I In Your Dreams? MP3 | 06. Bob Dylan's 49th Beard MP3 | 07. Please Tell My Brother MP3 | 08. Blasting Fonda MP3 | 09. Pieholden Suite MP3 | 10. Is That The Thanks I Get? MP3 | 11. Airline To Heaven MP3 | 12. I'm The Man Who Loves You MP3 | 13. Heavy Metal Drummer MP3 | 14. New Madrid MP3 | 15. ELT MP3 | 16. Someday Soon MP3 | 17. A Shot In The Arm MP3 | 18. Hoodoo Voodoo MP3 | 19. Henry And The H-Bombs MP3 | 20. Theologians MP3 | 21. Spiders (Kidsmoke) MP3 | 22. I Can't Keep From Talking MP3 | 23. Acuff-Rose     Read more from Eric by visiting Can You See the Sunset From the Southside?   [Link to this post]
The four men that make up the Los Angeles based Gran Ronde kicked off a mini-east coast tour last night, supporting Razorlight and The Von Bondies (yes, they're still around, and apparently have a new album in the can for release some time in the New Year.) The band signed with Filter US Recordings (yes, related to the awesome music magazine of the same name) and are giving fans of theirs and general fans of music alike a taste of what's to come with the On And On EP, available only at these shows at on iTunes.   The EP features the title track (which is also on the upcoming Secret Rooms full length, due in February) and four more songs that aren't on the album. The band still has a few dates left in New York and Canada, so catch them if you can before they rest up for what will surely be a busy 2008.   Touring: 11/08 - Brooklyn, NY - Warsaw 11/09 - New York, NY - Fillmore at Irving Plaza 11/11 - Toronto, ONT - Phoenix Concert Theatre   Download: "On And On" [mp3]   Read more from Rusty by visiting Stranded in Stereo.   [Link to this post]
Months ago, as they hit the United States of America to play some shows in support of this year's No Shouts, No Calls, I blogged like a madman about this Brighton based quartet. And, much to my dismay, Pitchfork has just announced that after their current run of shows ends next month, they will be no more for now. They've decided after a decade of making albums, rocking out, and making me go hot for one guitarist (Mia Clarke, you are just beautiful,) to take a break, pursue other things ya da ya da ya da.   In honor of their pending departure, I once again provide you the chance to download the greatest song by Electrelane, "Bells," and check out them doing a great homage to the Boss' "I'm On Fire" down below.     Catch them while you can, if you can that is: 11-09 Athens, Greece - Gagarin205 11-10 Thessaloniki, Greece - Xylourgeio-Mylos 11-16 Vevey, Switzerland - Rocking Chair 11-17 Zurich, Switzerland - Rote Fabrik 11-19 Strasbourg, France - La Laiterie 11-20 Lyon, France - Transbordeur 11-21 Toulouse, France - Le Cleo 11-23 Angouleme, France - La Nef 11-24 Paris, France - Trabendo 11-27 Glasgow, Scotland - King Tut's 11-28 Manchester, England - Academy 3 11-29 London, England - Koko 12-01 Brighton, England - Pavilion Theatre   Download: "Bells" [mp3]   Read more from Rusty by visiting Stranded in Stereo.   [Link to this post]
Recent BTR band featured on Fox as a part of Fearless Music. It's Oskar & the Psycholovers:
Over the last two years, one of my favorite things in the world has been driving around listening to Hot Chip's Coming On Strong and making mixes that feature either "Boy From School," "Baby Said," or the beautifully sewn together "I Can't Wake Up." Thinking about all these songs and specific moments in life gives me chills, but nothing gives me more thrills than saying the words "NEW" "HOT" and "CHIP" in the same sentence.   I saw them almost a year ago at CMJ, and just a few months past their sophomore effort The Warning (one of last year's best records and defining moments of my summer and last weeks of college,) but their set was slightly outweighed by new songs. New songs that were funky, new songs that were fresh, new songs that were different yet the same. "Out At The Pictures" was glorious with all its cheesiness, and then there was "Shake A Fist," a fan favorite for quite some time in the live setting.   Now that they have finished their new album supposedly (maybe titled In The Dark, maybe called Shot Down In Flames, a title tied to another new song "I Became A Volunteer" when posted earlier this year on their MySpace.) Anyway, the band has released the studio version of "Fist" unto the world, and a MySpace bulletin from Joe Goddard of Hot Chip earlier this morning told me and the rest of us Hot Chippers to go vote for the song to get played on Steve Lamacq's show on the BBC next week. Do so to help Hot Chip here. Shot Down In The Dark or whatever Hot Chip's third opus will be titled is due in early 2008.   Elsewhere, you should check out Hyperbola, the official blog for those crazy kids who work at Planetary. I finally made my contribution by delivering my burning missive to the masses on this year's so totally awesome VMA's (barf.)   "Out At The Pictures" at CMJ last year. You don't know it but I'm right in the front of Alexis and Joe.     Stream: "Shake A Fist" [Here]   Read more from Rusty by visiting Stranded in Stereo.   [Link to this post]
What do vampires and Ryan Adams have in common? Memphis singer-songwriter Jamie Randolph is a huge fan of both. Randolph's debut solo record, Villain, reflects this unexpected tangle of influences: it's a mix of Goth fetish and indie rock, blended with a delicate smattering of violin, piano and cello. The album includes songs about failed relationships and figuring out what to do with yourself in your mid-twenties. Randolph's gift is that of illustrating tales of disillusionment and lost love without sounding completely annoying. Randolph was watching The Wonder Years when he decided to become a guitar player. "After I saw the episode when Kevin Arnold got one, I turned to my parents and told them I had to have a guitar. I was so excited when I got it, but it was a Gremlin and my girlfriend at the time made fun of it because it was small." Randolph, 24, quickly recovered from the slight. His father, a music minister for a Baptist church, began teaching him how to play. Randolph also spent a lot of time after church learning to play the piano and singing in the choir, even acting in a few church musicals. "They were cheesy youth group musicals. If anyone has videotape of that stuff, I'm dead," says Randolph. He started his first band, jokingly called Brouhaha, at 16 when he was in high school. It was a jam band -- he and his band-mates attempting to imitate Phish. Then during a short stint at the University of Memphis, he was asked to play guitar and sing with local band Retrospect. Soon after, Ardent Records offered the band a development deal. They released a six-song extended-play album, The Art of the Following, and their songs began getting regular airplay on Memphis radio and regional college stations. Then they headed to New York to play several major label showcases. "Jody Stephens (Ardent's studio manager) took us up there and we played for Sony, Warner Bros. and Virgin, but we went there at the worst time possible," Randolph says. "It was around the winter of 2000, and no one was signing bands. We drove all the way there, and everyone was like 'thanks but no thanks.'" Depressed but not defeated, the band returned to Memphis and continued writing the music that would end up on their Ross Rice-produced, self-titled debut album. The recording process was their first foray into being "handled." "We didn't have any artistic control, and we didn't know that we could have spoken up," says Randolph. "So we just got led around and before we knew it, we had no money." By the time the record was released, the band thought they had been put on the backburner by Ardent, and inter-band turmoil caused the musicians to decide to take a hiatus. "I had already started writing my own songs towards the end," says Randolph. "I just sort of exploded. I think I wrote 12 or 15 songs in two or three months." Randolph was heartbroken over more than just the loss of his band. A failed relationship coincided with the demise of Retrospect and echoes of the loss can be heard on the new album. He entered the studio last September with producer Matt Martone and proceeded to pour his anguish into the music. The release of the album has coincided with a new love affair and most recently, a wedding. "My wife has to hear these songs all the time. It's very honest, so it's been kind of hard, but I just reassure her that now they are just songs," says Randolph. While Randolph and friend Josh Horton formed their own record company, called Marauder Records, to release the new record, he still has a fan in Jody Stephens. "Jamie and Matt Martone produced a record that's pretty fresh sonically and melodically, that reveals, like any great record, a little part of the artist," says Stephens. Randolph has spent the majority of the past several months touring solo. With most of his band still holding down steady jobs to make ends meet, and  the skyrocketing price of gas, it’s not financially feasible anymore for bands to drop everything and live on the road with no tour support in order to make a name for themselves. “The band has been just a hodge-podge of studio people, and they have day jobs. And all the money has to go back into the tour and you just can’t ask somebody to come and tour and make no money,” explains Randolph. Now more than ever bands are relying upon other means, such as Myspace, Facebook and internet radio, to get their music heard. The days of signing your name on the dotted-line and becoming a rock star overnight do not exist anymore. “The mistake I made with Retrospect is that we had every major label out there telling us that we were the next big thing and our eyes got really big and we totally just got screwed. I’m not gonna make that mistake again,” says Randolph. “I’ve been thinking about if I was really gonna do this and give it a shot or if I was just gonna kind of give up, but I firmly believe that if you’re writing and putting out quality music you will eventually get to where you can tour legitimately.” The band is currently working on a new EP that they hope to have released by the end of the year. “I’ve got about 30 songs ready to go, I think there are good songs on Villain but I think the new songs are a little more grown up, and it was a heartbreak album so I felt completely justified in releasing,” explains Randolph. “It’s still very dark and sad, but there are a lot of fictional songs. Like I have a song about Edgar Allen Poe’s wife and the movie The Hours, I just kind of got on this tip where I started telling stories instead of being ‘woe is me.’” Personally, I can’t wait to hear more of his sad songs. Visit Jamie Randolph online!
In reality, they say that you can only be 12 years old once. In any one person's given span of life, everyone gets to be 12 for 365 days (unless your 12th year happens during leap year, which then gives you that extra day of holding about before officially becoming a teenager.) They say that one can never go back to being 12, and it is true. Unless you suffer from that disease in which you just age in reverse, you only get to be 12 that one and only time. And then, there comes me and my ability to deny that one can only be so young for so little time. In my lifetime, I had seen Superdrag only once: at the time, it wound up being their second to last show on a rainy September weekend in 2002 when I was 18. It was a great show, and at the end of the night I walked away smiling from ear to ear as they rang incessantly for days on end, and chalked it up as one more of my all time favorite bands I had seen in concert. They would eventually go on sabbatical, leaving hardcore 'Drag fans to wonder what would happen in the future, if there would ever be another Superdrag tour, or another Superdrag album. This past summer, I went nuts, typing various characters that made no sense when I found out the original line-up of Knoxville's finest power pop was getting together for six shows this fall. (This is the part where this whole 12 year old thesis comes in.) When I had seen them in '02, beyond original members John Davis (vocals/guitar/piano) and Don Coffey Jr. (drums,) the other two spots were filled by long time Knoxville friends, Sam Powers (once of Who Hit John, the band that originally did that song "Stu" that he sings on Superdrag's final album, 2002's Last Call For Vitriol) and Mic Harrison (of The V-Roys and The Faults fame, the band named check in "I Guess It's American," or as it is now known on this year's Changin' Tires On The Road To Ruin comp, "I Am Incinerator.") Never in a million years did I think I would see Don and John perform alongside Brandon Fisher (guitar/vocals) and Tom Pappas (bass/vocals/afro) ever. It's not like they left on bad terms, they were just fried from all the touring and wanted to stay home, have families, all that stuff. When I was 12, Regretfully Yours was out, "Sucked Out" was getting MTV airplay, and they became one of the first bands that took a hold of me. And then Head Trip In Every Key came out and changed me at 14 forever. I would've killed to see them at 12 years old, touring with label mates Nada Surf and chain smoking throughout the set, but I couldn't because, alas, what parent in their right mind would send a 12 year old to that show. Thanks, mom. So, they go on this tour, being weekend warriors, playing to packed crowds along the east coast about every other weekend in October and early November. And they finally get here to Boston, to take stage at the Paradise, the home of their last show in September 2003. This isn't like a Pixies reunion show, or The Police. You walk in to this show and find the band manning their own merch booth, talking to every fan. While John and Brandon scribble their names and little messages on their tour only 4-Track Rock!!! / Complete "Bender" Sessions for the fans, Tom writes down on his hand a list of places people had traveled from to see that night's show, to make sure their zip codes get a mention later on. After pleasant sets from Stewart Pack (Superdrag's go to man for art direction and layout) and Mic Harrison backed by Knoxville's finest in the High Score, the Drag took to the stage and John introduced "Whitey's Theme" to start the show at precisely 10:46 PM EST. The band would go on, plowing through the back catalog for two hours straight, complete with multiple segues from the obvious ("Slot Machine" in to "Phaser," duh,) to the surprises ("Liquor" in to "Nothing Good Is Real." I think I stopped breathing during that song, held back from tearing up for how that song has been so very close to me for a decade, singing along with some guy next to me during the part before the last chorus where it's just John's vocals carrying the tune. Gives me chills still.) This is what I waited all of my life to see. Seeing them in '02 was just fine, but that night they focused mainly on Vitriol and 2000's immaculate In The Valley Of Dying Stars, while just hinting at their major label Elektra efforts and EP before it. This night was about celebrating the Superdrag we all grew to love with 1996's Regretfully Yours, an album that they played in its entirety this night, omitting "What If You Don't Fly?" for some unknown reason. While the first half of their set was dominating by the finest moments Yours had to offer, they broke it up a bit by playing the classic single "Senorita," available on 7" and on their Stereo 360 Sound CD, and "Liquor" from their 1995 debut EP, The Fabulous 8-Track Sounds Of Superdrag much to the delight of the crowd. And of course, all went wild during "Sucked Out" when played late in the 4th quarter. Throughout the show, Davis was as grateful as ever, bowing after songs, thanking the crowd with many pleasantries, professing his admiration and love for the opening acts, and every fan who was there that night. As Davis played his role of leader, Pappas played the role of ringleader, bringing his brand of humor to the crowd by speaking mostly in a voice that would compare to that of a mad scientist. He's the Pete Townsend of bassists, really, jumping up and down doing splits, skipping across the stage afro still in tact to jam out with Fisher during the perfect rendition of "Rocket," save for me yelling '1-2-3-4' way early. Pappas has the genuine vibe that reminds me of Stewart Copeland of The Police: he's the goofball, he's the reason this reunion maybe took place? Looking at him on the stage, screaming like a banshee during the middle of "Cynicality," it was like he never wanted to leave the stage and was so glad to be back and would make a promise to never leave again. So the night ended with "Rocket" going through multiple false endings before they left the stage. I walk out of the club and find Tom Pappas right back at the merch table, wiping the sweat out of his afro, stating, "Looks like a band just left the stage or something!" They had left the stage, yes, but they were still playing in my mind. Superdrag Set List: Whitey's Theme / Slot Machine / Phaser / Carried / Garmonbozia / Truest Love / Senorita / Six-Eight / N.A. Kicker / Liquor / Nothing Good Is Real / Tell Me I'm Not Free / I'm Expanding My Mind / Hellbent / Sold You An Alibi / Do The Vampire / Amphetamine / Pine Away / Unprepared / Keep It Close To Me / Sucked Out / Cynicality / True Believer // H.H.T. / Bloody Hell / Destination: Ursa Major / Rocket Download: "Rocket" (from the Bender Sessions, 1995) [mp3]   Read more from Rusty by visiting Stranded in Stereo.   [Link to this post]
Click here to listen to the Rough Trade Records Showcase! Based in the United Kingdom, Rough Trade Records made quite the name for itself over 3 decades ago when it opened as a independent record store in London's Notting Hill district. The label, founded by Geoff Travis, was born not too long after the store opened its doors and has since become one of the premier independent record labels in the UK. Rough Trade is famous for signing acts such as The Smiths and Arcade Fire. And, in more recent years, bands such as Belle and Sebastian and Babyshambles have solidified the label's name as a dominate force in the indie music industry. With all its prestige and bolstering lineup of stellar acts, BreakThru Radio is honored and ecstatic to welcome Rough Trade Records to the family. Beginning today, you can listen to the Rough Trade Records Showcase here on the site, but keep your ears open because you can bet BTR's DJs will be spinning Rough Trade tracks quite regularly from this point forward. Below is a rundown of some of the artists you can expect to hear much more of here on the BreakThru Radio site.      1990s         Live!      Dec 1 @ Rytmposten in Odense, Denmark      Dec 2 @ Loppen in Copenhagen, Denmark      Dec 4 @ Debaser Slussen in Stockholm, Sweden      Dec 5 @ Debaser in Malmo, Sweden      Dec 6 @ Hulen in Bergen, Norway      Dec 7 @ John Dee in Oslo, Norway      Basia Bulat      Live!      Nov 9 @ Lee's Palace in Toronto, Ontario      Nov 21 @ UNB SUB Cafeteria in Fredericton, New Brunswick      Nov 22 @ Oxygen in Moncton, New Brunswick      Nov 23 @ Delta St. John's Ballroom in St. John's, Newfoundland      Nov 24 @ Cunard Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia      Nov 28 @ Hunter's in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island      Nov 29 @ Benevolent Irish Society in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island      Nov 30 @ Elwood's in St. John, New Brunswick      Jarvis Cocker      British Sea Power      Live!      Nov 6 @ Canteen in Barrow, United Kingdom      Nov 7 @ Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh, United Kingdom      Nov 8 @ All Saints Church in Newcastle, United Kingdom      Nov 9 @ Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom      Nov 10 @ Scala in London, United Kingdom      Dirty Projectors      Live!      Nov 6 @ Karlstorbahnhof in Heidelberg, Germany      Nov 7 @ West Germany in Berlin, Germany      Nov 8 @ Westwerk in Hamburg, Germany      Nov 9 @ Doornroosje in Nijmegan, Netherlands      Nov 10 @ Tivoli in Utrecht, Netherlands      Nov 11 @ Worm in Rotterdam, Netherlands      Nov 12 @ Recyclart in Brussels, Belgium      Nov 14 @ Dynamo in Turku, Finland      Nov 15 @ Kuudes Linja in Helsinki, Finland      Nov 16 @ Berg211 in Goteborg, Sweden      Nov 17 @ Spasibar in Oslo, Norway      Destroyer      Super Furry Animals      Live!      Nov 7 @ Club Quattro in Osaka, Japan      Nov 9 @ Liquid Room in Tokyo, Japan      Nov 10 @ Liquid Room in Tokyo, Japan      Nov 15 @ Comoran in Valencia, Spain      Nov 16 @ Joy Eslava in Madrid, Spain      Nov 17 @ Santana in Bilbao, Spain      Nov 18 @ Razzmatazz in Barcelona, Spain      Nov 23 @ Tunnel Vision Festival in Someset, United Kingdom      Nov 24 @ Crossing Border Festival in Den Haag, Netherlands      Nov 25th @ Melkweg in Amsterdam, Netherlands      The Veils      Live!      Nov 7 @ Masonic Tavern in Auckland, New Zealand      Nov 8 @ Kings Arms in Auckland, New Zealand      Nov 9 @ Indigo in Wellington, New Zealand      Nov 10 @ the Southern Amp Festival in New Zealand      Nov 26 @ Oosterpoort in Groningen, Netherlands      Nov 27 @ Patronaat in Haarlem, Netherlands      Nov 28 @ 013 in Tilburg, Netherlands      Nov 29 @ Speaker in Delft, Netherlands Visit Rough Trade Records online!
  It was I suppose a year ago that we were all taken by surprise when Raleigh, NC's Annuals came in to play. Sporting their love and admiration for their contemporaries that gave them a sound that was equal parts Broken Social Scene and Animal Collective, as they were hailed one of the new best acts around.   After the success of Be He Me, the band has left Ace Fu to sign with Sony imprint Canvasback, and are in the midst of crafting their major label debut. Until then, the band will be dropping the Frelan Mas EP on iTunes this Tuesday. Culling b-sides and outtakes from Be He Me, it also features their cover of the gospel standard "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," which is a pretty good rendition if you ask me.   Taking a break from recording, the band is on the road with their new labelmates Manchester Orchestra. Pure Volume is celebrating this tour with a Mannuals mash up contest. Take a song by each band, throw them in the proverbial blender, mix 'em up, and you might just win an acoustic Epiphone guitar autographed by both bands, along with copies of their albums, some 7" singles, etc. Pretty sweet, huh? Check all the info out for that one here.   Manchannuestra: November 2 – Le Gymnase – Montreal, QUE November 3 – Mod Club Theatre – Toronto, ONT November 5 – Shelter at St. Andrews – Detroit, MI November 6 – Subterranean – Chicago, IL November 7 – Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN November 10 – Crocodile Café – Seattle, WA November 11 – Plaza Club – Vancouver, BC November 12 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR November 14 – Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA November 15 – Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA November 16 – Epicentre – San Diego, CA November 17 – The Clubhouse – Tempe, AZ November 19 – HI-Dive – Denver, CO November 20 – The Bottleneck – Lawrence, KS   Download: "Nah Keseyi" [mp3]   Read more from Rusty by visiting Stranded in Stereo.   [Link to this post]
A enduring trend in music has always been to perform versions of current popular hit songs. Last year's cover song of choice du jour was Crazy by Gnarls Barkley. Everyone from The Raconteurs, to Nelly Furtado to The Kooks to Shawn Colvin and more took turns at  performing what was inarguably the song of the year. In a twist this year it’s not just one popular song that artists are looking towards but an entire album.  Arcade Fire's amazing Neon Bible has been racking up the cover versions at an ever increasing pace as the year rolls on. Here's six  of them for you,  Be sure not to miss my favorites, Operation Bumblebee’s acapella versions which are absolutely stunning.   Foo Fighters - Keep The Car Running [More Foo Fighters] Operation Bumblebee - Neon Bible (Acapella) Operation Bumblebee – My Body Is A Cage (Acapella) [More Operation Bumblebee] Norah Jones - Ocean Of Noise [More Norah Jones] The Atom Spies - Black Waves [More The Atom Spies] Final Fantasy - No Cars Go [More Final Fantasy]   Buy Arcade Fire - Neon Bible   Feeling inspired by all the reverie and want to join in ? Go to Supernatural Things for this : How To Play Ocean Of Noise By The Arcade Fire   Read more from Tom by visiting Bag of Songs.   [Link to this post]
Imagine if you will the scene, a high school gymnasium, plenty of crepe paper all around, a handpainted sign that says "Welcome to The Prom, 1957". Off in the corner on a small stage is a four piece band banging out the songs that have the kids up and dancing from the word go.   Now flash forward fifty years, in the corner on a small stage in a coffee shop that same exact band is playing the same exact songs and all the indie-kid caffeine junkies are loving every second of it.   That band is Murder Mystery, defining a sound that I can best describe as retro-indie. Snappy snare based drumming, lots of hand claps, poppy danceable bass lines and clean efficient guitar playing, fronted by a voice that falls somewhere between Stephin Merritt(Magnetic Fields) and Gordon Gano(Violent Femmes).   Their new album Are You Ready for the Heartache Cause Here it Comes was co-produced by J.P. Bowersock(Ryan Adams And The Cardinals,The Strokes) and is chock full of catchy boy-girl-love songs that will have you humming along, if not dancing along, at the first listen.   Murder Mystery is from New York City and is Jeremy Coleman(vocals, guitar), Adam Fels(bass,vocals) Jeremy's tap dancer turned drummer sister, Laura Coleman(drums,vocals) and Kevin Jaszek(guitar,vocals) MP3: Murder Mystery - In A Sentimental Mood MP3: Murder Mystery - What My Baby Said Buy Are You Ready For The Heartache Cause Here It Comes   [WEBSITE] [MYSPACE]   Read more from Tom by visiting Bag of Songs.   [Link to this post]
Public Record lists their influences on their myspace page as Bohannon, Orange Juice, Al Green, Studio One, Caetano Veloso, Motown, Joe Gibbs, Stax, Josef K, Broadcast, Ethiopiques, Channel One, James Brown, Jackie Mitoo, Talking Heads, The Contortions, Jorge Ben, Sound Dimension, Big Flame, King Tubby, David Axlerod, Hard Bop, Impressions, Fela Kuti, Sonic Youth, Stereolab, Carlton & the Shoes. Now I'm sure as you read that list you're probably saying to yourself how can they possibly roll all that into one sound. As I sit here listening to a couple mixes of tracks from their upcoming release I'm trying to put into words for you how it all really does make sense. An all instrumental septet, they bake jazz,funk,indie rock,ska,afro beat and more into one heavily danceble, highly textured rhythmic cake, all iced with Hilary Baker's slinky saxophone lines. A sound that got them named as an Artist To Watch for 2007 by Philebrity and also got them signed to Philadelphia's own High Two record label. Their album comes out early next year and it's one you don't want to miss.   Public Record : Hilary Baker - saxophone Brent Bohan - bass Gareth Duffield - guitar, keyboards, melodica Charles Duquesne - percussion, drums Ted Johnson - drums, percussion Matt Lyons - drums, percussion Greg Pavlovcak - guitar   MP3: Public Record - Comfortability   Read more from Tom by visiting Bag of Songs.   [Link to this post]
Happy Halloween music aficionados! We do like the pumpkin holiday here at BTR, and, to celebrate, we've got five new albums we'd like to notify you about. So, read on and listen up, 'cause you know we wouldn't steer you in the wrong direction... The Forms The Forms In 2003, The Forms dropped their debut album Icarus, to rave reviews. Four years later, the quartet from Brooklyn, New York, are back with their self-titled sophomore album, recorded by the man Steve Albini, and all is both beautiful and beyond worth the wait. Songs like "Alpha," "Redgun," "Transmision," and "Bones" remind one why Fall breezes amidst sunshine are so comforting, making it easy to understand why precious things are so fleeting. Some may grumble that this album was four years in the making, but others will sigh with the satisfaction of a fed belly, as there isn't a finer 29 minutes to be found anywhere in 2007. 100 Days, 100 Nights Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings Music like this isn't exactly commercial at press time, but damned if it isn't welcomed with open arms and ecstatic cochleas. Sure, it may sound like it dropped around 1966, but you can't tell me it isn't reassuring, like the voice of an elder sister telling wistful tales past midnight. Check songs like "Be Easy," and "Nobody's Baby" for some straight-up soul music, so good it will have you coming back for thirds. Slow Down Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Slquad Yes, the name may throw you off at first, but, rest assured, the band itself will surpass your expectations. If you dig on old-school Sublime, 70's style Dub music and the subsequent warpings of said genre via artists/oufits like Bill Laswell, Lee 'Scratch' Perry and Dub Trio, you're in the right bodega. This is the kind of album perfect for any house party, especially the kind where hand shakes are firm and head nods are unstoppable. Marry Me St. Vincent   Just looking at this album cover featuring the curious visage of Ms. Annie Clark, one can' t help but become powerfully interested. And the smashing fact is, such curiosities are bound to yield bountiful rewards, as Ms. Clark's latest effort is undoubtedly her most profound statement to date. Click here to find out more... Clockwork Tim Blane If you dig the Dave Matthews Band, you're going to love this. Tim Blane has hooked up an album perfect for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and roller skating rinks. This is the kind of music tailor-made for joyous family functions, where everybody gets down to the next reassuring chorus.
I'll admit it I never having given Birdie Busch's first CD a listen, I'd pigeonholed her as one more generic singer songwriter without even hearing a note and never gave it a second thought. I can't compare it to her first, but based on hearing Penny Arcade I'll admit I was wrong. With a unique voice that falls somewhere between the childlike pureness of Victoria Williams and the Appalachian drawl of Gillian Welch, she delivers songs with a heartfelt honesty that is truly refreshing. The photo above captures her essence so perfectly. The songs have a warm organic folky feel akin to a bunch of friends sitting around a late night party with everyone just jamming on whatever instruments they can find. Just one listen will leave songs like Go Go Gadget Heart with it's loping bass line and sing along chorus resonating in your mind for days to come. Or check out the brilliant detail rich storytelling of The Huff Singers(North Philly). Be mesmerized by the hypnotic cover of Steve Miller's Wild Mountain Honey and so on, and so on. 13 songs worth you'll surely want to hear again. I'm converted.   MP3: Birdie Busch - Go Go Gadget Heart MP3: Birdie Busch - Mystical Buy Penny Arcade   [Photo By Michael T. Regan] [WEBSITE][MYSPACE]   Read more from Tom by visiting Bag of Songs.   [Link to this post]
Great to be back here at Break Thru Radio for another fun week of guest blogging. Up today one of the first bands I ever featured on Bag Of Songs, The Shrinking Islands.   The Shrinking Islands proved that you don't need noises and gimmicks to make a great record. Solid songs and crystalline production values characterized one of the overlooked gems of 2006.   In The Black Carpet begins like a mist rolling through an early morning meadow. Native Light is awash in cymbals and subtle guitar parts that set a perfect opening tone, just like the calm before the first light of day. Then the real trip begins, seven more songs filled with chiming guitars, melodic bass lines and earnest vocals interwoven into jangling pop gems. Wander through State Fair as the song slowly builds to an alternating dance of guitar and bass counterpoints. Try not to sing along to my personal favorite, the hypercatchy Swallowed In Grace, a song that will stick in your head for days.   Shades of the Byrds meets Velvet Underground sound that kickstarted a revolution on college radio back in the eighties are evident all around. But much like those bands - REM, Yo La Tengo, The Feelies, Let's Active,The Db's, Dumptruck to name a few, Kyle Bittinger and Andy Tefft have crafted a brilliant pop record that takes their influences and molds them into their own distinct sound. Hailing from Cambridge, Massachusetts, they recorded In The Black Carpet at MIT’s WMBR live studio where Kyle is an engineer, and the sound of the record is beautiful - pristine, shimmering, and timeless.   2007 brings forth The Slow Moving Aftermath EP another jangly pop gem from The Shrinking Islands. One thing that makes this extra significant is that they are pioneers in the method the band Radiohead will get most of the credit for in the years to come. As one of the first artists on the groundbreaking Cambridge, Massachusetts based Inman Street Records they offered their EP for free download with an optional pay system. The world is changing and The Shrinking Islands will be there for the revolution.     MP3: The Shrinking Islands - Swallowed In Grace [In The Black Carpet] MP3: The Shrinking Islands - The Slow Moving Aftermath [The Slow Moving Aftermath EP]   [MYSPACE] [WEBSITE] [INMAN STREET RECORDS]   Read more from Tom by visiting Bag of Songs.   [Link to this post]
I first mentioned Ag-Rock in this post about Adrienne Young. If you are too lazy to click the link and scan the post for my definition, here is what I said:   “Adrienne Young plays ag-rock. That is short for agriculture…  Ag-rock is a meshing of Celtic, Appalachian, Bluegrass, Country, Rock and Folk. Earthy lyrics. Young's voice reminds me of Barbara Cohen, another purveyor of Ag-rock. Maybe I should do a post of Ag-rock tunes.”   And here is that post. Here are some songs that capture the feel, sound, emotion, instrumentation, etc. of this genre. We’re talking earthy lyrics. We’re talking singers singing about a rough, dust-blown life. We’re talking a plethora of acoustic instruments. We’re talking the perfect music for a Full Moon on a Friday in October.   Neil Young ~ Thrasher   Barbara Cohen ~ Marigold   Adrienne Young ~ Room To Grow   Levon Helm ~ Poor Old Dirt Farmer   Tacoma Hellfarm Tragedy ~ true love killed my true love's love for me   John Mellencamp ~ Rain On The Scarecrow (Rough Harvest version)   The Avett Brothers ~ Me and God   Old Crow Medicine Show ~ Gospel Plow   Ray LaMontagne ~ Shuckin’ Corn   Greg Brown ~ Why Don’t You Just Go Home   Gillian Welch ~ Summer Evening (Greg Brown cover)   Fionn Regan ~ The Cowshed   Shelly Short ~ Pullin’ Pullin’   Tom Waits ~ Get Behind The Mule Read more from the Duke of Straw by visiting The Late Greats.   [Link to this post]
This Philadelphia dude has the Philly soul down cold. Albeit, he sounds hot, hot, hot. His new album, Nevermind The Blues, doesn’t come out until Tuesday, October 30. (But you can listen to the lead-off track below.) Ropeadope Records is releasing the 12 cut masterpiece. A label home to two other Duke of Straw favorites: Sex Mob and Tin Hat Trio, a label known for groovy tunes. A good label for Ben.   Not only does Ben have an incredible, rich and soulful voice, but he writes his own songs and co-produced this album. He is further proof that Philly is home to some of the best music in 2007.   Listen: Ben Arnold ~ Suckin’ Honey   Further study: Website myspace   More MP3s: Hype Machine elbo   Read more from the Duke of Straw by visiting The Late Greats.   [Link to this post]
Keep an ear out next week for some new music from longtime BTR artist El Gringo, BUT they're now known as Comanchero.  That's right, the band has changed names. Their website is still for now. You might remember the band formerly known as El Gringo for tracks like Radiator Coming, Alabama Moonstruck, and Traffic---among others. Their new CD Americana Nueva is out and BTR will have it for you starting next week! My Wed show for sure. Stay tuned!
Some albums come out at the perfect time of year. Like “Sky Blue Sky”. It came out in early May. The music, the themes, the lyrics all had that May feel to it. That Spring is in full swing and Summer is just around the corner. “American Hearts” was released on September 18. Which is perfect. The music, the themes, the lyrics all have that September feel to it. That Fall is in the air, the leaves are starting to change, the world is slowing down in prep of Winter. That kind of feel. Some might say this is a lo-fi album because the production is sparse, the instrumentation plain, the vocals gritty at times. Some might call it folk because the songs are acoustic guitar based and have some harmonic tossed in for color. Some might call it rock (manly iTunes). The Duke calls it good music. I don’t know anything about A.A. Bondy. Nor do I want. The ignorance gives this album some mystique. Gives it some flair. I like to image it was recorded in the early 1960s and lost in some crazy producer’s closet only to find the light of day after said producer kicks the bucket and his house is gutted before being demolished by dynamite to make room for a shopping mall. Besides the Fall feeling, it has a timeless aura. An air I really dig. Rating: Da Capo Al Fine = Siamese Dream (Confused about the ratings scale? Check out my sidebar.) RIYL: The Great Outdoors or The Felice Brothers Listen: There Is A Reason America Hearts Lover’s Waltz Further Study: myspace More MP3s: Hype Machine elbo More: Album Reviews Buy from Amazon Or you can use some of you 25 FREE Downloads from eMusic to get this album. Contest reminder: WIN Ryan Adams’ new EP and lithograph   Read more from the Duke of Straw by visiting The Late Greats.   [Link to this post]
With over 500 bands crammed into just 5 days, it's tough to narrow down which shows should be on your schedule for the CMJ Music Marathon. The 2007 event was packed full of so many choices each night that it was actually rare to run into a BreakThru Radio co-worker at a show. With so many different music tastes circling around the BTR office, each person's schedule of events looked quite different. So, it seems only fitting that an assortment of the staff presents you (our listener) with a rundown of what we each liked the best at the event this year. Ghostland Observatory DJ Wynn- Play that beat you adorable vampire." That's a phrase I overheard when Ghostland Observatory finished a raucous set that was everything I could have ever wanted.  Said vampire, Thomas Ross Turner, wore his trademark, powder-blue cape while manning synthesizers and drums. He didn't utter a word, but he did let his bass switches speak for him. Those vibrations made me feel like I was riding on a wooden roller coaster. Frontman, Aaron Behrens sported aviators, braids, and jeans that hid nothing. If you don't know, the man can move. Two of my favorite steps were a Prince-like crawl that led to humping the speakers, and a round about romp that resembled a rain dance. The duo roared through hits from their latest release,  Paparazzi Lightning, and threw in some "oldies but goldies" from The standouts for me were "Vibrate", "Piano Man", and "Stranger Lover." Finally, a band that can get hipsters to dance. DJ Maxim- Thursday night of CMJ was a night of rock, set off by a set from Loyal Divide at Banjo Jim's.  The club was small and packed, and it seemed like everyone was there to see the boys of Loyal Divide fill the air with their brand of psychedelic, electro punk.  There was no sound man, until their tour manager stepped up to adjust the levels.  The impromptu sound check only added to the real and raw attitude of the entire night.  The bar was serving PBR with a well shot for 5 bucks, and LD was serving emotional and sexy rock music with pounding drums and video game keys. Guitarist John Notowidigo bobbed his head while rocking his guitar and keyboard, often at the same time.  Singer Adam Johnson was only visible half the time, spending much of the set on the floor shouting and tweaking his effects pedals.  Chris Sadek also took to the mic with his high pitched whaling.  When he wasn't singing, he was either rocking an acoustic guitar or his trumpet. The rhythm section was both  flawless and effortless, as bassist Siddu Chittajallu and drummer Thundar McCarthy drove the beat home. There were no special effects and no changes in lighting. There was shitty sound quality, and somehow Loyal Divide still managed to rock the house.  The night was raw, and I got the impression that it's not very often that a band as good as Loyal Divide performs in such organic conditions.  It was something special, and the buzz surrounding this band is sure to escalate very quickly. Joan As Police Woman DJ Emily- So, I want to totally cop-out here and say that just about every show I went to was my favorite... and I wouldn't be lying if I did. I can't telly you how much incredible music my eyes and ears were able to behold during the CMJ Music Marathon last week. Spoon was great, I'd been wanting to see them for so many years and it finally happened. Illinois was a surprise. I knew i liked them but now I'm completely in love. Ghostland Observatory, which has already been mentioned was possibly one of the most energetic shows I've ever been to in my life. And, The Undisputed Heavyweights (my favorites from last year at CMJ) could very easily hold the title once again. However, for the purpose of the article I must narrow it down and I think I'll have to go with Joan As Police Woman. I caught the show at Pianos and she was so delightfully charming on stage, it's a memory I'll never forget. I'd love to fill you in more, but for that you will have to check out my review of the show which will be up on the site this Friday, October 24. DJ Rachelandthecity- What I love about CMJ is not the planning, or the travel, or the hardcore scheduling that goes on to be able to see as many bands as possible, my favorite part is when you stumble upon something totally by accident. That's what happened when I ducked into White Rabbit on Houston for a potty break on Wednesday afternoon. The place was sort of empty, but as soon as Aaron Behrens (of Ghostland Observatory) walked in on me in the bathroom, I had a feeling that something cool must be about to happen. The next thing I know Sparrow House (you know, Jared Van Fleet of Voxtrot!) was on stage playing, so I pulled up a seat at the bar. After Van Fleet's excellent set, Behrens pulled out a surprise country set for the bar which slowly began to fill up as the 6 o'clock hour rounded. I was pleasantly surprised to see that The Forms were up next. They played a killer Nirvana cover that stopped my companion and I in mid-sentence - "Are they playing 'All Apologies'?"  "Nice!" Next up, it was time for a solo set from Charles Bissell of the Wrens. That afternoon was just the kind of laid back show that I needed to rest before the real action started later on in the evening. Just before it was time to head out into the night to find the rock - we were treated to a hilarious performance by Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. I don't remember everything that happened later that night, but the Gothamist show is one that I'll definitely remember when I am figuring out my schedule next year. DJ Drew- Two words, Meat Puppets!  I know they are not exactly "new" or the future of indie rock as we know it, but being that i grew up a little too late and a little too stupid to appreciate all the 90's alt-rock I'm now getting a chance to experience, I'd waited years to see the trio in NYC. With the release of their newest album "Rise To Your Knees", the brothers Kurtwood (and new drummer Ted Marcus) came to New York October 17th to play at The Lion's Den to remind the world who the original cow-punk, alt-country superstars are.  I got to hear "Lake of Fire" (no Kurt Cobain didn't write it), their big hit "Backwater", and my personal favorite "Comin' Down ."  Just a note, they are still on tour so check to see if they hit your area (with Sonic Youth!!!). DJ Annie- As I hiked the staircase to Indaba Music's office/apartment on Bowery, I couldn't help but wonder what I was getting myself into.  However, despite the unconventional locale, Indaba really pulled off their day parties with a fantastic roster of artists all week. I had yet to make it over to the spot, but Friday night gave me the opportunity I craved, as I learned Wakey! Wakey! ( a.k.a. Mike Grubbs) was performing. One of my favorite New York singer/songwriters, Grubbs' impressive voice coupled with brilliant piano is not to be missed.  I'd seen Grubbs perform a few times at an open mic night in my Brooklyn 'hood, and these past few months it's been great seeing him get more and more recognition for his music. Grubbs' sound is intense and thought provoking, which is nicely balanced by his easy-going, humorous stage presence.  The feeling in the room was a friendly one- my personal favorite moment being the cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun." All of the songs weren't quite so lighthearted, most with harsh but relatable lyrics like "it's safe to say we disagree on one too many things..." and "Here we go again, another mistake, all my thoughts are caving in my head."  The rest of the band was incredibly solid, especially the violinist (though, I can't deny my bias- I'm a sucker for the strings.) I loved every gut-wrenching minute, and I've got a suspicion that anyone lucky enough to catch one of his live shows will agree. DJ Jeff K- So many bands, so little time. I've had the experience in the past of trying to do too much during CMJ and this past week was no exception. It seems every band is seeking attention from every tired, worn out college kid. Most of which are simply roaming the streets of New York City for the first time and finding that each night inevitably turns into one big blur. Luckily I was able to sort through the chaos and see The Brunettes at the New Zealand showcase at The Delancey Lounge. It was remarkable how different they were. Trumpet? Saxophone? Xylophone? Yes, live instruments erased the effect of the synthesizer driven indie music landscape. The Brunette's were able to capture an audience by shear talent and by creating something different from the rest. People are getting sick of the same hipster crap and The Brunette's deserve a little extra attention on your iPod, give them at least one minute, even if it requires you to take an extra dose of your A.D.D. medication for the day.
Radiohead Are Copycats   I have no proof, no leg to stand on, in fact I haven’t even heard their album yet, but Radiohead stole the “groundbreaking” way they released their new album from Mieka Pauley.   A month ago, this Bostonian was taking orders for her new album with various levels of prices/sponsorship. From the typical $15 which comes with just the album, to a $1000 sponsorship which includes a house concert and a treasure-trove of other goodies. Or you can choose your own level of payment. Her fans have come through for her, shelling out an average of $65 an album.   The automatic download thingy that Radiohead did is different than Mieka’s distribution. As the orders for her batch of tunes come with a package CD instead of the digital only release from Radiohead. Also, depending on the amount you spend, you get oodles of bonuses.    As stated, I have yet to listen to Radiohead’s album. But I’m going to go out on another limb and say the British band’s sound was influenced by Mieka Pauley’s album. She plays a blend of hard-nosed rock, softer pop and singer-songwriter. She has a “don’t mess with me” kind of attitude the music industry hasn’t seen since Liz Phair’s debut. Radiohead has the same kind of attitude when it comes to their affectation. Radiohead continues to build on their arty, indie, whiny whiteboy sound that has made them so famous. There are times when Mieka’s vocals have a Yorke-ish flavor.   Both Radiohead and Ms. Pauley have poetic lyrics and a “produced” sound. Both enjoy a cult following, even if one is slightly larger than the other.   Mieka might not go multi-platinum with “Elijah Drop Your Gun” but the release will have an affect on the industry.    These are exciting times for music fans. This whole choose your own price idea, these artists doing things their own way, these are turns in the right direction. It is encouraging that musicians are willing to trust their fans.   Some Mieka songs for evaluation: All The Same Mistakes Stronger Draped In Blue   Further study: Mieka Pauley’s website Mieka Pauley’s myspace Info on ordering the album   Read more from the Duke of Straw by visiting The Late Greats.   [Link to this post]
CMJ Day 4 was my favorite day of the week.  I attended a special screening of Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show, which opens in theatres on February 8, 2008 (more commonly known as my 24th birthday).  Vince and star Justin Long were in attendance and did a Q&A afterwards.  The movie is a documentary of a 30-day, 30-city, 30-show comedy tour that Vince took four comics on during the summer of 2005.  It’s hilarious.  Here’s a picture from the Q&A afterwards:       After the screening, BTR Music Director (DJ) Annie and I headed over to the Indaba Showcase on Bowery to see a performance of Wakey! Wakey!, which totally rocked.  Lead singer Mike Grubbs brought the house down with his solo, piano-based performance in the middle of the set.  The only thing that really detracted from the show was the sweltering heat, but even that couldn’t keep us from getting chills as we watched Grubbs sing his heart out.   Annie and I split up after the Wakey! Wakey! performance.  I decided to try my luck getting into the Gramercy Theatre for the Blender Sessions performance of one of my all-time favorite bands, the Counting Crows. Yes, I realize that Counting Crows are totally not indie AT ALL, but they’ve been one of my favorite bands since August and Everything After came out, so the lure of seeing them was too tempting, so I made the call to head there instead of checking out the Maccabees and the 1990’s with Annie.  I showed up pretty early because I was determined to get in. Here’s a (admittedly pretty crappy) video of part of “A Murder of One.” If you want the set list, leave a comment in the comments section and I’ll post it.   Here’s the video, I know it’s crappy, but I’m putting it out there anyway: ~Colleen The last of CMJ consisted of great panels. I really enjoyed "The Year in Tech". The things you learn when 50-60 tech gurus are in one room can make any computer geek drool.  I also thought "Major Label Dilemma" brought up some great insights into the future of recorded music.  The traditional way of distributing music is truly changing. ~Jeff (aka DJ Jeff K) The Maccabees Another day of CMJ and I was finally starting to feel better! After going to some great panels (I specifically enjoyed "The Almighty Blog," I headed over to Indaba Music with Colleen to catch Wakey! Wakey!, one of my favorite New York singer/songwriters.  Having seen his live show several times, I knew we were in for a treat, and I wasn't disappointed. Though the office/apartment was sweltering and didn't look anything like any CMJ showcase I'd ever been to, a good time was had by all. The Indaba day parties had hosted a great lineup all week, and I was excited to be able to finally make my way over there. After a brief rest, I was headed back out to Bowery Ballroom to see 1990's and The Maccabees, two bands I'd been dying to see all week. Unfortunately my cold didn't hold out long enough to catch The Maccabees (next time!), but the showcase was fantastic and the music was great! ~Annie (aka DJ Annie) [Link to this post]
By the final day of CMJ, all of us at BTR were completely tuckered out from the long four days prior.  The award for the most stamina goes to Annie, Emily, and Phillip (DJ Wynn), who went to see Spoon perform at the Roseland Ballroom.  Yours truly had every intention of going until her body laughed at her and said, "If you think I'm going to make it through another show, even for a band as awesome as Spoon, you've got another thing coming!"  However, Annie was kind enough to share a little something with all of you fine listeners/readers about her final CMJ experience of 2007... ~Colleen Final day of CMJ!   I was ready to end CMJ with the biggest show of the week- Spoon at Roseland Ballroom. The place was packed, and Britt even announced that Roseland was the biggest venue ever for the band! Spoon rocked all their new tracks as well as some old favorites. My only complaint was the set was too short, though I did appreciate the lengthy encore! With that final show, my CMJ 2007 experience drew to a close. Despite my cold, I had a great time this year and saw some amazing live music. The great thing about living in New York, however, is that the fun isn't over! I'm seeing two shows this week that I'm pumped about, so I don't have to be too bummed that CMJ is over...but that won't stop me from looking forward to next year! ~Annie (aka DJ Annie)   [Link to this post]
Marco Benevento played the Regattabar in Cambridge, MA on Tuesday night with Andrew Barr of The Slip and Reed Mathis. I've seen Marco a few times but only when he's played with his other half, Joe Russo (Benevento/Russo Duo). Tuesday's show proved to me the components of the Duo; Marco is truly the mad scientist of sound (and Joe, the glue that holds the quirks and the rhythm together). Marco had his crazy little sound robot up on the piano with him and the crowd giggled with delight when it lit up. Bird chips tucked in between bass licks. I couldn't help but think of The Slip's "Eisenhower" album. Perhaps that's what made this set such a good match—Andrew sounded and appeared to feel right at home with Marco. And Reed stood between the two of them, blending each of their unique sounds and adding his own funk. It was pretty chill to see parts of my two favorite groups come together. And the intimacy of the jazz club made it even more enjoyable. It was almost like I had come home from seeing The Slip and then the Duo, and everyone was still amped up and jamming out.
There is an expression in golf: hitting it pure. Sometimes referred to as the hitting the “sweet spot”. It is when you strike the ball with your club perfectly. When your swing tempo is just right. When the ball sails away from you in the flight path you desired. And the ball ends up where you want it to. Listening to Rachel Ries is like hitting pure shot after pure shot. Her second album Without A Bird is a flawless 10 song trip around the golf course. This South Dakota-born, now living under the L in Chicago, writes and records in her own style. If you were hunting for it in a record store, check in the Folk section. But there are elements of Jazz and Bluegrass. She calls it “Prairie Swing/City Folk”. If you have yet to buy an album by an artist featured on The Late Greats, I implore you to support Rachel. She has done this record all on her own, creating her own record label (SoDak). Click the buy link below. Or maybe go she her on tour, as her live performances are entrancing, charismatic and could be the best show you see all year. Check her website for a complete list of dates. Rating: Magnum Opus =  Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness (Confused about the ratings scale? Check out my sidebar.) RIYL: Devon Sproule, Eilen Jewell or Feist Listen: Never You Mind Fine, I’m Fine Hands To Water Further Study: Website myspace More MP3s: Hype Machine elbo Buy from CD Baby. More: Album Reviews   Read more from the Duke of Straw by visiting The Late Greats.   [Link to this post]
Happy Birthday DJ Emily!!!   Well, yesterday (October 18) was my birthday and it could not have been much better. I got to see Joan As Police Woman at Piano's in NYC, and she was incredible. Of course, I'll be doing a review of the show... It will go up next week here on the site so, you'll have to check it out!!! Also, I was able to see Beat Radio live for the first time. They played at a weird little apartment off of Bowery. Great stuff and their lead singer Brian wore a BTR tee shirt, which made the show even better! Plus, there was free beer and free chocolate chip cookies... delicious!! Next up, an amazing night at Rockwood Music Hall... I think it's my favorite venue in NYC. Small, intimate, great wine and wonderful atmosphere. I went to the venue around 9PM, ready for The Undisputed Heavyweights... they played at midnight. Luckily, the preceding acts were incredible and I will hopefully be getting all of them for BTR. It's so great to unexpectedly find amazing music.     The Undisputed Heavyweights I knew what to expect with The Undisputed Heavyweights... perfection, and they did not disappoint. Luckily, they knew it was my birthday and that I would be in attendance. They sang me "Happy Birthday" and Casey serenaded me with a beautiful ballad... complete with toasting and gazing into each other's eyes. Wonderful! Casey and company performed my favorite show at CMJ last year, and this year topped it... incredible! If you're in the NYC area... please see these guys! Tonight was great as well. I went to see Islands and ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, with DJ Wynn. To my surprise Yo Majesty was performing. The group is from Tampa, Florida and I am obsessed with them. It was the perfect end to a spectacular birthday!! I've got to get this duo for BTR... it's become my mission. I'm having the best time and there is so much more to come. I'll have lots of reviews coming up on the site, my blog here on BTR will be updated soon and I'll have lots of pictures to post as well. Keep checking BTR for more CMJ updates and please, if you're in town, check out everything that's going on... these artists are making history and I feel so lucky to be a part of it! :)     BTR Crew at dinner [Link to this post]
Hello To All, I've been in New York for three days now, and I've come to realize that sleep doesn't come easy in this city. The bed in my hotel room is mighty comfy, but with so many places to walk to, so much food to eat, and shows upon shows upon shows to see, sleep is merely an afterthought. Eventually my body will crash, but till then....let's party like it's Prince's birthday. Highlights: 1) Chairlift - Drumming is handled by none other than our own DJ Pat, but that has no sway over my fondness of the band. They showcased electro-pop perfection, and lead singer Caroline was spot on with her vocals and dance numbers (not to mention she's cute as a shiny button). After seeing bands where the music drowns out the vocals (damn you sound guy), it was a pleasure to be able to bask in chords. 2) ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead - Sweet punk glory, these seven chaps know how to put on a show.... and how!!! One guy (who shall remain nameless) started off singing and playing guitar, then he jumped on the keyboards, and for the next song he proceeded to bang on the drums. He was a living swiss army knife. All in all, the group displayed high energy, and had a usually stiff NY crowd jumping off the banisters. 3) The Undisputed Heavyweights - Crooner Casey Shea has stage game for days. It's a mix between southern fried preacher and pushy, but lovable older brother. He adores his audience between and during songs, but he also berates his band members, even going so far as to declare this show the last one for his guitarist, "You're fucking outta the band!!!" Don't worry, it's all an act and it's one you should catch anytime you're in New York.
Clockwise from top left: DJ Emily, DJ Wynn, Colleen, Max on Day 1 Two days of CMJ down. Three more to go! Thus far, my first two days of CMJ (ever) have been hectic – but in a good way. On Tuesday, I helped my fellow BTR-ians set up our booth in the Puck Building in the morning, then perused the showroom for a bit. After a quick lunch with the world famous DJ Jeff K (aka Jeff) and DJ Maxim (aka Max) at my new favorite place in NYC (hey food is just as important as music…isn’t it?), it was Max and my turn to man the table. Later on that night, Jeff & I headed down to Delancy St & Rivington St to a showcase at good ole Fat Baby, where we caught (and recorded) Rockfour. Okay, by “we recorded Rockfour,” I mean “Jeff recorded and I sat there for moral support.” The show was fun to watch, though. It was packed and I couldn’t get close enough to take a good pic, so Jeff had to be a tall kid and take it for me. I did an interview for DJ Lahtola when I got home from the show (at 1am, I may add. I am a trooper!). Jeff and I manned the booth yesterday from 10am-2pm. It was pretty fun, actually. We met a lot of cool people, from college reps to businessmen talking up their products. There was a karaoke booth set up right by us, so we were treated to the sounds of Michelle Branch’s “All You Wanted,” Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend,” Rhianna’s “Umbrella,” and (a special treat), the song “Sandy” from the movie Grease. We bonded with the men at the table across from us during these entertaining few hours of wannabe pop stars. Karaoke right in front of the BTR booth.  We'll be singing "Hey (hey) you (you) I don't like your girlfriend!" for HOURS now.   The iPhone gives us directions to the venues After booth duty was over, Jeff and I grabbed some food (hey, I said food = just as important as music), then decided to walk over to the Lower East Side and check out some shows.  In order to ensure that we did not get lost, Jeff had his trusty iPhone out with a map on screen in order to guide our way.  Our first stop was at Delancy’s to see the New Zealand showcase, featuring Liam Finn, The Brunettes, and Cut Off Your Hands. It was hosted by Murray Hewitt, the manager of Flight of the Conchords. The Brunettes at the New Zealand Showcase at The Delancey   Max met us there just as The Brunettes were starting (he was busy recording a showcase over at Midway for much of the day). All the bands put on a good show, particularly The Brunettes.  The second song of their set, “B-A-B-Y,” was complete with “Y-M-C-A” style arm motions and everything. The harmonies were awesome, and the crowd was won over.   A little bit of inside-BTR-trivia would reveal that our dear DJ Maxim is a big fan of Flight of the Conchords. Desperate for a picture with Murray Hewitt, but afraid to go up and ask him for one, Max and Jeff came up with a plan. While Hewitt was talking to a fairly attractive blonde woman, Max was to go up to him and ask for a picture. When he obliged, Max would then take the blonde woman aside and have yours truly take a picture of the two of them instead. The plan worked. Hewitt, the blonde woman, and their posse all laughed hysterically at Max’s chutzpah and a made-for-MySpace photograph was taken.  Observe: Max and the "Blonde Woman."  Murray Hewitt laughs about Max's joke in the background. Max and Murray Hewitt The three of us left the New Zealand showcase a little before 5pm and headed back to Midway so Max could finish recording his final band of the day, Care Bears on Fire (an All-Access band). Care Bears on Fire is made up of three kids, all under age 13. It was both interesting and inspiring to see such young people performing at a CMJ showcase. Exhausted, having drank slightly too much free beer before dinnertime, and pretty hungry, we went our separate ways after the show was over. We reconvened, however, later on last night at Spotlight Live on Broadway to catch a performance by Quintus, TV/TV, and The Restless. Jeff recorded them while I watched Max torture (aka hit on) the poor bartender all night. TV/TV was full of energy, and singer Josh Ocean came into the crowd during the last song of their set, singing along with fans. He approached Jeff and I, shoving the microphone in our faces. Uncharacteristically, I froze up and laughed instead of hamming it up for the crowd. Luckily, Jeff was feeling adventurous and rocked along with Josh for a moment. Yes, he even threw a head band or two in there. Jeff and Max   So far, CMJ is everything I expected it to be and more. Today, I plan on hitting up a few panels, particularly the one on Iconic Songs (12:30pm at the Loewe Theater). I haven’t decided what showcases I’ll be attending yet, but I’ll most likely join Max and whoever else at Banjo Jim’s at 8:30pm to see The Loyal Divide, a band from Max’s hometown in Ohio.   Other events going down at CMJ today:   Music (Official CMJ showcases):   Ace of Clubs 7:30pm  Blammos 8:20pm  Minipop 9:20pm  Scissors for Lefty 10:20pm  Mud 11:10pm  The Matches 12:10am  A Band Called Pain Alphabet Lounge 8:00pm  Kira and the Crisis 8:45pm  Seth Kallen & the Reaction 9:30pm  The Glaciers 10:15pm  Hector On Stilts 11:00pm  The Black Canary The Annex 9:00pm  We Are Wolves 10:00pm  Black Kids 11:00pm  Jack Penate 12:00am  Mates of State Arlene's Grocery 8:00pm  Southeast Engine 9:00pm  Hallelujah the Hills 10:00pm  The Affair 11:00pm  Get Him Eat Him 12:00am  Palomar 1:00am  Centro-matic Banjo Jim's 7:00pm  Skidmore Fountain 7:45pm  John Boy's Courage 8:30pm  Loyal Divide 9:15pm  Go Motion 10:00pm  I'll Be John Brown 12:00am  Bill Malchow Blender Theater at Gramercy 7:00pm  Death of Fashion 7:45pm  Benzos 8:30pm  The Epochs 10:00pm  Datarock 12:30am  Spoon 12:30am  1990's 12:30am  Air Traffic Bowery Ballroom 7:00pm  The Grey Race 8:00pm  Stardeath & White Dwarfs 9:00pm  Tiny Masters Of Today 10:00pm  1990's 11:00pm  Pela 12:00am  British Sea Power Bowery Poetry Club 7:30pm  Arise and Ruin 8:00pm  Red I Flight 8:30pm  With Blood Comes Cleansing 9:00pm  Damnation AD 9:30pm  Freya 10:00pm  Beneath the Sky Cake Shop 8:45pm  Flying 9:30pm  Shooting Spires 10:00pm  Big Bear 10:45pm  Gowns 11:30pm  High Places 12:15am  Pterodactyl Club Element (frmly The Bank) 8:00pm  KRS-One Crash Mansion 7:00pm  Rails to Russia 8:00pm  The Crash Engine 9:00pm  The Mood 10:00pm  BM Linx 11:00pm  Night Kills the Day 12:00am  Beat the Devil Cutting Room 7:30pm  The Low Anthem 8:30pm  Nathan Angelo 9:30pm  Mishal Zeera 11:30pm  Laura Bell Bundy Day Stage - Puck Building 12:00pm  Look Mexico 1:00pm  Eagle*Seagull 2:00pm  Connan & the Mockasins 3:00pm  Wild Light The Delancey 7:00pm  Origin of Species 7:20pm  Sick of Sarah 8:00pm  Princeton 9:00pm  Tommy Brunett 10:00pm  Fifty on Their Heels 11:00pm  Game Rebellion 12:00am  Slaves to Gravity Don Hill's 8:45pm  The Checks 9:30pm  Les Breastfeeders 10:30pm  Grady 11:30pm  Nebula 12:30am  Nashville Pussy Europa 7:30pm  The Sad Little Stars 8:30pm  The Shalitas 9:30pm  Action Painters 10:30pm  A Brief Smile Fat Baby 7:30pm  Winston 8:30pm  Hunter Valentine 9:30pm  Cadence Weapon 10:30pm  Wintersleep 11:30pm  Uncut Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza 9:00pm  Eldar 10:00pm  Eisley 11:00pm  Mute Math Fontanas 9:00pm  The Working Title 10:00pm  The Ruse 11:00pm  Luna Halo 12:00am  Immigrant 1:00am  Phonograph Googie's Lounge 7:30pm  Jordi Rosen 8:30pm  Jane Gabriels 9:30pm  Anabelle Chvostic 10:30pm  Ali Marcus 11:30pm  Brett Conti Highline Ballroom 8:00pm  Thunderheist 8:45pm  Yo Majesty 9:30pm  ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead 10:30pm  Enon 11:15pm  Octopus Project 12:00am  Islands Hiro Ballroom @ Maritime Hotel 8:00pm  GBH resident DJ 9:00pm  Foreign Islands 10:00pm  Project Jenny/Project Jan 11:00pm  Shout Out Out Out Out 12:00am  LA Riots 12:30am  Freeform Five 2:00am  Lazaro Casanova 3:00am  JDH + Dave P Joe's Pub 11:30pm  Elk City 12:30am  Camphor Knitting Factory Main Space 8:00pm  Speck Mountain 8:45pm  Le Loup 9:30pm  The Papercuts 10:15pm  Bowerbirds 11:00pm  His Name Is Alive 12:00am  St. Vincent Knitting Factory Old Office 8:00pm  Dri 9:00pm  Fourth of July 10:00pm  Mocco Nell 11:00pm  Octoberman 12:00am  The Mohawk Lodge Knitting Factory Tap Bar 6:15pm  Fake Problems 7:00pm  Sundowner 7:45pm  American Steel 8:30pm  The Falcon 9:15pm  Smoke Or Fire 10:00pm  Tim Barry 11:00pm  The Loved Ones 1:00am  Gods & Monsters Lion's Den 8:00pm  New Breed 9:00pm  Natascha Sohl 11:00pm  Dorp 12:00am  Drugdealer Cheerleader Lit Lounge 8:00pm  Poingly 8:45pm  Laromlab 9:30pm  Triclops 10:15pm  TWIN 11:00pm  The Show Is The Rainbow 11:45pm  Junius Living Room 7:00pm  Izabo 7:45pm  Holly Conlan 8:30pm  Brian Wright 9:00pm  Jim Bianco 10:00pm  Jenni Muldaur 11:00pm  Kaiser Cartel 12:00am  Dana Adini Luna Lounge 8:00pm  Blood Ceremony 9:00pm  Audionom 10:00pm  Turzi 11:00pm  Danava 12:00am  Saviours 1:00am  Witchcraft Magnetic Field 10:00pm  Rats With Wings Maxwell's 9:00pm  Roman Numerals 10:00pm  Meat Puppets Mercury Lounge 7:00pm  Turbo Fruits 8:00pm  Cheap Time 9:00pm  Miss Alex White 10:00pm  The Intelligence 11:00pm  Jay Reatard 12:00am  The Dirtbombs Midway 7:00pm  Marcellus Hall 8:00pm  Finally Punk 9:00pm  Your Vegas 10:00pm  Album 11:00pm  ...Nous Non Plus Mo Pitkin's 8:00pm  Craig Wedren 9:00pm  Rock Plaza Central 10:00pm  American Princes 11:00pm  The Golden Dogs 12:00am  Liam Finn 1:00am  Heloise & the Savoir Faire Music Hall of Williamsburg 10:00pm  James Fucking Friedman 10:00pm  Invisible Conga People 12:00am  Simian Mobile Disco Nokia Theater 9:00pm  Paradise Lost 10:00pm  Nightwish Pianos 7:30pm  Juiced Elfers 8:30pm  Special Guest 9:30pm  Fatal Flying Guilloteens 10:30pm  The Big Sleep 11:30pm  Alexandra Hope 12:00am  The Chapin Sisters 1:00am  Apollo Heights Plan B 10:00pm  DJ Spinna 10:00pm  Cosmo Baker 10:00pm  DJ Kaos 10:00pm  J Rocc S.O.B.'s 6:00pm  Listening Party for 'Up Close & Personal' hosted by Wyclef Jean Southpaw 9:00pm  Orba Square 11:00pm  Imperial Teen Studio B 12:00am  Muscles 1:00am  New Young Pony Club The Tank 8:00pm  Little Brazil 8:00pm  The Subjects 8:45pm  The End of the World 10:15pm  Aloke 11:00pm  Ume Trash 7:00pm  Mary Trembles 8:00pm  Bombers 9:00pm  Abigail Warchild 10:00pm  Ana Lola Roman 11:00pm  Elizabeth Harper 12:00am  The Matt Truman Ego Trip Union Hall 9:00pm  Let's Go Sailing 10:00pm  1900's 11:00pm  Division Day Union Pool 8:00pm  FDR 9:00pm  The Men 10:00pm  Wild Zero 11:00pm  The Everyday Visuals 12:00am  Neptune Webster Hall 9:00pm  Walter Meego 10:00pm  Holy Fuck 11:00pm  U.N.K.L.E   Panels:   Dubspot 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Match Made in Sonic Heaven: From Creation to Manipulation   Frederick Loewe Theater: Room 300 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Doing It Green   12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: Iconic Songs   Kimmel Center: Eisner & Lubin Auditorium 10:00 am - 11:00 am: Who's the Boss   12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: The Music Directors' Summit   2:15 pm - 3:30 pm: College Radio 2.0   Kimmel Center: Room 905 & 907 10:30 am - 11:30 am: Lit Rock   11:45 am - 12:45 pm: The Art of the Remix 1:15 pm - 2:15 pm: Sound Science   2:30 pm - 3:30 pm: PR on a Shoestring   3:45 pm - 4:45 pm: Katrina: Surviving Still   Kimmel Center: Shorin Music Performance Center 10:30 am - 11:30 am: Live Music: The Industry's Only Hope?   11:45 am - 12:45 pm: Disposable Content   1:15 pm - 2:15 pm: Culture Convergence: Art & Media   2:30 pm - 3:30 pm: The New A&R     Films:   “The Other Side Of The Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963 – 1965” (Directed by Murray Lerner, at the IFC Center, 11:15am):  Produced and directed by Academy Award-winner Murray Lerner, The Other Side Of The Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963 - 1965 opens a window into a critical epoch in American cultural history as reflected in the musical transformations of Bob Dylan's galvanizing watershed performances at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, 1964, and 1965. A long-awaited event for Bob Dylan aficionados, The Other Side Of The Mirror brings together more than 80 minutes of exquisitely filmed performances, 70% available here for the first time, drawn from three seminal years in the artist's ever-evolving career. -Post-screening Q&A with director Murray Lerner moderated by Bob Frye Screening sponsored by Sony BMG   “Flesh and Blood” (Directed by Larry Silverman, at the IFC Center, 2:00pm). Flesh and Blood is the story of American underground artist and cult figure Steve Haworth who spawned a subculture fixated on his invention of an extreme form of body modification. People flock to his Phoenix, Arizona home from around the world for freakish surgical procedures that, for instance, allow them to screw and unscrew stainless steel objects into their bodies. Haworth is not a doctor, and struggles to stay on the right side of the law. Flesh and Blood is an unflinching glimpse into a mysterious world he helped create, and the obsessed people who inhabit it. Some come for the pain, some for a sexual charge, some just to be different, while others are in way over their heads.   “Quarterlife” (Directed by Marshall Herskovitz, at the IFC Center, 3:30pm): Quarterlife is a show about a group of twentysomethings coming of age in the digital generation. And a social network about what it means to be creative, to pursue a passion, to make a difference in the world -- or just to find a place in it.  From Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, the creative team behind My So-Called Life, Quarterlife is the first Internet series that is as high quality as any film or television show - it's smart, funny, emotional...real. -Post-screening Q&A with Director/Producer Marshall Herskovitz   “Wristcutters” (Directed by Goran Dukic, at The Grand Screen, 5:45pm):Zia (Patrick Fugit), distraught over breaking up with his girlfriend, decides to end it all. Unfortunately, he discovers there is no real ending, only a run-down afterlife that is strikingly similar to his old one, just a bit worse. Discovering that his ex-girlfriend has also "offed" herself, he sets out on a road trip, with his Russian rocker friend, to find her. Their journey takes them through an absurd purgatory where they discover that being dead doesn't mean you have to stop livin'. -Post-screening Q&A with director Goran Dukic and members of the cast Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon and others   [Link to this post]
The CMJ Music Marathon is finally upon us! The event, which began yesterday and ends on Saturday, looks like it’ll just keep getting more exciting each day.  There’s a ton of stuff to do; the festival, of course, is filled with music.  As the wonderful DJ Emily shared with you last week, there are official showcases and unofficial showcases of the hottest acts in indie music today.  There are panels for attendees wishing to learn about anything from music videos to the future of digital distribution to copyright laws.  However, one of the lesser known components to the CMJ Music Marathon are the films that are screened there. Yesterday, there were screenings of a few movies.  One was I’m Not There, a biopic about Bob Dylan starring Richard Gere, Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, and Heath Ledger.  Shown at the Regal Theater in Union Square, I’m Not There takes viewers through the life and times of Dylan as portrayed by six different actors through a series of shifting personas.  Also screened was Frank & Cindy, a fake documentary about a couple’s pursuit of happiness after the male loses his ambition in the beginning of his rock career. The rest of the week in movies looks good.  Wristcutters (Thursday at 5:45pm), starring Tom Waits, Patrick Fugit, Will Arnett, and Shannyn Sossamon looks like it’s worth a look.  Friends actor David Schwimmer sits in the director’s chair for Run, Fat Boy, Run, which screens Saturday night at 7:30.  And for Dylan fans upset that they missed out on I’m Not There, you can always catch The Other Side Of The Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963 – 1965.  Oh yeah, and to top it all off, Vince Vaughn will be there, hosting a Q&A session after a screening of Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show, a documentary following his 30-day/30-city/30-show comedy show tour. Here’s a guide to some of the movies playing the rest of the week at CMJ (taken from the CMJ Music Marathon website) Wednesday, October 17th: Jimmy Carter Man From Plains (Directed by Jonathan Demme, at the IFC Center, 11:30am). Man From Plains is an intimate, surprising encounter with President Jimmy Carter. Following the path of Mr. Carter's recent controversial book tour for "Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid," Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) reveals a complex individual who crisscrosses the country to get his message across, even as that message creates a media onslaught wherein his credibility and judgment are called into question. Man From Plains explores both the private and public sides of Jimmy Carter, whose intense sense of justice compels him to pursue, with undiminished energy and hope, his lifelong and deeply spiritual vision of reconciliation and peace. -Voice your opinion in a post-screening open-forum debate on the Palestine/Israel peace conflict. Greetings From The Shore (Directed by Greg Chwerchak, at the IFC Center, 3:30pm). Still reeling from the death of her father, a young girl spends one last summer at the Jersey Shore before heading off to college. But when her plans fall apart, the girl stumbles into a mysterious world of Russian sailors, high-stakes gambling, and unexpected love. -Post-screening Q&A with director Greg Chwerchak and members from the cast, Kim Shaw and David Fumero. Thursday, October 18th: The Other Side Of The Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963 – 1965 (Directed by Murray Lerner, at the IFC Center, 11:15am).  Produced and directed by Academy Award-winner Murray Lerner, The Other Side Of The Mirror - Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963 - 1965 opens a window into a critical epoch in American cultural history as reflected in the musical transformations of Bob Dylan's galvanizing watershed performances at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, 1964, and 1965. A long-awaited event for Bob Dylan aficionados, The Other Side Of The Mirror brings together more than 80 minutes of exquisitely filmed performances, 70% available here for the first time, drawn from three seminal years in the artist's ever-evolving career. -Post-screening Q&A with director Murray Lerner moderated by Bob Frye Screening sponsored by Sony BMG Flesh and Blood (Directed by Larry Silverman, at the IFC Center, 2:00pm).  Flesh and Blood is the story of American underground artist and cult figure Steve Haworth who spawned a subculture fixated on his invention of an extreme form of body modification. People flock to his Phoenix, Arizona home from around the world for freakish surgical procedures that, for instance, allow them to screw and unscrew stainless steel objects into their bodies. Haworth is not a doctor, and struggles to stay on the right side of the law. Flesh and Blood is an unflinching glimpse into a mysterious world he helped create, and the obsessed people who inhabit it. Some come for the pain, some for a sexual charge, some just to be different, while others are in way over their heads. Quarterlife (Directed by Marshall Herskovitz, at the IFC Center, 3:30pm). Quarterlife is a show about a group of twentysomethings coming of age in the digital generation. And a social network about what it means to be creative, to pursue a passion, to make a difference in the world -- or just to find a place in it.  From Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, the creative team behind My So-Called Life, Quarterlife is the first Internet series that is as high quality as any film or television show - it's smart, funny, emotional...real. -Post-screening Q&A with Director/Producer Marshall Herskovitz Wristcutters (Directed by Goran Dukic, at The Grand Screen, 5:45pm). Zia (Patrick Fugit), distraught over breaking up with his girlfriend, decides to end it all. Unfortunately, he discovers there is no real ending, only a run-down afterlife that is strikingly similar to his old one, just a bit worse. Discovering that his ex-girlfriend has also "offed" herself, he sets out on a road trip, with his Russian rocker friend, to find her. Their journey takes them through an absurd purgatory where they discover that being dead doesn't mean you have to stop livin'. -Post-screening Q&A with director Goran Dukic and members of the cast Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon and others Friday, October 19th: Hell on Wheels (Directed by Bob Ray, at the IFC Center, 11:00am).  Hell on Wheels takes a look at the dizzying clash of athleticism, exhibitionism, egos, politics and business that is modern-era roller derby. A group of hard-hitting Texas women overcome myriad obstacles in resurrecting and revamping the sport, only to find internal strife ripping the fledgling organization apart. Two leagues emerge from the clash, and what follows ignites an international roller derby revival. Shot over a five-year period by Bob Ray and Werner Campbell, Hell on Wheels features original music by ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. -Post-screening Q&A with director Bob Ray. Darius Goes West (Directed by Logan Smalley, at the Tribeca Cinemas, 12:00pm).  Darius Weems, a 15-year-old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, had never left his hometown of Athens, Georgia. In the summer of 2005, he and a group of young college students traveled across the country in a wheelchair-accessible RV to test accessibility in the United States. Their ultimate goal was to reach Los Angeles and convince MTV's hit show, Pimp My Ride, to customize Darius's wheelchair. Along the way, they found joy, brotherhood, and the knowledge that life, even when imperfect, is always worth the ride. Planet In Peril (at the IFC Center, 1:15pm). Bringing viewers the stories behind the statistics, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Animal Planet host and wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin focus on four main issues that threaten the planet and its inhabitants: climate change, deforestation, species loss and overpopulation. -Post-screening Q&A with Anderson Cooper Before The Music Dies (Directed by Andrew Shapter, at the Tribeca Cinemas, 3:00pm).  Before The Music Dies tells the story of American music at this precarious moment. Filmmakers Andrew Shapter and Joel Rasmussen traveled the country, hoping to understand why mainstream music seems so packaged and repetitive, and whether corporations really had the power to silence musical innovation. The answers they found on this journey are what make this documentary both riveting and exhilarating. Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show (Directed by Ari Sandel, at the IFC Center, 4:00pm).  From Hollywood to the heartland, this documentary follows Vaughn as he handpicks four up-and-coming comics and then leads them on a remarkable 30-city, 30-day, 30-show tour as tour creator and emcee. The film features footage from the tour's performances, as well as behind-the-scenes and a host of surprise guests. -Post-screening Q&A with Vince Vaughn Saturday, October 20th: Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (Directed by Julien Temple, at the Tribeca Cinemas, 11:00am & 5:45pm).  As the front man of the Clash from 1977 onwards, Joe Strummer changed people's lives forever. Four years after his death, his influence is felt around the world, more strongly now than ever before. In The Future is Unwritten, Joe Strummer is revealed not just as a legend or musician, but as a true communicator of our times. Drawing on both a shared punk history and the close personal friendship that developed over the last years of Joe's life, director Julien Temple celebrates the life of Joe Strummer - before, during and after the Clash. -Screening sponsored by Sony BMG The Clash: Westway to the World (Directed by Don Letts, at the Tribecca Cinemas, 11:30am & 2:15pm).  Westway to the World follows a fairly traditional format, interspersing talking-head interviews with band members, live concert clips, still photos, and other assorted footage. Directed by Don Letts, a friend of the band, the movie details a portrait of a band that took its music and politics seriously. Westway to the World recounts the group's swift rise, as it broke through the formal and commercial limitations of punk - only to fall apart. Although not as virtuosic as its subject, Westway to the World nonetheless offers an informative and entertaining look at one of history's most important bands. -Screening sponsored by Sony BMG Rude Boy (Directed by David Mingay & Jack Hazan, at the Tribeca Cinemas, 2:30pm & 5:00pm). Part dramatic British cinema, part 'rockumentary,' part agit-prop documentary, and part political propaganda, Rude Boy is a distinctive music documentary. It captures the still-young Clash – the late Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Nicky Headon at the edgy, primitive moment they moved from the fringe to center stage in mid-1978. Each single from their self-titled debut album on CBS Records UK was beginning to notch higher and higher on the British chart and they are all performed live in this film. -Screening sponsored by Sony BMG Run, Fat Boy, Run (Directed by David Schwimmer, at the Tribeca Cinemas, 7:30pm).  Five years ago Dennis (Simon Pegg) was at the altar about to marry Libby (Thandie Newton), his pregnant fiancé. He got cold feet and ran for the hills and he's been going in circles ever since. When Dennis discovers Libby's hooked up with high-flying-go-getter Whit (Hank Azaria), he realizes it's now or never. He enters a marathon to show he's more than a quitter but then finds out just how much sweat, strain and tears it takes to run for 26 miles. Nobody gives him a chance but Dennis knows this is his only hope to more than a running joke. -Screening sponsored by LA Digital
Day 1 of CMJ was hectic but as always, lots of fun. I started the day off by checking in, grabbing my badge, and heading over to the BTR booth in the Puck Building. Maia, BTR's Program Director, and I were set to be the first shift in the exhibition hall, so the booth needed to be set up. While it took some time and help from some of our other BTR staffers to get all of our components in place, we were ready to go. When I wasn't chatting with college radio kids (ah, those were the days) or taking promo CDs from independent artists, I tried to piece together a potential schedule with all of the updated information.  It proved to be difficult with all the great artists featured, and I knew there would be many that I'd not even heard of. I wanted to head down to the studio for DJ Jeff K's session with Middle Distance Runner, but unfortunately I had to put the finishing touches on today's Mixtape Show, where I'm featuring a mix about food. Ever indecisive, I couldn't figure out where I wanted to head for the night, but I decided to tag along with Maia to the MPress Records show at Mo Pitkins, and I'm certainly glad I did.  Folk isn't usually my genre of choice, but there was some amazing talent in the room. My personal fave was Raining Jane, a folk-rock girl band who even rock out on a sitar! Their drummer was also amazingly talented, and I'm looking forward to spinning them on BTR in the future. After that, I made brief stops at the Brooklyn Vegan and Deli Magazine showcases, before deciding to call it a night. I felt it was more important to save my energy for the upcoming days of panels and shows.  The rest of the BTR gang headed over to see Rockfour at Fat Baby, which I'm sure was awesome. I got a chance to see that band at SXSW, and I'm sure they put on another fantastic show. Check back in all week to see what the rest of the staff is up to! [Link to this post]
Witness Protected Porter 00:00  Diente De Oro - The Juju Orchestra 00:02  - 07:03  Aldhechen Manin - Tinariwen 10:46  Tango Cancion - Gotan Project 14:40  Vaquero Gala'ctico - Porter 18:21  - 18:46  Esplendor (Refreshed) - Cibelle 21:43  Alou Maye - Tiken Jah Fakoly 26:58  Cale Bari - Ojos De Brujo 31:51  Elengwen - Abdel Gadir Salim & Emmanuel Jal 35:28  - 35:54  Oh Eh - Gipsy Kings 39:09  Big Lesson - Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars 42:34  Oran Oran - Maurice el Medioni 51:10  Exodus - Daara J 55:09  - 55:42  Pressure - Dr. Israel Porter 10/17 Festival Cervantino - Leon, Mexico 10/18 Festival Cervantino - Guanajuato, Mexico 10/19 Motorokr Fest - Mexico City, Mexico Cibelle's Favorite Munchie: Dippin' Dots Pop 10/19 Premio Ema - Salvador, Brazil 10/26 Tim Festival - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 10/27 Tim Festival - Sao Paulo, Brazil Ojos De Brujo 10/18 Elysee Montmartre - Paris, France 10/19 Jazz Pulsation - Nancy, France 10/25 Sala Riviera - Madrid, Spain 10/26 Sala Santana - Bilbao, Spain Emmanuel Jal Resting His Chops 10/23 The 100 Club - London, UK Gipsy Kings 10/20 Apollo - Manchester, UK 10/21 The Sage - Gateshead, UK 10/22 London Royal Albert Hall - London, UK 10/23 London Royal Albert Hall - London, UK
Listen to our Sub Pop Records Showcase! Like many kids before me, I was first introduced to good music by my older brother. When I was 10 and he was 15, back in 1990, he brought me into his room after he got home from school one day, and told me to listen. He broke out a tape, put it in the ancient Casio boombox I had once shot with a B.B. gun, and proceeded to fast forward. While he searched for the song, I picked up the cassette case and looked at the cover. It said "Nirvana" at the top, and "Bleach" at the bottom, with the Bleach part actually closed in by parentheses. The font looked serious, and the black and white picture between the words looked frenzied. My brother, finally victorious in his search, started to play the song "School." The second I heard Kurt Cobain shout the the outraged chorus of "No Recess," I fell in love. Such was my introduction to Sub Pop Records; the Washington-based record label that really needs no introduction. They're damn near ubiquitous in CD cases, iPods and media towers, mostly due to The Shins and the aforementioned Nirvana. Still, that is merely the cheese on top of the French onion soup, as renowned acts such as Iron an Wine, Band of Horses, The Postal Service, Oxford Collapse, Wolf Parade, Mudhoney, CSS, Loney, Dear and many more also call the label home. And let's not forget about Sub Pop alums like Sebadoh, Sleater-Kinney, Soundgarden, L7 and the Rapture (to name a few). Oddly enough, Sub Pop has also been behind the two best comedy albums of recent years, with Shut Up You Fucking Baby from David Cross and Werewolves and Lollipops from Patton Oswalt. So, although it may sound overly trite to say the fun never ends whilst soaking up the Sub Pop catalog, we're going with it, because it's an undeniable fact. We're beyond ecstatic to welcome the gargantuan Sub Pop library into rotation here on BTR, and, to celebrate, our Music Director Annie Russell has put together an extra-special Sub Pop Records Showcase for your listening pleasure. Click here to check it out! Tale o' the Tape Name: Sub Pop Records Geography: Seattle, Washington Established: 1979 or 1988, depending on where you like to start counting First LP: Sub Pop 100 Compilation, 1986 NYC CMJ Showcase 2007: Saturday, October 20, 2007 at The Bowery Ballroom, featuring Le Loup, Foals, The Brunettes and Band of Horses Now, go see some Sub Pop bands on tour sucka!         Iron and Wine      Live!          Nov 26: Tucson, AZ @ Fox Tucson Theatre      Nov 27: San Diego, CA @ 4th & B      Nov 28: Los Angeles, CA @ Orpheum Theatre      Nov 30: Oakland, CA @ The Paramount Theater      Dec 2: Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom      Dec 3: Seattle, WA @ Moore Theater      Dec 4: Bellingham, WA @ Mt Baker Theatre      Dec 6: Boise, ID @ Egyptian Theatre      Dec 7: Magna, UT @ The Great Salt Air      Dec 8: Denver, CO @ Paramount Theatre      Dec 9: Albuquerque, NM @ El Rey Theater     Dec 10: Dallas, TX @ Palladium Ballroom     Dec 11: Austin, TX @ La Zona Rosa     The Shins     Live!     Oct 17: Atlanta, Georgia @ theAtlantic Civic Center     Oct 18: Charleston, South Carolina @ The Plex     Oct 19: Raleigh, North Carolina @ the Raleigh Civic Center     Oct 20: Norfolk, Virginia @ Norva     Oct 22: Columbia, Maryland @ the Merriweather Post Pavillion     Oct 23: New York, New York @ Terminal Five     Oct 24: New York, New York @ Terminal Five     Oct 27: Las Vegas, Nevad @ Vegoose Festival 2007     Band of Horses     Live!     Oct 18: New York, New York @ Late Show with David Letterman     Oct 30: Charlottesville, Virginia @ the Satellite Ballroom     Nov 1: Raleigh, North Carolina @ the Lincoln Theatre     Nov 2: Washington D.C. @ the 9:30 Club     Nov 3: Providence, Rhode Island @ Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel     Nov 4: New York, New York @ Terminal 5     Nov 5: New York, New York @ Late Night with Conan O'Brien     Nov 6: New Haven, Connecticut @ Toad's Place     Nov 7: Northhampton, Massachusetts @ Pearl Street     CSS (photo by Mariana Juliano)     Live!     Oct 14: Copenhagen, Denmark @ the Forum     Oct 16: Milan, Italy @ Datch Forum     Oct 17: Vienna, Austria @ Stadhalle     Oct 19: Budapest, Hungary @ Sportarena     Oct 20: Prague, Czech Republic @ Saska Arena     Dec 1: Skegness, England @ The Big Reunion     The Brunettes     Live!     Oct 17: New York, New York @ the Delancey Lounge (CMJ)     Oct 19: New York, New York @ Sound Fix instore     Oct 20: New York, New York @ the Bowery Ballroom (CMJ)     Oct 26: New York, New York @ Union Hall      Patton Oswalt      Live!      Oct 25: Boston, Masachusetts @ The Roxy      Oct 26: New York, New York @ Irving Plaza      Oct 28: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania @ the Theater of Living Arts      Oct 29: Washington, DC @ The Black Cat      Nov 1: Chicago, Illinois @ The Vic Theatre      Nov 2: Ann Arbor, Michigan @ The Blind Pig
And the big day is here. Today marks the start of the CMJ Music Marathon here in good old New York City. We are BTR will be exploring what the festival has to offer music-wise, panel-wise, and film-wise. You can also find us at our booth in the showroom. Come find us, we’ll be raffling away an iPhone!   We’ll keep you posted all week, so be sure to check back.   Here’s what’s on the (official) docket for today at CMJ (haha, who doesn’t love a good rhyme?):   Music:   Tuesday Showcases Ace of Clubs 7:00pm  Syme 8:00pm  The Black Tie Affair 9:00pm  Terry Poison 10:00pm  Telling on Trixie 10:00pm  David Condos 12:00am  The Primms Alphabet Lounge 8:00pm  Ilonka 8:45pm  Will Dailey 9:30pm  Arkadelphia 10:15pm  Papertrigger 11:00pm  The Dirty Pearls Arlene's Grocery 7:00pm  Mixtapes & Cellmates 7:45pm  The Teenage Prayers 8:30pm  High Class Elite 9:15pm  NEIMO 10:00pm  The Tomatoes 10:45pm  Zerobridge 11:30pm  Aloud B.B. King's 8:00pm  Mint Condition w/ Dwele Banjo Jim's 7:00pm  Woodpecker! 7:45pm  Future Kings of Nowhere 8:30pm  Terry Waldo 10:15pm  Sonya Vallet and Los Profugos Galacticos w/Eric Deutsch Blender Theater at Gramercy 8:00pm  Eldar 9:00pm  Blue Scholars 10:30pm  Q-Tip Bowery Ballroom 6:00pm  Bon Iver 8:00pm  Miracle Fortress 9:00pm  The Most Serene Republic 10:00pm  Dean & Britta 11:00pm  The Rosebuds 12:00am  Voxtrot Cake Shop 9:00pm  Malkovich 10:00pm  Adept 11:00pm  C-Mon & Kypski 12:00am  Aux Raus 12:00am  Mr. Wix 1:00am  De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig Canal Room 10:00pm  Etana 10:25pm  Duane Stephenson 11:00pm  Tarrus Riley 11:30pm  I-Wayne Crash Mansion 7:00pm  Care Bears on Fire 8:00pm  Love Takes Flight 9:00pm  The Beasts of Eden 10:00pm  Oppenheimer 11:00pm  Rochester Road 12:00am  The GoStation Day Stage - Puck Building 12:00pm  1090 Club 1:00pm  Takka Takka 2:00pm  The Section Quartet 3:00pm  Saturday Looks Good To Me 3:00pm  Jennifer O'Connor The Delancey 7:30pm  The Head Set 8:15pm  Hot IQs 9:00pm  The Picture 9:45pm  Shade 10:30pm  The Press 11:15pm  Soft 12:00am  Bella Noir Fat Baby 8:00pm  Centipede E'est 8:45pm  Cholo 9:30pm  NYCSmoke 10:15pm  Rockfour 11:00pm  Article A 12:00am  In Flight Radio Fontanas 8:15pm  Giddy-up, Helicopter 8:15pm  Luke Temple 9:00pm  Ravens & Chimes 9:45pm  The OaKs 10:30pm  Sisters3: AnnaChristie, Beatrice and Cassandra 11:15pm  Crawling With Kings Googie's Lounge 7:30pm  Upstairs Sessions with Kelly Flint 9:30pm  Mark Vonem 10:30pm  Mariee Sioux 11:30pm  Lee Bob Watson Highline Ballroom 8:00pm  Brad Kenny's Castaways 7:00pm  The Weather Inside 8:00pm  Quick Step John 9:00pm  Wilderness Pangs 10:00pm  Matt Gangi Knitting Factory Main Space 7:00pm  The Smilerays 7:00pm  Big City (mems of The Beatnuts) 7:00pm  Scienz of Life / John Robinson 7:00pm  K Banger 7:00pm  Sidewinder (Sunspot Jones) 7:00pm  Pete Rock 7:00pm  Panacea 7:00pm  Hell Raza (Sunz of Man) 7:00pm  Wise Intelligent 7:00pm  The Project Knitting Factory Old Office 7:30pm  The Audiologues 8:15pm  Halos Were Found at the Landing Site 9:00pm  Matt Shulman 10:00pm  Witch's Hat 11:00pm  Bald Eagle Knitting Factory Tap Bar 7:00pm  Michal Towber 7:45pm  Goodfinger 8:30pm  Daphne 9:15pm  Stalley and the Wax Machine 10:00pm  Creature Lit Lounge 8:00pm  Barton Carroll 9:00pm  13ghosts 10:00pm  Through the Sparks 11:00pm  Von Iva 12:00am  Lismore Living Room 6:00pm  New Buffalo 7:30pm  Larry Krone 8:30pm  Clint, Michigan, & Amy Bezunartea 9:30pm  Hotel Lights 10:30pm  Choo Choo La Rouge 11:00pm  Jennifer O'Connor Luna Lounge 7:15pm  Unlove 8:00pm  People Noise 9:00pm  Breaking Laces 9:45pm  The Hollow Sound 10:30pm  Super Volcanos 11:15pm  Tigers and Monkeys Maxwell's 7:30pm  Edison Glass 9:30pm  Blackpool Lights Mercury Lounge 7:00pm  Jay Brannan 7:30pm  House and Parish 8:15pm  Jesse Lacey & Vin Accardi (Brand New) 9:30pm  Aeroplane Pageant 10:30pm  Garrett Klahn 11:30pm  Weston Midway 8:30pm  Vagabond 9:30pm  Wormburner 10:30pm  The Midnight Show 11:30pm  Federale 12:30am  Cinema, Cinema Mo Pitkin's 7:00pm  Swati 7:00pm  Rachael Sage 7:00pm  Chris Pureka 7:00pm  Mieka Pauley 7:00pm  Raining Jane 7:00pm  Jim Bianco 11:00pm  Casey McPherson Music Hall of Williamsburg 9:00pm  The Hourly Radio 10:00pm  IAMX Pianos 7:00pm  The Unsacred Hearts 7:45pm  LOOKER 8:30pm  The Two Man Gentlemen Band 9:00pm  Benji Cossa 9:45pm  Rocketship Park 10:30pm  The Octagon 11:15pm  Sam Champion S.O.B.'s 7:00pm  Anthony Rodriguez 7:00pm  Bea 7:00pm  Joselyn 7:00pm  Eljuri 7:00pm  Zeny & Zory 10:00pm  Latonera 10:00pm  The Dey 10:00pm  Palenke Soultribe 10:00pm  Monte Negro Southpaw 8:30pm  The Felice Brothers 9:30pm  AA Bondy 11:30pm  The Rosewood Thieves The Tank 7:15pm  Norris 8:00pm  The Bones of Davey Jones 8:45pm  Super Monster 9:30pm  National Seashore 10:15pm  John Biz (& The Rolling Stallones) 11:00pm  Higgins Trash 7:30pm  Runaway Diamonds 8:30pm  Death of Jason Brody 9:30pm  Harris Trucks 10:30pm  Stewart 11:30pm  Thrushes Union Hall 8:30pm  The Elephants 9:30pm  My Teenage Stride 10:30pm  Michael Leviton 11:15pm  Cat Martino Union Pool 8:00pm  Effi Briest 9:00pm  Tall Firs 11:00pm  Dragons of Zynth 12:00am  Celebration Webster Hall 8:15pm  Modern Life is War 9:00pm  Lifetime 10:00pm  Bouncing Souls   Panels: Frederick Loewe Theater: Room 300 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm: Music Videos: Back in Effect Kimmel Center: Eisner & Lubin Auditorium 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm: Punk's Still Not Dead 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm: Pocket Jockin': Mobile Music and the Future of Distribution Kimmel Center: Room 905 & 907 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm: Copyrights, Royalties and Music Legislation in the Digital Age 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm: Working the Room Kimmel Center: Rosenthal Pavilion 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm: Ones And Zeroes 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm: Radio Revolution Kimmel Center: Shorin Music Performance Center 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm: Blood, Sweat and Tears: Entrepreneurial Opportunities and Challenges   3:45 pm - 4:45 pm: So, What Are You Really Doing With My Money?   Films:   I’m Not There Directed by Todd Haynes 136 minutes Tuesday, October 16, 2:00pm, Regal Union Square Starring: Richard Gere, Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Ben Whishaw I’m Not There is an unconventional journey into the life and times of Bob Dylan.  Six actors portray Dylan as a series of shifting personae – from the public to the private to the fantastical – weaving together a rich and colorful portrait of this ever-elusive American icon.   Frank & Cindy Directed by G.J. Ekternkamp 73 minutes Tuesday, October 16, 7:00pm, Pop Rally at The Museum of Modern Art Frank is not the vision Cindy married. Desperate to resuscitate her dream of Frank becoming a rock star, Cindy furnishes a new studio for him in hopes he'll record another hit. Instead, he'd rather drink. Upset by his lack of ambition, Cindy berates him incessantly. Now, twenty-three years after appearing on American Bandstand with his short-lived group, OXO, Frank is sequestered in his filthy basement studio. Both appalled and amused by his parents' behavior, Cindy's filmmaker son, G.J., picks up his video camera and aims it at them. After a year of filming, what began as an attempt to mock his one-hit-wonder stepfather, instead becomes a candid portrait of the pursuit of happiness. Post-screening Q&A with director G.J. Ekternkamp and Cynthia Brown and Frank Garcia moderated by This American Life's Ira Glass Screening sponsored by PopRally, Marabella Productions, Reyka Vodka and Paste Magazine.   [Link to this post]
October is a good month to listen to music.  Currently I'm re-visiting The Moon and Antarctica by Modest Mouse, but before that it was the new Radiohead album, for like five days straight. I hate to say it, but those fellows from Oxfordshire just can't fuck up. Who would have guessed that, over 20 years into their career, they would release their most accessible album yet? A lot of people I know who actually don't like Radiohead, really can't get enough of In Rainbows. One review I read for the album really made me start thinking. The guy pretty much said that Radiohead makes all other recording artists sound petty. You think you're listening to good music, and then you hear the new Radiohead album, and it's like, "Wow, was I mistaken. That album was ok, but this is just beautiful!" I mean, what other active bands 20 years into it are still making music that's relevant? Hell, beyond relevant, more like indispensable?
The CMJ Music Marathon has finally descended upon us! Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday October 16, and running through Saturday, October 20, tons of bands, industry folk, and music lovers everywhere will be in town to check out hot performances, awesome panels, and of course, sweet parties. So for the entire week, your friends at BTR will be acting as your Blogger of the Week. We’ll share with you all of our experiences, in front of and behind the scenes. It’s my first CMJ and I’ve been waiting for it since I began here in February. I can’t wait to check out acts such as Spoon on Saturday night and attend panels like “How to Score with Media Coaching” and “Iconic Songs,” as well as many more. Make sure you stop by the BTR booth to meet us!   -Colleen   Here’s what our staff is looking forward to:   I am really looking forward to seeing some of my fellow BTR DJs. Most importantly, I'll be attending many of the daytime panels to brush up on my music biz knowledge, and heading to as many shows as humanly possible during the evenings. Thursday night I am meeting the folks from Grass Roots Records for fried chicken and mac and cheese. Who would have thought?  I'm really hoping to get  into the Kill Rock Stars showcase Wednesday night - my fingers are crossed! The marathon only happens once a year. I am psyched.   -Maia, BTR Program Director   There are so many bands to see this week, I have a feeling my tentative schedule is going to get thrown out the window.  However, I'm hoping to catch Oh no! Oh my!, 1990s, The Maccabees, and about a million others. I have tickets for Spoon on Saturday, who never disappoint. Aside from that, since i'm a big dork, I'll probably be hanging at the panels for much of the festival trying to learn as much as possible. Needless to say, it'll be a fun time no matter what. If you're at CMJ, stop by the BTR booth and say hey! -Annie, BTR Music Director   I'm excited to attend all of the panels over the course of CMJ. They have a lot of great panels this year!. I think it will be a great week of live music both for BTR and the bands. Stop by our booth!   -DJ Jeff K, BTR Technical Director It's the day before I leave for CMJ's, and all I can think about is food. Of course I'm into music and I'm going to enjoy seeing Spoon, Ghostland Observatory, Celebration, and loads more artists, but fine cuisine has seduced me. Black truffle anything, duck confit, coffee encrusted rack of lamb, even simple, but fine burgers from shake shack have my mouth watering. I'm positive though, that once I'm in the city and I'm sweating at my first show, the music will be front and center. Cheers till then...   -DJ Wynn   I'm looking forward to CMJ more than ever this year. For anyone that has tuned into my shows... you probably already know this! I'm excited because I'm getting to see 4 of my favorite bands, 3 which I have never seen before live! Plus I know there will be tons of surprised throughout the event as I tag along with others to catch some of their favorite acts. Here's the rundown of the bands I know I am seeing. 1) Spoon - One of my favorite bands for a few years now but somehow I have yet to catch them live. I have a strong feeling they won't disappoint. 2) Ghostland Observatory - They've played just about every festival this year and I hear there live show is unmatched. Tons of energy and loads of fun. I might be looking forward to this one most of all. 3) Joan As Police Woman - Her album Real Life, released this year on Cheap Lullaby Records is in constant rotation in my CD player and IPod...and here on my show! If it were possible to break an album from overplaying it... this one would be history! 4) The Undisputed Heavyweights - These guys put on my favorite show of last years festival. I'm dying to see them again. In fact, I'm seeing them on Thursday night, October 17th. They go on just before midnight meaning I'll be watching them perform as I turn 25 (at midnight). I can't think of a better way to ring in a quarter of a century on this earth. Hope to see you guys at the show and stop by the BTR booth at the main CMJ Music Marathon headquarters... I'd love to meet you all!   -DJ Emily   [Link to this post]
Hello Again. This blogg is to encourage every one to go out this week and check out what’s going down with CMJ. If there was ever a time of year to go out and list to live music this is it. Plenty of our Party Hour artist are performing this year as well as many other artist and bands. Here is a quick list of some people you may be interested to see: Pete Rock, Del the Funky Homosaphien, Death Of Fashion, Sucka Brown. Good Finger, Bouncing Souls and way to many others to name. Point being, no matter what genre or style of music you love, there is a live show happening in NYC. Below area couple of shows I will be definitely checking out this week, hope to see u there.      Oct 17 10:30pm  A- Trak @ Hiro Ballroom 118 Ninth Avenue New York, NY 10011  Oct 18 7:00 PM  Death Of Fashion @ Blender Theatre at Gramercy 127 East 23rd Street, between Lex and Park  Oct 20   Sucka Brown @ Alphabet Lounge NY, NY
Q&A with All Access' very first hip hop artist, Envee.... BTR: Hello! Introduce yourself, Envee! Envee: Time for the revolution, stand for what you believe or if your lazy stand for what I believe.. Envee is revolutionary, I am hip hop, allah, jesus, buddah. BTR: When did you all begin to form a love for music? When was the moment in your life you knew that this was your dream? And if it's not your dream... What do you want to do after this? Envee: When I first came to this country I didn't speak a word of English, so when I listened to hip hop it bought me to a whole other realm, I mean it was really unreal, its more then love. When I was about 10 yrs old I knew that this is what I love doing and this is what Ill keep doing, not for the fame not for money but for the message that my music will bring across. BTR: How did you meet your musical collaborators? Envee: Mostly the studio. BTR: What is the scene like for teenage bands and musicians? Is it hard to get shows because you are young? Are people receptive to your music? Do you think it is harder as a young artist to get your music heard? Envee: Its nuts, crazy, it's really a bloodbath over here, I mean the wrong thing said in the wrong song to the wrong artist can really end up pretty bad. Its not hard to get shows because Im young, fake ID is your best friend when you're an artist, you hustle at all costs. People love or hate music theres never a grey its black or white, they ether love it or hate it. I don't think age matters, honestly. BTR: What are some artists you like in the hip hop world right now? What do you think is going to be the next big thing in the hip hop world? Envee: Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, Mr. Lyf, theres not much, most of the music is really commercial and has no message. The next big thing to happen in the hip hop world is me and my group the Secret Society BTR: How do you go about writing your music? Envee: I think of the message that I want to bring across and then I embed it into my lyrics, when you think theres no message in 1 of my songs, listen more carefully and think outside the box for a bit, you'll understand my message then. BTR: Tell me about some of your songs! What was the inspiration for them? Envee: Immigrants Struggle is really a story about my life and how I went about and the feelings I had when I 1st came to this country, every emotion, every word, every feeling is real in that song. Any one can relate to this song, its basically being an outcast in a society that you never thought existed. My other song Revolt is about the corruption of this government and an underground leader speaking out against the government whilst being spyed on, it is what it says and what it says is, You'll Be Okay With A Revolution. BTR: Is there anything else you want to tell me or talk about? Envee: The CD drops in a couple weeks, it can be ordered online just message and it should also be available on itll only be 5 bucks and add +3$ for S&H. Please support real hip hop, we do it for the people not because of the money. Like I said before its all about the message. Thanks for the interview and the chance to let me speak my mind on the show. Love&Peace, Envee Visit my websites please. Here comes the fun part. Just a bunch of random questions. BTR:Favorite Male Vocalist/lyricist? Tupac BTR:Favorite Female Vocalist/lyricist? Alisha Keys BTR:Top 3 favorite albums of all time? Ready To Die, Me Against The World, Marshal Mathers LP BTR:Favorite Album Cover? Word Of Mouf - Ludacris BTR:What music do you currently have 'on rotation'? Eminem, 2Pac, Biggie, Dead Prez, Mr. Lyf BTR:What was the music that inspired you the most? Hip Hop BTR:Favorite guitar player? Jimmy Hendrix BTR:Favorite songwriter? Tupac BTR:Did you have a musical idol? If so, who was it? Dead Prez --
Thanks to the genius move from the largest band to ever sell millions of albums while still keeping their “indie cred” Radiohead, the music industry has been flipped on its rear end.  I see a lot of “suits” panicking and a lot of bands taking notes, and as a DJ, musician and outright fan of music I couldn’t be happier.  I’m not against the idea of making money for either the band or the record companies, but looking at it as a business man, when you work with an outdated business model and still expect things to run as usual you are going to pay the price.  With the recent trends of the industry being as it is, here are some truths that can no longer be avoided:   1.       New artists are now smarter than the days of old, and large record company’s biggest selling point in getting these new artists is to finance expensive albums.  With the access of the internet and lack of traditional radio and TV outlets playing music (crappy FM radio all over the country and MTV programming filled with reality shows) artists can get their own music out to likeminded fans better than most record company’s can. 2.       Most artists don’t get rich on album sales.  The money from cd’s or digital downloads is cut so many ways before penny’s for one album sold is given to the artists.  Producers, editors and everyone else that wants a piece gets it first, and this is the main reason Radiohead is brilliant in what they did.  Their sales might be less, although hits and press from this idea have boosted Radiohead’s name, but they only split their profits between the people they hire to help them with their creation….so how do they make their millions?.... 3.       ON THE STAGE IS WHERE MUSIC IS AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN DISPLAYED, PERFECTED BY THE ARTISTS, AND IS THE MOST LUCRATIVE WAY FOR AN ARTIST TO MAKE MONEY.  I still think big concert prices are very high, but there is something about giving your money to your entertainment that makes it easier to swallow.   Music isn’t dead, the industry isn’t dead, and fans are not hibernating.  While record sales plummet, fans, in the last year, have spent more money than ever on concert tickets.  The DIY ethos is eating away at the fabric of an out dated way of making money in the music industry.  Only those (and there are very few) who have the foresight to see a changing system and work with it rather than fight it will be standing tall in the end.  Indie labels are succeeding where big labels aren’t.  Internet radio (especially the best damn DJ’s in the business at BTR) is succeeding where traditional radio isn’t, and street team members (usually unpaid college and high school students) are spreading the word about what they love better than the promotions department at Sony BMG……..keep this all in mind while you enjoy CMJ in the coming weeks and think about how the bands you’re watching count on you and not a big label for their success or failure.
getting pumped for CMJ!
Into the Wild, 2 and a half hours dir. Sean Penn Becky and I went to see Ira &Abby yesterday. We walked out at about the moment that Fred Willard started doing Judith Light, presumably under the assumption that it could only get worse from then on. I convinced her to do something that is completely morally wrong and should be published by a jail stay--sneaking into another movie. Blonde girl and Jewish bear, remind you of anyone? Boy, that Chris Messina fellow is certainly different looking in his non-bear incarnation. God his movie sucked. We walked right out of Ira & Abby. The 7:00 screening had attracted few. Into the Wild, meanwhile, was packed. People were literally squeezing in for an 8:20 showing on a Monday night. I think this film will do well, but perhaps mostly just with the hippie crowd, as our showing was about 80 percent hippie and 95 percent moron. That we stepped on their shoes as we walked out early and probably broke their dumb toes brings us only joy, no sorrow. Into the Wild isn't a terrible screenplay, that is the first thing we can say about it. Also in its favor is Sharon Olds helping out with the narration. The performances, from William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden and Vince Vaughn are all entertaining in their way. Truthfully, it was time to expect more from Sean Penn, whose Jack-Nicholson-and-I-fell-in-love-and-did-LSD-one-weekend begat The Crossing Guard, a critical, financial, and artistic disaster. His first film, The Indian Runner, was a brutal Cassavetes imitation, and the less said about The Pledge, the better. "Far Behind" -- Eddie Vedder (mp3) "Long Nights" -- Eddie Vedder (mp3) Penn's actually not a terrible writer. He is gifted with truly interesting source material. After graduating from Atlanta's Emory University (What, he couldn't get into Brown?), Christopher McCandless was a generation removed from our own generation. (I am naming us Generation Robotron, and after I file a number of U.S. patents, you will see why.) McCandless was an admirer of Thoreau, though he seems to have processed none of T's advice, only his observations. That's correct, I refer to Thoreau as T, we also use the tu form. The real McCandless was also an admirer of Ronald Reagan. Like Everett Ruess, he died of starvation, McCandless in the Alaskan wilderness. The timeframe we are talking about here is roughly near the end of the movie. The death opens Jon Krakauer's book version of Into the Wild. In fact, it's on the cover. The young runaway who was not a runaway abandoned his car, burned all his money and set out West and eventually ended up...wait for it...outside of the contiguous United States. Whoo. The moral of this story is, don't dress like a hippie, and don't head into the wild until you refer to Thoreau using the tu form. We admire people who do their own thing here at This Recording. Nevertheless, the differences between McCandless and myself are plenty. (Whereas McCandless idolized Jack London, nowadays we can all agree Jack London is awful.) McCandless (Emile Hirsch) is the kid from The Girl Next Door, a fact which improves vastly my feeling from the film. Jena Malone plays Chris' sister. "How She Bowed to Her Brother" -- Gertrude Stein (mp3) We are treated to a series of vapid but lovingly photographed outdoor locales. Nothing is really learned by the main character, unlike in most conventional drama. Here that's OK, and suits the theme--McCandless' deadly trip in the Alaskan wilderness was, like Tim Treadwell in Grizzly Man, more a death wish than anything else. bro/sis Eddie Vedder's soundtrack puts this film on its back and carries it in a fashion not unlike that of Darren Aronofsky's utterly bizarre material of The Fountain. [youtube=] Visually, The Fountain was of course stunning, and brought Aronofsky's considerable craftsmanship to a special-effects driven over budgeted vanity project. Remind you of anything? In an early scene where McCandless has dinner with his parents and his sister after his graduation, the camera swivels from close-up to close-up. Besides the film's awkward green titles, this is the largest evidence for Penn as an amateur filmmaker. He has no idea where to put the camera. There are literally only three meanings derived from the movement of the camera. This is the kind of filmmaking that does not reward repeated viewing. Citizen Kane has 784 such moments. Pearl Jam hanging with the fam, fatherhood makes him angry. Back to Eddie Vedder, though, who proves why Pearl Jam is one of the absolute greatest bands of all time by pulling out classic melodies, addictive choruses and profound spiritual interesting music on a freakin' soundtrack for his acid buddy. We can settle this debate now: Bad. Interview with Sean. If I did not make my point clear already, Sean Penn is the biggest acid freak in Hollywood. Once he reportedly got so f'd off acid that he tried to bite Robin Wright Penn's foot off. He usually does not even realize he has a moustache. Penn conveniently omits what a crackpot McCandless is. This dude idolized Ronald Reagan. (Although I do not believe myself that this would justify his death, most of this blog's hippie readership would probably argue in favor of that supposition.) His parents were perfectly normal, nothing of the profound dysfunction of the film McCandless's journey, which to my view was the simple expression of one soul into deep and utter darkness. In fact, the depiction is rather unfavorable. Despite various Christifying on Penn's part--this is basically the passion of the Christ except the victim chooses to be persecuted--McCandless comes off us as a puppy basically wagging his way through life. He is totally uninterested in any kind of human connection, and sort of eggs everyone on. If this is what he was like, bravo Sean Penn. If it wasn't, shame on you, acid freak. Awesome National Geographic article on making the book into a movie. It's especially ironic that Eddie Vedder on the soundtrack blasts Jerry Falwell (good one, he's important, not), with Vedder singing the fascist "Jerry Falwell/find yourself/another country to be part of." This is something short of good sportsmanship. Falwell and Reagan are one and the same, and telling Alberto Gonzales to find another country to be a part of is racist and mean. I still love Eddie Vedder though, fucking "Rise" is the greatest song ever and my new jam for the ladies to boot. "Rise" -- Eddie Vedder (mp3) "Here's to the State" -- (mp3) "The Wolf" -- Eddie Vedder (mp3) I do like Into the Wild as a larger parable for a reaction to capitalism. It's hard to be capitalists, we probably have to make movies like this where we pretend to like nature and being poor instead of buying 7 dollar soft drinks at Jamba Juice and peeing into an actual toilet. There is something you do admire in Chris McCandless, something that forces me to be unable to diss his story as mere WPP: White People's Problems (see every piece of television or entertainment out there besides Jamie Foxx's technically competent performance as Ray, lord, that was no white person's problem.) He had a reaction, at least. He didn't want to fit in like everybody else. From early childhood, his teachers noticed that Chris was unusually strong-willed. As he grew older, he coupled this with an intense idealism and physical endurance. In high school, he served as captain of the cross-country team, where he urged his teammates to treat running as a spiritual exercise in which they were "running against the forces of darkness....all the evil in the world, all the hatred." [youtube=] Fred Thompson, eighties version. Like all forms of fascism, communism would have served as a good evil for a Reagan-lover to overcome. By the time of McCandless' adolescence, the most obvious evil in the world and the superpower that embodied it was heroically brought to the ground in a good ole United States spending spree. McCandless desired to live as the most poor and destitute people in the world live. They wish for something far different than the existence he values over bourgeois wealth. This is probably OK--McCandless did send $24K to Oxfam. His dislike of bourgeois culture is also understandable, and he would have hated the victory those in the shallowest end of the pool have wrought on our civilization. He would have also hated this movie. The disturbing discovery of a hoax and subsequent extreme sadness and disappointment I am feeling now that I am replete with the painful knowledge that the Meg White sex tape is not real is evidence enough for that. Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. I'm writing a part for you betch PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING My favorite person that I have ever known is my father Bob Carnevale. Congrats to my dad for getting a sweet periodontal award next weekend in San Francisco, home of the Yay. Props to Bob, his sea men are responsible for this blog, and by proxy, what will be our no doubt ongoing coverage of: --The Meg White sex tape --Jewish people --Adolescence --Vanessa Hudgens --Sea Doo watercraftz --Shia LaBeouf --Britt Daniel --Jesus Please enjoy This Recording with your close ones!   [Link to this post]
This is part six of our ongoing series on Adolescence. Thanks to the marvelous Colleen and BreakThru Radio for having us this week! Part One (Rebecca Wiener) Part Two (John Gruen) Part Three (Tess Lynch) Part Four (Jess Grose) Part Five (Molly Young) Part Six Z ~ Zeppelin Because I fell in love with Zeppelin IV and "Stairway to Heaven" in seventh grade. Every time the marching band was bussing to a parade, I listened to that epic song and "When The Levee Breaks" on my Discman. It got me psyched to play my trombone. Y ~ "Youth is wasted on the young" – Billy Corgan I got into the Pumpkins at the tail end of my adolescence. Although, this was back when Billy had long hair. In fact, when I still had hair. X ~ Ex As in I had a few ex-girlfriends. Many of them dumped by yours truly (read "K" for further study). The only one I still hold a slight grudge with = "M". W ~ Winona My hometown. And yes, Winona Ryder is named after the town; we were born in the same hospital. V ~ Vanilla Ice I was one of the millions of kids who bought To The Extreme. U ~ "Unbelievable" -- EMF (mp3) T ~ They Might Be Giants The first "alternative" group I listened to. I loved their short songs. The obtuse lyrics. And making the accordion cool. When Clarissa Explains It All debuted on Nickelodeon, she was into TMBG. Which intensified my crush on Melissa Joan Heart. Clarissa never explained why her two favorite words were 'no', either.   "Road Movie To Berlin" -- They Might Be Giants  (mp3) S ~ Swimming My sport of choice starting in fifth grade, all the way up to my senior year. At one point in time, I was ranked the 11th fastest 500 Freestyle swimming in the start of Minnesota. I swam against the future-Olympian Thomas Malchow all four years of high school. (He always beat me.) R ~ Raps (Yo MTV) I spent many afternoons park on the couch watching Ed Lover and Dr. Dre. Watching the early stages of Hip Hop (back when it was called Rap). I was partial to the Native Tongues (De La, Tribe, Jungle Bros) and Ice-T. Q ~ Q-Tip A Tribe Called Quest's debut album (People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm) was the first rap tape I ever bought. Tip's haircut inspired "D." "Bonita Applebum" -- A Tribe Called Quest (mp3) P ~ Pink Floyd In some ways, I see my discovery of Pink Floyd as the end. I dated this girl who was into Floyd. (On our first date, we made out with "Momentary Lapse of Reason" on in the background. Because of her, I became a man.) O ~ O'Connor, Sinead Her big hit was all over the radio. I remember biking to middle school with my next store neighbor singing the song like it was Metal. Thinking some heavy distortion would make the Prince song that much better. "Nothing Compares 2 U" -- Sinead O'Connor (mp3) N ~ Nirvana It amazes me that within a year or two my musical tastes jumped from rap to alternative. The tumultuousness of adolescence. M ~ (I Touch) Myself I made out with my eighth grade girlfriend (call her Maria) while this video was all over MTV. I used to bike over to her house in the icy cold afternoons of January. Of course, Maria dumped me on Valentine's Day. "I Touch Myself" -- The Divinyls (mp3) L ~ "Love Song" -- The Cure (mp3) The video freaked me out. But it was a good "slow dance" number for our Middle School Fun Nights aka dances. Not that I got many slow dances in middle school. Never knew the '40' referred to the number of members in the band. We like to play Where's Waldo with the hidden bear in this picture. Can you see him? K ~ "Kingston Town" -- UB40 (mp3) Yet another make out song. This time, I dumped the girl. Mostly because I didn't want to string her along. I started dating her for our eighth grade trip to Valley Fair. I wanted someone to hold hands with on the bus ride up (it was two hours long), sit next to on the rides and then snuggle on the way home. Once summer rolled around, I decided to end it. You might think this makes me an asshole; I dumped her was because she was head-over-heels for me. It was that I didn't want both of our first times to be tainted by my unrequited love. J ~ Jane's Addiction My sister got a mixtape from a college friend with "I Would For You" on it. I got their first, self-titled album and became a huge fan. I might be able to argue that my college exploration into Buddhism can be traced back to "Pigs In Zen." I ~ Industrial: After shaving my dreads, I got into industrial music. Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, stuff like that. Thankfully, that phase didn't last very long. "Jesus Built My Hot Rod" -- Ministry (mp3) H ~ Haircuts: My adolescence was a confusion sandwich served on bad-haircut bread. See "F" and "D" for further study. G ~ Golf My spring sport. I only went out for the high school team because they played on the city's only country club. F ~ Flattop   My sixth grade haircut that earned me the nickname Spike. That got me a few dates because the girls liked to "pet" my head. E ~ Everything I Do I Do It For You Maybe the best song to come out of a movie in all of the '90s. D ~ Dreadlocks Thanks to a love of nappy headed rappers, I decided to get dreadlocks my freshman year of high school. What the hell was I thinking? This haircut did nothing to help me with the ladies. C ~ Chocolate Chipwich Is there any better type of dessert than vanilla ice cream smashed between two chocolate chip cookies? I still love those things. B ~ Bike I rode my bike everywhere. Swimming, golf course, just around town for exercise. With headphones connected to either my Walkman or Discman, I'd play some tunes and pump the pedals. A ~ AA Bondy This guy has nothing to do with my adolescence. But I really like this song and felt like sharing. "There Is A Reason" -- AA Bondy (mp3) Besides critiquing music for the blog The Late Greats, Lucas Stangl dabbles in poetry, fiction and screenplays. If you Google him, you can read more of his work.   [Link to this post]
Not to be cliche, but this year's CMJ Music Marathon is back and better than ever! The event kicks off October 16th and runs through October 20th, and just about every music venue in New York City has jumped on board to help host some of the most talented indie acts from across the globe. And, it's no surprise that a big chunk of the artists taking part are currently in rotation here on BTR. The event can be quite overwhelming for anyone, especially those traveling from outside of NYC. So, BTR has compiled a list to help you get by. We'll give you the day-by-day rundown of BTR bands participating and recommend a few must-sees as well. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16th Blue Scholars Tuesday kicks off with some great acts, including Rockfour, Mariee Sioux and Michael Leviton. However, for those of you looking for a hip-hop experience like no other, swing by Blender Theater at Gramercy and catch Blue Scholars. We've been spinning their tracks here on BTR for quite some time, and they're traveling all the way from Seattle, Washington. Show some love and support this group. Plus, you'll catch them with Q-Tip headlining. This show is not to be missed! SHOWS ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16th (ARTIST- LOCATION - TIME) Blue Scholars - Blender Theater at Gramercy, Q-Tip headlining - 9PM Lee Bob Watson -  Googies Lounge  - 11:30 PM Luke Temple -  Fontanas -  8:15 PM Mariee Sioux - Googie's Lounge - 10:30 PM Michael Leviton  -  Union Hall -10:30 PM The Most Serene Republic -   Bowery Ballroom - 9 PM My Teenage Stride  -  Union Hall  -   9:30 PM Rachel Sage - Mo Pitkin's - 7 PM Rockfour - Fat Baby  - 10:15 PM The Rosebuds - Bowery Ballroom -  11 PM The Teenage Prayers - Arlene's Grocery - 7:45PM Wednesday, October 17th Joan As Police Woman Quite a few of the BTR staff have named Joan As Police Woman's latest release, Real Life, their favorite album of 2007. There are a few months left for them to change their minds, but the chances of that happening are highly unlikely. Joan Wasser, the frontwoman for the band, has both a soulful voice and brilliant delivery. Moreover, her songs exude honesty and ease; the type of music that is beautiful to catch live. You're in luck because she'll be playing at Pianos on October 17th. SHOWS ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17th (ARTIST- LOCATION - TIME) Alamo Race Track  -  Ace of Clubs -  8 PM Billy Harvey  - Midway  - 9PM Chairlift   - Pianos -  10 PM The Giraffes - Crash Mansion  -  11 PM The Gostation - Crash Mansion -  Midnight The iOs - Pianos - 6 PM Joan As Police Woman  - Pianos - 2:15PM Mixel Pixel - Pianos -  8 PM The Muggabears - Sound Fix  -  8 PM No More Kings - Fontanas -  8 PM Oh No! Oh My!  - The Delancey - 11PM The Poison Control Center - Knitting Factory Old Office - 7:30 PM nThe Gostation - Crash Mansion on Tuesday October 17th @ Midnightu003cbr>u003c/span>",1] ); D(["mb","u003cspan classu003dq>The iOs - Pianos on Wednesday October 17th @ 6 PMu003cbr>u003c/span>",1] ); D(["mb","u003cspan styleu003d"color:rgb(255, 0, 0)">Joan As Police Woman - Pianos on Wednesday October 17th @ 2:15 PM nu003cspan styleu003d"color:rgb(0, 102, 0)">( Brooklyn, NY- Singer/Songwriter)u003c/span>u003c/span>",1] ); D(["mb","u003cspan classu003dq>u003cbr>Mixel Pixel - Pianos on Wednesday October 17th @ 8 PMu003cbr>u003c/span>",1] ); D(["mb","u003cspan classu003dq>The Muggabears - Sound Fix on Wednesday October 17th @ 8 PMnu003cbr>u003c/span>",1] ); D(["mb","u003cspan classu003dq>No More Kings - Fontanas on Wednesday October 17th @ 8 PMu003cbr>u003c/span>",1] ); D(["mb","u003cspan styleu003d"color:rgb(255, 0, 0)">nOh No! Oh My! - The Delancey on Wednesday October 17th @ 11 PMu003cspan styleu003d"color:rgb(0, 102, 0)">n(Austin, TX --Indie Pop- Rock)u003c/span>u003c/span>",1] ); D(["mb","u003cspan classu003dq>u003cbr>The Poison Control Center - Knitting Factory Old Office on Wednesday October 17th @ 7:30 PMnu003cbr>u003c/span>",1] ); //-->Sam Champion - Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday October 17th @ 10 PMu003cbr>Semi Precious Weapons - Lit Lounge on Wednesday October 17th @ Midnightu003cbr>nShock Cinema - Pianos on Wednesday October 17th @ Midnightu003cbr>u003c/span>",1] ); D(["mb","u003cspan styleu003d"color:rgb(255, 0, 0)">Summerbirds In The Cellar - Alphabet Lounge on Wednesday October 17th @ 10:15 PM nu003cspan styleu003d"color:rgb(0, 102, 0)">(Orlando, FL - Electro/indie rock)u003c/span>u003c/span>",1] ); D(["mb","u003cspan classu003dq>u003cbr>u003cbr>u003cbr>1990's - Bowery Ballroom on Thursday, October 18th @ 10 PMu003cbr>nAnd You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead - Highline Ballroom on Thursday October 18th @ 9:30 PMu003cbr>u003c/span>",1] ); D(["mb","u003cspan classu003dq>nBM Linx - Crash Mansion on Thursday October 18th @ 10 PMu003cbr>u003c/span>",1] ); D(["mb","u003cspan styleu003d"color:rgb(255, 0, 0)">Elizabeth Harper - Trash on Thursday October 18th @ 11 PM u003cspan styleu003d"color:rgb(0, 102, 0)">(Brooklyn, NY--Indie/pop)u003c/span>nu003c/span>u003cbr styleu003d"color:rgb(255, 0, 0)">u003cspan styleu003d"color:rgb(255, 0, 0)">nElk City - Joe's Pub on Thursday October 18th @ 11:30 PM u003cspan styleu003d"color:rgb(0, 102, 0)">(NYC, NY - Indie Rock)u003c/span>u003c/span>",1] ); //-->Sam Champion - Music Hall of Williamsburg - 10 PM Semi Precious Weapons - Lit Lounge -  Midnight Shock Cinema - Pianos -  Midnight Summerbirds in The Cellar  - Alphabet Lounge  -  10:15PM Thursday, October 18th Phonograph This Brooklyn-based group, Phonograph, supplies Alt-Country and folk at its very best. If Jeff Tweedy and Tom Petty joined forces, it would sound something like this (and that's a very, very good thing). They'll be playing Fontanas at 1am. We'll be there... will you? SHOWS ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18th (ARTIST- LOCATION - TIME) 1990's  -  Bowery Ballroom - 10 PM And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead -Highline Ballroom- 9:30PM BM Linx -  Crash Mansion  -  10 PM Elizabeth Harper -  Trash  -  11 PM Elk City -  Joe's Pub  - 11:30 PM The Golden Dogs  - Mo Pitkin's  -  11 PM Hallelujah the Hills  -  Arlene's Grocery - 8PM The Hourly Radio  - Crash Mansion -  Midnight Look Mexico -  Day Stage, Puck Building   - 12 PM The Muggabears  -  White Rabbit  -   2 PM Phonograph - Fontanas - 1 AM Walter Meego - Webster Hall - 9 PM FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19th Ghostland Observatory (photo by Chad Wadsworth) Ghostland Observatory is making a name for themselves as one of the best live indie acts to see. They've played just about every major festival across the country this year and concertgoers are constantly leaving under their ghostly spell. Catch them performing Friday night at Webster Hall! SHOWS ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19th (ARTIST- LOCATION - TIME) Dead Confederate - Ace of Clubs - 8 PM Ezra Furman - Fat Baby - 6 PM Essie Jain - Living Room - 8 PM Foreign Islands - Crash Mansion  -  11 PM Ghostland Observatory - Webster Hall -  8:30 PM Islands - Highline Ballroom -  Midnight Kudu -  Rebel on Friday -  9 PM Mia Riddle - Union Hall o-  10 PM Pattern Is Movement - Mot Pitkin's  -  Midnight The Spinto Band - Bowery Ballroom -  1 AM Yip-Yip - Knitting Factory Old Office -  11:30 PM Yip-Yip - Knitting Factory Old Office on Friday October 19th @ 11:30 PM nu003cspan styleu003d"color:rgb(0, 153, 0)">(Expiramental/electronic- Winter Park, FL)u003c/span>u003c/span>",1] ); D(["mb","u003cspan classu003dq>u003cbr>
  I have been using the word cupcaking a lot. From Urban Dictionary:   It's like flirting; being flirtatious.   "Aye yo, stop cupcaking wit that ugly ass ho.”   To talk to a guy/girl that you are attracted to on the phone for an extended period of time.   "Quit cupcaking with your girl and let's go"   Constantly kissing and being all over someone in public places   "The girl is always cupcaking with her man in the hallway"   Wow, that's a lot of conflicting definitions. I use it in the snuggly-wuggly sense.   Because of the blog, my husband Gideon keeps calling me betch. He's like, "Love you betch." The other day he was making me feel better about school, and I was like "thanks baby" and he was like "anytime betch."   Also, I like to think of everything as a caption for i can haz cheezburgr. At school I spend the whole time thinking of funny captions for the powerpoint slides.     W.S. doing what he does best   I am using the word "primsy" a lot, but it isn't catching on. I'll use it in a sentence: Will Smith was so primsy in that picture where he's leading that art tour. Or, n+1 is intolerably primsy. Or, What a bunch of primsy douches. My worry with primsy is that I'm rolling it out all over, but the fish ain't biting.   "But, Honestly" -- Foo Fighters (mp3) "Once and For All" -- Foo Fighters (mp3)   Gideon's mom said the funniest thing in an email. She wrote an email to the whole family but she forgot to include the youngest, Sam. We were like "What about Sam?" And she wrote back "omygod.... never never tell him i forgot him." I've been giggling about her use of omygod for days.   Also, I've been using a lot of "funsies," samesies," "for realsies," especially at school. I am literally the coolest kid in my class. I actually am. I'm not the smartest, but I am the coolest. I am making white people jokes all over the place. I'm like "you people are white people!"     I could marinate a chicken in that.   Before our last exam, I generally shouted, "Good luck sluts!" It had them rolling in the aisles. Actually, not that many people heard. It was chaos in there. But those around me heard, and they laughed.   Today I made some kids play “kill, fuck, marry” with me. It was hard to think of any combination of three kids in our class where you didn't just want to kill them all. I was playing with this hysterical guy named Ralph. He kept being like, "I would kill myself, you gotta."   "Long Road to Ruin" -- Foo Fighters (mp3) "Details of the War" -- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (mp3)   People are like "why don't you guys ever come to parties?" or "I'm so nervous about the test" and my answer to both is always "whatever." I am like, "I see you people all day, why would I see you more?"   Yesterday this teacher was telling us about a fictional patient couple where "two yuppies meet, fall in love, and decide to move to a brownstone in Brooklyn. She gets pregnant." Three people were like, "Rachael!"   Rachael Bedard is the betch of 104th Street, and a second-year medical student. She is a writer living in New York.     [Link to this post]
The Darjeeling Limited, 91 min. dir. Wes Anderson "Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)" -- Peter Sarstadt (mp3) Molly and I had our first ever fight over Wes Anderson's last film, The Life Aquatic. I was convinced that a film so strange, a movie in which the jokes hinged on a knowledge so bizarre and a loss so sad, could not possibly be bad. And I still enjoy watching The Life Aquatic. We have slammed Wes Anderson's misogyny and racism in these pages, and for the most part rightly so, but the Criterion Collection was dead-on-balls accurate to include Wes' every movie in their series--he's among the most talented directors working today. If I was to classify my top five visual artists right now, in fact, they would go something like this. 5. Darren Aronofsky 4. Steve Spielberg 3. Wes Anderson 2. Roman Polanski 1. Quentin Tarantino I'm like 5'2" in real life, isn't that hilar!? You want to try to like this film, and The Darjeeling Limited sort of complies by so desperately wanting you to enjoy these characters, glorifying them in any slightly critical moment. They want you to know that they are in love with themselves, and love them for that instead of resenting their privilege. Peter Travers: But this is an Anderson film, meaning telling details have to be caught on the fly. Catch Peter's wince when he reveals he's about to become a father. Or Jack's desperation when he hacks into his ex's voicemails. Or Francis' head bandages, remnants of his attempt to off himself on his motorcycle. Yes, how subtle, massive bandages. That's a great character detail. Travers, you are the primary resident of Stonetown. The film opens with a neat sequence that involves Bill Murray missed the departure of the Darjeeling Limited train service, and Adrien Brody getting on the train instead. Wes is playing around with a familiar cinematic convention, to gorgeous results--the film sets up an expectation of its worldliness that its screenwriters weren't prepared to deliver. The film's grasp then narrows quickly--instead of the rich, we-tried-for-too-much feel of the The Life Aquatic, Anderson seems determined to make some changes relative to the success of his last film. Richie: I have to tell you something... Margot: What is it? Richie: I love you. Margot: I love you, too. An auteur makes movies that are of a kind. We are currently plowing our way through a five-disc Eric Rohmer box set, and he goes so far as to just basically make the same movie again and again. Anderson's quirky, funny little mood has never been less funny, or less charmingly quirky. Owen orders meals for his younger brothers in a funny moment--the rest is a collection of intimate ironies along the lines of the superior and wacky The Royal Tenenbaums. The smaller canvas might help those who thought The Life Aquatic went too far, but we thought it didn't go far enough. "Play With Fire" -- The Rolling Stones (mp3) Designer Marc Jacobs and director Wes Anderson Marc Jacobs and da auteur. MENTION personal style and Wes Anderson, who was chortling just a moment ago, looks like he suddenly slurped down a bad oyster. "I don't want anyone to think I follow trends and fashion because, well, frankly... I just don't," says the director. Anderson seems to want to find both drama and comedy in the Indian landscape. This film might be more exciting to us, or better able to escape the easy tag of cultural imperialism, if we did not all know something of what India actually is. It is a rapidly changing nation, and possibly the most important democracy in the world. It is something less than a funny set for hijinks, the last Albert Brooks movie and Jean Renoir's The River aside. "Suite Bergamasque 3. Clair de Lune" -- Alexis Weissenberg (mp3)   The performances are all over the place. Owen Wilson shows basically one note the entire time, while Schwartzman is given next to nothing to do, even when he is supposedly in the midst of life-changing angst. It's a shame he couldn't write himself a better part, instead he just wrote sex with an Indian woman. The only time the film actually has the sneaky fun it purports to be all about is when we flashback a year earlier to three New York boys who lose their mother and their father when their father dies. It is the presence of a woman, the Brody character's wife so fleetingly portrayed, that the film gets this energy. As in Anderson's finest film, Rushmore, the energy to go on is derived from what you love, and in this case, who you love. You may not exactly be able to control just who that is, Max suggests with his desire for his teacher and Rushmore as a whole. The script, by Anderson and Schwartzman and Roman Coppola, is a collection of one-line jokes about being self-involved. Cigarettes are consumed wantonly along with cough medicine. Whatever you need, you need it now. Nice suit betch "Les Champs Elysees" -- Joe Dassin (mp3) It is Brody who is the real star of the film. In real life of course, he seems like a vapid twat, but then, I hate actors. His more appealing qualities are emphasized--after all, I can barely look at Schwartzman since watching the abortion that is Hotel Chevalier, and Owen Wilson looks like a bag of feral cats that was tossed into a river. Angela, Dwight, and Garbage. In a forced scene in the second part of the film, the brotherly triumvirate rescues a group of boys trying to cross a small river with a strong current. There is no point in analyzing the spectacle of white people saving more primitive folk. It is like throwing a bunch of symbols--"fear of intimacy" "cultural superiority" "jewness"—and making them into magnetic poetry to shuffle around for when your jokes can't carry the day. [youtube=] Anderson writes a moving essay in the introduction to the book screenplay of his second film, Rushmore. He is determined to screen the film for dying film critic Pauline Kael; he forces her to view even the overlong third act. A success need never be particularly concerned with his critics, and even though Kael didn't like the film, Anderson's strength of conviction is impressive. "Strangers" -- The Kinks (mp3) Anderson's use of music is all too telling. At key moments, he pulls from the Kinks heavily, as though Ray Davies (and in one case Dave Davies) could provide the purpose and emotion that the scenes are lacking. These are good songs, but they mainly end up emphasizing the expressive limits of what's happening onscreen. That's bad news, unless you think the point of cinema is to emphasize its inability to communicate. In The Darjeeling Limited, even the music tells us less than usual. In the end, the movie is, again, of a kind with Wes' other films. It is informed by them quite a bit, even suggesting actors from the other films, if not characters, in an extended sequence in which other cabins on the Darjeeling Limited are exposed to us in a dramatic-irony fashion. All characters are leftovers, the scene suggests, people themselves are leftovers. In the film's most sincere attempt at a moving moment, Anderson's favorite actress, Angelica Huston, tells her sons that whatever they think about the past, it's over now. "Not for us," Owen Wilson answers. This is a familiar irony for a filmmaker who can't get over the celebrated fashion in which he has composed his life and art. Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING Flashing back to our nonfiction week. We mourned mankind. We celebrated our love of the sketch comedy group The State.   [Link to this post]
Cesare Pavese "The great lovers will always be unhappy, because for them love is great and so they ask of their beloved the same intensity of thought that they have for her – otherwise they feel betrayed." -Cesare Pavese "It's because I can't buy her diamonds and I have a small dick." --Pete Doherty This morning, Cesare Pavese got me thinking of Kate and Pete.  I had been turned onto Pavese's short novel The House on the Hill by a teacher who said of Louise Gluck's new poems: "They are more Pavese than Pavese." The novel begins with perhaps the greatest sentence ever written in Italian translated into English: "For a long time we had talked of the hill as we might have talked of the sea or the woods." It was a small step to take from Pavese's raw and poignant faux-detachment to that projected by Kate Moss and her former lover Peter. "Stone Me" -- Babyshambles (mp3) One can almost hear the "Up the Bracket"-era Pete Doherty commenting over (an uncompromisingly spare) dinner with Kate, as Pavese did some 60 years before: "The war had made it legitimate to turn in on oneself and live from day to day without regretting lost opportunities. It was as if I had been waiting for the war a long time and had been counting on it, a war so vast and unprecedented that one could easily go home to the hills, crouch down, and let it rage in the skies above the cities. Things were happening now that justified a mere keeping alive without complaining. That species of dull rancor that hemmed in my youth found a refuge and a horizon in the war." Indeed, there is nothing like a war to legitimize decadent and self-destructive egoism.  In one story, Pete spent a few years of his adolescence filling-in graves for a London cemetery. By then Kate, five years his senior, was already familiar to us in her black Calvin Klein underwear. It is likely that he thought of her with some measure of "dull rancor," a base and rather inarticulate reminder of several cultural commodities he had little of. And, as is so often the case, his early output was tainted by a barely legible guilt for feeling like the victim of a declining country. But the war changed all that, and his own eggish head come into a focus as clear as Kate's almost-nude CK "Obsession" adverts. It would not be a stretch to say that this same period of escalated violence in the Middle East saw a similar "turning-inwards" in the life of Kate Moss, initiating a more self-determined (and therefore self-hating) period of her career. With aesthetic control comes the onus of perception-experiment, and so the new couple retreated into their house on the hill to merely keep alive without complaining. Then the voice of Pavese returns, a poet, like Pete Doherty, known less for his poetry than for work in another medium--one wants to call this a tragedy, but in the case of Doherty it is most probably a relief. This voice, the middle-aged Pavese, speaks from the living crevices of Peter and Kate's London home, the poem "Frasi all-innamorata (Words for a Girlfriend)": I walk without saying a word with a girl I picked up on the street. It's evening, the boulevard's lined with trees and with lights. It's the third time we've met. The girl makes the awkward decision more difficult: cafes are ruled out since we can't stand the crowds, the cinema, too, because of the first time we went there... we shouldn't do that again, if only because we aren't in love. So let us keep walking all the way to the Po, to the bridge, we'll look at the palaces of light that the streetlamps make in the water. The deadness of the third date. I know of her all that can be know by a stranger who had kissed and embraced her in a dark room where other dark couples embraced, where the orchestra—a single piano—played Aida. We walk down the avenue, with everyone else. Here too is an orchestra, screeching and singing, a metallic commotion like the jolting of trams. I pull her to me and look in her eyes: she looks at me silent and smiling. I know of her what I've always known about all girls: that she works, that she's sad, and that, if I asked her, "Do you want to die tonight?" she'd say yes. "Carry On Up the Morning" -- Babyshambles (mp3) And that, as it had seemed always, is how is ended, the perpetual "deadness of the third date." It is not difficult to imagine the genuine vital originality of Pete and Kate's first two dates. After that it was all credit cards and trite questions of true self fighting an epic but finally meaningless battle. The mirror functioned in all its traditional symbolism but also in a purely utilitarian sense. A game of oneupmanship began in which the darling lovers publicly parodied one another. Kate, the Beauty, awkwardly sullied her aspect with drugs and anguish; Pete, the Abyss, dolled himself up and pranced around fashion shows. And so, Pete and Kate will tell the same story, over and over, with different intonations, for as long as they both shall live. They will tell it to each other, though never in person, like the verse of a favorite poem, and the other will not be listening because he/she (they are sexless, too) will be reading the same verse. Pavese wrote that verse. Oh beautiful girl, tonight I am not that boy, audacious, who won you with a kiss on the street in front of and old man who watched with astonishment. This evening I walk with the saddest of thoughts, like you when you say that you wish you could die. Not that I wish I could die. Those days have passed, and besides, "we aren't in love." The crowd passes by, pressing and crushing, and you too are the crowd, like everyone else, you're walking beside me. Not that I hate you—could your ever believe that?— but I am alone, and I'll be alone always. "French Dog Blues" -- Babyshambles (mp3) "Delivery" -- Babyshambles (mp3) N.B. Pavese's suicide note is total glib: "I forgive everyone and hope everyone will forgive me. OK? Don't gossip too much!" Will Hubbard is the contributor-at-large of This Recording. There is virtually no irony with which he is unacquainted. PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING Jess Grose was the Jew goddess. Yawn. The vice-president got his feelings hurt.   [Link to this post]
The best parts about Austin City Limits, this year's edition, for this boy from Daytrotter and the easy Midwest: -- spending the afternoon at Jad Fair of Half Japanese's horse farm in east Austin with the Red Hunter and Jared Van Fleet, along with the La Blogotheque guys -- watching Kevin Devine melt from the stupid Texas heat in September -- hearing The Decemberists work on new songs during a sound check at Maggie Mae's -- witnessing the absolute radness of the Golden Boots!! -- hearing the kind, gentle manner of Jason Molina live and in person -- drinking one after another Austin Ambers -- enjoying the catering with Dr. Dog and drinking Red Bulls in the Cold War Kids' trailer before their set at ACL -- having the privilege of seeing the final two Sound Team shows -- watching the Cold War Kids perform from the side of the stage; particularly witnessing the monumental event of bassist Matt Maust removing his shirt mid-set -- getting to chat -- even so briefly -- with our bros from Oakley Hall -- attending the National's show with Gabe P and the Kids; seeing Richard from Arcade Fire oddly and frantically twisting a strand of his hair as he watched -- sleeping at least one night -- the BBQ   Read more from Sean by visiting Daytrotter.   [Link to this post]
Next week is the debut of New York City band The Oskar & Psycholovers. Rare these days does a band come around that can sound both modern and throwback at the same time. Picture an indie rock band with a splash of UK punk. These guys are awesome. Be sure to tune in next Wednesday. I'll hitt'em up early on in the program!
the main point of this entry is to say that it is TOO HOT it is TOO HOT the sun is shining in the window in our offices and it is supposed to get up to 86 degrees and muggy today. what? well whatevs! I had 3 really great groups come into the studio for BTR Live Studio this week. You can look forward to Trevor Exter, a former BTR artist of the week coming up on the show this Tuesday October 9th. The week of CMJ will bring you a live performance and interview with Sure Juror. Later in the month I'll be presenting the incredibly talented TAKENOBU, followed later in October by The Naysayer. Wooh! maiaaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaia
I don't usually make grand, sweeping statements about society. It's not the Daytrotter way, but when it comes to the greatness of Sound Team, Austin's answer to big dreaming, big skies, doing nothing by the numbers, the world got it wrong and now we're going to be forever damned because of it. There's a skyscraper-length hole in my soft heart for this group of scientists who pulled the plug on the operation at this year's ACL festival. They played one spirited, messy and devil-may-care show at La Zona Rosa with Spoon on Thursday night, then capped the career off with an official performance at the festival two days later in the same blazing sun that Kevin Devine had to deal with. The festival show was well attended and the band -- who have become good pals -- played it a lot straighter, performing the songs to a T and still brought their trademark bad assity. They will be sorely missed and yet, the reasons for them splitting is largely our fault. Pitchfork totaled their album "Movie Monster" and nothing was the same after that. The band always had misgivings about being on Capitol Records, but that single review probably sunk that relationship and soured the indie rock community on them. The fly-by indie fans took the review as the Word and wrote them off, ultimately causing rifts in the band and the thoughts of, "Why should we keep doing this?" Those thoughts got the best of them. I wish they hadn't.   Read more from Sean by visiting Daytrotter.   [Link to this post]
Right now, where I am isn’t all that crucial to what’s about to be written, but the feeling of being away from your loved ones – even for a few days – is an ever present effect of touring as a band and musician. You are forced, despite your grievances to pack up a small bag of belongings and pile into a rotten van for months on end to push a piece of plastic that you’ve put your music onto and hope to impress other people enough with it that they’ll give you monies for their own personal copy of said recording. In doing so, you leave behind your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, daughter, son, parents and friends. The communication is all by phone and text and you sadden by the day as you continue the journey to move people into a place where your record has to be their record and their love becomes yours. Here in Austin this weekend, the Austin City Limits festival has taught me that it’s no fun to not be at home when you have a combination of any of the above relationships with dear people whom you see every single day. You can look up at bands, spot wedding bands on their ring fingers and immediately know that they’re missing someone, probably that very moment. The endless tours must strain things in so many ways. Then you get to a band like Omaha’s Tilly and the Wall and they’ve got it all figured out for the most part. Not everything can be perfectly sewn up and clean in the contentment category with a band of five, but they’ve got some special insulation from the cruelty that distance applies to people’s hearts. Tilly has the lovely married couple – Derek and Jamie Pressnall – and the added bonus of being a band made of best friends who aren’t just friends because they’re in a band together. They were friends first before the making of music crept in under the door. Watching them interact with each other, it’s obvious that the blow of the wacky life they lead isn’t so harsh. They love each other and somehow radiate this, causing the hairs on your arms to sway with static electricity when you occupy the same room with them. It’s the damnedest thing. This was the second time that they’ve been so kind to visit us and it was another pure pleasure. You kind of secretly look for ways to become a stowaway in the back seat of their van because it feels as if wherever they’re going, they’re taking the excitement with them. Their jokes and giggles – those are all going with. All that you’ll hear is a fading echo of where they emanated from. They’re a bunch of smiley-pantses and when Jamie told me yesterday that she was home working in the garden — there with her husband and her friends nearby – it almost broke my heart. Chandelier Lake Urgency Too Excited Pictures of Houses   Read more from Sean by visiting Daytrotter.   [Link to this post]
     Interpol Lauren and Heidi are driving around LA, presumably to their glamorous jobs or to a favorite club, chatting on cell phones about the latest drama. Lattes in hand and designer sunglasses atop their blonde manes, Interpol plays in the background. The viewer has no idea what the girls are actually listening to, but a staffer has placed this track precisely where thousands of young viewers are sure to hear it.  Indie music has been popping up on television quite a bit within the past few years, and many viewers may not have even noticed. From reality shows like MTV’s The Hills or The Real World to prime-time programs such as The O.C., Grey’s Anatomy, and Scrubs, indie music can be found in some highly unlikely places. Music supervisors are now commonplace on staff - The Hills even called upon Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz to lend his services for a key episode earlier this year. In an interview about his temporary gig, Wentz said he tried to choose music with which viewers weren’t necessarily familiar (we assume he didn’t mean Fall Out Boy, MTV’s “Best Group” for 2007, which he featured on the show as well.) Many attribute the phenomenon to Fox’s The O.C., which garnered a reputation for featuring bands, not only in the background, but performing live, and at times even making their way into the dialogue. Many found the contrast between privileged teens in southern California and scruffy indie rockers comical, but their promotion of indie music was anything but funny.  The most famous instance was with Death Cab for Cutie, who were one of the bands featured that saw the most success. Imogen Heap's downloads also soared after being featured on the program.  But The O.C. also featured a host of lesser-known acts, such as The Walkmen, The Thrills, Patrick Park and many more. Like other shows, The O.C. released soundtracks to promote music featured on the show, cleverly titled  as “mixes” to more effectively target teens. Of course, The O.C. is hardly the first television show to offer such promotion. The Shins appeared on Gilmore Girls (Adam Brody’s gig before The O.C.), a show which also featured guest appearances from Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, and many other musicians, indie or not. The Gilmore Girls soundtrack is a treat for music nerds, with everything from the classic Big Star track “Thirteen” to a cover of “What a Wonderful World” from none other than Joey Ramone.      Yo La Tengo Some celebrities have gone a step further, as to actually recommend music directly to their fans. Actor/Director Zach Braff is often credited with exposing The Shins to mainstream audiences in his film Garden State, but Braff also uses many of his favorite artists in Scrubs. Artists such as Cary Brothers, Joshua Radin, and other singer/songwriters have had their tracks featured in the series, and Colin Hay and The Polyphonic Spree have performed on the show. Braff has also directed several music videos, and he is always recommending music via his Myspace blog. And let's not forget he won a Grammy for his selection of music for Garden State, leaving many with the impression that he is very comfortable in his role as a tastemaker. But he’s not alone; The Office’s Jenna Fischer recently appeared in a video for artist Willie Wisely, which she promoted on her widely-read Myspace blog, and other actors are using their popularity to promote indie musicians.  The added exposure can be great for the musicians, but at times it comes with a price.  A band I spoke to recently, virtually unknown outside their home city, told me about their plans to sign a deal with a major network, allowing their music to be featured on a wide array of shows. The deal is guaranteed to provide the audience with mainstream exposure - if, and only if, they add a member and change their name. The band had the distinct impression that deals like these are commonplace, which may be troubling to musicians and fans alike. Many of a band’s early fans feel that an appearance on a major network television show is “selling out,” and often resent the influx of new fans after a band is prominently featured in a television show or film. Additionally, some musicians worry that their music may be taken out of context if only heard on a soundtrack. Even worse, whether intentional or not, songs are presented in a specific way on film to convey certain meanings; often not what the artist originally intended. There are some artists who have refused to participate in such promotion, notably Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, who, the New York Times reported, turned down the opportunity to perform on The O.C. Still, many artists jump at the chance for exposure to fans that wouldn’t normally seek out indie music. Did Rilo Kiley have Katie Holmes in mind when writing “85?” Maybe not, but the band didn’t have a problem with their inclusion in the third season of Dawson’s Creek. On the topic, lead singer Jenny Lewis said, "We felt honored and grateful to have our music on a show with the integrity and credibility that Dawson's Creek has so rightly earned. We feel proud also that they chose to play our songs during such poignant points in the episode." Rilo Kiley’s music has also been used on The OC, Grey’s Anatomy, Weeds, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer.      The Polyphonic Spree (photo courtesy of Hal Samples) All that said, whatever your position on the issue as a fan, musician, or TV viewer, the use of music in these mediums is here to stay. Enjoy the relief from commercial radio’s heavy rotation, at the very least.
I'd never met Kevin Devine before I got to Texas. We'd been introduced randomly via the e-mailing method of communication by Robert Suchan of the terrifically underrated rock outfit Koufax (please petition their MySpace page to work faster and bring us a new record instead of living abroad and enjoying their leisure time). We traded some friendly e-mails about the possibility of him coming into our studio for a recording session. The times, they hadn't worked out and so we kept it open, ready to revisit when things looked better. So, who do I run into randomly in Austin, but Mr. Kevin Devine. It was in the unlikeliest place -- playing guitar in the band Manchester Orchestra, which was taking time off from their tour with Kings of Leon and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to play at our co-sponsored party with Paste magazine. He's a lively fellow and a really great person, kind to a fault. He fit right in with the fiery Manchester crew, belting out backing vocals straight to the open air and the clouds beyond. It was a pretty thing. He apologized for having a Blackberry. I told him he didn't have to. He told me that I need to take Cracked magazine up on their offer to write for them -- an opportunity that arose just that afternoon. He told me that he had the same issue of the magazine -- with Bill Cosby, Freddy Krueger and Michael J. Fox on the cover -- that I did (my first ever magazine purchase). We felt like old friends. He put me on the guest list for ACL the following morning. I didn't have breakfast to see him play in sweltering, pre-noon heat. It felt like we were all dying at the hands of the mercury. Saw Kevin that same night in line at The National's after-show party at Emo's. I felt bad that we couldn't get him in to the sold out show. He understood like a good friend. He'll be coming to Rock Island next week for a session and it's going to be a good day.   Read more from Sean by visiting Daytrotter.   [Link to this post]
Finally got to see that there was more to Austin, Texas than Big Orange Studio, a coffeehouse/bar called Rio Rita's and a home with three roosters in the front yard for pets. Okay, when Daytrotter was there for the first time in March for the South By Southwest festival, we found a BBQ place and a Mexican place close to the studio where we recorded, but that was the extent of our exploration. It was a point A to point B excursion and bouncing off the beaten path was not in the cards with the workload we were doing down there. So I got into town two weeks ago for the Austin City Limits fest -- flying, not driving this time -- and I took the rental car past the friendly environs of the studio that we called work and home for nearly a week. It was comforting to immediately feel a kinship with a city you've only been to once. I was damn near exhausted having not slept the night before and finding it impossible to catch any winks on the plane. Didn't know it until I got to Austin and opened up the Austin Chronicle, but I shared a plane from Atlanta with Crowded House. Got to the hotel and hunted down some grub. It was Mexican and it was just alright. I thought I'd hit the jackpot with a Mexican restaurant in the parking lot of my hotel, but it wasn't to be. This was my only visit. That night, I started off the weekend right, catching Spoon and the final Sound Team club show. They're good friends and it was sad to see them call it quits. Ran into more friends, Grizzly Bear. Talked to Christopher Taylor about Jay Reatard and The Bowerbirds. The man's got one of the better tattoos in indie rock. It was great seeing Spoon at a sold out show in their hometown. The night before I'd done the same, catching Wilco in Chicago at the Frank Gehry-designed Millenium Park. Dr. Dog opened and it was a pretty magical first night of fall. You could sense that everyone was happy to have been able to tote along a bottle of wine and break out that sweater for the first time of the season. After the Spoon show, I booked down the street and saw Magnolia Electric Company, but the highlight was Golden Boots, from Tuscan, Arizona. Absolutely incredible band whom you'll see on Daytrotter soon if it kills us. Then I went to bed.   Read more from Sean by visiting Daytrotter.   [Link to this post]
  Is this a Broken Social Scene record? Or a Kevin Drew solo album? Confusing maybe. I believe this is a Kevin Drew solo project where he is front and centre, but he does get a huge helping hand from all his Canadian friends. In the end the only thing that matters is this. Is it good? The unfortunate answer is no. Actually, it is great. It is feast for the ears and the mind and most importantly, the heart. As Mr Drew so eloquently stated, this record is all about his favourite topics "fucking, fighting, fearing and hope". This is music with enormous reservoirs of heart and joy. It possesses that unique quality of great music. It makes you tingle with excitement upon hearing it and makes your heart flutter just that little bit. If you love Broken Social Scene, then this eloquent slab of pleasure will be right up your alley. It contains all of their great qualities. Fuzzy guitar, sweeping choruses, aching melodies. You know those things that make us swoon and sway. "Farewell To The Pressure Kids" gets things rolling nicely. Kevin sounds like he singing down a well, with a full orchestra clattering around him. I like how the vocals become one with the instrumentation. All swirling and hectic it feels immediate and in your face. It ticks like a time bomb, setting the scene. The best thing about this music is the flow. It is seamless. "TBTF", "F--cked Up Kid" and "Safety Bricks" rollick along effortlessly with desirable harmonies. "Lucky Ones" takes it up a notch with its bold choruses and sweeping arrangements. There are some languid, dreamy moments here too. "Broke Me Up" and "Gang Bang Suicide" are almost tranquil and serene. When he sings "So when you die, will you leave behind, all the leaves that we sewed, to ourselves" I think my heart skips a beat. Someone, a very good judge, said the singer sounds almost childish. This strikes at the heart of the matter with the whole BSS thing. There is the paradox of child like wonder sitting next to base human emotions. The lyrics are about love and lust, hope and decay. Seemingly sweet and innocent there is a simple majesty at work here. It is probably captured best on my favourite song "Frightening Lives", a head rush of a song that threatens to explode. "Sex and our wills will stain our lips, now put it in your head, put it in your head", indeed. If black and white emotions of love and hate can exist perfectly in a song, it is on this album. "Aging Places/Losing Places" and "Bodhi Sappy Weekend" are other delights to savour. Of course Kevin Drew is helped out by all his "kids" including "Whiteman, Haines, Feist, Canning, Millan, Peroff, Penner". They are a most talented bunch. His biggest thanks on the liner notes are fellow BSS's and DMSThinkers Benchetrit and Spearin. "...thanks to Ohad for teaching me how to close my eyes again, and to Charlie for helping me breath." I recommend you close your eyes, listen to Sprit If... and then just breathe. MP3: Tbtf   Read more from Wayne by visiting Oceans Never Listen.   [Link to this post]
As a DJ and musicologist for BTR, I've been a fan and held much respect for each of the artists on the station. But lately, I've found a new appreciation for all music artists. Why? Well, I decided to pick up a new hobby. Having played random instruments through the years---piano, cello, ukulele (seriously), I decided to add guitar to that roster this week. With little past experience, and some help from a friend, I hope to pay homage in some open mic in the future, haha. I will continue to donate to the singer songwriters in the T stations here in Boston... And next week, I'll have an homage to some singer songwriters, for sure!
The Ghost is Dancing. Why? Because he has probably been listening to the debut album from this Toronto nine piece. Well I don't believe in ghosts but that sounds like a good story. What is it with Canadians and ghosts? If they are not singing about them they are naming bands after them. But I digress. "The Darkest Spark" is a wonderful slice of rousing pop that is a joy to listen to. The easy comparison to make (because of their origin) is to Arcade Fire or Broken Social Scene. Now, they are a large band and they have rousing choruses and tonnes of instrumentation but they aren't as dark or mature as those bands. They have a lighter touch. I think a better comparison would be We All Have Hooks For Hands. They share that youthful exuberance, each song has a bounce and a step to it that is hard to resist. Their album was recorded in October, 2006 on Toronto Island and it is a kaleidoscopic piece of music. The vocals are pushed to the front, clear and distinct, while there are horns and strings a plenty to augment the music. Even though the album has plenty of charm and up tempo numbers, there is a little dark to compliment the light. "Greatlakescape" is gorgeously mournful whilst "The Dark and the Bright" has a quiet strength. I think though, my two favourite tracks are the closing two. "Wait Another Day" and "Arrivals" are a glimpse into the future perhaps. Whilst both very singable they show that this young band has the talent to write songs that will last longer then the 24 hours news cycle. If you want to check out a band going places investigate The Ghost is Dancing. MP3: Shuttles and Planes Available for purchase at Amazon.   Read more from Wayne by visiting Oceans Never Listen.   [Link to this post]
The Roadside Graves are American. Their music is American. Consider this and then consider investigating their music. Because there is no artifice to their music. It has no bells and whistles. It makes you feel good. It is intelligent and full of soul. On my recent trip to the US I picked up their latest release "No One Will Know Where You've Been" and it grows on me with every listen. Their latest album is their third (the first two are hard to find) and their first on Kill Buffalo. The band have now grown to seven and you can feel it in the music. Lashings of guitars, drums, piano, bass, flute and other percussive instruments are great for the ears. Then there are the vocals, centering around the husky, growling voice of John Gleason. He intones beauty in every note as he sings about the broad expanses of his native land. For his songs are tales about the road travelled, people met and loved and are steeped in that American tradition of songwriting first heard with Roger Miller, Townes Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen. The Springsteen comparison is perhaps apt because the band hails from New Jersey also. If you plunge into The Roadside Graves you will slowly fall love in love with their gentle melodies, their country subtleties and warm and generous spirit. In this throw away world this is music to slowly appreciate and let age like a good wine. MP3: West Coast Available for purchase from Amazon.   Read more from Wayne by visiting Oceans Never Listen.   [Link to this post]
This month's batch of new music is chock full of  that thing oft-referred to as indie rock, and  the majority  of it  is a lot of fun to listen to, like the perfect Slip n' Slide mixtape. Of course, we're quite past the summertime, so I apologize if this is a bit out of season. Still, one could argue that good music has no season, and, if so, these five albums fit the criteria.   Matt & Kim Matt & Kim Matt's on the keys bringing 80's-style synth lines, and Kim's on the drum kit abusing the bejesus out of a tightly affixed tambourine. Matt takes the lead on passionately spastic vocals, and Kim backs up in all the right places. But that doesn't do it justice. The music this pair makes is melodic, rowdy and a whole hell of a lot of fun to sing along to, like a non-stop house party with colorful streamers flying about. It's amazing that this much sound came come from two people, a drum set and a keyboard. September 26th @ The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, California September 27th @ The Grove of Anaheim in Anaheim, California September 28th @ the Epicentre in San Diego, California October 2nd @ the Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago, Illinois October 5th @ Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio Church Mouth Portugal. The Man Originally from Wasilla, Alaska, this progressive trio comes across like a tightened up and more direct version of The Mars Volta. Indeed,  frontman John Gourley sounds like he could be Cedric Bixler-Zavala's brother, though his style actually smacks more of Robert Plant.  They bring stadium-ready choruses and Sixties-style back-up vocals in songs like "Telling Tellers Tell Me" and "Sugar Cinnamon," before breaking it down intimate and tribal in joints like "Shade" and "Dawn." The band is currently in the midst of a hefty tour spanning all of North America, with stops in California, New York, Florida and Texas. September 26th @ the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, Massachusetts September 27th @ the Luna Lounge in New York City September 28th @ Club Lambi in Montreal, Quebec September 29th @ El Mocambo in Toronto, Ontario High Society The Silver Seas Clocking in at just under 32 minutes, this CD flies by like a summer day at the park. The Silver Seas have mastered the art of intelligent pop music, with a sound that takes less than one second to get into and a mere two seconds to start clapping along with.  "The Country  Life," for example, is impossible not to instantaneously appreciate. If you can't nod your head to that one, you must hate sunshine, ice cream, kittens and fireworks. The Nashville band were known as The Bees until just recently,  but confusion with a UK band by the same name proved exactly that; confusing. So, they are now the Silver Seas, and it shan't be long before everyone you know is talking about them. High Society is too catchy, too perfectly composed, and too accessible to fly under the radar for too long. 3000v-4000w We Are Standard Well, someone has to say it. We Are Standard are anything but. Hailing from Bilbao, Spain, this quintet has a rhythm section like Bloc Party and a frontman with the delivery of an irate teacher. Deu Chacartegui doesn't really sing; he makes sly declarations, with the kind of lazy nonchalance that proves to be  surprisingly invigorating. When he proclaims "I'm on fire!" in "Pressure," it's more of a passive statement, versus the outburst of a man feeling intense passion. Still, it has charm to it, and backed up against the band's tight musicianship, it makes for a fine listen. If you like beat-driven, somewhat dancey indie rock, than this is your messenger bag. Beneath and Beyond Standfast Cheap Lullaby Records continues to provide music afficiandos with wonderfully talented artists from around the world. Their latest addition is a group called Standfast, a duo out of Stockholm, Sweden. Suzanne (vocals) and Patrick (guitar), had the Swedish release of their latest effort, Beneath and Beyond on their own label, Beastie Music Records, in April of this year. Soon after they were picked up by Cheap Lullaby for distribution of the album in the United States. The album was released in the U.S. on August 28th and will hopefully open many doors for the talented group. Their sound is both whimsical and tightly produced, with beautiful harmonies and entertaining lyrics (see "Devil").
How's it going friends? Hope all is well. I'm doing just dandy. I was just reading Matt's article here on the site, giving a rundown of some of the new music to BTR and I thought I should throw my two cents in as well... We've got some great freakin' music!! So, be sure you are listening to all the shows because there is tons of tunes you don't want to miss. We welcomed Minty Fresh Records to the site this week and all their artists are tops. Our old favorite Cheap Lullaby Records has 2 newer releases... one from The Silver Seas and another from Standfast. These two are in heavy rotation because they are likable and good, so keep your ears open and tuned here to BreakThru Radio!! We'll talk again soon! Em
PLANET BEET with MR JASON - Wed 26th September 2007 00:08 - Fuzzface - (Not Now) I'm In A Hot Tub 03:50 - Dave Richards - Like A Zombie (part 1) 08:58 - Social Group - In That Fashion 13:08 - Cheeky Cheeky & The Nosebleeds ------------------------- RECORD LABEL OF THE WEEK - SHOW & TELL RECORDINGS 16:43 - Trin Tran - A Bomb 18:37 - Dave Richards - Like A Zombie (part 2) 19:56 - Trin Tran - Trin Tran ------------------------- PLANET BEET LIVE GIG - VERRA CRUZ (part 2) We don't know what all of the song titles are: 22:50 - Innocence 26:03 - Guns In The Distance 29:35 - ??? 32:53 - Rock & A Hard Place 38:12 - Strange Food For The Hungry ------------------------ RECORD LABEL OF THE WEEK - SHOW & TELL RECORDINGS 47:47 - Buck - Former Child Star 50:41 - Dave Richards - Mary Wimsey Hogwash (part 1) 52:12 - Junior Varsity featuring The Mighty Moguls - Gitchy Goo 54:32 - Dave Richards - Mary Wimsey Hogwash (part 2) ------------------------ 57:15 - Umbrella Assassins - Stormy Weather 59:55 - Dave Richards - Mary Wimsey Hogwash (part 3) ------------------------- RECORD LABEL OF THE WEEK - SHOW & TELL RECORDINGS 01:04:20 - The Bristols - Comme Jes Veaux 01:06:53 - Dave Richards - Mary Wimsey Hogwash (part 4) 01:08:13 - The Secret Hairdresser - Psycho ------------------------- 01:13:34 - Long Bone Trio - Bleedin' Heart 01:16:12 - Dave Richards - Mary Wimsey Hogwash (part 5) Recorded at Old School Studios in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK - Our Planet Beet website - Aly Gynn's website -
Love is Simple, an interesting construct. Perhaps in its purest form it is. Presented as the music of New York's Akron/Family it leaves a compelling argument. Somehow they manage to break down all the complexities of music and leave you with some of the most joyous, uplifting (dare I say it, spiritual) music you will ever hear. Yet although their style of music harks back to a seemingly simpler form of music reliant on organic instruments and multiple vocals there are many, many layers at work here. "Love is Simple" is this band's fourth album and it is a wonderful experience. It is a great testament to the power of the voice. The vocals are superb, going from full blooded chants to delightful harmonies. The album starts and ends with "Love, Love, Love" and that is definitely the theme here. It captures the vitality and curious complexities of life, leaving you feeling content and nourished after each listen. Besides the four part harmonies which will absolutely delight you, there are a multitude of instruments at work here, creating a maelstrom of noise that is guaranteed to intrigue and astound. There are some basic songs here, like the opening and closing tracks and "Crickets" which are almost lullabyes in approach. "Phenomena" also starts in this fashion before breaking out into a full on jam. Then there are some of the epic songs like "Ed Is A Portal" and "Lake Song/New Ceremonial Music For Mums" which have multiple parts and sections, but always manage to keep your interest. This is a hard record to review, because Akron/Family have created music that is constantly surprising, shifting your perceptions. Just when you believe you have a grasp on what you think about it, another listen will give you a different impression. Right now this piece of music is astounding me with its joyous spirit and amazing variety. Highly recommended. MP3: Ed Is A Portal MP3: Phenomena   Read more from Wayne by visiting Oceans Never Listen.   [Link to this post]
It's that crisp, clean feeling you get after going to the dentist. It's the invigorating sensation provide by a tasty piece of gum, or a revitalizing mouthwash. And, it's an indie record label based out of Chicago, Illinois. The common adjective/proper-noun we are looking for here is Minty Fresh. And we're in luck, because this stellar label provides a delicious, minty, and fresh lineup of artists from across the globe. Founded in 1993 by Jim Powers (with Anthony Musiala, Minty Fresh Records is home to such well-known acts as Veruca Salt, Liz Phair and The Cardigans. The label also features some bands you may not have heard of just yet, but ones that need to be on the radar of any true music fanatic.  Groups such as Alamo Race Track, Beangrowers, Trost, Astrid Swan and many others help add to the impressive roster of talented artists on Minty Fresh Records. Though the label is based in Chicago, they have signed outfits from all over the world. Artists from Germany, Finland, France, the Czech Republic, Sweden, the UK, The U.S., Australia, The Netherlands and many other countries can be found within the Minty Fresh register. BTR is proud to welcome this label to our site! We hope that you check out the Minty Fresh Records showcase, hosted by DJ Matt & DJ Emily, and that you continue to listen up to BreakThru Radio from here on out, for more music from this marvelous label. Also, check out all Minty Fresh Records has to offer, at! LINK TO THIS ARTICLE:      Alamo Race Track      Live!      October 17th @ CMJ in NYC      October 18th @ CMJ in NYC      October 25th @ La Fleche d'Or in Paris, France      October 26th @ La Fleche d'Or in Paris, France      October 27th @ La Fleche d'Or in Paris, France        Axe Riverboy      Prototypes      Trost      Live!      October 27th @ Pine Lodge in Myrtleville, Cork, Ireland      October 28th @ Connollys of Leap in Leap, West Cork, Ireland      October 29th @ the Crane Lane Theatre in Cork City, Ireland      November 10th @ Hafen 2 in Offenbach, Germany      November 11th @ Fleche d'or in Paris, France
Bonefish. Bonefish. The hair on the back of your neck stands to attention. Excitement overflow. You are entering the strange and mysterious world of Animal Collective. I am glad to have them back. They make music that sounds like no one else and I am so grateful for it. "Strawberry Jam" is a dazzling collection of pop gems, tribal beats, freak outs and the usual assortment of mysterious noises. This might be the Collective's best work yet and that is saying something. It is certainly their most accessible, although I doubt any commercial radio station is rushing to find a hit single. Having said that, maybe they should. There are moments of pure gold here. Dripping like honey from a music tree, I wish these songs could somehow seep into the general public's consciousness. Never mind, those of us who have made the leap of faith are rewarded yet again by these men with gold in their genes. Ah, so back to the start. "Peacebone" comes at you with static noise before the drums kick in and the unmistakable rhythms of Animal Collective loop inside your brain. This track also shows that this album is dominated by the voice of Avey Tare. His voice is not technically great, he doesn't have the glorious melodic pipes of Panda Bear. But he sings with spirit and character and he possesses an internal rhythm that is perfectly suited to the music. And when he yelps and screams your heart skips a beat. "Unsolved Mysteries" continues the pattern. Uneven rhythms and plaintive singing somehow jell together. Then the great triumvirate is upon us. 3 soaring songs of supreme majesty that are heartbreakingly beautiful and just damn exciting. "Chores" is Panda Bear's major piece and the glorious harmonies will truly have you sighing and smiling. A song of great heart and tenderness indeed. "For Reverend Green" is quite possibly the band's greatest moment. An epic song of undeniable passion it leaves me breathless. When Avey Tare screams "Now I think it's alright to feel inhuman" I start to have conniptions. Then the shimmering beauty of "Fireworks" follows, all grace and startling splendour. Like all AC albums those moments of striving for the musical heights also produce songs that are experimental and puzzling. "#1" is a little too monotonous and "Cuckoo Cuckoo" has some lovely piano but meanders a little bit too much. But then the closing song "Derek" brings Panda Bear back into the fold with a glorious song of divine proportions. This is AC's most succinct, focused work yet. Full of incredible beauty and pulsating excitement, it makes me grateful that some people in the world have the ability to present such a wonderful gift of music. MP3: Fireworks MP3: Peacebone   Read more from Wayne by visiting Oceans Never Listen.   [Link to this post]
White Rabbits Monolith Festival Day 1 or 2 (I can't remember) Red Rocks And the award for preppiest group of the weekend goes to White Rabbits. They tore up the WOXY stage and deserve all the hype that has been coming their way. White Rabbit-Kid on My Shoulders [mp3] White Rabbit-Navy Wives [mp3]   Read more from Julio by visiting Cause = Time.   [Link to this post]
Arcade Fire *** Red Rocks *** 09/17/07 *** Winn was out and about early to welcome the crowd. I guess you never realize how tall Win really is until he towers over you. Much like their sound. Arcade Fire played favorites from both albums, and due to the chill in the air, they played Cold Wind. The real treat of the evening is when they would do a medley of two songs, one leading into the other. Their sound was amplified by the amazing acoustics at the nearly sold out Red Rocks. Arcade Fire-The Well and the Lighthouse [mp3]   Read more from Julio by visiting Cause = Time.   [Link to this post]
Some recent discoveries have been making this transition into fall season pretty great. Not that it's ever heard. I've been hearing a lot of thank-goodness-it's-finally-fall comments coming from my friends. There's nothing quite like a great new musical discovery to usher in a new season. I don't listen to a ton of "jazzy" music but these three records are so perfect I need to share. PAUL STEINBECK! TRIOSK! THE RIVER PILOTS! Straight out of Toronto, The River Pilots: ------- Heading to Union Pool tonight to see the always charming Chairlift. Who's with me? -M
    Jay Reatard & Boston Chinks Well, it's that time of year again, when rock and roll music fans from all over the world trek to Memphis, Tennessee to revel in debauchery and musical mayhem. But don't get the wrong idea, this isn't Elvis Week -  that was in August, and while it did bring 80,000 music fans to our fair city to pay tribute to the king, this is the end of September, and it belongs to all things Goner.   Gonerfest IV (pronounced I-V if you're in the know) is the fourth installment of the Memphis record label's four day music festival celebrating some of the biggest punk and garage acts of the underground. What started out as a mail-order record label four years ago has now grown into a retail store, and with the growth of its online community, morphed into a lifestyle. Followers from around the world email the store pictures of themselves wearing their Goner t-shirts, and many diehard fans have even gone so far as to tattoo the label's logo on themselves (if one is so bold, they can expect free Goner releases for life!).  While most festivals these days seem to be thinly-veiled sales calls (where the sponsors play music in the background as they attempt to sell you cellular telephones, sneakers and sports drinks), Gonerfest is the rowdiest, dirtiest, most obnoxious set of shows you may see in your lifetime. And that's the furthest thing from an insult to the bands. In an age where nothing is taboo, punk-pop is not considered an oxymoron, cocaine is trendy and crotch shots are the norm, the bands that play Gonerfest definitely are on a mission to take the show to the next level, and the audience along with it.       Greg Cartwright While Eric Friedl and Zac Ives, co-owners of all things Goner, would probably argue that the bands playing the festival are top-notch based on their music alone, (and not for their notorious antics) it's hard to believe at this point that anyone attending the festival plans on enjoying the music in a traditional sense. Once the venue gets packed to the gills with sweaty, bus-riding, thumb-hitching and van sleeping rock and roll types that are dead set on getting as wasted as possible before the end of the first set, making sure you don't get hit with a beer bottle takes on as much importance as being able to pay attention to the band.   That being said, there is an abundance of critically acclaimed talent playing this year. The festivities begin Wednesday night with a Goner Showcase that will include Ives' own band The Final Solutions, Tokyo Electron, Jay Reatard backing band Boston Chinks, and Atlanta's Carbonas. Then, on Thursday the official festivities kickoff at The Goner Store, located in the Cooper-Young district, where there will be an in-store with former Oblivian and current Reigning Sound front man Greg Cartwright (who actually used to own the record store before Friedl and Ives took it over). Speaking of Reatard, who plays Thursday evening, the man has been tearing up the national and European underground scene with a highly memorable tour that included being part of Vice's SXSW showcase, and in October he'll be tearing the stage apart in NYC at CMJ.  Other standout acts include the King Louie One Man Band, New Orlean's Quintron and Miss Pussycat and the return of Mr Airplane Man. The festival will not only include nightly shows at world renowned music venue The Hitone Café, but daily afternoon shows at local vintage shop Light Years Vintage, midtown staple music venue Murphy's (which is home to the sign from Memphis' legendary punk venue The Antenna Club), and a post-fest comedown deejay party Sunday night at local dive The Buccaneer. As if all that weren't enough, on Friday Ron Franklin will premiere his documentary about Jeff Evans entitled the Man Who Loved Couch Dancing at The Media Co-op.   It would take long to explain the connection these artists, both local and national, have had on the mainstream music scene of today and the past. Jack White has called Jeff Evans a mentor, The Hives filmed a video in Memphis because of their love for the Greg Cartwright, and before Arthur Lee's death he returned to Memphis to reform his seminal band Love with many local musicians who have become staples of the Gonerfest Festival. Yeah, it would take way too many words here to explain the seeds that have grown up from the Memphis underground. The best thing about Gonerfest seems to be the community that has grown out of it that believes so wholeheartedly that it is a history that should be preserved, along with the original spirit of the music. Afterall, weren't Elvis and Jerry Lee the original musical outlaws? Hit up the website! Link to this article:
LCD Soundsystem Red Rocks 09/17/07 I have heard from people that James Murphy wasn't good at fronting his band from the beginning stages. After the performance last night, I was kind of befuddled and left kind  of clueless. The band was tight and left no pages unturned. Mr. DFA as a band works. Even the annoying "Yeah" song was actually pallatable. The band ended on kind of a low note playing "New York I Love You." In a weird way, it seemed like the appropriate way to step aside for Arcade Fire.   Read more from Julio by visiting Cause = Time.   [Link to this post]
It's amazing sometimes how music can go a long way to bringing out how you're feeling. Some music can even pull out memories you hadn't thought of for a long time or had tried to forget. Other music can bring out happy memories that make change a bad mood to a better mood. This week I have a lot of music in my show that evokes such feelings. See if any of them do the same for you and feel free to drop a line for your thoughts on your personal release through music:
Ra Ra Riot *** Monolith Festival Day 1 *** Day 1*** Best show of Friday. WOXY stage must have been left in flames. Ra Ra Riot is the real deal. Believe it! Ra Ra Riot - Ghost Under Rocks Remix [mp3]   Read more from Julio by visiting Cause = Time.   [Link to this post]
Editors **** Monolith Festival Day 1 **** 09/14/07 *** Friday was full of surprise performances. One of them was from Editors. They released their sophomore album not exactly well received by critics. However, their performance made me rethink how I listened to the album, and how I missed so much. Their show was inspiring and commanding. The guys packed a tight crowd for the New Belgium stage, located at the top of Red Rocks (did I mention that my legs are still sore?). I hope that this show has silenced some critics and get some recognition. The new piano element to their sound is a welcomed addition. Editors-An End Has a Start [mp3] Editors-Bones [mp3]   Read more from Julio by visiting Cause = Time   [Link to this post]
Baby Elephant is the latest collaborative effort to emerge from the mind of hip hop legend Prince Paul. A quick primer in case you don't know; he was an original member of Stetasonic. He produced De La Soul's debut (and invented the oft maligned hip hop skit in the process) and parts of their next two records. He then went on to form the Gravediggaz with RZA, Frukwan and Too Poetic. In the late '90s he helmed the successful and amusing Handsome Boy Modeling School project with Dan The Automator. In between he found time to release a few solo LPs as well as do production work on records by Vernon Reid, Princess Superstar and MC Paul Barman. According to this interview there has been bad blood between him and Dan The Automator, so there will be no more Handsome Boy Modeling School albums. Which brings us back to Baby Elephant, a new trio comprised of Paul, his long time pal Newkirk, and eccentric keyboard mastermind and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bernie Worrell - you know, Parliament and the Talking Heads. They have recorded an new album called Turn My Teeth Up!. According to the bio "These two legends met while promoting the Worrell documentary "Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth", and they hit it off immediately. Together with Worrell, Prince Paul was able to create the funk/soul album that has been dancing in his head all of these years." The resulting album is a showcase for Worrell's talents. He plays an array of vintage keyboards, synthesizers and pianos, as well as adding his oft-imitated (and sampled) string sections and Moog bass lines. As with all Prince Paul collabos there are some other notable talents on display here; singer/comedian Reggie Watts, Yellowman, George Clinton, Digital Underground's Shock G, DJ Roc Raida, Nona Hendryx and David Byrne all contribute. The resulting album is funny, warm, quirky, funky and filled with killer keys over a variet of funky beats. There are plenty of familiar P/G-funk vibes and even a bit of reggae. And of course there are skits, all involving the genius and influence of Bernie in popular music. I am really digging the album's diversity and funkiness and sci-fi sound. Here are two choice cuts to sample; How Does The Brain Wave? is a semi-reunion of several members of the seminal Talking Heads lineup of the early '80s, with David Byrne and Nona Hendryx rejoining Bernie. The track also features DJ Roc Raida on the ones and twos. It is loopy space funk, filled with blips and bleeps and some of those great key sounds you remember from 20 years ago, as well as a classic Byrne chorus melody. Fred Berry is a great instrumental named after the actor who played Rerun on "What's Happening". It's a bit more uptempo funk than the rest of the LP and you can really feel the spirit of P-Funk at work here! The album is due to drop next Tuesday, September 11th.   Read more from Michael by visiting Silence Is a Rhythm Too.   [Link to this post]
Prefab Sprout's second album Steve McQueen would probably make it onto a list of my top 25 favorite records of all time. Originally released in 1985 and produced by Thomas Dolby, it has been remastered (by Dolby) and paired with a second disc of newly recorded acoustic versions. The reason I checked out this album in the first place was because of Dolby's participation, and I remain glad that I did. It is a lush, dreamy album of pop songs detailing love and heartbreak. Singer/songwriter Paddy McAloon's influences range from Broadway show tunes to the '60s pop of the Brill Building writers to Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello. You get the idea - sharp, literary and musically complex. According to the liner notes this is really Dolby's album; "I gave him a huge collection of songs (some dating back as far as 1976), and almost all of the ones he picked were written in 1979, long before Swoon (the band's debut). I had no opportunity to test out any of my ideas about layers of sound. I had to get somebody who knew about that, someone on the technical side who was also a good keyboard player." Dolby fits the bill to a T, with his trademark synth sounds and production suiting the melancholy of the songs perfectly. And what songs! Bonny, Appetite, When Love Breaks Down, Goodbye Lucille #1, filled with sharp emotion and even sharper melodies, the kind of songs that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up and you arms gooseflesh-y. My brother and I once had a discussion about this album and we determined that it's first 6 songs (side A of the vinyl version of the album) make it one of the best "sides" ever produced in pop music. I still think this true. When Dolby was working on the remaster last year he wrote on his blog "I am in Los Angeles remastering Prefab Sprout’s second album ‘Steve McQueen’ which I produced for them in 1985. It sounds INSANELY good. Many writers and music aficionados list this among their top LPs of all time, and listening to it for the first time years, I have to agree. Even if I was objective, I would agree. It’s a stunner! The fact it was never successful in America is one of the greatest crimes in living memory. Paddy McAloon’s voice; those chunky guitar lines interweaving with soaring piano; Neil Conti’s tasteful drum grooves; Martin’s melodic, inside-out bass; and Wendy Smith’s breathy bittersweet harmonies, all combined in a magic formula that was at once soulful and challenging. If you never heard this album, I urge you to seek it out. You won’t regret it. And, if you like my music, please know that you don’t have a complete overview unless you own this album and 1990’s ‘Jordan: The Comeback’–because these two works are as close to my heart as anything I’ve ever put out under my own name." Dolby's remaster suits the record well and was a great choice for the project. His familiarity with the material makes it easy for him to preserve the vision of the original. The accompanying disc of acoustic remakes strips all of the production, focusing on the songs themselves, and some of the versions are arranged quite differently. I love these songs, and its cool to hear the difference, but I think I will always prefer the album versions. Today I share two of the most swooningly gorgeous songs ever, and I heartily recommend that you go out and pick up this remaster for yourself! Bonny Bonny (Acoustic) Appetite Appetite (Acoustic)   Read more from Michael by visiting Silence Is A Rhythm Too.   [Link to this post]
      I:Scintilla (photo by Andrew Reynolds) It’s that time of the month again!  What time of the month?  Why, that time to check in with some of our artists who are on tour, of course! This month, we delve into some of BTR’s rock bands to dig out some true rock ‘n’ roll experiences.  As always, be sure to check out BTR’s Rock Block, hosted by DJ Darkside, in order to hear these awesome artists. I:Scintilla I:Scintilla has declared 2007 the year for one-off shows and festivals.  The electronic rock band, comprised of members Brittany Bindrim, Jim Cookas, Chad Mines, and Vince Grech F, recently finished their new album, Optics, and plan on spending the rest of the year working on music for their next album, due out in summer 2008.  That said, the group is “quite happy” with the positive response they’ve gotten on Optics. As for touring, the Chicago-based band has had their share of worldly experiences.  They recently played at Germany’s Wave Gotik Treffen Festival, which was their largest crowd to date. “It was a great experience to play for a predominantly European crowd,” explains Cookas, who counts that show in Leipzig, Germany as one of the band’s favorite shows. “It was definitely a different vibe at first, but they certainly warmed up to us after a few songs.” Every good story involves a celebrity, right? Well, I:Scintilla’s got one that involves one of everyone’s favorite celebs: SCREECH! “Apparently, [Dustin Diamond, aka Screech from Saved By the Bell] was staying in the same hotel as us when we were in Omaha, Nebraska,” shares Cookas.  “He was allegedly assaulted by a female fan at the hotel after one of his stand-up comedy performances.  I remember seeing the police at our hotel that night and didn’t think anything of it.  I read a few days later about what had happened and had a chuckle.” No news on whether or not there’s a tape of that encounter floating around the Internet yet.       Northern Room Northern Room “I always believe the band and the crowd are one entity at live concerts,” declares Northern Room singer/guitarist Andrew Jonathan.  “We are putting ourselves out there more and more and getting the crowd to sing along.  It’s simply our way of bringing everyone at the venue along with us.” For Jonathan and his bandmates (Michael Morgan and siblings Micah and Tony Olla), touring and performing is not an experience they take lightly.  In fact, Jonathan often uses personal experiences from Northern Room’s tours as inspiration for his songwriting.  Though he notes that the road and cities are an influence, it is the people the band meets along the way that they really connect with. One pair of fans that really impacted them was a married couple they spent two hours trading stories with after one of their shows. “They were such amazing people and we really enjoyed learning about their lives,” Jonathan reveals.  “We recently received an email from one of them saying they were getting divorced.  That was very hard for some of us to take because we really connected to them and the chemistry they had between them.  I think they will end up in a song very soon.” But of course, there’s always time for a little fun, particularly whenever the Wisconsin natives end up in New York. “We had a ‘garbage jumping’ contest at 2am in the middle of New York City,” says Jonathan.  “Random passer-bys took Mike up on the challenge of jumping over and clearing four-foot-high mounds of garbage in Times Square.  New York is ALWAYS fun.  For some reason, we don’t get as much sleep whenever we tour through there.”      Fever Marlene New York City. Chicago. Las Vegas. Nashville.  All are cities that the boys in Fever Marlene have taken by storm. But despite all the glamour and lights these cities practically hand to a rock ‘n’ roll band, Scott Starr (guitar/synth/vox) and Kevin Dunphy (drums/vox) still consider their hometown the best place to play.  Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Starr and Dunphy went all out for their CD release party. “We rented out an old ballroom and put together the event ourselves,” says Starr.  “Yield, one of our favorite bars in Milwaukee, had a free shuttle to and from the bar to the venue.  A ton of people came out to support us.  All in all, it was a magical night for everyone.” Milwaukee hasn’t been the only city to treat the boys well.  Last week, they played two shows in Las Vegas for the fashion convention, and just so happened to end up hanging out with Chester from Linkin Park, Paris Hilton, and Wilmar Valderrama one night at Caesar’s Palace.  Another night, Dunphy spilt a drink on “the Prince of Dubai” at the Venetian. This resulted in the bandmates being asked to leave, prompting Starr to quip, “Videos on YouTube very soon, I’m sure!” We’re sure the adventures won’t stop there!  Plans for a two week United States tour in November are in the works, and they hope to be back in New York City in October.  Dates for the November tour will include cities such as Houston, Okalahoma City, Chicago, Madison, and Minneapolis.
Division Kent are Andrea B. & Sky Antinori. They are from Switzerland, but are named after a street corner (Division & Kent) in NYC. Their MySpace page lists their influences as new wave/electro/indie/punk/dub/pop, which sounds right up my alley. And until last a couple of weeks ago I had never heard of them. I got an e-mail from Stefan in Switzerland. Attached was an mp3. He wrote that based on my blog posts, this was something I might like. The mp3 was for a song called This Big Hush. I recognized the song title, quickly downloaded the song and began to play it. It was what I thought it was - a cover of a classic Shriekback song from the band's 1985 album Oil And Gold. It is a lush, atmospheric track, and one that has always held me spellbound. Happily, Division Kent did not ruin the song. It is, I thought, a pretty damn good version. It is not a radical remake, just a nicely updated version. I decided I needed to hear more, and after a few more e-mails I acquired a copy of their new album Gravity. It is the follow up to their electroclash-y 2006 debut Monsterproof (which you can stream at the website). It was released in Europe on September 7th, with no word yet on a US release. Gravity is a nice step forward from Monsterproof. In the studio they are a duo, but onstage they expand into a 5 piece band, and to me it sounds as if Gravity was influenced by their live excursions. While it is still full of elecronic sounds there is a warmer, more organic approach taken, and one that rocks a little bit harder than its predecessor. Looking for a simple "sounds like" guide? I hear Ladytron, Metric, Midnight Movies, Death In Vegas and Depeche Mode (no coincidence there as half of the album is co-produced by the Mode's longtime collaborator Gareth Jones) in the mix. It is modern indie rock with a dash of '90s electronica (Rooftop Rallye) plus a splash of krautrock. There are a couple of really dance-y tracks (Offshore), a couple of moody ballads and even a kind of Tom Waits moment on Salty. Both Andrea & Sky sing (in English and in French), and their voices compliment each other (and the music) well. I have to say the album is a pleasant surprise, and one deserving a wider audience. Enjoy the moody space of This Big Hush (produced by NYC composer/producer Peter Scherer), and the glimmering electro-rock of Pat The Pan Am Pilot. Listen to more Division Kent on their MySpace page.   Read more from Michael by visiting Silence Is a Rhythm Too.   [Link to this post]
Australian synth-rock-electro-pop trio Midnight Juggernauts have a great debut album out called Dystopia. Unfortunately it is an Aussie only release, with the rest of the world pending. These guys fuse all of the best elements of the current (and past) French electronic music scene to some solid indie/new wave/rock and pop songs. They then polish everything up with spacey electronics and dance floor glitter. I read a review which referred to it as the "sleeper hit of the summer", and my interest was piqued. Now I am hooked. A few years ago fellow Aussies Cut Copy really grabbed my attention with their debut album Bright Like Neon Love, and I get the same vibe from Dystopia. I am a big fan of indie dance, and these guys hit all the right notes. There is '70s flavor in the disco beats, breezy ELO harmonies and a whiff of Fleetwood Mac. The '80s are represented by the new wave keys and New Order riffs. The '90s dance revolution forged by Daft Punk and their surge of followers is here in the gloss of cutting edge electronics. It is a seductively good listen, full of hooks and moods, ranging from party anthems to come down ambience. It is definitely deserving of a wider audience, so let's hope that it gets a US (and Euro) release soon. Shadows is the first single from the album, and is a semi-spooky disco number with gloriously huge bass riffs. However, it is Into The Galaxy that really has me entranced. Slowly building on a wave of synths, it explodes into a prime slice of 1981 new wave, all herky jerky with moody vocals. That is, until the chorus, when the gleaming ELO vocals kick in. And what a catchy hook. I can't get enough. There is a two disc version of this available, with the second disc being mostly remixes. Fantastic. Read more from Michael by visiting Silence Is A Rhythm Too.  [Link to this post]
Mitch Easter's Dynamico It has only taken him 25 years, but Mitch Easter has finally gotten around to releasing his first solo album. Dynamico is the first new music from Mitch since his '80s band Let's Active split up in 1989 - eighteen years ago. And I have been waiting for this album all of those 18 years. Mitch is probably best known as a producer. He helmed the boards for the early records by REM, then went on to work with Chris Stamey and Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement and Velvet Crush and a whole host of lesser known indie power pop acts. I love him best for his '80s trio Let's Active. The music was inspired by the '60s, with plenty of Beatles and Byrds-y moments, but was definitely of the '80s too, in an indie new wave kind of way. Back in my "experimental days" I spent many a moment with their 1986 album Big Plans For Everybody, in awe of its clean, crisp psychedelic jangle and its hooks for miles. The scruff and jangle of the early records eventually evolved into the hard rocking tightness of the last two. I am happy to say that Dynamico pretty much picks up where he left off all those years ago. This is power pop of the highest quality, with Mitch playing everything on the album. His guitar playing is superb, with great solos scattered everywhere. I've always considered him highly under rated as a guitarist, and some of the stuff he plays here bears that out. His wife Shalini Chatterjee sings on five songs, and her harmonies definitely remind me of Faye Hunter and Angie Carlson's vocals on the old Let's Active records. This is a great return from one of rock music's most underrated talents, and is destined to make my end of year "best-of" list for sure. Break Through   I Want A New Scene   Read more from Michael by visiting Silence Is A Rhythm Too.   [Link to this post]
José Gonzalez's highly anticipated sophomore release In Our Nature will hit stores September 25th through Mute Records, and it includes the tracks "Down the Line," "Killing for Love" and "Teardrops." "Down the Line" is accompanied by a video directed by Andreas Nilsson - the director behind The Knife's "Silent Shout" - and is the first in a multi-part video series that also includes "Killing for Love.   [Myspace] Jose Gonzalez [Video] "Killing For Love"   Read more from Dany by visiting Stranded In Stereo or Exitfare.   [Link to this post]
Brooklyn trio Mobius Band are gearing up for a tour of North America in support of their second full length album Heaven, which is set to hit the shelves on October 2nd via Misra Records. Much like their enchanting debut The Loving Sounds of Static, the new album shows the band experimenting in the blurry realm between electronica and indie rock. With canned beats and monochromatic unemotional singing fused together with poppy arrangements, Mobius Band plays a brand of music that's hard to describe and equally hard to put down. The first track on Heaven is available for download below, make sure to check it out!    Tour Dates:   09/14 Morrison, CO - Monolith Festival 10/01 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge * 10/02 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's * 10/03 Charlottesville, VA - Satellite * 10/04 Washington, DC - Rock N Roll Hotel * 10/05 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 10/06 Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn * 10/08 Austin, TX - Emo's * 10/09 Dallas, TX - Granada Theater * 10/11 Albuquerque, NM - Burt¹s Tiki Lounge 10/12 Denver, CO - Hi Dive * 10/14 San Diego, CA - Casbah 10/16 Los Angeles, CA - Echo * 10/17 Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland ^ 10/18 San Francisco, CA - Mezzanine * 10/19 Portland, OR - Holocene * 10/20 Seattle, WA - Crocodile Café * 10/21 Vancouver, BC - Media Club * 10/24 Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock */ 10/25 Madison, WI - Café Montemarte * 10/27 Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop * 10/28 East Lansing, MI - MSU Union Ballroom # 10/30 Chicago, IL - The Empty Bottle 11/01 Ames, IA - Maintenance Shop @ ISU # 11/02 Columbia, MO - Mojo's # 11/04 Columbus, OH - The Basement # 11/06 Pontiac, MI - The Pike Room # 11/07 Toronto, ON - Horseshoe # 11/08 Montreal, QC - Petit Campus # 11/30 Northampton, MA - Iron Horse # 12/02 Boston, MA - Middle East (Downstairs) #* co-bill with Matthew Dear^ Club NME with The Subway. Tigercity supports Jacob Harris artist management: Mobius Band + Tim Fite [a+r /artist development: Jdub Records] 10/24 Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock * 10/25 Madison, WI - Café Montemarte * 10/27 Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop * 10/28 East Lansing, MI - MSU Union Ballroom # 10/30 Chicago, IL - The Empty Bottle # 11/01 Ames, IA - Maintenance Shop @ ISU # 11/02 Columbia, MO - Mojo's # 11/04 Columbus, OH - The Basement # 11/06 Pontiac, MI - The Pike Room # 11/07 Toronto, ON - Horseshoe # 11/08 Montreal, QC - Petit Campus # 11/30 Northampton, MA - Iron Horse # 12/02 Boston, MA - Middle East (Downstairs) #   * = co-bill with Matthew Dear ^ = Club NME with The Subways # = Tigercity supports   [Myspace] Mobius Band "Hallie"   Read more from Dany by visiting Exitfare or Stranded in Stereo.   [Link to this post]
  Peter Walker's new band, Eulogies, will be touring this fall with San Francisco shoegaze group Film School in support of their self-titled debut album. You can pick it up on Sept. 11th through Dangerbird Records.   October 10 Seattle, WA - Crocodile Café 11 Portland, OR - Dantes 12 Sacramento, CA - Blue Lamp 13 San Francisco, CA - Bottom Of The Hill 16 Austin, TX - Emos 17 Dallas, TX - Cavern Club 19 Atlanta, GA - The Earl 20 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 21 Washington, DC - Rock N Roll Hotel 22 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brendas 24 Boston, MA - TT The Bears 25 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge 26 Hoboken, NJ - Maxwells 28 Cleveland, OH - Beachland 29 Toronto, ON - El Mocambo 30 Pontiac, MI - Pike Room 31 Chicago, IL - Schubas   November 01 Chicago, IL - Schubas 03 Minneapolis, MN - 400 Bar 05 Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge 08 San Diego, CA - Beauty Bar 15 Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex   [Myspace] Eulogies [mp3] "One Man"   Read more from Dany by visiting Stranded in Stereo and Exitfare.   [Link to this post]
For all ya'll that don't know, BTR recently started doing a little show called All Access. The focus for this truly unique experience is on playing music from artists and bands at the high school age, or younger. The Wild Leopardz, an all-girl power trio from Chicago, Illinois, is one such All Access band. They represent with an Honors curriculum  in the Chicago public  school system, and play rock and roll better than a whole lot of college-age bands. BTR All Access Chieftess Lottie Leymarie caught up with the band a few days ago, to get the story on the promising young group, and discovered  all sorts  of interesting things... BTR: Hello! Introduce yourself, tell me your ages and tell me what you do for The Wild Leopardz! Angie: Hi. I'm Angie.  I'm 15, and play guitar, keys, and sing in the band.  Genna: Hey, I'm Genna.  I'm 14, and I play bass, guitar, and also sing.  Frieda: Hey, I'm Frieda. I'm 13, and I play drums and sing. BTR: When did you all begin to form a love for music? When was the moment in your life you knew that this was your dream? And if it's not your dream...What do you want to do after this? Genna: Well, I've liked music ever since I was six and started playing the violin.  The moment I realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life was when we played the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park in 2006. Ever since Millennium Park was built, and our band was just starting out, I dreamed of playing that stage. When my dream became reality, I felt a sincere connection with audience.  Knowing that I made them happy made me even more passionate about my music. Angie: I grew up in a musical atmosphere that I've always felt a connection to.  My father is very musical and I like to think that trait was passed onto me.  I think the first time I realized music was my passion was the first time I wrote a song that expressed a profound feeling.  I recall sitting in my attic in awe, thinking, "whoa this could be something." Another significant moment was performing to a crowded, stuffy room full of teenagers and realizing that rather than judging me, they felt a connection to what I was creating - an amazing energy expressed through music. Frieda: I formed a love for music when I picked up on singing lessons with a teacher who inspired me to be the singer I am today.  Although I love playing with my band, I plan to attend Culinary School in New York and start a career in the food industry. BTR: How did you meet? Did you play in other bands before you formed? The Wild Leopardz: We were next door neighbors and best friends since before Cool Whip was created.  Two of us are sisters, and Angie is the neighbor kid who happened to have a studio in her basement. There was no other band before The Wild Leopardz……ever. Haha! BTR: What is the scene like for teenage bands and musicians in Chicago? Is it hard to get shows because you are young? Are people receptive to your music? Do you think it is harder as a young musician to get your music heard? Genna: The scene for teenage bands in Chicago is hard because of the intense competition.  There are so many high school bands trying to make it out there, that playing alongside people more experienced than you can be intimidating. Angie: Because of the multitude of teenage bands out there today, there are more opportunities to play bigger venues that you wouldn't usually expect kids to play.  Just because you're young, doesn't necessarily mean people won't listen.  The music scene in Chicago is thriving and is an expanding market for new ideas. Frieda: Getting your music heard is complicated when you don't have as many connections as you have when you're older. BTR: What are some bands you like in the Chicago right now? What do you think is going to be the next big thing in the indie world? The Wild Leopardz:  The Red Peace, Street Pizza, and Pink Buffalo are some teen bands we know and like in Chicago.  We think softer rock and ska seem to be becoming more and more popular. BTR: Who writes the music? Is it a collaborative effort? The Wild Leopardz: Usually one of us will write the lyrics and basic music individually, and then the other band members will add their own musical flare to it. BTR: Tell me about some of your tunes! What was the inspiration for them? Angie: Most of my music is written about certain experiences or emotions I've dealt with in my life.  Everybody has drama, and everybody has ways to vent it.  Mine is through writing.  One song that sticks out in my mind is, "If You Really Were."  I put so much emotion into writing that song, and when I was finally finished with it, I realized that releasing that emotion made me feel normal again." Genna:  Well, a lot of the songs I write reflect deep, vivid emotions.  One song I wrote, "As Hopeless as the Sun," is a story of lost friendship and standing still in the past. The drama I experienced over the course of that year is what motivated me to release my hurt, anger and confusion through poetic imagery. BTR: Is there anything else you want to tell me or talk about? The Wild Leopardz: Together as a band, we stand for the thought that anyone can be heard, no matter what age, or seemingly insignificant. BTR: Top 3 Albums from the 70's? Genna: The Wall, Pink Floyd Angie: Led Zepellin III, Led Zepellin Frieda: Tommy, The Who BTR: Top 3 favorite albums of all time? Genna: The Moon and Antarctica, Modest Mouse Angie: Dialate, Ani Difranco Frieda: The Wall, Pink Floyd BTR: Favorite Album Cover? Genna: The Wall, Pink Floyd Angie: Fevers and Mirrors, Bright Eyes Frieda: Chasing Tales, Jamie Cullum BTR: What music do you currently have 'on rotation'? Genna: Modest Mouse, Pink Floyd, and The Fray Angie: The Once Soundtrack, Bright Eyes, Ani DiFranco, and Led Zeppelin Frieda: Modest Mouse and Jamie Cullum BTR: What was the music that inspired you the most? Genna: Modest Mouse Angie: Bright Eyes Frieda: Jamie Cullum BTR: Favorite guitar player? Genna: Jimi Hendrix Angie: Jimmy Page Frieda: David Gilmore BTR: Top 3 Favorite bands in the 90's? Genna: Red Hot Chili Peppers Angie: Incubus Frieda: Nirvana BTR: Any bands you want to tell us about? (friends, neighbors, etc.) The Wild Leopardz: The Red Peace, Pink Buffalo, One Cord Short, With Waking Eyes, The Ivorys, Warsaw, The Villers. Visit The Wild Leopardz online! Link to this article:
Hello gang, I promised you some treats on today's Worldwide Hour, so here I am delivering the goods. Click here  to listen to one of my favorite bands to check out live, DJ Le Spam & The Spam All Stars. Every time I see them, it's always a sweaty night of dancing and meeting friendly people who don't mind cutting a rug with a stranger, especially a coordinated Asian fellow. Any lucky Europeans out there (lucky cause...they're in Europe...and I'm not) should click here to see if they can try and make it out to a !DelaDap show. So far they're only playing in Austria and Hungary, but I've always wanted to visit those countries and so should you if you haven't already. Visit new places, eat their native food, and then dance to music from a bunch of Urban Gypsies. How can you go wrong with a day like that? Try and send me your comments, suggestions, or feelings (they're the most important of the bunch) by e-mailing me at Cheers, Phillip Nguyen
Listen to the Merge Records Showcase! Founded in 1989 by Laura Ballance & Mac McCaughan, Merge Records has become one of the most respected independent labels around.  Originally started in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, as a way for the pair to release music from their band Superchunk, as well as the music of friends, the label has garnered a reputation for finding and promoting some of the best independent music available. 18 years later, the Merge offices have moved from Chapel Hill to Durham, but the values remain the same. Their impressive roster of artists have enjoyed immense critical acclaim, and more commercial success than most indies could hope for. Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible debuted on the Billboard 200 at #2, the label’s highest charting to date. And Arcade Fire is only one of the many quality artists on Merge, and now BTR listeners will be able to hear all the label has to offer! BTR is beyond thrilled to be airing the Merge label showcase.  Independent music fans undoubtedly list one or more Merge artists when recalling their favorites, and we’re psyched to be able to bring them to fans commercial-free!  Be sure to check out the label showcase as well as head on over to the merge website! Merge’s roster (past and present) includes: 3Ds, The 6ths, American Music Club, Arcade Fire, Ashley Stove, Lou Barlow, Beatnik Filmstars, Breadwinner, The Broken West, Richard Buckner, Paul Burch, Butterglory, Buzzcocks, Camera Obscura, Caribou, The Clean, The Clientele, Crooked Fingers, Destroyer, Dinosaur Jr., East River Pipe, Matt Elliott, The Essex Green, Future Bible Heroes, Ganger, Guv'ner, Annie Hayden, Imperial Teen, The Karl Hendricks Trio, David Kilgour, The Ladybug Transistor, Lambchop, The Mad Scene, The Magnetic Fields, The Music Tapes, Neutral Milk Hotel, Oakley Hall, Pipe, Robert Pollard, Polvo, Portastatic, Pram, Radar Bros., The Rock*A*Teens, The Rosebuds, Seaweed, Shark Quest, Shout Out Louds, Spaceheads, Spent, Spoon, Matt Suggs, Superchunk, Teenage Fanclub, Tenement Halls, The Third Eye Foundation, ...Trail Of Dead, Versus, M. Ward, and White Whale. Imperial Teen Upcoming Tour Dates: Sep 21 2007 9:00P The Crocodile Cafe Seattle, Washington Sep 22 2007 9:30P Lola's Room Portland, Oregon Sep 28 2007 9:00P Spaceland Los Angeles, California Sep 29 2007 9:30P Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, California Sep 30 2007 5:00P The Folsom Street Fair San Francisco, California Oct 4 2007 9:00P The Abbey Pub Chicago, Illinois Oct 5 2007 8:00P 1st Ave. Minneapolis, Minnesota Oct 19 2007 8:00P North Star Bar Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Oct 20 2007 8:00P T.T. the Bears Boston, Massachusetts Shout Out Louds Upcoming Tour Dates: Sep 12 2007 8:00P Spegeln G‰vle (SWE) Sep 13 2007 8:00P Tivoli Helsingborg (SWE) Sep 14 2007 8:00P Mejeriet Lund (SWE) Sep 15 2007 4:00P Debaser Medis ***MATIN…*** Stockholm (SWE) Sep 15 2007 8:00P Debaser Medis Stockholm (SWE) Sep 18 2007 8:00P B¸rgerhaus Stollwerck  Cologne (GER) Sep 19 2007 8:00P Backstage Munich (GER) Sep 20 2007 8:00P ISC Bern (CH) Spoon Upcoming Tour Dates: Sep 5 2007 8:00P The Showbox Seattle, Washington Sep 6 2007 8:00P MusicFest NW - Crystal Ballroom Portland, Oregon Sep 7 2007 8:00P Commodore Ballroom Vancouver, BC Sep 8 2007 8:00P Sugar Victoria, BC Sep 10 2007 8:00P Henry Fonda Theater Los Angeles, California Sep 11 2007 8:00P Henry Fonda Theater Los Angeles, California Sep 12 2007 8:00P Henry Fonda Theater Los Angeles, California Sep 14 2007 8:00P ACL Festival - Zilker Park Austin, Texas Sep 14 2007 8:00P Zilker Park - ACL Festival Austin, TX Sep 15 2007 8:00P Monolith Festival - Red Rocks Denver, Colorado Sep 15 2007 8:00P Red Rocks Denver, CO Sep 16 2007 8:00P Treasure Island Festival San Francisco, California Caribou Upcoming Tour Dates: Sep 5 2007 8:00P Barden’s Boudoir London Sep 6 2007 8:00P Manchester Academy 3 w/ Architecture in Helsinki Manchester Sep 7 2007 8:00P Crawdaddy Dublin Sep 8 2007 8:00P Roisin Dubh Galway Sep 9 2007 8:00P The Arches Glasgow Sep 10 2007 8:00P KOKO w/ Architecture in Helsinki London Sep 11 2007 8:00P Plug w/ Architecture in Helsinki Sheffield Sep 12 2007 8:00P Electric Ballroom w/ The Go! Team London The Clientele Upcoming Tour Dates: Sep 6 2007 8:00P Roseland New York, New York Sep 7 2007 8:00P Avalon Boston, Massachusetts Sep 8 2007 8:00P Osheaga Music & Arts Festival Montreal, Quebec Sep 9 2007 8:00P Virgin Festival Toronto, Ontario Sep 11 2007 8:00P Cats Cradle Carrboro, North Carolina Sep 12 2007 8:00P Variety Playhouse Atlanta Sep 14 2007 8:00P Emo’s Austin Sep 16 2007 8:00P Marquee Theatre Phoenix Sep 17 2007 8:00P Wiltern LA
[Photo Credit: Jared Seltzer]   A year and a half after their debut album began to circulate, Division Day's Beartrap Island will see an official release on October 2nd through Eenie Meenie. This official release features new artwork and two new songs -- "Ricky" and "Reversible," which ranks among the band's best. The band will also be on the road, playing a handful of east coast dates that will have them at CMJ once again this year.   October 02 Los Angeles, CA - The Echo [CD release show] 04 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of The Hill [CD release show] 05 Reno, NV - Satellite Lounge 06 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Cour 07 Denver, CA - Larimer Lounge 09 Chicago, IL - Subterranean 10 Pittsburgh, PA - Club Café 11 Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall 13 Hoboken, NJ - Maxwells 17 New York, NY - Canal Room [CMJ ASCAP showcase] 18 Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall 20 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 [w/ Eulogies & Film School] 25 Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall   [Myspace] Division Day [mp3] “Tigers” Read more from Dany by visitng Stranded In Stereo. [Link to this post]
DO NOT MISS THIS LIVE SHOW IN NYC!  Hey every one. I wanted to put people on to an excellent hip-hop show coming this week to NYC. This show is for any who is a fan of DJ’s/ Turntablism and Bay Area Hip Hop.  First off what do u get when you take DJ’s formally of the X-Men / X-Ecutioners and put them into a DJ super group? The answer is Ill Insanity. The will be making there NYC Debut this week at The Knitting Factory. The members of this group have each won plenty of DJ Battles in the past and are some of the pioneers of this scene. I don’t know exactly what is in store but I’m sure it’ll blow our minds.    The same night as Ill Insanity in the same building 2 of the Bay Areas hottest underground acts are coming to NY as well. Secluded Journalist & Melina Jones will both be performing. Wow! How exciting would it be to hear Melina Jones rip lyrics to her track Picket Fences? Yes, the same song that I play constantly on my Party Hour show. This is definitely a treat for us East Coast cats. So do miss this one people, I guarantee you this show will be worthwhile.  Ill Insanity, Secluded Journalist & Melina Jones Thursday September 6, 2007 Doors @ 9pm Tickets: $8 Adv/ $12 Door
Favorite New Lyric On Today's Show: "I keep the years in a lunch pail..." sung by Oh No! Oh My! The thought of storing time in a easy to carry container (especially with He-Man on it) is very appealing. Song With The Most Movie Recall: 12:59 Lullaby by Bedouin Soundclash. The tropical feel of the song reminds me of 50 First Dates, a movie I thought I would hate. When I eventually saw it, I realized how cute it was for someone to want to love another person with such a bad memory problem. It almost guarantees snuggle time. Special Guest Appearance: Manu Chao in Amadou & Mariam's Senegal Fast Food. Manu produced their album, Dimanche a Bamako, and he pops in and out of songs, as well as offering a wide range of sound effects that glow with his signature. Most Off Topic Thought: I'm really crushing on this new artist, Bat For Lashes. She's got Tori's harpsichord, and Bjork's sensibilities. I heart you Bat For Lashes. Click here to see a creepy bike riding video for her song, What's A Girl To Do.
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France has one of the biggest and most passionate Hip Hop scenes on the planet. DJ Kool Side, hails from France and has given mush insight on the music and the cultural shifts that dictate its content. He recently relocated to the Bay where he does web design and of course- Hip Hop. Here we talk about Hip Hop, politics, riots and more. DJ Kool Side drops real wisdom here. I am honored to be able to share his insights with you. Be sure to visit him online at:   AB: France is considered one of the most active and largest Hip Hop communities on the planet. How did that happen? TDJ KS: here is probably a couple of reasons for this. First of all, Hip-Hop culture arrived in France at an early stage in its history, black clubs in Paris in the 70's while playing African and Caribbean music, where also open to all the music coming from the US, like soul, funk and jazz-funk, so when Rappers Delight and the early rap records came out, they were played by certain DJs in the clubs, some DJs and music fans where understanding that rap was the continuity of those African American musics that came before, even though the culture and movement that was coming along with rap, wasn't clearly identified yet. In the early 80's some radio DJs started playing rap on their show, people like Sidney, DJ Dee Nasty, slowly Hip-Hop culture was brought to France through the airwaves and on the streets. Afrika Bambaataa, the Rocksteady crew and other artists from New York came to do some shows. In 84 Sidney was approached to host a TV show about Hip-Hop, that was called HIP HOP, and that was huge...very popular, it aired on TF1, the main TV channel, on Sunday afternoon before Starsky and Hutch!! He brought some artists from New York on his show, like Futura 2000, and was giving dance lessons on TV, break dance and electric boogie, which was called Smurf in France... that Smurf culture became really huge especially among the communities that were touched by the culture and message coming along the dance and music, French Caribbeans, Africans and North-African immigrants or children of immigrants from the old French colonies. Like African-Americans have experienced slavery, racism and being second class citizen in America. The descendents of slaves from the French Caribs, share some similar experiences. As for the populations who migrated to France after the decolonization took place, they were usually leaving poverty in their countries, countries that were exploited, populations that were used as cheap labor and treated as second class citizens in the colonies. Migrating to France unfortunately they too many times found themselves to be victims of racism, working low paying jobs, and living in housing projects and working class neighborhood. So those kids, could see in Hip-Hop and rap, a culture that could touch them, that talk to them, even though there is a language barrier with the US rap. That's probably why the explosion of Hip-Hop in France first came with the dance, before rap, cause the body language is universal. Sidney was a black host on the main national TV channel, for kids who came from where he was coming from, he was somebody to look up to. The TV show lasted only a year though... and after that, things went underground again... but a few people started rapping in French... And the Zulu Nation became an important part of the scene... the French chapter of the Zulu Nation was the second most important in the world, after the Bronx one! Unfortunately in the early 90's, inside tensions and a disinformation campaign from the media that was claiming the Zulu Nation was a dangerous gang, pretty much killed the Zulu Nation in France, until more recent years. Anyway, by the late 80's a couple of French rap records came out... a compilation of reggae and rap artists, called "rap attitude" came out in 1990, helping popularizing rap. By the early 90's some major artists started to emerged, MC Solaar of course, but also NTM and IAM... by the mid 90's independent label appeared and they helped laying down the foundations of the industry. A major turn appeared in the second part of the 90's when commercial radios started seeing the money that there was to be made with rap...major labels started signing artists and labels, some good some bad, and the French rap industry took off in terms of market... as the market grew the Hip-Hop community also grew, and grassroots organizations and activist are to be thanked for that, cause if it was just for commercial radios and major labels, the culture and the arts that goes along with rap, may not be as important as they are in the Hip-Hop community today. So really, France is the second market for rap, and the French Hip-Hop community is known to be large and active because, Hip-Hop has been in France for more than 20 years, rappers adapted rapping to French quite early, and there is a social environment in France that made it possible for the Hip-Hop seed that was brought from the South Bronx, to grew on French grounds. The French Hip-Hop community is also a very diverse community, uniting people from many different ethnic and cultural background. AB: What was your earliest memories of Hip Hop in France? DJ KS: My first memory was Sidney's shows on TV: HIP HOP. I was in elementary school at the time, and you couldn't not know the show, cause kids were dancing and smurfing in the court yard. Graffiti was big too, you know, checking out the names written on the walls. I remember Boxer's tag, especially because he wrote a lot on the subway line I was taking to go to school.   Some of the first rap I listened to, being a bit older, later were probably Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys, then De La Soul, Gangstarr, Eric B and Rakim, KRS One. AB: Who are the artists that pack clubs out there? And what are the clubs and websites that people go to get French Hip Hop news and music? DJ KS: Major selling artist nowadays are Booba, Diams, Disiz La Peste, Sinik, Rohff (who listeners of the Wake up show here on the west coast may have heard about last year as he came to Sway and Tech's show), older artists are still popular, like Abd Al Malik from N.A.P., Joey Starr from NTM, IAM, Kery James. I can't say that they make the best music out there, but some of them have good tracks. I strongly recommend people to check out Oxmo Puccino, Kohndo, Hocus Pocus, who are making great music. There is a lot of clubs that have good Hip-Hop shows... you just have to pay close attention, and check the agenda in Paris to know what's happening. I don't know much about other cities, but all major towns and cities in France have their own scene and events. In Paris check out Classic Corner at the Glaz'art, or Block Party at the Palladium, check out le Bataclan, l'Elysee Montmartre, etc. Some sites are: You can buy French records on, or AB: There has been a lot of conflict with the young people of France and the French government. Some of the conflict appears to be racial, and some of it appears to be class based. What are the deeper problems and do you see any real solutions on the horizon? DJ KS: That is a complex question... think that some of the issues here in America also exist in France. I'm talkin about racism, unemployment, poverty and drug-traffic. These are issues that affects the youth. Too many kids quit school early, are mislead in their education, have trouble finding jobs, are discriminated because of their origins, lives in violent neighborhoods, and are victimized by to many stereotypes. France is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation, it has been like that for quite a while... but still something is not functioning right in the system, every one doesn't have the same chances. "Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood", that's the catch line of the French Republic, that's written on all public schools and buildings... but it's a myth.   The reality is that the poor, and the population from the ex-colonies, too many times don't have the same chances, even though they have been living in the country for 2 or 3 generations sometimes. If we take the example of the riots of November 2005, which had media coverage worldwide. They started after 2 teenagers, one from Mali and the other one from the Maghreb, got killed, electrocuted, while hiding from the police, in an electrical factory . There is a long history of police brutality in France, and the police is still protected by the institutions, cops don't get sentenced as they should when they commit crimes and brutality. When Makomé was killed by a bullet in the head in a police office, in the early 90's, many riots happened... now in 2005 the situation got out of control. Most of the rioters were teenagers, kids... now when you're a grown up, you're more mature and you know that as a teenager you don't always analyze situation the right way... you don't see the deeper meaning of things, you just have the anger. When you burn cars in your neighborhood you may be burning the next door neighbor's car, that he needs to go to work with to feed his family, or the car of your friend's older brother or sister that she needs to go to college, or to a job interview with... some rioters had burn elementary schools in their hood, I mean it's senseless, it's no revolution they were doing, just rage, rage against the police... it was like a social suicide, that's how you have to understand it, when one commit suicide, one hurt his own self, his own body... well this was a social group, a social body hurting his own self out of despair. In many ways the riots didn't help the communities that are hurt by the social and economic situation, those riots helped the police state getting stronger, it helped justifying the use of more police, it helped criminalizing the image of blacks and North Africans in the eyes of a certain part of France, I'm not even sure that it helped open the eyes of those who were trying to ignore the problems and struggle of the youth and the poor. The reality is that most of the youth, children of immigrants, live a peaceful life, go to school, work, pay taxes, etc. But the media capture a different image, it shows violence committed by blacks and Arabs, mix the Islamic terrorist thing in, and it's a big mess...sometimes very far from the reality. It opens doors to a certain kind of radical politicians and political ideas that you find from the left (socialist) to the right. So ultimately politicians who have for years talked about the danger of immigration, the danger of Muslims, they love those riots... it serves their interest and bring them to power and bring their ideas to the mainstream. This fear of immigrants is something that is in the news worldwide, in Russia, other European countries and in the US... I saw that movie "Children of Man" the other day, in which it describe a future where immigrants are harassed and torture... One of the solution I see, is that first of all people need to stop believing the mainstream media, and the politicians who talk on it. I mean a lot of conflicts and tensions are made up, manipulated. In some ways I feel that the situation in France is worst than it was when I was a kid... I feel some dangerous politicians and ideas are in power.   I hear so called thinkers and philosophers saying some crazy stuff on TV, I read some stuff about the youth, about Islam... a lot of what is said about Muslims was said in some slightly different ways about the Jews, 70-80 years ago, "they want to take over the world, they're evil, etc." they were making cartoons about Jews, just like they made cartoons about Muslims last year... some horrible things are going to happen, as they have already started to, if we don't wake up. Now that said, everything isn't negative in France, the reality, even though that's not what you feel when watching the news, is that people go along pretty well, the experience of immigrants and the generations that are born in France is not all bad, there is plenty of positive things overall. The problem is that the people in power, the institutions are holding things back, and pushing an agenda that wants more police, more control, and for that they need fear, fear of the youth, fear of immigrants, fear of Islam.   AB: There has been a lot of conflict with the young people of France  and the French government. Some of the conflict appears to be racial, and some of it appears to be class based. What are the deeper problems and do you see any real solutions on the horizon? DJ KS: That is a complex question... think that some of the issues here in America also exist in France. I'm talkin about racism, unemployment, poverty and drug-traffic. These are issues that affects the youth. Too many kids quit school early, are mislead in their education, have trouble finding jobs, are discriminated because of their origins, lives in violent neighborhoods, and are victimized by to many stereotypes. France is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation, it has been like that for quite a while... but still something is not functioning right in the system, every one doesn't have the same chances. "Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood", that's the catch line of the French Republic, that's written on all public schools and buildings... but it's a myth.   The reality is that the poor, and the population from the ex-colonies, too many times don't have the same chances, even though they have been living in the country for 2 or 3 generations sometimes. If we take the example of the riots of November 2005, which had media coverage worldwide. They started after 2 teenagers, one from Mali and the other one from the Maghreb, got killed, electrocuted, while hiding from the police, in an electrical factory. There is a long history of police brutality in France, and the police is still protected by the institutions, cops don't get sentenced as they should when they commit crimes and brutality. When Makomé was killed by a bullet in the head in a police office, in the early 90's, many riots happened... now in 2005 the situation got out of control. Most of the rioters were teenagers, kids... now when you're a grown up, you're more mature and you know that as a teenager you don't always analyze situation the right way... you don't see the deeper meaning of things, you just have the anger. When you burn cars in your neighborhood you may be burning the next door neighbor's car, that he needs to go to work with to feed his family, or the car of your friend's older brother or sister that she needs to go to college, or to a job interview with... some rioters had burn elementary schools in their hood, I mean it's senseless, it's no revolution they were doing, just rage, rage against the police... it was like a social suicide, that's how you have to understand it, when one commit suicide, one hurt his own self, his own body... well this was a social group, a social body hurting his own self out of despair. In many ways the riots didn't help the communities that are hurt by the social and economic situation, those riots helped the police state getting stronger, it helped justifying the use of more police, it helped criminalizing the image of blacks and North Africans in the eyes of a certain part of France, I'm not even sure that it helped open the eyes of those who were trying to ignore the problems and struggle of the youth and the poor. The reality is that most of the youth, children of immigrants, live a peaceful life, go to school, work, pay taxes, etc. But the media capture a different image, it shows violence committed by blacks and Arabs, mix the Islamic terrorist thing in, and it's a big mess... sometimes very far from the reality. It open doors to a certain kind of radical politicians and political ideas that you find from the left (socialist) to the right. So ultimately politicians who have for years talked about the danger of immigration, the danger of Muslims, they love those riots... it serves their interest and bring them to power and bring their ideas to the mainstream. This fear of immigrants is something that is in the news worldwide, in Russia, other European countries and in the US... I saw that movie "Children of Man" the other day, in which it describe a future where immigrants are harassed and torture... One of the solution I see, is that first of all people need to stop believing the mainstream media, and the politicians who talk on it. I mean a lot of conflicts and tensions are made up, manipulated. In some ways I feel that the situation in France is worst than it was when I was a kid... I feel some dangerous politicians and ideas are in power. I hear so called thinkers and philosophers saying some crazy stuff on TV, I read some stuff about the youth, about Islam... a lot of what is said about Muslims was said in some slightly different ways about the Jews, 70-80 years ago, "they want to take over the world, they're evil, etc." they were making cartoons about Jews, just like they made cartoons about Muslims last year... some horrible things are going to happen, as they have already started to, if we don't wake up. Now that said, everything isn't negative in France, the reality, even though that's not what you feel when watching the news, is that people go along pretty well, the experience of immigrants and the generations that are born in France is not all bad, there is plenty of positive things overall. The problem is that the people in power, the institutions are holding things back, and pushing an agenda that wants more police, more control, and for that they need fear, fear of the youth, fear of immigrants, fear of Islam... AB: I hear a lot of people from overseas say that American Hip Hop has gotten less political, while the international scene is very political. Do you agree?  DJ KS: Well Hip-Hop in the US got less and less political when more and more money got involved in the industry. The whole gangsta thing blew up, and rappers made money by rapping about being a gangsta, a thug, a player, whateva... The international scene doesn't have all that money, so they tend to stay more political, stay true to the social message and movement that's at the birth of Hip-Hop. But I would say that in France, the big selling artists nowadays rap about bling, and gangsta stuff too, in many way they adapt what's done in the US, nothing to deep or political. It's interesting because rap became popular and mainstream at first with a soft version of it, like MC Solaar in France or lets say Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince in the US, those rappers were not cursing, they were soft, fun... but nowadays what's popular and mainstream is the cursing version of rap, half of the verses are erased from the clean radio version cause it's just a bunch of curses... Now one thing about France though, is that rap is still considered, by the media for example, as a voice for the youth and the multi-ethnic France. You can often find a rapper invited to a TV debate, that talks about the representation of blacks on TV, or about some social problems. So that's a good thing.  AB: I think reported about a French rapper who got jail time for some of his lyrics? Who was that and what did he say? DJ KS: I believe Davey D reported on Monsieur R. After the riots in 05, police and institutions cracked down on some rappers, accusing their lyrics to be violent and encouraging rioting. One of Monsieur R lyrics by instance was saying that the French republic was a b$itch. It's not the first time some rappers go on trial for their lyrics, they've been after Minister Amer, La Rumeur, NTM... Now the example of Monsier R is interesting, he had in the mid 90's a group called "Les 3 coups" along with rappeur Lion S... Lion S went to jail, and got kicked out of the country, because of what we call "double peine": if a foreigner commits a crime, in addition to his jail time, he is kicked out of France and sent back to his original country, even though he may have immigrate to France at one year old and not know much about its country of origins. Instead of looking at why some people are so angry at France, the institutions blame rappers... why did Monsieur R felt France was like a b$tch... well, for example soldiers from the colonies, who fought to liberate France from Nazi Germany during the second world war, didn't have the credit due to them, those who survived the war, didn't get the same pensions as the white French soldiers. For many the French credo of liberty equality brotherhood is a lie and sounds empty. AB: Any last words? DJ KS: Well, I hope I've helped folks understanding more about French Hip-Hop and some of the things going on there. I truly believe that people need to open their scope, learn about other countries and cultures. By understanding the world better, they will understand themselves better, they will open doors for change. Don't rely on TV and mass media, go see for yourself, get a passport, buy yourself a plane tickets, instead of some expensive new sneakers. If you can buy 22's and spinners for your car, I'm sure you have money to visit some parts of the world, and see that it is bigger than the US, bigger than what TV says about it. We're living in times when that new world order they've been talking about is really getting into effects and final stages, you can feel it day after day... don't let that happen... by any means necessary. A little self promo, I'm a graphic Designer here in the Bay Area, I've made an extensive amount of work in the record industry, designing record covers, websites for artists, etc. Check me out at: and holla if you need some work done. Check out My Space at   Adisa Banjoko is cofounder of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation. For more information visit their blog at:   [Link to this post]
Dilated Peoples is one of the respected rap groups in the country. Made up rappers Rakaa, Evidence and DJ Babu- this trio has left and eternal mark on Hip Hop history. By blending incredible beats, hard rhymes and a dose of reality, Dilated Peoples pack venues across the globe. I recently caught up with Rakaa after he returned from some shows overseas. Here we talk about his recent tour, his favorite films and what he'd say to President Bush if he had the chance.   AB: I know you just got back from London. How was the tour?   R: The tour was crazy! We were starting riots all over Europe and doing incredible business. The Paris show got canceled due to some issue between the promoter and the venue that was out of our hands, but every other show was sold out and left destroyed.   AB: Black and Brown youth seem to have been clashing a lot in LA lately. Is it overblown? Is it downplayed by the media? What’s your assessment of the problem and potential solutions?   R: There does seem to be more "clashing" between Black and Brown youth being reported in the media lately, but the issue is much more complex than a sudden "beef" between two races. The geographic layout of Los Angeles allows for more cultural separation than other cities where people are forced to live and walk amongst each other. When people aren't exposed to a true representation of each other's culture it leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding, lack of respect and ignorance. There is also the fact that we are talking about people that have historically been misrepresented and disrespected by "The Powers That Be", which leads to frustration, self destructive behavior, and often misguided anger.   To a large degree we are talking about disenfranchised people feeling compelled to fight for crumbs on the floor because they are programmed to believe that the feast on top of the table is out of their reach. There is also another dynamic that comes into play, which is that L.A. has a long tradition of gang and street politics. Many, if not most, of the so called "racial clashes" are actually just people or groups of people that have problems with each other. It may be over money, real estate, women, gangs, etc., and the people or groups may be of different races, but it isn't usually rooted in a racial issue. When people in general, especially people of color, are taught more about Black people than slavery and Martin Luther King Jr., and more about Brown people than immigration and The Alamo, and more about WORLD history than just European history, then these same people can develop more self respect and general respect of others.   AB: The Democrats have taken back a bunch of power from the Republicans and neoconservatives. How much real change do you think the Democrats can put into effect?   R: Democrats and Republicans seem to just be two ends of the same stick. People that are really into politics to make change don't just blindly line up on one of the two sides and cheer. That's not to say that every Donkey or Elephant is bad, or that either cares more about the people than the other. The real sad part is that, while many politicians are elitists with no real respect for their constituents, many others at least started with the best intentions. In a way it reminds me of how so many record label executives started as musicians and/or music lovers, but ended up totally using and disrespecting artists out of fear of losing their jobs or for their own financial and career advancement. AB: What three films have touched you the most over the years and why?   R: I love films... not as much as I love books, but a good film is like a two hour vacation. A true top three is impossible because it changes day to day, but three came to mind when I heard the question so I'll just speak on those.   1) "Star Wars" (the original) because it was more that a good Sci-Fi movie. The Force and The Darkside were actually very strong metaphors that I was encouraged by my aunt to translate and understand.   2) Malcolm X was both devastating and inspirational. Spike and Denzel are both amazing, but it was Malcolm's spirit that they channeled so beautifully that actually caught me. That movie was relatively long but it never dragged.   3) "Beat Street" was not only a snapshot of my New York counterparts, but it was also a (somewhat Hollywood version of a) Hip Hop history lesson. I can't front, I cried like Lee when Ramo died on the tracks. I hated Spit... I think I still do.   4) My Honorable Mentions would be "Ghostdog" for introducing me to Hagakure and "Trading Places" for being one of the funniest movies and illest premises of all times.   AB: If you could sit down right now and tell the President one thing- what would it be?   R: I would tell George that he is not leaving the legacy of a freedom fighter and liberator, but that of a tyrant and bully. The lies and deceit will definitely come to light (to the few that have not already seen the obvious) and everyone will be accountable for their actions at some time. I would also remind him that this is (at least supposed to be) a Democracy. Despite how and why he became President we are being sarcastic when we refer to him as "King George".   For more on Rakaa and Dilated Peoples, check out:   Adisa Banjoko is cofounder of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation. For more information visit their blog at:   [Link to this post]
A new semester is upon us, and with it, a slew of new releases to sink our teeth into. Now is not the time to have a cavity; hell, hell and hell no, so floss the detritus of summer from your earlobes and join us for a feast upon the fresh flavors of Fall.   Let's dance! The Solution, featuring Dilated Peoples Believe That (Maxi Single) Comprised of the Los Angeles-based MC Amad Jamal, and DJ/Producer Brisk One, who hails from Salt Lake City, The Solution was first established back in 2003 as a retort to to wack commercial hip-hop. The duo released their first effort on the New Hampshire-based Netweight Records via a split collaboration with Concise Kilgore, and are now back with a three-song blast featuring Dilated Peoples. Brisk One lays down some dope, neck-checking beats, and Amad Jamal rhymes both serious and lighthearted, usually focusing on various aspects of "Los Scandalous." "Believe That" is the lead single, of course, but I keep going back to the B-side, "Rodney King (the Tom Bradley theme)." The chorus in that one is one of the best I've heard in a hip-hop song in many a moon. If you like it, be sure to check out the latest edition of The Third Rail, with Just Jay and the Urban Umpires. Just Jay is pretty tight with Jamal, so you might be hearing him on the show. Mumpsy 3 People A story about a love triangle rarely makes for boring subject matter. You know things are going to get crazy. And if you add music, drugs, incest, telephones and all types of sexual orientation, it's going to yield utterly insane results. Such was the method and result behind the latest EP from the Orlando-based collective known as Mumpsy. Over the course of five feisty songs, the merry sexet (spearheaded by the talented Jeff Ilgenfritz) tells the complex tale of Walt, George and Suzie; a memorable trio of characters all finding love in the most unexpected and inconvenient places.  And though the story is somewhat dark, the music is incredibly light-hearted, catchy and instrumentally creative. At press time, "Iowa City" is my favorite song on the EP. Ilgenfritz's vocals are stunning, and the melody is a thing of beauty. Each consecutive verse builds into more instruments, whether it's the addition of horns, handclaps, or back-up harmonies. It just rolls merrily along like a tour bus through Pepperland. Check the review of Mumpsy live! Sankofa The Tortoise Hustle It's hard to think of any MCs that represent Fort Wayne, Indiana. In fact, I don't ever recall hearing about any kind of hip-hop movement based in any major Indiana city, unless of course you consider the siginificant amount of metropolitan Chicago that reaches in from Illinois (like how New Jersey does New York). Still, it's situations like these that yield the biggest surpises, so let me be the first to introduce you to Sankofa; a Fort Wayne MC with a penchant for picking pop culture apart. For example, in "Speaking In Tongues," Sankofa breaks down Adidas footwear with acute detail, explaining his loyalty to the three stripes while at the same time trashing the brand's competition in the global shoe market. The beat's a head-nodder to boot, and Adidas would be hard-pressed to find a better anthem for 2007. Still, it all comes down to the fact that Sankofa has the key qualities of any good MC: a unique voice, an original style, and the ability to "roll things off the tongue like L,M,N,O,P," if I may quote Mos Def. My magic 8 Ball tells me Sankofa is going to be the BTR Artist of the Week in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled for more on this talented wordsmith. Bedouin Soundclash Street Gospels For those of you that have been gathering around the BTR campfire since it was but a candle, Bedouin Soundclash is a household name. We've been playing the hell out of this Toronto, Ontario-based trio since 2005, with their sophomore effort Sounding A Mosaic being one of the cornerstones of our early music library. And even if you're new to BTR, chances are you've already heard BC unknowingly on Gray's Anatomy, via their song "12:59 Lullaby." Anywho, the band's third album, Street Gospels, dropped on August 20th, and I'm happy to say it was well worth the wait. Lead singer Jay Malinowksi sounds even more like Bob Marley, and the band's style of dubbish reggae a la early-Police-style-of-sing-along-crossover-pop-anthems is in full effect. Every song on this album is catchy, esp. "Walls Fall Down," "St. Andrews," "Gunships," and, well, like I said, all of them. Expect to hear a lot of it in the coming months.  Hallelujah The Hills Collective Psychosis Begone The opening of Collective Psychosis Begone makes for a dandy of a first impression. Indeed, the first song,"Sleeper Agent (Just Waking Up)," couldn't have been christened any better, as it opens up meekly and closes down mightily, setting the tone for an auspicious album that's sure to stick in your craw.  David Bentley's cello, Bryan Rutledge's trumpet and Elio DeLuca's Moog/melodica workings lie at the heart and soul of this Boston sextet, so you know there's going to be some emotional sonic peaks. Check "The Trap" and "The House Is All Lit Up" for good examples of such. Meanwhile, Ryan Walsh holds down the singing with a bold voice and curious imagery, leaving you forever guessing what he's going to say next. With all that in mind,  if you're not a fan of so-called 'indie chamber' music, this album might not be for you.  However, if you do fancy that kind of oft-swelling sound, Collective Psychosis Begone is going to blow you off the parapet into a happy ending.        Listen to Hallelujah The Hills on BTR Live Studio!
In 1993, a film featuring Joe Mantegna, Joan Allen, Lawrence Fishburne called Searching for Bobby Fischer dropped and brought the story of a young chess genius named Josh Waitzkin. Josh Waitzkin is arguably the biggest American chess icon since the reclusive Bobby Fischer disappeared into the fog.   However, after the movie came out, a young Josh Waitzkin was turned off from the chess community. His life journey took him to Slovenia, Brazil and other lands in search of his true self. After becoming a two time world champion in Tai Chi he authored a book called The Art of Learning.   I highly recommend The Art of Learning to everyone on the planet. If you are a young person over the age of 13- you need this book. If you are a parent who is dedicated to the authentic enlightenment of your child- you need this book!   It has changed the way I approach my children in regards to learning, loving and pursuing self perfection. I caught up with Mr. Waitzkin recently and our conversation is below.   AB: You new book The Art of Learning is insightful beyond words. It covers your journey through chess and into martial arts. Who did you write this book for?   JW: Thank you, man. I wrote this book to be true--I can't say I had a specific audience in mind other than thoughtful human beings. It's been an interesting road. Some fantastic highs, some brutal lows, countless lessons along the way. I have fallen into quite a few pitfalls over the years and hopefully the book will help others avoid them. I believe I've also figured out some creative ways to unchain the learning process. It was my ambition to tell a raw, honest story and to create a framework, a solid foundation from which people can launch into the pursuit of Quality in a highly personalized manner. This is not a book for people looking for a cookie cutter mold. I don't believe in easy answers to complex questions. We all have our unique paths. This book is the story of mine. I hope it has broad application.    AB: You have a fantastic way of describing your emotions and you are a great story teller.  A lot of chess books can be boring. Yours reads like a action movie. How did you develop that gift?   JW: That's a great compliment--means a lot to me. Well, my father is a wonderful writer and he's been teaching me his art since I was a young boy. He always taught me to dig into the heart of the story. To speak from the essence, the core. And never to write about what I don't know deeply. I made the decision early that if I was going to write this book it would come from the heart. The years that inspired TAOL were the first few years of my martial arts training, when I was experiencing the translation of all my chess knowledge into a physical discipline. Everything was about hidden connections that emerged when you plunged deep into the moment. I tried to write the book in that manner. I tried to dig deep. AB: Many people still dream of you coming back to chess, getting your Grandmaster status and taking out the planet? Is there any chance that'll ever happen?    JW: Probably not. I'm on another track right now and am very excited about it. But you never know.   AB: I know your main focus is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu now. You just got back from watching the World Championships in Los Angeles. What were some of the things you learned while watching the best of the best on the mat?   JW: It was a beautiful thing-- probably the most exciting sporting event I have ever watched. The art has evolved to such a wildly high level.   For more information on The Art of Learning visit: RZA Demolishes a Cipher at the HHCF Closing Rappers play chess? YES!! Adisa Banjoko is cofounder of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation. For more information visit their blog at:   [Link to this post]
So, in this part we’ll talk about how where the multicultural voice of Hip-Hop can go wrong. The first example is anybody using the n-word under the guise of being cool. I don’t care how much you listen to N.W.A, Jay-Z or 50 Cent. In Black circles, you can get your face crashed on for reckless use of the n-word. Which, in my opinion- is any use of the n-word. While I believe in using nonviolence in 99% of all life’s issues- many folks don’t think like me. So, beware.   Many times I feel nonBlacks get too comfortable too quick. It’s displayed in a blatant lack of respect for the descendents of those who created the art, and their parents.   For example, judo is a Japanese martial art. This is known. Russians have developed wonderful innovations on it. They have their own style of judo. Many judo practitioners of the UK also have added a unique flavor to the sport.   However at no time, will Russians or those in the UK deny the roots of the sport they innovated. Such is not the case with Hip-Hop.   This is in large part due to the ignorance many African Americans have within Hip-Hop. Unfortunately, people don’t always know the names of Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grand Wizard Theodore, The Nigga Twins (they chose that- don’t kill the messenger) and Kase 2. They don’t know the role of the Zulu Nation, the 5% Nation of Gods and Earths, the N.O.I. or Sunni Islam. They don’t know about the African Oral Tradition and how it is the root of all rap.   So, it goes to figure that if many Black people are unclear on the origins of Hip-Hop, ten- so will everyone else!! By not knowing the roots of the culture, many African Americans contribute to much of the ignorance rampant within the rap community.   At the same time, many corporations are scared of authentic Hip-Hop. Now, I’m not talking about the wack hyper political rap that sucks (oh yeah, those exist!). I’m not talking about backpack rap that’s clearly underproduced and noncreative. I’m talking about Talib Kweli. I’m talking about Mos Def, GZA, DJ Rob Swift, T-K.A.S.H., DJ Disk, Okwerdz and Peanut Butter Wolf.   There is so much Hip-Hop out there that is rich with innovation, lyrically amazing and quality through and through. But many of the corporations and radio stations shun these above artists. These rappers don’t get the radio or video support someone like Young Jeezy gets. They don’t get the tour budget and rotation of a Rich Boy. These kinds of things distort all young people about what Hip-Hop is about and how its power should be used.   The time is for balance in Hip-Hop. True balance comes from knowledge. Where did Hip-Hop come from? Where might it be going? There are tons of fantastic books and web sites that present answers to those questions. Pick some of them up, add our own innovations and keep the respect coming. Enough of the racial stuff…Tomorrow, we get into more music. That’s what we’re here for right?   Adisa Banjoko is author of the Lyrical Swords book series and cofounder of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation. You can read his blog at   [Link to this post]
Another busy day at the recording studio today. Not recording bands as per usual though. Today was a "fixing things" day. I try to put these off, as I'm lazy. So, every few months I end up with about a hundred things to try and fix. I say "try", cos I don't really know what I'm doing :o? Managed to tick everything off of my list though, and finished off a show for BTR into the bargain. :o) It's been such an interesting month for recording, in that I've been lucky enough to have lots of clients that are willing to spend a bit of time on their recordings. Whereas often I'm recording acts that are unrealistic about how long things will take, and we end up having to rush. I can work very quickly, but it means that I have to stick to tried and tested methods of getting good sounds. Sometimes though, when I've got an act in the studio that is willing to take their time (and can afford it!), then I get to try out my ideas, putting different mics in different positions to "normal", and adding extra instruments, or changing an arrangment etc.. Most of the time, the acts really like my ideas, so it's great when I get those opportunities.
I figured since nobody likes to have an honest conversation on Hip-Hop and race- I’ll kick it off. America has always been fascinated with what the young Black males of any given generation were into. The late 70’s and early 80’s were no different. In those days  young Black men were into Hip-Hop. Like Blues, Jazz , Soul, R&B and Rock- Hip-Hop has uniquely Black origins that sparked another global phenomenon.   The issue of race often comes up. People often ask, “Was it all Black? Has the new multicultural Hip-Hop diaspora hurt its initial impact?” These are hard things to answer. Many have tried. I will give my opinion here today.   After all the research I have done, I have come to a double-edged truth. The first truth is that every element of Hip-Hop(Rap, DJ’ing, Graf and all forms of Hip-Hop dance) have African American root. The second truth, since its initial inception, virtually every other race or culture has innovated and elevated the art. Neither truth undoes the other.   Some try to hold onto graf. They say lots of non-Black’s were doing graf..   I agree. But again, America was only interested in graf as it was related to Hip-Hop. Phase 2, Kase 2 and Basquiot (I spelled that wrong) were noted because they were young Black males who did graf and were into Hip-Hop.   There were other graf writers at the time like Seen and Lady Pink. They liked Hip-Hop, but they were not exclusive to it. As I understand it they dug a lot of metal and punk and other genres from that era.   The bottom line is this: If you rewind the racial clock of Hip-Hop, its gets darker by the minute.   In the book “A Time Before Crack” by Jamel Shabazz, you can find tons of beautiful photos of Hip-Hop fashion, art and style. You see all kinds of things. What you don’t see, are young White people. When I asked him about that, Shabazz said that very few White people attending Hip-Hop events. He also noted that the few who did- would not allow you to photograph them. For those who remember the late 70’s and early 80’s it was a very racially charged time.   Around 1985 I went to the Fresh Fest at the Oakland Coliseum. Run DMC, LL Cool J and Whodini played to a packed house. I’m 99% the joint was sold out. I did not see one White person in the venue. Now, I’m sure there were some. I’m just saying I did not see any.   But as the viral nature of Hip-Hop records and mixtapes saturated the scene- the rest of America began to catch on. Latinos, Asians and Whites began not only come in as fans, they began to carve out their own place in the space.    The Rock Steady Crew, DJ QBert, DJ Apollo, DJ Disk, Mixmaster Mike, Everlast, Cypress Hill, Big Pun, Beastie Boys, Native Guns, Fat Joe, Sisterz of the Underground and Eminem have done a lot to show the multicultural expansion of Hip-Hop. Some see this as dangerous. I think it has dangerous elements as well. But more on that later.   Beyond that, many of those that documented Hip-Hop were not Black. NonBlack journalists like Dan Charnas, Jake Paine, Jeff Chang, Oliver Wang and Christina Veran put in a lot of work with African American writers like Harry Allen, Nelson George, James Bernard, Cheo Coker and Sheena Lester.   One of its main humanizing effects of Hip-Hop in the golden era (1985-1990 depending on whom you ask and how they define it) was how it reframed the social image of young Black males in the minds of young White kids. They could not listen to the music of PE, Pete Rock and CL Smooth and Main Source and buy into their parent’s bigotry.   At the same time, many young African American men would learn to let their guard down when it came to being prejudiced against Whites. I think many Black parents of that era coming out of the Civil Rights Era were still a bit bitter at Kings Dream devolving into the nightmare Malcolm X had predicted was on the horizon.   But as more kids of various races and cultures got involved, it only pushed the music and the culture forward. Therefore, it is indeed a beautiful time.   In 1983, I got turntables, a mixer and a reverb for my birthday. A few days later, a White kid in my class was listening to Double Trouble. At the time, I had never heard of them until that day. A mutual friend ours, who was East Indian was also into Hip-Hop. We had an informal crew and met every Friday after school to exchange records, scratch techniques and whatever new store had the hottest new wax. It is one of my first, and favorite memories of the multicultural face of Hip-Hop.   In my next piece, we will look at the pros and cons of the multicultural trend in Hip-Hop and how that has hurt the art of Hip-Hop and the industry of rap.   Adisa Banjoko is author of the Lyrical Swords book series and cofounder of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation. You can read his blog at   [Link to this post]
How do you feel about your location?   Or rather, do you care where bands come from?   Are you proud of your local music scene? Do you champion it purely because it's your local scene? Do you even have a local scene? Does the hometown of a band influence your feelings over them? Are you more likely to give a band a listen if you find out they're from New York? London? Manchester? Do you think a bands success or talent has anything to do with where they're from?   My initial thought was that I don't really care where a bands from. That it's all about the music. That's the theory anyway. I'd love to believe it was true but on reflection I'm not so sure. Maybe it does have an influence. In my eyes, some cities are looked on favourably while others are tainted. For example, most successful bands from Liverpool are so weighed down by the legacy of the city that I expect any band I hear from there now to lean too heavily towards jangly guitars and Beatles influences. Likewise, Manchester bands tend to have an arrogance and self confidence that generally outweighs their talent. And if I'm honest, I guess I'm prejudiced against them before I even hear a note and it probably does stop me from giving them a chance. Or at least a fair chance. I hazard a guess at what they sound like because of what I've heard before and maybe not even give them a chance. At least not the same chance as a band from say, New York. Though that may have more to do with my romanticised view of the big apple than anything else. Maybe the exoticism of faraway places plays a part in predetermined attitudes to artists. In my eyes, New York is the epicentre of cool and maybe that sways my opinion on whether I give a band from there a chance. Yet in reality, New York probably has just as many, if not more shit bands as any other city in the world. I don't know. Ultimately, the music wins out. A good band is good no matter where they live. And vice versa. Yet I can't help wondering if I miss out on great music purely because I'm biased against their hometown.   As for my local scene, well in all honesty, I'm not that fussed. But then I don't come from somewhere with a high calibre for turning out great bands. So I have no expectations of finding my next favourite band here. To my knowledge, there's never been a particularly unifying scene around here. I mean sure, Ozzy came from round these parts but I'm not a fan. And as for The Wonder Stuff, Neds Atomic Dustbin and Pop Will Eat Itself. Good bands in their day but I can't remember the last time I reached for one of their CDs. But that's not to say there isn't potential. And today, I thought I'd bring you some of that potential by highlighting three bands from around my neck of the woods who deserve your attention, your money and your attendance at their gigs.   First up we have a band who excite me greatly. Destroy Cowboy are a Birmingham five piece with a talent for intense, melodic assaults. I've featured them before and will probably continue to feature them until they get the success they deserve. This song is one of four new tracks they've just recorded and released. Theirs is a melting pot of ideas that meld pounding drums to heavy guitars while swathes of electronics and synths swirl around. It's a great combination with '1000 Candles' reminding me of dEUS, building as it does to one of those climaxes you wish would go on for longer.   Next up are The Lines, a band I've seen live three times and had a different reaction each time. First time, I was completely underwhelmed. They seemed about five years out of date, coming on like some kind of lazy, generic baggy-britpop hybrid. Second time, I was impressed. They seemed to have stepped up their game, losing the bagginess and replacing it with an energetic, euphoric performance that brought the songs to life. The energy on stage was infectious and they delivered a great set. And the last time was supporting Spiritualized on their acoustic tour. Stripped of the electrics their songs were laid bare and given a chance to breath. Relieved of the breakneck performance the melodies and intricacies of the songs shone through. 'Sirens' is my favourite of their songs, an understated epic.   And finally, The $hit, another band I've featured before. This track is from their debut self released album and they describe themselves as the "first, best and only electro-punk casio-crunk fuck-rock glitch-pop disco-metal post-nintendo-core band in the world... ever". Which is perhaps the most apt description of their sound you could need.   Destroy Cowboy - 1000 candles hear more and buy here.   The Lines - sirens hear more here   The $hit - john doe from 'Lock Up Your Ghettoblaster'   Read more from Coxon by visiting to die by your side.   [Link to this post]
(Cheaper than a plane ticket) What a wonderful summer! July was the month that my show, 'Spotlight on the City', debuted. Just in case you haven't tuned in, the show features a new city from around the world every month and the artists that are currently making their mark on the scene. I found some really great stuff and I would like to share! I chose Paris for the month of July, the show aired on Bastille Day. Here are some of the gems I found from the city: Marianne Farouch' Orchestra What a lovely little Lady. She also has a killer voice! Her songs are a fusion of old and new French style. Her band uses accordians, trumpets, trombones and percussive instruments such as bells and xylophones. Check out her album Le Nombril du Monde. Kawaii This duo has great music, but their bio is quite amazing: La Loutre and Big Bisous have fallen into a alcohol cauldron, at Kawaiiland, their native soil, when the were young. Since then, incapable of fitting into the mold of the good model little Kawaiians, they live on the fringe of their bisounours society. To avoid to sink into criminality, and possibly become multimillionaires, La Loutre and Big Bisous sing "innocent" nursery rhymes to the good model little Kawaiians. The duo (La Loutre and Big Bisous) both sing and use samplers, toy instruments,ukulélés, and claviers. Stuck in the Sound What can be hotter than a four piece, all boy, indie rock band from Paris? Probably Stuck in the Sound! The group's music makes you want to dance. No doubt. The album they sent me is called Never Mind the Living Dead. If you are lucky enough to be in Europe in September or October, here are some of their upcoming live dates: Sep 15 2007 - Festival Tohu-Bohu- Suisse Sep 28 2007- Maison de la Musique- Meylan Sep 29 2007- La Cigale- Nyons Oct 6 2007- Les RDV de Terres Neuves- Begles Oct 13 2007 -Chateau Rouge-Annemasse Oct 19 2007- Festival de Marne +Hushpuppies...- Choisy Le Roi The month of August was dedicated to Oslo, Norway. I had visited the city in 2003 and was awestruck by its amazing natural land structures (the city is located on a fjord). Everyone in Oslo seemed uber hip, too. I knew that this would be a wonderful opportunity to explore the music scene of the captial of Norway. Here are some bands to check out: Katzenjammer The band consists of four girls that didn't know how to play instruments. Now their instrumental lineup includes guitar, accordion, bass, banjo, flute, melodica, balalaika, mandolin, trumpet, drums, djembe, xylophone, ukulele and piano. Check out their 2006 album, Play My Darling! Pomegranates A duo (one man, one woman) consisting of Hanne Slettahjell and Erik Egenes. They play really, really wonderful pop tunes. You will fall in love with Hanne's voice. Listen to the track Reptile Park and you will melt. Oh yea, they LOVE ROYAL TRUCKS. That is soooo coooooool! WE Top three reasons why you should like this band: 1. Just LOOK at their picture 2.We toured Europe, playing with acts like Whitesnake, Def Leppard, and a full tour with Motorhead. 3. In the words of WE: The World is our Oyster, we are ready to slurp it....
There's a worrying trend in music these days.   Yes, another one.   And I'm not talking about the New Wave Of Nu Rave or some other over hyped genre that I just made up. I'm talking about special editions. Of which, there seem to be more and more being released. Lazy, rehashed versions of albums that are already available. Packaged with some exclusive, unreleased tracks never available before! Ever! Anywhere! What they generally fail to mention is that there's a reason these tracks haven't been released. They weren't thought good enough first time around. In a way it cheapens the whole feel of an album as a coherent, artistic statement. You don't see authors re-releasing classic novels with extra chapters in them. So why sully the reputation of perfectly good records?   Obviously, these are sweeping statements and not true in all cases. Some of these packages are very appealing. Which kind of makes things even more frustrating. And as a music fan, incredibly irritating. I buy a lot of music. I generally buy it on the day of release. Or at least the first week. And the record companies seem to be shitting on fans like me. Treating us as though we're unimportant. By releasing special editions a few months later, they're disregarding people like me in a bid to make a few extra pounds. Which is crazy because we're the ones they should be aiming at. The ones they should be looking after. We're the ones spending the money on records. Buying them legally. And yet rather than reward us, it almost feels like they're penalising us. By supporting their acts, we end up missing out. It's crazy!   So the question is, who are these special editions aimed at? For the life of me, I can't work it out. Is the record industry expecting the loyal fans to buy a record they already own just to get a couple of extra songs? Really?!? As much as I'd want to hear those songs, I certainly won't re-buy an album I already own. I'm guessing I'm not the only one. And I'm also guessing I'm not the only one who feels a tad bitter about it.   Or are special editions supposed to be an extra incentive to passing fans who might buy it because there are a couple of extra tracks? Seems more likely. But surely, if they weren't motivated enough to buy it on first release, are a couple of extra songs that weren't deemed good enough for the initial release, really going to sway them? Again I don't know but I'd be interested to see if it makes any worthwhile difference to sales.   To me, it all smacks of laziness on the side of the music industry. An industry so quick to blame downloads for killing record sales. To blame someone else without once daring to look a little closer to home. Now I'm not doubting that downloading has a significant effect on sales, but I'm guessing that pissing off your customers has an impact too. So here are some crazy ideas. Why not make the initial release more appealing by including these extras on the day of release? Why not release these second discs on their own? Make it possible for people who bought the albums already, to buy the extra disc. Why not put some money into signing or marketing new music instead of re-releasing albums that are still easily available? Why not sign and market some decent, innovative bands instead of jumping on bandwagons or signing acts that are essentially bland, repackaged versions of music we've all heard a million times before? You wanna know what's killing the music industry? X Factor is. Apathy is. Fear of change is. Pandering to lowest common denominators is. Unwillingness to take chances is. The music industry itself is responsible as much for its own demise as anyone else. I'm not saying downloading would disappear if the industry bucked up its ideas. Of course it wouldn't but I'm guessing it would show there's still life in the old dog yet.   Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Some special editions are worthwhile. And yes, I've bought a couple of special editions. One because it turned a hard to find 4 track ep into a stunning two disc release. The other because I didn't own the original and it was incredibly cheap in the sale. Would I have enjoyed it any less without the b-sides and alternative versions? Yes I would because the album was good enough on it's own. It didn't need any extras. It's just a shame the industry couldn't see that.   Sonic Youth - the end of the end of the ugly from 'Dirty:Deluxe Edition'   Jeff Buckley - dink's song (live at Sin-e) from 'Live At Sin-e:Legacy Edition'   Read more from Coxon by visiting to die by your side.   [Link to this post]
I’m fresh off the plane from an exciting trip to San Francisco where among stops to Napa Valley and Berkley, I got a chance to stand in McCovey Cove parking lot for 9 straight hours and enjoy 2 stages of real, no frills hip hop.  It’s the tour that holds some of rap’s biggest names past and present (mostly past) and tops the whole event off with an hour of newly reformed Rage against the Machine when it is finally dark and your skin is a lovely shade of red.  Cyprus Hill, WuTang, Public Enemy, Talib Kweli, Mos Def; these are names of some of the most talented and expressive hip hop artists in the history of modern music, however although 40 thousand people made a parking lot into a dance floor it seems these hip hop fans and artists represent the minority of the market.  Let’s face it, Hip Hop is now pop music, and it’s treated as such by record companies looking to capitalize.  I’m not against artists or record companies making money, especially artists who come from poverty and music is their escape from it, but maybe just being idealistic I would hope you could have your bling without watering down rap in the process.  I feel some have managed both, like Jay-Z and Nas who have definitely have had commercial success and cannot be questioned on their skills as true MC’s.  It all comes down to what the music is made for and what the music says, and if the music is for the club and tells everyone to “shake their ass” then don’t expect a message or meaning much deeper than that in there.  The perfect example of the post modern quandary that hip hop is now in was Public Enemy at the show.  Chuck D did the classic “Fight The Power” stuff that revolutionized hip hop and modern music in general, while Flavor Flav didn’t leave the stage without letting us know he would return on VH1 with “Flavor of Love 3” in the fall.  If I was a betting man I would assume hip hop is going to go through the same thing that has happened to most if not all pop music genre’s at the height of their popularity; radically change or crash.  The fans at that show will be dedicated to what they remember hip hop was and not what it has become but the new budding stars who don’t leave much substance will be forgotten.  For a reference, please check “The Death of Disco.”
What's your opinion on music and lyrics?   And I'm not asking for a review of the recent Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore film.   I mean, what initially draws you to a song? What keeps the song alive for you? What interests you most? Does that change over time? I guess what I'm asking is, are you a music or a lyrics person?   Personally, I'd say I'm more of a music person. That's the element that first hooks me in. The decider on whether I'm gonna give the song a second listen. It's the aural equivalent of love at first sight. While people say that personality is more important, they're lying because if there's no initial attraction, you're unlikely to want to get to know their personality in a relationship way. The same applies to music and lyrics. I'm not saying lyrics aren't important to me. They blatantly are. But lets face it, the vast majority of songs have pretty bad, nonsensical lyrics covering topics that have been done to death. However a song with bad, trite, bland, sub sixth form poetry lyrics can be forgiven if backed by an awesome track and sung to a stunning melody. I can play it again and again and almost overlook the dreadful words being sung. Almost.   The opposite, however, is not true. Someone could write the world's most amazing, insightful lyrics. Words that touch you deep to your emotional core. That strike a chord personally. That tell you something about your life. But team them up with a dreadful backing track, an insipid melody or a none existent tune and the whole thing is made redundant. Chances are it won't get a second listen, if I even get all the way through first time round.   Of course another reason I think I'm a music person is that I'm really bad at interpreting lyrics. Unless it's blatantly obvious, I struggle to know what the songs are about. Obviously I get a vague idea but I've never been 100% great at deciphering lyrics. And these days, time slips through my fingers so quickly, I don't have to time to scour lyric booklets like I used to. It's just one of the many reasons why I can sing along word perfect to songs I haven't heard in 10 years but struggle to remember a line or two from current listens. And don't get me started on remembering song titles.   Anyway, I digress. Obviously, the ideal situation is to get the best of both worlds. An awesome song with amazing lyrics. And the artists who do that generally tend to be the ones who become favourites. Think Nick Cave. Elliott Smith. Radiohead. Bob Dylan. Artists who value and combine the written word and music equally. Whose songs touch me emotionally on both levels. Is it just coincidence that none of them are what you would call mainstream? Is it my imagination that songs that generally make the charts are of the unoriginal, uninspired type? It may be ... but I wonder.   Anyway, I thought I'd leave you with two artists that are masters of each craft. Godspeed make stunning music while Morrissey is in my opinion, one of the greatest ever lyricists.   Godspeed You! Black Emperor - outro (Live at L'Olympic, France 2003)   The Smiths - reel around the fountain (Peel Session May 31 1983)   Read more from Coxon by visiting to die by your side.   [Link to this post]
You’ve got a fresh notebook, and your laptop is charged. It’s once again time to head back to the dorms or the halls of your high school for another year. You may have your first-day outfit all picked out, but to what will you be listening? For those that are sick of the summer jams and ready to delve into the new fall releases, we at BTR have compiled a list of a few must-haves. The following new albums will revive your tired mp3 collection and might just put an extra spring in your walk to class. The New Pornographers: Challengers (August 21st, Matador) The Canadian super-group does it yet again with Challengers. Neko Case and co. have been showing the kids how to rock for ten years, and haven’t yet missed a beat. The band’s fourth release, the album kicks off with “My Rights Versus Yours,” an indie pop anthem that shows just what this band does best. The album progresses nicely, with an array of solid tunes that will defy you to skip a track. Be sure to catch one of their many tour dates this fall (when you’re not studying, that is.) 09-13 Victoria, British Columbia - McPherson Ballroom 09-14 Seattle, WA - Showbox 09-15 Seattle, WA - Showbox 09-16 Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom 09-17 San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theatre 09-18 San Diego, CA - House of Blues 09-19 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theater 09-20 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theater 09-21 Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre 09-22 Albuquerque, NM - Sunshine Theater 09-24 Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater 09-25 Salt Lake City, UT - The Depot 09-26 Boise, ID - The Egyptian Theatre 09-28 Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore Ballroom 10-11 Edmonton, Alberta - Edmonton Event Center 10-12 Calgary, Alberta - MacEwen Hall 10-13 Calgary, Alberta - MacEwen Hall 10-14 Missoula, MT - University Theater 10-15 Winnipeg, Manitoba - Garrick Center 10-16 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue 10-17 Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theatre 10-18 Chicago, IL - The Metro 10-19 Chicago, IL - The Metro 10-20 Buffalo, NY - Riviera Theatre 10-21 Toronto, Ontario - Phoenix Concert Theatre 10-24 New York, NY - Webster Hall 10-25 New York, NY - Webster Hall 10-26 Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero 10-27 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club 10-31 New Orleans, LA - House of Blues 11-01 Houston, TX - Warehouse Live 11-02 Dallas, TX - House of Blues 11-03 Austin, TX - Emo's (Fun Fun Fun Fest) 11-05 Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre Shout Out Louds: Our Ill Wills (Merge, September 11) Swedish quintet Shout Out Louds will drop their sophomore effort with Merge records on the 11th, and it couldn’t be more anticipated. Having spent the last few years opening up for such indie greats as The Strokes and Kings of Leon, the band is ready to serve up another slice of Nordic indie pop suitable for any and all hipster mp3 players. Produced by Björn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn and John fame), the album is immaculately produced and mastered. Don’t forget to catch ‘em live: Aug 23 - The Zoo Brisbane (AU) Aug 24 - The Corner Melbourne (AU) Aug 25 - The Rosemount Perth (AU) Sep 18 - Prime Club Cologne (GER) Sep 19 - Backstage Munich (GER) Sep 20 - ISC Bern (CH) Sep 21 - Les Docks Lausanne (CH) Sep 22 - E-Werk Erlangen (GER) Sep 24 - Karlstorbahnhof Heidelberg (GER) Sep 25 - Weekender Innsbruck (AT) Sep 26 - Rockhouse Salzburg (A) Sep 27 - Messehalle Dresden (GER) Sep 28 - Arena Leipzig (GER) Sep 29 - Reeperbahnfestival at Knust Hamburg (GER) Sep 30 - Donau Arena Regensburg (GER) Oct 1 - Postbahnhof Berlin (GER) Oct 19 - Logan Square Auditorium, Chicago Oct 20- The Basement, Columbus OH Oct 22- The Mod Club Theatre, Toronto, ON Oct 23- Cabaret du Musse Juste Pour Rire, Montreal QC Oct 24- Paradise Rock Club, Boston MA Oct 25- Bowery Ballroom, New York NY Oct 26-Music Hall of Williamsburg, New York NY Oct 27- Maxwell's, Hoboken NJ Oct 28- 9:30 Club, Washington, DC Oct 29- First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia PA Oct 30- Cat's Cradle, Carriboro, NC Oct 31- The Loft, Atlanta GA Nov 2- The Parish, Austin TX Nov 3- Granada Theatre, Dallas TX Sea Wolf: Leaves in the River (September 25th, Dangerbird) Sea Wolf may be relatively unknown outside of L.A., but this album and subsequent tour is sure to change all that. Their EP, Get to the River Before It Runs Too Low, showcased Alex Church’s soulful yet catchy songwriting ability, and the full-length promises to be no different! The instrumentals are fantastic (who doesn’t love a little cello?) and the melodies are pure indie pop gold. Check this one out before it’s over-hyped. 7/29 Salt Lake City, UT - In The Venue * 7/30 Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre * 8/1 Omaha, NE - Slowdown * 8/2 Boulder, CO - R&R Convention 8/6 Toledo, OH - Frankie's * 8/7 Cleveland, OH - Agora Ballroom * 8/9 Indianapolis, IN - Vogue Theatre * 8/10 Cincinnati, OH - Southgate House * 8/18 Los Angeles, CA - Sunset Junction 9/16 San Francisco, CA - Treasure Island Fest 10/15 Columbus, OH - Basement^ 10/16 Cincinnati, OH - 20th Century^ 10/17 Louisville, KY - Jim Porters^ 10/18 Indianapolis, IN - Birdy's^ 10/20 Chicago, IL - Schubas^ 10/22 St. Louis, MO - Gargoyle Club^ 10/23 Nashville, TN - Exit In^ 10/24 Birmingham, AL - Bottle Tree^ 10/26 Tampa, FL - State Theatre^ 10/27 St. Augustine, FL - Cafe Eleven^ 10/29 Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club^ 10/30 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel^ 10/31 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle^ 11/1 Charlottesville, VA - Satellite Ballroom UVA^ 11/2 Baltimore, MD - 8 x 10^ * w/ Silversun Pickups ^ w/ Nada Surf Stars: In Our Bedroom After The War (Arts and Crafts, September 25th) “I am trying to say what I want to say without having to say I love you.” That line was one of many staggering lyrics on Stars’ Set Yourself on Fire, but the question is, can this Canadian five-piece replicate the genius of their previous work? Luckily, we have no problem saying we love Stars’ latest effort, In Our Bedroom After The War. Vibrant and complicated, this album is a bit more dramatic than their previous work, but still maintains the same climactic moments and raw emotion. Their lush melodies and dual vocals make for a full, rich sound with which few indie bands can compete. 09-06 Grand Rapids, MI - Calvin College Fine Arts Center 09-08 Montreal, Quebec - Parc Jean-Drapeau (Osheaga Festival) 09-09 Toronto, Ontario - Virgin Festival 10-17 South Burlington, VT - Higher Ground 10-18 New York, NY - Town Hall 10-19 Boston, MA - Berklee Performance Centre 10-20 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club 10-24 Philadelphia, PA - Starlight Ballroom 10-26 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle 10-27 Atlanta, GA - The Variety Playhouse 10-28 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder 10-30 Austin, TX - Stubb's BBQ 10-31 Dallas, TX - House of Blues 11-02 Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre 11-03 Minneapolis, MN - Pantages Theatre 11-04 Omaha, NE - Slowdown 11-06 Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre 11-08 Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre 11-09 San Diego, CA - House of Blues 11-10 Los Angeles, CA - The Orpheum 11-13 San Francisco, CA - Bimbo's 365 Club 11-14 San Francisco, CA - Bimbo's 365 Club 11-15 Portland, OR - The Crystal Ballroom 11-16 Seattle, WA - The Showbox
Click here to listen to our Razor & Tie Showcase, hosted by BTR's own DJ Jeff K! It's time for BTR to bring you yet another exciting batch of new artists to the site!  This week, we're celebrating the addition of the diverse record label Razor & Tie to our catalogue, with a special label show dedicated strictly to Razor & Tie artists.  The show, hosted by DJ Jeff K, debuts today (Tues, August 21) and can be found in the embedded media player on our site, directly to your left. Razor & Tie's expanding label includes artists and releases such as acclaimed singer/songwriter Dar Williams, hard rock icons Twisted Sister, the Grammy-nominated global superstar Angelique Kidjo, metal dynamos All That Remains, rising stars Kelly Sweet and Ryan Shaw and catalogue albums from gold-certified rockers Brand New.    “Razor & Tie represents an exciting, diverse roster that BTR couldn't be happier to bring to its audience,” says BTR's DJ Jeff K.  “Ryan Shaw, Angelique Kidjo and Kelly Sweet are just a few of the top notch artists that Razor & Tie has developed who have all garnered a substantial following in the indie community.” Razor & Tie's expanding record label includes artists and releases such as acclaimed singer/songwriter Dar Williams, hard rock icons Twisted Sister, the Grammy-nominated global superstar Angelique Kidjo, the Grammy-nominated Afro-Cuban funk collective Yerba Bueno, metal dynamos All That Remains, and catalogue albums from rockers Brand New and up-and-coming artist Kelly Sweet.  The label is also known for their Kidz Bop CD series, which are the top-selling children's audio products in the U.S.  In addition to producing and marketing successful music compilations such as Goin' South, Fired Up, and Slow Motion, Razor & Tie markets and sells music and video content via all major digital outlets, including iTunes, Napster, and eMusic. DJ Jeff K's showcase will give listeners a taste of what they can expect from the Razor & Tie roster, so be sure to check it out! Link to this article:
The internet has revolutionised how you discover new music these days.   What with mp3blogs,  Myspace, internet radio and such like.   But what the hell happened to music on TV? I can only speak for the UK but time was the schedules were full of them. It was the only place you could see your favourite band playing their new songs. You'd tune in religiously to catch an exclusive live performance that you couldn't see anywhere else. When I was growing up you had everything from The Chart Show and Top Of The Pops to The Tube and The White Room. Hell, I even remember when MTV used to show music videos instead of endless repeats of vacuous, cheap teen reality shows. So what went wrong? How did we end up in the position where Later With Jools Holland is the only decent music programme on TV?   Is the rise of the internet to blame? Has the ability to hear and see music when and where ever you want made TV shows redundant? Hit YouTube anytime of the day and you can find authorised videos and live shows of your favourite bands in an instant. Not to mention the number of video phone recordings. Maybe TV was unable to keep up with this and any performance that could be shown on TV was out of date before it even aired.   Or maybe the fault lies with TV commissioners, producers and channel programmers. They saw the threat of the internet and panicked. Had knee jerk reactions. Tried to compete on the same level, missing the point that the mediums are different beasts and TV has strengths of it's own. Personally, I think there's an argument to be held concerning dumbing down. In the past, while the presenters may not have liked every band they introduced, they at least had a passion for music. A passion that came across on screen. But these days, they're replaced by aesthetically pleasing personality bypasses whose talent seems to lie in a vague ability to read an autocue. And sometimes they struggled to do even that. It seems they're more concerned with their own self promotion and personality than the music. And it shows. Resulting in ratings dropping off and shows getting pulled.   Popworld was entertaining but when the original presenters left, it struggled to recreate their chemistry and became a parody of itself. Top Of The Pops descended into a pointless exercise in banality. The White Room wasn't popular enough. I could go on but you get the idea.   Right now on British TV, there's a gaping hole for a good music TV show. Something that can rival Later. Something that can offer a mix of mainstream and alternative acts. Or a range of niche shows that are in it for the love of music, not just in chasing ratings. For while we can't be naive enough to ignore the need to gain ratings and make the show appealing to advertisers, the producers need to recognise that a constant stream of brain numbing dross is creating ever decreasing circles. People turn off cause the shows are cheaply made and cater to the lowest common denominator. But trust me, if you get a good enough music show, the ratings will come on their own. We don't need ironic, post modern, irritating presenters trying to show how cool or clever they are. We're not watching for the clever camerawork. And showing videos is obsolete because the internet and 24 hour music channels already offer that. We just want the music.   You only have to look at Later With Jools Holland. Its success and longevity should be used as an example not an exception to the rule. True, a decent show depends on how much you like the bands playing. But if you can get past Jools Holland's embarrassing attempts at interviewing, you're left with a show based on a simple premise. An uncomplicated formula. Get some bands to play live music uninterrupted. No complications. You might not like all the acts. May not have heard of them. May not want to hear them again. But you can't knock the format. For all it's faults, it's a must see.   Arctic Monkeys - brianstorm (live on Later With Jools Holland)   Arctic Monkeys - 505 (live on Later With Jools Holland)   Arctic Monkeys - teddy picker (live on Later With Jools Holland)   Read more from Coxon by visiting to die by your side.   [Link to this post]
A hint that summer is coming to an end is when you wake up to pouring rain and temperatures around the low 50’s. That is what I realized when I woke up. But damn was it not a FUN & EXITICING SUMMER! I mean for us here at Break Thru we had a big one. The Site is huge now, with over 20 different shows, concerts and the ever-growing fan base. So many good tunes came through my way that I really dig and I love that feeling of find new artist and music that you will love forever. Maybe just a song or maybe a full album, what ever the case I hope that this summer you were as fortunate to find a band on BTR that was refreshing or spoke to you in some sort of way. Besides BTR, my summer was fun as hell. Live Concerts, 7 weeks Djing around the Caribbean, Party & the other things I may be forgetting. Yes sir this was the summer for me. In September I got some moves in the works. I’ll be “re-vamping” my music page, for those of you who complain that I never update it. New Flash Lay Out, Pictures of my summer expeditions, music update, up coming shows, merch and the rest. Its gonna be sweet. Besides that I also plain on dropping a new mix tape so be on the look out. Until next time. Peace, J.Dayz
Wassup, I don't usually gush over celebrities (and to some, this person would not qualify as one), but I have expressed my man crush to many over Anthony Bourdain. I'm quite envious of his cig smoking, constantly drinking, connoisseur of local food ways. I'm bringing him up cause I saw an episode where he travelled to Vietnam that gave me a strong itch to visit there. I've been scratching it for a while, holding off until I had enough money and my mom could go. Well, she watched the episode with me and I saw this gleam in her eyes. The familiar smile of seeing her home country that lies a whole day's plane ride away. It's my mission to go with her sometime next year cause I can't wait any longer. It's time to go home. Cheers, Phillip Nguyen
I love summer. I love fall even more. This rainy blustery weather we're having is getting me all excited for fall and I can't wait! This summer has been pretty great and I've really enjoyed all the concerts (free and not free) in NYC. Sadly, Celebrate Brooklyn and Summerstage are just about over. Highlights were The Hold Steady, Noche Flamenca, and the African festival. I asked Luke Temple into the studio to record a session for BTR Live Studio and he delivered such a great performance. His second full length album, "Snow Beast" was released today and I literally can't stop listening to it. Check him out at Joe's Pub Thursday for his CD Release show! I am SO EXCITED to bring you Big Cream on next week's Live Studio show. They are so good. So good. So good.
Let's be honest for a minute.   The '60s weren't the best decade for music.   The '80s weren't an abomination on music. The best bands don't come from America. They do make 'em like they used to. And downloading isn't killing music. Whatever you believe to be true, probably isn't. The only 'truth' is that people choose to be selective in their views. They make sweeping statements. Replace facts for opinion. And yes, before we go any further, it could be argued that I'm about to do the exact same thing. But I'll continue nevertheless.   You see, it's far too easy to look back at certain decades, movements or countries through rose tinted glasses. To say that things were better way back when. That all the classic songs come from the past. Just this week Elton John claimed that in the early '70s, there were at least 10 classic albums released every week. Now it doesn't take a genius to know he was frankly talking out of his arse but why would he make such a statement. Simple. Because as the cliche tells us, time is a great healer. So the abominations of past decades are erased from the memory. Conveniently overlooked for songs, artists and albums that are correctly considered classics. And the people who spout this rubbish are generally out of touch or no longer care about music, making it easier for them to hide behind their beliefs than face up to the fact they they're no longer relevant.   There's a giant myth about the good old days. An ever increasing lie about the past that gets repeated and rehashed by a lazy media. Every cover story about the summer of love bolsters it. Every article about the beginnings of punk reinforces it. Programmes about Britpop serve merely to disguise it. They all suffer from idealising the chosen moment and presenting it as a period of perfection that the modern age can have no hoping of matching. Mainly because it never existed in the first pace. People blot out the things that don't fit with their vision. Conveniently overlook anything that may contradict their argument. Over time, a new history is written and it becomes popular opinion.   But the '60s weren't perfect. Far from it. They were pretty damn similar to where we are now. Maybe there was less cynicism in the music industry. True, bands were given more time to develop, more room to experiment. Maybe people were more open minded and maybe the mainstream wasn't so narrow. But the charts were just as full of novelty acts, of covers and of manufactured acts as they are today. They may not have been as slick and the marketing may not have been as sophisticated but they existed then as they do now. For every band like The Beatles there were a million pale imitations, cash ins and bandwagon jumpers. For every artist that's stood the test of time, there are just as many one hit wonders who've been forgotten. Just as there were in every decade since. Just as there are today. Motown was essentially a factory line. A bloody good one but a hit making factory line nonetheless. Paid to churn out pop hits in the same way that Xenomania, Cathy Dennis, Linda Perry and countless others do today. The punk scene of the '70s was assimilated into and swallowed by popular culture just as quickly back then, as any underground movement is today. Because that's how society works. People see something that can turn a profit, they exploit it and make it palatable for the mainstream. It's just that the industry is more sophisticated today and we, as consumers, are more switched on to the process. In some cases, it's even presented to us as popular entertainment that we lap up like mindless drones. But whatever it's form, it's always happened and no doubt always will.   The same is true of any country that you don't live in. They too can become idealised. Some Britons view America as having the best bands in certain genres because we never get to see the utter dross also produced. Similarly, the Eurovision Song Contest is our only contact with non English speaking acts and therefore we assume all music produced in Europe is either ridiculously camp or unutterably shite. Every country suffers from the same problems as yours, just as every decade suffers the same as the previous.   So stop moaning about the state of music today. Stop putting the past on a pedestal. Stop putting music in brackets and neat folders. There are no boundaries. There should be no such thing as guilty pleasures. Music doesn't suddenly and dramatically shift just because a different number appears in the date. Good music is good music. It's always existed and always will. Sometimes you just have to delve a little deeper to find it. But the moment you stop looking, the moment your passion dies, that's the moment you risk falling into the trap of sweeping statements.   The Beatles - twist and shout (live at Prince of Wales Theatre, London - 1963)from 'Anthology 1'   Patti Smith - piss factory from 'Land 1975-2002'   The Birthday Party - bully bones (Peel session version) from 'The John Peel Sessions'   Read more from Coxon le Woof by visiting to die by your side.   [Link to this post]
Big Bangs for Big Bucks… and Small Bucks too This summer, music wise, has definitely lived up to my expectations. The best shows I saw included Bob Weir & Ratdog, with Keller Williams opening, Widespread Panic, Dave Matthews Band, and the Allman Brothers Band. These shows were unreal. But for big-ticket prices, you have to expect big music bangs (or at least be really ticked off and disappointed if that’s not what you get). Sure, being out 75 bucks isn’t great, but if you’re like me and you live for those 3 hours of intense live music and dancing, it’s worth it. So what about a $7 ticket? Should you even bother? I’m addicted to live music, no matter who the artist is or what venue they’re playing at. So in my opinion, yes. My good friends and Boston-based band, Grimis, played Sunday at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA. For only a couple of bucks, I honestly had just as good of a time at this show as I did at Bob Weir. Sure, Grimis didn’t play a “Sugar Magnolia” that melted my heart, but the overall experience was just as incredible. It’s these cheap (well, I should say affordable)-ticket shows that keep local music scenes alive and encourage independent artists to play. And at almost a tenth of the cost for the big shows, you can check out a few shows a month (or a week!) and not break the bank. So head over to the Calendar page on the site and see who’s playing in your area. Ditch the movie-date plans and check out live music in your backyard.
Been really busy trying to re-house a load of upcoming Planet Beet gigs, as the venue that we've been at for over 5 years have just decided out of the blue to stop doing gigs of any kind, and they told us with absolutely no notice. We've moved 3 of the gigs sofar to a new home (The Old Maltings, Bury St Edmunds, UK), and hope to confirm all the other gigs in the next few days. Phew! On a lighter note, I've had some great bands in the studio this week, so that's balanced out the stress a little bit. We've recorded 32 "BTR @ Old School Studios" shows for Breakthru Radio now, and they've all turned out really well, but until now you've not heard me, as I've been burrowing away behind the scenes, doing all the technical stuff, whilst DJ Anna does all the talking. Well, that's about to change as my new show "Planet Beet" launches on Weds 29th August, and you'll get to hear just how much I can talk. A lot!
  The Go Find - Live, Hasselt Here is a very funny person. I am certainly enjoying the music of today. Please listen to these songs and tell me what they remind you of. "She's a Superstar (live)" -- The Verve (mp3) A classic live rendition of a song that is so clearly one part McCabe and one part Ashcroft. The grinding, softcore chorus is so addictive that this song could have simply rocked out, but the lyrics are gorgeous, some of Dick's best songwriting. This never was much of a studio song anyway. "Bittersweet Symphony (live)" -- The Verve (mp3) Their most famous song, it could work as an acoustic thing and I think it even has worked, but this version offers something a little different, with Richard doing his best "LOOK AT MEEEE" vocal and it getting very rawky near the end. "New Year" -- The Go Find (mp3) A new classic. "All Apologies (MTV Unplugged)" – Nirvana Kind of a good song.   "Because the Night" -- Patti Smith (mp3) Interesting cover. I grew bored of the original. I wanted it to be gritty, by which I mean, sung by an older person. Then you're like whoa, that must have been quite a night. Nina "Be My Husband" -- Nina Simone (mp3) "Black Is The Color of My True Love's Hair" -- Nina Simone (mp3) Just the wildest and funnest. Thanks for a great week, BreakThru Radio! Visit us at This Recording for all your irony-based needs.   [Link to this post]
Honestly, I don't know why Ryan Adams isn't making that VH1 money. He's kind of like the Robbie Williams of America, except it's even more embarrassing because he can't break in in his own fucking country. And it's not like he doesn't pander, he duets with people like Sheryl Crow and Adam Duritz. I mean can dude write an Oscar nominated song or something? I could see him becoming the new Randy Newman. The formerly acidic now cuddly songsmith writing songs for the Pixar movies of the future. Or at least John Mellencamp. Or is he doomed to be Warren Zevon, unable to sell any records and eventually getting going on late night with cancer to complain about how nobody cares he is dying. Does the heartland really just not give a fuck about Ryan Adams? Is this still about Gram Parsons having pot leaves embroidered on his Nudie suit? "Pearls on a String" -- Ryan Adams (mp3) And why doesn't he have a huge gay following? His songwriting is as gay or gayer than Rufus Wainwright's, and Wainwright has the excuse of actually fucking men. Can't this dude do a duet with Toby Keith? Willie Nelson did a duet with Toby Keith, and Ryan Adams knows he's not better than Willie Nelson. Bon Jovi just sold a ton of records by pandering to the mainstream country audience. Ryan Adams must be a real tool to work with or something because he is a song factory and I don't understand how he is not a huge success with the sort of people who listen to The Fray and John Mayer, who I guess are sorority girls. He writes music like Robin Williams tells jokes, and at about the same success rate. But you have to sort of admire him for not editing his output more. A lot of artists get so wrapped up in their album to album sound and aesthetics reinventions the audience gets bored and goes elsewhere in between. There was a good New York Magazine article about Interpol, who have to peddle their Joy Division sound and third reich fashion to tweens who have already moved on to Fall Out Boy and whatever the fuck else the kids like now, Hannah Montana. Actually, I like Hannah Montana. She's definitely more alt-country than Ryan Adams. But that's the other thing about Ryan Adams. He can't really disappoint you because he is always disappointing you. You are so used to his being a fuck up and your expectations have become so low that when he manages not to be a fuck up and writes an actually good song you are so surprised you stop being mad at him for a few seconds and remember why you liked him in the first place. "The Ballad of Carol Lynn" -- Whiskeytown (mp3) He's pretty much the world's worst boyfriend, and I feel like I've dated him. But maybe that's because he's dating Jessica Joffe and I totally feel her with the whole high-profile redhead attatched to a talented rocker dude (see also: Jack White and Karen Elson, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa). Joffe and Adams apparently kicked heroin together, which is chapter seven or something of any Behind The Music. I don't know that it's improved or damaged his songwriting. He's as ADD as ever. Most of the songs are dross but then a few are total AM radio bangers. I never cared much for Whiskeytown. They were always "that other alt-country band that is nowhere near as good as Uncle Tupelo." But Heartbreaker, his first solo effort, is a fantastic album. There are some great songs on Gold, but it's mostly terrible and should never have been released as a double (plus a bonus disc!) album. All the albums between Gold and Easy Tiger have been totally scattershot, with lots of songs that should have been outtakes. But again with the internet, B-sides appear instantly so maybe he's just way ahead of us. Another thing that's a problem for him is how much he jumps around stylistically. Half the songs are sung in a beautiful raspy tone, and then a few in a weird froggy Ron Sexsmith – like falsetto, and a few more in a strained Alex Chilton/Paul Westerberg type voice. But this diversity should work for and not against him. I mean Of Montreal are doing Outback Steakhouse commercials for fuck's sake. Can Ryan Adams please sell out to Applebee's or Chili's or some other horrible restaurant that donates all their profits to the GOP? I guess I had a lot to say about Ryan Adams. Maybe someone can link this to Gawker and he can read it. He wrote into them once when they called Jessica Joffe a "socialite" because she is actually a very serious lady journalist who gets to sit in the front row of fashion shows. I hope it lasts even though I'm sure he is a whiny pain in the ass to take care of and wants to play new songs for you all the time and that has to get annoying, even if all the songs are about you. Maybe especially if they are. This reminds me to link you to this page about mod model and sixties muse Pattie Boyd. She married George Harrison and later left him for Eric Clapton. They both cheated on her a ton (ugh, musicians) and she and Clapton divorced in the eighties.  The songs "Something" by Harrison and "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight" by Clapton are about her. She's dating some dodgy looking real estate guy now and looks like any patrician Englishwoman. Molly Lambert is the Senior Editor of This Recording. She lives in Echo Park, California. "Gravity Grave" -- The Verve (mp3) "Until the Real Thing Comes Along" -- Billie Holiday (mp3)   Visit This Recording to read more!   [Link to this post]
Does the music in Austin, Texas ever stop? Not as far as I can tell. Sure, I’m way late to the party in terms of knowing about Austin’s killer live music scene (they humbly refer to themselves as The Live Music Capital of the world) as my first trip to Austin was merely a year and a half ago.  However, when I land there in mid-September for the 6th annual Austin City Limits Festival, my fourth trip to the city in less than two years, I figure I will have conquered the learning curve. The festival is held annually in Zilker Park – just on the outskirts of downtown and just minutes from Red River, the fabled street that is home to such luminary live music venues as Stubb’s BBQ, Emo’s and Red 7.  It’s the blessing of having so many great live music venues within walking distance, or should I say stumbling distance, from each other that has made the city so successful and allowed the city to flourish with events like ACL and SXSW. While in places like Chicago, after Lollapalooza for instance, folks spend a lot of time navigating the overwhelming downtown area searching out more music after the festival closes at 10PM – in Austin, if you can find 6th Street – you can probably find any genre of music on earth happening live within a block or two. That is, of course, if you can even stand to see more music after spending a day at this year’s Austin City Limits Festival. The line-up is one of the best I’ve seen – including heavy hitters such as Bjork, Bob Dylan, The White Stripes, Wilco, The Killers, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, and Queens of the Stone Age. If the big guns are not your style, there is plenty of mid-level talent to check out – like Damien Rice, Joss Stone, Crowded House, Kaiser Chiefs, Indigo Girls, Steve Earl, Andrew Bird, Ben Kweller – the list goes on, and on, and on – for 130 bands!! And if you’re looking to check out something brand new, may I suggest Amy Levere, The Broken West, Midlake, Peter Bjorn and John, The National, Blonde Redhead, or Will Hoge? A full line-up can be found at If you do take in all the festival has to offer – including a gospel tent, kids area, wi-fi tents, food venues, arts and crafts stalls, and the like, and spend the day engulfed in all the fantastic music, and still want more – well, there are plenty of official after shows, and even more unofficial after parties (last year I somehow ended up in a penthouse with members of Kings of Leon and TV on the Radio). This year you can check out the White Stripes, Spoon, Common, Blonde Redhead, The National and Queens of the Stone Age at shows booked after the festival has ended each night. The Hot Freaks will also be putting on nightly secret shows at The Mohawk on Red River. Rumor has it some of the bands will include Art Brut, Grizzly Bear and Beirut. But you didn’t hear that from me… Finally, if you’re very lucky and can pull a few strings, you might be able to get into one of the five Austin City Limits tapings that will be happening that weekend at The University of Texas. After all, the seminal television show is kind of the seed that started this whole things right? Tapings on the roster include Arcade Fire, Wilco, Bloc Party, Regina Spektor, Crowded House, and Lucinda Williams. When you tivo the shows, be sure to slow it down and look for me in the audience!
  Miya Dunets It's rare that a new act makes any impression on you at all. Usually it's because they sound like something else familiar; e.g. Vampire Weekend = The Strokes plus Paul Simon divided by underage sexual intercourse. In the case of these three acts, they've already set out against the tide. They don't sound like The White Stripes, they don't look like Paris Hilton, and they probably don't have Murray as their manager. (Last time, I swear!)   We first wrote about the phenomenal talent that is Miya Dunets when we put her next to some awe-inspiring German poems in translation. She does kinda sound like Regina Spektor, but Regina Spektor is great, so this is hardly bad.   "Baby" -- Miya Dunets (mp3) "Happy With You" -- Miya Dunets (mp3) "I Started A Song" -- Miya Dunets (mp3)   Dope, simple, sad and unafraid of being clichéd or obvious. This is the new thing, why do you think we are so into Bob Creeley? I'm telling you a story so I can think about it"? Come on now.   You can watch my amateur video of Miya performing at Fontana's in NYC here. Just ignore the videos of certain bachelor party.   Miya has a gig coming up at Mo Pitkin' can get all the relevants on her MySpace.     "Around and Round" -- The Waking Slows (mp3) "Perennial Flower" -- The Waking Slows (mp3) "After Love" -- The Waking Slows (mp3)   The Waking Slows MySpace.   The Waking Slows are a dainty three piece from Boston. Their drummer is Jordan Lipp, who I have had the pleasure of watching play many times. He is a genius, his brother is a genius, and the third guy probably at least has basic motor skills.  The Slows have the full capability of being lots of bands, but they choose to be themselves. This is as powerful an artistic statement as it is a philosophical one. Are you listening to the music yet? Because I can go on like this.     I guess she kinda looks like Paris Hilton?   Nerissa Campbell's website.   "Bedazzled" -- Nerissa Campbell (mp3) "Smoke on the Window Sill" -- Nerissa Campbell (mp3) "Suite" -- Nerissa Campbell (mp3)   You can buy Paint Me Orange here.   Nerissa is Australian and is more of a jazz act. Her voice is astonishing, especially when she steps out of her comfort range as a classically trained jazz singer. She is playing Divertimento Bistro on Friday night, which if you live in New York is on E. 13th Street btn 1st Ave and Ave A. She's on from 8 - 10 p.m. Jesse Elder will also be performing. OK sample that and get back to me.     Damn, I was a beautiful baby boy.   Here are your links:   EvenWal-Mart can't get nowhere in this economy. Girl sues Imus for calling her a nappy-headed ho.  I say, let the courts decide? Adam Kirsch on Robert Lowell. Song, by Toad attends a tremendous live show. Michael Cera aims to play against type. Not. Don De Lillo-inspired band. !!! gives Jack a new start, also the Hot Chip Remix helps.   Read more from Alex by visiting This Recording.   [Link to this post]
  With the joie de vivre attitude of a band that says, "Actually we all want solo careers like Albert Hammond and preferably model girlfriends too" Vampire Weekend spends its days waiting for the non-stop groupie sex that will come any day now. To start at the beginning, we went down to the East Side Amphitheatre, not before going to the bottom of every bridge in the city to see if the East Side Amphitheatre was there. I am usually so intense with directions I never get lost, but it happened once. I am not proud of this. As a result I missed Meg Baird. This was probably no great loss, but I wasn't there, you'll have to listen for yourself. The East Side Amphitheatre was in Flight of the Conchords so I really should have recognized it. It's where Murray and Jemaine are having it out about Coco, Bret's new girlfriend. Murray likes amphitheatres, also, he had a budgie but it died. [youtube=] This will be the last mention of FoftheC in this space. Thank you for your time. Before Vampire Weekend came on, we were subjected to the stylings of Jonathan Kane's February. Good lord. "Goodbye Leggy Blonde" -- Flight of the Conchords (mp3) How anybody could like this music was beyond us. It was the most humorless music of all time. Fortunately the teeny poppers came out for the right band. Watching white people try to dance is one of the saddest things of all time. Please confine your dancing to white functions like weddings and, possibly, funerals. We are white but we don't want to be white; these young people have no shame about their race, and that shames us. Vampire Weekend is composed of four guys from Columbia who spent way too much time listening to Graceland. It kind of works though. In fact all these tracks are even awesomer not live. "Mansard Roof" -- Vampire Weekend (mp3) "Vampires" -- Paul Simon (mp3) "Walcott" -- Vampire Weekend (mp3) "Oxford Comma" -- Vampire Weekend (mp3) "A-Punk" -- Vampire Weekend (mp3) I wanted to hate these guys, but I just couldn't, although if I can be honest, The Village Voice is not making it easy: Sitting in a Lower East Side Mexican restaurant, the guys don't seem comfortable with the whole interview thing—they're new to the grind. So, to better figure them out, why not consult one of the last bastions of truth: Facebook profiles! Koenig, who talks the most and comes off like a young Rivers Cuomo, wisely keeps his private. But for the others, it's open season. Keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij loves Day-Glo hip-hop hoodies and any TV show that "takes place in New York in the '80s." Tall, lanky, and eloquent, Chris Tomson is tagged as the band's drummer, treasurer, and "team dad"; bassist Chris Baio jokingly describes his internship at a record label as "living off the fat of the land." Please wake me up when it's over, and by over I mean when whoever composed this story has been reassigned to cover the music scene in Alaska. Actually, that's a bit harsh on Alaska; after all John Roderick did grow up there. Fortunately someone was there and took some video so you can kinda see what the atmosphere was like. I would have brought my camera, but I assumed they were going to suck. My bloodsuckers. [youtube=] You can even see the poor morons dancing. Trust me it hurts to be this jaded. In my little black heart I want to dance bad like a white person. Buy tickets for their gig in Williamsburg.   Visit This Recording to read more from Alex!   [Link to this post]
The Opinions Below Are Not Necessarily Endorsed By ThisRecording.Com by Tess Lynch Some conversations you have had more than once in your life include: 1. What character from Sex and the City or Entourage you are most like, and which of your friends is most like Miranda/Turtle, and how you feel sorry for them. 2. How much you like The Beatles, and which of their most amazing records you find the most amazing. 3. Your favorite Conchord (is Jemaine). "The Tape of Love (Sticky Stuff)" -- Flight of the Conchords (mp3) 4. How stupid the Atkins diet is.   5. Your amazing weight-loss on the Atkins diet. 6. How stupid the Atkins diet is, after trying it. 7. The drawbacks of a liberal arts education in the job market (this applies whether or not you actually went to a liberal arts college, because if you read blogs I can't believe you don't know an unemployed former liberal arts student), but also the benefits of your education in mindless bullshitting at parties. 8. How great the White Stripes are. 9. Asking your friends how to get out of jury duty, then a discussion of ways you found on the interweb that might get you off the hook for having to serve on a trial. 10. Whether or not the rampant downloading of music should be allowed. It's totally inevitable; in fact, I could even tell you how these conversations will proceed. For instance, your friend will say, "Did you see Flight of the Conchords the other night?" You'll say, "Yes," because you did. If you didn't, you'll say, "No! No! So don't tell me anything!" which will only delay the conversation you're about to have until you see the episode, at which point you will feel compelled to at some point mention this to your friend, who will resume as if no time had elapsed at all. "Did you see that David Bowie thing? It was so funny." Up until this point, everything had been normal. You were sitting at a coffee shop, or on a grungy rug on someone's floor passing a clogged pipe around, or mouth reading at a bar. But the problem is that there is only one way to react to this question, which is to agree that it was so funny. This conversation is being had somewhere at ALL TIMES OF DAY AND NIGHT. In Japan, some kids who were extras in Babel are talking about it, or texting on their cooler-than-yours cell phone going "Ths s bwe 2 bwe, do u hear me out thr man?" in Japanese. They think it was a laugh riot. They loved when Jemaine dressed up as Labyrinth-Bowie. It was their favorite. In the Midwest, there's a group of Sigma Chi dudes Youtube-ing the episode to show some drunk girls tonight. It's not happening yet in Malawi, but it will. One day. They're sitting around waiting to talk about how funny Flight of the Conchords is, and they don't even know it yet. But what if you were to say, "I don't think Flight of the Conchords is that funny"? Regardless of whether or not this is true, you should try it, because it makes the person you're talking to furious. "What? What do you mean? You didn't even like "Bret, You've Got It Going On"? What's the matter with you? Do you think anything's funny? Oh, I'm sorry, you're too busy watching Supernanny. You're too busy playing online Scrabble. I'm sorry; you don't have time for funny things. Tell me, then, what exactly your problem is? Why don't you like this hilarious new show about two hilarious and undeniably attractive New Zealand hipsters in Brooklyn?" "Bret You've Got It Going On" -- Flight of the Conchords (mp3) They take a sip of their weed or smoke their macchiato. They compose themselves. But it's never the same. "I don't know, I just feel like any two jackasses picking away at their guitars with lots of time on their hands could come up with it. You and I could come up with stuff like that, if we wanted to." Don't say this, because then the person opposite you will argue that that's the brilliance of the show – that anyone can do it, and they enjoy it because it makes even the laziest funny person feel like one day, they too will have a show with their best friend on HBO that people discuss everywhere, all the time. You will lose this argument, because the cosmos has decided that there is only one answer to the question you were asked. Eventually, your friend will turn to the stranger sitting behind them or call someone on the phone for backup. "I'm sitting here with [your name], and they're trying to tell me that Flight of the Conchords isn't funny. No, he/she saw the Bowie thing. Yeah, I know. Sure, come over, we're done here. She/he's leaving. No, it's fine." Then they'll excuse themselves and you'll drive home, wondering what you did wrong. Except you know: you dissented. With the cosmos. Have you had a friend who has tried the Atkins diet? Sure you have. Everyone has. And before they started it, hadn't you talked to them about how stupid it would be to eat fat and meat all day? And what a totally bizarre idea that is? "I can't believe the Atkins diet. Who'd want to eat steak wrapped in bacon six times a day?" You both look at your turkey sandwiches. The look on your friend's face belies the fact that, actually, maybe they'd be into it. Three weeks later they order a double-cheeseburger, minus the bun, with a pat of butter on a round disc of salami. Your only choice is to keep mum and say, "You know, you look great." Which they probably do. But you can't go back in time to the kinder, gentler place you two shared a few weeks ago, where you agreed. A chasm has formed. The calls become less frequent. She starts humming the Bowie song. Music copyright issues are another good example of a conversational 405 freeway (if you're not from L.A., this is the freeway that you, at some point, must take, even though you know it's better not to, because it's always jammed. It also goes in two directions, which is initially the metaphor I wanted). It's usually acceptable to choose either the "for" or "against" position, but only until you're able to suss out how the other person feels. If, for example, they're against stealing lots of good music off the 'net (ummm, of course, I count myself in this camp...especially if The Law reads This Recording), you have no choice other than to check yoself. The only acceptable thing to say if, for example, you just found out you're speaking with someone whose dad owns a record label, is that of course you meant that it's only okay if the person pays 99 cents. Otherwise, you'll pay with your friendship. That is, if you're lucky – if you're not lucky, you'll be like one of those poor saps we all know who had to pay a gazillion dollars for a shitty version of an O.A.R. song he or she downloaded BY MISTAKE and which ruined his or her life because now everyone thinks he or she loves O.A.R. and also had to cough up $5,000 to OAR's label. As Carrie Bradshaw (even though I am Miranda) would write, when did dissenting about certain topics become verboten? And what's the deal with men leaving the toilet seat up? Tess Lynch is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. You can find some of her previous work here and here.   Visit This Recording!   [Link to this post]
One of the most popular features on my blog Bag Of Songs is the weekly 5 On A Friday. Five songs, usually related by a theme of some sort. So today for the grand finale of my guest stint here at Break Thru Radio, instead of just one artist I'm going to give you five quick shots.    1: Bless 1 - Starving Artist   Bless 1 is a hip hop artist/producer from the west side of Chicago with an incredible skill for lyrics and a sense of timing and rhyme that flow so well as to seem effortless. His rapping style reminds me a lot of Common or some of the recent Roots material. Starving Artist is the title track of his album he created working with French producer Rythm from Art(Powell). It hits the street September 1st. Myspace –    2: Saturna - Pop Rocks   If you're a fan of bands like Ride, Lush, Catherine Wheel or The Stone Roses you need to add Portland, Oregon's Saturna to your list. Their new album Some Delicious Enemy more than holds it's own against any of those band's releases. It's an incredibly infectious blend of massive sounding guitars and powerful drumming, topped with soaring, reverb soaked vocals as melodic as Oasis used to know how to write. Website -    3: Birds.Fled.From.Me - The Resisted   Here's one I'm really excited about but haven't had a chance to feature yet on my blog. Birds.Fled.From.Me is just one of the many projects the amazingly talented Rachel Williams is involved in. Hailing from Santa Cruz, CA she is a musician extraordinaire and has an astounding voice most closely reminiscent of Fiona Apple or Bjork. She has just finished recording a full length album, featuring 12 songs including The Resisted, featured here. I've heard a few of the others and they are all just as amazing. Mark my words, this album has the potential to catapult her from relative obscurity to next big thing overnight. Myspace -    4: Elliot Jack - My Tongue In Vickie   From the UK, Elliot Jack's songs are a warm, ethereal blend of keyboards, guitars, sampled sounds and the occasional vocal. Often hypnotic and always compelling, all of the songs conjure up images in your mind, like the soundtrack to a dream you haven't had yet. Watch for their brand new cd “stay away from lonely places” coming any day now. Myspace -     5: Morgan Ryan - Hallelu   This one was a happy accident. While I was surfing the web in search of some Joni Mitchell info I happened upon the myspace page of Morgan Ryan, who listed Joni among her influences, and it shows, great songs and voice I absolutely love. Myspace -   Many thanks to Break Thru Radio for the opportunity to do my thing here this week. Hopefully you've enjoyed some of the music and artists I've selected. It's just a sample of what I try to bring to you on a regular basis on Bag Of Songs. Feel free to stop by there and leave a comment or send me an email. Have a great weekend!   Read more from Tom by visiting Bag of Songs.   [Link to this post]
so we meet again... Yeah, i've been crazy busy lately. We've got a new show here on the BTR site called Matt and Emily on BTR.  It's airing 3 days a week (mon, wed, fri) here on the site. It's a variety show and we've got big plans for it. We're starting slow but we hope to develope more segments, interviews, updates, etc. So, if you have a scoop or anything you'd like to hear about, please hit me up with an email and we'll get to it. Aside from that, things are good. Love the new music we're playing on the site. Great band to check out is Phonograph. they are on Arclight Records and we've got a great label show here on the site featuring them and other artists from the awesome label. Something exciting coming up, we'll hopefully have some great tunes from Underground Railroad Records here on the site. Very small label but some of the best, most unique, and sincere music I've heard in a while. So, certainly be looking forward to it. I actually checked out Joshua James one of their artists last night LIVE and he was INCREADIBLE! PLEAE PLEASE PLEASE, if you get a chance go see this man live! There is a short review up on the site as well... so check it! That's it for now! xo, Em
Following up a highly acclaimed self titled EP from 2005, Philadelphia's Creeping Weeds released their first full length album earlier this year. We Are All Part Of A Dream You're Having was recorded, mixed, and released entirely by the band themselves on their own Hot Horse! label. Another testament to the power musicians have over their own destiny nowadays, it is a brilliant, complex record that is easily among the year's best. What follows is my original review.        Creeping Weeds Are Part Of A Dream I've Been Having The first thing you hear is a solitary desolate piano playing, soon joined by half spoken-half sung vocals merging to create a surreal sounding lullaby. “Part of A Dream” evokes that sensation you have when you're almost asleep, where your mind is completely clear but insanely racing with thoughts all at the same. It's the title track on Creeping Weeds new disc We Are All Part Of A Dream You're Having. As its signature piano line slowly fades out it perfectly sets up the mood for the songs to follow. The songs that follow evoke shades of bands like The Pixies, Pavement, Modest Mouse and Dinosaur Jr paying tribute without ever sounding derivative. Each song is a new journey, like a trip with Alice through the Looking Glass into Wonderland, soundtracked by a swirling sonic dreamscape of electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, syncopated rhythms, and instruments like xylophone and didgeridoo. The climax of the journey is the seven minute plus tour de force, “Derelict”, a major highlight of the many live shows I've seen them do. Don't just take my word for it give the songs a listen, get the record, see the live show, and experience the trip yourself. You'll be glad you did.     The Creeping Weeds are : Pete Stewart Justin Seitz Chris Wirtalla Kate Stewart Cara Sakoian   MP3 : Creeping Weeds - Part Of A Dream MP3 : Creeping Weeds - Eternity Is A Long Time     Upcoming Shows: Sep 6 2007 9:00P The Khyber Philadelphia, PA Sep 26 2007 9:00P The Abbey Bar at ABC Harrisburg,PA   Website : Myspace :   Read more from Tom by visiting Bag of Songs.   [Link to this post]
TV/TV kicks ass. Despite never having released an album, the group of young students from Hunter College has already built up quite a following.  So what makes the group so special?  Let’s see: The Origins of TV/TV: “TV/TV was basically built off of two separate friendships,” explains drummer Andrew Vanette, 20.  “Josh and Joe have known each other since 7th grade, when they were in a Spanish class together and Joe told Josh to listen to NoFx.  Matt and I were friends in high school and played in a different band together for three years.” After high school, vocalist/guitarist Josh Ocean, 21, and guitarist/vocalist Joe Esposito, 22, moved into an apartment together on New York City’s Lower East Side and formed TV/TV.  After Vanette joined the band, he learned that a bass player was still needed, so he called up his old friend/former bandmate Matt Francois, 21. Next up was picking the perfect name.  Ocean came up with the name after learning about a group of Berklee students in the 1970s, called TV/TV.  The students brought handheld cameras to the Democratic and Republican national conventions and got in the faces of the politicians, asking the questions that no one else wanted to ask. “Two of the founding members of that group included Bill Murray and Harold Ramis,” explains Vanette.  “So when Josh and Joe were trying to pick a name, it just seemed like that was an interesting and unique name and a good fit for the band.” And thus was the birth of TV/TV. An Unconventional Rise to Popularity: To date, TV/TV has not yet released an album.  In fact, they only have two songs in the player on their MySpace page.  Still, their page has almost 16,000 views and they have been mentioned on music blogs such as Music Slut and The Deli.  They’ve also played in venues such as the Luna Lounge and have tracks from their live BTR studio session playing on the station (Click here to see their featured video on BTR). So how has a band with limited ways for their fans to hear their music gained such a following?  It’s 2007, baby, and there’s a simple, one word answer: Internet. “We do an extremely heavy online promotional push,” says Vanette, specifically naming the Facebook and MySpace as important tools for getting exposure to fans.  “We spend a lot of time ‘friend-ing’ people on MySpace who leave comments on other bands’ pages.  They definitely don’t know it, but The Killers are greatly attributing to all the things that are happening for us right now.  Their fans are very receptive to our requests.” In addition to interacting with fans over social networking sites, Ocean also makes a point of appealing to the other most influential voices of the music scene: bloggers. The boys are the first to credit their success to their online promotion.  However, they’ve got at least one voice of support to lend credence to the fact that while their popularity may be an Internet success story, TV/TV would not have gotten this far without their talent and ability to make great music to draw fans in and keep them coming back. “Success for a band comes from a combination of great music, impeccable timing and an extraordinary strong work ethic,” shares Ryan Ruden, the group’s manager.  “TV/TV works everyday towards their success with their love to play live and interact with their fans.” TV/TV: “Strays?” “We feel a really big connection with Taking Back Sunday,” Ocean declares, drawing nods from Francois and Esposito.  “The Long Island music scene really influenced Joe and I back in 1999 when our bands played together.  There was a thriving punk scene, but now, there’s nothing.” All of the members of TV/TV grew up in areas with big music scenes.  Ocean and Esposito both hail from Long Island, NY, which in recent years produced bands such Glassjaw, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Head Automatica, High School Football Heroes, Edna’s Goldfish, and As Tall As Lions.  Vanette and Francois grew up on the Williamsburg/South Brooklyn scene, home to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Asobi Seksu, Interpol, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and !!!. Of his musical roots, Vanette shares, “Matt and I were in another band, right in the heart of that South Brooklyn/Williamsburg scene.  We fit in with it, but we didn’t fit in with it.”  This explanation prompts Ocean to joke, “We’re just a pack of strays.” The Real TV/TV: It’s hard to get to really know a band strictly through MySpace, so we decided to put the boys on the spot by making them answer some questions that are certain to show fans just who the members of TV/TV really are! BTR: If you could open for any artist, who would it be and why? Vanette: “The Arcade Fire.  If you open with them, there’s a chance you’ll get to play with them!?” Francois: “The Artic Monkeys, because they’re our age and I think that we – and our fans – fit in with that demographic.  Plus, they play fun music…we play fun music…” Esposito: “The Doors in ’69, Beck in ’99, Nirvana in ’93, Beatles in ’64, and Billy Joel in ’72.” Ocean: “U2 or Kings of Leon.” BTR: What artist or group would you love to have cover your first single, “Get It/Get It”? Ocean: “John Mayer, because it’d be a different spin on it and I’d like to hear how he plays the guitar parts.” Esposito: “I’d like to see a solo acoustic version of ‘Get It/Get It’ performed by either Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton.” Vanette: “Radiohead. I would love to hear what Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood would do with it.” Francois: “Timbaland. He collaborated with The Hives and produces rock music.” BTR: You’re nominated for a Grammy.  Who would you take as your date? Ocean: “Keira Knightley, aka the future Mrs. Ocean. She just doesn’t know it yet.” Esposito: “I’m gonna go with Lindsay Lohan, because she’d be fun to party with.” Vanette: “The girl from Harry Potter.  She’s hot now.” Francois: “Scarlett Johansson.” BTR: Last five songs on your playlist? Ocean: “Sam’s Town” by The Killers, “Born to Please” by Sound Team, “Money for Nothing,” by Dire Straits, “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac, and “So Far We Are” by French Kicks. Esposito: “We Got Everything” by Modest Mouse, “Bling” by The Killers, “Vultures” by John Mayer, “Noticed” by Mute Math, and “Always Love” by Nada Surf. Vanette: “Countdown” by Jupiter One, “Lights and Sounds” and “Light Up the Sky” by Yellowcard, “2+2=5” and “There There” by Radiohead Francois: “Heinrich Maneuver” by Interpol, “Icky Thump” by the White Stripes, “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure, “Hospital Beds” by Cold War Kids, and “Too Young” by Phoenix. BTR: Pick one of the following choices without thinking: Britney or Paris? Ocean: Britney (“For sho’!”) Esposito: Paris (“She’s hot and now she has some street cred!”) Vanette: Paris (“She’s probably got more stories.”) Francois: Paris “Lost” or Heroes”? Ocean: “Lost” (“I worked on that show when I lived in Hawaii.”) Esposito: “Lost” Vanette: “Heroes” (“It’s the shit!”) Francois: “Lost” (“But I don’t really watch either show.”) London or Paris? Ocean: Paris Esposito: London Vanette: London Francois: Paris Pepsi or Coke? Ocean: Diet Coke Esposito: Coke Vanette: Pepsi Francois: Coke Zeppelin or the Beatles? Ocean: Beatles Esposito: Beatles Vanette: Zeppelin Francois: Zeppelin Jack Bauer or Chuck Norris? Ocean: Chuck Norris Esposito: Chuck Norris Vanette: Jack Bauer (“Jack Bauer would fuck Chuck Norris up!”) Francois: Jack Bauer John Stamos or Bob Saget? Ocean: Bob Saget Esposito: John Stamos Vanette: Bob Saget Francois: Bob Saget BTR: On a more serious note, any thoughts on American Idol? Ocean: “I watched it this year and loved it, but a year ago I would’ve hated it.” Esposito: “I appreciate the songwriting talents of Daughtry and Kelly Clarkson.” Vanette: “I am proud to say I have never seen even a minute of American Idol and I never will.  What I hate is that most Americans see that show as music today.  That’s not music, that’s entertainment.” TV/TV is currently recording a five song EP, which will be released in the fall.  They plan a full scale “launch” of TV/TV in the coming months, beginning with a showcase at CMJ.
The one positive benefit of the digital age is it made the ability to make quality recordings at home and avoid the high costs of studios. This has put musicians in control of when to record instead of budgets. Combined with easy access to the internet, this has resulted in an explosion of music reaching the public at large that just ten years ago would have ended up on a couple copies of cassette tapes for family and friends.     "I am a young man who records songs on his 4-track in his bedroom." - Desmond Reed from his myspace page   Some truly classic albums have been made by musicians holed up in a bedroom with their 4-track recorders, Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska and Cody ChesnuTT's The Headphone Masterpiece to name but a couple. Desmond Reed may not yet have created his classic, but he's been making some damn fine pop music there in his bedroom in Orange, Massachusetts. Imagine if you put Fountains of Wayne or Nada Surf and The Barenaked Ladies in a bedroom with a 4-track and told them to whip up a batch of songs. Now you have an idea of what Desmond's songs sound like. He writes lyrics with a sense of humor, and enough melodic hooks and harmonies to make Brian Wilson proud.   Since I first featured Desmond on Bag of Songs back in February, he's gone on to get his songs featured on Baby Boom Records Sampler 002 and Blasted Records Boom Boom Bands 2007 compilation. Music blog Nerd Litter has proclaimed his song Guinea Pigs one of the 10 best songs from the first half of 2007.  WeePop! Records are releasing a Desmond Reed EP this week featuring Guinea Pigs plus a couple more songs.   When I contacted Desmond in preparation for this piece he graciously sent along two brand new songs for me to offer to you here.  Check them out. Dance. Laugh. Sing along. Enjoy the ride, it's just beginning.     MP3: Desmond Reed - Guinea Pigs MP3: Desmond Reed - Window Shopping MP3: Desmond Reed - No More Room   Myspace:   Read more from Tom by visiting Bag of Songs.   [Link to this post]
Today I'm introducing you the the amazing Chelsea Elizabeth Taube. I first heard Chelsea's music via her myspace page, where she regularly posts new songs that she has written, most of the time just consisting of her and acoustic guitar. In the past two years or so she's posted around 75 different songs all of which are in the heavy rotation on my iPod.     Chelsea resides in Rochester, Michigan, just outside Detroit. She is just 22 but has the natural songwriting skills people spend their whole life trying to master. Claiming Ryan Adams, Bob Dylan and Patty Griffin among her biggest influences, she has a knack for poetic lyricism, and an ear for phrasing and melody that are truly original. Her voice that can cut clear through to your soul with it's emotional power.    Chelsea recently had her song Desperate Winters featured on the Loose Music compilation disc Country Girl : New Sounds Of The Old West Vol.5 alongside other artists such as Devon Sproule, Laura Gibson, Jaimi Shuey, Oh Susanna, Jenny Whiteley, The Watson Twins, Cat Martino, Jenn Grant, Jill Barber,Emily Barker, Nina Violet & The Invisible Orchestra, Salt, Ana Egge, The Mendoza Line, Rachel Ries, Lana Rebel and Redlands Palomino Co.     Here’s a few songs to give you a taste of what she's all about. Sometimes Still is the first song I heard and I've been hooked ever since, Save My Soul From the Devil is one of the few songs recorded with a full band. Southern Lullaby is laced with some soaring steel guitar accompaniment.   MP3 : Chelsea Taube - Sometimes Still MP3 : Chelsea Taube - Save My Soul From The Devil MP3 : Chelsea Taube - Southern Lullaby   Be Sure Check Out Chelesa Taube at an upcoming show Aug 11 2007 9:00P The Horseshoe Chicago, IL Aug 24 2007 8:00P The Davenport cleveland, OH   Hear more music at her MySpace page.   Read more from Tom by visiting Bag of Songs!   [Link to this post]
Hi everyone, Tom here and I'll be your guest blogger for this week at Break Thru Radio. I'm your regular host over at a little old music blog named Bag Of Songs, where the tagline is "It's in there, if you're not afraid to reach in and find it" Essentially it's all about the music - old, new, borrowed, blue, wherever it may come from, throwing all your predetermined notions out the window, giving the songs a listen, and finding a new favorite, or maybe not. It's all good. One of my favorite things to do is find new and often unknown artists and hopefully get them a little more recognition. Each day this week will feature one of those artists to watch from amongst the many that have been featured.   I'm going to kick it off today with a Philadelphia band called The Swimmers. My love for this band all started back in January of this year when I received a rather unassuming email from Steve Yutzy-Burkey, not so unlike a lot of other emails I receive everyday from bands, letting me know they had shows upcoming and that their new album Fighting Trees was streaming from their website if I wanted to give it a listen. Little did I know that at the end of the link was a record I would unabashedly call one of the first truly important releases of 2007. Now nearly 7 months later, I've seen the band live 8 times and firmly believe their record Fighting Trees is the best of the year.   Where did it all come from? Well, The Swimmers are a band based on the famous short story, “The Swimmer” by John Cheever, a semi surreal dissertation on wealth, happiness and suburban life in which the hero of the story finds a new way home from a cocktail party by literally swimming through a series of backyard pools. They list among their influences Arcade Fire, The New Pornographers, the Zombies, Wilco, the Shins, the Beatles and Spoon if any of those make your day you'll love them. Their sound is engaging mix of swirling guitars, keyboards, and vocal harmonies with melodies that become embedded into your soul after just one listen. Like the pools for Cheever's swimmer it's the new way home for the listener.     The Swimmers live at BTR Live Studio MP3: The Swimmers - It's Time They Knew Stream the entire Fighting Trees album at The Swimmers website. Website: Myspace:   Read more from Tom by visiting Bag of Songs.   [Link to this post]
Click here to listen to DJ Emily's Arclight Records Showcase! The city of Austin, Texas, boasts the official slogan of The Live Music Capital of The World. Austin is home to the South by Southwest music festival, the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and the home of the University of Texas, where the television show Austin City Limits is taped.  So, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out there is a bevy of undiscovered talent located in this eclectic city.  Lucky for us, Arclight Records decided to do something about it. Formed in 2003, Arclight Records is based in Austin and takes from the best of the best when choosing new bands for their roster. Though not all of their bands are Austinites, the bulk of them hail from the capital city of Texas. The label isn't prejudiced when choosing new artists; they see no genre. This is evident in their current lineup of artists, which has music ranging from folk and alt-country, to metal and hardcore, and inklings of just about everything in between. BTR is proud to officially welcome this label to our family. Listen up to BTR from here on out , for music from Arclight Records and their talented lineup. Phonograph This Brooklyn-based group supplies Alt-Country and folk at its very best. If Jeff Tweedy and Tom Petty joined forces, it would sound something like this and that's a very, very good thing. Live! September 15th @ The Paradise Lounge in Boston, Massachusetts October 22nd @ the Mercy Lounge in Nashville, Tennessee Tia Carrera This metal trio is based out of Austin, Texas. They bring to the table straight-up rock, laced with meaty guitar riffs and a psychedelic vibe that will take you to another plane. Live! August 17th @ Beerland in Austin, Texas October 25th @ Room 710 in Austin, Texas The Book Of Knots A super group whose members come from such indie heavyweights as They Might Be Giants, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Tin Hat Trio, Skeleton Key, and Sparklehorse. They mix metal with a tightly crafted orchestral appeal and a trancing experimental undertone. Freshkills Live! August 25th @Passout Records in Brooklyn, New York Amplified Heat Live! August 18th @ The Meridian in Houston, Texas September 22nd @ Beerland in Austin, Texas Dixie Witch Live! September 20th @ Wreckroom in Fort Worth, Texas September 21st @ Double Wide in Dallas, Texas October 28th @ Room 710 in Austin, Texas Dresden 45 Hognose Straight out of Texas, and they sound like it too. This is southern rock with an edge. Players Club Super Heavy Goat Ass Live! August 11th @ Room 710 in Austin, Texas RPG Known for their high energy live show and the abounding hair upon their heads, this band hails from Richmond, VA. They've got the pissed off punker attitude, the rocker appeal, and a sound that would have fit comfortably in the lineup for Woodstock 1969. Live! August 17th @ the Outback Lounge in Charlottesville, Virginia August 18th @ Alley Katz in Richmond, Virginia August 23rd @ the Magnetic Fields in Brooklyn, New York August 24th @ Geno's in Portland, Maine Visit Arclight Records online!
Looking for The Main Drag album featured on today's show? Click here and give me your thoughts on it after you give it a full..four or five listens. Here's a quick rundown of what you should be listening to on  BreakThru Radio: 1) ASPE - Soaked in banjo goodness, this is yet another project of Mike Maines, the hardest working man in Gainesville.  The new album, White Heather,  is painfully brilliant. Did someone have to go through all that pain just to create this music? If you feel glum, throw this album on to show yourself it ain't all that bad. 2) !!! - Addictive dance music with a dark edge. To describe their 2007 album, Myth Takes, think Nick Cave having a swingers party with The Rapture. 3) Of Montreal - Not new, but still being played, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, is my early pick for album of the year. Finger-licking beats, high-pitched choruses, cryptic lyrics, it's progressive and classic all at once. Have your own favorites? E-mail them to me at Cheers, Phillip Nguyen
Band You Need To Know The Ackleys – Birmingham, Alabama I swear more girls should be fronting indie pop punk bands like The Ackleys. It would make the world such a nicer place in my opinion. Once you hear the band I think you will agree with me. When listening to The Ackleys you will be amazed to find out how young these two guys and girls are. Nobody in the group can legally drink...that should tell you something. The band's latest release, the Forget Forget Derive Derive EP, is five songs of utter pop bliss that follows up on the band's tremendous Self-Titled debut album. The band has such an infectious pop energy that you can not help but get hooked. These songs simply beg for repeat listens. The standout feature of The Ackleys is the irresistible vocals and sly words of Katie Crutchfield. She has a voice that is easy to fall for and lyrically she is quite talented for her young age. The band is no slouch either as they back her with a sharp precision and a mature emotional depth. The keyboards really add yet another dimension to The Ackleys already memorable take on indie pop punk. This band is going places. Get in on the bottom floor while you still can.  The Ackleys - 7 Days (mp3) The Ackleys - Chinaman (video)  The Ackleys Interview  Read more from Will by visiting Sound As Language. [Link to this post]
Here at BreakThru Radio, we spend a lot of time listening to music.  In fact, it’s safe to say that we spend at least 7 hours a day giving our ears an intensive workout.  As any frequent music aficionado/member of the iPod generation knows, sometimes the right pair of earphones can make all the difference in the world.  After all, if you’re going to listen to your favorite radio station, you might as well listen in style!  So we took up the task of testing out five of the best sets of earphones on the market, reviewing them here for all of you out there in cyberland.  Here's what we had to say about each candidate: Ultimate Ears Super.Fi Universal Fit Earphones 5 Pro - Includes 46" cable, a gold plated input connector, frequency response (20-16,000 Hz), and 26 db Noise Isolation. Maia says: These have a really cool, damage resistant "brushed metal" carrying case with a rubber seal. The cord seems very sturdy. They are very customizable earphones that deliver a full, rich sound. These earphones brought out never-before-heard nuances in songs I've listened to over and over. I had a great experience using the Ultimate Ears to hear the depth and clarity of recordings. I love these! Annie says: The sound was very lush and full. I got a louder, clearer sound from these than I did from any of the others. Colleen says: The sound on these were both full and crisp, which served well for running through the streets, where it's often hard to hear what you're listening to.  Once you adjusted the "in-motion" fit to serve your ear best, they were extremely comfortable to run with. Jeff says: These have great frequencies from every range when placed in the ear exactly. Overall these have the best quality, as they specialize in precision audio quality. JBL Reference 220 Earphones - Includes earphones, a stereo phono adapter, an airline adapter, carry case, ear pads (4 types), ear cuffs, and a foldable headband. Maia says: I like the carrying case. It has different zippered compartments for the earphone adapter and all the different ear pads. And it comes with an attachable headband, so it’s nice to have that option if desired.  The earphones and the cord both look sleek and sturdy, and have a strong black and grey covering over the earphone wires for durability. Comfort: Very comfortable, typical hi-end earbud fit. Sound: There's a nice balance between the bass and the high end. Crisp stereo. Annie says: I liked these. Nice covered wiring made them more comfortable and I could see myself taking these to the gym. They fit like a standard earbud, though they are a little more comfortable. Better than average sound for an earbud. Colleen says: I took all of these earphones running in order to test out how they held up in the line of duty.  This pair was by far my favorite one.  The wiring was covered and more durable for outdoor use, while the attachment for the earbuds (that goes around your ear) was extremely practical and comfortable. Jeff says: They are affordable and good for the average listener. Bose In-Ear - Includes 1 pair of in-ear headphones with 49” (1.24m) audio cable, 1 pair each of small, medium and large silicone tips, and a carrying case. Maia says: These earphones have a very unique earbud shape, but once I got a good fit in my ears, I was impressed by the sound quality and bass response. I give them extra points for the thick black and white earphone cable and the sturdy plug-in. Annie says: These have great sound. The large gel insert on the earbud was awkward at first, but was more comfortable after wearing them for awhile. High quality and worth it! Colleen says: They have a really nice sound; the quality that you would expect from Bose.  The earbuds were a little bit uncomfortable for running, but the sound quality was top notch. Jeff says: More great sounds from Bose. They have deep bass and the frequencies are blended very well. V-Moda Vibe Red Roxx - Includes frequency response (12 Hz-22 kHz), 32" plug to y-connector, 13.5" even-length earphones cable,  a 24K gold-plated plug, and 3 sizes of ear-pads (S, M, L). Maia says: These earphones are lightweight and look really cool. I was impressed by the bass response. Annie says: They're light weight and easy on the ears. Not as full a sound, but these are definitely great for travel or exercise. And that Snazzy Pizzazi red color! The kids will love this, wait and see. Colleen says: These are “the lightweight ones.”  Their lack of density made them good for any workout.  They’re also the most attractive of the earphones; the red color is marketable and it makes them easily identifiable in a sea of earphones. Jeff says: These have a very good fit in the ear. They feel comfortable and light weight, which makes them good for running. These are the most comfortable to walk around with and be mobile. Shure SE 310 Sound Isolating Earphones - Have a frequency range of (22 Hz-19 kHz). Includes foam sleeves, soft flex sleeves, triple flange sleeves, 3' cable, and a carrying case. Maia says: There is a wealth of ear pad options here in the "fit kit", so there should be something for everyone. They make for a very nice seal on your ears without feeling suction-cuppy, and they come with a simple, sleek, black cord. These have an extremely crisp sound, with great highs. Annie says: The comfort! These felt like earplugs rather than earbuds. I think they're great for serious fans and for show-goers. Also, they changed to fit my ear, which is great because I'm a really demanding person. Colleen says: It took a moment to adjust the earbuds so they didn’t fall out, but once they had conformed to my ears, this pair had a nice stereo sound. They'll keep you entertained while you run around the block. Jeff says: These earphones fit in the ear very well. Overall, they have great mid-tones and the audio is well-balanced. [Link to this article]
The Winter Sounds “Porcelain Empire” (Livewire) I have been trumpeting The Winter Sounds ever since I came across the band earlier this year. Porcelain Empire could be considered the band’s official debut. The band did release the great Land Of No Output last year but they have re-recorded eight of those songs in addition to five new ones to make up Porcelain Empire. When a band does something of that nature there are bound to be worries and questions of cohesion that arise. Fortunately, that does not happen at all on Porcelain Empire. The new songs mesh quite well with the band’s earlier material. It helps that the band just refuses to write filler material. The sound of The Winter Sounds is hard one to pin down. I described the band’s sound before as something that “lies somewhere between indie rock, pop and emo with a little of that southern charm thrown in for good measure.” Although lead singer Patrick Keenan probably described it best in the band’s SAL interview simply as “new wave” indie rock. The band that The Winter Sounds often reminds me of is The Anniversary circa their debut, 2000’s Designing A Nervous Breakdown. That band played emotional pop songs that delved quite heavily into new wave territory while supplying some of the most memorable choruses I can remember. That is exactly what The Winter Sounds are doing on Porcelain Empire. As good as that record was, Porcelain Empire hangs with it quite admirably at every twist and turn. Fans of Land Of No Output might be a little off put by the re-recording of eight of those songs for Porcelain Empire. It is difficult to get to know songs again after bonding with them a certain way beforehand. However, The Winter Sounds make the transition a rather easy one. The production of Porcelain Empire is noticeably clearer and cleaner. The band adds instrumental flourishes and more depth than the previous recordings offered while never detracting from the original mood and feel of the songs. It is a slim tightrope to walk but the band manages it with a remarkable precision and poise. I am fairly sure I have listened to The Winter Sounds more than any other band in 2007. That is about the highest praise I can give. What is so tremendous about the band is that I can see them attracting such a wide array of listeners. From indie popsters to pop punkers…The Winter Sounds diverse brand of rock offers a great deal to sink your teeth into. Most of all, the band excels in creating memorable songs with melodies so thick you will think you died and went to heaven. In fact, I remember the first time I listened to The Winter Sounds. Beneath all the melodies, there was one line that immediately caught my attention. From the moment I heard it the band had me hook, line and sinker. In “Earthworm Song” Keenan sings, Meet me in a melody…in the haunted south where all good songs remain. Now tell me how could a Southern boy like myself not love a band like The Winter Sounds? RIYL: The Anniversary, Death Cab For Cutie, Superchunk Listen: The Winter Sounds - Windy City Nights (mp3) The Winter Sounds - The Great Forgotten (mp3) Read more from Will by visiting Sound As Language.   [Link to this post]
Funny to be posting this well after a year of this "new" BTR site, but it apparently can be useful as there were some out there that didn't know... The player on the site can be misleading... Some listeners and friends have asked me how one might be able to rewind a show or fast forward. It is in fact possible! As the program loads, the little slider that runs the length of the show can be dragged to move position in the program. Never again will you wonder what that DJ just said or be unable to listen to a song over again... Take that, broadcast radio! Ha!
Look Mexico “This Is Animal Music” (Lujo) I said in my review of Look Mexico’s last release that the band showed real promise. But, I would be lying my ass off if I said I expected something as great as This Is Animal Music on the horizon for the band. Look Mexico has done a remarkable job of accentuating their positives and completely eschewing their negatives. Look Mexico hail from Tallahassee, Florida…not exactly a hotbed for indie rock. The band describes their sound as “Yacht Rock” and that actually is an apt description. Noticeably influenced by bands like American Football and Minus The Bear, Look Mexico are bringing back a sound that has sadly been lost for some time now. I went back and gave The Crucial EP a listen before reviewing This Is Animal Music and the differences are astounding. First off, the production is a marked improvement. That is what allows the band’s growth to stand out so sharply. The band’s instrumental chops, while impressive on The Crucial EP have evolved to a whole different level on This Is Animal Music. The band’s achilles heel in the past has been the vocals. In fact, in the past I wondered if the band might be better off being an instrumental outfit. However, on the new record, the vocals are so much stronger that it will have you wondering if you are listening to the same band. Besides the obvious talent and song-craft, what allows Look Mexico to stand apart from their peers is a noticeable humor they inject to an often unhumorous genre. The song titles tell that story rather well. Soft and affecting songs like “You Ever Get Punched In The Face For Talking Too Much?” and “Half That Money Is Mine, And I Want It” showcases the band’s ability to craft beautifully memorable songs. Lyrically, the band practices a simple conversational style that really matches the music rather well. The band mixes instrumentals into their repertoire quite liberally as well. “Dude, You Have A Bazooka” and “Comin’ In Hot With a Side of Bacon” show the band’s chops while remaining perfectly in tune with the rest of the album. The band lulls you into submission with their twinkly guitars and soft vocal style but they also show they can pick up the pace as well. On “You Come Into My House, While I Sleep?”, “Done And Done.” and “My Dad And I Built Her” the guitars build and rage in a Minus The Bear kind of way. The only complaint I have with This Is Animal Music are the spoken word recorded messages that play several times throughout the record. They seem unnecessary and only hinder the overall flow of the album. Other than that, the album plays as close to flawless as it possibly can. Look Mexico have created a fantastic sonic journey with This Is Animal Music. The band has thrust themselves well past the point I ever expected them to go. I can not remember another 40 minute album that has ever played this effortlessly before. This Is Animal Music is the perfect soundtrack to accompany spring and summer. Whether you are sitting on the beach, boat or just on your porch, the album is a perfect example of a band hitting their stride. RIYL: Minus The Bear, American Football, Karate Listen: Look Mexico - You Come Into My House, While I Sleep? (mp3) Look Mexico - Done And Done. (mp3) Read more from Will by visiting Sound As Language. [Link to this post]
     The Everyday Parade Memphis is a music town – from soul, to blues, to rock and roll, the city has it covered. However, lately there has been a resurgence of interest in the city’s pop legacy. Because the term “pop music” brings to mind scantily clad adolescents with radio hits and music videos, the first annual Memphis Pops Festival is hoping to bring respect back to the term by redeeming an almost forgotten chapter in the city’s power pop history and acknowledging a genre that is still alive and well in the bluff city. On July 28th, Sherman Wilmott, owner of the Shangri-la Record label and Memphis’ seminal musicologist, curated the inaugural night of music from the likes of The Everyday Parade, Vending Machine, Antenna Shoes, Carbonas, and Viva l’American Deathray Music. If the term Memphis Pops seems like a misnomer, you will soon be reminded of the influence of Big Star, as there is currently a documentary being filmed called The Big Star Story that will hip you to the band’s influence on the genre (their album Number One Record is widely accepted as the genre’s most influential album). Ardent Studios, who is one of the festival’s sponsors, is still constantly visited by musicians who cite Big Star’s influence on their music. In the last six months alone, bands such as The Clientele, M.Ward, Jet, and Vietnam have come through Ardent’s doors in order to pay their respect to the studio that was home to the first three Big Star albums, all of which are cited on Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time. It was because of those albums that other pop bands of the 70s, 80s and 90s ended up recording in Memphis; bands like The Scruffs, R.E.M. and The Replacements, the latter of which even wrote a song called “Alex Chilton,” in which lead singer Paul Westerberg sang about “hangin’ in Memphis” and never traveling “too far without a little Big Star.”      Tim Regan (of Antenna Shoes) and Joel Gradinger “There’s been tons of bands around here for a long time and, you know, since the mid to late seventies, when a lot of stuff went down and Martin Luther King got shot and things got a little weird here, I guess a lot of people jumped out and put out some records, and there’s always a been a big scene and it started with Big Star,” says Tim Regan of Antenna Shoes. “It’s been going on ever since, you’ve got all the Makeshift dudes, you’ve got all the Goner dudes, you got the Shangri-la dudes, you’ve got the Grifters, you got the Simple Ones, it’s a constant thing that’s been going on.” After realizing that many other major cities were putting on their own “pop” festivals, featuring many bands from Memphis or influenced by bands from Memphis, Wilmott saw an opportunity to take back what should have been part of the city’s legacy. The performances of the evening were mostly celebrated and the crowd seemed enthralled and excited for more, which leaves the door wide open for the festival to grow in size next year. The one day event, which kicked off with a free day show at Shangri-la Records and then moved to The Hitone and featured a short documentary on Ardent, will most likely morph into a three day festival next year, according to Wilmott.
The Rowboats “Four Years And Forty Five Minutes” (Etherdrag) Four Years And Forty Five Minutes is an album that has been a long time coming. The Rowboats were started by Ted Casterline and Ben Freeman. Casterline was a full time member of Brooklyn, NY rock band The Hong Kong at the time. He and Freeman got together to write material on the side. However, once The Hong Kong started to fizzle out, the duo was able to fully devote their time to what would become The Rowboats. Since then the duo has become a real band with a real identity. It certainly shows as Four Years And Forty Five Minutes is quite an impressive debut. Four Years And Forty Five Minutes did not really hit me until I put my headphones on and gave the album a listen. The band’s mixture of indie pop with ample electronic flourishes rushes over your ears in gentle waves of intoxicating sound. The Rowboats have a sound that is familiar, yet remarkably all their own. It is warm and inviting in a way that recalls the wonderful sounds of Pinback. The Rowboats do dabble in electronics a little more than Pinback but the similarities are certainly there to be found. The Rowboats vocals are subtle, but infectious. They fit perfectly alongside the band’s creative musical compositions. Vocally, while Rob Crow of Pinback does come to mind again, I am reminded a great deal of Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh and Folk Implosion). In fact there are parallels that can be drawn between The Rowboats’ sound and Barlow’s more electronic dalliances with his Folk Implosion incarnations as well. While the songwriting here is low key and understated, the band’s ability at creating memorable songs certainly is not. That has a great deal to do with the band’s musical talent and composition skills. That is what truly takes Four Years And Forty Five Minutes to its great heights. The Rowboats obviously spent their time well when constructing Four Years And Forty Five Minutes. The album has a mature but playful nature which begs for repeat listens. With each listenthe albumgrows on the listener as it reveals each and every subtlety. While it may have taken the band four years to complete Four Years And Forty Five Minutes, it only takes a few listens to realize that the band is surely one to keep a close eye on in 2007. RIYL: Pinback, John Vanderslice, The Folk Implosion Listen: The Rowboats - Vivion (mp3) The Rowboats - Eyes Closed (mp3) Read more from Will by visiting Sound As Language. [Link to this post]
Continuing the Up Up Down Down theme of SAL lately, here is an interview I recently did with Steve Poponi, mastermind of the band. Thanks to Steve for being so generous and not getting too annoyed at having to exchange so many emails with me over the last few weeks. You can check out my review of the band’s latest album, Worst Band Name Ever here or check out the sweet contest we’re running for lots of free Up Up Down Down stuff here. And you can even check out some of the band’s tunes and lack of tour dates at their myspace page here. There has been one constant in UUDD and that is yourself. What does the project mean to you? Over the last 2 years the band has kinda become what I always wished it was….because there is no touring to limit who can be in the band I was able to get my “dream team” of players. Before when we were touring a lot we weren’t as concerned about people’s writing styles and general musical vibe, we just needed to have someone play guitar or whatever for the tours. Once we decided that touring was a lost cause for us I was able to get all the guys that I had worked with in the past to become full time guys with the band and start writing songs where everyone is on the same page and there are virtually no conflicts within all of our styles, I guess that’s how some bands start out but that’s how we ended up. So this band to me is a perfect fit, it started out as something completely different and has finally settled into something that comes very easily and has very little ego involved except mine. It seems that your songs seem to be getting shorter and shorter. Worst Band Name Ever is 10 songs in 21 minutes. Has that been a conscious decision or one that has just evolved naturally? When I was younger and in bands I remember playing shows and songs that were not great and I can clearly remember playing and in the middle of a song feeling like I was bored of what I was playing so I can only imagine what people were thinking when they watched us. To me, there is a standard of song length that the world likes and I don’t really worry about it. If it’s good who cares right? There is a repeat button on your CD player for a reason. Your lyrical style seems very conversational…be it serious, humorous or self-deprecating. Where does that come from? I have no idea, I have struggled with lyrics for my entire songwriting life and I think I just kind of gave up on trying to be artistic with them and just started writing about stuff. The song “Dear Erica” kinda made me think about the little stories that I had and how I could use them in songs. I have had so much weird stuff happen to me with friends and relationships that were totally untapped because I didn’t know how to write lyrics that were personal to me but still listenable to others. I think over the course of Girls Names and this new CD I have really figured out what I like about writing lyrics and have found a way to not dread it like I used to. You have your own studio and produce bands. How has that influenced Up Up Down Down’s songwriting and style? Man…….I don’t know if I could answer that……I have always had a studio and always used it to write so I really don’t know where I would be without knowing how to record. For me, songwriting happens in the studio, I have not sat down with my guitar and tried to write a song in probably like 7 years. I generally noodle around on my guitar and record it and then start layering it with other noodle stuff until I get something and then I do the same with the vocals….I just kinda brainstorm for a bit and then start singing. Who knows what we would sound like if I didn’t have a studio, we would probably be way better. Your last few releases before Worst Band Name Ever have been offered for free on the band’s website. Talk about that decision and why it was made. The indie rock record label rat race seemed kinda silly for 5 older dudes. If a label had not picked us up yet it wasn’t gonna happen, so we decided that we would take our music and defy all that the music industry (indie and major) told bands they were supposed to do. The thing that is unique about the 2 EPs being free is not just that they are free but that we wrote and recorded them both with the sole intention of making them free. It wasn’t to sell older records or promote a new record, it was to give people music for free. It’s the thought that counts right? I remember having a conversation with you back at Macrock a few years ago about not touring anymore. That’s why the song “Boise” cracks me up so much. Talk about the decision to not tour and that song as well. When Up Up first started playing there were 2 types of indie bands (in my mind), there were the touring bands and the local bands…..lots of local bands were trying to act like the touring bands but in reality they played 6 times a month in their hometown and most of those bands were just taking shows that fell into their lap. To be a touring band back then (1998) you had to be really motivated, there were about one tenth the amount of promoters in the states and you still had to do most of your shows at bars or VFW type places, no booking agents for smaller bands and no myspace, oh and for the most part, no email.. As the internet got bigger and playing in a band became more of a hobby for people (hobby meaning that you chose being in a band over playing soccer in high school) the market started to get flooded with “indie” bands and DIY promoters and the line between touring band and local band got real blurry. We were watching the whole indie scene explode and we were getting swallowed up in it. At that point in our career we were (and are) still virtually unknown so for people that were just getting introduced to our music we were just considered part of the new flood of bands and that sorta freaked me out since I knew how hard we had worked to get even the small amount of popularity that we had and this wave of shit was about to take that away. I think identity is ultimately the cause of our reluctance to tour. We want an identity and to some people that means getting out there and showing your face and playing shows and being part of a community of people who are doing the same thing. To me that used to be true but now every goddamned band has the same press photo and tour itinerary, I don’t want my band to be part of that. It’s boring and I am bored of it…haha. We are not like those other bands. Of course we are exactly like them but it feels good to say we are not and try to rebel. Anyway….. We wanted to make sure that we were in control of how people viewed us and decide that laying low and letting the whole scene-a-rama thing die off would be better for us since we were already a hard pill to swallow for a lot of people (with a name like ours) and a glossy pic of us under a bridge wasn’t gonna help. What do you see for Up Up Down Down in the future? Right now we have no plans of any kind, some shows this summer to let people hear the new CD played live and that’s about it. Nothing past August. I know you mean “what do I see in the more distant future?” but I got nothing, no plans. Any last words? Nah, I need some lunch. Check out more from Will by visiting Sound as Language. [Link to this post] 
It's been a long and lonely day. You worked your fingers to the bone and your muscles ache. Coming home, you turn on only the light in the hallway, because you'd rather not be swamped with light, preferring to keep things dimly lit. Walking over to the kitchen, you make yourself a drink before heading over to the couch to unwind. You walk over to the stereo in the living room, slip in a copy of Tom Waits' Closing Time and search around the room for your pack of cigarettes. Finding them, you recline in your favorite chair as the heat kicks into gear and begins to slowly warm up the apartment. Lighting up a cigarette and exhaling with a well-earned sigh, you reach for your drink as ol’ Tom's voice fills the room. You nod as he sings, because he knows. He just knows.   And I never heard the melody, 'til I needed the song...   Soon, the day hasn't been in vain, for you have this time, this now, where nothing else in the entire world really matters. Just some good old-fashioned heartbreaking music and a chance to unwind before the world eats you up all over again tomorrow. Outside you hear the sound of the rain as it starts to fall and you turn the record down just a bit so that you can hear the rain and the music all at once, listening as they slowly blend themselves together. Raising a glass to all your angels and your demons, you close your eyes and let the night wash over you.   Check out more from Chad by visiting Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands   Link to this post:
Keep an eye out for My Teenage Stride on BTR... these guys are gonna be huge. Think Killers mixed with Smyths, a kind of electro-indie alternative, and incredibly talented. They're already on their 3rd album, but many regard it as the best so far. Looking forward to bringing to you soon on the station!
    The Innocence Mission occupies a very special place in my life these days and will no doubt remain a poignant reminder of this period of my life for all the rest of my years, an audio memory of long nights, baby wipes, and first smiles. Despite only discovering them last year, they've quickly leapt toward the top of the heap by virtue of being a record of choice for my daughter when she needs to be soothed out of a crying spell and pointed in the direction of sleep. Of course, she can't tell us that she likes their record specifically, but judging from the quietness and calm it elicits from her no matter how fussy she's been or how long the day, it's a safe bet that she loves the music every bit as much as I do. That magical record of lullabies - a gorgeous and peaceful mix of old standards and original tunes entitled Now The Day is Over - is a record I'd eagerly recommend without hesitation to anyone looking to unwind, be they young or old. It's a little bit like magic.   I bring all of this up in a roundabout way of mentioning to you that The Innocence Mission recently released a brand new record, We Walked in Song. It's the ninth official record for the group, and it's as beautiful as anything they've ever done, soft melodies and simple words covered in the warmth of Karen's sweetly sad and delicate vocals. Written and recorded in the wake of her father's death (and dedicated to both of her deceased parents), the resulting music is grown-up and innocent all at once, a yearning for connection and an acceptance of things past.   Try on this tune from the new record...if these three plus minutes don't hook you in, you just might not have a heartbeat.   "Into Brooklyn, Early in the Morning" - The Innocence Mission (Badman Recording Co.)   The Innocence Mission: Official Site   The Innocence Mission: MySpace   Check out more from Chad by visiting Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands   [Link to this post]
What ho music aficionados! I'm happy to report that we are accelerating many horses in our quest  to make BTR the most amazingly awesome radio station on the Internet. Flabbergastingly fresh music has stacked our inbox to the ceiling this month, and we've added a bevy of new shows to boot. Like intelligent dance music do you? Check out BTR's smashing new show on such, Glitch IDM, curated by Tha Fruit Bat. Or perhaps your fancy lies within the atmosphere of hip-hop. If so, expand your horizons with DJ Crush Delight's specialty hour on World Hip-Hop, a truly unique experience unavailable anywhere else. And if you like a more talk-minded affair, lend your ears to Matt & Emily on BTR; a new variety show featuring commentary on current events, musical developments and exclusive interviews with your favorite BTR artists and bands. We've actually got a few new ones we'd like to tell you about, so read on and discover what we're digging this lunar cycle. Quite a few genres are represented, including hip-hop, indie rock, gypsy/klezmer-punk, alt-country smoked-twang and even a bit of (dare I say? Bordering on the edge of?) emo.   We've always liked the idea of BTR being an unpredictable place to visit... Oh, and did I mention we added the entire catalogs of both Bloodshot Records and Crystaltop Music? Gogol Bordello Super Taranta! Just looking at that album cover, you know you're in for something flung way the hell out there. The question is, of course, is it any good? Well, we are answering with a resounding "Yes!" Gogol Bordello has succeeded in pioneering the genre of gypsy punk, with balls and a fire bucket, bringing a brazen assault of broken English and fierce accordion to the unsuspecting ears of New York's Lower East Side. The transplanted Eastern European octet has released four albums since 1999, with Super Taranta! being their first for the Los Angeles-based Side On Dummy! records. Singer/guitarist/fire bucket beater Eugene Hütz opens the album with a blunt declaration on "Ultimate," questioning "If we are here not to do/ What you and I wanna do/ And go forever crazy with it/ Why the hell are we even here?/ DEEEYAHHHHHHH!" We can't say it any better than that.  Harlan T. Bobo I'm Your Man Hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, Mr. Bobo sounds a bit like Mutations-era Beck, minus all those odd collisions of seemingly unrelated words. He made his staggering first impression with 2005's Too Much Love, detailing the demise of his relationship with former girlfriend Yvonne Bobo. His music is about as organically real as you can get, and we love it so much that we actually had Harlan as our Artist of the Week a fortnight back. Click here to read Rachael Hurley's extensive article on the man, his music, and I'm Your Man. Melina Jones Swearing Off Busters We're working hard to bring more of that good hip-hop to your earbuds, and Melina Jones is shining example of our efforts. Actually, all the credit goes to Just Jay and the Urban Umpires, as well as our newest feature writer, InPandemonium. Click here to read her in-depth exploration + interview with Ms. Jones, who has crafted an album that would make both Lauryn Hill and MC Lyte hella proud. Shapes and Sizes Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner Though their self-titled debut album made for a somewhat frustrating listen, it was obvious that Shapes and Sizes had a unique vision. Indeed, the dual vocals of Caila Thomas-Hannant and Rory Seydel were so strange a marriage that it was hard to focus on anything else. Still, the good moments were unforgettable, and worthy of spangly gold stars on the accomplishment chart. With Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner, the quartet from Vancouver has evolved into something unquestionably more coherent, with lyrics so creatively crafted and pronounced that predicting them is impossible. And few situations are more satisfying than not knowing what a singer will rhyme their preceding line with, especially when the result is so damned clever. Just listen to "Alone/Alive," and feast upon the brilliance of the wordplay. The music is just as impossible to map out, which might irk the impatient listener.  But if you have a taste for the less traveled path, this album will fill you up like Tolkien's Lambas bread. Look Mexico This Is Animal Music   Without a doubt a band that many would call "emo," Look Mexico cultivated their sound in Tallahassee, Florida, and are contemporaries of fellow Sunshine Staters Baby Calendar, Fake Problems and Band Marino. This Is Animal Music marks their debut full-length for the Washington D.C.-based Lujo Records, and features 14 tracks with really long names, a la Sufjan Stevens. Singer Matt Agrella sounds a lot like Matt Crauswell, from Vaya, and has a knack for crafting melodic bon mots about the music industry (see "Done and Done."). Guitarist Ryan Slate matches the mood with summery guitar strumming, making for quite the catchy concoction (See "Comin' In Hot With A Side Of Bacon"). It's an altogether cheery album, making the quartet's claim that they "sound like the band that did the theme song for Ducktales" a suitable description (though  the  group  harmonies are not quite there). Link to this post:
  I’ve been looking for an excuse to talk about Zookeeper lately because, if nothing else, it allows me to talk about Mineral, a band I used to love back in the 90s, but a band that very few people seem to remember.   Mineral was a relatively short-lived "emo" band from Austin, Texas (back when emo actually meant something, and My Chemical Romance were probably still all in grade school), well-versed in Sunny Day Real Estate-type melodies and dynamics, who released a brilliant first record (The Power Of Failing) in 1995 and one follow-up (1998's End Serenading) before disbanding. Chris Simpson, Mineral's singer/guitarist, went on to form The Gloria Record with Mineral bassist Jeremy Gomez. They apparently broke up at some point as well, as Chris seemed to drop off of the scene entirely for a little while before re-emerging in late 2005 as Zookeeper (as the name Chris Simpson was already being used by a Christian R&B singer).   And, you know, it rather feels like I've grown up along with Chris Simpson these past ten years. The Power of Failing accompanied the 1996 version of me on many a bus trip through Seattle during my first year of college: I loved getting lost in its noise, drawn in by minimalistic and melodic verses only to be punched in the gut by the crashing guitars and explosions of each oncoming chorus. Now, a much older and (hopefully) wiser guy, I find myself just as happily lost in songs like "I Live in the Mess You Are", songs miles away from what Mineral was doing, yet somehow connected...   "I Live in the Mess You Are" - Zookeeper   "Tax Collector" - Zookeeper   "Gloria" - Mineral   Zookeeper: Official Site Zookeeper: MySpace   Check out more from Chad by visiting Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands   [Link to this post]
Don't feel bad if your high school band sucked - most of the musicians you admire today probably had a similar experience. Which is why I always love exploring some of the darker, earlier corners of our favorite musicians' careers, corners that are often purposely left alone. Because none of us were cool in high school, let’s just admit it already.   Back in his high school days, Elliott Smith (then known as Steven Smith, his legal name) played in a band called Stranger than Fiction. The only song of theirs that I've ever been able to track down is called "The Machine" - and it's really something else. Cheezy teenage lyrics about world problems? Yep. Drum machine? Check. Keyboards in full effect? You betcha. Wicked 80s guitar solo? All systems go. And so now, ladies and gentleman, I present you with "The Machine"!   "The Machine" - Stranger than Fiction (via Sweet Adeline, Elliott Smith's official, wonderful site)   In Elliott's words: "I was in a band in high school. We didn't really play out. We just made tapes. We'd be recording an "album" so to speak except it'd be an album we'd record to cassette four track and then make some tapes. ... It was pretty exciting, it was something to do. It was a good way to spend time. I can't say much for the music though. The first thing we did, we had this drum machine called Dr. Rhythm which was not slick in any way at all. It didn't sound even remotely like real drums. The cymbal went chhhhhhhh."   To be completely fair, Elliott also wrote one of the better songs he would ever write in his entire career during this same period. "Condor Ave", written when he was 17, would eventually show up on his first record, Roman Candle.   “Condor Ave” – Elliott Smith   And what, you were doing something better in 1986?!   Check out more from Chad by visiting Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands   [Link to this post]
Several months ago I featured a song from Jenny Owen Youngs on my site, and I've been eagerly awaiting the release of her record ever since.   But then, in the midst of the massive outbreak of super good music in 2007, I temporarily lost track of her - which is why I only recently noticed that she'd finally put out that debut record, Batten the Hatches, on Nettwerk a few months ago, a truly great record, full of piss and vinegar (and pianos), something I'd definitely encourage you to seek out as soon as humanly possible. In fact, I'm not really sure why more people aren't talking about Jenny already - though she did show up briefly in a recent issue of Newsweek in an article about Perez Hilton of all people - though I have a feeling that if this record gets some attention, it's gonna be loved by a whole lot of people. In a year full of great records, hers is right up there with the best of them.   Batten the Hatches is a bit all over the place, but in the best of ways. On the slow dirge of "Keys Out, Lights On", Jenny manages to sound eerily like Cat Power, only to turn around a moment later and remind you of Regina Spektor with the jaunty, piano-driven "Coyote". There's a palpable sense of attitude in these songs, whether resigned ("Bricks", "Drinking Song") or defiant ("From Here", "F*ck Was I?"), and it's these tangible emotions that anchor this fine collection of songs, allowing them to rise above most of what her singer/songwriter contemporaries are putting out lately.   I know, I know, there's already too much good music out there and it's getting difficult to keep up. But you really shouldn't miss this one. Seriously.   Jenny Owen Youngs: Official Site Jenny Owen Youngs: MySpace (where you can currently stream her entire record for free   Check out more from Chad by visiting Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands   [Link to this post]
Marc Nguyen Tan is a one-man band. He's a French graphic designer/video producer that had a couple of months of downtime to make one amazingly haunting record. I am choosing to review the dark, almost industrial sounding "Heat" two years after the fact because he is still relatively unheard of. Although I can foresee Tan's spare monotonal tracks being spun in seedy nightclubs all over New York City. For those of you who had The Knife's now ubiquitous single "Heartbeats", in 2002, you'll know what I'm talking about.   This past year at CMJ, the avant odd duo's shows were completely sold out.  Since "Heat" came out in 2005, Tan has only played four shows in the city and a handful in LA. Each show an intimate affair. Although Colder is definitely less accessible than the more robust electro of The Knife, songs like the dub driven "One Night in Tokyo" will get you started.   The first thing you will think of when you listen to my favorite track, "Wrong Baby", is Joy Division. I know, I know, every band and their mom is compared to Joy Division. It has become overused and often times meaningless, but in this case it really fits. It is an interesting paradox that a four piece indie band like Interpol and the single man eight track electro of Colder are both comparable to Joy Division; each in their own right. I definitely prefer Tan's more subtle and original vocal style to Paul Bank's dramatic, over the top approach. He never shouts or strains, and his introspective semi-sorrowful deliveryadd depth to a record that could easily have fallen flat from its simplicity.  Colder brings a bit of a modern glamorous twist to his Ian Curtis style vocals.  The dance track "To the Music" illustrates this beautifully.   Colder is now working with a band on a follow up that sounds completely different but I'll wait for the record to come out before I start to judge.   As for "Heat" and accompanying DVD "Again", the whole recording works beautifully from beginning to end. It sounds like a record that came from quiet introspection. Something to think about…and enjoy of course.   Daphne Yang nerds out at   [Link to this post]
Watch Cold War Kids, Bloc Party, CSS, and Spoon for free!   Last week at my daytime gig, I did a very informal presentation on a sweet little Nordic site called It was so thoroughly enjoyed by my fellow 'pillers that you might have noticed the site listed under features in every city this week! So I'm spreading the flavor to the BTR friends, family, and passersby.   Fabchannel is about as idyllic a website as you can be. Started and run by passionate music lovers and launched in 2003, fabchannel brings you full length streaming concerts for free! Webby award winner for the best music website in the whole wide world in 2006, it features all genres of music from hip hop, punk, indie and metal, to avant garde.   Basically, any artist that tours Amsterdam at one of two main venues, the Melkweg and Paradiso (and on one occasion The Roxy in LA) gets recorded, produced, and subsequently posted on the site. That translates to good news for me, as you've already discovered that I'm somewhat of British bandaholic, and oft times they tour Europe well before the US. That's where this magical Dutch site comes in. I got a heaping helping of The Rakes, British Sea Power, and Patrick Wolf through them. I even found footage of slightly old and moldy Killing Joke, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Simple Minds.   Be aware that the filter tool is not so magical and your best bet is to "sort artist" and browse that way. That's how I discovered a streaming concert of post punk granddaddies Wire!   Aside from a very short intro, there are no ads to wait through, and once you're in you can skip from track to track. Additional features include creating your own playlist from different concerts and the ability to post it on your website. Stand out performances include The Veils, Adult, Nada Surf, and Good Shoes. Please enjoy my fab-ulous channel playlist...   Make your own:   Daphne Yang nerds out at   [Link to this post]
The dreary weather up here in New England got me thinking about how some times, you're just in the mood for a certain kind of music. Then I began to think about whether it was the weather (no pun intended) or the music I happened to be listening to or the mood one is in that dictates all that. Well, we don't control the weather (right?), so perhaps that can be the driver. But music can also dictate your mood. A popular former-indie artist, the Shins (great band), used to put me into a depression after listening for weeks on end. But sometimes that kind of music is sought, if it matches your mood. For those seeking moods, I offer a few BTR choices: Happy - Parentheses by Blow Hope - Smile Again by Carrie Cunningham Soul-Searching - How Do You Wish To Go? by the White Noise Supremacists Upbeat - See You At the Lights by the 1990's ...and that song for a rainy day - The Greatest by Cat Power
You might be surprised by this, but one of the most covered songs of all time is George Gershwin's  "Summertime;" a lullaby-esque tune he composed for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. There are literally dozens of websites dedicated to the song, and there are thousands and thousands of artists that have covered, adapted, or used the music and lyrics in some way. Everyone from big name superstars to the nobody in the bar down the street has sang a version of this song, making the opening lyric one that just about everyone knows and has probably quoted at some point.  "Summertime and the living is easy". Life is good during the summer, especially if you get a break from school or work. So, to help you enjoy your summer vacation to its maximum potential, here are ten great tracks from BTR artists that exemplify the quote above. 1. "Summer," by Shy Child, off of the One With The Sun EP 2. "Bunkerbuster," by Oh No! and The TIger Pit, off of Radio Ga Ga 3. "Summer's The Worst," by Michael Leviton, off of  My Favorite Place To Drown 4. "Must Be The Moon," by !!!, off of Myth Takes 5. "Check Out It," by Melina Jones, off of Swearing Off Busters 6. "Summer Lawn," by Aloha, off of Some Echoes 7.  "Chasing Rainbows," by Band Marino, off of The Sea and The Beast 8. "Hey There!" by The Basics, off of  Stand Out/Fit In 9. "Carousels," by Beirut, off of The Lon Gisland EP 10.  "Paris Be Mine," by The Bicycles, off of The Good, The Bad and The Cuddly Keep listening to BTR for all of these wonderful summer ditties. Link to this post:
  The annoying thing about being an Anglophile is that you are constantly waiting for the bands you're excited about to come to the States. Generally you have to wait for music showcases or individual tours, which sometimes take years depending on how quickly they become popular, and if not at all, you must listen to your records and daydream of cloudy, soggy days walking around Camden Town. Luckily we have the interweb! And this post is all about spreading the wealth one musical crumpet at a time.   To download (right click - save as)   Download: Hot Chip: London, UK: DFA Remix download   A gorgeous dubby remix from DFA of "(Just Like We) Breakdown" by pasty London lads Hot Chip.   ..............................................................   Watch: Battle: London, UK: watch "Demons"   Not to be confused with the American nerdrific technical rock group Battles. Battle (UK) is a very talented London based indie outfit that no one has really picked up on yet. I saw them at SXSW 2006 with ¡Forward Russia!, who have since garnered a significant amount more press attention than Battle. I'm not sure, but I suspect it could be because of the matching t-shirts.   Singer/guitarist, Jason Bavanandan (say that five times fast), has intensity dripping out of his pores and an impossibly idealistic point of view. Their band name comes from their struggle to do what they are passionate about musically.   Fo' serious people. But it works well and Battle have been compared to The Smiths, The Cure, and early '80s Talking Heads.   My favorite track is Demons but you can peruse their site for more streams including Zane Lowe endorsed tracks "Children" and "Tendency".   Download: Battle: One More Night (Live) - Download   ..............................................................   Download: Good Shoes: Morden, UK: "Small Town Girl" (Demo) download   As an Anglophile it is mandatory that I love bands who show off their terrible cockney English accents. Good Shoes is definitely one of those bands. It's no Billy Bragg drawl but it makes the grade. In addition to the accent, they play friendly and fast, with just enough quick guitar work and tension to make you want to bop around and join in. Their full length "Think Before You Speak" has just been released in the UK.    Watch: Good Shoes: Photos On My Wall Nice backwards/forwards action in this video.   ..............................................................   Download: The Cribs: West Yorkshire, UK: "Men's Needs", CSS Remix download   I read somewhere that there was controversy over the naked lady spouting blood in the video for "Men's Needs." Apparently MTV2 would not play it before 9pm because it was "too shocking." As for the song, I actually prefer the CSS remix to the more generic and repetitive original version.   ..............................................................   Download: Mystery Jets: Twickenham, UK: "Hounds of Love" cover of a cover -  download   The Mystery Jets, four Twickenham boys (and one cool dad), are our modern day Dexy's Midnight Runners. They bang on pots and pans, look like they live by a fresh spring meadow and write romping good songs. And it was fun seeing Art Brut going nuts for them at SXSW last year. Unfortunately, customs would not let them in our country, so we missed out this past June. But you can still have their original cover of The Futurehead's cover of Kate Bush's classic song. Whew.   Download: Mystery Jets: "Diamonds in the Dark" download   ..............................................................   Download The Rakes: London, UK: "The World was a Mess but His Hair was Perfect" download   I've seen them more times live than their very few visits to the States would imply and, as this NME review puts it, "[Live] the Rakes are rather special. They may adhere to the post-punk-funk blueprint of bands like Wire and Joy Division but every song is a potential single..." And although I know the March 2007 released second album, "Ten New Messages," does not communicate the same struggling twentysomething feeling, or have the same urgency and Englishness about it as the debut album "Capture/Release" had, I still appreciate them. "The World was a Mess…" is one of the great tracks off of the new record, originally 15 minutes long and interestingly enough written for a Dior Homme fashion show in 2006. I also love the B-side track "Ausland Mission," the only song written and sung by the guitarist, Matthew Swinnerton. Plus, lead singer, Alan Donohoe has got moves that rival Mark E. Smith.   Download The Rakes: "Ausland Mission" (Demo) : download   Download The Rakes: "Terror" from Capture/Release LP download   ..............................................................   Download: Klaxons: London, UK: "Golden Skans" Erol Alkan Remix download The Klaxons are a guilty pleasure for me, and the album version of this song is all hook and no filler and it.   ..............................................................   Download: Artic Monkeys: Sheffield, UK: "You Know I'm No Good" Amy Winehouse (Cover) download   Sod it! I have no idea where this came from but it’s pretty hi-larious.   Daphne Yang nerds out at   [Link to this post]
  Did you scream for more Blitzen Trapper?! I thought so. Previous Blogger of the Week, Wayne already covered Blitzen Trapper, but I've got extras for you! Downloads, videos, and remixes galore!   Initially, Trapper was one of those bands that I was on the fence about. I immediately liked the initial track, "Devil's A Go Go," off of Portland-based Trapper's recently released record, Wild Mountain Nation. It is a cacophonous jam of a song with bare bones lo-fi drums and sloppy guitars. I know Wayne disagrees, but upon hearing the title track, I felt like I had suddenly been transported to the somniferous realm of a Big Star/Grateful Dead cover band. For me, it evoked visions of men with leather-fringed tan suede jackets, or even worse, smelly hippies. Thankfully, tracks like "Woof & Warp Of the Quiet Giant's Hem" and especially the swirling synth prog-pop of "Sci-Fi Kid" restored the faith. Altogether an eclectic and very enjoyable mix, but skip over "Wild Mountain Jam" if you want to avoid a trip back to Deadhead-land.   Even after listening to "Wild Mountain Nation" numerous times, I still couldn't figure out why I seem to have a soft spot for Blitzen Trapper despite their irregular forays into hippydom. So to Pitchfork I clicked. And there, I found my answer: Blitzen Trapper is reminiscent of Pavement's Wowee Zowee! Wowee Zowee is one of a few albums of early '90s indie experimentalism that I fully appreciate. Either way, I was closer to figuring out why it was I oddly drawn to Blitzen Trapper.   But there had to be something else, some other string of continuity to tie it all together. Then it came to me like a Blitzen bomb! I like Pavement and Sonic Youth for the same reason I enjoy Blitzen Trapper's "Devil's A Go Go". The disjointed yet tenuously threaded cacophonic melodic mess of instruments and sound...yes! It reminds me of Swell Maps! Blitzen Trapper can evoke that wondrously jacked-up feeling I get when I listen to Swell Maps.   Thurston Moore describes it so perfectly in this quote: "The first Swell Maps single I bought (Let's Build A Car), still to this day gives me a soul scorched buzz'n'rush. As soon as Nikki Sudden's guitar comes slicing slabbing and all out fuzzifying off that crackling vinyl groove you know you're gonna rock..."   Download: The Hood's excellent Ratatat inspired remix of "Sci-Fi Kid"   Download: Principal Participant "Kingswood" remix of "Sci-Fi Kid"   Download: Blitzen Trapper's cowbell/synth version of Heart's "Crazy On You" grows on you.   Watch: Blitzen Trapper - Devil's a-go-go Uploaded by BlitzenTrapper   Blitzen Trapper comes to NYC @ Mercury Lounge on July 25 - See you at the show!   Daphne Yang nerds out at   [Link to this post]
I am your quintessential L-train riding, bar hopping, show attending, billyburg Brooklyn girl. Someone once described living here as "Disneyland for hip[ster] twentysomethings" and I definitely agree. One of the perks of living in this Wikipedia endorsed hipster-ville is, of course, the plethora of amazing bands. Sure, I regret not being 30 so I could have lived in the LES during its heyday, or in the UK from 1976-1984 but, I'll take what I can get.   Summertime is all about fests like PS1's Warm Up, Summerstage, and the upcoming Siren Festival. It's hot, crazy, and normally you're standing so far away from the stage you can crush the lead singers head with your thumb and forefinger. Like most, I prefer a more intimate gig, and, thankfully, I happen to live just a stone's throw away from Pete's Candy Store and Glasslands, some of the nicest venues to hear local lo-fi bands.   I recently saw Magdyn Osh at Pete's Candy Store. If you are a fan of Nick Drake, Creedence, or American Analog Set, you'll definitely like them. A refreshing reprieve from all the crazy mixed DJ music, listening to Magdyn Osh is like taking a trip out of the city, to someplace nice with big trees and a big 'ol lake to wade in. All three band members take their turns pumping the organ while subtle banjo backs the melody, and gorgeous lyrics by main songwriter Michael Flis make for a lovely atmosphere. And I'm all about lovely atmospheres, people.   Another lo-fi band are the freshly signed Chairlift. Well known (and loved) at BreakThru Radio, and soon to be well known throughout the country, they've got psychedelic style, synth pop layers, and cascading melodies. Classically trained vocalist Caroline P reminds me of a less harried Kate Bush. You can check them out at Kanine Records.   I've got one more folkish lo-fi band for you. I saw The Shivers a couple of months ago based on this song. Keith Zarriello, the lead singer, is so unassuming. He's got a working man sort of soul about him that translates in the music. Check out the song New Direction." It's simple and inspiring.   Every Friday in September @ 9pm Magdyn Osh has a residency at Pete's Candy Store.   September 20 @ 7:30pm: Chairlift "Ditch Your Boyfriend Summer Vacation Tour" comes to Union Pool (Jezebel Music Feature).   August 2: The Shivers are playing for free at Rockwood Music Hall.   Daphne Yang nerds out at   [Link to this post]
Hands up who likes Broken Social Scene? Who was excited by the news that front man Kevin Drew would be releasing his own album "Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew Spirit If..." on Arts and Crafts in September? Did you like the sound of the first track released "Tbtf"? I thought it was nice, but not exactly great. Very sweet and charming but not a knock out. Well I can tell you the full album is a knock out. Shiny Records will release the album in Australia on September 15. It does sound like a Broken Social Scene record. But that I believe is a good thing. That means you receive a piece of music that will excite, soothe, delight and astound. It is full of a cavalcade of sumptuous sounds which can be best heard in the stunning opener "Farewell to the Pressure Kids" which cascades like a water fall. Other tracks I like include "Safety Bricks" (has a Feist like feel), the gorgeously languid "Broke Me Up", "Gangbang Suicide" (this is actually very charming), the driving sounds of "Frightening Lives". Hell, it's all good. Isn't 2007 a great year for music?   MP3: Tbtf Track Listing Farewell To The Pressure Kids Tbtf F-ked Up Kid Safety Bricks Lucky Ones Broke Me Up Gangbang Suicide Frightening Lives Underneath The Skin Big Love Backed Out On The… Aging Faces / Losing Places Bodhi Sappy Weekend When It Begins   Read more from Wayne by visiting Oceans Never Listen.   [Link to this post]
Horses. Hooves. Talons. Dark Horses. Hands. Oak. Images and more taken from the just released debut album from Bowerbirds. Named "Hymns For A Dark Horse" it is a serene journey into the rustic territories of North Carolina, the place Bowerbirds call home. The band numbers only 3, Phil Moore, Mark Paulson and Beth Tacular (an accomplished artist). But in this, their debut effort they have crafted a delightful and thoughtful collection of acoustic gems. This is sparse and beautiful music, made to soothe not shake you. It is delicate, with nary a loud guitar anywhere in sight. There is acoustic guitar, backed by drums and violin and the occasional double bass and banjo. Phil Moore handles most of the vocal duties and his lilting, gorgeous voice bears an uncanny resemblance to Elvis Perkins. This I like considering Mr Perkins to be a wonderful personal discovery for me this year. Beth Tacular also adds her excellent vocals to several of the tracks. Favourite songs are the heartfelt "In Our Talons", the gorgeous "Bur Oak", the sparse "The Marbled Godwit" and the stunning darkly folk like "The Ticonderoga". All in all this is a piece of music to accompany you late at night. It is tender music, touching and honest. Pure as the driven snow.   Check out more of Wayne by visiting Oceans Never Listen.   [Link to this post]
Hot Damn, Summer In The City! Argghhh! Its been blazin’ sticky hot the last few days. But with the warm weather brings some fun out door events. A couple of BTR’s artists are hitting the sun at this year Central Park Summer Stage. This festival is thrown every year and celebrates singers, musicians, artist & others that have had an innovative impact in the arts. Hitting the stage this year is one of my favorite artist featured in Party Hour, The Cat Empire. They will be performing July 22nd at the Summer Stage. Other artist you may be interested in seeing include The Grizzly Bears, The Decemberists and The Brazilian Girls. Also celebrating its 25th anniversary this year is Wild Style. A film celebrating the lifestyle and origins of hip-hop. That’s not to miss. But that’s not all the hip-hop featured at this year’s summer stage, they have every thing from the Beastie Boys to Hip Hop Harry (for the children of course). Here is a couple of show around the east coast featuring a few of my favorite BTR artist: Death Of Fashion – July 26th @ South Paw Brooklyn, NY Professor Murder – August 18th Brillo Box Pittsburg, Penn. Until Next Time. Peace, J.Dayz
The new album by The Misery Loves is soon due to play on the station. 16 new tracks garner the new album, with the single "Radio FM." You might recall The Misery Loves from a year ago on the station when we were spinning their EP with such tracks as Pennyless and The Architect. To refresh your memory, I'll hit them up in my next show. The band is from Nutley, NJ and has a few shows next week. Monday July 16 at an old haunt of mine, the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, NJ. It's slated to be an acoustic duo show, which should be an interesting take on their tracks. And Friday July 20 at the Saint in Asbury Park, NJ. Hope to have the new album for you soon, ye BTR faithful!
   The Metronomes Everyone remembers the one band that ruled high school.  Maybe they won a Battle of the Bands, or maybe they were regular performers at all the local hangouts. Wherever they were found, they had a loyal following, and maybe even homemade CDs or tapes they’d sell during lunch period. Unfortunately, no matter how great they were, local radio airplay was usually just a dream.   In the days before social networking sites and Internet radio, local bands (especially those still in high school) had very limited exposure to potential fans outside their immediate community. Touring wasn’t possible, and even playing shows around town was tricky (unless, of course, you had a ridiculously cool mom who was ok with her kid hanging out in bars on a school night).   To a certain extent, that’s all changed with the ability of young bands to put their tracks up on personal websites and social networking pages.  However, that’s assuming potential fans happen to stumble upon your page.  Luckily, BreakThru Radio knows that talent doesn’t have an age requirement, which is why we’ve launched a brand new show called “All Access,” hosted by BTR’s own DJ Lottie.   “All Access” is a program dedicated to young bands that may not get exposure elsewhere. DJ Lottie, along with the rest of the BTR staff, is committed to providing an outlet for these talented teens, many of whom have never played a gig outside their hometown or scored airplay on their local stations. "The bands that I'm playing on 'All Access' are so enthusiastic about their music," explains DJ Lottie. "The show is an opportunity for us to play and promote high school age bands that we're excited about. They all have such great potential, and we’re hoping to find the best young artists out there.”   The artists themselves are indeed very excited about being featured. “There was a feeling of achievement [due to] the fact that we're still in high school,” says Scrot of The Metronomes. “I heard the other bands and realized that we were up to a certain level.”    Skyline Expression   “We were very thrilled! It was our first airplay,” says Maxx McGathey of Skyline Expression. “We have been getting more hits on our Myspace and the Lollapalooza competition at”    Nailbed Henry of Nailbed says that the additional exposure has also helped their website traffic. “We did receive more hits, and people were interested in how we got [on BTR.]”   The excitement doesn’t end there. Listeners have been so interested in hearing brand new teenage bands that “All Access” will be airing on BTR even more frequently. Currently on rotation every Friday, the show will begin airing several times a week, with different DJs joining in on the fun. Check back for more news on “All Access,” as well as all the other great programming on BTR! Listen to BTR's All Access! Link to this article:
I sometimes wonder why Spoon isn't the biggest band in the world.   A band that produces song after glorious song surely deserves a bigger audience. Not that I am complaining too heavily. It is sometimes nice when one of your favorite bands can exist on a loving label, Merge, and be allowed to make music without the tentacles of a major label encroaching on their music. Well now is the winter of our content, "Ga Gam Ga Ga Ga" is here and happiness reigned throught out the land. This surely will be the one. But in a world where Good Charlotte is king, maybe not. Before I review this platter of extreme pleasure, my thoughts on this quartet of sublime musicians.   For no reason in particular I am not a lifelong Spoon devotee. Actually I hadn't heard of them until "Kill the Moonlight". In fact that album did not impress me greatly upon first listen (I know, hard to believe), but slowly it crept on me and I realized its beauty eventually. Just in time to buy "Gimme Fiction" which would become my favourite Spoon release. It is monster of a record, pulling every string of rock and soul greatness. Actually that's what I think Spoon are. A rock and soul band. So after devoting myself to this band I started my journey. "Girls Can Tell" with its delicious grooves hooked me in. "A Series of Sneaks" was a glimpse into their genesis. Its Pixies-like riffs were as Magnet described "This isn't an album, it's a knifefight". I completed my collection with the even rockier "Telephono" plus the EPs "Soft Effects" and "Love Ways". My love affair was complete. What makes them so special? Hard to say sometimes. They don't have that bleed your emotions all over the place quality (like Okkervil River, Wolf Parade), they aren't lyrically complex (like The Mountain Goats) or wildly experimental (like Animal Collective). But they write superb and soulful songs that always have great structure containing absolutely infectious hooks and sophisticated rhythms. The musicianship is superb and above it all is Britt Daniel's husky, smoky, truly engaging voice. They are truly and utterly a totally satisfying meal of musical greatness.    Well now, "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" is another chapter in the Spoon story. I have to say it is as fine a piece of work that they produced. I still believe "Gimme Fiction"'s highs just out do it but this release is probably their most well rounded. It is concise, exquisite and has that quality you desire in a piece of music- play me again and again and I promise you will never get sick of me. A smile will grow on your face from the opening bars of "Don't Make Me a Target" and stay right through to the end. In fact the opening bars of "Target" will instantly give you goose bumps. It is undeniably Spoon and when Britt plaintively asks "Don't Make Me a Target" you feel your spine shiver. A great song to kick off and then an untypical song follows "The Ghost of You Lingers" which is all eery piano and vocals, but by the finish has crept under your skin. The tambourine on "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" announces more joy. A sweet delight of a song it also introduces horns to the mix. If you desire soulful swagger there is the almost funky "Don't You Evah" and "Rhythm & Soul" (maybe they aren't perfect, what's with the spelling) or you can have the impossible to resist "The Underdog" (complete with mariachis). However, if it is possible my three favourite tracks are the last three. "My Little Japanese Cigarette Case" is deceptively simple but has an irresistable momentum. "Finer Feelings" is classic Spoon and the guitar piece in the middle is absolutely divine. Then when Britt sings "I believed that someone'd take care of me tonight" at the beginning of "Black Like Me" you really feel the need to hug someone, straight away. This album is pure joy, so enjoyable, so delectable. The band has never sounded better. The drumming is superbly tight and Mr Daniel's voice is as luxurious and awe inspring as ever. Buy this now, you will not regret it.   Check out more from Wayne by visiting Oceans Never Listen.   [Link to this post]
In my time blogging about things I love, well music primarily, I get an in increasing amount of new bands sending me their music looking for a review. I still feel flattered and somewhat overwhelmed. To be honest a lot of it is very good or sometimes more simply, not my taste in music. However it is a real delight when I receive some music recommendation that turns out to be good.   If you haven't heard of Christmas Fuller Project let me introduce them to you. They hail from northwest Arkansas and they are comprised of 4 members (sorry, 5, they just added a new member). They have just released their debut album The Philosophy of Time Travel and it could be seen as some sort of a concept album. It is nice to see such ambition from a young band and on the whole it mostly pays off. For some sort of reference point I think they sound like a cross between Eels and Death Cab For Cutie. They combine delicious melodies with sweeping guitar lines and occasionally hushed vocals. Now the concept is loosely based around a trilogy of songs about 19th century swimmer Captain Matthew Webb and a time traveler. In a broader context, to quote the band "Time Travel is a metaphor for hope, regret, longing, reminiscing, learning from mistakes, and any other experience that finite beings inevitably face as they try to figure out their place in eternity." It is quite ambitious but thankfully it largely succeeds. Particular stand out tracks for me are "1875", "Meet Me in Montauk", "Prelude" and "Ghosts Are For Graveyards". You can find out more and listen to some tracks at their MySpace.   Read more from Wayne by visiting Oceans Never Listen.   [Link to this post]
Exciting. Strange. Original. Eclectic. Unclassifiable. All these words, and then some, could be used to describe the new release for Portland, Oregon's Blitzen Trapper. Just their name itself conjures up exciting images and a sense of the unknown. Ladies and gentlemen this is a band that genre hops like there is no tomorrow. But the best part of this exciting revelation is that it never feels contrived. These are simply six young men making music that will have you grinning like a Cheshire cat whilst you marvel at their inventiveness.   This exciting band, although seemingly new, have been together since 2000 and they have previously released a self titled album and "Field Rexx". Both of these are daring and exciting too and definitely worth tracking down. But "Wild Mountain Nation" could be the one to push this band to a wider audience. Recorded on a four track in their home town this superb recording has a spirit and adventure that most bands would just kill to possess. The music is country, punk, pop, rock. Umm, it’s just everything and no amount of words can really do it justice. But I will try.    "Devil's A-Go-Go", the opening track is like a hurricane. All static guitar and frenetic singing it will more then likely knock you off your feet. It then leads to the title track which is all country melodies and chiming guitars, a gorgeous song that charms and delights with ease. It then leads to the short and sweet pop gem that is "Futures & Folly". 3 songs in and you are no closer to the typical Blitzen Trapper sound. Don't worry there isn't one. Just go along for the ride and let the music wash over in waves of joy and astoundment. There is so much else to enjoy here. The raucous stomp of "Miss Spiritual Tramp", the almost psychedelic "Sci-Fi Kid", the bluegrass fun of "Wild Mtn. Jam", the lush and dreamy "Summer Town" and the headrush that is "Murder Babe". But the absolute greatness belongs to the closing two tracks "Country Caravan" and "Badger's Black Brigade". These two songs absolutely ache with country sorrow. You will swoon with the soaring melodies and humming guitars. You will then hit repeat and delve again into this delight of an album.   Read more from Wayne by visiting Oceans Never Listen.   [Link to this post]
Found this in my Uncle's old diary (he's recently passed away...found 16 pounds of undigested speed, Trix cereal, and what appeared to be a small appendage in his stomach. Long story.). Date: Oct 13, 1974. Just saw Sinatra at the Garden. Freaky thing. Went to go buy brick of Jamaican Superdope weed on 32nd street and this ticket flies into my chest. Went in (had to be the youngest cat on the fence), sat near Frank's hallway into the place. He finished the show and everyone thought it was the balls. 'Cept for Frank. Walking outta that place he was hotter than an Italian/Irish husband who just found out his wife left for another man AND took all the booze. Dude was swearing up a storm about his voice, performance, etc. Swear I heard him say he needed a new way to practice. Got weed after show. All good...'til I ate my small toe. Date: January 8, 1975 Gotta write this down 'fore I forget. Nobody would believe me (especially after I told the cops that story about needing the weed to help my toe grow back). So, I'd been up all night in my closet apartment listening to How Do You Mend a Broken Heart by the Brothers Gibb, reading Hunter Thompson, and designing (and subsequently burning) a mini weed village in a shoebox. Had to get out. Slipped on my everyday platform shoes (not the good was only a Wednesday) and slid outside. Smells like rain. Actually, smells like my Brazilian neighbor, Raoul. Stumbled upon this club/live band playing Light My Fire (which, of course, seemed deeply meaningful based on my apartment evening activity). Walked in. Only 2 dudes in the audience (small black gentleman with glasses and a taller Italian bloke...odd pair). The band finished the song and I hear the singer say, "Mixed nuts, baby. Mixed nuts." The black dude in the audience screams, "Ouch, babe. Feelin'...GOOD!" What the f*ck? Singer turns to the band and says, "Last numba, make it tight." With that the band blasts into "Gloria". As I watch the singer go through the song about the 5 feet 4 inch neighborhood pleasure seeker, all the sudden dots are connected. This guy is really really good...familiar. Even the way he is spelling her name...has a swing to it. I freeze and immediately question which weed I burned in the shoebox 'cause this cant be. That guy... the's him. The swirling smoke in the stage lights hit his steel blue eyes. He looks right at me from the stage like Satan telling me not to move or tell a soul, now or ever. Yes sir, mean no sir, won’t do it, now or ever. Did I just hear all of the doors lock? I pray and swear off all future forms of Caribbean leafy products. Just let me get out of here and live!! As the last guitar chord is hit, the other 2 patrons rise to their feet and applaud. I do the same and the singer nods with pleasure twice and fades away behind the drummer. Those 2 patrons walk to leave right past me. One says slowly, "This cat is BACK." Other drunkenly says, "Now that's amore." Came home and ate cereal for 16 hours straight. Got headache. Listen to Twilight Revival by clicking here.
Last week, I was blessed with a vision deep in the jungle of Chicago's south-side ( "sout-sigh...chest-tap, chest-tap"). Technically, I was knocked cold by a flying brick (ya know...the classic "arguing with yourself in sign language, thug mistakes it for rival gang sign, yadayada").   During my hiatus from consciousness, I'm greeted first by an all-encompassing light, then by a figure dressed in the whitest of garments. Note to guests of P Diddy’s White Party: this was just a not email me for the designer. As the figure appeared, a booming voice spoke sternly, "Dearest Twilight Revivaler, come walk with me." A man gets hit with a brick, he follows the next directions he's given. As I peer at the figure, I notice a striking resemblance to Chris Robinson, bearded, post-Kate Hudson. Glancing at his leather jacket (yes, white too, yet somehow still cool) I see the letters “WWID”. And it hits's JC.   He says, "Before I send you back, I want to give you a message to share with the world." My first thought is, "Dude, I have serious short-term memory issues." I filter that and respond, "Yes, Master." He rolls his eyes and quickly begins walking me through the history of music.   The lessons ranged from showbiz parents (Mozart's old man makes the Simpson sisters' dad look like St. Christopher) and excesses (Paganini sure had some weird friends) but it really started to heat up right around 1960.   At this point, his stories took on a more personal feel than the more formal and (no offense Big Man) blander classroom lecture style he spoke in previously. Of course, there were the familiar stories of the 4 lads searching for lost chords, dissecting the Everly Brothers, burning condoms, the rooftop concert, etc. But, right toward the end of the engulfing saga, He stopped talking (not saying he's long-winded, no sir, not at all). He looked right into my soul and says, "Man, I love The Beatles". Not another word.   I kinda do the "Is that it?" look and He just shakes his head yes.  "Ya know," he starts..."There is a reason John and Paul were used in the early days." I'm not sure if he's talkin' pre-Council of Jerusalem or pre-Cavern Club, but I let it go.   "They had another message, but...(and I mean a LONG pause here)...the world screwed it up". "It's so simple", he continued. "Love is the answer. The word is Love. All you need is Love. She does Love you. Love to YOU. You can't buy love. And I do love her". At this point, I lose track of where I'm at and to whom I'm speaking, but I blurt out, "YES, I get it!” He stops and just shaked his head yes again. "Son, I'm gonna send you back. Pass the message".   With that, things start to shake. Still unclear on the message, I try to reach my hands out, but I'm falling . As the guiding light fades and the cold reality of life pours back in, I can hear the wink in His voice as it rang one last time, "Here's a clue for you all, the Walrus was...GEORGE!" I swear I heard a laugh and another familiar voice (dare I say a Liverpudlian) say, "Good one." Next thing I know, a large nurse with big hands is holding my head saying , "Nah, dis ones alright. He's back."  And as she lets my head slam back to the pillowless bed and I start to grow hazy again, I catch a glimpse of her walking past an old religious statue, and hear her whisper, "Hey...Jude."   Check out Rick and Twilight Revival by clicking here. [Link to this post]
Occassionally at BTR, there's a band or artist that we'd really love to bring you on the station, but for one reason or another (that I won't bother getting into), it just doesn't work out. But that won't stop me from getting the word out about a particular band or artist...that's just the mission of BTR! Anyway, if you have an affinity for alternative with an occassional Killers-type electronic sound, check out the band My Teenage Stride. You won't be disappointed!
Whenever BTR artists go out on tour, they know how to make the most of it.  Whether they're reenacting a Clint Eastwood movie in a London chip shop or traveling together in a van on a tour through the West Coast, there's bound to be some crazy adventures.  This month, we caught up with Chairlift and Elizabeth Harper and The Matinee to hear about some of their best road moments. Elizabeth Harper and The Matinee   Elizabeth Harper and The Matinee have quite the collection of classic touring tales.  The lovely Miss Harper (vocals/vox) and her band, comprised of Scott Rosenthal (guitar), Michael Flis (Bass), and Andy Zenhal (drums), have had some pretty unique tour experiences in the past.   “Our fans are the greatest people in the world,” says Harper, before explaining that she tends to think fan encounters are interesting, rather than crazy or strange.  “I think rather it’s me who is crazy or strange, and at times hopefully interesting, as opposed to boring.”   Nonetheless, there have been some noteworthy and memorable moments from previous tours.  One in particular happened in a south London chip shop, when a group of drunken men started a fight with the band.   “It turned into an old western movie where everyone in the shop started fighting and we snuck out the back door,” Harper recalls.  “Classy.”   England holds more fond memories for the group, particularly Harper.  Though she loves playing in the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, one moment from the UK tour really stands out for her; playing in Leeds with The Long Blondes - a defining instant in which she felt as though “everyone had the same musical backdrop as me and I felt very much at home in the north of England.”   Futures plans for Harper and The Matinee include recording a new record and “looking forward to the fall foliage.”  You can catch them at Cake Shop in New York City on July 11 and Tripnotica at Galapagoes in Brooklyn on July 25.   Chairlift   This will be Chairlift’s first tour.  The Brooklyn-based trio, made up of Caroline P, Aaron P, and Patrick W, were signed to Kanine Records last month.  They were generous enough to sum how they felt about the tour  in one word each: “Undernourished” (Caroline), “Neon” (Aaron), and “Adrenaline” (Patrick).  Right on, then.   “We were eager to play more outside of New York,” explains Caroline, talking about the origins of the tour.  “So instead of waiting around for a bigger band to pick us up as tour support, we worked our mouse-clicking fingers off and contacted venues and bands around the country to put the shows together ourselves.”   This may be Chairlift’s first real tour, but it’s not the group’s first time on the road together.  They met and formed while each was living in Colorado.  When they relocated to New York, the three friends drove across country together to move their things.  On a stop in Madison, Wisconsin, they decided to sign up for an open mic night at the local university for a bit of fun.  The show was in a tent on the edge of a lake, and they were given a 20-minute time slot.  Worried that this wouldn’t even be enough time to set up their equipment, they scrambled around at lightning speed and ended up playing over the allotted time.   “People went crazy for the music!” Caroline boasts.  “They were dancing and bopping around and hollering for an encore.  We were supposed to pack up and leave town, but we ended up spending the rest of the night lying out on the docks with the girl who was the sound engineer, watching ducks pass in the night.  It was very surreal.”    The bandmates left Wisconsin with a few souvenirs from the night.   “It flooded the next day, and we found cereal bowls and coffee mugs in the street that had been washed out of a diner.  The bowls are still in my kitchen,” says Aaron, before joking, “Actually, I’m eating edamame from one of the bowls right now…”   After the tour is over, the members of Chairlift are looking forward to writing new material for their first full-length album, which is due out in the spring of 2008.   “Every new piece we write is instantly my favorite,” Aaron proclaims.   Chairlift will be at Larimer Lounge in Denver, CO on July 5, Catacombs in Boulder, CO on July 6, and Mango’s in Vail, CO on July 7.  More dates can be found on the BTR Calendar. Link to this article:
  CrystalTop co-founders Jacob Bronstein and Luz Fleming Listen while you read! Click here to listen to our showcase on CrystalTop Music (hosted by DJ Latola). Then, watch CrystalTop co-founder Luz Mob's video for "La Subienda!" Based in Brooklyn, New York, and home to such artists as Ryan Scott, Cousin Jacob, Luz Mob and Ivan Joseph, CrystalTop Music is an up-and-coming independent marked by both meticulous artistic taste and stunning production quality, featuring everything from jazzy hybrid reggae beats to stripped down ambient explorations designed to lull you into the surrealistic realm of sleep.    We recently conversed with CrystalTop co-founder Jacob Bronstein about the genesis of his label, the logic behind the CrystalTop roster of artists, the current state of the music industry, the proliferation of the single and the sad, drawn-out death of the album. BTR: Where did the name CrystalTop come from? Jacob Bronstein: CrystalTop is slang for a kind of bus, in San Francisco, when I was growing up. We were graffiti artists, which is how I met Luz Fleming, who is the other founder of CrystalTop. And since graffiti was our first connection, we liked the idea of having a name that somehow related to graffiti. BTR: And is that the same bus that’s on the logo? JB: Exactly. It refers to this kind of bus that came out around 1988 or '89, that had an extra shiny smooth surface on the inside, which made it extra nice for writing on.   BTR: What’s been the most difficult aspect of running the label thus far? JB: Well, at our level, because we’re fairly small, it’s always difficult to get people to pay attention. It's hard getting people to take music seriously, you know, as something important in their lives, and not just a kind of disposable product, like a Big Mac. It’s always hard vying for attention in a field where there’s eight million CDs coming out every month. BTR: Have you found if difficult to get distribution, or get your artists to tour, so they can help to promote themselves? JB: Certainly there are inherent difficulties in all those things, but because of everything changing the way it is right now, I don’t think distribution is as big a factor as it used to be. Obviously distribution is still important – everything hasn’t changed so much that it’s a completely different world. But it’s not the same as it was 20 years ago, where if you didn’t have serious, effective distribution, you were completely out of the game. You have avenues accessible now that you didn’t have 20 years ago, so, out of all the many obstacles we’re facing, I would just say plain exposure is our first priority.   BTR: Are you focusing more on the Internet? JB: Yeah, we are. We have brick and mortar distributors, and we’re in a lot of stores, but since we’re not doing the numbers that a major is doing, it’s hard to get people to work with you the same way they would if you were moving hundreds of thousands of units. The internet levels that field to some degree, at least. We can be in the same iTunes store as everyone else.   BTR: Contrarywise, what’s been the most rewarding aspect of running a label? JB: For me, it’s been the idea of feeling like you are able to put together a fabulous project, see it all the way through to completion, and then know that you had some hand in it. Even if you’re not the artist, the idea of putting together a project, connecting the musicians and graphic designers, arranging the promotional aspect, bringing in a writer to work on liner notes...   BTR: It’s quite a task. JB: Yeah, to put all those different, disparate elements into one package and come out with this beautiful work of art, essentially, at the other end, is the most satisfying thing for me. When it all comes down to it, that’s what I’m in it for.   BTR: What’s a normal weekday like for you? JB: Well, it’s hard to find a normal weekday, because I’m always running around doing lots of different things. I might be in the studio for several hours. I might be doing a voice-over session, or I might be getting musicians together, or it could purely be an office day, with lots of emails and lots of phone calls, so I think it varies. About half the time is spent in the studio, which is fun, and the other half, I’m at the desk.   BTR: How did you come to assemble your current roster of artists? Did you know a lot of them beforehand? JB: Mostly it’s friends, people we knew already, or were working and collaborating with informally. We’re not working with a lot of people we’re not friendly with on a personal level. It’s just not what we set out to do, though we have pursued it a little bit, to some degree. Mostly it’s people we were somehow doing music with already. We just kind of formalized some of those relationships.   BTR: Would you be against reaching out to someone whose music you really enjoyed, but didn’t know on a personal level? JB: Not at all. We’re not closed to anything. I would love to work with any good music, no matter how I came upon it. But again, because of our size, we’re not trying to sign 25-35 artists. We just like working with people we already know. Or, we meet musicians through other musicians who we already know well. That’s the kind of relationship that’s been the most rewarding. You go down to the club, see someone you know play, and oh, their friend is playing after them, so you stay for the next act, and you like what you see. That makes me happier than just sort of, you know, hunting out on the field, looking for people to make money with. BTR: It must be more comforting, since you already know the people you are working with. It seems like less of a risk. You know they’re going to deliver. JB: To some degree. There’s also the risk inherent in working with friends, because there’s always going to be differences, and there are always going to be bumps in the road. That can be dangerous too. But, given the two choices, I’d rather work with people who are friends of mine. BTR: We spoke earlier about how much the industry has changed in recent years. Are you happy with the way things are evolving, in that regard? JB: Yeah, though it’s hard to answer that with one single negative or positive. There are a lot of different things happening, though mostly I think it’s very positive. For example, as far as independents go, I think we’re working on a much smarter size than the majors are right now, and the majors are feeling the difficulty of their bulk. At the same time I think there has been a devaluation of music, and it’s starting to be that, to make money with music, you have to be selling Pepsi-Cola, or sinking your music into a movie or a TV show. It's a general devaluation of music – we’re more disposable now. BTR: How do you feel about albums versus singles? JB: I’m very kind of fan-ish, and I love the idea of an album. The packaging, the relationship of one song to another, the sequencing throughout, I just love it. On the other hand, I totally respect the idea of putting together one slamming great song, and I can’t say I have anything against songs. The single approach though...I mourn it because it comes at the loss of the album. BTR: Yeah, I find that singles tend to get old very quickly. I always want to hear the song within the context of the album. JB: I know what you mean. Singles often have that catchy, easy-to-digest chorus with the fast tempos, like the sugar-coated candy that goes down great. It’s fun, and there’s a place for that kind of thing, but sometimes you want the album songs - the songs that maybe don’t you hit you right off the top, and take a little longer to absorb.   BTR: The kind that require a bit more time to fully digest and appreciate. JB: They make for a more satisfying meal.   BTR: Where would you like to see CrystalTop in the next few years? JB: I guess it would be to keep releasing albums, and get to a point where there are enough people interested in our music that we feel stable financially. Then we could add a few artists to the roster, and not feel like we’re endangering anyone already on the label. Be sure to listen to our specialty show on CrystalTop Music, and don't forget to visit CrystalTop online! Link to this article:
I'm not a blogger. It's tough to explain why I'm uncomfortable trying to put my personal musical opinions into words. I can think of a dozen passionate discussions I've had about music in just the past 48 hours. Yet, sitting down to fulfill my blog assignment at 10:51 Sunday evening, I have a hard time committing myself to an essay on why Joe Strummer's Mescaleros albums trump even his finest work with the Clash or why Levon Helm is rock n' rolls most under-appreciated drummer. Both seem to be relatively unpopular opinion among music folk. And I can babble endlessly in support of each. Yet I wouldn't really care to write about either. How do you put Helm's backbeat into words or textually prove Strummer's growth as a songwriter?   Both are beyond me. But let's you and me find a stereo and we can while away the hours pitting Levon Helm against Mitch Mitchell and "Coma Girl" against "White Man in Hammersmith Palais." Such a fine soundtrack as we wax philosophical on the influence of Helm's Southern upbringing on the newly electric sounds of Bob Dylan and The Band. I'd even let you make your case for the Clash with a spin of London calling front to back. Hell, by the time it was through, I'd probably hedge on my own Strummer stance and back your claim that the Clash were the most important rock band of the modern era.   I just haven't put a lot of thought into these things. Maybe that's the beauty of music. It doesn't really demand a lot of thought. It either hits you or not. It's fun to discuss the reasons why we like the things we do, and to argue in defense of our favorites, but little will ever come of it in terms of reaching definitive resolution or changing someone's opinion.   I can't explain why my current favorite album is better than the one I told you about last week. But I really do love them both. And if you wanna give them a chance, I'm pretty sure you'll dig them as well. Probably not even for the same reason I did. And that, again, may be the beauty of it.   There's no right answer and there's no sense even pretending there's even a question. There are just certain things we respond to musically. Some folks never need to experience any music beyond those songs they grow up with, while others spend a lifetime pursuing an insatiable quest for the perfect tune. But novice or aficionado, populist or aristocrat, we all have a common claim to the joys of music.    So, in the space afforded me as BTR guest blogger I shall do my best to offer my own uneducated opinions on music with full awareness of their relative inconsequence to you the reader. I'm not sure yet what form they will take, but I assure you I will have my heart in it. It's well said that, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture…” So, let's dance.   Be sure to check out Twilight Revival to hear some of the awesome music that Brian and his bandmates make. [Link to this post]
As always, there's a plethora of talent coming to the Taste of Chicago. And what makes it even better is all the shows are free and allow you to bring your own snacks and drinks. (unlike other city fests).  With an all-star lineup that features the likes of Cheap Trick, John Mayer, Black Crowes and Los Lonely Boys, some of the lesser acts get lost in the shuffle Umphreys Mcgee is one obvious choice of a band that few have heard of that will bring fans a whole new musical experience. But the two bands opening for John Mayer on the Fourth are without a doubt two groups you should arrive early for.  Rodrigo y Gabriela are an acoustic duo from Mexico that are influenced by in part by heavy metal.  While cutting their chops in the Mexico City club scene the two decided to take their multi-dimensional guitar education into a group and formed their current partnership. Moving to Dublin (yes, Ireland) the group found fans as street performers and in the bars while they developed a diverse, organic guitar sounds.  Their sound tends to be a more upbeat, vivacious groove that is high on energy and passion, which may get lost in a massive outdoor venue, but will be perfect mood music for a delightful afternoon. The mood of the concert will definitely shift when Robert Randolph and the Family Band take the stage. One of the most high energy, body moving acts around, the Boogie-Blues band is led by steel guitar prodigy Robert Randolph. While he dresses more like a top 40 R&B star, Randolph may be the most talented steel guitarist ever, redefining the capabilities of the instrument.  Still rather young for a virtuoso, Randolph has wowed the likes of Eric Clapton, Santana, Ozzy Osbourne and Dave Matthews.  Dancing will be hard to resist during this set. In fact, Randolph himself regularly dances along while the band plays. The rest of the time he'll be driving home a soulful, intense explosion of sound that will leave true music fans in awe and likely wondering if a tame John Mayer is worth sticking around for.   Read more from Brent by visiting Avant Chicago.   [Link to this post]
So, the wife and I hit up the Florida Museum of Natural History the other day, mainly because I wanted to see the Megalodon exhibit (largest shark that ever lived - 60 feet long - would stomp the Kraken) and she wanted to scope out the 'Butterfly Rainforest.' I hate to admit it, but the whole butterfly thing was actually pretty spiffy. There was a dapper black and green one called the Malachite that caught my eye, as well as a highly detailed fellow with camouflaged wings that looked just like an owl's head. Interesting creatures, butterflies. The Megalodon exhibit was somewhat disappointing. They did have a life-size model you could walk through (which was a pretty scary idea to dwell on) and a display case full of various prehistoric shark jaws that really put things into perspective.  The Great White's maw was at one end, as the smallest, and the Megalodon's chompers were at the other, as the largest, with a whole series of other extinct shark chops in between. Basically, you could fit about 10-15 Great White jaws within one Megalodon jaw. Terrifying to imagine.    Unavoidable Latola/Shark Maw Photo But that was about it. The rest of the exhibit was shark teeth, shark teeth, and more shark teeth. Yay. After that, we did the obligatory walk through the museum gift shop, which had all sorts of somewhat interesting curios, but nothing worth paying for. The Astronaut ice cream was there, of course, and so were the hand bubblers (both of  which were  the cat's meow when I was younger) , but there was nothing I could see myself  buying. Maybe it's because the wares were so expensive, or maybe I just don't need a bag of shiny rocks, or a beaker of 'Cosmic Ooze.' I know these shoppes are geared for tykes, but, c'mon, where are the bear traps, blowguns, poison-tipped darts, and Eric Drooker-drawn praying mantis tee shirts? A bearskin rug would have been dope as well.
The Ramones earned their place in music history and Marky Ramone was there for much of the band's hall of fame career.  Recently the band's drummer has been involved in many projects including producing a DVD about the Ramones, a satellite radio show, a spoken word tour and gigs with many punk superstars.  You can throw DJing into the mix as well.  Catch him this Saturday at Debonair Social Club with Jordan Z and Mat Devine of Kill Hannah. RSVP for free entry. Check out more from Brent by visiting Avant Chicago. [Link to this post]
Drummer Dylan says it'll be a good time, and he's not one to lie... The band is back from their midwest tour. Don't miss them, if you're in town; they're playing Arlene's Grocery in NYC Friday July 6th at 10pm! So, celebrate a post-independence with some indie rock. Appropriate, right? Cliche's to the max as usual...
With the BTR mailbox becoming more and more obese, it’s getting difficult to show proper love to the plethora of new albums hitting our desks. Every day we’re blown away by yet another underground band/artist we’ve never heard of, and it seems we can’t get them into rotation fast enough. All our far-flung DJs are busting their humps to corral the freshest quality sonic produce, and we’re working hard to get more specialty content. I mean, in case you hadn’t noticed, BP Fallon is learning everyone with his Wang Dang Doodle, and the Urban Umpires are busy embarrassing every commercial hip-hop station on the planet, with a platform of groundbreaking shows including BTR Downtime, The Third Rail, Bhangra Beats, BTR Latin Hip-Hop, BTR Dance Hall, and the Electric Avenue. Basically, we got the soundtrack for whatever kind of house party you may be throwing, commercial free and totally uncensored by suckers. So be sure to hearken to our Program Guide, which basically acts as our channel channel (minus all the superfluous infomercials). Musical salvation lies within. That said, here are a few albums we’ve been digging on as of late. From their unique, spotlight-shifting huddle around two condenser microphones, the five gentlemen of the Athens-based Packway Handle Band deliver a fat helping of hybrid bluegrass on this excellent live EP,  featuring songs about sinning, saints, and snorting liquor, never mind some of the fastest mandolin plucking you'll ever hear (see "Tell It To Me"). You would never guess that Michael Paynter plays said mandolin upside-down.  He slows it up a bit for "Sinner, You Better Get Ready," which has to be the highlight of the EP, as it features everything great about the PHB (tight harmonies, quick instrumental solos, and amazing group singing at the end). They're a hoot of a band to behold live, and one you can see for yourself within the next few months. The PHB is playing dates all over the United States, including stops in Colorado, New York, Louisiana, Montana, Idaho and New Mexico. Click here to read about their recent stop in Gainesville, Florida. Those of you have been gathering around the BTR campfire for a while will find a familiar voice within this Australian trio. Wally DeBacker (aka Gotye) sings and plays drums within The Basics, in the tradition of Phil Collins (Genesis), Robert Wyatt (the Soft Machine) and Nick Robbins (Velveteen Pink). DJ Emily thinks DeBacker sounds a lot like Sting at times, and it's hard to dispute that, especially during "Bitten By The Same Bug."  But it's not all Wally, as both Tim Heath (guitar) and Kris Schroeder (bass) also handle lead vocals. And The Basics'  brew of cheery, 50's-style rock  is far different from the more epic, introspective music of Gotye, with tightly-crafted blasts of poppy gold that prove difficult to forget. Tracks like "Lookin' Over My Shoulder" and "Hey There!" are not to be missed. Mike Maines flexes his superior instrumental and pacing muscles in Broken Swan Bellows, exploring a wide-ranging geography of sound that is absolutely staggering in its scope. Some songs could be considered classical ("Recessional"), while others might be found amidst gypsy campfires ("Dance For Cygnet") or fantasy role-playing games for your computer ("Departure"). Maines even channels some of that Spanish guitar in "Hunter Song," a la Paco De Lucia,  before bringing the flute within the battle march of "Foothold." He's a true one-man band, in that his singular vision is solid, and needs no collaboration for fruition. That's a damned rare thing these days. Why make one new album when you can make two? Mike Maines continues the epic, darkened country storytelling of Senali Green and Promotion, Mr. Ponyhands with White Heather; an album that puts his dynamic singing voice at the forefront. "I know you've never really heard me sing," he says within "Deny Defeat," and the words hit like a shocking revelation. Since 2001, Maines has released 19 full-length albums, three EPs and a slew of split contributions under his ASPE handle, many of which feature his voice as an integral component. But I'd never focussed on his singing, which is just beautiful on White Heather. Songs like "Baby Blue," "You Learn," and "A Marriage of Cutthroats" truly stand out in that regard. They stay with you, like the right  amount of sunlight, warming your bones long after the moon has risen. It's the perfect album for an introspective evening at home, especially when you have no responsibilities to pollute your thoughts. It's hard to describe The Old Soul without using words like 'cartoon,' 'cantina,' 'harpsichord,' 'zydeco' and 'Beck.' This eight piece band from Toronto has a flair for the absurdly whimsical, like one of those Nintendo games geared for overly spastic children. Lead man Luca Maoloni spins yarns about vegetables, nitwit nectar and croquet, in a voice that sounds a lot like Beau Jennings (see "I'd Love You In The Hatstack" or "All My Godz"). Somehow, it all comes together with the music, like some singing, multi-patterned patchwork quilt hanging from the wall at Pee Wee's Playhouse. Sure, it takes a few listens to fully absorb all that is going on, but once you get there, it's hard to deny the band's skills.
Religion, Rap music and politics are a combination that shouldn't be lumped together.  But recently a church of the South side of Chicago purchased billboard space calling some contemporary rappers' music “trash” seems to have broached the subject. While the move has been met with praise, it is in fact moralistic grandstanding and false artistic interpretation. And while the moral and artistic shortcomings of the church's ploy could be deconstructed in detail, we find a historic angle that deserves commentary as well. Music, more specifically black forms of the auditory art, have oft been criticized by the holier-than-thou types for it's ability to turn the good to evil or the passive to aggressive. Blues music found detractors in both white and black judgment as it rose to popularity and was being co-opted into Rock and Roll. Blues in it earlier forms had been called the devil's music and was cited as a cause for violence, inappropriate race mixing and sexual freedom.  Similarly, years later Disco (which was basically co-opted Funk) was lambasted by conservative types for many of the same negatives supposedly found in Blues, with drug use also included. Today Rap has found itself facing similar detractors.  The cultural expression as an art form (complete with negative imagery and degrading lyrics) has been under attack for contributing to the continued oppressive conditions of African-Americans.  We're not debating that the expressions in Rap can be damaging, what we are crying foul against is the attack on freedom of speech.  Art is a product born in part out of an artist's environment and innate perspective and any attempt to restrict these voices is nothing short of fascist.  We suggest if people want to change the creative voice of Rap music that they listen to the words of Windy City Hip-Hop artist Shala Esquire, “Don't fix the music, fix what causes the music.”   Read more from Brent by visiting Avant Chicago. [Link to this post]
My life has been a MESS lately. Do you ever get like that? One thing goes wrong and then everything else seems to crumble as well? Luckily, I'm on the path to recovery! haha  BUT, for a while there, I was considering dropping off the face of the earth... disappearing to Australia or something and starting over. Anyway, things are looking up. We've got so much great programming here on BTR and I'm loving every second of it. I'm actually listening to my Tuesday show right now. I really think all offices should have music playing in the background... preferably music from BTR and not that muzak stuff. Seriously, listening to good music is the cure for anything! Plus, it really lightens the mood, de-stresses people, and in turn increases productivity. So, turn up the music!! Especially if it's good stuff like the tracks we're spinning on BTR. I think, for me, one of the best NEW bands to BTR would be Packway Handle Band. They're from Athens, GA and all it took me was one night with these boys to be completely in love. (don't be thinking dirty thoughts!!) I actually did a review of the show they did, not too long ago here in Gainesville, FL. Please check it out and be listening up. I plan on having these guys in heavy rotation in my shows so you can hear just what they're all about. Hell, I love these guys so much I might even throw them in Ladies Skate! (my all FEMALE show!) Other great stuff to check out.... I'm hooked on JAPW (Joan As Police Woman) and Sylvie Lewis. Both ladies have new albums out on Cheap Lullaby Records. So, listen up for these ladies on the site as well. I'm out for now... Leaving you with a picture of my new puppy. His name is Klaus!(named after Willem Dafoe's character in Life Aquatic!) XOXO, Em
Don't waste your cash on flyers, just make some and put them up.  It's good advice and it seems Them Roaring Twenties have started in the right direction. The venue is their loft above Lava Lounge and the Twenties make music you'll wanna check tonight. A mix of sporadic-experimental jazz tinged liberally with soft-rock, it's nice music to build up the night with. They'll be joined by Algernon Cadwallader. (West Philly band that sounds like a guitar-driven Ween) Show starts early at 8, so you can catch this and then head out for more madness. Read more from Brent by visiting Avant Chicago.
Chicago is a city brimming with little-record-labels-that-could, mixing what this city does best, hard working Midwest work ethic with an eye on the cutting edge. One such label that has steadily built up a strong group of artists is now showing they're ready to begin building an equally strong catalog. Paribus Records artists generally offer up dreamy (dreary) electronic rock, but they all have a delightfully unique sound.  Menowah, whose recent EP After Everything is a record all the art kids and grungy post rockers need to pick up.  It's perfect gritty chill out music or gradual party starter. Menowah strikes a balance between Boards of Canada-esque reflections and more energetic, pulsating, hip-shaking pieces that offer a middle ground that makes their form of electronica easily digestible.  Paribus also has upcoming releases from LMNOP (sexy, hypnotic beats) and a strong effort from sally (music is an action and sally is hallucinogenic desire).  With these new releases, Paribus seems to have graduated from upstart label to rising player in Chicago's impressive record label field.   Read more from Brent by visiting Avant Chicago. [Link to this post]
What's better than a tour of one of the most important historical aspects of Chicago, like our long tradition of putting out amazing blues artists? Well, how about one that's free, downloadable to your mp3 player and narrated by Buddy Guy. The City of Chicago has done just that with a new self-guided blues tour that leads you all around Chicago's blues landmarks from Maxwell Street to Chess Records to the former home of Muddy Waters. While you're walking, you'll hear interviews with legends like Koko Taylor and Buddy Guy and hear profiles on musicians such as Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, just to name a few. Best of all, the tour will take you under an hour. Perfect for lunchtime, or when you just want to get a little bit of Chicago history under your feet and between your ears. Buddy Guy Photo by Derrick Santini   Read more from Anne by visiting Gapers Block: Transmission.
I say this with all love and admiration, but damn if lead singer of Apostle of Hustle Andrew Whiteman doesn't look like some cross between a flamingo and a fraggle on stage. Maybe it's his mop of curly hair and the way he hops around the stage with his guitar for each song, or maybe it's just because he seems to honestly enjoy what he's doing so much as to seem other-worldly, but damn, he's entrancing. I first saw Whiteman playing with fellow Canadians Broken Social Scene at last summer's Lollapalooza, where he would crouch down between every song or two and take long swigs from a bottle of red wine. Later, he used the bottle as a slide on his guitar. (Yup, I fell a little bit in love with him that day.) In his current side project, Apostle of Hustle, Whiteman is still fun to watch, though he was sipping from a small glass of dark liquor last night, not the vino.   Apostle of Hustle is usually a quintet, but last night it was a trio made up of Whiteman, Julian Brown (bass/vocals) and Dean Stone (drums/percussion). The three started on time (thank you, Schubas!) on their latest Wednesday night "Practice Space" residency at the club. [They've been splitting small shows between Chicago and NYC's Mercury Lounge this month (in fact, this picture from a Mercury Lounge show last week looks very similar – even down to Whiteman’s tshirt – to last night’s Schubas show), and the last set is coming up next week (so mark your calendars…they'll also be playing a show in central park Sunday, folks).]   They started the night out with one of my favorite songs off their latest album National Anthem of Nowhere, "My Sword Hand's Anger" and went into "National Anthem of…" straight after. The banter was limited, with Whiteman trying to set up a "mental picture" in case we got bored with the long instrumental opener to "Fast Pony for Victor Jara" which involved a pony express rider and the severed heads of some national politicians. It was nice to see Stone get out from behind the kit for this song and beat on a box drum (called a flamenco cajón for you detail-oriented folk out there). The set was rounded out by a group of Mexican-influenced songs (including "Song for Lorca" complete with a Lorca spoken-word intro) sung amid a tattered plastic flag banner the band strung up just for the occasion. Whiteman and Brown strummed, they did little jigs, they cast sly looks at each other, and into the audience.   But this was no goofy small crowd blow off. It was splendid rock. Apostle has a wonderful way of mixing their jams with a truly captivating stage presence and they do nothing but exude a real enthusiasm for live performance. My advice: check them out live, while you have the chance to get nice and cozy.   Read more from Anne by visiting Gapers Block: Transmission. [Link to this post]
It's hard to believe for me that the station has been around as long as it has! I joined BTR about four months into it's inception, and it's been a wild ride to say the least. Having been away from the music scene awhile, it's been great to get back into the "town-crier" mentality about new artists and bands---reminiscent of days in college radio. From my perspective and from talking to bands, BTR has been one of those few diamond in the roughs for indie bands. A perfect blend of underground and cherry-picking quality, untouched by commercial or label influence. From a listener standpoint, it's a pure source for new music. Depending on what market you live in (and what country), your choices for music may be limited. That's what internet radio's all about. I feel like BTR has really come in to it's own this past year. It's taken shape, moreso than a year ago---both in staff and consistent new artists, artist quality. And talk about expansion! Programming is growing every day! So are our listeners (danke). Everyone--Keep it up, spread the word, and Happy Birthday BTR!
Let's begin by saying that this album truly made me believe in second chances... A week or so ago, I was driving in my car when I decided to pop in the latest release from Sylvie Lewis, entitled Translations. A few songs in, I didn't like it. In short, it sounded good; she's got a beautiful voice and all, but I was bored. I kept the album going but my mind drifted off and it became nothing more than background noise. Days later I was lying in bed, not sleeping. I decided to give the album another chance. I figured it might help put me to sleep. However, to my surprise, I went off on a journey. Each track on the album felt like an act in a play, and a really good play at that. I found myself listening intently to every word of every song, not wanting to miss a beat. A smile beamed across my face at each and every cleverly executed lyric. Sylvie's voice is clear, crisp, and whimsical. She tells you a story, then leads you through a revolving door and straight into another enchanting tale. As a whole, the album feels much like a dream. With each new song you are introduced to different characters, while the setting continually evolves along the way. The title, Translations, could not be more fitting. Even within a single track, Sylvie manges to take the listener for a ride. In "Starsong", the first track on the album, it's kind of hard to tell exactly where the story will go. In the opening measures Ms. Lewis sings almost a cappella style, with nothing but the faint sound of a guitar being plucked in the background. As she slowly releases the first lines,  "Your laughter filled the silence, like stars fill up the night. So I kissed you underneath a heaven, that looked and sounded so bright," one might think she were about to tell a tale of finding love. But the Carly Simon-esque darkness in her voice combined with the brilliantly disguised disgust in her lyrics hints at a different outcome. Immediately after that lyric, the instrumentals kick in. First, a  maraca, then a tambourine, followed by  a happy strum on the guitar and a lively bass line. She then asks her former lover a question, transforming her voice with staccato flair, "When you looked at the stars did you know, could you tell that the ending of our love would not go very well?"  The change in rhythm brings out a cheeky attitude as she reminisces about a lost love. With her brilliantly crafted, poetic lyrics, there is not one dull moment on the album. They are songs that you can listen to again and again, yet continue to find hidden nuances. It's very easy to get lost in lyrics, which are unbelievably charming in their honesty.  Tracks such as "Death By Beauty" and "Happy Like That" touch on topics not discussed everyday, with the former depicting insecurities in a world filled with "pretty girls" who "like to be admired wherever they go," and the latter describing married men flirting in bars because they "want to be wanted" and pushing the flirting far because "they know they are safe". The album could fall into many categories: folk, singer-songwriter, and even jazz. It does not fall into any one particular genre, nor does it fall into any one time period. Remnants of decades ranging from the 30's to the 70's, and up to the present can be heard within its tunes. Sylvie has managed to capture a timeless sound, while utilizing beautiful poetry and alluring stories; a combination rare for someone in this generation. So, it's quite ironic when you hear this line on the record: "As for music, all the good songs are covers anyway". Not true Sylvie. And thank you for proving yourself wrong. Sylive Lewis's new release, Translations is out June 26, 2007, on Cheap Lullaby Records.  Listen up for new music from Sylvie here on BTR.  Also, check out other artists on Cheap Lullaby Records by CLICKING HERE. Link to this article:
Today marked the official end of an era in beloved music publication: Punk Planet is no more. Their current issue (No. 80) will be the magazine's last with interviews with the G7 Welcoming Committee, Andre Schiffrin, and The Steinways. In their 13th year, the magazine lost the struggle over issues with a bankrupt distributor (issues that are also plaguing other indie publications like McSweeney's who also are sending up the warning flags). As PP puts it in their farewell note, "Benefit shows are no longer enough to make up for bad distribution deals, disappearing advertisers, and a decreasing audience of subscribers." The website will remain up and active, as will the Punk Planet books division, and we can all help to support them (*cough* buy something! *cough*) so that some day, some way, they can return to us.   Also in the Chicago music newswire, local label Contraphonic has cut the ties to its parent label, the No Karma Music Group (which also includes Loose Thread Recordings and Brilliante Records), and has struck out on its own, bringing a few bands along with. They've already signed Branches, Crush Kill Destroy, The Lesser Birds of Paradise, Joshua Marcus and The Thin Man over from No Karma. Joining them as well is former Jagjaguwar recording artist Bevel (aka guitarist Via Nuon of the bands Drunk and Manishevitz).   We wish you luck, little music label and remind everyone to support all of your local labels along with your local record stores (and favorite music publications) every day.   Read more from Anne by visiting Gapers Block: Transmission.
Ok, it's a bit complicated. No, really, that's the name of Art Brut's new album (due out 6/19), It's a Bit Complicated. What does this have to do with you? Well, that's the simple part. To celebrate this latest release from UK indie troubadour types Art Brut, you can head out to any of four Beauty Bars nationwide (in NYC, LA, SF or Austin) Monday night for a "super fun" Karaoke Party. Yes, even you, non-indie rocker that you are, can sing along to the album before it's even released. How can that happen, you say? How will I know the words, or the melody, or the swarthy looks to cast out into the audience of pegged-jeans onlookers? Well, for starters you can hear the entire ding dong album at the band's MySpace page. (Isn't the interweb a delight?)   And since the band's not playing a U.S. show until Bumbershoot in September (after a mini-tour this past spring…if you snoozed, you….losed), for live Brut inspiration you'll want to check out this YouTube video of them hitting The Bowery back in April, or read this play-by-play review of their Chicago show at Subterranean a few days later.   Or, hey, hear a few singles right now:   Art Brut - "Direct Hit" Real -   Art Brut - "Pump Up The Volume" Real -   Art Brut - "Nag Nag Nag Nag" Real - Visit Gapers Block: Transmission to read more from Anne. [Link to this post]