Yo, Because of the recent success of the Solly remix of Never Gonna’ Give You Up (currently charting at number 8 on hypem’s most popular song list), Solly decided to send me his most recent track, a remix of Brooklyn We Go Hard by JayZ. I have to say this song is one of the best I’ve heard in a couple of weeks (and that’s a lot these days). A lot more elaborate than his other remixes (which are still very good), Brooklyn is a Bmore banger and you’re gonna’ love it! Link To This Post Check out Rooftop Fistfights!
Well, here it is! Some DJs were more loquacious than others, in explaining their choices, but everyone nailed a top five, and almost everyone picked a favorite song for 2008. It was tough, of course, but the BTR DJs persevered. It truly was an amazing year for music. DJ Wynn (Mondays, BTR Worldwide Hour, Revolver) 1. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes Speaks to my "Mountain-Man" side. That's the part of me that wouldn't mind living off the land somewhere in the hilly Midwest, which is the perfect setting for Robin Pecknold's majestic vocals. I understand that the wild might not provide the proper equipment for playing this record, but seeing as how the melodies attach themselves so securely to your brain, I'll never have to figure out the schematics for a pinecone radio. Let's hope they go the Neon Bible route for their sophomore record, and not down the Second Coming path. 2. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping Kevin Barnes has figured out a formula that makes music perpetually grow on you. The first listen might not blow you away, but as your brain starts to process the intricate tempo changes and all the risque one-liners sneaked in ("We can do it softcore if you want/ But you should know I take it both ways"), you'll soon discover how much you love this record. Their spectacular live show might have factored into this number two selection. 3. M83 - Saturdays = Youth M83's delicately synthy record recalls the intimacy and delight of a high school dance, while still adding enough modern touches to stay relevant. Tracks have an eighties shake to them, but now you can appreciate it more without acne and midterms on the brain. 4. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles Where the previous album delves into the past, Crystal Castles are barging through the future. The beats on their debut album have a chiptune squeal, but no other Gameboy artist has Alice Glass to elevate their 8-bit beats to another level. 5. The Cool Kids - The Bake Sale With "Sega" and "Fruity Pebbles" references, The Cool Kids have found a way to avoid the cliché pitfalls of Hip-Hop while still throwing nods to their elders. Not to mention that they're as ice cold as their name implies without being dicks about it. Best Song:  Passion Pit - "Sleepyhead" Let's go down the list: 1) Hipster approval, check! 2) Handclaps, check ! 3) Distorted yet hypnotizing female accompaniment, check! 4) Chorus you can scream to, check!  Basically, the "crack" of indie singles. ---------- DJ Emily (Tuesdays, Alt-Country, Ladies Skate Only, Matt and Emily Show) 1. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping 2. Killola - I Am The Messer 3. The Ettes - Look At Life Again Soon 4. Yelle - Pop Up 5. Mumpsy - Cat & Canary ---------- DJ RePete (Wednesdays, Backroom Blues Hour) 1. Noah and the Whale - Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down Best flowing album of 2008 in my view. A track for everyone and solid lyrics from this UK band.   2. +/- - X's On Your Eyes An album of singles! As a DJ, it was a dilemma to pick the track to introduce them with. But thankfully most all the BTR DJ's agreed and they've all gotten plenty of airplay...   3. CSS - Donkey Unofficially, no album got more spins on BTR this year than this one. Officially, it was the most univerally loved. Catchy and electronica crossover yields its diversity and explains its univeral appeal, radio friendly album.   4. Kristoffer Ragnstam - Wrong Side Of The Room An underplayed album but always on this DJ's iPod. Great lyrics and the album's changeable tracks make the album random and unexpected. It doesn't speak well for a flowing album, but still a favorite none-the-less.   5. Ladyhawke - Paris Is Burning EP It could just be because it's recent and I'm still digesting it, but this short collection of electronica pop tracks are a crowd party pleaser, workout music, and great morning energy music... Well produced tracks.   Favorite Song: Jumbling Towers - "Jeer." I've never heard a song like it. ---------- DJ Lottie (Thursdays, All Access, Sideshow Acts, Spotlight On The City) 1. Tim Fite - Fair Ain't Fair 2. Destroyer - Trouble in Dreams 3. Karl Blau - Nature's Got Away 4. Lightspeed Champion - Falling off the Lavender Bridge 5. Death Vessel - Nothing is Precious Enough for Us Favorite Song: Lykke Li - "I'm Good, I'm Gone" ---------- DJ Latola (Fridays, Dapper Fitting Drinking Hour, Matt and Emily Show) 1. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago This is album is so sad, it made me cry in public. Never has a record so relentlessly brought my normally bottled-up emotions to the surface. 2. The Walkmen - You & Me An album for adults, by adults, about adult things. Only adults have the capacity to look back and reflect on 30+ years worth of memories, good and bad. A sobering listen. 3. Flying Lotus - Los Angeles I listen to this record, and get angry at how good the production is. It's a straight-up jealousy thing. 4. Microcastle - Deerhunter A late addition to the list, but justified. Once I heard the first song, the appropriately titled "Intro," I knew. This one is timeless. 5. Jumbling Towers - Classy Entertainment EP Joe DeBoer has the best voice ever. This band is hilariously underrated. Favorite Song: The Walkmen - "In The New Year" ---------- DJ Madalyn (Saturdays, All Access, God Bless Weirdmerica) I can't rank them.  Beach House - Devotion Los Campesinos - Hold On Now Youngster Deerhunter - Microcastles/Weird Era Women - Women Blitzen Trapper - Furr (I'm picking this only because I feel it was incredibly underrated and deserves more press) Favorite Song: The Very Best - "Dinosaur On The Ark"  ---------- DJ Drew (Sundays, BTR Reggae Hour) 1. Ween - Live at Cat's Cradle, 1992 2. Dub Trio - Another Sound Is Dying 3. Thievery Corporation - Radio Retaliation 4. Benga - Diary of An Afro Warrior 5. Prince Fatty - Survival Of The Fattest ---------- DJ Annie (The Mixtape Show, The BTR Top Ten) 1. Women - Women 2. No Age - Nouns 3. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins 4. Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line 5. She & Him - Volume One Favorite Song: Lykke Li - "I'm Good I'm Gone" ---------- DJ Chris H (TransPacific) OK, here's my Australia/New Zealand-tinged Top 5... Pivot - O Soundtrack My Heart New Zealand  meets Krautrock via glitchy electronics, art-rock, drum 'n' bass, even electro... Surprising maturity and power. Amazing playing and instrumentation. A landmark album. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colors Giorgio Moroder would be proud. The 80's done really well. Agree with Pitchfork's review, listening to this album, it's both "easy and ingenious". Sand Pebbles - Ceduna Hazy psych-rock, reminds me of Australian surf summers in the 70's. A soundtrack to a time, yet extremely modern and accessible. Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Primary Colors Simple, hard driving garage-punk yet still very layered and complex. Raw and energetic. Carries on the tradition of great Australian underground rock. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Dig! Lazarus, Dig! Uncle Nick does it again. He can't make a bad record. Filled with humor, death, religion, dangerous yet formidable women, and big chunks of literature, all delivered beautifully by the ultimate deranged preacher of Australian rock. Favorite Song: Ladyhawke - "Dusk Til Dawn" Heard it in-store while looking for gloves at Old Navy one Sunday afternoon, and dammit, I haven't been able to get it out of my head for weeks. "Bang, bang, bang... on the wall... from dusk til dawn." Clocking in at 2.36, too. Honorable mentions from the outside world: Thievery Corparation - Radio Retaliation Nightmares On Wax - Thought So... Matmos - Supreme Balloon M83 - Saturdays = Youth Autechre - Quaristice ---------- DJ DoseU (The Rock Show, Anatomy of a Blogger, Downtown & Brooklyn, Remix Hour) 1. Deerhunter - Microcastle 2. Bon Iver - For Emma Forever Ago 3. Brendan Canning - Something For All Of Us... 4. Chad Vangaalen - Soft Airplane 5. Sebastien Tellier - Sexuality Best Song: Bon Iver - "Re: Stacks" ---------- DJ Laura (Jam Session) 1. Marco Benevento - Invisible Baby One half of the Benevento/Russo Duo, Marco's solo album (with killer special guests) shows off his quirky musicianship. The music soars, chills out, shocks, and overall delivers itself as a superb session of instrumentals. 2. Jesse Dee - Bittersweet Batch One listen to Jesse Dee's strong, soulful voice and vibrant rhythm section and you'll be wondering if you traveled back in time when music was real, raw, punchy, and sexy. 3. The Brew - Back to the Woods The Brew's keyboardist and lead vocalist Chris Plante has an infectious voice. Combine that with funky, jammy rock and you'll be singing along and dancing around in total happiness. 4. The Orange Ocean - Caught in the Air New name, even bettersound. Some songs are heartwarmingly poppy and possibly to get chicks, but overall the album is feel-good rock. 5. Girls Guns and Glory - Inverted Valentine   This is the kind of twangy, country, folk rock that will shock those who always claimed they don't dig country. Lead vocalist Ward Hayden can make any country disbeliever find GGG as the exception to their rule. Favorite Song: The Brew - "Seen It All" One of the better songs of the year to dance to, incredibly on the album and performed live, and a guaranteed sing-a-long that will melt your heart a little. Ah, the holidaze and warm feelings! ---------- DJ Jezz (BTR Live at Pianos, Get In The Van, Step-It-Up) In no particular order... Mercury Rev - Snowflake Midnight Stunning new album from the always inventive Mercury Rev. Let the whole album play all the way through for the full effect. Earlimart - Hymn & Her Now down to a duo (Aaron Espinoza & Ariana Murray) Earlimart  return with their sixth studio album. Beautifully crafted , melodic, songs take you through one of the best albums of the year. The Love Me Nots - Detroit Out of Phoenix, Arizona comes the soundtrack to your very own 60's spy movie. The LMN's second studio album continues where the first outing In Black And White left off. Produced by Jim Diamond (White Stripes, Romantics), as was the previous album, it dares you to sit still.  Definitely a band to look out for in 2009. The Ettes - Look At Life Again Soon Recorded at Liam Watson's Toe Rag studio in London, The Ette's second album is Power Garage that can hold it's own with the very best. Coco, Poni, & Jem deliver another slice of ferocious emotion. A great band to see live, if you get the chance. Joseph Arthur & The Lonely Astronauts - Temporary People It's been quite a prolific year for Joe. Not only has this full length come out, but he also had time to release four solo EPs this year. J.A. is one of the true great American songwriters. If you are not aware of Joe's music, please take the time to check out this great album. Favorite Song: The Airborne Toxic Event - "Sometimes Around Midnight" A song that will feature heavily on most top song lists for the year. Be sure to check out the exclusive BTR Live version, which was first broadcasted back in July. ---------- DJ Laura C. Chord (The Scenic Route) 1. Young Rival - Young Rival EP 2. The Neins Circa - C.S. Rippen EP 3. The Bicycles - Oh No, It's Love 4. Coeur de Pirate - Coeur de Pirate 5. Sloan - Parallel Play Link to this article:
Franz Ferdinand Tonight Release Date: December 31, 2008 It's been quite a while since anyone cared about anything coming from the Franz Ferdinand corner. After the aptly titled, You Could Have Had It So Much Better, it didn't seem like the guys would recover from the one-hit wonder of "Take Me Out." However, with intriguing studio practices and two promising and energetic singles off their upcoming album, Tonight, there may be something better after all. Not only did it take much longer to create this album, but according to main man, Alex Kopranos, he preferred creating an album that was different from anything they had already created. What's more, they initially wanted to work with pop-machine, Brian Higgins (Cher, Kylie Minogue, etc.), but called it off. According to drummer Paul Thomson, "We just realized that we're not really a pop group." And with that, all bets are off. The album could be anything in the eye of the average listener. Additionally, Kapranos explained that the group played much of the percussion with human bones to achieve "a real dry, percussive sound." Mission accomplished. They clapped them together, rattled a jaw bone in a jar, and used the ribs for extra rhythm, cryptic. But the group maintained that at least the performance in the studio would be fueled with "joy." "Ulysses" and "Lucid Dreams" are two perfect examples. The former is a dark humming dance track with a satisfying itchy guitar to accompany the otherwise off-pop chances they've taken. "Lucid Dreams," however is far more celebratory, a classically slick Rock n' Roll track to doll up your quaff to before a fast night in the city. While neither one quite makes up for feeding fans their highest achievement at the outset, they are promising at the least, especially when they've got the gift of blind passion for dance music. Link to this article:
Hey guys, I’m quite excited because my session is over with. We’ll now be able to focus on our work and the improvement of this blog. I felt smooth today and I listen to some Cut Copy and some of The Twelves stuff. These guys from Brazil are extremely good producers and I’ve liked their stuff from the beginning.  Here are some of my favorite tracks, excluding the old bangers such as their remix of Boys by M.I.A. Hope you like it as much as I do. Black kids - I’m not gonna teach you boyfriend how to dance (The Twelves remix) Black Kids - Hurricane Jane (The Twelves remix) The Virgins - Rich Girls (The Twelves remix) Zeigeist - Humanitarianism (The Twelves remix) The Twelves - When you talk The Twelves - Works for me Good night! Link To This Post Check out Rooftop Fistfights!
We just received a new remix by LAZRTAG here at rooftopfistfights inc. , freshly cooked out of the oven, and I thought I should let you in on the news. The original song’s by Bonde Do Role, and the remix is extremely intense, a great peak time song for sure. This may be a proof that intense electro might not be completely dead, even though the remix is still very crunk-oriented. Anyway, the song is very good, and it’ll make you dance/jump during its whole 4 minutes 32 seconds’ running time. Bonde Do Role - Solta O Frango (LAZRTAG Remix) …and I’ll keep you posted for other shits because, remember, tomorrow night it’s Le Bal Masqué @ Le Social and I’ll be playing with the BSBTRGDCLUB which should be pretty fun(ny)! Link To This Post Check out Rooftop Fistfights!  
I ask this question sincerely, because I seem to remember their sophomore album, You Could Have It So Much Better, being a disappointment to many fans. Me being the lovable loyalist that I am (blame the Zodiac), I actually liked that hurried yet divergent follow up to the smash hit debut bonanza, Franz Ferdinand. And now that it’s been nearly four years since we’ve heard really anything from these sassy Scots, my curiousity remains: Do people still like Franz Ferdinand? Rhetorically speaking, the brand new cuts from the band may just make you stand up and scream, “HELL YES!” Really, the two songs that we’ve been thus far treated to (“Ulysses” was debuted on BBC Radio just this past Monday, and an apparently alternate version of “Lucid Dreams” was released in August) are reminiscent enough of their sultry, sinister dance punk to make fans of “Take Me Out” and “The Dark of the Matinee” squeal like they were guests on The Ed Sullivan Show. I’m not kidding, you pessimistic poo-bahs. Alex Kapranos, the slender man with the sleek, baritone voice, has mentioned that they took much longer to make Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, telling Rolling Stone that “we wanted to spend more time developing, and also, I suppose, allowing songs and sounds to evolve more before we ended up writing an album, and absorbing more music and ideas and, I suppose, life itself.” In a separate interview, he also mentioned that drummer Paul Thomson has been “listening to a lot of African stuff”. Whoa. Luckily, you can sample right here, right now, those two new songs. “Ulysses” is a mysterious, foot-stomping affair, beginning with Kapranos in a dark alley whispering about gettin’ high over a clickity-clack drum beat, before some bright, gurgly electro keys light up the rest of the band. Nick McCarthy’s stringent punk rhythms bridge the divide and catapult the chorus. “Lucid Dreams” blends funky synths again with tight, danceable guitar licks while Kapranos breaks down the walls of nationalism. Link To This Post Check out Seattle Subsonic!
Neko Case is local, right? I mean, she lived here for a time (although I read somewhere that she moved to Chicago because she felt Seattle didn’t support its local artists very well—gah!), and she’s notably embellished the records of Vancouver, B.C. power poppers the New Pornographers, not to mention her repeated appearances at Sasquatch. But who cares, really. You don’t have to local to be awesome (though it helps), and Ms. Case is certainly that. It’s been three long years since we had the luscious alt-country musings of Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (”Hold On, Hold On” still wafts through my brain on frequent occasion, pleading with my hands to place the goddam disc in the player, already!), and now there’s word that Anti- will be releasing her latest, the nominally severe Middle Cyclone, March 3rd, 2009. They’ve described it as “bold” and “elemental”. Uh, ok. I haven’t heard any of the tracks yet, but hopefully I’ll be able to come up with something better than that. I for sure won’t be able to come up with something better than that album cover she’s got goin’ on. Hell yeah, I wanna be the fearless, sword-wielding firehead atop the hood of a vintage cherry muscle car. Who says I can’t dream? From Anti-’s website: “‘Middle Cyclone ‘was produced by Case with Darryl Neudorf and recorded in Tucson, Brooklyn, Toronto, and Vermont. It features Case backed by her core band - guitarist Paul Rigby, bassist Tom V. Ray, backing vocalist Kelly Hogan, multi-instrumentalist Jon Rauhouse, and drummer Barry Mirochnick - along with numerous guests including M. Ward, Garth Hudson, Sarah Harmer, and members of The New Pornographers, Los Lobos, Calexico, The Sadies, Visqueen, The Lilys, and Giant Sand, among others. In addition to twelve new songs written by Case, ‘Middle Cyclone’ includes covers of ‘Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth’ by Sparks, and “Don’t Forget Me” by Harry Nilsson.” Middle Cyclone tracklisting: 1. This Tornado Loves You 2. The Next Time You Say Forever 3. People Got A Lotta Nerve 4. Polar Nettles 5. Vengeance Is Sleeping 6. Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth 7. Middle Cyclone 8. Fever 9. Magpie To The Morning 10. I’m An Animal 11. Prison Girls 12. Don’t Forget Me 13. The Pharaohs 14. Red Tide 15. Marais La Nuit Link To This Post Check out Seattle Subsonic!
This week for "Hello, My Name Is..."  we have bands from Brooklyn,  New York, Olympia, Washington, and one of our All Access college favorites who hail from Ann Arbor, Michigan.  This edition of "Hello, My Name Is..." has some interesting stories, including a band that can barely remember how they got their name and one with an  out-of-date acronym. LAKE hails from Olympia, Washington and plays beautiful indie-pop tunes.  With their laid-back musical vibe, this band definitely sounds like they're from the West Coast.  Songs like "Oh the Places" and "Higher Than Merry,"  (currently in rotation on BTR) float along beautifully - relaxed and comfortable.  Elijah Moore explains how LAKE got their name.  "The original band members names were Lindsay, Ashley, Kenny, and Eli (L.A.K.E.).  That's how we got the name. For a long time we wrote it out as an acronym, but since Kenny isn't in the band, and since we have other new members, it doesn't spell L.A.K.E. anymore, but we kept the name anyway. Now it's LAKE." These days it's hard to keep band names straight.  When you think of a band with Antlers in the title, you might think of Crystal Antlers, which you could get confused with Crystal Castles, not to mention Crystal Stilts, and wait- is there a band called the Antler Stilts?  The Antlers, though, keep it plain and simple.  Their songs are beautiful compositions, and as Peter Silberman explains, the band name fits their music very well.  "I've been asked this before and never quite know how to answer it.  The name came about a few years ago after I got sick of recording under my own name, wanting to move away from the whole singer-songwriter thing and move toward more of a band or collective.  The name was decided pretty quickly, and might have come from a Microphones song called "Antlers," though someone I used to be involved with claims 'The Antlers' was the name of her imaginary childhood band of deer.  I'm not entirely sure I believe that's where the name came from, so as far as I can tell, it's a bit of a mystery.  But as time has gone on and the sound has changed, the name has felt more and more appropriate.  Like a lot of our songs, antlers start off small, grow enormous, then fall off." We have another band-appropriate name on the All Access College end of the spectrum.  My Dear Disco's dance rock fits perfectly with their name.  Bob Lester from the band explains that the name is "a slight homage to Ghostly artist Matthew Dear, whom has had a great influence on my musical and production tastes.  Disco, because we love dance music, making ourselves and other people move together.  Dancing is powerful and the original Disco music was one of the first forms of dance music to incorporate a lot of synthetic and electronic sounds which are a core of our style and also combine them with live instruments played by really talented studio musicians.  'My Dear' because Disco has gone through its ups and downs, its been ridiculed and eulogized.  Our music is Disco to us because it makes us move, and brings together the physically liberated on dance floors and in living rooms across the country in the good name of shaking ass next to friends and strangers." Link to this article:
It's that time of year! These are some of my most favorite songs from 2008, which actually vary quite a bit from genre to genre. I've got  hip-hop, electronica, indie rock, singer-songwriter style, punk, and even a bluegrass song in my top ten. Check it out! of Montreal 1) "An Eluardian Instance," by of Montreal, from Skeletal Lamping. Kid Cudi 2) "Day N' Nite (Crookers Remix)," by Kid Cudi, from Man on the Moon. Man Man 3) "Top Drawer," by Man Man, from Rabbit Habits. 4) "I Get Mine," by The Ettes, from Look At Life Again Soon. Killola 5) "All of My Idols Are Dead," by Killola, from I Am The Messer. 6) "Some Way Through This," by The Black Ghosts, from The Black Ghosts. 7) "Get Fresh," by Kid Sister, from Dream Date. Sia 8) "Electric Bird," by Sia, from Some People Have Real Problems. 9)  "Plane Temp," by Glasser, from BTR Live at Pianos 10) "The Story," by Packway Handle Band, from Packway Handle Band Link to this article:
5.  Censored Colors - Portugal. The Man (Equal Vision) To call Censored Colors a “concept album” would be both an understatement and an affront to the freethinking prog-rockers from Portland. True, there is an unmistakable theme of ‘color’ running through the record, and John Gourley’s authentic and emotive lyrics often tend towards death, the deprived, and the multidimensional, but their efforts to create a well-rounded, socially conscious, downright affecting LP, I’m convinced, were entirely genuine. The band dabbles in tender acoustic rock, vintage explosive metal, harmony-infused folk, jazzy psych-rock, conscious 70s soul, roots reggae, and groggy electro finishes all in concert together to show the world what they’re made of. The soulful jangle of “Salt”, the violin-adorned “Created”, and the weighty standout track “Colors” anchor the first half, while hard rocking tunes like “Hard Times” and “Never Pleased”—a blend of Queen and Pink Floyd that fans of the chuggariffic Black Mountain would find fit for their basement smoke sessions—batten down the back end. Despite the record’s name, there’s certainly no censorship here. 4.  The Grand Archives - Grand Archives (Sub Pop) Similar to their vocally ambitious Fleet Foxes brethren, Grand Archives too shot spectacularly through the roof, securing an opening slot for Modest Mouse at the Paramount Theater in just their second show. But the guitar-pop quintet remained humble and meticulously crafted a record so refreshingly honest and rustic that it only gets better with age. There are several aspects of The Grand Archives that make it rewarding, and its decidedly Pacific Northwest imagery (”Index Moon”, “Sleepdriving”), its offbeat and retrospective take on peculiar tales (”George Kaminski”, “Louis Riel”), its charismatic and baroque group-effort harmonies (”Miniature Birds”, “A Setting Sun”) and its rowdy, sing-along pop illuminations (”The Crime Window”, “Torn Blue Foam Couch”) are prime examples. Brooke’s voice and pensive attitude even recall the late great Elliot Smith, which should pique any Pac NW music fan’s ears. 3.  Starfucker - Starfucker (Badman Recording Co.) I’m not sure what led me to DIY space-pop ambassadors Starfucker, but whatever it was (shooting star? orbiting satellite? UFO?), I’m sure as hell glad it did. As enchanting as it is entertaining, the self-titled debut from these three Portlandians (Josh Hodges, Ryan Biornstad, Shawn Glassford) infectiously wanders in and out of itself with electro-pop symphonies, hand-clap driven ditties, repetitive, synth-heavy harmonies, and bleary-eyed, stargazing bliss. One moment you might find yourself likening them to a bouncy, laser-like version of Air (”Isabella of Castile”), or an electronic, youthful rendering of the Flaming Lips (”U Ba Khin”, “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second”), and the next tapping your toes to a percolating party tune with a captivating chorus (”Pop Song”). Of course, don’t be surprised if you also find yourself up on cloud nine after giving this album a spin. 2.  Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP - Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop) I wouldn’t say I was necessarily surprised by Fleet Foxes’ meteoric rise in 2008, but I was certainly impressed by it. The good-natured troubadour throwbacks, led by singer/songwriter Robin Pecknold, began the year opening for lesser bands in Seattle-area clubs and ended it playing the Austin City Limits Festival, with spots at the Capitol Hill Block Party and Sasquatch! in between. Talk about a skyrocket. But as their tantalizing Sun Giant EP would indicate, there was very little to dislike about these bucolic folk-rockers. From the rollicking gloominess of “Mykonos” and the jangly springtime stroll of “Ragged Wood”, to the tenderly ominous beauty of “Your Protector” and the avian love metaphors of “Meadowlarks”, there was nary a disappointing tune to be found on either the EP or LP. Don’t look for the voices of these pipe-heavy songsters to be silenced any time soon. 1.  Keep Your Eyes Ahead - The Helio Sequence (Sub Pop) As far as independent (”indie”, if you must) Northwest albums, nothing mesmerized me more in 2008 than the Helio Sequence’s Keep Your Eyes Ahead. From the moment I randomly heard the propulsive title track on the radio, to putting the album on like an old baseball glove in my living room two weeks ago, the pristine and poignant guitar, the colossal pounding drums, the personal and cultural commentary never cease to amaze me. Brandon Summers suffered through some vocal chord troubles prior to this record, but the soft-singing, wide-eyed idealist ignored this little problem to lend an inspiring Dylan-esque quality to his bandmate Benjamin Weikel’s torrid, restrained, and dynamic approach to percussion. Whether it’s strumming a delicate folk tune in “Shed Your Love” or lamenting the overindulgence of today’s consumer in “Can’t Say No”, nothing feels out of place. “The Captive Mind” holds the listener, well, captive, with its incessant marching toms and laptop electro flourishes, while “Hallelujah” ponders mistaken religious tendencies with a robotic drum beat, an ethereal chorus and precise guitarmanship. Keep your eyes ahead, indeed. Link To This Post Check out Seattle Subsonic!
And so the lists begin. Yes, it is that time of year, Music Nerds (that stands for Never Ending Radical Dudes, btw), where all your favorite on-line idiots tell you who and what they liked most in this wondrous year of 2008 (not counting Mr. Barry Obama). What made you dance? Who made you sing? What made you think? But, most importantly, what made you feeeeeeeeeel. And, if you’ve spent at least 1% of your leisure time reading this site, you’ll no doubt recognize some of the names below such as the Heavy Hearts, Sera Cahoone, Starfucker, Past Lives, Mono in VCF, Grand Archives, the Saturday Knights, Portugal. The Man, and many others who’ve graced these pages. I may have cheated and called Black Mountain ‘local’—whatever, I’m fine with that. Here today is the first edition of a two part series, where I’ve listed—along with the actual music (!)—my favorite listening tunes from our little hotbed of an enclave of a musical commune: the Pacific Northwest. Tomorrow I’ll give you my non-NW perspective. Most people know me as partial to albums over single tracks, but a little unconventionalism is always good for the soul. Chicken soup, if you will. Please remember that this isn’t necessarily intended to be a definitive “Top 10″ list where I snarkily snoot about the best of the best; it’s simply a thoughtful collection of all the rad shit I’ve been listening to these past 12 months. And why 21? Why the hell not 21? No particular order: (you can find audio players after the break) 1.     Sera Cahoone - “The Colder the Air” 2.     The Heavy Hearts - “Attrition” 3.     Grand Archives - “Sleepdriving“ 4.     The Helio Sequence - “The Captive Mind“ 5.     Fleet Foxes - “Mykonos“ 6.     Starfucker - “Isabella of Castile“ 7.     Past Lives - “Beyond Gone“ 8.     The Dutchess & the Duke - “Reservoir Park“ 9.     Mono in VCF - “Escape City Scrapers“ 10.   Portugal. The Man - “Colors“ 11.   Black Mountain - “Queens Will Play” 12.   Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head - “L.A. Noir“ 13.   Head Like a Kite - “Daydream Vacation“ 14.   These Arms Are Snakes - “Lead Beater“ 15.   The Saturday Knights - “Nobody Beats Us“ 16.   Kinski - “Crybaby Blowout“ 17.   Jaguar Love - “Antoine and Birdskull“ 18.   Man Plus - “Once In Awhile (Getting High Alone)“ 19.   Partman Parthorse - “I’m A Book“ 20.  Helms Alee - “Shhmna“ 21.  Venus Verse - “Dreaming Again“ Link To This Post Check out Seattle Subsonic!
With a little help from this week's Blogger of the Week, Kevin leDoux of, in this edition of the college music scene review we hit the northwest corner to take a closer look at which undergraduates started out their careers by making Seattle the major indie music center that it is. The University of Washington, or "U dub," is hard to miss. The undergraduate school itself holds well over thirty thousand students. Not only that, but as an academic institution, it takes home a number of high marks from U.S. News and World Report for its schools of Nursing and Medicine, not to mention the high quality of graduate programs. Yes, it's easy to get lost in a sea of overachievers and psycho-killers (Ted Bundy), but some musicians, particularly during the eighties, were able to push through the crowd and establish not just their own musical reputation, but that of an entire city. For example, Kim Thayil of Soundgarden graduated with a philosophy degree, Mark Arm from Mudhoney lived in Terry Hall (on the northwest side of the campus),  Barret Martin, the drummer for Screaming Trees also attended U.W. and is likely to go back for graduate studies, Stone Gossard (guitarist for Pearl Jam) attended, and so did the entire lineup of the Presidents of the United States of America (P.O.T.U.S.A.). However, times have changed drastically. Subpop has cleaned up anc organized almost any significant talent coming from the area, but a bit of room remains particularly in hip-hop. More recently having attended the University are the Blue Scholars, who met through the Student Hip-Hop Organization Of Washington. Many began noticing The Blue Scholars when they continued to sell out the legendary Seattle club, Neumo's, which ultimately led to their opening for Q-Tip at the 2007 CMJ Music Marathon. The two blues, Geologic and Sabzi have toured almost non-stop since they began performing, though they'll be taking time off after a December 31st show in Hawaii to begin writing again. Geologic and Sabzi came up while closely affiliated with Common Market, an equally popular duo also out of the University of Washington who just released their latest album Tobacco Road in September. The U.W. even made hip-hop academic history in 2006 when they established Ninth Trybe Studies, a course focusing on "urban arts in alternative education" that began connecting abroad with South African hip-hop communities in 2007. It seems there will always be artistic genius coming out of Seattle and colleges like the University of Washington, but the indie rock boom is over. Fortunately, whether its hip-hop or even Kenny G., the University keeps churning out anything and everything for listeners to dissect. Shall we? Link to this article:
I speak in jest, but I am truly dismayed by this announcement from one of this city’s most energetic and entertaining rock bands out there. Speaking from their home in Myspaceland, the gritty dance-punks in the Cops intimated: “After 4 1/2 years, 2 records, an EP, several tours and over 230 shows played, we’re taking a break for an undetermined amount of time. It’s bittersweet, but the time has come. 4 1/2 years of touring have been financially and personally taxing and some of the band members want to focus on other things in life.” Fans of the band—who I always thought resembled a black leather wearin’, back alley lurkin’, dirty American version of Franz Ferdinand—will undoubtedly be disappointed by this announcement, but, personally, I think it’s a good move. Free Electricity wasn’t exactly the splash the band was hoping for and there’s certainly no shortage of talent within their ranks. All four dudes operate their instruments insanely well. I for one will be mighty interested to see what “musical projects” Michael Jaworski has up his sleeve. Make sure you hit up this great lineup of local rockers, just in case the indefinite hiatus turns into a definite one. Cancer Rising, Kinski, the Whoremoans, the Fall of Troy, and Spiral Stairs are all solid bands, and what better venue than the Sunset? Jeezus H. Christ.. Here’s “It’s Epidemic” from Free Electricity: . Link To This Post Check out Seattle Subsonic!
I know, the above image is totally dorky. I dedicate it to two of my lovely dorky friends Adam and CJ who I thought would get a little smile out of it. We here in Chicago definitely need something to smile about - after the massive snowfall on Tuesday night which caused Blog Wars at Debonair Social Club to get cancelled, we are now getting word there will be another eight inches of snow tonight along with a nice quarter inch of ice coating everything. Good god. This also happens to be around the time of year I start thinking about how nice it would be to live in California. For someone who hates snow, freezing winds and ice, I live in the wrong city. I just can’t tear myself away though - Chicago will always be my hometown. And now the music…I practically jumped up and down in my chair when I saw I had music from Blende in my gmail account. I LOVE Blende - “Stars” on Lot49 (f***ing fantastic label) has been in rotation for me since it came out (the Pablo Decoder mix is pretty fly as well). This remix of Fil OK’s “Wink Wink” delivers more of the same - it’s exactly what you would expect, i.e. ridiculously nasty and grinding. Fil OK: Wink Wink (Blende Remix) Download Perth’s Disco Wizards have a new track out called “Fuck Up & Do Well” (if only, right?) that shows a lot of promise for the group. Getting nitpicky, the track is mastered a bit bright with the hi hats getting a bit much front and center attention, but a little on the fly EQ’ing would fix that right up. Aside from that it’s quite the solid track with some fun ascension play and a great fixed structure that would bode well from slapping an acapella on top. Disco Wizards: Fuck Up & Do Well Download Methinks FnDannyBoy and DJ Kue should have a remix-off…these boys constantly submit so much material to me I think they must not have day jobs. Another three from FnDannyBoy today and you know exactly what to expect, absolutely banging remixes. Britney Spears: Circus (FnDannyBoy’s Stop Yer Bitchin Remix) Download Crooklyn Clan vs. FnDannyBoy: Crown Motivator Download FnDannyBoy: Down Bottom Ryda Download Link To This Post Be sure to check out D Squared!
This one I have to write about first, it was a pleasant surprise. Zak from California (otherwise known as Alfa) recently sent this gem over, a remix of Keen House’s “Deep In The Forest.” It’s absolutely divine, nice and bright, with great cadence to it. Buttery smooth with a great ebb and flow that makes it a rich listening experience. Man I hope I get more from him in the future… Keen House: Deep In The Forest Download And now to bring it down a bit…a new remix of Chromeo’s “100%” by Treasure Fingers. These guys have worked together before (i.e. Chromeo remix of TF’s “Hot”) and that was magical so I expected nothing less from this. The vocals are a touch too wet for my taste, but aside from that I love everything about it. Yes, it’s a 192 file, but it’s really quite nice, and I love TF! Chromeo: 100% (Treasure Fingers Remix) Download Han Valen (that’s DJ Debaser and DJ Achilles) just sent over a new track, a remix of The Dallas Austin Experience’s “Hot Girls In The Bathroom” that’s fun and a bit cheeky. End product could have been mastered with a bit more punch but it’s still a fun track to put in the playlist. Reminds me of something Chew Fu might do… The Dallas Austin Experience: Hot Girls In The Bathroom (Han Valen Remix) Download FnDannyBoy always delivers the goods when it comes to remixes and we have a fresh one from him! His take on Camel Riders’ “Twisted” is nothing short of fun. Yes, the punchy synths halfway through are slightly proggy but shut up, you love them. It’s a great full sounding remix that keeps it varied and moving. I think it’s my favorite submission from him thus far. Camel Riders: Twisted (FnDannyBoy Remix) Download Link To This Post Be sure to check out D Squared!
Blonde Acid Cult It is simply a matter of time before you've heard of Blonde Acid Cult. Already featured in Anthem Magazine, Metromix and Nylon, having performed at Hiro Ballroom and soon to be performing at Webster Hall, it seems as though nothing can stand in their way. The four friends (Sonny, Michael, Phil and Damian) formed in New York City a little over a year and a half ago, though Phil is from London, Damian from Philadelphia, and the brothers, Sonny and Michael were born in Boston. Now they strut their rock and roll cockiness like they were Jet or The Vines. Their influences are clear when hearing their debut single, "Shake It Loose," and even their name was derived from those same heroes they choose to emulate. According to Sonny, "before the Stones recorded Exile On Main Street, Brian Jones was dating the model Anita Pallenberg. Some writer said they were like a 'blonde acid cult.' Simple as that. We like the way it sounded." They take the stage this Saturday at Webster Hall and according to the prevailing Internet opinion, they're literally  worth keeping an eye on. Live! 12/20/08 @ The Studio at Webster Hall - New York, NY Phil and the Osophers Last November gave us two free RCRDLBL downloads from Phil and the Osophers. The Brooklyn group has also become a bit more familiar to indie rock fans digging their way through the Internet since they released their latest album, Toward Conquering the Invisible North, now available at With their charming subdued folk rock, it's fitting that Philip R. and Kevin E. have shared the stage with groups like the Ruby Suns, Le Loup and The Dodos. Fortunately, like these groups, they're not afraid to get experimental, even when it comes to their name. "I forgot how i came up with the name," Philip explained, "but I suspect it was to throw people off. All the good band names are taken, if that's what you want to believe. You have to get creative in a way people haven't already been." This seems to be the groups central motive. Phil went on to say, "The name did something I wanted to, deconstruct a concept and rebuild it differently." Mission accomplished. 12/20/08 @ Hemlock Tavern - San Francisco, CA Wavves The low quality recording styles that Nathan Williams uses only makes the sound of Wavves that much better. Wavves is one of those tweak-rock groups that are becoming more and more of a common occurrence. It's the sort of No Age, Times New Viking, Famous Class holistic art-kid aesthetic. It's folk-art, it's crunchy kids music and it's that creepy little something serious that can't quite be described. Listen to the song "Wavves" and you may begin to realize why Williams has received press from groups like Pitchfork, Stereogum, RCRD LBL, Fader, NMW, Gorilla vs. Bear and Exclaim. So what's with the second 'v?' "I grew up primarily in Los Angeles, Virginia Beach, and San Diego," Williams revealed, "So I've never really been more than twenty minutes away from the beach in my life. 'Waves' was an idea from a friend of mine and then I added a 'v' because when capitalized the word kind of looks like waves themselves." How delightful. Link to this article:
Listening to music on BTR is a great way to enjoy your favorite bands, but actually getting out to see them is even better!  Typically, the early winter months represent a touring lull in the year as the music industry shuts down for the holidays.  Luckily, there are still plenty of BTR bands touring around the world to keep you busy until everyone gets back in the swing of things. El Guincho Everyone loves a great rock show in the summer.  That's why our friends in Australia must be particularly happy right now; it seems like everyone is on tour there!  The first priority for any happy-go-lucky music-lover should definitely be one of El Guincho's many stops with the Laneway festival.  If you haven't heard of El Guincho, the first thing you need to do is check out his track "Palmitos Park" right here on BreakThru Radio.  This Spanish DJ's mixes are just so upbeat and catchy they will melt away even the most frozen of winter blues. Live! 1/30 - Oxford Arts Factory - Sydney, Australia 1/30 - Laneway Festival - Brisbane, Australia 2/1 - Laneway Festival - Melbourne, Australia 2/5 - The Corner - Melbourne, Australia 2/6 - Laneway Festival - Perth, Australia 2/7 - Laneway Festival - Adelaide, Australia 2/8 - Laneway Festival - Sydney, Australia Fleet Foxes At the risk of overexposure, it's worth mentioning Fleet Foxes' tour of Australia, as well.  There are no year-end-best-of lists this year that don't include Fleet Foxes at their very top.  While the first four dates for this Australian tour are sold out, you can still get tickets for the last three. Live! 12/29 - Falls Festival - Lorne, Australia 12/30 - Falls Festival - Marion Bay, Australia 1/2 - Prince Of Wales - Melbourne, Australia 1/3 - Metro Theater - Sydney, Australia 1/4 - The Tivoli - Brisbane, Australia 1/7 - San Francisco Bath-House - Wellington, New Zealand 1/8 - Bruce Mason Centre - Auckland, New Zealand The Black Keys Everyone's favorite 70s rockers with an indie twist are also treating Australia to a summer tour.  It's amazing how much sound these two Ohioans can make with just a guitar and drums.  The shredding guitar riffs, killer drums, and acidy vocals of The Black Keys always makes for a great show. They end their tour with a few East coast dates in early February.  Their Feburary 6th show at Terminal 5 sold out so quickly they had to add another date at the venue.  Get those tickets while they last. 12/29 - Fremantle Arts Center - Fremantle, Australia 12/30 - HQ - Adelaide, Australia 12/31 - Pyramid Festival - Phillip Island, Australia 1/1 - Great Northern Hotel - Byron Bay, Australia 1/3 - Coolangatta Hotel - Coolangatta, Australia 1/4 - Lake Kawana Community Centre - Bokarina, Australia 1/5 - The Arena - Brisbane, Australia 1/7 - Coffs Ex-Services Club - Coffs Harbour, Australia 1/8 - Panthers - Newcastle West, Australia 1/9 - Luna Park - Sydney, Australia 1/10 - Waves - Towradgi, Australia 1/11 - Palais Theatre - Melbourne, Australia 1/29 - The Fillmore - Detroit, MI 1/30 - Agora Theatre - Cleveland, OH 2/4 - Rams Head Live! - Baltimore, MD 2/5 - Electric Factory - Philadelphia, PA 2/6 - Terminal 5 - New York, NY 2/7 - Terminal 5 - New York, NY Link to this article:
Can you believe it, the weekend I go to Vegas it’s near hurricane winds one day followed by constant rain and snowfall in the valley. There we were on the last day after dragging a friend out to Hoover Dam with us looking at Lake Mead and shivering in 35 degree weather. At least the event I played was fun - video above is of the crowd when I dropped my new track “Poppin’ Bottles”…wait for the end for fun crowd shots (coming out December 29th). So while I recover, unpack and get back on a normal-ish schedule that requires going to bed before the sun comes up, here is a fun remix sent to me by the ever consistent and amazing DJ Kue. Also, this week I am the Blogger of the Week on Breakthru Radio, the internet’s premiere location to listen to indie and unsigned artists - please go check them out - I promise you’ll get uber addicted (I listen all the time). By the way, last day to check out the Calamity Jane artists on Loudcrowd if you haven’t done so yet! Kanye West:Heartless (DJ Kue Klub Mix) Download   Link To This Post Be sure to check out D Squared!
Now finally out on DVD, the 2008 film soundtrack section of BTR's written content would not be complete without recognition of The Go-Getter, a movie with music by M. Ward, an incredibly talented indie artist and one half of She & Him. With Volume 1, She & Him have become one of Merge Records' most beloved groups. M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel produced the album after coming together to create a massive collection of home recordings. M. Ward has personally recorded four albums with Merge, the last, Post-War, coming in 2006. But Ward is too talented to keep his music from the silver screen. He resides in Portland, Oregon, so it must be his Californian birthplace that brought him to the soundtrack of The Go-Getter. In The Go-Getter, Mercer White decides uncharacteristically to steal a car to help him find an older half-brother who he hasn't seen in fourteen years. Suddenly he begins to understand that the owner of the car is a lot more astute than he once thought. Contacting him through her cell phone left somewhere on the dashboard, Kate calls him periodically as his journey becomes less and less like anything he's ever experienced. Through all the fear and the fun, Mercer begins to see more of himself in his estranged half-brother than he ever had before. Ward's music is a perfect backdrop for the hills and valleys of Mercer's emotionally varying state. He provides an energetic American rock feel that matches the landscape, but also an appropriate collection of complimentary lonely folk tunes. As if M. Ward couldn't handle the entire score himself, also included is "Coast to Coast" by Elliot Smith, "10 A.M. Automatic" and "Keep Me" by The Black Keys, and "Color Me Impressed" by The Replacements. Luckily Hollywood has looked favorably upon soundtracks of the music-industry middle-class like Eagle vs. Shark, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist and now thankfully The Go-Getter. 1. M. Ward - 'Vincent O'Brien' 2. M. Ward - 'Fuel for Fire' 3. M. Ward - 'Look Me Over/Duet for Guitars' 4. Elliott Smith - 'Coast to Coast' 5. The Black Keys - '10 A.M. Automatic' 6. The Black Keys - 'Keep Me' 7. The Replacements - 'Color Me Impressed' 8. M. Ward - 'Sweethearts on Parade' 9. M. Ward - 'I'll Be Your Bird' 10. M. Ward - 'Outta My Head' 11. M. Ward - 'Carolina' 12. M. Ward [ft. Zooey Deschanel] - 'When I Get to the Border' Link to this article:
  Ok I take that back, I f’n love Thanksgiving and all the calories that come with it. Hope the holidays treated you all well! I had an uneventful trip back to Ohio to spend it with my boyfriend’s grandmother and parents. Saw the first snowfall of the year (which, as you Chicagoans know has been complimented by uber-snowfall last night and today), watched the Macy’s parade and generally had a nice time. Apparently though, there are some of you who are not content with just getting fat on turkey and sweet potatoes and watching football because I’ve gotten a ton of emails. Yeah, way to put me to shame. I guess that means back to work? By the way, before we get into the tunes…how about a little shameless self promotion? I just got an article on so if you want to check it out…follow the link! This Shazam remix I have to put first. It’s an utterly beautiful take on Tough Alliance that layers synths effortlessly with a bassline that is bouncy enough to have a bit of a live sound to it. Usually I am not a fan of effect-laden tracks but the breakdown halfway through absolutely changes my mind. Gorgeous! Tough Alliance: Neo Violence (Shazam Remix) Download Mansion is back with another remix, this time of Tiga’s “Mind Dimension.” Full of sharp claps, organic drum loops and minimal mainlines, this remix is a lot of fun to groove along to. Who says you need vocals? Tiga: Mind Dimension (Mansion Remix) Download Robin da Hood has sent me a few remixes in the past and I got an email from him the other day that included some new tracks, including an original. The remix of “Girls Kiss Girls” is stellar, pumping, and is produced beautifully. The hard pans on the top layer synth catch my attention here - very hard to make a hard pan sound necessary to a track and with this remix, I can’t imagine it any other way. The original track, “Burn,” is a little more low key, but still effective. It’s absolutely itching for some acapella action - will be fun to toy around with this one. Pittsburgh Slim: Girls Kiss Girls (Robin da Hood Remix) Download Robin da Hood: Burn Download FnDannyBoy is gracing the pages again, this time with a tune called “Bounce 2.0.” The track kind of makes me giggle - it’s completely ignorant, and I mean that in the best possible way. A big bouncing synth is the center star here with simplistic drum patterns and super hard snares. This is the kind of track you throw in to carry the high your crowd has after you’ve laid down something they all know. FnDannyBoy: Bounce 2.0 Download Here’s another minimal track, this time by artist Solo. While the bulk of the remix relies on a few key elements to carry it through, the break here is quite interesting and keeps a lot of the acoustic elements from the original song. I enjoy that bits of the guitar, vocals etc. are integrated throughout the entire song. Cornershop: Roll Off (Solo Remix) Download If you like messy and dirty, then this next track is for you. nickY & Rudes Etudes have presented their version of Don Rimini’s “Hools” and it’s freaking crazy. I’ll tell you one thing, they win the loud contest. Very few artists can pump up their tracks effectively (Bloody Beetroots are so amazing at this), and these guys have done it pretty well. It sounds like a tiny bit of information has been over compressed but overall it’s just slamming. Don Rimini: Hools (nickY & Rudes Etudes Remix) Download Death To The Throne sent me these remixes today, and they must go up. I will absolutely be playing these this weekend. His remixes of Chromeo’s “Fancy Footwork” and Birdman’s “Pop Bottles” must go in your rotation. In particular, the mainline in the Chromeo rework makes me giddy. It’s so bright sounding and has a great tonality that is attention-getting and sounds very unique. Ok…I’m going to play it again in my iTunes right now… Chromeo: Fancy Footwork (Death To The Throne Remix) Download Birdman: Pop Bottles (Death To The Throne Remix) Download Link To This Post Be sure to check out D Squared!
Hey all! So there will be tracks to come over the next couple of days…and video…and news…what an amazing past couple of weeks (although busy as I’m sure you can tell since my last update was the 1st!) Besides the Calamity Jane launch party being a TOTAL blast (SEE THE VIDEO HERE), there’s also impending news about the next Calamity Jane Recordings release, news about one of my own releases, and, of course…what I’m about to mention here:   This week, and this week only, Calamity Jane Artists The Glamour and True Pseudo are guest DJs on - a new music and gaming community that’s been getting a lot of buzz. Loudcrowd was founded by people who worked on Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Lord of the Rings online. The site is not currently open to the public, but we’ve got some exclusive invites. The first game on Loudcrowd, set in a virtual club, lets you show off flirty, flashy, or funny dance moves as your avatar shakes it on the dancefloor to a backbeat of indie/electro music (think Cut Copy, MGMT, Justice, Ting Tings, etc). We’re guest DJ’ing for 1 hour at 12, 3, 6, and 9 EST everyday through December 16. Listen to some cool tunes, win some loot for your avatar, and check it out for yourself at LOUDCROWD. This game is so addicting…and I have to say, I’ve learned about some new bands through their resident DJ’s playlist that I might not have stumbled upon otherwise. And oh fine, here’s a track from True Pseudo to give you a taste of what you’ll hear on Loudcrowd. Mt. Sims: The Bitten Bite Back (True Pseudo Remix) Download Link To This Post Be sure to check out D Squared!
My week here at Breakthrough Radio ends with today's entry, and as promised, I'd like to take this opportunity to offer a little thanks and good cheer for the season. What follows is a repost, originally shared last year on Cover Lay Down under the title The Twelve Jews of Christmas: Folk Covers of Holiday Classics by Jewish Songwriters; though for obvious reasons its interest is seasonal, it remains one of my most popular posts ever, and I'm happy to share it – and a bonus non-cover – here today. Enjoy! Today we celebrate the holiday coversongs of Jewish-American songwriters, most notably the prolific Johnny Marks, who is best known for penning a holy host of non-canonical Christmas songs, and lesser known for being the head of ASCAP from 1957 to 1961. Familiar carols written by Marks include Holly Jolly Christmas, which most of us imagine in the voice of Burl Ives, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which is based on the story by Marks' brother-in-law, and I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day, which Marks adapted from a Longfellow poem. He also wrote Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree; I was hoping to share some folkcovers of that song, too, but for some reason, I can't find any. Wonder why? Pedro the Lion, I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day (Johnny Marks) John Gorka, Christmas Bells (ibid.) Martin Sexton, Holly Jolly Christmas (ibid.) Jack Johnson, Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (ibid.) In fact, a significant percentage of "traditional" Christmas tunes turn out to have been written or co-written by "verifiably Jewish artists". Here's a few more, mostly from the country and alt-pop ends of the folk spectrum, though the list runs the gamut from urban folk to indiefolk: Raul Malo, White Christmas (Irving Berlin) The Roches, Sleigh Ride (Anderson/Parish) Mindy Smith, I'll Be Home For Christmas (Kent/Gannon/Ram) A Fine Frenzy, Let It Snow (Cahn/Styne) Steve Goodman, Winter Wonderland (Bernard/Smith) Liz Phair, Winter Wonderland (ibid.) Aimee Mann, The Christmas Song (Torme/Wells) Suzy Bogguss w/ Delbert McClinton, Baby, It's Cold Outside (Frank Loesser) It's a tradition of sorts over at Cover Lay Down to include loosely related songs as bonus tracks on most of our posts. Today's bonus song isn't a cover, but it's certainly on theme; it comes to us straight from blogger The Duke of The Late Greats, who makes oddly endearing music with his pal under the moniker Coconut and the Duke. Coconut and The Duke: Jewish 4 Xmas Have a very happy holiday season, folks. See you at Cover Lay Down! Link To This Post.
Once a week we fill you in on the stories behind some of your favorite BreakThru Radio artist's band names. This week's picks include some talented bands with some interesting stories behind their monikers. On the docket today are Cat Power, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, and Yo La Tengo. Cat Power While living in Atlanta, Georgia, Chan Marshall hooked up with some friends, including guitarist Mark Moore,  for jam sessions. As things started to progress with the 'group' another local act invited Marshall and co. to open for them at a gig. Marshall was working the register during a rush at a pizzeria when Moore called and told her they needed a name for the bill.  A bit frazzled, Marshall looked up at the line of pizzeria patrons and saw a man wearing a hat that said 'Cat Diesel Power'.  Marshall then screamed "Cat Power" and hung up the phone to return to her work duties. Does it offend You, Yeah? British dance-punk and electo rockers Does it Offend You, Yeah? came together in Reading, England and much like the prior group, Cat Power, were a bit of an unofficial smattering of musicians as opposed to a 'band'.   Frontman James Rushent and synth player Dan Coop had made some music together and they wanted to put it on myspace but they needed a name. So, without much thought they turned on the TV and decided to go with the first thing they heard. That happened to be Ricky Gervaise's character David Brent on the British version of The Office saying, 'Does it offend you, yeah? My drinking?'. And, well... that was that. Yo La Tengo Any baseball fans out there? This band's love for America's favorite pastime, specifically the New York Mets, led to a unique and worldly band name.  The Spanish phrase 'yo la tengo' translates in English to 'I have it'.  This band name came about based on a story from the 1962 New York Mets. The story goes that center fielder Richie Ashburn had a bit of trouble communicating with the teams Venezuelan shortstop Elio Chacón. Chacón did not speak English, so when the two players would both be going for a fly ball, Ashburn would scream "I got it".  Of course, Chacón would not understand, and he would continue going for the same ball. This lead to many collisions and many dropped balls. Ashburn then learned the Spanish phrase "¡Yo la tengo!¡" and was better able to communicate with his teammate. However another teammate, left-fielder Frank Thomas, missed the team meeting on the new use of the phrase "yo la tengo in the outfield" and knowing no Spanish he too was involved in a collision with Ashburn. After the collision it is said that Thomas got up and said "What the heck is a Yellow Tango?" Apparantly, the group, being Mets fans, liked this story and the phrase. So, they chose it as their name. LINK TO THIS ARTICLE:
It's that time of year for lists – both those hand-written wishlists which serve as a guide for family present-buying, and those which consider the year past, and tally the score of receivership and long-lasting joy. For the former, my youngest daughter would like Santa to know that she would like a dolly; if you see him, please pass the word along. In the case of the latter, rather than let my own personal and highly-subjective preferences get lost in the huge and growing compendium that is the blogger's top whatever lists of 2008, I'm keeping it low-key and local, letting my readers speak for me. Using download stats and blogcomments as a raw measure of popularity, here's a few readers' favorite covers posted on Cover Lay Down in the past few months; in the interest of keeping the list short and pithy, I've stuck to an all male-voiced set, because those are the ones I can best hear myself sing along to. You'll hear a few more of my favorite indie releases from the year past sometime on Breakthrough Radio today. Grant Lee Phillips: So. Central Rain (orig. REM) Jeffrey Foucault: Lodi (orig. Creedence Clearwater Revival) Todd Snyder w/ Patty Griffin: Fortunate Son (orig. Creedence Clearwater Revival) Denison Witmer: I Can't Make You Love Me (orig. Bonnie Raitt) Link to this Post Don't forget to head on over to Cover Lay Down for more coverfolk every
Have you heard about BTR's new cooking show? If not, you should check it out! It's one of the newest programs on the station, in which you get to join the BTR DJs in their home kitchens as they cook up a meal with delicious tunes to go with it. I will soon be hosting an episode of the show but I have one problem - I don't know what to cook! I'm thinking some kind of holiday-ish/winter-ish/december-ish type of thing... thoughts?
In addition to blogging coverfolk at Cover Lay Down, I'm also an admin and regular blogger at Star Maker Machine, a collaborative blog which uses a weekly theme to evoke a diverse set of musical submissions from a group of about a dozen bloggers with very diverse tastes. For example, this week, our theme is Winter Wonderland, which means we're posting songs with the word snow in the title; though I'm submitting this post in advance, I have no idea what the pack has come up with, but given the general trend over there, I can predict with reasonable certainty that this week's early entries have consisted of mostly older, well-cared-for songs from across the genre spectrum. Since its inception less than a year ago, readership at Star Maker Machine has grown to surpass the readership of any one of our contributing blogs, proving just as well as the Technorati Top Blogs list does that group blogs bring in the viewers much better than any one of us can on our own – a phenomenon due as much to the diversity which a multiplicity of bloggers can bring to the table as it is to the sheer number of posts which only a group, or perhaps an unemployed, independently wealthy gadabout blogger with a high output rate, can bring about. Like the blogs of many Star Maker Machine contributors, SMM trends towards older songs; as such, the blog and its denizens represent an anomalous type of blogger, who more usually justifies his/her bloggity existence as fannish promotion of the current scene. These more recent piano ballads which use the idea of snow as both metaphor and setting – Over The Rhine's lush Snow Angel, and neo-trad folkie Kristen Andreassen's lovely, hushed Like The Snow -- wouldn't be as good a fit there, and since they're not covers, I can't share them over at Cover Lay Down. But they're eminently worth including here today. Over the Rhine: Snow Angel Kristen Andreassen: Like The Snow For a few more folkcovers about radio, and a whole mess more besides, head on over to Cover Lay Down. Link To This Post
Oh, December. It’s almost the end of 2008, and of course that means plenty of year-end lists and best-of compilations. It would be dangerous, however, to assume that 2008 is all about looking back at this point. We’ve still got a few weeks left in ’08, and that means there are still some great new releases on which to feast our ears before we finalize those lists. On the adds list for the month of December at BreakThru Radio we’ve got The Welcome Wagon, Los Campesinos!, Ladyhawke and Arrington De Dionyso. Check it! The Welcome Wagon- s/t It's not every day that we get super excited about a gospel record, but The Welcome Wagon is truly something special. Comprised of a married couple, the Reverend Thomas Vito Aiuto and his wife Monique, The Welcome Wagon began when the couple sang their simple hymns in the privacy of their living room. Vito is currently the pastor at Resurrection Presbyterian Church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn- a frequent venue for the pair- but the two can sometimes be seen performing in and around New York, with makeshift accompaniments, and palling around with their friend and producer Sufjan Stevens. The pair first collaborated with Stevens back in 2001, when he featured the duo on an Asthmatic Kitty compilation. Stevens has managed to take their straightforward, sincere hymns and infuse them with lush instrumentation, soulful arrangements and just a little bit of indie cred. Their debut is refreshing, soulful and just right for your holiday gatherings. Los Campesinos!- We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed As far as we know, there’s no rule stating an artist cannot release their first two albums in the same year- and for that we are thankful. Los Campesinos!, the upbeat Cardiff, Wales outfit are at it again with a brand new batch of tunes. High energy with an offbeat style, Los Campesinos! have blended punk sensibilities with clever, ironic lyrics that might just make you uncomfortable- in a good way. Though the band has been reluctant to call this new offering an “album,” their follow-up definitely expands on what they started with Hold On Now, Youngster- a little less punch, but a little more depth. While not as cohesive as their last album, there are several standout tracks on the record including “Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1” and the title track, "We are Beautiful, We Are Doomed". Having released two solid albums in the span of a year, these kids (who formed while still attending college in 2006) are clearly just getting started. Live in ‘09! 1/15 - Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar 1/16 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle 1/17 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl 1/19 - Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits 1/21 - Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder 1/24 - Nashville, TN @ Exit/In 1/25 - Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone 1/27 - New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s 1/29 - Houston, TX @ Walter’s On Washington 1/30 - Austin, TX @ The Parish 1/31 - Dallas, TX @ Club Dada 2/03 - Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck 2/04 - St. Louis, MO @ The Gargoyle 2/06 - Madison, WI @ Der Rathskeller 2/07 - Chicago, IL @ Logan Sq. Auditorium 2/10 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Calvin College/Ladies Literary Club 2/11 - Columbus, OH @ Wexner Center for the Arts 2/12 - Swarthmore, PA @ Swarthmore College/Olde Club 2/13 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club 2/14 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom 2/15 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom Ladyhawke- s/t In case you have trouble keeping it straight, Pip Brown, a.k.a. Ladyhawke, lays it all out on her Myspace page: “Hi, My Name is Ladyhawke. I’m a lady, not a band.” Clearly a reference to the equally amazing band (Ladyhawk), life can no doubt get confusing. After one listen, however, it would seem that this New Zealand electro-pop artist is truly an original. Fresh off her Paris is Burning EP, Ladyhawke releases her US debut full length on Modular. Rocking out in heavy grundge bands as a young girl, Brown now turns to hot and angsty 80s pop, filled with Glassy Candy-reminiscent heavy production, thick synths, and beefy guitar riffs to channel your inner 80s dancing queen. For fans of Lykke Li and Annie, check her out for some serious song crafting with elements of vintage pop, electro and rock, and undeniable hooks. Live! Dec 13 Sydney Showground (Nevereverland) - Sydney, New South Wales Dec 14 Meyer Music Bowl (Nevereverland) - Melbourne, Victoria Dec 20 Brisbane Riverstage(Nevereverland) - Brisbane, Queensland Dec 21 Members Equity Stadium (Nevereverland) - Perth, Western Australia Arrington De Dionyso- I Can See Beyond The Black Sun The Old Time Relijun front man has recorded his second solo album, and fans of OTR will not be disappointed. The album features Arrington De Dionyso on bass clarinet and Germaine Baca on drums, which gives the listener just a hint of the eclectic mischief to behold on this record. Trained in the art of throatsinging, De Dionyso is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who is no stranger to the solo LP- I Can See Beyond The Black Sun is his ninth. With tracks that twist and turn from the bizarre to the beautiful, it’s often unclear what the listener is actually hearing. Diverse instruments, out of control improvisations- you’ll hear it all on this record. Start with the title track and make your way over to the epic, 16-minute “AION,” for fans of Albert Ayler. Live! Dec 12- Rotture- Portland, OR LINK TO THIS ARTICLE:
With major layoffs around the country and undoubtedly the world, comes more similarly bad news from the music industry. In the month of November the national unemployment rate climbed to 6.7%. The new rate itself is not historically dire, save for the fact that it will undoubtedly get worse, and the fact that 637,000 people dropped out of the labor force (those actively looking for jobs) and aren't even included in the rising percentage. Though there is arguably little correlation between the performance of the national economy and the financial performance of the music industry, the music business has echoed the trend. For the most recent fiscal quarter, Viacom has released 850 employees worldwide, Pandora Radio has let go of 14% of its workforce (20/140), Imeem has cut their staff by a quarter, RealNetworks has cut 7% of its staff, Buzznet released over 11% and the list continues. The reasons are clear and are still reiterated ad nauseam. The record industry is dying due to piracy, and maybe more so due to the digital-download created trend toward the single (as opposed to the album). Finally, digital downloads will never amount to the sales physical music once brought in. Even generous predictions include JupiterResearch's 41% of total sales in five years. So what light can we see glimmering from the other end of the tunnel? What Napster wild card ideas seem at all promising? Recently Live Nation inked a deal with Blockbuster to sell tickets for the first four hours of sale at their remaining stores. Equally interesting is the failing Blockbuster locations and successful Netflix subscription phenomena. Though by no means a direct metaphor for the record industry, people have similarly foregone physical video retailers in lieu of the more convenient movie-list mailing model. The move by Live Nation seems to be primarily an attempt to compete with Ticketmaster, as the ticket sales will go into 500 locations once the Ticketmaster-Live Nation contract expires. However, depending on the specifications of a Live Nation kiosk, this business model could develop into something much more substantial than a jab at older brother. If Live Nation is bold and successful enough, this could be the moment they bring the indie experience to the Jay-Z, Madonna and U2 fan base, having thus far focused only on the biggest acts there are. If indie labels decide that they could more accurately target their fans depending on locality, they may be more inclined to sell through Live Nation instead of Ticketmaster, and even give the already steadily growing touring industry even greater success. Link to this article:
Though I suspect most regular readers of Cover Lay Down think of the place as a coverblog first and foremost, at heart, I'm really a folk blogger, eschewing admittedly weird and wonderful interpretations in favor of performances and recordings which focus on story and acoustic authenticity as much as song. Celebrating songs for their stripped-down nature allows me to stay focused on my goal as a blogger: to use the familiar as a draw, in the hopes that readers will walk away fans of the artists I love, most of whom cluster around a very loose definition of folk. Promoting folk music is a necessary service because folk doesn't promote itself well; it's more suited to small venues, and its unamplified forms don't carry as well through an electrified culture as they once did. Too, though the internet allows for the transmission of music, most musicians still prefer to rehearse and evolve sound in person; for this reason and others, folk music is still fundamentally a local phenomenon. Thankfully, the wonder of blogging allows us to keep track of a multiplicity of local arenas, each with its own musical scene. I depend, as a folk fan, on the good work of other such blogs, so I know who to listen for on Internet radio, and who to see when they come through my town. And just as I use coversong as a vehicle for getting people to hear new artists that they might not otherwise give a fair shake, I keep Cover Lay Down in part as a vehicle for promotion of local artists who may not otherwise get heard. In my case, local means just about dead smack in the middle of New England – just a tad closer to Boston than NYC. But rural as that sounds, in terms of music scenery, the Pioneer Valley where I live is a rich place. Nearby Northampton, which houses the multiple venues that comprise the Iron Horse group, is a regular stop on the tours of a vast variety of bands from the full genre spectrum; the local Green River Fest each summer features a veritable who's who of national roots, blues, and folk artists, and indie folklabel Signature Sounds is but one of the great labels pushing artists both local and national to greater prominence and recognition. Here's some great recent coversongs from a pair of local musicians who I've seen live around town, both of whom have made good off that selfsame local label: a quiet, lovely Tom Petty cover from twangy singer-songwriter Mark Erelli, and a great Dylan cover from altfolk sparseplayers Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem. Mark Erelli w/ Jeffrey Foucault: Alright For Now (orig. Tom Petty) Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem: Farewell Angelina (orig. Bob Dylan) For a few more folkcovers about radio, and a whole mess more besides, head on over to Cover Lay Down. Link To This Post
    I was not expecting what I saw on Friday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg.  I've been listening to Yeasayer for quite some time now.  I have very fond memories of my college radio show where my friend Anna and I screamed the end of their breakout song "2080" at the top of our lungs.  During the spring semester, we played the song "Red Cave" with a nostalgic earnestness because of the chorus: "I'm so blessed to have spent the time with my family and my friends I love.  With my short life I have met so many people I deeply care for."  Those words, like the band, seemed incredibly important to us at that time in our lives.     When it comes down to it though, I think the main reason I like Yeasayer so much is the fact that they're musically interesting, yet catchy as hell.  Still, to me their album evokes an incredibly exotic sound.  I always find myself thinking of an imaginary world when I listen to their music, some cross between a middle-eastern desert and a forrest fantasy world (I'm sure Edward Said would try to problematize that sentiment, but that's just how I feel).  In a word, I find their music mystical.     That's why I was so surprised by their performance on Friday.  I thought I knew them so well, and I had a very solid idea of what they would be like in my head.  I half expected several bearded mountain men in flannel to emerge onto the stage and, with their backs turned to the audience, use mysterious instruments to groan out haunting drones.  Instead, I saw an incredibly solid, well-rehearsed foursome of musicians riffing off of each other and really rocking out.  The result was incredible.  All of the guys in the band are extremely capable musicians, more so than your typical rock and rollers.  While I can't say, "It sounded totally different from their record!," seeing them play in front of you really opens up their sound.  That's how important musicianship is to this band.  Anna saw them the night before in Philadelphia as well as on Friday, and said that the bassist and guitarist completely traded off what parts of the songs they were playing from night to night.  That is impressive.  The songs become compositions and improvisations, rather than four minutes of music.  And they managed to do this and sound GOOD.  The music just sounded GOOD.  Catchy and pleasant, and still incredibly impressive.  I don't really know how else to put it.     I also wasn't expecting the quartet to rock so hard.  Their musical improvisations lent themselves to straight up rock and roll live more than I expected.  Rather than the anonymous musical instruments i imagined them using, they were definitely a guitar/bass/drums outfit.  I'm not trying to shortchange the incredible musicianship of what Yeasayer accomplishes.  Rather, I think it's saying a lot for the band that they manage to create rock music that sounds so interesting.     This was an important show, one that made me realize I was listening to their music very one-dimensionally.  There was a whole aspect to their songs that I was ignoring.  When a band's live show can change the way you listen to their music, you know it was a great show.
Howdy, folks. My name is Boyhowdy, host and sole proprietor of folk cover blog Cover Lay Down, and I'll be your blogger for this week here at Breakthrough Radio. Over a decade ago, before I was a music blogger, I had a regular late-night radio show at the boarding school where I lived and worked. My audience was primarily a captive one: the broadcast range was small and, other than our own student population, consisted mostly of New England hills and a few sparsely populated towns. The playlist was broad, and mostly geared towards my own tastes, and if anyone didn't like it, it wasn't like they had any other choices in the area. Since then, of course, the music media spectrum has shifted significantly, and so has my employment -- the inner-city public high school where I teach these days isn't open at night, and even if it were, it has no radio station for me to commandeer. But then, it hardly needs one. Technology evolution and industry changes have brought about new media possibilities which tend towards a global reach rather than a local one; I suspect few folks still listen to that old prep school radio station over the airwaves, now that it and every other radio station in the universe is online, but I also suspect that significantly fewer people listen to that tiny school station at all, given that our primary listenership was once comprised of folks who had little choice of what to listen to at all. The joys of joining Breakthrough Radio this week go beyond the wonderful confluence of blog and radio station 2.0, of course. But there's something to be said for the continued collaborative coexistence that is blogging and radio, and it's worth saying it out loud: stations like Breakthrough Radio, with its internet presence and “DJ's choice” format, are “where it's at” in radio these days. I'm honored to be asked to share, and I'm glad to be here to kick off our week-long partnership here with two on-topic songs from folkpop earth goddess Dar Williams: her 1997 radio-ready paean to local radio, and her brand new cover of a song originally from the rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, released on this year's Promised Land. Dar Williams: Are You Out There Dar Williams: Midnight Radio (orig. Hedwig and the Angry Inch) For a few more folkcovers about radio, and a whole mess more besides, head on over to Cover Lay Down. Link To This Post
Words can not describe an Of Montreal show. So, here are the best moments in descending order of greatness: 1) I'm already looking for my soul mate, who will obviously understand the sacrifice needed for us to dress as a Centaur for Halloween. 2) Besides the smoking nun, Kevin's outfit was appropriate since he wore it while singing "St. Exquisite's Confessions", which has the lyric, "I'm so sick of sucking  the **** of this cruel cruel city". 3) Another situation where things just felt "right" was during Plastis Wafers"  when a bunch of robed individuals slathered paint all over Kevin's body while he sang "I want you to be, my Pleasurepus/ I wanna know what it's like to be inside you". 4) Go Voltron Force! Form feet and legs! Form arms and body! And I'll form the head! 5) This one's for the ladies....
Two years ago, I was in LA about this time of year, checking out the West Coast (of the states) for the first time and the music scene. I've since returned and traveled the whole coast. A year ago I picked up a few artists in Costa Rica, where I spent New Year's Eve.   This year, ahead of the holidays, I'm off to Australia and New Zealand for some much needed vaca. As always, I plan to bring an ear for the local music. We've played a number of BTR bands in recent years from the area (Mumsdollar, Ladyhawke). Looking forward to it!
Back to the crate digging, I just bought a copy of the 1983, Prelude 12" of Black Gold's 'C'mon Stop', it wasn't too expensive and certainly worth it for this brilliant Disco/ early House monster. The longer version on side B is excellent, with its very effective groove weaving in an out of the track, it just goes on and on.. for over 10 minutes actually - superb!!! Just Another Night On Earth Link To This Post
Birds & Batteries are a shoegaze outfit from San Francisco that mashes up Americana squares with synthesized lines, and what takes shape is an explosive pop concoction that speaks to the heart. Lead singer Michael Sempert is the first to slap the "Hello, My Name Is…" sticker today and here's the epitome of a great band name story: "It all started when I was in college.  My friends and I owned a blue parakeet named Rrrrroberto.  It was important to roll our 'R's' when saying his name, otherwise he'd have no idea who you were talking to.  Rrrrroberto had a lot of emotional problems, as some birds do, and those issues were only aggravated by his drinking.  We eventually found that the only thing that would stabilize his mood swings was a dildo named 'The Man Machine.'  By rubbing Rrrrroberto with the it, we found that vibrations actually soothed him and he would stop shaking and cursing.  Don't ask me how this discovery was initially made cause it's pretty embarrassing, but it helped to calm him down during his fits of pirate-like rage and sometimes he would even sing us the occasional sea shanty.  One night, in the midst of one of his depressive-sailor outbursts, we found that the Man Machine was out of batteries.  It was late and the stores were closed so we decided to panic, but that didn't help.  Rrrroberto was inconsolable.  The next day we stocked up on AAA batteries and agreed to never speak of the shit-storm that had ensued the night before (our cat Manuel has never been the same). Sadly, Rrrrroberto died years ago in a car accident, but I still keep those triple A's handy.  We considered using the band name Birds & Dildos, but it doesn't quite have the same ring of alliteration so we figured, screw it.   Birds & Batteries it is." Birds & Batteries latest album, I'll Never Sleep Again is available at Aquarius Records.   Portugal.The Man gives Alaska a good name. Beyond a dog sled race and natural sky lights, there's not a lot to do in "The Land of the Midnight Sun." Their brand of psychedelic prog-rock shakes up the territory, which is what their new album, Censored Colors, does to my speakers. Here's the larger than life tale of their name as relayed by lead singer John Gourley: "We love the idea of solo projects. Names like James Brown just sound bigger than life. We were not a solo project, so we decided to create an alter ego like Ziggy Stardust or Sgt. Pepper. We wanted his name to represent all of us boys in the band, and we figured a country is one name that represents a group of people with similar ideals. We just thought Portugal would make an awesome name for a guy." See Portugal. The Man on tour! Dec 5 2008 at Ike Box in Salem, OR Dec 19 2008 at Downstairs at Club M in Anchorage, AK Dec 20 2008 at Mat-Su Resort in Wasilla, AK Brandon Bethancourt, the brains that created the beats behind Alaska In Winter, had the crazy luck of having a stable of indie insiders to help record his breakthrough record Dance Party In The Balkans. Amongst them were Heather Trost (A Hawk and a Hacksaw) and Zach Condon (Beirut), who happened to be a longtime friend. Brandon's story is a simple, yet romantic one. It begins with the typical dropping out of art school in Albuquerque, which led to the not so typical scenario of a semester spent in a tiny cabin out in the woods of Alaska. With not much of a night life to speak of, Brandon threw his heart into recording music on his laptop through the winter, hence the name. It's kind of like when you get a tattoo to commemorate a special event, but not as permanent or painful. Alaska In Winter has just released a new "dance party" inspired album titled, Holiday, which is available on Milan Records. Link to this article:
You'll have noticed an undercurrent of 80's Disco around here lately... no? Well there is one damnit! More importantly Ulysses 82 drop by with their on fire edit of Empress' 'Dyin' To Be Dancing' for your guaranteed dirty, hot, grooving pleasure. Ulysses are the combined talents of dj's  Je Suis C & John Baptiste (aka Jaksoul of The Horse Latitudes), and are currently doing their synth, funk, 80's boogie, edit-heavy, Disco, jacked-up, party thing all over London and elsewhere. You may have previously read about them on blogs with class - Dilated Choonz & Innersounds, you may even have been fortunate to catch their distinctive, sweat inducing live sets in person.. U82 spin a truckload of their own edits & productions in their sets, check their myspace for more of their sounds and keep your ears to the ground for up coming vinyl from these guys. I love what U82 have done with this, another lesser known, Prelude bomb. Mighty midtempo magic!! Just Another Night On Earth Link To This Post
In case you are not familiar with All Access on Breakthru Radio, it airs on Friday and Tuesday and showcases musicians that are teenage and college-aged. I interviewed four of the artists/bands that we play on All Access. I asked them all of the same questions. Mostly I just wanted to know what it was like to be a young musician. You'll hear from Ducky, TV Ghost, Filligar and StarsNo Stars. Here is what they had to say: Ducky is the solo project of San Francisco based high school junior, Morgan Neiman! She has been making electronic music since the age of 14, using Logic Pro to synthesize all of her own compositions. She records all vocals from home as well. She has one album, Low Frequency Days, out on iTunes and has a follow-up on the way. BTR:  What are the difficulties being a young performer in the industry versus being an older established band? Ducky: One of the biggest difficulties is probably the literal age limitations at live venues. A lot of the best venues in San Francisco, particularly for electronic musicians, are at least 18 + if not 21 +, which seriously cuts down your opportunities for live shows. Besides that, the music scene where I live is generally super friendly to young musicians. BTR: Who are your influences? Ducky: I listen to everything from MF Doom, to Bad Brains, to Iron and Wine… I’d like to think they all influence my writing style, but I’ve heard my music compared to bands like the Postal Service and Prefuse 73. BTR: What is your writing process like? Ducky: Extremely, extremely random. There is no method to my madness. BTR: Do you play out much? Do you find it difficult to get gigs? Ducky: I do a lot more live DJ sets than live Ducky gigs. As a junior in high school balancing advanced classes with DJing and my solo music project, the issue is not so much finding the gigs as finding the time to play them. I hope to play live a lot more over the summer and when I graduate this year. BTR: How do you promote yourself? How do you promote your live gigs? Ducky: The Internet is my number one tool. Myspace, facebook, even your lovely radio! BTR: Any new music/albums in the works? Ducky: I have been slowly slowly working on my second CD, The Automobile, for a long time now. I promise to finish eventually. BTR: Tell me about some bands you are listing to right now... Ducky: Current favorites are: Prefuse 73 (all time favorite), Wax Tailor, Madvillain and Deer Tick BTR: Anything else you would like to ad? ANYTHING AT ALL!!! Ducky: You guys are the best! Filligar consists of Casey Gibson, Johnny, Pete, and Teddy Mathias. They hail from Chicago, Illinois! BTR: What are the difficulties being a young band in the industry versus being an older established band? Pete: In the music industry, you have to pay your dues. This means initially you take any gig you are offered, any time, any place. We’ve done the noon luncheon gig, the middle school dance, etc. For a young band, these opportunities are crucial in order to build a fan base. One you’ve become established and can guarantee a crowd, then you can become more selective.   BTR: How did you meet? Casey: I met Pete and Teddy in kindergarten, and we've been friends since I can remember. We started the band when we were in eighth grade (Johnny would have been in sixth grade) as a fun thing to do on the weekends, recorded a few songs in the Mathias's basement, and realized how much fun playing music together can be. We haven't stopped having fun yet. I'd say we're having more fun than ever. So, we'll keep making music together as long as it’s rewarding.   BTR: Who are your influences? Johnny: Who we're influenced by has a lot to do with who we've been listening to right before we start writing and recording songs.  From one CD to next that can vary.  Some bands and artists will continue to influence us while others might just be for that point in time.  It's hard to list a few because any music that I've listened to influences me in some way, but some people and bands that I'll always return to are CSNY, Neil Young, Wilco, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and so on.       BTR: What is your writing process like? Johnny: One of us will come in with an idea (musical idea, lyrical idea, whatever) and we'll just go from there.  We'll maybe get it right off the bat, or we'll spend a couple days, even weeks, trying to get it.  "Hounds" on Near or Far took about two months, and didn't really start taking shape until a couple days before we went in the studio.  We'll generally write the music and then do the lyrics.  Before there's lyrics, we'll just sort of hum out the general line for the vocals.   BTR: How do you envision the band growing and developing? Johnny: I think with music the only way to grow and develop is to listen to more of it and play more of it.  That's a good thing because I, and I know the other guys, like doing both.  We'll have to work a bit harder, and I think graduating from college will be a good thing for us.  I think we've also come to think that music's more fun in a live setting.  As good as putting on a pair headphones is, I think that the energy and human part of live music is what's really valuable.  The CD tries to capture that, but especially in music today, that's often lost to a glossy sound.      BTR: Do you play out much? Do you find it difficult to get gigs? Casey: Playing live is the most fun we have as a band, so we try to do it as much as we can. We spend a lot of time emailing and calling friends at other colleges, promoters, and venues, always looking for another show--but that's only half the battle. Getting a foot in the door in a new city is always tough, so we make sure we promote every show the best we can.   BTR: How do you promote yourself? How do you promote your live gigs? Pete: Fortunate for us, the Myspace and Facebook revolutions began right around when we started playing together as a band. Consequently, we began promoting our music in both of these incredible networks. For live gigs, we do rely on these online communities to “spread the word.” However RSVPs to an event invitation are never any guarantee that people will show up. There’s no better promotion than personal phone calls to our friends to let them know that we are playing. We’ve realized that what is more time efficient for gig promotion is not necessarily what is more effective at getting people to come to our shows. On Myspace or Facebook, we can spread the word about a show to hundreds of fans instantaneously. But these are impersonal invitations. Fans and friends are much more inclined to come when we call them. We’ve found this is true for general promotion too— a conversation on the phone or in person usually is much likelier to get the desired outcome than an email.   BTR: Any new music/albums in the works? Pete: Right now we are focusing on promoting our new album Near or Far.  While we are always thinking about new ideas for songs, we are pouring all our energy into performing and promoting the new album. BTR: Tell me about some bands you are listing to right now... Casey: There is a lot of great music coming out right now. We'll always have our favorites to fall back on, like Neil Young and the Rolling Stones, but I've really enjoyed recent albums by My Morning Jacket, Fleet Foxes, MGMT, The Dodos, Doggie Hi! Yippie, and Deerhunter, among many, many others.   BTR: Anything else you would like to ad? ANYTHING AT ALL!!!? Filligar: We will be headlining at the Canal Room in New York City on January 2nd! Live: Dec 20 2008 at The Apple Store (Michigan Ave) in Chicago, IL Dec 23 2008 at Subterranean in Chicago, IL Jan 2 2009 at Canal Room in New York, NY   StarsNoStars is the songwriting of five guys from South Wales in the United Kingdom; Noel Anderson, Nick Russell, Jon Mohajer, Chris Thomas and Will Wigfield. BTR: What are the difficulties being a young band in the industry versus being an older established band? Nick: Less links, I suppose. I’ve never really thought about it Noel: To be honest, I never see being young as a difficulty. It’s more of an advantage – I mean we have all this time to do not much else with. Other bands have to think about making a living and stuff. BTR: How did you meet? Noel: Me and Nick grew up together, we’ve been best friends most of our lives. We started writing songs together since the age of 15. The rest of the band got  built around that. We were already friends with Chris (drums) and it seemed natural for him to start playing with us. We used to have a keyboardist who couldn’t really play; he was more interested in synth sounds and stuff. When he left to focus on work we started looking for someone else. I met Will (keyboards) at this party. Everyone was pretty wasted, which made hearing some guy in the kitchen talking about Noam Chomsky books seem really surreal. I got talking to him and he ended up mentioning that he played piano, so we started jamming and he’s been playing with us ever since. Again, we had a different bassist before Luke joined us but that guy left to go to University. The town we live in is pretty small and we all knew Luke from going out and he knew about the band. He asked if we’d be up for giving him a chance, so we organised a few practices. Luke’s been so enthusiastic about practicing and playing. It’s awesome. Nick: Where we live doesn’t seem to be a good source of like-minded musicians that we can pool with which would make things more fun, or at least not that we know of? But we get on and we have fun. BTR: Who are your influences? Noel: Bands like Radiohead and The Smiths stand out for me, any band like that who can carve a sound that is just totally their own. I don’t know how many people know them, but Xiu Xiu are a band that are just completely honest, and that inspired me a lot. Nick: Yeah, I agree, it seems to me that raw honesty is always inspiring and especially so when it is placed into the framing of a song. Bright Eyes are one of my favorite bands, and I would cite honesty as a reason but also immense lyrical talent. It’s just amazing when the words in a song really move you. It’s one of those ‘wow, I love being alive’ moments. Modest Mouse have that effect sometimes as well, I joined a facebook group the other day called ‘Isaac Brock always seems to know what I am thinking’ and it’s true! BTR: What is your writing process like? Noel: We’ve learned that it’s best to create our songs away from each other, so like Nick will write a song without me and I’ll write a song away from Nick. Then we take our songs to the band and they normally get developed. Nick: I’ve noticed all my songs are very sad and slow, but it only just occurred to me the other day. This is okay though. I am quite slow and sometimes sad. BTR: How do you envision the band growing and developing? Noel: Working on more recordings, I guess. The new songs sound better each time. Nick: It depends how our lives fold out, I think, most of the time I just think of song writing as a reaction to how someone’s life is progressing. But I mean we’re learning things and so, technically, I’d like to think that everything can only get stronger and more confident. BTR: Do you play out much? Do you find it difficult to get gigs? Noel: We’re hoping to play gigs more regularly. When we do play it’s normally shows that our friends are putting on and stuff. Nick: Well, so far they’ve been quite scarce. The town we live in doesn’t have any people wanting to put on shows and it’s pretty hard to get all our gear to the nearest city, Cardiff. We did manage it once though. BTR: How do you promote yourself? How do you promote your live gigs? Noel: I don’t think we do much active promotion at all. The most effective thing is probably people who like us showing other people. Nick: Yeah, well if there’s one coming up I’ll mention it, if I’m talking to someone and the conversation steers in that direction. I used to make fliers to put up around school last year when we played. I should do this again actually, it was fun was fun making fliers. Random images with cut out bits of words on top and photocopied about 50 times. BTR: Any new music/albums in the works? Noel: We’re demoing up some songs at Monnow Valley Studio. They should be finished after Christmas, I hope. Nick: That’s about it, I have a little 4 track recorder that is great for little things but not a big band song. BTR: Tell me about some bands you are listing to right now... Noel: I can’t get enough of the new Parenthetical Girls Album. Spiritualised’s new stuff is really cool too. William Basinski makes beautiful music that I have only discovered recently. Nick: Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky and Elvis Perkins – who Noel always makes fun of but I defend fiercely. He has this album called Ash Wednesday which was written around the time his mum was killed when the plane she was in was flown into the World Trade Center on September 11th. His dad played Norman Bates too. Noel: That guy just rips off Jeff Mangum so much. BTR: Anything else you would like to ad? ANYTHING AT ALL!!! Noel: Outside, it’s wild Nick: I had a really mad dream last night. I walked into this girl’s house and we started kissing but suddenly it became apparent that she was going out with a friend of mine. He arrived with all his mates and was pretty mad so I was like, ‘alright then, fucking punch me already you cunt. I deserve it.’ and then he stopped and said it was all a joke- but he whispered to me 'alright I know you kissed her but it’s alright and no one needs to know.' I was so spun out and then we all (like 12 of these boys) went and watched TV in the living room. I heard one of the boys saying to his mate that he wanted to go to Bruges. I turned to him and asked, 'What the fuck do you want to go to Bruges for? It’s shite.' Then I woke up. TV Ghost hails from Lafayette, Indiana and consists of Dolan Brahne Hoeft, Jackson VanHorn, Shawn Ghost and Timothy Conrad Gick. BTR: What are the difficulties being a young band in the industry versus being an older established band? TV Ghost: Well, some of us have been playing in bars since we were 12, but you still run into jackass bartenders who'll kick you out or not pay you. BTR: How did you meet? TV Ghost: We all met playing in different bands at a local record store venue called Downtown Records. We've all played together for about 5 years in different line-ups, but finally started TV Ghost about 2 years ago. BTR: Who are your influences? TV Ghost: We all have scattered tastes from David Bowie to DNA from Suicide to Bob Dylan, but we don't have a direct influence to music we make. BTR: What is your writing process like? TV Ghost: We don't have an excact formula. We all know how each other play so we can let songs develop and shape them as we go. Most songs are inspired by improvisation and later molded as a song. BTR: How do you envision the band growing and developing? TV Ghost: Experimenting with our recording process and hopefully buying a van. BTR: Do you play out much? Do you find it difficult to get gigs? TV Ghost: We actually have more trouble getting to gigs than actually booking them. It's more or less our financial problems that inhibit us from playing out more. We've been kinda cursed in the past. We've had cars reposessed on tour, multiple breakdowns, you name it. This summer we plan on doing a full U.S tour followed by a short tour in Europe, but other than that we're kinda takin it easy. BTR: How do you promote yourself? How do you promote your live gigs?   TV Ghost: We don't do a lot of self promotion besides touring and myspace. BTR: Any new music/albums in the works? TV Ghost: A full length LP. Live: Dec 31 2008  at Bourbon St. in Columbus, OH Link to this article:
Right... Back with another slice of Leo Zero hotness... Mr Zero seems to have this no fear approach to his cut ups, going not only to lesser known places and spaces, he'll quiet happily and seemingly with ease find magic in the very well known (there's a mash up/re-work of 'Hey Mickey' & Missy E's 'Work It' floating about, the latter is hot!). There is the Balearic heaven of his 'Horse With No Name' re-jig, but things begin to get a little more obscure again with the blissed out perfection of his re-work of Prefab Sprout's 'Bonny' ( I'm a huge fan of the original and that period of their work) and there's this spacey, tripped out, beachy beauty... short, but oh so sweet...I should add this has just been put out on vinyl Just Another Night On Earth Link To This Post
A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss) Glasvegas One of the first to the Christmas shelves this year is Scotland's own Glasvegas. While a Christmas-themed release is not unusual for most groups, the circumstances for Glasvegas are interesting, to say the least. Released on Monday, A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss), is only the second album they've officially released, coming less than three months after their self-titled debut. This would seem only slightly off if it weren't for the fact that A Snowflake Fell, an album featuring a whopping six new songs, will be sold with a newly packaged Glasvegas. However, what is most important is the musical content, not the by-any-means approach major labels seem to be taking with CD sales. A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss) is a continuation of the simplistic Walkmen or Coldplay-like sounds many members of the UK have thus far gobbled up like Shepherd's Pie. But Glasvegas actually take a new spin on the Christmas album feel, injecting their own version of a harsh real-world emotional edge into an otherwise whimsical vacation from the troubles of modern times. They even keep the overall style of artwork, bringing a refreshing sense of continuity that many groups tend to shed in an attempt to avoid being pigeonholed, only to lose a necessarily cohesive identity. It is difficult to see a group with so much potential turn so quickly to a Christmas album, something many artists seek out as a last ditch effort to save their career; however, Glasvegas have maintained their artistry in spite of the inherent hokiness  that Christmas time brings, an achievement in and of itself. Whether or not the group is able to show their fans any sign that they plan to develop their sound remains to be seen. After all, it is their second album, a six song album and the third month after their debut. With the excitement that surrounds, they have all the time in the world. Link to this article:
I don't know about you but I'm loving the newest collection of Phantom Slasher tracks on Noid (sadly only available on CD), 'Key to the Tripod' is home to a bunch of top edity/Disco tracks, some of which are culled from their '08 vinyl releases ('Nicoteen', 'Bethlehem', 'Blow Me Slow', 'Skullvolley' (though here it's called 'Le Cock Noir') etc), others are new to these ears, but i'd say it's an essential buy if you're looking for a bunch of proper Idjut Boys stuff. I guess I am a big sucker for their sound and that's just not going to change. There are lots of recognisable bits put through the echo heavy idjut machine, even Spandau Ballet ('Noid Life') and I'm pretty sure I heard, amongst others, Warp 9's classic 'Nunk' being fiddled & filtered within an inch of its life on 'Tripod'. The album is still available in most stores, but do not expect them to re-press it when they sold out, it doesn't seem to be Noid or the Idjut's style. Here's my current favorite... Just Another Night On Earth Link To This Post
Manchester's Kelvin Brown is an exceptional DJ with premium taste buds; an ex resident at the now closed Electric Chair, a Plastic People regular and occasional spinner at Horse Meat Disco, he includes having spun live on Gilles Peterson's 'Worldwide' show amongst his many achievements. Kelvin's passion for music is apparent in everything he does, his sets are adventurous, eclectic, impossibly well programed and mixed with precision, you'll hear anything from Jazz to Disco to Afro, Techno, Folk, Hip Hop, Dub Step, House, Broken Beats, Detroit sounds and Reggae. Quality is what binds them, quality and his insightful understanding of a connective tissue that runs through generations of Black & Black influenced music. Kelvin's mix 'Celestial Blues Volume 2' is simply wonderful; achingly beautiful dusty grooves edge over into deeply twisted digital investigations, there are more than a few jaw dropping blends herein and not a single duff track. Like all the press play's before it, Mr Brown's mix comes with a highly recommended sticker, there is no tracklisting for the moment but feel free to ask about or spot any of the gems in it. Go and check out Kelvin's myspace page and keep an eye on where to catch him next - An upcoming, year-end Electric Chair riot is on the cards, also soon come another Eyes Down party (a great night run by Kelvin and his buddy Jon K), plus the man is working on a number of musical projects which many heads in the industry are looking forward to hearing (no pressure K). As always you can find the mix on the side bar under Press Play or right here. Just Another Night On Earth Link To This Post
For the latest installment of 'Hello My Name Is," we will feature three bands from Portland, Maine. Endora Endora is the project of Josh Lemay. He occasionally calls on his friends to help him out when in the studio or playing live. His story is quite heart warming: "Well, the name Endora comes from the town in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? As Johnny Depp is trying to run away, he drives past a sign that says 'you are now leaving Endora.' I felt like everyone is trying to get away from something, so I could relate. I took the name and that's that. It did not, however disappointing it may be, come from Samantha's mother on Bewitched." Dead Man's Clothes The current members of this Portland, Maine quartet include Eliot Heeschen (percussion, glockenspiel), Jake Pike (bass guitar, keyboards, vocals), Charles Brodeur (synthesizers, noise toys) and Don Dumont (guitar, cello, saw, vocals). Their latest album is called Aplomb. Don Dumont kindly told the story behind the name: "The band name comes with a short story. I was recording the first record with a good friend of mine in a small town in New Hampshire. He had lived there his whole life, in the same house, directly across from this very old hotel. At first it was a beautiful and prosperous business, but over time the service declined, and so did the patronage. By the time I arrived it was all but abandoned. We learned through a series of inquiries that the owner's wife had been a schizophrenic. He had tried to take care of her on his own in the hotel, rather than sending her to an asylum, located about an hour away. Her psychotic outbreaks became more frequent and more violent. It became hard for him to keep up his business, or to conceal her from his customers." "After a long struggle he closed the hotel and it fell into disrepair. Unfortunately, he died a few years before his wife. Left with no one to care for her she became a town legend, and a witch of sorts. Not long after her husband's death she passed as well, leaving the hotel to rot. One afternoon, fresh from recording, we see a sign that explains that the hotel has been slated for demolition in one week. We knew right then it was our duty to explore that place before it was destroyed forever." "So one night, just after midnight, we crept in through a broken window. Out of the myriad of strange objects piled high into ghastly monuments we also found our band name. In one section of the hotel a hallway led to three doors and behind each door (once we were able to push them open) were piles and piles of her late husband's clothes, at least knee high. Almost all of the clothes were from the mid-70's, as if the man hadn't even had the time to buy new clothes once he started to care for his wife. Realizing this treasure was about to be bulldozed into oblivion, we loaded up as much as we could fit into the suitcases that were in the pile, and all we could carry. Those clothes made up more than 80% of my wardrobe. So the name is based on the Dead Man's Clothes we found in that abandoned hotel. The clothes fit like a glove and from then on we have been taking care of the schizophrenic music we are wed to." There Is No Sin In My Body There Is No Sin in My Body is a Portland, Maine-based indie band. It is helmed by Slingbox Bobby Brown and his half-brother, Madonna Jones. The additional twenty-six (yes, that's correct!) band members include four death metal guitarists, a monkey trainer, a full organ ensemble and a deaf guy named G2. Best known for their score of the film Orphans on Parade, they are currently touring with The Blunt Hunters and Oops, I'm on Fire. Here is a bit of background: "Troy's family were strict Mormons. His brother, Otto, never took well to the oppression.  When poor Otto was just 15, he fell in love with a Jew. Oye! Of course, this did not go over well, and their parents forbid him from communicating with the lovely, young Barbara. Otto freaked, as you may well imagine, and killed his parents in their sleep!  With a star of David, no less!!  Yadda, yadda, yadda, Otto did a few years in juvey, a few more years in intense therapy, had a quicky lobotomy, and now walks the Earth happy as a lark and completely free of sin!!! However, the truth is wildly less interesting. It's a quote from 'The Egyptian Book of The Dead.'" Link to this article:
Saturday 6th December sees yet another great party from our pals ‘Darn saaarf’ at Bad Passion. (Name taken from the Steel Mind track?) Not one, not two but THREE amazing DJ’s/producers are being given the Bad Passion treatment on Saturday 6th November as they get together to celebrate Phoreski’s latest release on his Bare Fist imprint - PHORESKINZ VOL.2, which from the start of December is available via Oki-Ni. PHORESKI With his outstanding reworks on numerous labels, Phoreski’s bonkers-as DJ sets have been raising eyebrows around the net with a number of recent online mixes whilst stunning the crowds who have been fortunate enough to have witnessed his live sets as his anything goes (Literally… From French library funk to Algerian disco!) attitude and slick turntable skills make him one of the hottest properties around right now and rightly so - This ain’t no hype, this guy is a rare commodity: The real deal! STEVE KOTEY Stevie is a Cosmic Disco favourite and for reasons we have written about on several occasions on this site previously. Being head honcho at Bear Funk Entertainment, a member of the Chicken Lips collective and numerous other working monikers is more than enough to quantify a full working career but this doesnt even begin to detail Stevie’s back catalogue and work within today’s dance music industry. Expect sleazed out disco oddities of the rarest order. Perfect! PAUL ‘MUDD’ MURPHY Again, a BIG Manchester favourite and one who doesn’t need much of an introduction around these parts is main man behind Claremont 56 (Check out Moonboots & Balearic Mike’s ‘Originals’ compilation OUT NOW). Paul will be playing the upstairs room (10pm-12am) which will be free entry before 10 so make sure you get to check him out and his blissed out sounds… Of course, the Bad Passion residents will be on duty to fill in the blanks and to top of what is already scheduled to be a great Party Oki-Ni are giving away 100 T-shirts on the night for those who get their arses into gear early doors (Free entry to check out Mudd + Free T-Shirt!). In preparation of this party we’ve managed to get hold of a couple of mixes whipped up by the Bad Passion residents giving you a sample of their sound. The 1st mix is aimed at the dancefloor with the 2nd being late night/early morning after hours tackle. If we were in London, we’d be there no question. If you are in the vicinity make sure you don’t miss out… BAD PASSION PROJECT PRESENTS: Phoreski/Steve Kotey/Paul Mudd Murphy w/ support from the Bad Passion residents. Saturday 6th December 2008 @ Cosmo Bar Basement - 10pm-6am. Free before 10pm, £3 10pm till midnight & £5 after. BARGAIN! Link to this post. Mix File @ Cosmic Disco
During his disco days, Tom had a reputation as one of the finest musical programmers around, pushing the very latest sounds to the thousands of dancers who would flock to hear him play. With a commitment to new music still as prevalent as ever, this latest submission sees Tom produce a segment of approx. 45mins in length. If played in a live environment Tom now utilises such technology as MixMeister to insert video clips and images into the timeline of the mix to compliment and coax the imagination visually as well as aurally, projecting the artist and title onto screens behind him. Programming is also still of utmost importance. A similar process known as ‘Remote Viewing’ Tom explains in his own words: If I come upon a song that conjures a very specific and global image, place, object (impression) location, I go there, maybe in Google Earth, and I look around to gather more impressions and find stuff to match: more tracks, video and photography stills. I also check the astro maps to look at the position of my natal lines through that location(s). That information from the maps sort of guides me on the feelings of the locale, whether my ideas would work if I were actually there. I have always been a ‘medium’ for the channeling of music with the ability to take the power of the collective dance floor, interpreting it and sending it back out to the people. It was always the audience first, then the artist(s), and then the tracks, then me. We didn’t have video then and it was never, ever about me alone. Maybe that’s the reason I couldn’t have anybody around me when I was working? Can you imagine the power of good intention in the universe if you subliminally point people in the right direction! We could move mountains, find cures, prevent hunger and disease! Link to this post. Mix File @ Cosmic Disco  
Well, there is not much to explain here! The title and description of the feature says it all. But, just for the sake of clarity, these are some of our favorite album covers of 2008. Instead of compiling a massive list of favorites and then ranking them, we decided it would be better to show each BTR DJ's individual pick instead. It keeps with one of our most important themes here at BTR, and that is that each  of our DJs controls their own playlist, with no oversight from anyone save themselves. That said, if we did have to pick an overall winner, Of Montreal's Skeletal Lamping would be the victor, because it's the only one that made the list twice. Check it! DJ Wynn (Mondays on BTR, Revolver, BTR World Music) picks Skeletal Lamping, by Of Montreal DJ Emily (Tuesdays on BTR, Ladies Skate Only, The Alt-Country Show, Matt and Emily) picks June Degrees In December, by Bing Ji Ling DJ RePete (Wednesdays on BTR, Backroom Blues Hour) picks Skeletal Lamping, by Of Montreal DJ Lottie (Thursdays on BTR, All Access, Sideshow Acts, Spotlight On The City) picks Trouble In Dreams, by Destroyer Latola (The Synapse, Dapper Fitting Drinking Hour, Matt and Emily) picks Los Angeles, by Flying Lotus  DJ Madalyn (Saturdays on BTR, All Access, God Bless Weirdmerica) picks At Mount Zoomer, by Wolf Parade DJ Drew (Sundays on BTR, The BTR Reggae Hour) picks Kingstonlogic 2.0, by Terry Lynn DJ Annie (The Mixtape Show, The BTR Top Ten) picks the Beehive State/Cotillion Blues single, by White Rabbits DJ DoseU (Anatomy of a Blogger, The Remix Hour, The Rock Show) picks Sexuality, by Sebastien Tellier DJ Chris H (TransPacific) picks In Ghost Colours, by Cut Copy DJ Maia (BTR Live Studio, The Folk Wave) picks Child Bearing Man, by Little Teeth Ms. Drama (Major Playaz Radio, Underground Noize Radio, Hip-Hop Digest) picks Untitled,  by Nas DJ Laura (Jam Session, The Boston Scene) picks Back To The Woods, by The Brew DJ Mojo (Maximum Music) picks Alone In This Dark Romantic Night, by Beautiful Lunar Landscape Link to this article:
Zyron provided us some great music back in March 2007 so it was great to hear back from the man himself, especially as he had a spanking new mix for our ears. Featuring a staggering 28 tracks within 100 minutes is a challenge for anyone but friend of the site Zyron pulls it off with finesse. Holger Czukay - Träum Mal Wieder Talking Heads - Seen and Not Seen Shriekback - Into Method [Planet Mix] Iam Siam - Talk to Me (I Can Hear You Now) [Dub] Fukkt - Goodhome Street Duran Duran - Faith in this Colour Per Cussion - 42nd Street Heartbeat David Byrne - Leg Bells Mike Oldfield - Incantations [Part One Excerpt] Godley & Creme - Clues Cerrone - Rendez-Vous Herbie Hancock - Doin’ It Milli Vanilli - Magic Touch Flash & the Pan - Hole in the Middle Dag Vag - Utsikt från en altan Level 42 - Coup D’etat Peter Gabriel - Exposure Birth Control - Gamma Ray [History Clock Re-edit] Manfred Mann’s Earth Band - Fritz the Blank Logic System - Automatic Collect Automatic Correct Savage Progress - My Soul Unwraps Tonight Herbie Hancock - Junku Ashra - Shuttle Cock La Compagnie Créole - Miyo Godley & Creme - Love Bombs Floy Joy - Into the Hot Wobble & Marland - Love Mystery [Instrumental] Chic - (Funny) Bone Link to this post. Mix File @ Cosmic Disco
Well we've begun the turnaround. It's time we gave a little recognition to the often unrecognized - the Denvers, the Omahas and so on. However, before we leave the west coast there is serious business to take care of. Portland, Oregon for a long while was creatively locked within the shadow of Seattle, Washington, but many musical minds are beginning to see that the once little brother is all grown up. And where better to find the future leaders of the scene than in the institutions that hold them to the sidelines? At Portland State, Boy Gorilla Records is a massive project with a history comprised mainly of four bands. A steadily accumulating amount of student artists and musicians have come together to form the label and create the art and albums that facilitate the music of their  current lineup. The musicians and artists are eclectic and experimental, to say the least. Boy Gorilla is a true art collective where all styles are represented, from founder to first timer. The Mopps & The Hacks The Mopps were the influential punk-rock high school beginning of Gorilla Boy, though the label wasn't officially formed until April 14th, 2006. In 1999 Kyle Morton, Toby Tanabe and Casey O'Brien came together to form the group, ultimately recruiting Joel Andrich for a second guitar (later replaced by Tyler Ferrin). They established themselves early by playing in Salem, a town south of Portland, before local heroes, the Widgets. The Hacks (Conlan Murphy, Kyle Klain, Eddie Villareal, Toby Tanabe) came together in 2003 and played closely with the Mopps. These two groups brought together many more members from around the scene in Salem and elsewhere. Members of The Bends and The Perennial Underdogs both had equally sorted stories, but essentially shadowed the Mopps and The Hacks for quite a bit. Members from all groups ultimately came together in 2005 to form Typhoon, a supergroup and a minimalist's nightmare. Typhoon & The Black Black Black Typhoon's entire group included Kyle Morton, Paige Morton, Toby Tanabe, Tyler Ferrin, Casey O'Brien, Conlan Murphy, Devin Gallagher, Eric Stipe and on a single song, singer Leah Ng. Ultimately Dave Hall, Gavin Pritchard, Devin Gallagher, Dave Hall and Kyle Morton formed The Black Black Black, while Kyle attended PSU. They were consumed by "playing guitars for hours in a dark room without saying a word to each other before, during, or after," according to members of Boy Gorilla. By this time in 2006, Devin Gallagher and Tyler Ferrin believed the music was good enough to establish a label to release albums from both groups, the first being the Typhoon's self-titled. Since then, Typhoon and others on Boy Gorilla have begun to keep pretty good company, including Man Man, Quasi, Matt & Kim, Starfucker, White Fang and Asobi Seksu. It is not at all surprising to learn from Tyler Ferrin that things haven't changed. More groups are coming aboard, as well as more friends. As he explains, "We never censor anything that we put out but now I feel like we are going to have to start being more picky. So many of our friends make music - the trouble is it's all good!" Make sure to check out the site for albums designed and packaged by Jordan Bagnall, Luke Gallagher, Kevin Rafn and Calvin Waterman, not to mention visual art and photography from Boy Gorilla, Dawnzerlylight, Adam Zeek, Conlan Murphy and Brad Grenz of Northwest of the Nation, Reelthugs, Erikzachariahh and Alaskamind. And yes, there are others. Link to this article:
It’s been quite some time since I last posted one of my own mixes and I’m still (Albeit slowly…) working on the final installment of the Space Race series which will be a ‘Best of’ mix featuring my favourite tracks taken from the previous 9 editions. In the meantime I threw together a little compilation from a pile of albums taking up residency in the corner of my apartment. All the tracks featured on this mix have been lifted from the dusty (Some filthly) vaults at a number of my favourite shops all over Lancashire and the north west of England. Check ‘Diggers Guide‘ for details of a couple of haunts… As usual I like to keep things pretty laid back with no technical wizardy. A selection of what you can find if your prepared to put in some time ploughing through those crates… Enjoy. Link to this post. Cosmic Disco all night long.
Strip Steve just finished up this great remix for our friends from down under Van She. Its pretty wicked nasty. Check it out! Van She - Strangers (Strip Steve remix) Link to this post. Check out Boysnoize!
New Shadow Dancer remix of Oakland based Trackademicks on the new Scion CD sampler vol 22 remixed by Fool’s Gold records. Check it out! Trackademicks - Enjoy what you do (Shadow Dancer remix) Link to this post. Check out Boysnoize!
These United States These United States are a raucous band hailing from Lexington, Kentucky. Their most recent release, Crimes, shows a bevy of influences, from old-school blues to recent southern rockers like Kings of Leon. BTR got a chance to catch up with These United States' Jesse Elliot to find out from where exactly the patriotic name came: "Some friends and I were staring at a strange, mystical, twisted painting of a deformed being of some kind. [It was] holding a massive red, white and blue ice cream cone that was melting.  It was very late, and it just made sense." Live! Nov 20 2008 at Brooklyn Cafe in Waterbury, CT Nov 21 2008 at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA Nov 22 2008 at Black Cat Mainstage in Washington, DC Fujiya & Miyagi While the name may sound like a world music duo, Fujiya & Miyagi are a quartet hailing from Brighton in the United Kingdom. According to the band, they are heavily influenced by 70's artists like Can and Neu! as well as electronic artists like Aphex Twin. The latter shows quite a bit, with those electronica roots influencing their sound on most tracks. They've also recorded a 43 minute workout track for Nike, exemplifying that their strength is in the more upbeat tracks. Their latest work, Lightbulbs, was released back in September to favorable reviews. Their sound  is contagious and their live sets outrageous - they are surely one of our favorite adds of the year. The origins of the band's name are unclear, with several different stories circulating the Internet. One states that the band's name has two parts-  one from a character from everyone's favorite martial arts film The Karate Kid, and the second being a brand of a record player. Reportedly, that was a joke answer, the real story being that the outfit was named after a Nabokov brain dump on the relationship between the past and the present. Whatever the source, these clever Brits have managed to make the most of a cryptic name. Live! Nov 22 2008 at La Marquinerie in Paris, France Nov 24 2008 at La Laiterie in Strasbourg, France Nov 25 2008 at Luxor in Koln, Germany Nov 26 2008 at Schlachthof in Wiebaden, Germany Soldier On Dear Friend Last up we have brand new add, Soldier On Dear Friend. Formed at Swarthmore College, SODF is based in Philadelphia and Brooklyn with band members traveling to one another in order to practice and record on weekends. An indie pop quartet, Soldier On Dear Friend have just released the Airplane Demos EP, and anticipate a full-length recording to be released sometime in 2009. We caught up with bassist Madalyn to find out the academic inspiration for their moniker: "We were trying to name our band in the fall of our senior year.  We went through a lot of really, really bad names like 'waiting for our husbands to come home from war' and 'treaty of westphalia.'  We were really struggling to come up with something that fit us, and just couldn't hit on anything. "Then, we sort of stopped thinking about it for awhile because finals time came up and we were all really stressed out [from] studying.  I was gchatting with Anna, our guitarist, who had just pulled some serious all-nighters.  We were both working crazily hard, and as I was signing off to go back to the library I typed, "well, solider on dear friend."  All of a sudden Anna said, 'hey, that's a pretty good band name.'  We asked Meredith and Zach if they liked it, and it seemed to work.  After that, it just stuck." Link to this article:
The much anticipated album Monster Minor by Boston band Humankind is freshly laid down, though not yet released. BTR will debut two tracks next week during my Wednesday program, "Slippery Eel" and "Hammer Animal." These tracks were featured during Humankind's BTR Live Studio in September and the band has been kicking a few of the tracks off Monster Minor during recent shows. No tour yet for the new album, as frontman Al Millar heads off to some worldly travels until March when he'll reunite with band members Jason and George, no doubt for a few shows in Boston and New York. I'll be sure to keep you posted. Until then, tune in next week for the radio debut of Monster Minor on BTR!
New Boston Scene regulars, a'tris, need a little help from their fans. The guys placed 1st out of 2,315 bands on the Rock Stage of As a result of this finish they now have an opportunity to compete against previous winners for a grand prize of $20,000! This is some much-needed money for anyone right now in this crummy economy, but especially needed for artists trying to keep the music alive. A'tris could really use this money to put towards another rockin' album and a string of tour dates (if they have enough dinero maybe they'll come play in your city!). The guys have already gotten through the first few rounds and now it's down to 5! The winner will be announced THIS Saturday, 11/22, so if you dig a’tris, please help them out and cast your vote:
Boysnoize Records Congrats Erol Alkan Voted UK’s Favourite DJ. Watch the full Interview incl Erol talking about his "No.1 Dj": Boys Noize: Make sure to check out ! Link to this post. Check out Boysnoize!
Chad VanGaalen is ready to hit the road! Did you know that in the music business November to the beginning of January is considered the slowest time of the year?  Traditionally, radio station personnel would take all of their vacation days at the end of December because of holiday programming, so there was a freeze put on playing new records.  Because of that, new record releases and touring traditionally slow down during the months of November and December.  But, thank goodness, BTR artists don't always follow tradition. Even during the holiday lull there are tons of great shows to go see!  Three of my recommendations are Beach House with Tickley Feather, Women with Chad Van Gaalen, and O'Death. Beach House Even though it's winter time, Beach House's relaxing, ethereal tones will take you right back to the days of summer.  If you're lucky enough to be in Europe, you can catch them at any number of dates in late November/early December.  Then, for their return to the United States and end of their tour, Beach House will pair with Paw Tracks label-mates Tickley Feather- another ethereal noise band and BTR favorite.  One thing to look out for - if you live in Philadelphia you can catch the strange pairing of Beach House with The Walkmen at TLA.  The Walkmen's more typical indie-rock formula will be an interesting juxtaposition with Beach House's flowing melodies, and I highly suggest testing it out. Beach House Live! 11/20 - Rote Fabrik - Zurich, Germany 11/21 - Le Romandie - Lausanne, Switzerland 11/22 - Covo - Bologna, Italy 11/23 - Mattatoio - Carpi, Italy 11/24 - RetroPop Club - Cesena, Italy 11/25 - Circolo degli Artisti - Rome, Italy 11/26 - Casa 139 - Milan, Italy 11/27 - Whelans - Dublin, Ireland 11/28 - Le Guess Who Festival - Utrecht, Netherlands 11/29 - KB - Malmo, Sweden 11/30 - Tavastia - Helsinki, Findland 12/1 - Vega - Copenhagen, Denmark 12/2 - Cargo - Lonodn, UK 12/6 - TLA - Philadelphia, PA (with the Walkmen) 12/9 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY (with Tickley Feather) 12/10 - Club Hell - Providence, RI 12/11 - Iron Horse - Northampton, MA 12/12 - Museum of Fine Arts - Boston, MA 12/13 - Lunt Basement - Haverford, PA 12/18 - Sonar (Round Robin) - Baltimore, MD Women Women are definitely one of the buzziest blog bands right now.  Just try to visit a music blog that hasn't mentioned their song "Black Rice" recently.  After playing what seemed like an impossible amount of shows during CMJ, Women proved that sometimes if you're just plain good, success will come.  That's why if you have the opportunity to see this band while they're on tour in Europe, you should take it.  The stakes are raised even further because they're on tour with Jagjauwar label-mate and singer-songwriter Chad VanGaalen.  VanGaalen and Women have a very special relationship.  Many of Women's members have previously toured with VanGaalen, and he helped record their album.  It's always fun to see friends tour together, and my bets are that these shows are not to be missed. Women (with Chad VanGaalen) Live! 11/20 - Vera - Groningen, Netherlands 11/21 - Crossing Borders Festival - Den Haag, The Netherlands 11/22 - Trix - Antwerp, Belgium 11/24 - La Fleche D'Or - Paris, France 11/25 - The Borderline - London, UK 11/26 - Cooler - Bristol, UK 11/27 - The Captain's Rest - Glasgow, UK 11/28 - Limelight - Belfast, UK 11/29 - Rosin Dubh - Galway, Ireland 11/30 - Crawdaddy - Dublin, Ireland 12/2 - Night and Day Cafe - Manchester, UK 12/3 - The Windmill - London, UK 12/4 - Paradiso - Amsterdam, Netherlands 12/6 - Venue AB - Brussels, Belgium O'Death If you need something a little edgier than the melodic tones of Beach House, the indie-rock of Women, or the strummy guitar of Chad VanGaalen, check out alt-country rockers O'Death.  They sound like crazy bearded men climbing their way down from months of camping in the foothills of Appalachia.  These boys will definitely put on a wild, crazy, high-energy show.  Known for breaking instruments and other crazy stage antics, O'Death will certainly not disappoint. O'Death Live! 11/19 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, OR 11/20 - Jambalaya - Arcata, CA 11/21 - Bottom of the Hill - San Francisco, CA 11/22 - Spaceland - Los Angeles, CA 11/23 - Casbah - San Diego, CA 11/24 - Modified Arts - Phoenix, AZ 11/26 - Mohawk - Austin, TX 11/28 - The Marquee - Tulsa, OK 11/29 - Off Broadway - St. Louis, MO 11/30 - Hi-Tone - Memphis, TN 12/1 - Exit/In - Nashville, TN 12/2 - The Earl - Atlanta, GA 12/3 - Local 506 - Chapel Hill, NC 12/4 - Black Cat Backstage - Washington DC 12/5 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY Link to this article:
Politics is a dirty game, but when combined with the social pressures of a highly competitive high school, its downright disgusting. At New York City's Stuyvesant High, a elite public institution for developing young minds,  Michael, George, Alex and Hannah compete vigorously for the role of class president. They maneuver through obstacles eerily similar to the race this country witnessed only a few weeks ago, including the selection of a running mate, getting out the vote, debating live, dealing with the press and even dealing with issues of race. The film is quite a lot like Jeffrey Blitz's Spellbound: it is a low-budget documentary showing the stressful and often hilarious practices of young and awkward minds at their collective breaking point. Caroline Suh directs her first documentary in Frontrunners, but as riveting as teenage misery can be, no documentary of this playful nature would be complete without a proper soundtrack. Lucky for the ravenous listener, most of the music is somewhat unknown, giving smaller groups a great deal of exposure as Frontrunners travels all over the country for screening. Artists like Elf Power, Jamie Saft and Of Montreal were collected by editor Jane Rizzo and music consultant Mike Tully to support the lighthearted, yet emotionally tumultuous process that is the Stuyvesant High School presidential campaign. For example, The Oranges Band's 'Ride the Nuclear Wave' is an uplifting and energetic tune that can only be set to the grassroots tactics required of any campaign. The production team reserved tracks from The Album Leaf for more sentimental moments. Also featured are tracks from The M's latest release, Real Close Ones and fittingly, Headlights' Kill Them With Kindness. Once all the screening dates are finished, the movie is set to be released on DVD in early January. This microcosm will give you flashbacks of early November, but nothing a little teenage awkwardness can't cure. Check out the official website here. Link to this article:
CD 1 01. Housemeister - Hello Again 02. Siriusmo - Simple 03. Puzique - Thomas 04. Shadow Dancer - What Is Natural 05. Les Petits Pilous - Wake Up 06. CLP - Ready or Not 07. I Robots - Frau (Pandullo vs. Und Mix) 08. Boys Noize - Lava Lava (Feadz Aval Aval Remix) 09. D.I.M. - Is You (Brodinski Remix) 10. Eastwest - Psychedelic Disco 11. Puzique - Chemie 12. Les Petit Pilous - Jolie Fille 13. Strip Steve - You & I 14. Housemeister - Sonne, Mond & Sterne 15. Siriusmo - Last Dear CD2 01. Siriusmo - Mein Neues Fahrrad’ (Boys Noize Edit) 02. Shadow Dancer - Poke 03. The Faint - The Geeks Were Right (Boys Noize vs D.I.M. Remix) 04. Puzique - Don’t Go 05. Boys Noize - Volta82 06. Djedjotronic feat Spoek - Dirty & Hard 07. John Starlight - Shadowbreaker (Boys Noize Mix No.1) 08. Les Petit Pilous - Dodo Electro 09. Strip Steve - Ready Steady 10. D.I.M. - Is You 11. Housemeister - We Need Cash 12. Shadow Dancer - Cowbois (Das Glow Remix) 13. Boys Noize - Kill the Kid 14. Darmstadt - Out of the Blue (D.I.M. Remix) 15. Einzeller - Schwarzfahrer Link to this post. Check out Boysnoize!
Nightwish - The Phantom of the Opera [originally by Andrew Lloyd Webber] The best version of the Phantom of the Opera, a surprisingly faithful metal cover by popular Finnish band Nightwish. This is how it should be played all the time. Shirley Bassey - Don't Cry For Me Argentina [originally by Andrew Lloyd Webber] James Bond songstress Dame Shirley Bassey brings her inimitable vocals to this number from Evita. This comes from an entire album called Shirley Bassey Sings the Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Toy Dolls - Any Dream Will Do [originally by Andrew Lloyd Webber] UK punk band the Toy Dolls pull a doozy of a reworking of this song from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Love the addition of the children's choir. Definitely one of my favourite Broadway cover songs. Link to this post. Check out Fong Songs!
So you're probably (possibly?) wondering why I never Blog on here. Well, truth be told, I never blog ANYWHERE! I'm too damn busy all the time. Here's some of the stuff I have on-the-go at the moment: Live @ Old School Studios - Our weekly live session radio show, soon to air it's 100th episode! I book all the bands for this, and record and mix all of the sessions. Sofar we've had over 100 bands from England, Scotland, France, Italy, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Australia, Canada & The USA. This takes a LOT of work, so I hope you all enjoy the shows. Planet Beet show - Our other weekly radio show, which includes music, comedy, exclusive live gig recordings etc, which leads me onto.. Planet Beet gigs - I book the venue, book the bands, run the gig, design the flyers/posters, do the publicity, live sound, record it, mixdown the recordings at the studio at a later date, all so that you lucky listeners have good original music to listen to on the PB Radio Show each and every week... Lap Records - my little record label, with 6 upcoming releases over the next few months, from the likes of The Great Shakes, The Deets, Long Bone Trio, The Waxing Captors, Lowery, and many more pencilled in. I record all these releases in my studio (see below), and design all the artwork, so every release is very personal to me. Old School Studios - I own and run a recording studio, which I love doing, and which is a full time job in itself. I Am In Bands - I have a band called The Deets, and also various side-projects, like the recently started cover version project, Nanny Corbet, with my sister Tash, and have previously been in various bands, including The Secret Hairdresser, Animal Planet, Freeboy etc.. I've had over 25 of my songs played on BBC Radio One, and The Secret Hairdresser did one of the last John Peel Sessions, which was an honour. He was a great supporter of my music, and when he died I gave up music for a few years. Freelance Sound Engineer - I also go out doing live sound, and recording other people's gigs, though I only have time to do this 1-2 times per month these days. Website Designer - I have over 10 websites online that I designed, which are all updated by me, including those of my previous bands The Secret Hairdresser, Animal Planet, and my other solo projects Mr Jason & The Covert Stylist. Two New BTR Shows - I'm currently developing two BRAND NEW radio shows for BTR, which will air very soon, so look out for them! I'm not giving you any more info on them until they're done, so keep your eyes peeled. Vintage Clothing - I'm in the process of starting an Online Vintage Clothing shop. So, yeah, if you were wondering why I don't Blog on here, or anywhere else, then that's why, hehe.  :o) Rock Rock On! Mr Jason
The Blanks - Superman [originally by Lazlo Bane] A shortened version of Lazlo Bane's Superman served as the theme song to Scrubs, which enters its 8th season this year. Zach Braff intends to jump ship after this season, which should mean it's the last though reports say the show may continue with new cast members (bad idea). This cover is performed by Sacred Heart hospital's lawyer, Ted who is part of an cappella group that were featured several times throughout the show. They are in fact a real band known as The Blanks and their album of TV themes and other Scrubs mischief is available at CD Baby. Manic Street Preachers - Suicide is Painless [originally by Johnny Mandel & Mike Altman] Suicide is Painless is the main theme to M*A*S*H, which was a book and a Robert Altman film before making its way to the small screen. The song was co-written by Altman's 14 year-old son, who apparently earned more in royalties from the song than his dad did for directing the movie. Manic Street Preachers do an electric take on the song, which some don't even realize has lyrics. Gary Burton & Friends - Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs [originally preformed by Kelsey Grammer] Here's a catchy jazz cover of the main theme to Frasier originally sung by the show's star Kelsey Grammer. Poti Poti - Inspector Gadget [originally by Shuki Levy] I've yet to figure out who or what Poti Poti is, but I get the impression it's a collective name for some sort of foreign equivalent of Kidz Bop. This cover is curious because they're clearly singing lyrics that weren't present in the original (at least the English version). Oddly endearing. Link to this post. Check out Fong Songs!
James Husband Also known as Jamey Huggins, multi-instrumentalist for Of Montreal, this talented musician has a great story behind his pseudonym, which I learned during a recent phone interview. "I guess it came from a couple places. The first inspiration was a really influential band that I was in love with, called The Pretty Things, in London. They put out the amazing S.F. Sorrow record in 1967, but they also had this alternative, other band with all the same members, under different names. It was called The Electric Banana, and The Electric Banana did sound tracks for films. In one of those films, there is a British guy who plays a band manager, who has a really funny personality, and his name was, something,  'Husband.' It was like, 'Terrence Husband,' or 'Liam Husband,' and for some reason it just struck me. I had never considered 'Husband' to be a surname, and apparently in England that's not a totally uncommon last name." "My actual name is Huggins, so it's not that far off the mark. I just liked the ring of it." "Also, at that time, I was a young romantic and I had been writing all these songs about lost loves. The fact that I was single, and that all my songs were about breaking up with girls - it just seemed fitting that the whole attitude of my songwriting world was about looking for a wife." "The I had this whole idea of a stage band that was going to be all female, and it was going to be James Husband and The Wives." "But, to be honest, none of that stuff actually panned out, and it just turned into a very personal recording project that has now gotten away from all that romantic silliness." "But, yeah, mostly it just came from that film, and then it kind of took on a life of its own. To be honest, I don't really think about it anymore, and people just refer to me as that. Sometimes it takes me off guard, because I don't ever really refer to myself as James Husband, but then again, I guess by having the Myspace and all that, people just know me as that." Glasser When asked how she came upon the name Glasser, the powerfully-voiced songstress behind the music, Cameron Mesirow, had this to say: "A lot of people ask me that. I wish I had a better answer! It's just somebody's last name, and I don't even know that person! I just liked the sound of it." Continental Divide In a smashing conversation I recently had with Nathan Pemberton, the chief architect behind Continental Divide (now known as Holiday Shores), we of course asked about the story behind the name, and this is what he said: "My friend and I Bradley went to high school together, and we always wanted to start a band. He didn't play music, and he couldn't really sing, but we always joked that we would start a band, as kind of an impromptu thing." "He ended up going to college up in Virginia, and I was in school in Florida, so we joked a lot about the spatial distance between us. I think he mentioned it, or maybe I did, this 'continental divide' between us, and we kind of just played with that idea of separation." "Then one day he finally ended up coming back to Florida - I  think for Christmas - and we played an impromptu show that really sucked. But everyone thought it was humorous because he couldn't sing, and I just made up these instrumental parts, which he, not freestyled over, but more like spoke a flow of consciousness over." "That was the first Continental Divide show, and that was also the last one in that regard, and after that I just took the name for myself. " "But, it turns out there is a bluegrass band that shares the same name, and they also happen to have a fairly large discography. So I've been thinking about changing the name, but all my friends say they really like it. I think we're just going to stick with it and see what happens." Link to this article:
Today, some homegrown Canadian content. Pascale Picard - Shine On You Crazy Diamond [originally by Pink Floyd] From a tribute album called Pink Floyd Redux featuring several female Canadian artists reinterpreting the work of Pink Floyd. Worth seeking out for Quebe
November is a time for gathering, and music is no exception. At this year’s CMJ Music Marathon, we were lucky enough to be introduced to a ton of great new bands! Grampall Jookabox Ropechain It’s always exciting when one of our favorite labels has a new release, and we always love what Asthmatic Kitty Records has to offer. Sufjan’s label has turned out great acts in the past, and we’re psyched to add Grampall Jookabox’s new record, Ropechain, released on November 4th. Grampall Jookabox is the name of Indianapolis native David "Moose" Adamson's musical project. When David was a child, his uncle took note of his developing interest in hip-hop and loaned him a four-track, on which they mixed tracks together.  Since then, David has come into his own with a brand of hip-hop inspired bluesy folk rock that is not often seen in today’s music climate. Reportedly, Ropechain  was written by Adamson while spending a week alone in his basement, which is evident by the stream-of-consciousness lyrics and unique rhythms. A plethora of instruments, both electronic and acoustic can be heard on this album, making it as diverse as it is unique.  Scrambling towards any genre you can think of, Ropechain sounds like something a crazy dude would cook up in a basement, but in a good way. For our money, we like the wickedly funny “The Girl Ain’t Preggers” or the ferocious “Black Girls.”  Nov 10 2008 at Trunk Space in Phoenix, AZ Nov 11 2008 at Silverlake Lounge in Los Angeles, CA Nov 12 2008 at Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco, CA Nov 14 2008 at Vera Project in Seattle, WA Nov 15 2008 at Unusual Animals Showcase in Tacoma, WA Nov 17 2008 at Kilby Ct. in Salt Lake City, UT Nov 18 2008 at Hi-Dive in Denver, CO Nov 19 2008 at Box Awesome in Omaha, NE Nov 21 2008 at Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis, MN The Kindness Kind The Kindness Kind   The Kindness Kind is a Seattle-based indie-pop/rock group that will release their self-titled album on November 18th. Their sophomore effort, this vibrant mix moves from the delicate to the furious. “The Lusk Letter” boasts Alessandra Rose’s melodic vocals and haunting piano. Spotlighted at CMJ this year, The Kindness Kind has no label to call their own, but they have created two great albums with producer Lucas Carlyle (The Gossip, The Album Leaf) nonetheless.  The Toronto Star called this band “one of the best new groups emerging from Seattle,” and we tend to agree. Check out this album all over BTR! Nov 14 2008 at The Viaduct w/ The Oregon Donor in Tacoma, WA Nov 20 2008 TKK CD RELEASE!!! at The Tractor Tavern in Seattle, WA Dec 4 2008 at The Sunset in Seattle, WA Women Women   Women, an all-male quintet from Calgary, have released one of the most brilliant and refreshing albums of the year with their self-titled debut. The album was recorded in Chad VanGaalen's basement, and a crawl space, which gives some explanation as to how they perfected that lo-fi analog sound.  Sometimes airy and spacious, at other times eerie and dense, Women is one of those records appropriate for the coming winter months, with eerie vocals and lo-fi riffs that are perfect for cold nights. Noisy and claustrophobic songs bombard the listener while others lift and soar. This album is sure to be a hit with Velvet Underground and Zombies fans, but rest assured that there is a contemporary appeal here as well.  Mixing noise with infectious hooks, Women have made an innovative record with psychedelic undertones for a new generation of lo-fi fanatics. Nov 12 2008 at The Echo w/ Dungen in Los Angeles, CA Nov 15 2008 at Di Metric Studios w/ The Bicycles and Hot Panda in Vancouver, BC Nov 20 2008 at Vera w/ Chad Vangaalen in  Groningen Nov 24 2008 at La Fleche D’Or w/ Chad Vangaalen in Paris, France Nov 25 2008 at The Borderline w/ Chad Vangaalen in London, UK Various Artists/Famous Class Children of The Goo   Join your favorite Famous Class bands Snakes Say Hisss!, Boogie Boarder and Darlings for a fantastic compilation of what the Famous Class collective has been up to recently.  Famous Class shares a DIY ethic and love for art projects and home recording.  Formerly of Skidmore College, the collective has re-located to indie mecca Brooklyn, New York to continue what Cyrus Lubin started back in ’03  with his brother Perry.  With their art, ‘zines and hand-made packaging to accompany their records, Famous Class are doing their part to bring art and music together in interesting ways. This sampling of tracks is the ultimate cheat-sheet for discovering all of the amazing Famous Class projects.  Whether it’s Snakes Say Hisss!’ synth grooves, Darlings’ sun-soaked 60’s pop or Boogie Boarder’s Nintendo-style tunes, there is something for everyone on this sampler. Our faves are “Dual Motion” by Snakes Say Hisss!, Darlings’ “TV,” and Boogie Boarder’s “Little Giants.” Link to this article:
It is strange to think that in spite of the stumbling music industry and dying record industry, an increasing number of students continue to persue collegiate careers in the many subjects of the field, be they theory, composition, performance, education or management. For the upcoming Fall 2009 school year, for example, Boston's Berklee College has received an increase in applications of 40 percent. Though one could argue that many musicians have never been in it for the money, it is indeed counterintuitive. In response, the musicians' staple of Boston has taken advantage by putting the 'ARTeria Valencia' project into action. Though 'ARTeria Valencia' is set to be modest in size with only 1,000 students at its outset, people like Berklee president Roger Brown believe it will attract interest from countries all over the world. This belief is also supported by the fact that 25 percent of students at Berklee itself are from overseas. The 25-story building will be the largest American music institution based outside the United States. It will house all faculty and students, and it will provide multiple performance spaces, including a 1,000 seat outdoor amphitheater. Aside from the interior, the architectural design is simply stunning. It sports elevators that ride upward along large vertical beams adjacent to the structure, allowing people to walk along pathways stories above the ground to their state of the art facilities. Additionally, in spite of recent economic woes, interest has remained stable if not increased, causing Larry Monroe, Berklee VP of International Programs, to move ahead with the $145 million dollar project without worry. Brown and Monroe see the growing opportunities for musicians (video game and alternative film soundtracks, personal business and legal knowledge) to be indicative of growing opportunities in the respective education industry. It is difficult to say how this will impact the industry as a whole. The increased number of professionals entering the music business could simply run smack into a wall of joblessness. On the other hand, it is encouraging to think that students have considered and are preparing to invest time and money into pursuing unconventional revenue streams like video game, movie or commercial music. The institution also provides the opportunity to expand the music business overseas, which could be good for everyone in an industry that can be shared and translated so easily on a global scale. Link to this article:
 This is Max Vernon, a talented 20-year old New York-based musician who I'm a big fan of. I first encountered Max earlier this summer via his piano/electro/doo-wop cover of Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl, but it was his unique blend of jazz, classical, vaudeville, and pop in his original compositions that made me an instant fan. Max Vernon - All That She Wants [originally by Ace of Base] Max promised to lay off the cover songs for a while, but not before dropping this moody piano cover of Ace of Base. Max Vernon - When Your Body Breaks I had the opportunity to conduct a lengthy e-mail interview with Max Vernon a couple weeks ago discussing his cover songs, politics in his songwriting, and his current studies in Music as Social Activism at NYU. Check it out the interview here. Also, be sure to stop by Max's myspace site for more music. Link to this post. Check out Fong Songs!
    As soon as I saw the two Deerhunter shows this past weekend announced on, I immediately wanted to go.  I don't necessarily listen to Deerhunter very much (even though I know I should) but something about this opportunity to see them seemed urgent.  Maybe it's because as a band they're now popular enough to play two huge venues two nights in a row.  Maybe it's because I listen to Times New Viking, the openers (probably more than I listen to Deerhunter, to be perfectly honest).  I think the real reason behind my burning desire to see the band this time around was that by this point, I've heard so much about frontman Bradford Cox's strange persona that I had to go and check them out.      Cox is known for his incredible stage antics as well as his incredible appearance.  I'm sure many people reading this know this already, but Cox has Marfan syndrome, which gives people extra long limbs.  Joey Ramone also had Marfan's; maybe there's something about it that genetically pre-disposes you to be a rock star.  The story that I've heard (and of course I can't confirm this) is that Cox takes medication for this disease, and then drinks before going on stage.  The combination of the medication and the alcohol would totally fuck him up, resulting in a six-foot-four musical genius in a dress rolling around on the stage floor deep-throating a microphone.  Worthwhile antics to be sure.     While my friends and I were waiting for the band to come on, I thought that my expectations of a wild, sloppy show would be confirmed.  One friend who had seen them before said that most of the show was spent with Cox writhing and yelling at his bandmates (only in the very best way).  What we actually got was a completely different story.      Maybe it's because the outstanding reviews the band's latest album, Microcastles, has received made them sober up a bit, but the band was perfectly put together.  No crazy dresses, no drunken ranting.  Bradford and the rest of the band came out and played one of the tightest sets I've ever seen.  The sound they produced made the recorded version of Microcastle sound small, puny, and insignificant.  Wow.  That's no small task.  Walking out of the show, I've rarely ever heard people so openly positive about what they just saw: "That was definitely one of the best three shows I've ever seen."  I'm not joking.  Uber-Brooklyn hipsters actually said that in front of other hipsters- honest to God enthusiasm.      There were antics, though.  Just very controlled antics.  But still enough to make me leave happy.  Cox and guitarist Whitney Petty gently made fun of each other on stage, doing headstands and playing guitar from behind one another's backs.  After Petty picked the enormous Cox up, he endearingly stated, "That wasn't hard; I don't weigh very much."  During the encore, there was a brief argument with drummer Moses Archuleta.  Nothing major, but enough to keep us interested.  Nothing about the performance disappointed.     After that show, I believe that Deerhunter can go down as one of the most important bands of our day.  Seriously, like a Sonic Youth or a Pavement.  Previously, I knew that they had the charismatic frontman to do it, but now I know they have the tunes, too.  The band's songwriting is so smart because they take typical chord progressions, even ones familiar from old doo-wop-type acts, and change up just one note in each chord, in order to make a completely modern kind of music.  As more experimental noise rock is becoming the norm on mainstream-indie news sources (yeah, I know, mainstream-indie is a ridiculous thing to say, but you know what I mean), bands like Deerhunter have been easier for more people to appreciate.  And I think that as this change happens, Deerhunter will be a stand-out group of the era.  They may not be the absolute best, but they're pretty darn good, and will probably end up being the ones remembered.
We made it through the whole election season here on BTR without getting political! :) It seems a feat in this media crazed world. With campaigns actually turning to broadcast radio for advertising, I hope you found your reprieve here with BTR. Now that it's over, some fun stories that fringe political for BTR artists: Black Joe Lewis & The Honey Bears I'll highlight this more on Monday's Backroom Blues Hour, but way back in February, this band was the pre-campaign event entertainment for a Barack Obama event. The band now claims an endorsement from the president-elect on their site. Ha! Skidmore Fountain At a recent show I was at, they closed on an open request to the crowd for "Dance Political." Think they'd get away with not playing that in 2008?? Black & White Years Debuting earlier this year on BTR, "Power to Change" has become a hit of the campaign, with all ends of the political spectrum and people of most all persuasions touting the change line.
Despite its awkward title, I'm super pumped for this Friday's release of Quantum of Solace, the 22nd Bond film following Daniel Craig's successful debut as the "blonde Bond" in Casino Royale. Music has always played a key role in the James Bond mythos, from each film's theme song to John Barry's scores, but it's the main James Bond Theme that's become one of the most enduring and famous compositions in film. The theme was written by Monty Norman who has been officially credited since Dr. No, though there have been disputes as to John Barry's role in the creation of the song. Monty Norman says he wrote it and John Barry was brought in to arrange it. Others say John Barry wrote it but it was officially credited to Monty Norman since he was contracted to score the rest of the Dr. No. Whatever the case, Monty Norman has successfully defended his credit through multiple lawsuits while John Barry went on to score 11 more Bond films and co-write the omnipresent theme songs, firmly establishing the sound of Bond as we know it. Parodi & Fair - James Bond Theme [originally by the Monty Norman] This incarnation of the James Bond Theme (one of my favourites) was commissioned for the trailer for Pierce Brosnan's debut as 007 in 1995's Goldeneye, the first Bond film in 6 years. Bond - Bond on Bond (James Bond Theme) [originally by the Monty Norman] The classic theme covered by all-girl string quartet Bond, whose shared name with the British spy is only slightly coincidental. Fanfare Cioc
Coconut & The Duke: We'll All Be Homemade Boats Someday I see nothing wrong with some self-promotion. Besides being a stay at home dad, a music blogger, a golf course pro shop attendant and a part-time chef, I also write and record music. Mostly with my musical partner, Coconut Joe. Together we call ourselves Coconut & The Duke. Back in April, we released our debt EP, We'll All Be Homemade Boats Someday (listen below). We recently have been working on our debut album, In The Bamboo Forests Of Pennsylvania. We hope to have the record out in the next few months. We'll All Be Homemade Boats Someday is a nine song smorgasbord of alt-folk. Our music is acoustic based with a focus on mandolin and guitar. As you can hear, we dabble in spoken word. On the new album, there is more singing, as well as the typical Coco/Duke stuff like mandolin solos, reggae beats and nonsensical yet relevant lyrics. Keep an eye on our blog for updates on the full-length release. 1. Space Dogs 2. On The Horizon (my ideals) 3. Walking The Dog 4. No Jazz 5. Not All Models 6. Extra Pale Dorian 7. The Sound of One Dryer Clapping 8. There's Gonna Be Some Change Coming 9. Patch Adams Brand TM (A1 Sauce) Zipped up in one file just for you. Link To This Post. Stop by The Late Greats
Annie Sachs, better known as Tickley Feather, makes beautiful, haunting esoteric freak folk songs.  Her low-fi form of noise rock is absolutely enchanting, if not completely easy to listen to.  It only makes sense that the story of how she came up with the name Tickley Feather is as quietly endearing as the music she makes.  "I thought of the name Tickley Feather when I first made a copy of a few of my songs to give to a friend.  I wanted a title that demonstrated my modesty in the sense that it lacked seriousness.  I was happy with it also because it sounded feminine and even a little tarty.  If I'd had any foresight, I might have chosen something different.  But I have heard and been comforted by the idea that the sound of a name matters less and less as the vitality of what it represents grows larger." Another set of noise-rockers and Paw Tracks label-mates with Tickley Feather, Excepter have an equally haunting quality to their music.  Droning, drums, and errant electronic sounds characterize Excepter's unique style.  Right along with their extremely intelligent music is their very thoughtful band name.  For every way their intricate music can be interpreted, so can their name.  John Fell Ryan explains.  "Excepter was originally called Scepter, but once I found out there was already another Scepter in music, I dubbed the band Excepter. Turns out an 'excepter' is the thing in a vending machine the accepts your money. Excepter is also an archaic term for a court scribe. In my mind an excepter is one who makes exception rather than takes exception, if you know what I mean- the X factor of lore." These United States are an altogether different breed of band.  Their jangly guitars, clever lyrics, and country-influenced twang are a pleasure to hear.  It's probably best to let them to describe their own sound, from a bio posted on their website.  Their clever, twisted way of writing words definitely finds its way into their music.  "These United States is the songs of Jesse Elliott, flipped, forged, phased, and fermented; stolen, re-taken, elongated and elevated, beaten and bruised, occasionally imbued, by an ever-battling band of music-mad robber-barons, enthused aesthetic thieves of the long and winding subway tunnels and underground railroads of our cacophonous nation." How did they get their difficult-to-google name (These United States is the name of a pro-America website, as well as the title of several political conferences over the years).  It seems like it was a late night of fun that brought about this concisely appropriate name, considering many of their songs seem to be sweeping tales of the American west.  These United States say, "Some friends and I were staring at a strange, mystical, twisted painting of a Deformed Being of Some Kind holding a red-white-n-blue massive melting ice cream cone.  It was very late, and it just made sense."  And there you have it.  It just made sense. Link to this article:
Seasonal EPs from The Great Outdoors The Great Outdoors decided to tackle the seasons in 2008. After releasing one of the best alt-folk albums in 2007 – Food, Booze and Entertainment – Adam Nation and friends took it upon themselves to record and release 4 EPs in '08. One for each season. Each EP captures the mood and sentiment of the season it was recorded for. The core musicians on these releases are Adam Nation, Randy Forrester, Craig McCaul, Steve Wegelin and Steve Wells. Spring has a rebirth feel, complete with distorted guitars, sweet harmonies and that feeling you get when you burn the roof of your tongue on a piece of pizza. Summer has more of a party atmosphere complete with an assortment of tones and textures: the usual rock instruments (electric guitars, bass, drums), some folk instruments (acoustic guitars, accordion and mandolin), some swelter vocal harmonies and summery lyrics. Fall is a little quieter than the first two EPs complete with acoustic guitars, topical lyrics and a song about Macintosh apples. Spring mp3: Spring Flower Summer mp3: Summer In The City Fall mp3: Under The Sun Link To This Post. Stop by The Late Greats
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Who is Anya Marina? I don't know. Other than a fem on the verge of releasing her second album. Britt Daniel (Spoon) and Brian Karscig (Louis XIV) lent her a hand or two on this Jungian inspired album - "Slow & Steady Seduction, Phase II". The album comes out 12.9.08. Which is perfect timing. The album is perfect for holiday parties that don't want to use holiday music. The songs are sexy and mostly up-tempo. She reminds me a little of early Liz Phair. You may have heard the song below featured on Grey's. More proof that she is on the verge of people (yours truly) knowing who she is. Listen: Anya Marina ∞ Move You Further study: Website myspace YouTube More MP3s: Hype Machine Elbows Link To This Post. Stop by The Late Greats!
I've found that some of the best music finds you serendipitously. Back in May, I was having a rough spell. My son was going nuts on a daily basis. I got sideswiped in my V-Dub Passat Wagon. If you had shook the Magic 8 Ball, the answer would have been: Outlook Is Bleak. Then, I got an email about the band KaiserCartel. About their song "Okay". I watched the video on YouTube several times. I started to feel okay. Things got better from there on in. Next, I sign up to do this Blogger Of The Week. I get an email from KaiserCartel. Turns out they are giving away their song "Season Song" for free on their website, in hopes to get people whistling to the polls (don't forget to vote). AND the version they are giving out was recorded for Break Thru Radio. Talk about serendipity! The studio version of the song will be released today by Starbucks on a compilation called: Listen Hear First, Vol. 2. Both "Season Song" and "Okay" are from their debut album "March Forth". Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel write and record acoustic-based songs laden with heavenly harmonies and simple yet poignant lyrics. Listen: KaiserCartel ∞ Okay Website myspace Link To This Post. Stop by The Late Greats!
If you haven't heard, this Tuesday is a very significant date. Young people everywhere will turn their attention to a single event over eight years in the making. Some will participate, and still others will miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime. It could only be one thing, the official release of the Danielson double cd, Trying Hartz. Trying Hartz is a collection of music written and performed by Daniel Smith  in the years before he pushed himself hard enough to spawn his breakout album Ships, under the name Danielson. Those years hold a complex history for the Smith family and more importantly, Daniel himself. His family band began toward the end of Smith's college career at Rutgers when he reportedly experienced a spiritual awakening, explaining to Secretly Canadian, 'I woke up to the fact that I have an amazing family, an amazing childhood and I began to relate everything I was thinking and doing with this in mind...I began reading the Bible and praying again and songs and art started flowing. I would meet with my dad and talk philosophy and theology and I became a child again.' They completed their first album, Tell Another Joke at the Ole Choppin Block, as the Danielson Famile. They continued to release music while gathering more and more mainstream recognition, initiated by Smith's senior project and in spite of overarching religious themes. By the time each family member began pursuing their own families, Smith began his solo career under the name Brother Danielson shortly before he changed once again to produce the indie-well-known, Ships, all the while performing in costumes of bizarre biblical metaphor. The man is complex indeed. Thankfully he's allowed many passers-by to dig in a bit deeper. And what do they get? Trying Hartz is an eclectic collection of freak-folk and rhythmic experimentalism backed by a family of squeaking voices and children's toys shaking along in shambles. Live tracks are everywhere as well. Highlights include the soft but still freaky 'Daughters Will Tune You,' and 'Smooth Death,' though if you haven't gathered already, this project is a historical piece that goes beyond simply music. It is an attempt to offer listeners the ability to experience the culture of this art collective from the beginning. Any serious interest in this spiritual Tiny Tim would have the doors blown open by Trying Hartz. Link to this article:
Post-CMJ Live Shows from Pianos NYC This year's CMJ Music Marathon in New York City has come and gone, leaving many of us still trying to catch our collective breaths.  Too many great independent artists came through, stopping at one of our favorite independently run venues in New York, Pianos NYC.  If you couldn't make it to NY for the festivities or you were here and were overwhelmed with a full schedule; have no fear BTR is here.  For this entire week we have a storm of live shows during CMJ from Pianos NYC.  Here they are listed by day they are aired, listen to one or them all... CMJ List - Check Back Everyday!!! Chairlift Live @ Pianos NYC Drink Up Buttercup Live @ Pianos NYC A Brief Smile Live @ Pianos NYC Bryan Scary Live @ Pianos NYC Bell Live @ Pianos NYC Sam Champion @ Pianos NYC Cause Co-Motion @ Pianos NYC Pattern Is Movement @ Pianos NYC Hey Champ @ Pianos NYC Project Jenny, Project Jan @ Pianos NYC Cotton Jones @ Pianos NYC The Ruby Suns @ Pianos NYC AU @ Pianos NYC Faunts @ Pianos NYC That Ghost @ Pianos NYC Continental Divide @ Pianos NYC _______________________________________________________ Thursday 10/30 Chairlift Live @ Pianos NYC Chairlift ON TOUR Nov 3 2008 @ Wexner Center - Columbus, OH Nov 4 2008 @ 123 Pleasant Street - Morgantown, WV Nov 8 2008 @ Archa Theatre - Prague, Czech Republic Nov 9 2008 @ Heimet Club - Regensburg, Germany Nov 10 2008 @ Tsunami - Cologne, Germany Nov 11 2008 @ Bad Bonn Club - Dudingen, Germany Nov 12 2008 @ Rote Sonne - Munich, Germany Nov 13 2008 @ Transporter - Vienna, Austria Nov 14 2008 @ Beatpol - Dresden, Germany Nov 15 2008 @ Bang Bang Club - Berlin, Germany Nov 16 2008 @ Rotown - Rotterdam, Holland Nov 17 2008 @ Wilmington Arms - London, England Nov 18 2008 @ Pure Groove (In-Store) - London, England Nov 18 2008 @ Dublin Castle - London, England Nov 19 2008 @ Coalition, Club NME - Brighton, England Nov 20 2008 @ Radar Night, The Social - Nottingham, England Nov 21 2008 @ Retro Bar, Up The Racket - Manchester, England Nov 22 2008 @ Crawdaddy - Dublin, Ireland Nov 23 2008 @ Cyprus Avenue - Cork, Ireland Nov 24 2008 @ Magnet - Liverpool, England Nov 25 2008 @ Madam Jo Jo’s - London, England _______________________________________________________ Friday 10/31 Drink Up Buttercup Live @ Pianos NYC Drink Up Buttercup ON TOUR Nov 07 @ The Fire – Philadelphia, PA Nov 22 @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY Nov 29 @ The Moose (All Ages Show) – Doylestown, PA _______________________________________________________ Saturday 11/01 A Brief Smile Live @ Pianos NYC A Brief Smile TOUR DATES November 8, 2008 @ Rockwood Music Hall - New York, NY _______________________________________________________ Sunday 11/02 Bryan Scary Live @ Pianos NYC Bryan Scary ON TOUR Nov 5 2008 @ Mercy Lounge - Nashville, TN Nov 6 2008 @ Fubar - St. Louis, MO Nov 7 2008 @ Beat Kitchen w/ XYZ Affair, Neil Diamond Phillips - Chicago, IL _______________________________________________________ Monday 11/03 Bell Live @ Pianos NYC _______________________________________________________ Tuesday 11/04 Sam Champion @ Pianos NYC Sam Champion ON TOUR Nov 16 2008 @ Bowery Ballroom (w/ The Spinto Band) - New York, NY _______________________________________________________ Wednesday 11/05 Cause Co-Motion @ Pianos NYC Cause Co-Motion ON TOUR Nov 5 2008 @ Luigi’s Fun Garden w/ Crystal Stilts, English Singles - Sacramento, CA Nov 6 2008 @ Samurai Duck w/ Crystal Stilts - Eugene, OR Nov 7 2008 @ Holocene w/ Crystal Stilts, Hornet Leg - Portland, OR Nov 8 2008 @ The Big Room w/ Crystal Stilts, Little Claw - Olympia, WA Nov 9 2008 @ Chop Suey w/ Crystal Stilts, Woods, Meth Teeth - Seattle, WA _______________________________________________________ Thursday 11/06 Pattern Is Movement @ Pianos NYC Pattern Is Movement ON TOUR Nov 14 2008 @ The Empty Bottle w/ Subtle, Zach Hill (of Hella) 21+ - Chicago, IL Nov 15 2008 @ El Mocambo w/ Subtle, Zach Hill (of Hella) - Toronto, ON, Canada Nov 16 2008 @ Club Lambi w/ Subtle, Zach Hill (of Hella) 18+ - Montreal, QC, Canada Nov 17 2008 @ Middle East Upstairs w/ Subtle, Zach Hill (of Hella) 18+ - Boston, MA Nov 18 2008 @ The Knitting Factory w/ Subtle, Zach Hill (of Hella) All Ages - New York, NY Nov 20 2008 @ Johnny Brenda’s w/ Subtle, Zach Hill (of Hella), 21+ - Philadelphia, PA Nov 21 2008 @ Rock and Roll Hotel w/ Subtle, Zach Hill (of Hella), All Ages - Washington, DC Dec 17 2008 @ Messiah College, all ages - Grantham, PA _______________________________________________________ Friday 11/07 Hey Champ @ Pianos NYC Hey Champ ON TOUR Nov 7 2008 @ Dickinson College with Lupe Fiasco - Carlisle, PA Nov 9 2008 @ Florida State University with Lupe Fiasco - Tallahassee, FL Nov 10 2008 @ Uni. of California, Santa Barbara w/ Lupe Fiasco - Santa Barbara, CA Nov 12 2008 @ Club Nokia, LA Live with Lupe Fiasco - Los Angeles, CA Nov 15 2008 @ Jorgenson Theatre for Performing Arts with Lupe Fiasco - Storrs, CT Nov 17 2008 Elmira College, The Emerson Hall with Lupe Fiasco - Elmira, NY Nov 20 2008 @ ROCK STEADY, Moonshine (DJ set) - Chicago, IL Nov 22 2008 @ Kuhl Gym SUNY Geneseo with Lupe Fiasco - Geneseo, NY Dec 5 2008 @ Uni. Of Maryland, Ritchie Coliseum w/ Lupe Fiasco - College Park, MD _______________________________________________________ Saturday 11/08 Project Jenny, Project Jan @ Pianos NYC Project Jenny, Project Jan ON TOUR Nov 8 2008 @ Evolve Urban Arts - Washington, DC Nov 15 2008 @ Asterisk - Brooklyn, NY Dec 19 2008 @ JezebelMusic Annual Benefit Show, Music Hall Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY _______________________________________________________ Sunday 11/9 Cotton Jones @ Pianos NYC Cotton Jones ON TOUR Nov 15 2008 @ The Warren - Frostburg, MD Dec 12 2008 @ The Fire - Philadelphia, PA Jan 17 2009 @ Dante’s - Frostburg, MD _______________________________________________________ Monday 11/10 The Ruby Suns @ Pianos NYC The Ruby Suns ON TOUR Nov 12 2008 @ Grand Mix w/ The Dodos - Tourcoing, France Nov 13 2008 @ Botanique Rotonde - Brussells, Belgium Nov 14 2008 @ Point Ephemere w/ The Dodos - Paris, France Nov 15 2008 @ Cabaret Electric w/ The Dodos - Le Havre, France Nov 17 2008 @ Nachtleben w/ The Dodos - Frankfurt, Germany Nov 18 2008 @ Headcrash w/ The Dodos - Hamburg, Germany Nov 19 2008 @ Voxhall w/ The Dodos - Aarhus, Germany Nov 20 2008 @ Loppen w/ The Dodos - Copenhagen, Denmark Nov 21 2008 @ Knaack w/ The Dodos - Berlin, Germany Nov 22 2008 @ Akropolis w/ The Dodos - Prague, Czech Republic Nov 23 2008 @ 59-1 w/ The Dodos - Munich, Germany Nov 24 2008 @ Chelsea w/ The Dodos - Vienna, Austria Dec 4 2008 @ King’s Arms - Auckland, New Zealand Dec 5 2008 @ Spectrum - Sydney, Australia Dec 6 2008 @ Northcote Social Club - Melbourne, Australia Dec 12 2008 @ Meredith Music Festival - Meredith, Australia Dec 29 2008 @ Rhythm & Vines Festival - Gisborne, Australia _______________________________________________________ Tuesday 11/11 AU @ Pianos NYC AU _______________________________________________________ Wednesday 11/12 Faunts @ Pianos NYC Faunts _______________________________________________________ Thursday 11/13 That Ghost @ Pianos NYC That Ghosts _______________________________________________________ Friday 11/14 Continental Divide @ Pianos NYC Continental Divide _______________________________________________________ Saturday 11/15 Suckers @ Pianos NYC Suckers ON TOUR 28 Nov 2008 @ Mercury Lounge w/ Amazing Baby - Manhattan, NY 6 Dec 2008 @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg w/ Yeasayer - Brooklyn, NY _______________________________________________________ Sunday 11/16 Glasser Live at Pianos NYC Glasser Live at Pianos NYC _______________________________________________________ BEST OF CMJ FROM PIANOS NYC Best Of - 11/20 Link to this article:
Is there a better band name than "The Olympic Symphonium"? (Besides Coconut & The Duke) I think not. Nick Cobham, Kyle Cunjak and Graeme Walker are the Symphonium. They craft wonderfully lush yet understated pop songs with an acoustic flare. Their 2008 album "More In Sorrow Than In Anger" should be on your radar for best album coming out of Fredericton. More In Sorrow Than In Anger is a ten track album that is bookended by an instrumental opener and a beautiful viola-centric closing song. Listen: The Olympic Symphonium ∞ Intentions Alone Further study: Website myspace YouTube More MP3s: Hype Machine Elbows More: Underexposed Canadians Use some of you 50 FREE Downloads from eMusic to get more Canadian music. Link To This Post. Stop by The Late Greats!
I'm going to straight up hijack DJ Wynn's format for documenting CMJ (with a few modifications). Remember, these picks reflect the limited amount of shows one man can go to. There is no doubt in my mind that there were better and worse shows going on. With the the insane glut of live music that occurred, it would be ignorant to assume that I had lucked out and seen 'the best show,' or 'the worst show.' So, this is meant only to reflect my perspective. Best Show = Gang Gang Dance at Santo's Party House I had a transcendent moment, and that's the reason I listen to music. Enough said. Worst Show = The Carps at the Blender Theater at Gramercy Horrible live sound. The best part was when Jahmal Tonge sang the chorus from Bel Biv Devoe's "Poison," a capella. And when the best moment of a band's set is a cover, you know it sucked. It's sad, because I like the band otherwise. Tonge has a  distinct set of pipes, but being stuck behind the drum kit limits his live expression. Post-show I'm finding it hard to listen to them. And they didn't do their collaboration with The Cool Kids for "Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames," although The Cool Kids were back stage. What the hell?  The tables were right there! Best Discovery = Toss-up between Crystal Antlers at The Knitting Factory and Inlets at Pianos I had heard of Crystal Antlers before the show, but I had not heard the music yet. In retrospect, I am very happy about that, because their live set trumps the studio recording. The best way I can explain their show would be to compare it to being strapped to the prow of Coast Guard Cutter going 50 knots into the wind. It tore my face off, and vibrated the six little bones in my ear drums in a way I had never felt previously. Inlets were smashing in an entirely different way. Right off the bat they  were without the aid of their key instrument, the piano, which was not used due to some unforeseen technical difficulty. So, they were forced to improvise on the spot, and it went swimmingly. Hearing "Pictures of Trees," with that banjo, holy mackerel. Most Disappointing = Sian Alice Group at Santo's Party House Four songs in, it sounded like Alice was moaning the same thing over and over again, and it was annoying as all hell. The woman has a great voice, and stage presence to boot, but her lack of  any discernible words killed it. And it boggles my mind, because I like a lot of their songs. Best Venue = Hard to say. All have their own appeal The Knitting Factory has three stages, so during CMJ, you can catch 20 bands in one night. As far as utility and bang for your buck, it definitely made the most use of the overpriced CMJ badge. However, nothing beats Piano's for intimacy, and BTR records live shows there on a weekly basis. And you know we don't be recording at some sub-par venue. Nicest Show = The Lisps at The Knitting Factory For someone not to like this band would be impossible. If you are throwing a house party, this is the band you want to hire. Smashing boy/girl vocals, amusing costumes, and each band member is a character. It was more like seeing a comedic musical, versus a basic show. Most Difficult Show To Respect = Heloise & the Savoir Faire at The Knitting Factory Was that a joke? It must have been. Show That Would Have Been Better Had I Spent Time Getting To Know The Band Beforehand By Spending Sufficient Time With Their Music = Growing at Santo's Party House I was really struggling to enjoy this set. I kept waiting for the beat to come in, but it never did. There were some great builds, but the lack of any crescendos killed the moment. It made me think of Fuck Buttons, you know? It took me a bit to soak up Street Horrsing, but now it's one of my most favorite albums of 2008. I wonder if, had I listened to Growing a bit more, maybe I would have appreciated their sound better. Also, this is the kind of music better served with hallucinogenics, and I was drinking Stella. Worst Decisions I Had To Make = Not seeing Mumpsy at The Alphabet Lounge, and not going to Brooklyn to see White Shoes & The Couples Company I was overjoyed that Mumpsy was playing CMJ, and I love the band dearly (Florida represent!) but, having seen the band many times, I had to pass up on their set. When 4 bands you love are playing between 11 and 12, spread out  between different venues in New York, you have to make a decision. And, for me, I had to go with seeing a band I had not yet seen live. It was the same with another Florida band that had traveled to NYC for CMJ - Averkiou. I've seen them mulitple times as well. Every year the fact that I can't be ubiquitous grows ever more annoying. As for White Shoes, they played on Saturday night in Brooklyn, and I was committed to the Digital Freedom/True Panther/Two Syllable Records Showcase at Piano's, for both my job and personal reasons. What sucked was, I didn't realize White Shoes was playing in Brooklyn until that night - I assumed they would be in the city, making it possible for me to scurry over. But they played at  Spike Hill, which made it impossible for me to go without defaulting on prior commitments. Of course, I was able to hang out with the band for their BTR Live Studio session earlier that day, which was smashing. They have to be the nicest band I have ever encountered, and after 27 hours of air travel, from Jakarta, they were still in great spirits. And I had seen them at SXSW earlier this year. I still feel bad though. Most Angering Moment = White Shoes guitarist Saleh not making the trip from Jakarta Due to issues with his visa, White Shoes guitarist Saleh was unable to make the trip to CMJ, which is the exact same thing that happened at SXSW. How can the government screw this up twice? The exact same thing happened in March. Isn't that shit on file somewhere? Most Deceivingly Satisfying Show = Glasser at Piano's Though I love the music of Glasser, I was leery of the live set, because Glasser herself had told me that all it entailed instrumentally was an iPod and a guitar. This turned out to be true, but, for some reason, it was still mind-blowing. A voice like that needs nothing to prop it up, and Glasser proved it right off the bat by booting the set into action with an a cappella song, aided by the members of Bodycity. What is Bodycity? Learn about them here. Suffice to say they really magnified the music of Glasser, making it more than just a musical experience. Nothing like a little choreographed Kata/Tai Chi to emphasize them tribal beats! Most Bittersweet Moment = The Muggabears at The Knitting Factory Oh how I love the music of The Muggabears. I've been into them since the Teenage Cop EP came out. We actually had them as BTR Artist of the Week back in February of 2007. Being strapped in Florida, I had never had the chance to see them live. The show at The Knitting Factory for CMJ would be my first time, and I had that shit circled with red magic marker. And they sounded amazing! I loved it entirely, no doubt. I was just bummed that they played all new songs, save for one ("She-Bears"). Both The Teenage Cop EP and the Night Choreography EP are treasured experiences for me, and I was hoping they would play some of the material from those records. Of course, I understand they have been playing those songs for years, and naturally they wanted to play their new material. What band wouldn't? Still, I wish they would have had busted out with some of the older material. Most Drastic Change In Sound (studio recording vs. live) = That Ghost at Pianos's I've really been enjoying the Young Fridays album by That Ghost. I've spent a few afternoons lying on the couch with it radiating from my head phones, falling in and out of sleep. It's a rather lo-fi affair, for the most part, and I dig it like a box of cereal with a prize at the bottom. The live set at Pianos, however, was completely different. Ryan Schmale  and friends straight-up jolted the sound with a fat charge of amperes, raising the rawk level to the opposite side of the dial. The best part was, it was just as satisfying, albeit in a different way. Keep an ear on That Ghost ya'll.
So evidently our old friend Jolene was friends Ginger (the bass player) from Good Luck. When I told the wife that I don’t think I ever met her, she said that Ginger crashed at our place once. I must have been drinking or something like that because I don’t remember at all. What I do know is that Bloomington, Indiana’s Good Luck are super hella good. They play that ramshackle and underproduced (but in a totally lovable way) pop punk that bounces off the walls and into your brain. They are a trio and employ the increasingly popular trick of combining both male and female vocals as well as that jangly and rough but not crunchy guitar sound that I really really like. Yeah. Their debut album Into Lake Griffy is catchy and spastic. It’s fast without being aggressive. It’s spontaneous-sounding without being terribly sloppy. It’s anything but totally straightforward. Basically, it’s fucking awesome. Three punk kids walk into a bar, get drunk, write songs, and make one hell of a party record. What a pleasant surprise Into Lake Griffy is. If you are looking for comparisons, is sounds like The New Dress meets Lemuria and I might even hear nods to early Weakerthans stuff and (you know) Plan-It-X and/or No Idea stuff. Unless I somehow turn stupid between now and the end of the year, Good Luck and Into Lake Griffy will be on my best of 2008 list. Did you hear the one about the pirate? MP3 | Good Luck – Stars Were Exploding Into Lake Griffy MP3 | Good Luck – Come Home Into Lake Griffy Link to this post For more, tell me: CYSTSFTS?
Can someone explain to me exactly what a Ninja Gun is? I know ninjas can present problems, but is there a special sort of firearm that’s been developed specifically for poppin’ a cap in a ninja? I dunno, but what I do know is that the band Ninja Gun (from Valdosta, Georgia) are pretty good. They might not be entirely ferocious, but the melodies are memorable, easy and (yes) there’s a hint of twang, but it ain’t dirty. Tuneful vocals that are anything but gruff along with a little alt-rock guitar crunch, acoustic guitars, and a rock solid rhythm section are what Ninja Gun’s got going for ‘em. Simple tools that yield spectacular (even if understated) results. Just imagine something similar to John Strohm’s Velo-Deluxe (a fave of mine but somehow fairly unknown) and the Old 97’s combined with the anthemic power-pop-rock qualities of Gin Blossoms and you’ve come close to approximating the sound of Restless Rubes. It’s not quite alt-country or southern rock, but not quite full-on radio friendly power-pop either; instead you get the best of both worlds. I’ll be perfectly honest here and say that I wasn’t blown away by Restless Rubes at first, I just wasn’t. But I’ll be damned if I don’t keep coming back to the album every few days and finding I like it more every single time I listen. I’m sure that’s what the folks at Suburban Home were thinking when they put this out. There is an comfort and warmth about Restless Rubes that makes listening to it sorta like seeing an old friend for the first time in years without seeming to have missed a beat. It’s a record that just feels right. MP3 | Ninja Gun – Eight Miles Out Restless Rubes MP3 | Ninja Gun – Restless Rubes Restless Rubes Link to this post For more, tell me: CYSTSFTS?
Return To Sender Their last album, The Grand Exposure is solid proof. These three young musicians are serious about their music and their career, and it shows. Return to Sender have been this way since their mid-teens, when they first began playing. Now in their early twenties, Chad Reynolds, Scott Miller and Kyler Fillerup have seen seen their music gain a sure and steady recognition from far beyond the boarders of Utah. Their music is a mix of spacious echo and refreshing hard rock. Though the trio maintains room to grow, The Grand Exposure exhibits potential beyond their years, specifically within Reynold's vocal style and the group's sporadic experimentation. Make sure to check out '88' and 'This Is A Nation.' The boys from Provo, Utah have come a long way. And in certain cases they have refused opportunities they believe came too early. Their age seems to have nothing to do with the wisdom they carry, and the story behind their name is no different. According to Reynolds, "It's partially about how we grew up in a religiously saturated environment where everything was revolving about God." He went on to describe the complexity inherent in such an upbringing, going on to say, "'It just reminds us of where we came from, although all of our lives have been difficult because of it." Make sure to check out more from Return to Sender in the BTR August Adds! the Bears Recently named the Breakthru Radio Artist Of The Week, the Bears officially have buzz.  Since 2006 they've been pleasantly surprised with the response from their Cleveland community. Their new album, Simple Machinery, brings listeners more sweet folk music partnered with the ever-present and ever-endearing artwork from Kate Pugsley. After two months the album was finalized to the delight of each band member. Overall the Bears write very simple music to be placed within a simple package, but their simplicity can be deceiving. Take their name for example. According to guitarist Charlie McArthur, "I was camping in southern Indiana with my Dad, and there was a baby bear that we heard rustling in the brush by our campsite, a lot.  One night, he came out and sat on my lap and made s'mores with us around the campfire." There was something surely magical about the encounter. Bear cubs can be the most dangerous, as their parents are extremely protective. "It was really nice!" McArthur explained. "He had to stay in the woods, but he allowed us to name our band after him." The story is a classic microcosm for the group aesthetic; appear harmless and maintain a stirring sub-surface significance. The Unremarkables With a name so self-deprecating, it can be difficult to avoid the slings and arrows of outrageous indie  bloggers looking for something  to mock. The Unremarkables aren't superstars and few view them as such, but their latest EP has given listeners a light to follow for the rest of the year, at least. Five Year Holiday is surely a healthy dose of Brit pop, and it makes for an excellent live show. The Unremarkables play shameless pop music, but where's the shame in having so much fun? Have a listen. But if you'd prefer a proper explanation for their moniker of choice, read on. Thankfully, lead Singer Jamie Oakley was kind enough to give us just that. "The name came from a song we had called 'Unremarkabley Me,'" Oakley explained. But in the beginning, the band toured as 'The Gift,' the same name of their debut single. Members ultimately preferred otherwise over the course of those first few gigs. Delving deeper into detail, Oakley rephrased their new decision, calling the group, 'Super Heroes With No Powers.' The Unremarkables are easy to love, but are known more so for their stellar live performance. Make sure to look them up in the coming months. Link to this article:
Here at BTR, we are neatly dispersed geographically to help bring a diversity to the station you might not find at other stations. So when the gang is all in town for an event, it's a rare, fun time! Such was the case last week with CMJ in New York City. It was great to see the "out of towners." Managed to catch up with many and see some shows with a few, including the FL contingent: DJ Wynn, DJ Emily, and DJ Latola. Gang Gang Dance was the headliner with that crew. An eclectic show live, to say the least, but definitely a show. Having heard their tracks on BTR, seeing them live was a different experience, which is always nice. Rockin' out to live tracks that sound much like the album cuts can be fun, but when the ticket purchase can bring you something new an unique, it's even better. Gang Gang Dance hits the road now, onto the Midwest and the West Coast. Good times had by all here in NYC. Did you make it there? Who did you see at CMJ? What'd you think? Hit me up:  
What do you think of when you hear about the city, Iowa City, Iowa? Most people from the area immediately think "college town," because it is home to the University of Iowa. The majority of the year there is a  population of 67,062 in IC, making it the sixth-largest city in Iowa. And that number significantly increases when school is in session. In 2008, Forbes Magazine named Iowa City the second 'Best Small Metropolitan Area' for doing business in the United States. Other than that, what else do you think of? How about a booming indie scene, with small venues, labels, and a bunch of very cool bands? Well, that's right! There is! Iowa City was featured on Spotlight on the City for the month of October. The playlist included many different artists and musicians from several musical genres. The bands that were featured included Liberty Leg, Mannix, FT (The Shadow Government), Coolzey, Lipstick Homicide, The Tanks and A Vague Sound. I talked with several of the musicians that were included in the show to find out more about what was happening in the 'Iowa Scene'. One of the prominent labels run out of Iowa City is called Scenester Credentials. It is run by Matt Show, Nick Bergus and Kevin Hansen.  They cater to more of an alternative (mostly in the vein of hardcore and punk) music scene and have put out  20 releases, with 2 more in the works for the near future. Their releases consist of both local and non-local acts. They have released music from Will Whitmore, Burmese, Showering Ashes, Marah Mar, FT (The Shadow Government), The Horde, Aseethe, Mauul, Shores of the Tundra, Black Market Fetus, Trendy Bastard and The Tanks. All of these bands are from Iowa City. FT (The Shadow Government) and The Tanks were featured on Spotlight on the City.  They also have released a few regional records for bands such as Get Rad, Call Me Lightning, In Defence, and He Who Corrupts and soon Yakuza's double LP. I emailed back and forth with Kevin Hansen, one of the owners of the label and this is what he had to say about Scenester Credentials: "Since we are a small label we cannot afford to pay for our bands recording, or for them to go tour. But we do try to compensate them by giving them 10 to 15 percent of the copies of their records for free. We pay for all the records to be pressed, and then the bands buy records off of us (besides the free copies of course) at just a little above wholesale cost, so they can charge for retail price. We have mainly pressed vinyl, with a few CDs.  We prefer to press vinyl, because we feel strongly that it is a superior product than CDs.  The art is better usually and the sound quality is warmer and truer to the actual sound of the music." Slanty Shanty Records should also be mentioned when talking about indie labels in Iowa City. Their lineup of artists includes RX Unicorn, Mose Giganticus, Holy Roman Empire, Humanos, girlsRisewithHeat, Caw! Caw! and Bear Weather and A Vague Sound, which were also featured on Spotlight. Many of the artists I spoke to told me to mention Mission Creek. Jeff from Mannix was one in particular. "They work very hard on sustaining a live music scene in an area that isn't always interested. They book acts throughout the year, as well as put on a festival in the spring." I did a bit of research and found their mission statement to be quite inspiring: "The Mission Creek Festival is dedicated to inspiring and building Iowa City’s artistic community through the exposure of both underground and renowned artists. The four-day annual festival takes over the venues and art spaces in downtown Iowa City, providing an easily navigated nexus of music, literature, and visual art." "With the launch of the Mission Freak site we have expanded our range to promoting and supporting the local scene on a daily basis. With blog posts Monday thru Friday (sometimes even on the weekends too!) we will keep you plugged into the Iowa City arts scene by shedding light on local cultural happenings as well as the national and international flavor that comes through town. If it involves music, writing, or people painting or holding 16-mm cameras, we’re into it." The Mission Creek festival for 2008 included acts such as Cursive, Bon Iver and Dan Deacon, and it brought these musicians to a town that otherwise may never have gotten to see these artists live. That's always a pleasing thing for residents who don't have much to do. I asked Jeff from Mannix where the best underground or ''independent' places to perform were and this is what he had to say: "As far as house venues, there are a few that have sprouted up in Iowa City this year. Also, there's a non-profit art space that just opened up a few months ago called Public Space One. That's run by Craig Eley, who is involved with, you guessed it, Mission Creek. Our favorite bars to play in Iowa City are The Mill and the Iowa City Yacht Club. The Picador brings in bigger national acts. Outside of Iowa City, Des Moines is really the only place that has something that could be called a music "scene" in Iowa. They just had the first annual 80/35 fest this summer, that brought in a few big acts (The Roots, Flaming Lips, Black Francis), but showcased many local bands. Ames and Cedar Falls are the other college towns, but not much in the way of scenes." Mannix I have to mention that the Bear Weather/A Vague Sound CDs from Slanty Shanty Records were packaged with a pin that read "Don't Meth with Iowa". It seemed amusing, but summed up the sounds of the show to me. It was very diverse in terms of musical genres, and it was a lot more experimental than any other city in the United States that I had ever featured. In a place where there is not much to do, people can turn to many different things, bad or good. The good being a creative side where one can create art forms such as music. A place like Iowa City might also allow the imagination to run wild, therefore triggering unique developments of art. Check out the show for yourself: 00:00 Spotlight on Iowa City, Iowa 00:30 The Dude has Got No Mercy-LIberty Leg 03:48 Forked Tongue (Steady Groove)-Ft(The Shadow Government) 07:36 Easy-King Toad 11:17 Dance With Me You Ten Dollar Bill (Nice Lightning)-Bear Weather 17:02 Spotlight on Iowa City, Iowa 18:00 Art World-Coolzey 21:56 Land of the Dead-Ghostbustaz 28:24 Common Brain Fungus-Sphexus 31:50 The Jabberwock-Aleph 8 35:02 51 Areas-Mad EP 40:01 Spotlight on Iowa City, Iowa 40:37 Princess-Lipstick Homicide 43:29 Pick a Fold-The Tanks 47:24 Pull the Pin-Mannix 50:42 A Question of Faith-A Vague Sound 54:01 Dry-Diva Kai 57:26 Smokey Place-The Diplomats of Solid Sound featuring the Diplomettes 60:40 Great American-Deathships 65:37 Duffle Bag (Egress)-Cygnas Bell 69:20 Spotlight on Iowa City, Iowa 70:36 Iowa-Patrick Bloom Link to this article:
I’ve said it before, but there has just been an explosion of what I would call “throwback” bands that call the emo sounds of the mid 90’s home. I’m not complaining so don’t even think I’m being critical, but you’ve got Algernon Cadwallader, Street Smart Cyclist, Bridge & Tunnel, Jacob & I, and (now) New Brunswick, New Jersey’s Know Think. Just imagine equal parts Knapsack, American Football, and Sunny Day Real Estate and you’ll get the picture. Listening to Know Think’s self-released Clean Closet EP is like getting hit in the face with a cake that’s shaped like and frosted to look like Tim Kinsella’s face, but with feeling. Seriously, this is a great start from these guys. MP3 | Know Think – Aeroplanes Clean Closet EP MP3 | Know Think – Cutting Sign Clean Closet EP Link to this post For more, tell me: CYSTSFTS?
Bumpin' In My Ear for October 2008 Ok so here we go again. Each month I blog about what I'm currently bumpin' whether I’m whippin' in my car, zoned out in my head phones or just loungin' around the crib. If your reading this write now you are most definitely in for a treat because I will be giving you the scoop on how to get some free mixes for your own enjoyment. So let first talk about the B-MORE Remix Master DJ Tittsworth. DJ & Producer this guy made a name for him self by making some dope remixes, mash ups and holding it down on the turntables around the country & abroad. Recently this guy put out a new LP entitled 12 Steps. Dancey-Bouncey-Electro-Hip Hop bangers, front to back. Tits also recently put out a FREE mix that is sort of a preview of what his album12 Steps entails. If you go to his web page you can download the mix 12 Bottles. In this continuous mix, I really dig the track 'Here He Comes' featuring Nina Sky & Pitbull. Cocky Lyrics by Miami's Pitbull and a rendition of 'Man Eater' this track is fresh for sure. The track is also featured on the LP 12 Steps. The 12 Bottles Mixes also features artist like Rob Base & EZ Rock, Kid Sister & Pase Rock, Trina and many others. The mix is a little over 30 minutes but is packed with some hot dance tracks. As I'm sure you heard by now back in September drummer Travis Barker and DJ AM where in a terrible plain crash which ended up taking the lives of four other people on board. Amazingly enough they both survived the crash but spent over a week in the hospital. They were traveling around promoting the set & mix tape: 'FIX YOUR FACE'. An all out genre bonanza featuring live drumming and some ill mixing & scratching. Kicking things off with an intro with Fat Man Scoop getting right into some B.I.G. 'Victory' anthem leading into to some Johnny Cash then going from Eve to Red Hot Chili Peppers to Outkast into Damian Marley and many others in one continuous mix. 'Fix Your Face' features mash-ups, great drum fills and turntablism. With 15 track, but really containing more than I can remember, this FREE mix is available at there website. Check this out @ Now then get some doe together because this next one is well worth it. Personally I've been exercising a lot more recently. Try to get my fitness on. Jogging, lifting weights and trying to eat better. While I'm at the gym I need music to keep my motivated. Recently A-Trak teamed up with Nike to give me exactly what I’m looking for when it comes to 'work out music'. A-Trak's 'Running Man: Nike + Original Run' is another continuous mix, however this one definitely a musical journey. This was composed with the athlete in training in mind. With beats that build and then slow down then pushes you for that next lap. It helps me because it keeps my attention the whole disc. Electro beats and even hip-hop sections featuring Kid Cudi, Running Man is a great selection for your gym work out. It runs about 45 minutes long and cost less than $10. You can get Running Man on iTunes. Ok so its time for me to hit the gym. I will use all of these mixes during my work out today. Until next month this has been another edition of Bumpin' In My Ear!
    It’s time for my first b(TR)log posting ever!  I figure there’s probably not a better time to start blogging than post-CMJ.  After all, when else will I have countless numbers of new bands to discuss, re-hash, and generally tear apart?  I suppose I might if I’m lucky enough to go to SXSW or Bonnaroo this year, but only time will tell on that front.      I know that when I’m reading a music blog I’m doing so for one reason, and one reason only.  I want to know what’s cool. I’m not reading the blog to hear some blogger’s lengthy posts about the state of the music industry or exactly how some band does or doesn’t sound exactly like Pavement.  I just want to know what I should be listening to and discover something new.  In that spirit, I’m going to write just one or two sentences on most of the bands I saw at CMJ.  Hopefully this will make all this a little easier for everyone.  Besides, it’s difficult to really judge a band after a four or five song set with no sound check (though the very best will be excellent no matter the circumstances). Pwrfl Pwr - Just a guy with a guitar.  Saw him upstairs in Pianos.  Musically very creative with his guitar, lots of unexpected switches and juxtapositions to quirky, detailed lyrics.  Somehow, I came off feeling like he rubbed me the wrong way.  Still, check this guy out if you like Destroyer. Chairlift - Saw them downstairs in Pianos.  Gorgeous voices over gorgeous walls of sound.  Their song “Bruises,” featured in the latest ipod commerical, is delightful.  I hope they don’t become “the band who’s song was in the ipod commercial,” but they got so much (deserved) buzz at CMJ I don’t think they have too much to worry about. Lykke Li - Beautifully styled and an excellent showman, Lykke Li was entertaining to watch.  I fear her songs lack substance, but are fun nonetheless.  Though quite different from them, you will probably like her if you enjoy some combination of Feist, Santogold, or MIA.  I was a bit peeved at her Vampire Weekend cover, but it was fun nonetheless. Sharon Van Etten - Caught her upstairs in Pianos while waiting for Wye Oak.  Glad I got there early.  A fairly typical female singer-songwriter, but with one small catch: there’s just something about that voice!  Very emotional and raw.  Check out the song “Damn Right.” Wye Oak - I am completely blinded by my adoration for this band, but I love, love, love them.  They don’t do anything particularly special musically, but they have just plain great songs.  Also, watching Andy Stack play one-handed drums while banging out an entire keyboard part is pretty incredible.  Jenn Wasner is a total rock-babe, too, with a soft pretty voice that starkly contrasts with her penchant for rocking guitar parts.  Ecstatic Sunshine - Don’t bother unless you really enjoy mediocre noise bands.  Saw this band, Tickley Feather, Excepter, Adventure, and Dent May at Tickley Feather - I’m a big fan of these recordings, but it fell flat live.  There’s something about watching people fiddle around with knobs rather than play guitars: it has to be really special or really good to be entertaining live (please see entry on Ruby Suns). Excepter - See above.  Another disappointment.  Adventure - More knob twisting, but fun and danceable.  He plays through a gameboy, and while this is cool, it seems like more of a novelty to me. Dent May - Fun, fun, fun!  Pleasant to listen to!  I can’t decide if I enjoyed this band so much because I had just heard so much noise, but I highly encourage you to check ‘em out!  Let’s just say there’s a ukulele involved.   Muslims - Good post-punk.  Definitely decent showmen.  It seems like there’s less and less bands like these going on these days.  I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t terribly memorable.  And at CMJ, memorable is important.  Still, I’d listen to their cd a couple more times to see if they started to stick in my head. Death Vessel - Probably the best thing I saw all week.  A back-country mountain-y alt-country band, they delight the ears with a stand-up bass, mandolin, and fiddler.  Their lead singer has an incredibly different voice and a cool look about him.  Keep your ears tuned for these guys. Duke and Dutchess - Imagine if Frodo and the tomboy who lived next door to you learned how to play guitar and formed a band.  Improbable, right?  While this trio’s songs were pretty typical indie-pop (the drummer, though present, seemed ancillary to me, mostly shaking maracas), I really enjoyed watching this band.  But maybe that’s because I kept imagining that Frodo and the tomboy who lived next door to me learned how to play guitar and formed a band. sBACH - Another noise band.  More listenable than some of the others I’ve encountered.  Very, very talented drummer. Oxford Collapse - The Muslims and Oxford Collapse keep getting stuck together in my head.  More standard post-punk, but all the same, pretty good.  Would need to listen to their recorded tunes more to make a final decision. Ruby Suns - I waited around until 2AM to see these guys.  Needless to say, I was a little cranky, but they rewarded everyone who stayed.  There’s just somethin’ about ‘em.  The sound was not nearly as complex and intricate as they are recorded, but it was a fun show nonetheless. Marnie Stern - I have no idea what to make of this artist.  She’s like a metal-punk chick with an indie vocal bent.  Her band and guitar playing were sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.  At first I thought this was annoying.  Then I realized it was genuine and cool.  My advice is to check her out for your own take on her. Women - Listen to this band if you want to be super-indie, because I have a feeling the blogs will be all over them.  Oh yeah, they’re not bad, either.  They’re very young, and play sometimes jangly, sometimes pretty guitar-scapes.  Reminded me of a much less mature Grizzly Bear. The Mae Shi - Another band I don’t know what to do with.  Saw them in the tiny downstairs of the knitting factory.  Seemed like just a bunch of boys rocking the fuck out, but they did some pretty creative things.  They moved around the room as if the standard drums, bass, guitar thing never existed.  They incorporated some knob-twisting but didn’t let it devour their presence.  They passed a giant parachute over the crowd, but made sure to do it for just long enough that it wasn’t annoying, but totally cool.  All-in-all, a pretty neat garage band, I’d say. Lightspeed Champion - Nothing special.  From New Zealand.  To be fair, they couldn’t find cymbals for half their set.  However, they played a bunch of covers, and their typical indie originals didn’t impress.  They did draw and keep a big crowd, and the lead singer has a captivating voice. I saw a few more bands, but these were the ones I feel most deserve comment.  If some of them sound interesting, I highly encourage you to visit their myspaces and give them a cursory listen.
After smashing two atoms of bullshit together at speeds nearing that of light I stumbled upon one of those, unifying the inconceivably big and impossibly small, fabric of the universe type discoveries. "The Death Cab-ostal Service Conundrum" I have discovered that girls, in truth really don't care for Death Cab so much. I Think boys like Death Cab because they think girls like Death Cab. I get it. I suppose they do have some hummable, poppy tunes and the dude has a decent enough voice. By all rights, girls should probably like em. Then again, the dude isn't anyone most girls would ever think of as being "dreamy." Hmmm, perhaps boys like them for the fact that the dude isn't dreamy and in fact this girly voiced fat guy may just be a shade more ugly than most boys. Now do I consider myself a Death Cab dude? Nope. I'd say I'm indifferent, I just don't care. As for the Postal Service, well it's a terrible name for a band, right down to the very last letter "e", it's just lame and is an indicator that available band names are reaching a threshold. If they were smart they would have called themselves FedEx and worked out some huge product placement deal since they seemed to be going the parcel delivery route to naming a band. Girls should not like the Postal Service. I say this chiefly because I enjoy cozy blanket statements like that. Secondly, I feel that most girls are not usually big time proponents of slightly glitchy, mildly IDM-esque, repetitive-ish synth fests. However, I will say it's done in a pop manner, which is why girls like it. The main difference between the Postal Service and much similar music, which I think most girls would dislike, is that it features vocals. Vocals by the dude from the aforementioned band, Death Cab. As for boys, well I suppose I'd say I probably like the Postal Service more than Death Cab, and that's because I'm kind of a synth nerd. I'd prefer it if the dude didn't sing, thus making it music girls should probably hate. But honestly what do i know because I was once told by someone "Ugh! You have the musical taste of a 30 year old girl!" I thought that as far as insult hurling goes, this was probably one of the best I've had hurled at me and it made me chuckle. Yeah, I like the Smiths, so fucking what? I digress. I feel that boys like the Postal Service for similar reasons to why I think they're OK but also for the same reason that they like Death Cab in the first place. It just so happens that in this case they're actually right. Girls like the Postal Service. But they shouldn't. I will attempt to note the principles of the conundrum: Girls don't like a band that features a singer who sings for a band whose music they shouldn't like but because he is singing they really do. Lost in all this is the fact that the band they hate features a smattering of acoustic guitar laden songs with emotional and reflective lyrics sung by the same guy from the band which they like but whose music they should hate. I can site proof for the acoustic guitar theory (see below). Boys like things that they think will make girls want to let them touch their boobs. I love being a boy who likes boobs. (From Above) The Acoustic guitar and the girls genetically programmed to like it theory proof: Janes Addiction's "Jane Says." Seriously, listen to it. There is no girl over 30 who doesn't think this is like the best Janes Addiction song ever. It has an acoustic guitar. I like that song. I have the musical taste of a 30 year old girl. Girls under 30 say "Janes WHO,WHAT? but hey, do you like the Postal Service BTW?"
My transition from being a kid who grew up listening to punk rock to a jaded old man who now also loves roots music and more traditional American folk music didn’t happen until I really heard that country-influenced music played with the same grit and intensity that I loved about punk. It just seems natural. One such band traveling down such a road is Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s .357 String Band. Their sophomore album, Fire & Hail is full of high-octane punk bluegrass that sounds something like Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys covering Minor Threat. It’s a raucous and twangy chickin’ pickin’ good time as the banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and dobro battle it out in a no hold barred bluegrass cage match. This is some serious mountain music that ain’t from anywhere near Appalachia but that don’t mean these guys can’t get down. This makes me wanna get wicked drunk. Link to this post For more, tell me: CYSTSFTS?
Sam Tchakalian's Bagel Time As we head up to the hills and warm air of San Francisco, it is hard to avoid the dazzling landmarks that catch the eye as they pass by the open window: the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Silicon Valley, the murals of the Mission District, the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, and of course the homeless population. But musically there is a history housed by another landmark, the San Francisco Art Institute, which is often forgotten by the out-of-towner. While Breakthru Radio recognizes the importance of new artists on the college scene and their modern day myspace numbers, it's equally important to recognize the originators of those communities. At the SFAI, society saw Penelope Houston (painting and sculpture), Fritz Cox (Film) and Debora Iyall (painting and sculpture) collectively turn their eyes to more important matters; the 70s and 80s Bay Area punk movement. Penelope Houston Penelope Houston's group, the Avengers, grew up with fellow art school students under the supervision of Professor Sam Tchakalian. Tchakalian was an abstract painter who often facilitated student punk groups like the Avengers by way of his south of Market loft. The group formed in 1977 after Houston moved in from Seattle, Washington. For a long while the Art Institute was home to a bohemian lifestyle, whether it was faculty, staff or students. In 1955 Alan Ginsberg even let loose possibly his most famous work, 'Howl;' and event some claim to be the definitive beginning of the beat movement. The Avengers did their part to influence the punk era. Their splinters have since included The Mr. T Experience (Bassist Joel Reader), and Pansy Division (drummer Luis Illades). But these weren't the only punkers to lay the groundwork for their ensuing milieu, not by a long shot. The Mutants In the same year that the Avengers formed, Fritz Fox and the Mutants were getting their legs at the San Francisco Poetry Festival in 1977. Though they too found refuge and support in Sam Tchakalian, many viewed their strange and theatrical performances as defining a different genre, 'Art-Punk.' Their career as a group brought them closer and closer to an awareness beyond the San Francisco punk scene, opening for The Ramones, The Cramps, the Talking Heads and even Iggy Pop, but it was seemingly stunted when the would-be tour opening for Joy Division was canceled after Ian Curtis committed suicide. Romeo Void On Valentine's Day in 1979, Debora Iyall teamed up with sculptor, graphic designer and photographer, Frank Zincavage, to form Romeo Void. Zincavage (bass) was already known for working with the Avengers and the Mutants. He provided the creativity Iyall needed to bring her vision to life, a vision she named based on what she called 'a lack of romance,' and one which came to mind after she read the headline of a local article titled, 'Why single women can't get laid in San Francisco.' Their most famous track, 'Never Say Never,' single-handedly brought them and many other groups from their label (415) to Columbia Records; a success rarely seen by many of their former classmates. The San Francisco Art Institute has bred musical success stories somewhat consistently. Some more intriguing alumni include Jerry Garcia, Dave Getz and Devandra Banhart, but few moments in the school's history were so dense with musical talent and a prevailing sense of frustration. The musical pursuits of this progressive institution remain unofficial, but such a circumstance allows artistic expression to remain untainted by the educational process: the natural sound of a visual artist. Link to this article:
Best Show - Monotonix This free-wheeling trio from Tel Aviv had a whole crowd slack jawed during their blistering set at the Blender Theater. They stole drinks to pour on themselves and moved the drum kit from the front of the stage, to the hallway near the men’s bathroom, to the very back near the exit, to the top of the bar. Listener participation included a young lass holding a drum tom while the lead singer banged away and holding the same tom on top of the drummer’s head. After it was all over, I was compelled to yell “Go buy a fucking T-shirt!” Compulsive Crowd Surfer - Crystal Castles Alice was in a trance as she flung herself into uplifting arms. She did it three more times before the night was over. New Discovery - The Lisps This band played the bottom floor of the Knitting Factory and was the lone band of the night to grab my attention for an entire set. The female lead, Sammy, is a firecracker and a melodica enthusiast. I heart her. Most Overhyped - Gang Gang Dance They weren’t bad, just not amazing or transcendent. Two terms used to describe their previous sets leading up to the show at Santos Party House. I might give them a pass cause the sound was horrible, save for the tribal drum beats which felt like I was watching live action drum and bass. I will give props to Liz’s tour T-shirt which featured Missy, Beyonce, and Alcia . Most Disappointing - Fujiya & Miyagi They were more vanilla then strawberry. Ho-hum vocals delivered in the raspy, “R” rolling way I I’m fond of, but no stage presence what to speak of. I’m breaking a sweat the band should be too. Latest Crush - Sarah Negahdari of The Happy Hollows Clad in black shorts with gray knee high socks, she broke the mold of female bassists I was noticing the whole week. Sarah is the lead guitarist and singer for HH and she’s got finger tapping skills to boot. Best Venue - Knitting Factory Three floors allowed you to move from band to band band, so if you didn’t like one you still had two more options. The set times were spot on as was the sound, and the night I went I caught Muggabears, Crystal Antlers, and The Lisps. Maybe that had something to do with this vote. Best Food - Shake Shack Located in Madison Square Park (and short hop from my hotel), this little shack had droves of people happily waiting in the rain while forming snakey lines for a shack burger and a hopscotch concrete. Concretes are just really thick shakes full of candy vittles and addicting goodness. The hopscotch version had caramel, toffee, and gourmet chocolate. I’d fly back to New York just to eat there every day for a week.
var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-4780470-3"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); Graham Lindsey (at least for now) lives in Montana with his wife and two dogs after having made stops in the driftless woods of Wisconsin, New York’s chrome canyons, a Nebraska farmhouse, and New Orleans along the way. Luckily this well-traveled troubadour has been bringing his guitar and banjo with him wherever he goes, and (recently) in Montana recorded his two new releases We Are All Alone In This Together and its companion The Mine EP. I can easily sum these two records up in one word (amazing) but it will most certainly take many more to do any justice at all. The first thing that strikes you about We Are All Alone In This Together is how raw, primal, and off the beaten path Graham’s music is. It is dark and unapologetic and roots folk-blues that falls somewhere in the middle of Gillian Welch, Bob Dyan, Tom Waits, Woody Guthrie, etc… and does so without any hyperbole. Graham Lindsey and his uncompromising backwoods Americana is the real deal and We Are All Alone In This Together (while not aged like those I compared him to) can (even at this stage) easily hold its own with anything from those artists. We Are All Alone In This Together is haunting and timeless but doesn’t hark to the past in order to rehash it. Graham’s honesty and sincerity and naked emotion abounds on these songs and its instantly apparent that this is as contemporary as any current Americana currently being played by peers like William Elliott Whitmore, Austin Lucas, and Chuck Ragan. While Graham Lindsey’s aching gravelly voice and his lyrics (along with his acoustic guitar and banjo) are at the heart of We Are All Alone In This Together but the addition of fiddle, pedal steel guitar, harmonica, and other assorted instrumentation give this layers and a scruffy richness that makes it bore its way into your heart. It is almost all I’ve been listening to since I heard the first notes. Both We Are All Alone In This Together and The Mine EP will be released just under a month from now on 11/18/2008 on Spacebar Recordings. Link to this Post For more, tell me: CYSTSFTS?
Two recent hacks from contrasting electronica mixes (both freely available): first - & for absolutely & definitely the last time (until November 5, anyway) - this awesome splicing of fairly minimal techno pulses & swirls with soaring Obama rhetoric. We Cannot Turn Back is an LMYE-curated extract from Francois K @ Minitek earlier this year (full set here). Apologies for the somewhat abrupt ending, & the remorseless re-upping. Any guidance on the underlying tracks most welcome... Hope/Progress image by Shepard Fairey. Second, from a Blu Mar Ten mix that kicks off in the same brainy ambient territory as the Aphex/Eno mash-up re-upped this week as part of our BreakThru Radio week, this lovely thing: To Do Something To Me. It splices Eno talking (about dissolving personality, the revival of interest in acoustic instruments, & cultural history & tradition informing performance) with the burbling intro to an Aquasky remix of Omni Trio's Who Are You? (from The Haunted Science; hear both the original & the Eno-free remix at OT's MySpace). Get the full BMT mix here. Link to this Post For more, just Lend Me Your Ears
This week we learn the stories behind three of the acts playing at the Digital Freedom/True Panther/Two Syllable Records CMJ Showcase at Pianos in New York City on Saturday October 25th, 2008. DJ Pumpkin Patch From whence came the name DJ Pumpkin Patch? Michael Saltsman (DJ Pumpkin Patch): "I have an affinity for Halloween. But I probably have an even greater affinity for pumpkins, pumpkin patches, hay rides and the like. I love pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin beer and pumpkin ale. I just really like the taste and smell of pumpkins. I don't think that there is anything that has come from a pumpkin that I haven't liked, so I thought I'd take on that persona." "When I say that I'm DJ Pumpkin Patch, and people laugh, it takes me a minute to realize that that's a ridiculous name. I started going by that in high school when I had a rap group called The Rabble Rousers. It has just stuck since then. I've been Pumpkin Patch for quite a while." Lemonade From whence came the name Lemonade? Callan Clendenin (Vocals): "I just thought it was a good name for a band because there was no concept to it. And initially the music was kind of high-concept, so the name needed to be really simple and pleasant. Everybody likes Lemonade." Alex Pasternak (Percussion): "After limeade," says Alex. That Ghost From whence came the name That Ghost? Ryan Schmale (That Ghost): "Well, I couldn't say it was one incident, but I kind of like the word ghost, and the way it looks. Also, I didn't want a name that was like, The Horses, or with an animal or really noticeable object in the title. I think I would die before I used the word 'Wolf' in my name. Maybe there are more ghosts than wolves, but I'm fine with it. That's all I can say about it, I guess. Otherwise I don't know how I got it." Link to this article:
On paper, the Kieran Hebden/Steve Reid collaborations could have been commissioned for a pair of Four Tet fiends & jazz-loving chin-strokers like LMYE. In practice, the ensemble stuff often plays it safe (even when getting pretty free) by leaving Kieran to squiggle electronically in the background. But the duos are particularly rich, subtle, fascinating conversations between two generations of musician & any number of genres. To these ears, the pair's highlight so far is the timeless yet fantastically modern Our Time from Tongues. Their We Dream from The Exchange Sessions Vol. 2 is less obviously beautiful, but still spurts & pounds to massive effect (NB: version here is a giveaway edit...). One peak from the ensemble is the intense Which One? from Spirit Walk; the storming Lions of Juda, especially, & Lugano are deep workouts too. Jiggy Jiggy from the more recent Daxaar starts fairly lame, but gets rather more rewarding as it builds (NB: giveaway version to comply with LMYE's hair-shirt policy on music under a year old...); the title track is fiercer, by the way. To finish, here's a couple of other collisions of jazz heavy-ish weights with more contemporary-ish sounds: Pharoah Sanders with the underrated 23 Skidoo - Hendang (from 23 Skidoo) - & Courtney Pine with Attica Blues - Trying Times (from Another Story; NB: this bone-crunching version from an old Talkin' Loud promo, Year on Year). Link to this Post For more, just Lend Me Your Ears
Party Hour Blog October 22, 2008 CMJ 08 Music Marathon & Film Festival is here! CMJ connects thousands of music fans and the music industry in 5 fun filled days in NYC. This is the 28th year for CMJ and it is sure to be on of the best. With more bands and venues to count there are a few definite spots I will be hitting up. Tonight some of my favorite BTR & Party Hour artists are performing including Bumblebeez, Chairlift, Pase Rock, Tiger City and many others. If your out tonight definitely check out: Tiger City playing at Mercury Lounge @ 1:00 AM. I've seen this group perform before and they're a lot of fun to watch. Mixing a style of pop rock & funk sounds, think of a cross between Michael Jackson (minus allegations) and more of an indie rock party vibe. Good Stuff! Tomorrow night I am extremely excited to attend the CMJ showcase / 1 year anniversary of Fools Gold Records. They are easily one of my favorite record labels and they will be throwing a bash tomorrow night at Webster Hall. I know I know we are in recession in the country, but honestly people, if you pre order the tickets they're only $10. The show will most definitely be a party. With over 8 artists performing, dance, electro and hip hop sounds all night long. Lets go thru the lined up. DJ A-Trak, Kid Sister, Dave 1 of Chromeo, Treasure Fingers, Jokers Of The Scene, Trackademicks, Nacho Lovers, Sammy Bananas, Nick Catchdubs & other special guest will rock the stage. Interested to check out Treasure Finger and hope Sammy Bananas dresses up as a giant banana. I'm almost certain Kid Sister will be performing new cuts off of her upcoming debut album Dream Date. Doors open at 11 and the music stays bumpin' till 4AM. Some other exciting acts I suggest checking out include The Carps, Broken Social Scene, DJ Babu, The Virgins, Gang Gang Dance and DJ Rekha; just to name some of my favorites. Honestly not matter what style of music your into CMJ has it covered. Most of the shows are very affordable, however I suggest get to any venue early. There will be thousand in attendance. There are daily passes, every day passes or just show up to the venue and wait in line or pre order tickets. So go out at least one night this week and check out some of the great music going on in NYC this week.
Ok, well, that could never happen... But with CMJ in town, I definitely have concert A-D-D... I didn't help myself this past weekend catching 5 BTR bands in 2 nights!!! Onto the Recap... Setting Sun @ Piano's in NYC - Caught the tail end of their show and was surprised to see drummer Dylan Wissing of Skidmore Fountain was not just friends with the band, but also drumming for them! More on Dylan later... Quitzow @ Piano's in NYC - You know how you can heart some bands on the album and then see them live and think they sound completely different? Well, that's how Quitzow plays live, with one exception---they rock live too! I have to admit, it was like seeing a different band, except you knew all the words already. I'll still take the recorded version of "Peanut" over the live cut, but it was a pretty cool and different take. Oh, and that Dylan guy? Yeah, he was drumming for them too. Also making an appearance, Topu Lyo, cellist from Skidmore Fountain. Skidmore Fountain @ Piano's in NYC - They played mainly new stuff which was amazing to hear. Looking forward to the new album in early 2009. For a preview, I hear you can download (for free) the band's new single Asylum off their sites. It's worth checking out. And in this election season (amid my screaming requests at the show) they played "Dance Political," my personal fav by the band. Of course, Dylan was drumming in this band too. I've nicknamed him "Animal." Walter Meego @ Middle East in Cambridge, MA - I visited my old haunt over the weekend and caught this BTR band. They are a trip live; it's truly a show. Ever see or hear about how Moby jumps up and down on the stage while mixing beats? Well this comes off similar, but with guitar to boot. Good stuff, even if one audience member did get kicked out for dancing too rough. Ha! Ra Ra Riot @ Middle East in Cambridge, MA - How can you not love this band?! As mentioned earlier with Quitzow, not all bands translate live. I was prepared for this with Ra Ra Riot, but it was like I was listening to the perfectly polished track---with some great additions here and there. Alexandra Lawn (cellist) and Rebecca Zeller (violin) are incredible to watch live. I might be (definitely am) biased being a former (amateur) cellist myself (in junior high). They were sure to play a good mix of hits and tracks off their new album. They even played a brand new track for the audience. This was the last of their shows for the US-leg of their tour. They're off to Europe now, until December when they'll be back at it across the US. You've got to see this band if they come to your area. You won't be disappointed! And that rounds out my 5-er of shows. Get out there and see some of the CMJ Music Festival in NYC if you can!
Resplendent with remixes by Boards of Canada, Four Tet & Mogwai, Boom Bip's Corymb is almost ludicrously star-studded ('star' used in a pretty relative sense, obviously...); even its lesser names are luminaries like Lali Puna & Venetian Snares. All the same, some of its best tracks are by Bip himself: the brooding, epic build of Pulse All Over, for example, or the Four Tet-style moody post-jazz of In the Tree Top - listen here! Bonus: Ghostly-style bouncy poptronica giveaway The Move (from Blue Eyed In The Red Room). Link to this Post For more, just Lend Me Your Ears
Chad VanGaalen “TMNT Mask” - Maybe it’s because of childhood bed sheets that sported “Turtle Power” or just the plain fact that the old school cartoon series rocked, but slapping on a Donatello mask and fashioning a bo staff this year just seems appealing. Get extra style points by carrying around a pizza with anchovies all night. Born Ruffians (above) “Kurt Vonnegut” - You might have to slap on a “Hello, My Name Is…” sticker to wordlessly express your intent, but how cool would it be if you went trick or treating sans name tag and somebody rushes up to you to say, “Slaughterhouse Five got me through high school.”  That alone should be reason enough to steal this idea. Clinic (above) “Jigsaw Man” - What’s it gonna be? A breezy landscape…meandering sea life…one of Picasso’s works?  Coming up with the perfect pieces to the puzzle might be more fun than gathering tooth aches, unless they’re from miniature peanut butter cups. Those things are evil. Tie: Flight Of The Conchords (above) “Bowie” or “Hiphopopotamus Vs. Rhymenoceros” - One is a rock god that has a wealth of catalogued personas to replicate, while the other requires equal combinations of animal hides and b-boy gear. Ziggy Stardust or Horny Hip-Hopper? That’s why it’s a tie. Keller Williams “Ninja Of Love” - Throwing stars shaped liked hearts. Disappearing in a cloud of pink smoke. Doing a back flip while signing “I Love You” in midair. Need I go on?  Notable Mentions: CocoRosie “Rainbow Warriors” - Danger: Might be confused for Power Rangers. IAMISee “Bruce Lee” - This one is just easy for me to pull off, and some people even confuse me for him outside the month of October. Colourmusic “Rock and Roll Polar Bear” - Three words: Kiss Polar Bear.
Two LMYE exclusives: first, an inspired reimagining of one of the better tracks on In Rainbows - Australia's Prince Charming (plus a sample cast that includes Martin Luther King, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon &, less obviously, Whittaker Chambers) wrings yearning, menace & uplift out of Videotape with his poignant Videotrip (Tragedy of History). NB: current version at Charming's MySpace sounds updated... Hear a sanctioned Nude remix here & others here (NB: LMYE's 'nothing unsanctioned under 1 year' policy waived for Videotrip in view of IR's original distribution...). Radiohead home. Photo by Nils Tober. Plus, a second Charming remix - again reimagining UK indie angst-rock into something more spacious, fractured & moving via a perhaps predictable, but still incredibly resonant, public voice: Compliments (Prince Charming's Admiration). Link to this Post For more, just Lend Me Your Ears
The Women is a movie about friendship and the events around four women that challenge and define that friendship. Meg Ryan is Mary Haines, a mother and clothing designer who has just discovered her husband's recent infidelity. Her once perfect life has become more complicated than ever. Eva Mendes plays the other woman, and though she poses a serious threat to Haines' marriage, a celebrity-stuffed cast of Annette Benning, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Candice Bergen are all determined to take Mendes out of the picture. As a result, each individual friend begins to reflect on her own relationship with new eyes. Though many of the experiences in the film are reserved to mothers, career professionals and generally those of older women, many of the friendship themes are generationally universal. This is particularly reflected in the music choices of the director, Diane English and Jagged Films (Mick Jagger's production company).  Mark Isham has been scoring movies long enough to provide a solid foundation for the soundtrack and the film itself, but what are likely the most fascinating pieces of this album are the contributions from eighteen-year old high school senior, Lucy Schwartz. Her album Winter In June was enough to convince the TV producers of 'Reaper' and 'Cashmere Mafia.' Her song 'I Don't Know A Thing,' for which she won first place in the 2007 International Songwriting Competition, can be found on Youtube; however, the songs that frame the credits of The Women can only be found in the movie and on the soundtrack, but not on Schwartz's breakthrough album. The collection also features indie music favorites like Goldfrapp, Feist and The Bird and The Bee. The Women is clearly meant for women of all ages to enjoy with close company. Fortunately the soundtrack supports that endeavor throughout while promoting small artists and even helping audiences to discover others for the first time. Don't be left out! Link to this article:
An ambient dream-team pairing brought together in this masterful mash-up (sometimes called Rhubarb & Villages): Eno considers the sociology & human engineering of the Hutterites over an exquisite Aphex vamp with exactly the right reflective, melancholy, ultimately uplifting tone... Found originally via Art Decade. Image above by 100dbs. "Randomness, generative let the thing grow: there's a lot to learn from artists." In classic Eno style, the domed one riffs on from the drama of building & populating a daughter colony into Rawlsian notions of civil society into the use of generative tools & frameworks; allegedly, a longer version is out there somewhere. Haven't tracked that down yet, but here's a Long Now-sponsored conversation with Will Wright (summary & all Long Now seminars, including Eno on his own back in 2003 - the final one in the list). Love the description of Eno as a landed Victorian gentleman boffin (by Jim Rossignol, who also links to this 2002 interview). Link to this Post For more, just Lend Me Your Ears
Since the untimely pseudo-demise of Muxtape, we, like many of you, have been searching for a tolerable alternative. We've taken our time in doing so to ensure that we find what suits us best. Our research has pointed us to 8tracks. Its upsides seem to outweigh its downsides. Here's what Wired had to say about it: "8tracks allows users to upload eight tracks, with no more than two by the same artist, and then follows the internet radio model of playing the songs in order (as opposed to on an on-demand basis) in order to qualify for SoundExchange's royalty rates for small webcasters. And unlike Muxtape, it lets you embed mixes online." We don't fancy the service confining us to eight tracks per mix. We do, however, like that our playlists will truly work like analog mixes in that the play is linear. You can skip forward but not back. A progress bar is present as a simple point of reference rather than an actual tool—you can't skip around within a track. Once you've skipped through all the tracks, you'll have to refresh the page to regain access to the play button. While these limitations will be annoying to many, we appreciate 8track's willingness to tame some of our bad listening habits. In a sense, 8tracks is a more successful mirror of mix-making nostalgia than Muxtape ever was. It insists that you listen to the mix as intended. However, the 8tracks folks fail to mention that when you embed your mix, its tracks will be shuffled at random rather than playing in your own assigned order, which sort of nixes some of the key tenants of mix-making: sequence, climax, resolution, etc. This is probably the most annoying component of the service, but we're willing to deal. But more importantly than all that, 8tracks qualifies artists for royalty rates, which is beyond awesome, and probably means we'll be doing a lot of these. Here's our first mix on the service, which happens to be our first off-topic music post since last year. We figured if we're going to go on a tangent, we'd go the whole nine yards and make it as polarizingly off-topic as possible. These selections are dedicated to the whites out there who keep our clumsy little blog afloat: Link to this Post For more, check out the Ants in My Trance
With their 7th album Snowflake Midnight out two weeks ago, Mercury Rev has reached the BTR airwaves. The NY state band has been around since the 1980s, originally hailing from Buffalo, NY. I first encoutered Mercury Rev in 2002 when their music first hit WTSR, my college radio station. Unlike a lot of the music we were spinning at the time (John Mayer, Jimmy Eat World, and always Matthew Sweet, of course), the music of Mercury Rev transcended electronica, indie alternative, and the sort of epic sound one gets from the occassional rock operas of a Rush 2112. Having spun their music often as a DJ back then, my only regret was not being able to see them in concert. I did try, once. On a random weeknight in early 2002, Mercury Rev was playing a gig in Philadelphia---at the TLA if memory serves, perhaps the Trocadero. A friend of mine coxed me into hitting the road last minute to catch the show. Though only an hour or so from Trenton, it wasn't often we did such a thing on a whim or last minute on a weeknight. The only problem is, once we got there, we discovered the show as 21+ and I had a few months to go on that milestone. Lucky for me, and lucky for you, they're on the road again with the new album. In Europe this fall, before hitting the states in December...
Sasu Ripatti is a Finn with many an alias: Vladislav Delay (experimental dubby), Uusitalo (minimal techno), Sistol (noisy techno), Conoco (more experimental dubby) and Luomo (leftfield pop-house), the latter of which has become his best known. If you're like me, whenever you see one of this guy's six pseudonyms, you get nostalgic for a particular Luomo album, 2000's Vocalcity, which, in my mind, is the best house album of any era or variety. It set all kinds of standards for the genre, particularly for minimal house. It showed once and for all that house music can be a thoughtful, moving and highly complex musical form without giving up its backbone. Eight years and three albums later, Ripatti has yet to surpass the greatness and elegance of Vocalcity. (But really, who would have expected him to?) That doesn't mean he hasn't delivered some clever tracks here and there. His latest effort, Convivial, the physical release of which will drop November 11, ventures into deep leftfield pop territories. He works with vocalists on every track. "Slow Dying Places" is a long, percussion-lite number with lots of buildup: Full Track [YouSendIt] Full Track [zShare] Link to this Post For more, check out the Ants in My Trance
This week's "Hello, My Name Is…" gives us the connection between Jack Kerouac and Orouni, the not-so-conservative story of Conservative Man, and the fateful dream that led to The May Fire. Misunderstood dubbing techniques can offer hours upon hours of entertainment, from the fluffy critiques of Iron Chef, to the imaginative occupations of MXC. For Parisian Orouni, it offered a new identity and a friendly reminder of his roots. "The name Orouni was more or less invented by Slim Gaillard, a jazzman who is featured in Jack Kerouac's "On The Road." This musician liked to create words, and "O'Rooney" (sometimes "Oreenee") is one of them. The thing is "Orouni", spelled this way, is in the French translation of the novel, not in the original version. So it reminds you, in a way, that I'm French. Inventing words is a bit like composing music, you make up your own language.  I don't always like invented words, but I love this one. I love the sound of it and I think it's both cute and crazy." "First, I used it for the name of my blog (, and then one day, when I posted a song I had written and recorded myself, the name of the musical project became Orouni too. Later, I discovered it was the name of a parasitic flower and a well in Chad too. Pretty cool." Live! Oct 22 at  L'International - Paris, France Oct 29 at   Le Glaz'art - Paris, France Nov 23 at  Le Violon Dingue (with Rhum For Pauline & Kawaii) - Nantesm, France Dec 4 at Le Divan du Monde (with Kawaii) - Paris, France Dec 6 at Café Diskaire (with Kawaii) - Lille, France Dec 21 at Le Lucernaire - Paris, France Hello, my name is Conservative Man, and I approve this message (as told by front man, Ian McCarthy): "I had decided my life's direction at the age of 11. I wanted to write my own songs, and be in a band. Seven years later, I found myself studying jazz at an arts school in Philadelphia. I discovered that what was once an art form that thrived on creativity and improvisation had since fallen into the aesthetic death throes of stagnation and tradition. I knew something was wrong with this choice when I found myself not attending class in order to sequester myself in my basement apartment, recording songs on a borrowed 4-track. Feeling cheated and miserable, I did what any self-respecting art student does. I dropped out. It was 2003, during the Bush years. It was uncertainty, isolation, and fear. I was living without a television, internet, or telephone. I was sleeping in my bathtub. The only way to reach me was to know where I lived, and knock on my window from the adjacent side street." "I needed something to rely on. Something to carry me through. Something to identify with. Something. At the time, I had been hearing about the formation of a 'supergroup' of sorts, who were initially calling themselves Civilian. What they ended up calling themselves was godawful, and so were their records, in my opinion. But that's beside the point. I thought the name was the bees knees. Singular. It had edge, with an insinuation of vulnerability. Why didn't I think of that? So I asked myself the question: 'If there was a band, what would be a badass name for it?' Maybe it was the cultural climate at the time, maybe it was my need for an alter-ego, maybe it was irony and self-deprecation, maybe it was an obsession over the abstract of a singular term describing a plural, or all of the above, but the name that kept coming back to haunt me was Conservative Man.  I imagined four guys up on this stage, and the MC goes, 'Ladies and gentlemen, Conservative Man!'" The only problem, it was just me. It would stay that way, with Conservative Man as my personal moniker for the next 4 years, recording terrible demos and an EP. Following a move to the mountains of western New Hampshire, I wrote and recorded the album that would finally make this 4 year daydream a reality, Mirabel and the Hikikomori. I was leaking tracks to a local DJ, who insisted that I put a band together, and in doing so, the station would put the band on a spotlight bill. I had to move quickly because I knew no one in the area, so I put in a call to the only musicians I knew and trusted, my music-schoolmates from the fighting city of Philadelphia, Vahe, Darren, and Justin, who just happened to live a good 6 hour drive away. We played the show, and I got to hear the MC say his line. Since then, somehow, we've made this band work. We are a long distance relationship. We are singular, with vulnerability. We are Conservative Man." Live! Nov 8 at Tom and Jerry's - Milmont Park, PA   You should pay attention to your dreams. They tap into your subconscious and can reveal facets about yourself that you never knew existed. It also appears they can come up with good band names as well. Here is The May Fire's story (as told by drummer, Felipe "El Pipe" Ceballos): "We started off in Los Angeles, when El Pipe auditioned for a band Catty Tasso had.  They started writing music together and soon after the band broke-up. Cat and Pipe continued writing and recording material in Pipe's garage until they realized they had an album's worth of material.  Soon after, they moved to San Francisco and got Rob and Nachito to help them perform that record live.  Once the band saw an evolution in the sound, they set themselves up with the goal of releasing 3 DIY EP's within one year.  They released "Plastic Army" and "La Victoria" with that line-up until Nachito called it quits in early 2008. Then Craigslist was nice enough to help us find a replacement with Johnny Beane and the band released the 3rd EP in the trilogy "The List". While we were trying to find a name for the band, Cat had a dream where she was told the name should be "The May Fire".  At that point the band was just a duet (Pipe and Cat) and it also happens that both of our birthdays are in May.  It seemed like we couldn't deny something like that." Live! Oct 27 at Silverlake Lounge - Los Angeles, CA Oct 30 at Rickshaw Stop - San Francisco, CA Nov 1   The Underground Lounge - Monterey, CA Link to this article:
I would never have thought Camille was so forward with her "music holes", but that is the case in these videos. In the first set, she describes the differences between her new album Music Hole and the previous one Le Fil, and delivers an impressive drum solo on her chest. Brilliant! The second set has her winding through her collaborators and describing the messages in her songs in an uneasy manner. I love awkward mannerisms and watching people squirm. Enjoy! Cheers, Phil  
Fall is here and along with the cooler weather and changing colors of the leaves comes great live music in New York City. It's October, which to independent music fans means one thing... CMJ Music Marathon. From October 21- October 25th, thousands of independent musicians, industry professionals, and fans from around the globe head to the Big Apple to play shows, party, and mingle with peers.  There is so much going on throughout the week, it's hard to narrow it all down. Fortunately for you there are tons of BreakThru Radio artists playing the festival and we've got the inside scoop on some of the best shows to check out. Hit up the list below and plan your schedule accordingly! We'll see you on the streets and in the clubs of NYC! Broken Social Scene Catch the Canadian collective, Broken Social Scene on October 24th at the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn, NY! Chairlift If you're like us, you've got the track from the latest iPod commercial stuck in your head and you're enjoying every second of it. Want to catch the track live? Well, you'll have plenty of chances to catch the Brooklyn trio who sings the track "Bruises" at CMJ. The group, known as Chairlift, will be playing a few shows during the festival. Oct 21/05:00pm  -  CMJ - After The Jump @ Pianos  -  New York, NY Oct 21/09:00pm  -  CMJ - NME @ The Annex  -  New York, NY Oct 21/11:00pm  -  CMJ - The DELI @ Hiro Ballroom  -  New York, NY Oct 22/04:30pm  -  CMJ - FADER Party  -  New York, NY Glasser Live! Oct 24 2008 at CMJ: Cafe Zebulon performing w/ Body City in Brooklyn, NY Oct 25 2008 at CMJ: Piano’s in New York, NY The Helio Sequence Catch The Helio Sequence, October 24th at the Knitting Factory -  New York, NY! Kidz In The Hall Lykke Li Sweedish sensation and former BTR Aritst of The Week, Lykke Li will be taking the stage as part of the Music Marathon, Catch her October 21 at Bowery Ballroom! Mumpsy These Floridans are making the trek to NYC and if you haven't caught them live, we highly recommend it. Mumpsy takes the stage at The Alphabet Lounge on October 22 at 11pm. White Shoes & The Couples Company All the way from Jakarta, Indonesia this is a must see for anyone looking to smile. The group was one of the highlights of the SXSW music festival and we're sure they'll be a bright spot at CMJ as well. Catch them October 25th at Spike Hill in Brooklyn, NY! Semi Precious Weapons Semi Precious Weapons hail from Brooklyn and it's not uncommon for them to be playing a show in the NYC area. However, locals and visitors alike will be flocking to see this energetic band. Lucky for us, there are pleanty of chance to catch them doing there thing. This is a must see show! Mark your calendar now! Oct 21  -  Jewelry event and CD signing at Barneys  -  NYC, NY Oct 21  -  Fearless Music CMJ showcase at Arlenes Grocery  -  New York, NY Oct 24  -  Deli Mag/BMI CMJ party @ Public Assembly  -  Brooklyn, NY Oct 24  -  Perez Hilton CMJ Showcase @ Highline Ballroom  -  New York, NY Here are some other BTR bands to look out for at CMJ!!! 13 Ghosts A Brief Smile A Place to Bury Strangers Aa Adept Annuals As Tall As Lions Au Bad Veins Beach House Bearsuit Broken Social Scene Canasta Castanets Chairlift Cheeseburger Cloud Cult Cool Kids Crystal Castles Cyne Dead Leaf Echo The Dears Deerhoof The Delta Spirit Elk City The Ettes Faunts The Forms Fresh Kills Gang Gang Dance The Giraffes Glasser Gold Streets The Helio Sequence Hollywood Holt Honey La Rochelle Hotel Lights Jay Reatard Jealous Girlfriends Joan Osbourne Joel Plaskett Jukebox The Ghost Kidz In The Hall Land of Talk Looker Lykke Li Mia Riddle Middle Distance Runner Mike Castro Mirah Modern Skirts Monocle Muggabears Mumpsy My Teenage Stride Natalie Portman's Shaved Head Oxford Collapse Pattern Is Movement The Poison Control Center Rahim The Rosebuds The Ruby Suns Sam Champion The Sammies Sasha Dobson Semi Precious Weapons The Shackeltons Takka Takka The Teenage Prayers Tobias Froberg Two Hours Traffic Tyler James Walter Meego We Are Standard The Weepies White Shoes and The Couples Company Yip Yip Yo Majesty Link to this article:
Here's more goodness straight outta Hunts Vegas—more immaculately produced rap built around oddball samples. This time around, "Orinoco Flow" is on the cutting board. "Speed of Sound" comes from the duo's forthcoming mixtape, Starshipz and Rocketz. Roll, tide, roll. We're still waiting on that Fear and Loathing in Hunts Vegas mixtape, which, as I've said, is becoming the Chinese Democracy of the mixtape world. Link to this Post For more, check out the Ants in My Trance
It's been awhile, but we've finally got another spectacular record label showcase for you to listen to, and it's none other than Secretly Canadian! Click here to listen! The catalog for this Bloomington, Indiana-based record label is one of that the BTR DJs covet in constructing their playlists, as the Secretly Canadian roster is solid through and through, with nary a weak spot. For real, with cats like Antony Hegarty, Jens Lekman  and Daniel Smith all in on the Secret, it's hard to deny the seriousness in keeping it. The ironic thing is, Secretly Canadian was started in 1996 by a group of Indiana University students. How Jonathan Cargill, Eric Weddle, and Chris and Ben Swanson came up with such a strangely appealing name is anyone's guess, but , looking at what the label has evolved into, there is no questioning the founders excellent tastes in music. Of course, Weddle eventually left the Secret to start his own label, Family Vineyard, and one can't talk about Secretly Canadian without mentioning Jagjaguwar and Dead Oceans; two separate labels that share offices with Secretly Canadian, making for three under one roof. Just imagine the holiday party they must throw together... 2008 is turning out to be a busy year for Secretly Canadian, with new releases from Bodies of Water, Throw Me The Statue, Danielson, Damien Jurado, David Vandervelde, Music Go Music, The War On Drugs, and most recently, Catfish Haven and Antony and The Johnsons. A fresh record from Frida Hyv'onen is on the way, as is another album from Danielson. The best part is, you can now hear all of these amazing bands and artists on BTR! Catfish Haven Jens Lekman Antony and The Johnsons Catch Antony and The Johnsons Live!!! Oct 14  -  Walt Disney Concert Hall  -  Los Angeles, CA Oct 16  -  The Apollo  -  New York, NY Oct 30  -  Barbican  -  London, UK Oct 31  -  Barbican  -  London, UK Bodies of Water Catch Bodies of Water LIVE!!! Oct 14  -  Cargo  -  London, UK Oct 15  -  Paradiso  -  Amsterdam, Netherlands Oct 16  -  Rotown  -  Rotterdam, Netherlands Oct 17  -  Ekko  -  Utrecht, Netherlands Oct 19  -  Mousonturm  -  Frankfurt, Germany Oct 21  -  Botanique  -  Brussels, Belgium Oct 23  -  Fabrique  -  Hamburg, Germany The Impossible Shapes Catch The Impossible Shapes LIVE!!! Oct 18  -  Upland  -  Bloomington, IN Nov 09  -  Slow Train  -  Salt Lake City, UT Nov 11  -  Sunset Tavern  -  Seattle, WA Nov 12  -  Someday Lounge  -  Portland, OR Nov 15  -  Hemlock Tavern  -  San Francisco, CA Windsor For The Derby Danielson Catch Danielson Live!!! Oct 31  -  The Knitting Factory  -  New York, NY Nov 02  -  491 Theatre  -  Philadelphia, PA Nov 04  -  The Crofoot Pike Room  -  Pontiac, MI Nov 05  -  Reggie's  -  Chicago, IL Nov 06  -  Triple Rock  -  Minneapolis, MN Nov 07  -  The Waiting Room  -  Omaha, NE Nov 08  -  The Hi-Dive  -  Denver, CO Link to this article:
Wherever your political passion lies, it is almost impossible to avoid the rumors and rhetoric of this historic presidential campaign. If you'd like to keep an eye on things but maybe turn that eye to a brighter side, try bringing a musical twist to your party persuasion. In what seems to be an increasingly tense and aggressive race, it is important to maintain a sense of humor and creativity.  One way is to make a song about your presidential hopeful, put it on youtube and successfully make an embarrassment of yourself. As the race has moved on, now more than ever people are doing just that. A youtube channel called Obamasongs has brought together eight-hundred songs written and uploaded by his supporters. One of the funniest and most musical is a Shaft theme song parody based on the young senator's healthcare and Iraq war policies. That is not to mention the now infamous 'Yes We Can' video by Will.I.Am and of course the one called 'Obama Girl'. Though, as is always the case, there are many anti-Obama songs which Obamasongs chose to exclude from their collection. The number of Obamasongs were down in the month of May, but have risen steadily every month afterwards, climbing to just under two-hundred in September. Songs on behalf of John McCain are in far fewer numbers on Youtube as a whole when compared to those of Obama. Even the first two search results for "McCain Song" and many thereafter are mocking the Arizona senator. Fortunately no election will ever be decided by Youtube videos, but Nielsen ratings show that this video website pioneer averages almost twenty-million visitors per month. Most likely these amateur Americans won't change any minds, but these statistics can provide a pretty good sample for an overall population. Even the amount of pro-Obama songs have correlated with surprising accuracy to his popularity according to national poll averages. Link to this article:
Retired. Related: • Diplo [ft. Annie Lennox, The Notorious B.I.G., E-40, Jim Jones, Freeway, Bun B, Rich Boy & Gorilla Zoe] – "Paper Planes" Link to this Post For more, check out the Ants in My Trance
It's been a shamefully long minute since we last posted anything off our favorite Dutch label, Clone. Lucky for us, they're a super active label—you don't have to wait five months for them to drop one 12-inch. So not surprisingly, they've got tons of new stuff available. This particular selection is a classic example of Italo-leaning electro-pop by Ingmar Pauli. A perfect selection for your snooty pre-Halloween new wave costume party. Full Track [YouSendIt] Full Track [zShare] Buy the Jap Fab EP from iTunes. P.S. Big ↑ to all our haters our friends at BTR (BreakThru Radio), who have named us Blogger of the Week! Link to this Post For more, check out the Ants in My Trance
I mean, sure, a single is a single. But an oomph inducing, ooh yeah that's the rub, single only comes forth in a maxi-single*. These, as perfected by most r&B and pop artists of the mid to late 80's and early 90's. Because we love the maxi so much, and since we recently got a new one in cahoots with our namesake, we're gonna try to reflect on some freakin' killer maxi-singles we have in our possession. It'll be from time to time. Unless you want more. Let us know here! Link to this Post For more, check out Sheena Beaston
Being a former cellist myself, I suppose I'm biased, but the recent trend of bands utilizing stringed instruments has been intriguing to the ear. For those who haven't seen a band do this live, you haven't seen anything yet. It's easy to lose the subtle sounds in a well-mixed track, but you can't miss it when it's on stage. BTR bands Ra Ra Riot and Skidmore Fountain have a cellist in their bands. And, on a semi-related topic, you can catch Skidmore Fountain along with fellow BTR bands Quitzow and Setting Sun at Piano's on the Lower East Side of New York City on Friday October 17th!
Today brings the story of three artists/bands from Iowa City, Iowa. Let's see how they came up with their names... King Toad is the project of Areli Jamal Morgran River (aka "White Jamal", aka "Hambo Joe", aka "John Fields", aka "Fart." Here is the story behind his name: "In junior high I read a fantasy paperback novel in which a character saw a monster and began hollering about it being 'the Toad King.' In the book's universe the fellow wasn't even correct, it was just a random troll, not The Toad King, but I guess I liked the idea quite a bit. I don't remember bringing it up exactly, but I know I pretty much immediately started trying to get people to call me King Toad. Eventually my friends and I even printed up a bunch of t-shirts that said "The Really Scary Toad Clique" and started wearing them to school and giving them out to anybody who wanted one. All this had nothing to do with music originally, but at age 20, when I wanted an alias to release albums under, King Toad seemed like as good a choice as anything. 7 albums later, it apparently still does. I've tried to retire the name, more than once, but ultimately I always gravitate back to it." Liberty Leg is a  trio consisting of Ethan Richeson on vocals, Craig Ziegenhorn on guitar and Josh Carrollhach on drums. They formed in 1999 in Iowa City and later moved to New Orleans for a few years, before coming back to Iowa City permanently, right before Hurricane Katrina. The group currently has a full length album out called Way Back When. Here is the story behind their name: "Well, we liked the fact that it didn't have a definite meaning and it was kind of abstract.  Though later we found out it was also a butcher's term for a cut of lamb, which is funny because our singer Ethan used to be a butcher.  Now he cuts apart squid and octopus for a Korean restaurant.  I also found out that his youngest sister is named Liberty.  I still don't know them all because he has 13 siblings and he's the oldest.  Ethan came up with the name so I don't know if any of these things consciously played a role.  We liked the name Liberty Leg because we thought it kind of sounded like an old indian battle." Catch 'em live! Oct 25 2008 at The Picador in Iowa City, IA Coolzey is a solo artist from... You guessed it, Iowa City, Iowa! "When I was in 4th grade I started a rap group called Shotguns and Dandelions, and I wrote all the rhymes. I was really into Weird Al so we did a parody called Welcome to the Restroom. I had to name everyone in the group, so I named most of the people after Digital Underground members, like Money T, Shock D, and my friend Jam Master Hag, of course. But I wanted a simple name because I have always been a minimalist. My favorite hip hop name at the time was Kool Rock from the Fat Boys. That's the simplest, coolest name of all time, I think. So I decided to be Cool Z. Well, around 1999 I decided to spice it up a bit, and I'm just a weirdo, so I changed the spelling to Coolzey, with the emphasis on the first syllable. I wanted it to sound French, kind of, I think.  I like the language and I was really into being anti-macho in hip hop, 'cus I love going against the grain.At first people couldn't wrap their heads around the spelling, and they kept calling me Cooley Z on flyers and in person. But after a year or two that faded, and now it's how everyone knows me!" Catch Coolzey live! Oct 14 2008 at Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, IA Oct 15 2008 at The Industry in Iowa City, IA Oct 28 2008 at Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, IA Oct 29 2008 at Picador in Iowa City, IA Nov 11 2008 at Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, IA Nov 25 2008 at Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, IA Link to this article:
You heard that Diesel is turning 30 this year, right? Did you also hear about this big xXx party they are throwing on Pier 3 in Brooklyn this Saturday with N*E*R*D, Hot Chip and M.I.A.? Were you lucky enough to get yourself a ticket for the festivities? Yeah? Excellent. It's going to be awesome, see you there. Franz Ferdinand and Chaka Khan are on the bill too. That may or may not be a surprise we just ruined. Franz Ferdinand is the special unannounced guest (and Chaka Khan) for the Diesel XXX Party! Also we figured you guys may want to know that more tickets will be available, and it will be streamed live! Wait, you still haven't gotten a ticket? Ouch. Have fun doing whatever it is you'll be doing on Saturday night. Okay, there's actually one last chance to get a ticket. Here's how: The Diesel Stores in NYC are giving them away Friday morning starting at 10AM. You didn't see this coming? Come on, smart guy. Diesel is turning 30, and they are doing this thing called Dirty Thirty Denim. Basically it's a pair of one-day only Diesel jeans for $50. You don't even have to buy a pair to get a ticket, but you might want to, considering these will probably eBay for way more than the $50 you'll drop on them. It's first-come, first-serve on the tickets and the jeans. And it starts at 10AM. And that's your last chance to get tickets, for real this time. Here's where: Diesel - 1 Union Square West, NYC Diesel - 770 Lexington Avenue at 60th Street, NYC 10AM on Friday, October 10th. There will be booze (both stores) and Pete Rock (Union Square only) to keep you entertained. Link to this Post For more, check out Sheena Beaston
CMJ bound are you? Well, here are six vastly different shows you might want to make a priority, featuring bands from every corner of the United States. Indie rock, check. Hip-hop, check. Electronica/dance, check. Blues/soul, check. Shoegaze, check. Folk/country, check. So...Check it! Name: Passion Pit Label: Frenchkiss Current Release: Chunk of Change EP (9.16.08.) From: Boston, Massachusetts CMJ Appearance: Oct 21st at the Brooklyn Vegan Showcase, at The Music Hall Of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York Additional Tour Dates: Oct 11 2008 at the Middle East W/ Les Savy Fav in Cambridge, MA Oct 21 2008 at the Brooklyn Vegan CMJ Showcase: Music Hall Of Williamsburg Oct 27 2008 at Neumo’s w/ Yelle in Seattle, WA Oct 28 2008 at Commodore Ballroom w/ Yelle in Vancouver, BC Oct 29 2008 at Berbati’s Pan w/ Yelle in Portland, OR Oct 31 2008 at Mezzanine W/ Yelle in San Francisco, CA Nov 1 2008 at Henry Fonda Theatre w/ Yelle in Los Angeles, CA Nov 2 2008 at The Beauty Bar w/ Yelle in San Diego, CA Word Around The Campfire: With their ubiquitous single "Sleepyhead" currently dominating the various musically-related avenues of the Internet (including BTR playlists), it seems that Passion Pit might been en route to a breakout at CMJ.  They've already had a successful 3 week residency at Piano's in NYC, and the obscenely romantic story behind the EP seems tailor-made for success: front man Michael Angelakos initially recorded the EP as a late Valentine's Day gift for his girlfriend. Awwwwwwww. Name: Averkiou Label: Clairecords + Barracuda Sound Current Release: Debut LP Throwing Sparks drops on November 11th From: Gainesville, Florida CMJ Appearance: Oct 23rd at the Clairecords CMJ Showcase w/ The Brother Kite, Autodrone, If When, Silver Screen and more at Lit Lounge in New York, New York Additional Tour Dates: Oct 22 2008 at Vanishing Point w/ Voyager One in Brooklyn, NY Oct 23 2008 at Clairecords CMJ Showcase at Lit Lounge in New York, NY Oct 25 2008 at The Boot w/ Black Nite Crash in Norfolk, VA Oct 26 2008 at Rumors Boutique w/ The Pharmacy in Richmond, VA Oct 31 2008 at The Fest 7 in Gainesville, FL Nov 7 2008 at East Atlanta Ice House in Atlanta, GA Nov 22 2008 at Common Grounds in Gainesville, FL Dec 13 2008 at The Atlantic in Gainesville, FL Word Around The Camp Fire: Averkiou's debut full-length Throwing Sparks has been one of the most hotly anticipated albums in Gainesville's local music scene for at least two years. Adding to the drama is the fact that in those two years, there have been multiple rumors floating around that the shoegazey band had broken up, or was definitely going to. So, to see them venturing out on an East coast tour, with a set at CMJ  smack in the middle, it's hard not to be excited about the band's future. Name: The Carps Label: Urbnet Records Current Release: Waves and Shambles EP (04.08.08.) From: Toronto, Ontario CMJ Appearances: Oct 21st at The Blender Theatre at Gramercy with The Cool Kids and Skillz in New York, New York / Oct 24th at Le Royale with Wallpaper and Bomb the Bass in New York, New York Additional Dates: Oct 21 2008 at CMJ: The Blender Theatre at Gramercy in New York, NY Oct 22 2008 at 205 Chrystie in New York, NY Oct 23 2008 at The Studio at Webster Hall in New York, NY Oct 24 2008 at CMJ: Le Royale in New York, NY Word Around The Camp Fire: With Neil White on bass and synths, and Jahmal Tonge on drums and vocals, The Carps are a rare 'power duo' with a hip-hop/punk hybrid sound. With shows scheduled for four of the five nights of CMJ, both official and unofficial, and the telling respect of close friends such as The Cool Kids, MIA and Datarock, it's hard to see how this year's music marathon isn't theirs to dominate. Oh, and did we forget to mention that Tonge's voice is fucking awesome? Name: Black Joe Lewis and The Honey Bears Label: Honeybear Records Current Release: Black Joe Lewis and The Honey Bears EP (09.08.07) From: Austin, Texas CMJ Appearance: Oct 23rd at the Bowery Ballroom w/ Okkervil River and Crooked Fingers in New York, New York Additional Dates: Oct 8 2008 at Webster Hall w/ Okkervil River in New York, NY Oct 9 2008 at Mr. Smalls Theatre w/ Okkervil River in Millvale, MA Oct 14 2008 at The Metro w/ Okkervil River in Chicago, IL Oct 15 2008 at Bear's Place in Bloomington, IN Oct 16 2008 at Hi-Tone Cafe in Memphis, TN Oct 17 2008 at Sticky Fingerz in Little Rock, AK Oct 18 2008 at Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette, LA Oct 19 2008 at Thirsty Hippo in Hattiesburg, MI Oct 20 2008 at The Earl in Atlanta, GA Oct 22 2008 at DC9 in Washington, DC Oct 23 2008 at CMJ: Bowery Ballroom in New York, NY Oct 26 2008 at Bag of Songs Bash in Philadelphia, PA Oct 27 2008 at Cafe Bourbon St in Columbus, OH Oct 28 2008 at Bluebird in St. Louis, MO Oct 29 2008 at Exit 6C in Tulsa, OK Oct 30 2008 at Continental Club in Austin, TX Word Around The Camp Fire: Opening for Okkervil River? That's a mighty good start. Following a breakout performance at SXSW this year, Black Joe Lewis and The Honey Bears are bringing the soul and blues to the Big Apple for CMJ, with a live show that has yielded nary a naysayer amongst the fickle bloggers and music critics of the Earth. Also, there are rumors floating about that the band is in the paperwork stage of signing with Lost Highway Records - you know, the label with artists such as Lucinda Williams, Elvis Costello and Willie Nelson? Not too shabby... Name: Lemonade Label: True Panther Current Release: Debut Lemonade LP drops on October 21st From: San Francisco, California CMJ Appearances: Oct 24th at Zebulon w/ Glasser & Tanlines in Brooklyn, New York / Oct 25th at  Piano's w/ Glasser, Inlets and more in New York, New York Additional Dates: Oct 24 2008 at CMJ: Zebulon w/ Glasser & Tanlines in Brooklyn, NY Oct 25 2008 at CMJ: Piano's w/ Glasser, Inlets in New York, NY Nov 25 2008 at The Empty Bottle w/ El Guincho in Chicago, IL Nov 27 2008 at El Mocambo w/ El Guincho in Toronto, ON Nov 28 2008 at Les Saints w/ El Guincho in Montreal, QC Nov 30 2008 at The Barbary w/ El Guincho in Philadelphia, PA Dec 2 2008 at Le Poisson Rouge w/ El Guincho in New York, NY Word Around The Camp Fire: The early talk about Lemonade is that when they play  a show around their stomping grounds of San Francisco, they bring out an audience comprised of hip-hoppers, hipsters, clubbers and rockers. In other words, the trio has developed a sound that is close to universally appealing, no matter what your specific set. That's a good characteristic to have at CMJ, especially with bangers such as "Sunchips" and "Blissout" in your arsenal. Name: Mumpsy Label: Post* Records Current Release: Cat & Canary (10.07.08) From: Orlando, Florida CMJ Appearance: Oct 22 at Alphabet Lounge in New York, New York Additional Dates: Oct 8 2008 at The Social w/ The Rumble Strips in Orlando, FL Oct 10 2008 at The Atlantic in Gainesville, FL Oct 18 1008 at The State Theatre in St. Petersburg, FL Oct 20 2008 at Flicker Bar & Theatre in Athens, GA Oct 21 2008 at The Garage in Asheville, NC Oct 22 2008 at CMJ: Alphabet Lounge in New York, NY Oct 23 2008 at The Camel in Richmond, VA Oct 24 2008 at Red & Black in Washington, DC Word Around The Camp Fire: Stats don't lie ya'll. Mumpsy are winners.  A fellow by the name of Sufjan Stevens did a Christmas song contest last year called "The Great Xmas Song XChange," and Mumpsy won out of a pool of 600, in the "Best Garage Pop" category.  Also, the Orlando band recently won CMJ's Collegiate Nationals Music Championship, and just in time for the national release of their latest full-length Cat & Canary. How about that for buzz? Link to this article:
Our week is shaping up (read: continuing to be) into a much busier one than our little body can handle type of affair. Tonight, we have no plans and we cherish it. Tomorrow, we interview someone we have to be SHHH! about. That can take all night given said party. Thursday, Andy Bell dj's. Friday is maticulous. Cap it off with bridesmaid dress shopping on Saturday for my sister's big to-do, or I-do. (good thing we can pick our own adornment, so long as it's black...YES!) OH! And also, this Thursday is the always most excellent live performance of Menya. Go on and search our archives for all good things surrounding this effortlessly talented trio, cause we need to conserve our energy. Link to this Post For more, check out Sheena Beaston
Prior to this morning, I knew nothing of maticulous. Leave it to my brother and his buddy, 2 sports freaks, to turn me on to some smooth and groovy, funked out dj. (The term "sports freaks" does not discount your musical palettes boys, you both have superior taste in tunes. I just call the "freak" shot like I see 'em.) That said, maticulous is spinning at Huckleberry this Friday, October 10. Not only was the spot voted Time Out New York's Best New Bar 2008, but I guarantee that the music flowing through will be a cochlear pleasure. (sounds grosser than what it actually is, right? cochlear. ha!) Have a listen to a clip of maticulous' Fools below, be his friend on the Space, stream more equally bomb tracks here. And we'll see you on Friday. Or else. mp3: maticulous - Fools Link to this Post For more, check out Sheena Beaston
Deerhunter - Microcastle October 28th You might be surprised to know that this album isn't even technically out yet, though it deserves all the attention coming its way. Bradford Cox is something of a celebrity in the modern independent music circle. On his own he's released an album, nine EPs and been featured on two compilations, all since 2006. However, Cox didn't simply slide so elegantly out of the darkness to 'get weird and turn pro.' He played drums for the Black Lips and a number of other bands,  and then he found his Paul in Lockett Pundt, which led to the creation of Deerhunter.  Deerhunter is a group from Atlanta, Georgia that could be described as garage, shoegaze or even ghost rock, as their myspace proclaims, but to put a single label on their latest work, Microcastle, would be avoiding description. In fact, the entire group is more complex. Their first bassist died of head injuries while skateboarding; the album dedicated to him was titled Turn It Up Faggot. Their guitarist, Colin Mee, left the group for what he thought was 'undue attention,'  primarily for their band blog (a complex phenomenon in and of itself). These and every other twisted aspect of this group would be not nearly as interesting if the music weren't stellar in its careless distortion, musicality and aversion to any singular style. Microcastle will be out in physical form on October 28th, but  it was leaked to the internet in May, and showed up on iTunes in April. Somehow there seems to be no part of this group that has gone according to plan. Even the latest albums of Deerhunter (yes, the one after the not-yet-in-physical-form subject of this article) and Cox's solo project, Atlas Sound, were leaked from his personal shared folder, of which he wasn't aware and to which he accidentally posted a link on his Deerhunter/Atlas Sound/Lotus Plaza blog. That said, though Microcastle as a whole is cohesive and consistently impressive, three tracks stand out. 'Nothing Ever Happened' is the anthem, at times depressing but bright and haunting. Cox's vocals are perfectly strained, and the sound is especially empty-hearted with Pundt's backing. The song, like much of the album, is more of an orchestration, made up of movements rather than a simple bridge-verse-chorus structure. 'Never Stops' is a breezy space-rocking tune that captures what is otherwise a very subtle characteristic of this album; namely,  the essence of rockabilly. The combination of something as innocent as the slight seduction of early Rock n' Roll and depression or depraved sexual encounters of a modern artist is an attractive one. The Raveonettes have turned that attraction up to eleven, but Deerhunter allows it to lie only slightly beneath the surface; something like a memory or in the case of 'Never Stops,' a dream. Finally, 'Microcastle,' the title track, is so slow and dragging that you can't help but feel aggravated. Of course, by 1:07, the songs turns to pop distortion surrounding Cox's vibrato vocals and an almost identical pulsing guitar. But again, it is not a simple song dedicated to an emotion or a single feel or even anything quite explicit. It is ghostly, yes indeed, but in an inexplicable way it  somehow maintains an innocence. While it is often true that one should never read about an album in lieu of listening, Microcastle is currently the definition of that statement. Link To This Article:
From the beginning of the first track on Microfilm's upcoming album, The Slingshot Orchestra, the duo seems determined to warp your mind. And that's exactly what happens upon listening all the way through. Pairing minimialistic beat, ambient sounds, and manipulated vocals, we've easily just listened to one of the best albums of the year. The electronic pair recently relocated from Chicago to Portland, Oregon. The transition coincides with the digital release of their 2nd studio album, The Slingshot Orchestra, due out on Tuesday, November 11. Self-described as "melancholic disco", it's that sort of adjectival tug-of-war that perfectly describes their brand of music. Matthew Mercer and Matt Keppel effortlessly marry pianos, strings, and electronics that surround the listener. The first single, Teenage Symphonies, is both warm and chilling. It gives you a big bear hug while making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Other standouts on the album include: Hospitalized For Exhaustion and Disco Demolition Derby, the latter immediately evoking horror movie "here comes the killer" feelings. It's scary good. Microfilm's The Slingshot Orchestra is out November 11. Buy it on all international iTunes stores, MP3 stores, eMusic, and Napster. Link to this Post For more, check out Sheena Beaston
If you didn't know then, homeboy, you know now. Funk Flex pimped that line on 50's "I Get Money" to ill effect. So I take it here for a (fill in the blank)-part series known as "The Hardest Record Out Part x." We offer you Cam'ron "Pass the Dutchie." Link to this Post For more, check out The Skillman
This week we’ve got Aderbat, The Safes, and City and Colour on deck to discuss how they got their names! Aderbat Aderbat is a band BTR recently added into rotation hailing from Bucks County, PA- home of Illinois, Langhorne Slim, Ween, and more. Having not recorded an album in three years, Aderbat just released We Belong To The Sea, a fantastic album that Matt Taylor previewed for us when he stopped by BTR Live Studio for a very special acoustic performance. As for that unique name, the band released a statement detailing its conception: “Aderbat is slang for an experimental 1900s era flying machine. Clement Ader constructed the first flying machine -- the Eole -- in 1886. A bat-like vehicle propelled by a primitive steam engine, the Eole was labeled ‘the Aderbat’ by the press. Ader’s first flight occurred on October 9, 1890, 13 years before the Wright Brothers. Now lost to history, the Aderbat and its creator are forgotten. “ Matt Taylor had this to say about the name’s origin: “It’s a romantic thing to make this machine that can fly. And it seemed impossible, especially with the machinery being used then. It always feels like our music is out of place or out of time as well, and I have always felt that way as a person. I always felt growing up or even walking down the street like an outsider.” City and Colour City & Colour is the acoustic side-project of Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. Fronted by Dallas Green, the project has enjoyed critical acclaim and has released albums on Canada’s Dine Alone Records. Tricia, manager for City and Colour, let us in on the pseudonym: “City and Colour comes from Dallas' name. When he first decided to venture out and record his own solo songs without a band, he wasn't all that confident in using his own name. He didn't want to see a lot of criticism with his name attached to it, or see kids wearing shirts that said "Dallas Green", so he knew he needed a name to record under. He also found that every time he was at a business establishment, people would ask him to verify his name and he'd typically respond by saying "Dallas like the city and Green, spelt like the colour…no extra 'e' at the end.”  City and Colour was born!” City and Colour comes from Dallas' name. When he first decided to venture out and record his own solo songs, without a band,  he wasn't all that confident in using his own name. He didn't want to see a lot of criticism with his name attached to it or see kids wearing shirts that said "dallas green", so he knew he needed a name to record under. He also found that every time he was at a business establishment people would ask him to verify his name and he'd typically respond by saying "Dallas like the city and Green, spelt like the colour…no extra e at the end"…so City and Colour was born (it's a play on his name – Dallas Green). The Safes When you put three Irish brothers in the same band, you know you are in for a good time (and maybe just a bit of trouble).  With Michael on bass/vocals, and Patrick and Frankie switching off on drums/guitars/vocals, there is no doubt that the O’Malleys are a musically gifted family. Hailing from Chicago, the brothers O’Malley learned early on about music. The multi-talented O’Malleys developed as musicians over the years, and officially joined forces in 2003. With influences that range from early American rockers to the harder end of the British Invasion, The Safes provide fans with straight-up rock and roll. The Safes’ second full length, Well, Well, Well, has been praised since its 2006 release, and with good reason.  The album rocks from start to finish, spanning the genres of powerpop, garage rock and psychedelia, making for a wide variety of flavors. The band’s energetic live show is also not to be missed. Just this week, the band released a follow-up to Well, Well, Well; a brand new EP titled Sight of All Light. We’ll be spinning these tracks soon, but until then here’s what Frankie O’Malley had to say about The Safes’ name choice: “The name The Safes came to us in a mutual dream all 3 of us had about Safes falling from the sky containing silver and gold.  It was weird.” Link to this article:
The landscape of music history is littered with the death knells of critics who proclaim the end of a genre as an old guard fades from relevance. As Homer Simpson said, when he decried Bart and Lisa’s obsession with rock bands like Sonic Youth and The Smashing Pumpkins, “What’s with these new bands? Everyone knows rock attained perfection in 1974, it’s a scientific fact!” So I’m not here to tell you, “Hip-Hop is Dead.” Instead, I will work with the postmodern concept of double-coding to explain the dynamic of the hip-hop audience and will then explore the birth of the hip-hop nation in one of its most hallowed of high codes embedded in the cocaine, guns, and blood of Brian DePalma’s Scarface. Finally, I will explain how, by declaring his music dead, Nas actually carved a new space in which it can live. But before we go forward, we’re going to need to go back. Before I get into this discussion of the dynamic of the hip-hop audience I want to provide some historical context by discussing where Nas grew up. Nas, born Nasir Jones, grew up in the Queensbridge Projects, located in Long Island City, New York in Queens. Construction on the projects was completed in 1939 and when World War II came to a close, the government built projects were expected to provide temporary residence for returning troops and their families. But during the 1950’s all families who lived in Queensbridge and made more than $3000 per year were transferred to middle-income projects. Most of the families moved were Caucasian and by the 1960’s Queensbridge was populated almost entirely by lower-class blacks and Latinos. Today 15,000 people are permanently crammed into the buildings that were intended for only temporary residence. Queensbridge is the largest public housing development in the United States. It offers 3,142 rentable units. In 1986, when Nas was 13, there were more murders in Queensbridge than any other NYC project. In April of 1994, Nas released his first album, Illmatic, at the age of 23. This is what one hip-hop critic wrote about Illmatic: “Nas is a genius introvert who rose out of the rubble of Reaganomics… His narration glorifies the emergent poetic self as a creative state that is potentially attainable by any ghetto child… his narrative voice swerves between personas that are cynical and optimistic, naïve and world-weary, enraged and serene, globally conscious and provincial. Throughout Illmatic, listeners are implored to embrace his hardened upbringing as an imperative to move on to bigger and better things.” Today, Illmatic is one of the few albums on every knowledgeable critics top five list. Nas poured his life into the album. In an interview with Vibe Magazine, this is how Nas described the feeling of looking back on Illmatic ten years on: “When me and my friend listen to Illmatic, we think about America and about how we had to live at such a young age. I was just barely 18, and I was already thinking about being retired because of the life you’re forced to live in a neighborhood like Queensbridge. I saw my best friend die before my eyes. I saw my little brother being shot up… And I’m starting to realize my mom can’t spoil me no more, I gotta go out and get my own. Becoming a man is what I learned. And I put that into my music. And when I listen to it now, I say, God… How can it be that this is what my reality was?” Nas’ music was motivated and informed by a desire to improve his life and escape the violence and insecurity of the projects. He did so by rapping about what he knew. Take, for instance, these lyrics from the title track on Nas’ latest album, "Hip-Hop is Dead": "What influenced my raps? Stick-ups and killings / Kidnappings, project buildings, drug dealings." Who doesn’t follow the advice “write what you know”? This progression, however, in which you live in the projects, want to escape the projects, rap about what you see and experience, and finally make money and achieve the goal of leaving the projects results in a bizarre sort of irony: The trail that Nas, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Schooly D and countless others blazed, required an experience of violence and the projects and subsequent exposition on these experiences in order to escape those conditions through the medium of hip-hop. There are rappers who are exceptions to this and are commercially successful, perhaps De La Soul and Kanye West are the most significant, but they are the exceptions to what has become the rule. Today Nas looks back and acknowledges that he was a part of creating this path: “Everybody’s album is a street album today." He told Vibe Magazine. "But back then you had no manual to learn how to make an Illmatic… this wasn’t even about necessarily being a nice rapper. It was [about] being able to describe my life and the life that kids were living in America at that day and age. There was no script for that. Now, everybody knows how to go in there and make a Ready to Die or Life After Death or make a fake Makaveli album. Illmatic… was raw, out of the heart. Out of life.” This progression from violent projects upbringing to hip-hop fame and riches is so well worn and well known that it's ingrained itself into other contemporary American cultural products. There's a pretty great subplot in The Sopranos season four episode "The Fleshy Part of the Thigh" that deals with the way to success in contemporary hip-hop and puts it into perspective. Tony's in the hospital for a gunshot wound and he's in a room next to a rapper named "Da Lux" who's been shot multiple times. One of Da Lux's crew members, named Marvin, complains to one of Tony's guys, Bobby, that Da Lux will now be a hugely popular rapper because he’s been shot and Marvin bemoans the fact that he's never been shot himself. So Marvin and Bobby strike a deal and Bobby shoots Marvin in the "fleshy part of the thigh" in the hopes of upping Marvin's street-cred and jump-starting his career as a rapper. It'd be easier to laugh at if it wasn't so close to real life. Now this is only one half of the equation – how a contemporary rapper may come to be successful and escape his or her “Queensbridge” through the trail blazed by Nas and others. But now I want to offer a theory of the dynamic of the hip-hop audience and its music – the second half of this equation. There is a so-called “fact” that has infected discussions of hip-hop’s audience for some years now. This “fact” is that 80% of hip-hop’s audience is made up of suburban white kids. But, as Bakari Kitwana points out in his recent book, Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop, no one really knows where this fact came from – it just sort of popped up and took on a life of its own. Indeed, a large portion of hip-hop’s audience is white – in the early 1990’s Public Enemy front-man and hip-hop legend, Chuck D, estimated that 60% of his audience was white. And that’s probably closer to the actual number. But the number is under serious dispute. What is clear is that hip-hop has the ability to speak to audiences with very different backgrounds. And, in the United States, there are at least two large sects of hip-hop listeners with major differences in their backgrounds. So how does the music speak to these very different groups? Charles Jencks coined the term “double-coding” in reference to postmodern architecture but the concept of double-coding works well to understand the dynamics of hip-hop’s audience as well. Jencks, in The Language of Post-Modern Architecture and What is Post-Modernism?, explains that double-coding in postmodern architecture, “speaks on at least two levels at once: to other architects and a concerned minority who care about specifically architectural meanings, and to the public at large, or the local inhabitants, who care about other issues concerned with comfort, traditional building and a way of life. The post-modern building or work of art addresses simultaneously a minority, elite public, using ‘high’ codes, and a mass public using popular codes.” Similarly, the hip-hop track offers different codes that are appreciated by different audiences. In terms of double coding we have several possibilities of listeners. Umberto Eco in his book, On Literature, offers these three possibilities for readers of a double-coded text which describes fairly well the possibilities for types of hip-hop listeners if we just substitute “listener” where Eco uses “reader”: “When we come to double coding, we can have: (i) a [listener] who does not accept the mixture of cultured and popular styles and contents, and who therefore refuses to [listen to] it, precisely because he recognizes this mixture; (ii) a [listener] who feels at home precisely because he enjoys this process of alternating between difficulty and approachability, challenge and encouragement; and lastly (iii) a [listener] who perceives the entire [track] as a pleasant invitation and does not in the end realize the extent to which it draws on elite styles (so he enjoys the work, but misses its references).” Now I want to apply this to an actual hip-hop track. Consider Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy.” “Juicy” appeared in 1994 on Notorious B.I.G.’s first album “Ready to Die.” The album went quadruple platinum and the single “Juicy” went Gold. “Ready to Die” is ranked at 133 in Rolling Stones’ list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time – those statistics certainly suggest mass popularity and therefore the presence of popular codes but I want to show the high codes that are present here, too. So, take these lyrics from the first verse of “Juicy.” It was all a dream I used to read Word Up magazine Salt'n'Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine Hangin' pictures on my wall Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl I let my tape rock 'til my tape popped Smokin' weed and bamboo, sippin' on private stock Way back, when I had the red and black lumberjack With the hat to match Remember Rappin' Duke, duh-ha, duh-ha You never thought that hip hop would take it this far Now I'm in the limelight 'cause I rhyme tight Time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade Born sinner, the opposite of a winner Remember when I used to eat sardines for dinner Peace to Ron G, Brucey B, Kid Capri Funkmaster Flex, Lovebug Starsky I'm blowin' up like you thought I would Call the crib, same number same hood It's all good These lyrics ask something that the production of “Juicy” doesn’t. “Juicy” samples the Mtume track “Juicy Fruit” for its production and it’s a very listenable track – one described in the hip-hop magazine, XXL, as “radio friendly… in contrast to the grim depiction of urban hopelessness told in one of the most immediate voices the form has ever known,” that characterizes most of the rest of the album. But while the production, the beat, may be a popular code there are high codes here, too. To understand the high codes of these lyrics requires a fairly extensive understanding of the origins of hip-hop: DJ’s like Kid Capri, Funkmaster Flex… Rappin Duke who was releasing albums in the mid-80’s… and the reference to Mr. Magic’s Friday and Saturday evening radio show on WBLS-FM in New York City, “The Rap Attack,” which aired in the late-80’s with legendary DJ Marley Marl. These are all references to hip-hop’s adolescence – not widely known outside the black community of New York City at the time. But what’s more these are codes that are directed at, as Jencks requires of high codes, “a concerned minority that are specifically concerned with [hip-hop related] meanings.” So “Juicy,” therefore, is a track that offers room for Umberto Eco’s second and third types of “readers”: Those who can speak and understand this language of Biggie’s and feel at home in this song’s lyrics and its beat, and those who let the lyrics pass over them but enjoy, perhaps, the lyricism of the words and the beat if not their meaning – “He enjoys the work but misses its references,” as Eco wrote. I mentioned earlier that part of this project is to try to reach an understanding of what makes or made hip-hop “alive” to begin with. So, now that we have a way of understanding different types of hip-hop listeners, I want to turn to a specific high code that is pervasive, almost omnipresent, in hip-hop. It is a high code that Nas helped make famous and it has a history much deeper and older than hip-hop and in it are, I believe, the seeds that made hip-hop grow – what brought it to life. In the 1983 film Scarface there is a climactic moment when Al Pacino’s Tony Montana stands in the art-deco living room of his coke baron boss, who he has just murdered, and looks out onto Miami Bay. Giorgio Moroder’s synthesizer tune pulses and a Pan-Am blimp floats above the bay flashing a marketing slogan: “The world is yours.” “The world is yours” is the tagline of the dramatic story of Tony Montana’s rise and fall. One that piqued the passions of millions of disenfranchised urban youths looking for social mobility and a way to assert themselves and escape a repressive milieu. Those four words, “the world is yours,” and the Scarface story as a whole, left a profound mark on the adolescent hip-hop nation and I think the birth of the contemporary hip-hop moment can be traced back to Tony Montana standing in that living room. It’s hard to name a rapper over the past 20 years who doesn’t in some way allude to either Scarface the film or those four words specifically. More over, the sort of litmus test, I think, to see if a hip-hop fan is Eco’s type-two listener, one who understands and engages the music’s high codes, that litmus test is whether they understand and can discuss the significance of Scarface and specifically that line “the world is yours.” These are the sort of keepers of hip-hop’s birth, those that keep the genre vital and relevant. Without them hip-hop has a foundation of air. But if we’re only looking back to Scarface, for the significance of the line “The world is yours” in hip-hop history, then we’re missing a big part of its history that is critical to understanding the birth of contemporary hip-hop. For this, we need to go back to the British Empire. In 1910, fifteen years after a disastrous and failed British invasion of Johannesburg led by Sir Leander Starr Jameson and Cecil Rhodes, Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem called “If –” that commemorated what Kipling saw as Jameson’s fortitude in overcoming the difficulties of the invasion. “If –”is a poem about the traits that make the strong, imperial, British man. “If you can keep your head when all about you/ Are losing theirs and blaming it on you/ If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you/ But make allowance for their doubting too,” the poem begins. The poem progresses in this tone, laying out conditions until the last two lines of the poem which are: “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it/ And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!” The words bear a striking resemblance to Scarface’s “the world is yours” philosophically as well as literally. Was Oliver Stone reading Kipling when he wrote the screenplay for Scarface? In a sense that question is more interesting than it is relevant. In fact, “the world is yours,” appears on a billboard in the 1932 version of Scarface as well as the contemporary one so perhaps it was the first writers of Scarface that nicked Kipling’s words or were inspired by them. However it is definitely the second incarnation of Scarface which made the line “the world is yours” famous for the hip hop generation. Kipling was a conscience for his nation’s imperialism; he celebrated and criticized it. But while Kipling’s characters come from Britain, an imperial power, and colonize outwards, and this is why the line is so significant, Scarface is a story of reverse colonization. Though it is simplistic and wrong to understand Kipling as a one-dimensional imperialist, this particular poem certainly does champion the imperial spirit of the late 19th century British male. The poem is a celebration of the man who shoulders the White Man’s Burden – to “civilize” the “uncivilized.” But Tony Montana flips that around. Montana seeks vengeance for the colonized. In a famed speech, drunk and high at a fancy Miami restaurant, and awash in cash, Montana tears his table apart and jumps to his feet. “You don’t have the guts to be what you wanna be,” he shouts to the diners. “You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fucking fingers, and say ‘that’s the bad guy.’” Affluent white faces surround Montana during the speech. Montana taunts them and says he has succeeded where they have failed. When Montana says “you need people like me so you can point your fucking fingers, and say ‘that’s the bad guy,’” he strikes chords that should remind us of the imperialism of Kipling’s poem. Without the “uncivilized,” which Montana represents, the “civilized” would not be able to define themselves. It is only when Western society confronted the “other” that notions of superiority based on civilization and race could come into play. The one is defined in opposition to the other. Montana pays homage to that dynamic and, at the same time, carves out his own space as one branded as “uncivilized” who comes to America and creates an empire within an empire, turning the imperialist agenda on its head. Like Montana, rappers are defined as the “other” in relation to, in this case, “civilized,” white, bourgeois America. Just as Montana created his own identity through the role of the “other” so, too, did hip-hop. When Nas, in 1994 escaped Queensbridge and found a massive niche in the capitalist market that would gobble up his storytelling he declared “The world is yours.” His declaration was the creation of hip-hop’s nation, it’s identity. He celebrated the national identity he and others had created for young, black, urban-American youth. He celebrated that hip-hop had turned the tools of the colonizer against it and created its own empire. Today, though, Nas has this to say about the nation he helped found: “Everybody’s like microwave music now, know what I mean, ‘cause it’s the way to eat. When I was doing this early on, [I did Hip-Hop] because I loved it. Now, they’re not artists, they’re opportunists. So it’s just a way to eat now. And that’s cool. But then of course, the music is gonna suffer.” And it has. The result of this microwave music has been the starvation of those high codes and the first fractures seen in decades amongst the core street audience and the type-two listeners who engage the high codes of the music. Though record sales, of course, should not be the sole indication of a music’s health they are useful in the case of hip-hop because the music has, traditionally, so warmly embraced its commercial appeal where other music forms, such as rock, have traditionally rejected it. “Selling out,” until right now, has never really been an issue for rappers. This year it came out that hip-hop sales declined twenty-one percent from 2005 to 2006 and for the first time in twelve years, no hip-hop album was among the ten best sellers of the year. So now we need to turn to Nas’ new album and specifically the title track: Hip-Hop is Dead. Keep this quote in mind during the video. Nas was asked in an interview, when Hip-Hop is Dead came out, what kind of music he was making if not hip-hop. Nas answered, “I dunno what it is. Some shit right. Crack music. It’s fucked up.” That term, “crack music,” is an important one. "Hip-Hop is Dead" Video Nas smothers this video in the imagery of crack houses and dealing crack. But instead of vials of crack cocaine we see Nas’ albums “The N” and flash-drives marked with “The N.” But the imagery is clearly that of the crack industry. By declaring hip-hop outlawed and dead, Nas allows for the music that he is making to take on a new name. He gives his music a new domain: Crack Music. This is music no longer sanctioned by the mainstream that hip-hop embraced. This is music that is dusted with one of the most culturally unacceptable and destructive drugs: crack cocaine. Here Nas is making explicit that which was tacit for so long – that the music he helped make mainstream has gone too far, that rappers need to push back on the audience dynamic they have ignored for so long. This is a conservative movement in hip-hop. Rappers like Nas say the music needs to get back to the no-exit desperation that first made the music passionate and a voice for the members of Queensbridges of the country and the world – those with whom, according to Nas, the music no longer connects. Nas is courting those type-two listeners in the lyrics of Hip-Hop is Dead by rapping about where hip-hop was and where it is now and how it got there. “Everybody sound the same / commercialize the game / reminiscin’ when it wasn’t all business / and forgot where it started / so we all gather here for the dearly departed.” These lines are his invitation to those type-two listeners. He commiserates with them, understands their criticisms. Other rappers have identified this same need. Kanye West, mentioned earlier as a rapper who hit the mainstream without the project-trappings of a rapper like Nas and yet is wildly commercially successful and well-respected amongst hip-hop purists, had a track on his 2005 album, Late Registration, called “Crack Music.” In the track Kanye raps: “We took that shit, measured it and then cooked that shit / And what we gave back was crack music / And now we ooze it through they nooks and crannies / So our mommas ain’t got to be they cooks and nannies / And we gon’ repo everything they ever took from grammy / Now the former slaves trade hooks for Grammy’s / This dark diction has become America’s addiction / Those who ain’t even black use it / We gon’ keep baggin up this here crack music.” It’s not hard to figure out who that unnamed “they” is in Kanye’s lines. He’s referring to the predominately white base that makes up his audience and to white America in general. Some rappers are now turning their music on the predominantly white commercial base they once more or less ignored or did not address in their music but from whom they reaped financial windfall. Whether or not hip-hop is dead is debatable. What that even means is debatable. But I think where people like Nas and Kanye go, the genre should follow – these are the sages of hip-hop. The questions we’re left with, then, are; will this stuff, “Crack Music,” succeed in revitalizing hip-hop’s base and pushing away the commercial embrace? Will it fracture out of hip-hop and create a new sub-genre? Can Nas and Kanye redirect the bulk of hip-hop’s artists? For that, we simply have to wait and see. This essay has explored Nas, the birth, death, resurrection of hip-hop, the dynamic of its audience. But I should discuss me, for a second here, too, because I’ve always been, when it comes to hip-hop, hanging out at a party I wasn’t exactly invited to. I didn’t grow up in the South Bronx, and I get lumped into that suburban white kid statistic pretty nicely. In the last track on the album “Hip Hop is Dead,” in its last verse, Nas says: “If you’re askin’ – Why is hip-hop dead? / It’s a pretty good chance you’re the reason it died, man / It’s a pretty good chance your lame ass, corny ass, is the reason it died, man / You don’t give a fuck about it, you don’t know nothin’ about it.” Now, Nas kind of hands off a lot of blame here where I think he and his peers deserve some too because they were at least complicit in the death that Nas is talking about – they turned a blind eye and accepted gobs of money from the people he’s accusing of killing hip-hop in that quote. But that doesn’t mean that I am free of culpability here. I do think, although I wouldn’t quite characterize myself as a lame ass, that I am part of the dynamic that Nas believes killed hip-hop. And I understand where he’s coming from when he says if you ask why hip-hop is dead, you’re the reason it died. I think he’s saying if you’re the kind of person who had no idea anything was wrong and this corpse of hip-hop is a big shock, then you probably haven’t paying attention and you’re not too up on the high codes of hip-hop. But I also think his statement is misleading. Because I think someone like me has to ask that question and try to answer it. That’s why it’s so crucial to do write things like this if you’re a fan of hip-hop – I think if a kid like me is going to listen to this music you can’t do so passively you need to understand and earn your place, you need to understand your context, otherwise you’re exactly what Nas said – a lame ass, corny ass, asking why hip-hop died. Link to this Post For more, check out The Skillman
The Sapiens Rind These grooving rockers from Chicago are back at it with their first crowd-pleasing album since the  Vs. The Hornet EP last year. Some call them dance, indie or even electro-rock, but in spite of the limiting nature of various categories The Sapiens have managed to find their own nuanced niche in the modern music scene. The band  first came together in 2005, and their debut EP, Sorry, We Don't Make The Rules, allowed them to gather fans all across Chicago before they began to be recognized beyond the windy city. Their latest release has just come to Breakthru Radio and the weekly DJs are sure to start 'making way' for tracks like 'Flutterin Eyelids.' The group started recording for the three song album with Brian Zieske (The Academy is..., The Hush Sound, The Audition), a producer from Gallery Of Carpet Recording in Villa Park, Illinois (who prefers a cleaner and simpler style of production). He is only twenty-five, but he and David Veller (Bass), Charlie Nadler (Guitar), Evan Sears (Vocal), Matt Witt (Keyboards), David Fine (Drums) allowed sheer talent to bring about Rind, foregoing layers of post-production that would otherwise drown out this purely progressive rock. All three songs are upbeat, with Sears providing a vocal x-factor that could be mistaken for Brendon Urie from Panic At The Disco (though more versatile). It is difficult to put a finger on the best track. While 'Flutterin' Eyelids' will force you to dance, the title track, 'Rind,' will keep you rocking around your room. The Besnard Lakes The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse With a little bit of history, you might consider them some sort of supergroup. Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas (husband and wife) are the creative force behind The Besnard Lakes, but for this, their second album, they employed members from groups like Stars, The Dears and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Before this the Canadian couple created their first album, Volume 1, which was also recorded at Lasek's own Breakglass Studios. Their group name comes from a lake in North-Central Saskatchewan of the same name. This, their second project, was nominated for a Polaris Music Prize in 2007. With the recent acquisition of the Jagjaguwar catalogue, Breakthru Radio listeners can finally enjoy this 2007 masterpiece. It would be too easy to call this a psychedelic rock album. To be more specific, it is expansive, maybe a rock and roll version of dub reminiscent of Pink Floyd and at times the Beach Boys. The album takes a lot of patience, but with more personal investment comes a greater sense of appreciation. Each song is over five minutes long and two are over seven, save for 'Cedric's War,' a final track that falls apart and out of tune bit by bit once again invoking the Beach Boys' trademark paradox of a melody cheerful and deranged. In this too-many-DJs, too-many-myspace-profiles climate, The Besnard Lakes are absolutely the dark horse. Joseph Arthur & The Lonely Astronauts Temporary People It is hard to avoid intrigue for an artist who has recorded eleven EPs, seven studio albums and appeared in movies or television twenty-three times, but this Ohio born singer-songwriter doesn't just churn out music for quantity's sake. Since he inherited his first musical instrument, a keyboard from his aunt in his early teens, Joseph Arthur has deserved all the credit and recognition he has received, and it just keeps coming. In fact, you can see a documentary titled You Are Free tomorrow at the Pop Montréal Film Festival (if you simply can't get enough of Joseph Arthur after listening to his latest album). That album, of course, being Temporary People with Arthur's two-album old backing band, The Lonely Astronauts. Temporary People is a smooth flow from song to song, swelling at parts with upbeat and electric tracks like 'Dead Savior' and 'Winter Blades' only drawing back to the dreary valleys of 'A Dream Is Longer Than The Night' and 'Good Friend.' While blogs most likely have reduced your attention span to one song per album, Joseph Arthur has almost deliberately created something to be taken in slowly and ridden up and down from beginning to end. Matt Keating Quixotic When he released his new album at the Living Room in New York city on July 7th, it was no surprise that the room was packed with attentive fans from wall to wall. Since 1993 when he released Tell It To Yourself, Matt Keating has been herding fans in from state to state with his Tom Petty style vocals and easy-listening attitude. In the past he's worked with Adam Lasus (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) and fortunately he decided to keep up the practice for Quixotic. The new album is a massive flow of new songs that could only fit on two discs. Though not as versatile as a twenty-three song collection has the potential to be, Keating allows his talent to fully take the helm with tracks like 'Confidential,' 'Te Amo,' 'Road To Ruin,' 'Skin And Bone' and 'Valhalla Waltz.' Though this July 2008 album has already had its run of events, Keating has been around too long to call it quits after an album like this. Keep an eye out for CMJ. Link to this article:
Straight out the motherfuckin' streets of Lagos, Nigeria; Billy Bao is harder, angrier, louder. Check out the man's website and listen to "Fuck Separation" or "My Life is Shit" off Dialectics of Shit. What's more: "BILLY BAO DOES NOT GIVE A FUCK ABOUT COPYRIGHT SO YOU CAN DO WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT WITH HIS STUFF." You can't fuck with these lyrics: Now you see that you are part of their fashion Now you know you can be controlled by entrepeneurs who get money out of your distraction hey yo Get Them Down Give them all the pain you can Link to this Post For more, check out The Skillman
Let's get one thing straight. This movie is something like the Simple Plan to Weezer's Garden State, and even then I might want to apologize to Weezer. But it certainly has some great and even unexpected music. Most often it rides with the feeling of the movie and is therefore particularly sentimental, but it can be easier to relate to or be convinced by the emotional honesty of Chris Bell, for example, rather than (sorry fans) Michael Cera. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is one awkward indie fan's misadventure through a New York City night. Things begin as Nick O'Leary's group, The Jerk Offs, play a gig at small Manhattan club. When he spots Tris, his ex-girlfriend, in the crowd with her new boyfriend, he luckily runs into Norah, who hastily suggests they act like a couple 'for five minutes.' In maintaining the facade, however, Nick and Norah are taken through a number of bizarre encounters with drunken beasts who inhabit this concrete jungle. Nick is reluctant to leave behind the possibility of reuniting with Tris, and adding to the unlikeliness of our two protagonists living happily ever after is an unexpected visit from Norah's real boyfriend. The movie is full of city landmarks that provide a wink and a nod to anyone who needs to feel like they're 'in the know,' including Arlene's Grocery, The Bowery Ballroom and even Union Pool in Brooklyn. In spite of this official commoditization of the 'indie' look and feel (and quite possibly awkwardness in general that appears to come with this movie) the music maintains a good sense of New York locality beyond simply throwing up some massive acts who went to high school at Xavier. Bishop Allen appear on the soundtrack, and in the movie as well.  The soundtrack also includes Takka Takka, a group featured on BTR in the first edition of 'Live at Pianos NYC,' during the band's residency there. They showcase 'Fever,' from their album We Feel Safer At Night. Like this track, many are upbeat, but beginning the collection is Chris Bell's 'Speed Of Sound,' (once featured on the Flaming Lips edition of 'Late Night Tales') possibly one of the heaviest tracks you could ever hear while walking alone in the city. It is hard to reconcile placing such an unbelievable few minutes of audio next to a movie in which Michael Cera provides his own version of the Keanu Reeves/Hugh Grant dumbfounded character. Other highlights from the album include Shout Out Louds' 'Very Loud,' Vampire Weekend's 'Ottoman,' 'Our Swords' by Band of Horses and of course the movie theme by Mark Mothersbaugh. This movie is almost entirely about music. Nick and Norah are two completely different white, middle class, awkward, city dwelling teenagers except for one thing, their love for the same music. Can it bring them together? Yes, it almost certainly will. Enjoy! Link to this article:
"Is it real?" A lot of people asked me that after they watched the Romain Gavras directed music video for Justice's track "Stress". The video for the French electro-DJ-duo's track has spread about the internet by way of Kanye West's blog* and is now surrounded by online chatter thanks to its graphic violence. So, is it real? Who cares. Yes. That one dude puked on himself. It is real. The Kourtrajme Crew are guerilla filmmakers - Larry Charles ("Borat" director) with a chip on their shoulder. But that's beside the point. More importantly, let's talk about what, if anything, watching young kids in Paris beating people up accomplishes. Does it need to accomplish anything? Might as well start at the beginning: The band and the song's title. A professor of mine once corrected a statement I made about the first sentence in a book being the most important by noting that the book's title might make a claim to that significance as well. In the case of Justice's "Stress" that is definitely the case. Those two words, "Justice" and "Stress," are so present during the track they may as well have been watermarked over the whole video's footage. Whose stress does the title address? It is present in at least two forms; the stress of the group of kids, out of which comes the catharsis of beatings and robbery, and the stress which is felt by the recipients of that violence. The only moment when the kids feel stress - most of their action is cool and composed, effective and vigilant - is when they are confronted at the elevator by the police like a Roman legion and a Carthaginian horde meeting mid-battlefield. At that moment, the kids erupt in screams, push back on the police wall and then disperse. They are guerillas; hit and run tacticians effective when striking and disappearing quickly. When they get a cop alone, separate him from the strength of the group, they beat the shit out of him and take off. Justice leaves a more elusive mark on the footage. Stress is fairly objective. The evidence is almost quantifiable. Justice is subjective. A very lazy person can make a case that will be widely accepted that the term "Justice" here is sarcastic, heretical. "There is no justice, they're just hooligans," they will say. But we are not lazy people. Watch the faces of the people in "Stress". What stands in starkest opposition is how calm the kids are as they slap a bewildered diner in the face, rough up a couple pedestrians (one of whom pukes on himself out of, what, fear? confusion?), and smash some Asian tourist's camera to the ground. The black and white faces of the kids are placid, the faces of the people they encounter are wracked by confusion and dread. Language appears to fail these people. Their jaws hang slack. Their brows are furrowed as if they have just heard the voice of God and this is the moment before their over-matched brains explode like Matt Damon's in "Dogma". Are those looks of shock, incomprehension, the "why me?" attitude, that far off from how it must feel to have the shit-dumb-luck to be born and raised in the notorious Clichy-sous-Bois to Arab or African or Arab-African parents who struggle to find work in Paris? The catharsis in "Stress" is not the simple release of frustration through violence. The catharsis is in the familiarity of the twisted up I-don't-understand sensation that you have felt your whole life, manifested on someone else's face. Just for the few seconds the look is on that face, that person understands what it means to have shit-dumb-luck. The person knows how it feels to not deserve what you know you've got coming. The catharsis isn't for those kids. If they're willing to accept it, if we're willing to accept it, it's the first step to catharsis for the people they beat up. We have no objective information that tells us that these kids come from French ghettos and are economically and emotionally depressed. Yes, the video starts in a Parisian slum that looks like Clichy-sous-Bois, but who knows, maybe these kids just go there to hang out and group up after their school day at some prestigious French high school ends. Maybe all their parents are computer programmers and lawyers. But I doubt it. If we take our narrators - Justice and Romain Gavras - at their word, then the terms "Justice" and "Stress" are as sincere as the footage in the music video. We are watching Justice born from Stress. "The only thing you need to understand is that there are only three ways out of the ghetto for people like us: sports, music or fashion," said Guy Diaz, a first generation son of Ivory Coast parents, who lives in Clichy-sous-Bois, to Frontline reporter Darren Foster in 2005, shortly after Paris' last big round of ghetto-born riots. Do those words sound familiar? It was only - what, fifteen years ago? - that Notorious B.I.G. cemented into the hip-hop psyche that, "the streets is a short stop; either you're slingin' crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot." Bed-Stuy is different now. Not because the problems that plagued Biggie's upbringing were solved, or addressed, but because they were shipped upstate; to prisons, and towns like Schenectady (places that aren't dissimilar). The violence and riots in Paris' recent past betray similar problems there that were, and still are, unaddressed. Problems that take death and riots to acquire attention that is, at that point, reactionary and unproductive. Attention that seeks to meet out justice rather than address the causes of stress. The end of the video shows the kids burn a car before turning on the camera filming them. Not the cameraman, but the actual camera. One kid spits on the lens while another brings a glass bottle down on the lens as well. The cameraman is not the subject of their rage, the camera is. How do we understand this? The camera is dangerous, the footage it contains is dangerous for the kids. But it also provides them with voice, an outlet; we are watching the footage after all. I think that the assault on the camera is an assault on us watching the video. It's confusing, why are they hitting the camera? And so you wind up with the same screwed up look on your face, "huh?" that every other victim in the video does. You've been met with random violence you don't understand. It's left, then, in your hands. Do you react to the action, or consider the cause? When you ask "is it real?" to the video "Stress," you're asking the right question and you might not even know it. The answer, regardless, is yes. *Bizarre, yes. But perhaps it was a bit of recompense on Kanye's part after he ripped off ODB's patented "Excuse Me While I Interrupt Your Lame Ass Acceptance Speech And Explain Why I Am Better And, Oh, By The Way, That Wu-Tang Is For The Children"-Move at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2006 when Jeremie Rozan accepted best music video award for Justice's track "We Are Your Friends" and Kanye begged to, publicly and at that moment, differ. Link to this Post For more, check out The Skillman
I was at the gym yesterday listening to George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" whilst deadlifting, and a tear came to my eye.  Keeeee-razy. I bet you can guess at which part it was...
Top two shows you should be watching right now: 1) Weeds - Live out all your green fantasies through a suburban housewife selling purple haze to support her family (actually, the good stuff is called "Milf Weed"). Masterful storytelling is crammed into 30 minutes and anyone with a Netflix account can start watching it right now. 2) 30 Rock - Kinda like a live action Family Guy with a cute Tina Fey as the lead. Another fantastic series I got a hold of cause of Netflix, 30 Rock is the kind of good show that will be canceled soon so get your kicks in while you can. Possible baby names I gathered from the show, "Bookcase, or Sandstorm, or maybe even Hat, but that's a boys name." Onto music, Terry Lynn makes an appearance on Monday's set and if you don't know the story behind her new album, Kingstonlogic 2.0, get the scoop here. Jamaica isn't all sunshine and happy grass, and Terry Lynn aims to shine a light on the dark matter engrossing the land. Be sure to watch the videos and scan the pictures on her site to get a small idea of the injustice going on. E-mail your thoughts and ideas to
Contrary to Bill O'Reilly's ever savvy take on rap matters, it was never the 'pimping and bitches' that sold us on Cam'ron. Instead it was his playful approach to hip-hop's rote rags-to-riches story. Cam'ron's music came of age in the new millenium. The gritty no-exit-desperation sound of the New York rappers who paved the way for Cam'ron - Nas, Wu-Tang and family, Biggie, Jay-Z('s early work) - no longer made sense. Hip-hop was a financial success and scourge to the conservative classes; it was time to celebrate. So we got down to 'Hey Ma'; 'More Gangster Music'; and 'More Reasons.' On 'Get Down' - from the 2004 masterpiece 'Purple Haze' - Cam'ron nailed the telling detail and gave us his whole story in two lines when he rapped, 'Budget seven dollars, nickel bag and white owl/ I hope the chicken sandwich last us through the night child.' He didn't dangle his Lamborgini Gallardo in our faces (yet) and when he did, we rode in it with him. So you shake your head when you hear 'Still the Reason' off Cam's new album Crime Pays, to be released in 2009, and listen to him spit the lines, 'Broke niggas I'm allergic to 'em/... Elevator in the house/ You ain't got one in your building.' That, and Cam raps like he just rolled his ass outta bed after a night which could be described with the lyrics to 'Hey Ma' and hasn't had his morning Dutch a la Purple Kush. Moreover the production is lazy and by the end of the track you just get this itchy, antsy feeling that only a fifth of 'Bubble Music,' stat, can cure. I'm not giving up hope on Crime Pays. The album's 'Weekend Girl' is vintage Cam - think Purple Haze's 'Girls' but more fun and less obnoxious after the thirtieth listen - although you wonder how much like 'Weekend Girl' he's got left in the tank for the rest of the album, because that track's been kicking around the internet for at least a year now. I sure hope Cam isn't down and out just yet. Link to this Post For more, check out The Skillman
After i've had about a month's time to reflect, here's what i thought of the Liberate Music & Arts Festival in Waitsfield, VT put on by Eclectic Music Productions. There was undoubtedly a great lineup of under appreciated talent at this field up in Waitsfield, Vt. Rubblebucket Orchestra, The Dead Sessions, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Spiritual Rez, The Gordon Stone Band and Twiddle played alllllllll day while we commuted between the Magic Hat Brewery Beer Garden and the VIP room (same beer, but the VIP room had Flatbread Pizza, if you're EVER in Burlington, VT be sure to have a beer and some pizza at Flatbread). The Gordon Stone Band, a high energy bluegrass-jazz fusion band, has been a favorite of mine for quite some time now. And the Dead Sessions made me feel like I was back in the 70s with the Grateful Dead. It was great to hear Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad (we play them all the time on Breakthru Radio, Check out DJ Drew's mixes). Twiddle was ok. Spiritual Rez was good. However, Rubblebucket Orchestra, who closed down the show, was pretty amazing. This ten piece afrobeat/rock band is led by Alex Toth and Kalmia Traver of John Brown's Body and kept the crowd going into the sunset. But if the music wasn't enough to make you want to get up and dance, there were plenty of other activities around that'd make you want to get up on your feet. Hula hoops were scattered across the field for anyone's use, frisbees were flying in every direction, Parvin Pothiawala was doing henna art and craft vendors had set up their displays. Furthermore, Yogis and Yoginis were helping anyone interested with healing physically, mentally, and spiritually. Early in the day, Jane Jarecki and Emily Garrett taught Morning Mountain Yoga and in the afternoon there was Nada Upasana: The Yoga of Sound. All in all it was a wonderful experience, and i'm very excited for next year's festival.
Thanks to the nice people over at Discodust I was introduced to a cool new artist by the name of Justin Faust. I was suspicious to see that he had done yet another Harder Better Faster Stronger remix. With that in mind I sat down for the first listen. Boy was I wrong. Not only was this mix highly original, but a perfect club track. I just couldn’t let it go. Check it out at Circle Square Triangle. Link to this post For more, try and fit a square peg into a Circle Square Triangle hole
This is a hot track! Strong steady bass lines are what we all love. And this is what Dj Sega and Diplo have both done to make this track killer. It's called Ready Or Not and I have for you the Diplo Vs. Dj Sega Remix. Diplo has worked with some other killer artists like Santogold where he did a 'Diplo Dub' of the Top Ranking Santogold tracks releasing a record spreading the love... I must admit I hadn't really heard of Dj Sega before I found this track, and I'm beginning to like what I hear on his Myspace. Diplo will be touring Australia later this month as part of the Parklife Festival which has made alot of people excited.. I can't wait to hear more of both Diplo and Dj Sega remixes coming in the future. Link to this post For more, try and fit a square peg into a Circle Square Triangle hole
BTR started its exclusive, weekly feature entitled "Hello, My Name Is..."  7 months ago. Each week we have brought you interviews, stories, and anecdotes from some of your favorite bands; all about how they came up with their respective names. Thus far we have discovered the stories behind over 80 band names. If you haven't caught them all, we want to make sure you did not miss any of your favorites. So, check the list below and just click on the links to get the stories behind the BTR band names you dig. All India Radio "Way back in 1994, a friend of mine traveled to India with a Sony Walkman, on which he recorded the sounds of the streets..." Martin Kennedy (All India Radio) A A.i. All India Radio Animal Nation Appomattox Arizona Au B Bella Koshka Blitzen Trapper Bo and the Locomotive C Canasta Caribou City & Colour Conservative Man D Ducky E E.A.R.T.H. Fuck Buttons "Because buttons are cute!" Andrew Hung (Fuck Buttons) F Filhos Da Judith Finger Eleven Fuck Buttons G Glue Gold Streets Gotye H Half Acre Day Hooray for Earth J Johnny Headband Killola "...the only thing that was left was that he had written the word "Killola" on the mirror... you're totally going to think I'm going to be kidding here, but it was written in mayonnaise." Johnny Dunn (Killola) K Killola L L.E.O. Little Grey Girlfriend Love Is All Lucero M Mason Proper Matik Meanwhiles Morningbell N Natalie Portman's Shaved Head O Oreng Gorang Packway Handle Band "Our friend has Tourette's Syndrome, and one night, out of no where, he blurted out "Chaff Packway". It was the middle of the night, after some party in Athens, and there was no context for it." Josh Erwin (Packway Handle Band) P PAS/CAL Packway Handle Band Panda Riot Pattern Is Movement S Sankofa Slumber Party Sunroom T Tall First Taxi Taxi The Antlers The Black Angels The Subjects The Walkmen The Winter Sounds W Walter Meego Young Agent Jones Simply put: David Young, Henry Agent, Ed Jones & Jason Jones. Y Yip Yip Young Agent Jones Z Zillionaire Keep checking back to BreakThru Radio every Thursday for more band name anecdotes! Link to this article:
So, one of my favorite bands, Band Marino did a live set at Piano's this week and we recorded it for "BTR Live Studio"! It goes up on the site tomorrow and I HIGHLY recommend you check it out! The group is from my neck of the woods, Florida (Orlando to be precise). They play an alt-county type of indie rock that's fantastic to listen to and perfect for busting a move (perhaps a square dance or jig). Anyway, check it out dance, laugh, rock out, and enjoy!! - ILY
This weekend saw the much-anticipated All Tomorrow's Parties New York 2008 festival in upstate New York.  Back in April, Pitchfork announced that My Bloody Valentine would be curating the festival, meaning the band's first US performance in over ten years.  The music community has been buzzing about the festival ever since, and as reviews are pouring in this week, almost all of them are good (apparently, MBV's set broke world-record volume levels).  Such a successful reunion of a beloved nineties band only makes us yearn for more.  Granted, reunions can sometimes be a let down for real fans as bands fall short of their former glory and aging rock stars bring nothing but nostalgia to the table. But if this weekend and the buzz leading up to it are any indication (as well as recent reunion of The Pixies and Dinosaur Jr.), reunions can also result in some seriously good music.  In the spirit of ATP, which was clearly focused on classic nineties guitar bands this year, here are the top five nineties indie bands that we wouldn't mind seeing reunited. 5. While Fugazi are technically still a band (they've been on "hiatus" since 2002) we think it's high time for them to come out of hiding and bring back the DC scene.  Though the Black Cat and the 9:30 Club are definitely holding down the fort for the city, pulling in any and every indie act that rolls through the East coast, Fugazi are the best thing to come out of DC since the thirteenth amendment.  Brendan Canty is currently spending more time with his family, while the rest of the band members are working on various side projects.  Hopefully we'll have a follow-up to 2001's Argument sometime soon- six years is an awfully long time for a hiatus. 4. Even though it's only been four years since Guided By Voice's demise, we say it's never too early to start urging one of indie rock's most prolific musicians to put his band back together.  Robert Pollard has stated in several interviews that it would be nearly impossible to have a GBV "reunion."  Since the band has had so many members throughout the years, Pollard insists that he alone is really GBV and a reunion just won't happen- unless there's a new album to support.  Twice the reasons to hope for GBV live again!  If you're interested in a great read about the band that will make you crave a reunion even more, check out Perfect From Now On by John Sellers- aptly titled after Built to Spill's third album, who also played this weekend at ATP. 3. It's hard to believe that it's been ten years since the release of Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over the Sea.  While of the members of the band have been active with each other in way or another since their permanent hiatus in 1998, Jeff Mangum has been quoted saying that it's very unlikely they'll make more music under their former moniker.  Magnum has even only performed once live since 1998.  That's exactly why the band should reunite for more music- it's the ten year anniversary and it would be totally unexpected.  As time goes on and NMH's contributions to music become clearer and clearer, they're still relevant in today's world and could definitely continue to make groundbreaking albums. 2. Pavement.  Pavement should reunite so that someone can write a review of their new album. "This album was clearly influenced by early 90s rockers, Pavement."  Enough said.  (Besides, it's rumored that the band will reunite in 2009 for their 20th year anniversary.  Yes!) 1. If there's one group of nineties rockers that have been getting an unprecedented amount of attention lately, it's the Replacements.  Perhaps in a close tie with Pavement, the Replacements are the band on this list that got the least credit when they were actually still a band.  Known for being one of the most down-to-Earth and somehow un-brandable bands ever, they are due for a reunion.  While it may be too many years gone by to release anything new (and the recent tragic death of second drummer Steve Foley), their music has been experiencing a renaissance lately.  The re-release of their albums this summer garnered the band recognition that they always deserved.  The Replacements are increasingly important to young music fans, and it would be  remarkable for so many to see them again, or for the first time. Link to this article:
Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band Today I thought I would post a selection of chilling out songs. First up is a track from Conor Oberst's (aka Bright Eyes) called Souled Out!!!. I have been meaning to post this track for a while, I think it's a great track. You might be asking yourself, what is the difference between Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes? I asked myself the same question. Officially the band is called Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. The band is made up of Conor and Nate Walcott from Bright Eyes and a few others who make up the Mystic Valley Band. If you compare this to Bright Eyes, the music has a slightly happier feel, with the lyrics being a little less dark and confronting. Conor and the other band members re-located to Mexico to record this self titled album, so maybe the change of location changed his perception and consequently the lyrics, either way, as Bright Eyes or Conor Oberst, he makes excellent music that makes you think. The next couple of tracks are going back to 1994 and are from Massive Attack’s album Protection. I picked these tracks because, they are a couple of favourites of mine, for when I just want to chill out. Enjoy. Link to this post For more, try and fit a square peg into a Circle Square Triangle hole
As an amateur guitar player, I often find myself analyzing the songs I listen to, especially some of the more attainable acoustic tracks heard here on BTR (a favorite of mine is "Gray or Blue" by Jaymay), in an attempt to figure out chords. I've found myself getting verses stuck in my head and when I go to reproduce them, they come out slightly different. Not just wrong because I'm amateur, but because my brain is just inserting my own variations. I've resolved that this might be why some artists produce music that evokes their influences. Recently I read an interview with neroscientist (and music producer) Daniel Levitin (conducted by Newseek's Mary Carmichael), where he discusses this phenomenom. He says, in general, the music in your head is usually just a 20 second sample you play over and over--about the length of of one's "auditory short-term memory." The songs we typically recall are more simple than complicated in composition. He also says that some people prefer "predictable melodies" and others like "less likely notes." But this preference isn't a judgement of our music sophistication. Phew. I'll keep listening to my predictable ballads and workin' at the guitar...
Finally this college tour has hit the Golden State. With so much drama in the LBC, the decision was made to visit some of the smaller colleges a bit more inland. Pamona, Claremont McKenna and Pitzer Colleges cater to the humble do-it-yourself attitudes of some and the grandiose dreams of others. Luckily, we were joined by two students who gave us such a wide ranging perspective on two musical paths students can take professionally and geographically. Emi Meyer One of those artists is Emi Meyer, a soulful singer/songwriter from Pamona, but born in Kyoto, Japan. Meyer falls somewhere between Vanessa Carleton and Regina Spektor, often utilizing her years of jazz and classical piano training, though her last album (Curious Creature) included a number of other instruments including cello, bass, guitar and drums. Meyer somehow manages to balance her career between the United States and Japan. In order to do so, she has allowed her music to enter a number of genres. She has played backing for a rapper called Shing02, and has had a great deal of success providing music for independent films, including Dragon of Love (Hawaii International Film Festival) and West 32nd (Tribeca Film Festival). She is currently back in Los Angeles to finish school for a degree in Ethnomusicology. Her path is filled with lofty goals, teaming up with rappers and filmmakers and foregoing the ground-up approach. Not a bad idea in this industry, but some like Brendan from The Self-Interest Collective, have taken on a more grassroots challenge. The Self-Interest Collective Members of the Self-Interest Collective attend Pamona and Claremont and have been playing their form of Ska, Jazz and Rock for three years. They recently finished their first full-length album and continue to work together. After a bit of info on his own group, Brendan let us in on the works a few of his friends were taking care of right nearby. The group Let's Go Guantanamo is an experimental rock trio who play for a D.I.Y. label from Pitzer College called Rainbow Destroyer. Pitzer College Let's Go Guantanamo all attend Pitzer and play shows in Claremont, California for friends and Rainbow Destroyer fans alike. Martin Selasco (vocals), Mark Torres (Guitar) and Erik Luebs (drums) began alone in 2006, but are now surrounded by 14 groups that are all a part of the same scene. Many of the members have their own solo projects and often play various roles in a number of groups, but that is what makes the collective so cohesive. At the Rainbow Destroyer website you can find thirteen separate explanations of the label's mysterious origins, which is no doubt an intentional maneuver from these modern art misfits. Let's Go Guantanamo It is always interesting to find two stories so different with such a short distance between them. For Emi Meyer, her music is very intimate, finely crafted and sometimes utilized to provide a canvas for the artistic expression of others. For S.I.C. and Let's Go Guantanamo, make no mistake about it, they are the paint, the canvas and every other part of the experience. If there's intimacy, you'll know it. The west coast has been kind, but its time to turn back toward the east to find more little campus creativity. Link to this article:
  - Popular Computer - A wonderful discovery of mine was a nice little French record label that goes by the name of Rise Recordings. Their heart is in all the right places and home to such acts as Yuksek, Don Riminia and Popular Computer. RR's latest release is Popular Computer's Lost and Found EP . Packed to the brim with some amazing remixes, take a listen to the original and Shinichi Osowa version at Circle Square Triangle. Link to this post For more, try and fit a square peg into a Circle Square Triangle hole
After the release of Paris is Buring, we all knew the Ladyhawke album was going to be a success. But I could not have prepared myself for how amazing it actually was. This album can best be summed up as "Perfect Pop" (Credit Rhys Woah). Judge for yourself with two of the best tracks on the album, My Delirium and Love Don’t Live Here. Link to this post For more, try and fit a square peg into a Circle Square Triangle hole
Fresh off of recent publicity garnered from the trailer for Pineapple Express - which used the track Paper Planes - I have for you today, via those good people at, a rare and unreleased M.I.A. demo of a track called Hit That, which was produced by Bangladesh. mp3: M.I.A. - Hit That The track is in a similar vein to Paper Planes, with it’s “all I wanna do…”, but instead of gunshots it’s “zoom-zoom-zoom”. It’s typical M.I.A. and catchy as hell. Enough people already knew of the Sri Lankan emcee extraordinaire, but the recent publicity will no doubt shoot her into further stardom - if they’ll let her into the US that is. She might be a soundwave terrorist, but the only hits M.I.A. has on her mind are of the musical variety! Link to this post Isn't it Just Like Music?
WTF! That's what I have to say after hearing about the recent closing of one of my favorite venues for live shows. The well-known club, The Knitting Factory has recently closed and what a shame it is. It was one of the few venues that could deliver hip-hop, metal and alternative all in one night. Every thing from DJ Battles, Band Battles & even recently Mr. Kanye West himself have rocked the stage. I must inform you that the venue is moving to Brooklyn, however to a much smaller location. For those who never had the experience to check out The Knitting Factory, it was a really great venue for live music. With 3 floors, plenty of bars and even a balcony it was one of my favorite spots to see up and coming artists. I am really happy that I attended a show there two weeks ago. If I would have known it was the last show I would ever see at the Tribeca Knitting Factory, I would have partied a little harder and drank a few more brews in the memory of the final days of the venue. 2 weeks ago I checked out one of the newest faces in indie hip-hop, Kid Cudi. I’ve been a fan of this guy ever since I heard the stoner influenced banger, "Day ‘N’ Nite" at the beginning of this year. Kid rocked the stage for about a half an hour and definitely hyped the crowd more then the previous acts he followed. He opened up with a track off of his mix tape entitled “A KID NAMED CUDI” then soon followed with another track I really enjoy “ Dat “New’ New”. It was just after that when he got the crowd going crazy as fuck, rhyming over N.E.R.D’s “Spazz”. First off I love that track by Pharrell and the gang, so when Kid Cudi was spittin’ over the instrumental I was hyped. Then right after that he kept the party rocking and spit over another instrumental that got the crowd going even nuttier. Kid started rhyming over M.I.A’s "Paper Planes". Wow two of my favorite tracks of 2008 with one of my favorite new artist rhyming over it, Definite freshness people. Then he got into his banger Day N Nite and out came the blunts. As the smell of marijuana creped thru the air, his fans sang every lyric of the “lonely stoners” anthem. He kept the crowd jumping up and down with excitement, and showed the love right back to his audience. Later on that night there was a surprise performance by Kanye West that was a complete shock to the audience. I was glad to hear his new song "Love Locked Down" and cant wait for his new album to drop featuring from what I heard the “T-Pain sound” of auto tune on every track. Also in some other related (kind-a-sort-a-but not really) news. Two groups are coming together in a big North American Tour. The groups Cut Copy & The Presets will be hitting the road together for this nation wide tour. I was really excited to hear that the stage crew who will be doing the lights for this show is the same crew that rocked the lights on tour with Daft Punk and Kanye West’s “Glow In The Dark Tour”. I was able to see Kayne twice this year and the lighting effecting was unbelievable. Pyrotechnics, strobes, even fireworks, I don’t think the fans of Cut Copy & The Presets know what they're in for. That will sure be one really amazing show don’t miss out. Ok so that's it for now. Till next time. Peace! - J.Dayz
This week's "Hello My Name Is" features indie rockers Blitzen Trapper, as well as two favorite BTR All Access bands, The Defenders and Ducky. Blitzen Trapper, an alt-country indie band, hails from Portland, Oregon.  The sextet's 2007 release and BTR favorite, Wild Mountain Nation propelled them into the spotlight as it garnered acclaim from many major music blogs and publications.  It even earned them the number 98 spot on Rolling Stone's "Best 100 Songs of 2007."  Wild Mountain Nation's genre-crossing song-writing makes the band truly stand out.  On September 23rd the band will release a new album, Furr, on Sub Pop records.  Make sure to keep your ears open for the new tracks on BTR. While Blitzen Trapper's eccentric band name might recall memories of a Ramones song or a quintessential grade-school organizer, its origins are actually a lot more simple.  Eric Earley, singer and guitarist, explains the real story behind the name.  While he says that, "I've read that I've said in interviews that I took the name from my grandfather who was a junk dealer in East LA.  He possessed an extensive collection of hanging fur garnered from various junkyards," the name actually came from less obscure origins.  Earley explains, "I think I saw it on the side of a Winnebago, or actually I think it was graffitied on an old refrigerator by the river in Salem." The Defenders, an All Access favorite here on BTR, formed when they were in only 7th and 8th grade and played mostly in basements.  Since then, they've gone through many permutations (and even a band name), but have perfected their sound in the four years they've been playing together.  The New York band, who plays well-crafted pop-punk tunes, actually started out with a different band name altogether, but with a shuffle of members and style this spring, they chose The Defenders. Bassist Ben Chrobot explains, "Back when it was started, people were kicking around ideas, and the verb defenestrate came up. it sounded cool, and what's not to like about a word that means to throw out of a window?"  Unfortunately, The Defenestrators proved too unwieldy.  "Our singer would stumble over it at shows, and people could never get the spelling right. So last spring when the band was making some major changes, a name change seemed fitting as well. The Defenders was similar and somewhat indie, which was the direction it looked like the band would be taking." Ducky, another All Access regular, hails from San Francisco.  Only fifteen years old, Morgan Neiman is a solo artist who's enchanting electronic tunes definitely take a page out of the Postal Service's book.  When it comes to her moniker, Neiman didn't choose it so much as it chose her.  In fact, Ducky is more of a nickname than a band name.  "I actually got the name Ducky while taking my 8th grade yearbook photo. All of my friends and I had decided to put silly things in our pictures just for the hell of it and mine ended up being a little stuffed duck. Everybody called me ducky that day, and it just stuck."  Make sure to check out The Defenders and Ducky on All Access every Tuesday and Friday. Link to this article:
Last week I wrote about the latest in the Ninja Tuna series from Mr. Scruff - the lead track was Music Takes Me Up featuring Alice Russell, “a real head nodder with a very addictive melody” as I said then. Well as you can see above there is a video out to coincide with the official release of the EP. Mr. Scruff has made Alice Russell out to be a right lemon - but in the nicest possible way of course! Oh, and look out for Gavin’s Fruit & Veg Shop bout half way through the video! The heavyweight 180gsm 12″ vinyl is out right now, and as with previous releases, any purchases of the vinyl come with a code to redeem free mp3s of the tracks. mp3: Mr. Scruff - Music Takes Me Up (ft. Alice Russell) Not entirely sure how many records the Ninja Tuna series is gonna end up having, but what we’ve seen so far is pretty damn good - here’s to the next releases! Link to this post Isn't it Just Like Music?
Besides the quick scribble of a signature on a bill, check, et cetera, when was the last time you wrote anything in script? I believe it's a dying art. Just for the fancy of it, I hand-wrote a letter in script (or cursive, if that's your thing) the other day, just to see if I could still do it. It worked out, sho nuff, but, for real, it took a long time. Hell, writing in print is not so common anymore either. It's gotten to the point where a hand-written letter of any kind, script or print, is a big deal.  You get one of those in the mail and it's like, "damn, this must be serious." Texting and emailing man, that's all there is anymore. Do kids in kindergarten even learn to write by hand anymore? Seems to me like it's going to become a lost art. Just a random thought.
Former UK DMC DJ Champ and producer extraordinaire, 2tall, is back for 2008 with his second solo LP The Softer Diagram, out now on the Content label. Available as of last month on vinyl, The Softer Diagram is now officially out to buy on mp3 download. And download you should, cos this one’s a bit special - 37 minutes containing some of the tightest and most interesting productions I have heard in a while. 2tall created something a bit wicked last year with the Beautiful Mindz LP featuring Dudley Perkins and Georgia Anne Muldrow, but now I know for sure that this man is no fluke. Tracklisting: 01. A Word 02. Grazing On Empty 03. The Most High (featuring Kashmere) 04. Raise Ya Head 05. Distant Shadows 06. Trains (featuring E Saint) 07. Ritual 08. For Simon Cowell 09. Harbour Lights 10. Garden Child 11. Winter Theme 12. Garden Child (Dday One Remix) The Softer Diagram is soulful like Eric Lau, tight like Dilla and holds a groove like Madlib or Flying Lotus - but as with most producers on top of their game, 2tall is distinctive in his sound and delivers sharp execution that no-one else could call their own. The LP begins with A Word, a steady instrumental head nodder, uplifting yet firm in its direction - and it acts as a perfect intro for what lies ahead. Grazing On Empty combines hypnotic percussion with an electro melody and eerie strings to present a fine example of the modern beat makers arsenal. Was a pleasant surprise to see UK emcee Kashmere on the LP - he features on the track The Most High. If you want to look at it in black and white, this track is sort of split into two parts; the first is a dubbed out dark hip-hop track, then it breaks down in the second half into what is pretty much dubstep territory. Not always one for dubstep stylings, I totally dig this track. The beats are dark and solid and Kashmere acts as the fine veneer on this impeccable aural opus. Minus the track Trains (featuring E Saint), the rest of the LP is purely instrumental, and it is nothing short of inspired. From the latin sample laden Ritual to the hectic For Simon Cowell and then on to the heavy breaks of Harbour Lights, this LP really has plenty of bases covered. There are so many fine elements to The Softer Diagram and it is sure to grab the attention of anyone and everyone, from pure hip-hop heads to fans of groups like Boards of Canada and even Clark. The spine of The Softer Diagram is clearly hip-hop, but the ventures into further afield sounds have borne nothing but incredible fruit. The final chapter of The Softer Diagram sees the impeccably downtempo Garden Child grace thine ears, followed by the graceful glitch-hop track Winter Theme, and then finally Dday One’s fantastic remix of the aforementioned Garden Child. Dday One actually runs the Content label and is the owner of a fine body of work himself, as his MySpace page would attest to. It’s amazing to think of the various avenues ex-turntablist champs choose to turn down, be it; perpetually touring DJ, mixtape creator, remix junkie, or beat digging hermit - but 2tall is clearly a dedicated man on a larger mission. With The Softer Diagram, 2tall has crafted an astounding array of compositions that, despite his already existing strong pedigree, still caught me by surprise. Sourcing a copy of this LP on vinyl has become my priority number one. Link to this post Isn't it Just Like Music?
One of New York's most well-known clubs for up-and-coming artists, The Knitting Factory, has shut its Tribeca doors. The venue, which had been known for having three separate performance spaces, will now move to a decidedly smaller location across the bridge.  Formerly home of Luna Lounge (where BTR hosted its 2nd birthday party) 361 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn will now be the scaled-down home of The Knitting Factory. The venue's decrease in size will be a minor disappointment to fans, as a concert-goer could often see three different genres of music in one evening. The Knitting Factory, whose Los Angeles location is also struggling, has garnered a strong reputation for booking eclectic, up-and-coming acts to their three stages. Known for featuring the best in fringe areas like hardcore, metal, and underground hip-hop, the club had lost some of their more mainstream indie-rock revenue as of late. Though fans are disappointed with the move to a smaller and less convenient location, they are fortunate in that The Knitting Factory did not meet the same fate as other New York clubs like Sin-e, Studio B, and Mo Pitkins. A variety of factors have contributed to the closing of The Knitting Factory and similar clubs in downtown NYC. Higher rents, noise complaints and fierce competition for bookings has made the New York music scene a tough place to run a music venue.  Organizations like Live Nation and The Bowery Presents have made it harder and harder for smaller clubs to thrive. In an interview with the Tribeca Trib, owner Jared Hoffman had this to say about the move: "It's not fun to be somewhere where you're seen as the bad guy. There's just no way, in that environment, not to annoy some people. It's an un-winnable situation." Though the affluent Tribeca location of The Knitting Factory surely contributed to the move, it needs to be noted that smaller venues all over the city have found it harder and harder to book quality shows. Live Nation, an organization spun off from Clear Channel, is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to concert booking. The Bowery Presents has continued to buy up mid-sized venues all over the metro area, including venues with some of the best sound in the city. Additionally, these bookings often include agreements that the artist will not play "announced shows" at other venues within certain time constraints. While independent music fans know that it's very important to support artists live, many do not associate their favorite venues with the large corporations by which they are owned. We urge our listeners to support independent venues as well as independent artists! Link to this article:
With their hit single "Bruises" in the latest iPod Nano commercial, a few friends and BTR listeners have been surprised to realize where they first hear that track. An inch closer to mainstream (if Apple users are mainstream), Chairlift has hit a success bar with that ad and BTR can't be happier for them. Having BrokeThru a year and a half ago, it's long been a favorite spin on my weekly show and their BTR Live Studio earlier this year allowed for a different take on their tracks, including "Bruises." Days like this just further exemplify BTR's commitment to bringing you the best in indie and upcoming artists, while simultaneously being graced as a platform for such talent!
The rising sales of...vinyl? While it is easy to blow a small newsworthy phenomenon out of proportion in a world where there are far more news outlets than significant stories, this seems to hold water in the tumultuous industry of sinking CD sales. Vinyl is not yet back, but fans are driving previously necessary small supplies out of stock. Though the Compact Cassette was created in the early seventies, it was only until the Compact Disc was created and popularized in 1982 that vinyl (1948) sales began their steady decline. The expensive and sometimes awkward record can require a serious personal and financial investment, but this in turn creates a greater dedication on behalf of the buyer. This could be the reason why sales have always enjoyed a sold base of DJs, collectors and the aural-obsessive. Not only that, but simply the size and shelf-life of a 12-inch allows it to maintain a somewhat grand, or even antique, status. In 2007, LP record sales doubled from three million to six million units (hitting an all-time low only a short time ago in 2006). Turntable sales increased as well over 80% from 2006 to 2007.  Mike Allen, the vice president of international marketing, was quoted as saying, "There's a reaction against the commoditization of music...with vinyl there's something that has innate value -- a physical object." Metallica's Death Magnetic was completely bought out of the recently-established and growing Amazon vinyl store. Not only that, but major acts like Van Morrison and U2 are re-releasing a few of their old albums. However, whether or not the groovy disc will break out of the ever-popular modern and weak determination of 'the marketing tool' is another story altogether. Though vinyl is in no way retaining the crown it once held, simply an increase in sales has raised eyebrows around the industry - surprising, but less so after considering the benefits. People still seem to care about the physicality of artwork, analog sound quality and a DJ's creativity. Link to this article:
The best hip-hop group in Australia, Hermitude, will be delivering their third LP, Threads, later this month on Elefant Traks. As a pre-cursor to that highly anticipated release, I have for you today a sneaky glance at one of the new tracks from messrs Luke Dubbs and El Gusto, aka: Hermitude. Slychain is a chilled out banger encompassing a slightly latin influenced beat, mean synth samples and some tight scratches. There are multiple layers to this beautifully arranged track and it’s the inclusion of subtle samples, like the piano riff and additional percussion and vocals, that really complete it. mp3: Hermitude - Slychain 2005’s Tales of the Drift, by Hermitude, is still ranked up there as one of my favourite hip-hop albums of all time, and Slychain has certainly got my taste-buds buzzing, definitely looking forward to that one. Threads is out on 27th September on Elefant Traks. Link to this post Isn't it Just Like Music?
Here's another post on Jesse Dee. He has every musician's best problem. Last Friday at his hometown CD-release show at Johhny D's in Boston, the venue had to turn people away. Guest list kids weren't even getting in. The venue had reached its roughly 350 capacity, an hour before Jesse took stage. There was a massive line that wrapped along the side of the club and down the block. Those on line waited for their "shift" to enter. Once someone left, one more body could enter. I've been going to shows in Boston for a good 5 years, and I've never witnessed this glorious musician's problem. At least not at a venue with such a decently high capacity. I think it's fair to say Jesse Dee can soon start booking the big(ger) ones. For those who roughed it outside in the rain waiting for their shift, I commend you for being true fans. We all witnessed something special on stage that night. And I'm sure there's plenty more where that came from.
The Long Lost is a project by Alfred Darlington (Daedelus) and his wife Laura Darlington. At the end of this month their first official release, Woebegone, will be available through Ninja Tune on both 12″ vinyl and mp3 download. Alas, today I have a couple of remixes for you from a dear friend of The Long Lost - Monsieur Flying Lotus, no less. Both remixes are for the title track Woebegone. The first is Flying Lotus’ Luckiest Charm, giving the track his distinctive ethereal and slightly tribal edge to the track. Flying Lotus always manages to put a trippy tilt on his work without making it overbearing or all consuming - it’s understated, yet quite exquisite in a way. mp3: The Long Lost - Woebegone (Flying Lotus’ Luckiest Charm) The second remix of Woebegone is called Fly Lo’s Like Woe. This is slightly more uptempo and encompasses a bit more grit and wonky-wonderment, as witnessed (in awe) on the recent LP by Flying Lotus, Los Angeles. Although the effect is used sparingly, presumably so as not to stray too far from the original emphasis of Woebegone - it’s pretty fresh either way. mp3: The Long Lost - Woebegone (Fly Lo’s Like Woe) Two mean pieces of work by the Lotus. You can listen to some of the original tracks at The Long Lost’s MySpace page, and also look out for that 12″ and/or the mp3 download when they come out at the end of the month on Ninja Tune. Link to this post Isn't it Just Like Music?
What do you do if you’re fifteen years old and your favorite band asks you to contribute artwork for their new album? If you’re Lee Heinemann, first you suppress the urge to purge. “I thought I was going to throw up,” Lee says of the moment Tilly and the Wall asked for his help with o, which was released on June 17. But he quickly beat back nausea. And then he got to work. * * * Before we get to now, we have to go back to then, when Lee was an unassuming junior high kid consumed with art and music, the kind who takes a sketch pad everywhere because you never know when the muse might come. He was just 12 years old when he first heard Tilly and the Wall, the mixed-gender Omaha indie-pop band famous for its buoyant songs and the tap dancing that often stands in place of more conventional percussion. Soon, Lee and his friends in the now-defunct band Taxidermy Recital were hitting the road from their home in Kansas City to see Tilly on Midwestern stops in Omaha and Lawrence, Kansas. He quickly saw the distance between band and fans disappear. “They’re very accessible” Lee says of Tilly, whose members routinely chat with fans lined up to get into shows. Lee began giving the band his drawings, and Taxidermy Recital gave them a copy of its CD, which featured a cover Lee had created. Soon thereafter, Derek Presnall, Tilly’s guitarist, asked Lee to paint the cover for a seven-inch single by Presnall’s side project, Flowers Forever. At that point, Lee’s transformation into something more than a fan began. * * * A few weeks after catching a Tilly show in Omaha in March of this year, Lee received an e-mail from Kianna Alarid, the band’s bassist and singer. She had a proposition. Since its inception, Tilly and the Wall has possessed a heightened sense of community. Omaha is home to a small and notoriously supportive group of musicians and artists. Tilly can trace its roots back to Park Avenue, a band that also featured Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes and Clark Baechle of The Faint, and now Tilly makes its home on Team Love Records, which was established by Oberst and Nate Krenkel in 2003. That sense of community extended to Tilly’s fans, and the band had an idea to increase the level of intimacy between artist and audience even further. Tilly wanted some artist friends to create individual jewel-case-sized pieces of art to be included in a limited edition of the new album. The idea was not for each artist to create one piece to be reproduced; it was to create individual, unique pieces so that no two copies of the album would be alike. The works would go straight from the artists’ hands to the disc’s cover. Alarid’s request to Lee was both simple and daunting. Could he create 1,000 inserts for the new album? Thrilled, flattered and a bit overwhelmed, Lee got to work. Though each piece would be distinctive, the series would be cohesive, as he used silk screens and spray paints to create brightly colored backgrounds overlaid with dark images. After Lee sent an initial batch of 500 to Team Love, they asked him to create as many more as he could as quickly as possible. He worked around the clock to deliver 700 more images to the label. More than a dozen artists participated, but Lee was one of the stalwarts of the project, and Team Love’s Matt Mangin praises his work. “Lee's [pieces] are some of the very best and so cool,” says Mangin. For his part, Lee can’t quite get over how wonderful and strange it is to be part of his favorite band’s circle of friends. “The whole thing is so weird,” he says. “Going from being a really big fan to being part of the album they’re putting out is a thrill.” Link to this post. Get more from Teenage Kicks
Often the best (or worst) part of a concert is the surprise effect - as in surprise at the magnificent power of a band's live show, surprise that yet again the tallest human on earth is directly in front of you, surprise at the song selection, surprise that a beer is six bucks!, surprise at the quality of sound, surprise at the number of folks violating concert laws both # 1 (don’t wear the band's shirt) and # 7 (2 beer minimum, 6 beer maximum... enjoy the show fellas, but try to remain upright), my wife’s surprise that Craig Finn looks just like that, and, as was the case last Thursday at Philly’s TLA, the best concert surprise of all – the great opening act. Since I missed the Electric Touch’s set, my de facto opener was The Airborne Toxic Event. The band’s atrocious name was apparently taken from a passage in White Noise, a novel by Don DeLillo, a central figure of literary postmodernism. (Seriously, I never heard of Don DiLillo prior to googling the band’s name earlier today. And litera ry postmodernism – puh-leeze. I assumed the band had a flatulence issue.) The band sits between the literary yelping of Will Sheff and Okkervil River and the alt rock and reel of the Arcade Fire. Opening with the spastic roll of “Papillon” (which recalls a caffeinated version of po-facers The National) and the thumping lamnet of love lost “Gasoline”, it’s quickly evident that Airborne Toxic Event’s live show will be tough to top. After playing the bulk of their debut, including standouts “Happiness is Overrated”, “Does This Mean You’re Moving On?” and the desperate “Sometime Around Midnight”, it’s clear ATE main man Mikel Jollett, who seems to be having an absolute blast on stage, has penned a cathartic groups of songs that all seem to deal with deep loss and heartbreak. And in time honored fashion, he’s added soaring arrangements and urgent melodies to clearly still healing emotional scars… life strife makes good art. Personally he may be coming apart, but Jollett’s band feels on the edge of exploding in a different way. While the ATE gave a great bar show in a theater, The Fratellis provided a by numbers arena show in a bar. While their debut cd remains on the short list of 2007’s best discs, the new Here We Stand dials down the hook happy bubblegum spunk of Costello Music in favor of more muscular but less satisfying arena rock. It ain’t no sin20to shoot for the stars, but The Fratellis seem to have lost some of that youthful glow in the last year. Playing with a modicum of stage presence and a boring psych-rock light show complete with fog machine, The Fratellis alternated between pop punk brilliance and too many aimless, jambling pedestrian bluesy rawkers. There’s no denying the giddy rush and exuberance of “Flathead”, “Chelsea Dagger” and “Whistle For The Choir”, it’s textbook pop hitmaking, but The Fratellis seem to have already peaked. This particular night, it was ATE in a TKO. Link to this post. Get more from Teenage Kicks
De Novo Dahl De Novo Dahl is a group much like the Shins or the New Pornographers, belting out their choruses of clean cut rock with a youthful pop awareness. Their most recent album, Move Every Muscle, Make Every Sound, is a collection of very upbeat  and well-written melodies, with a few downtempo digressions. The group formed in 2001 and was signed to Roadrunner Records just last year. The album is a great start for the debut on their new label. But one question remains, what's the deal with that name? According to the group's manager, Aaron Hartley, De Novo (Latin for 'the new') is the first half of 'The New Creative,' 'creative' coming from Dahl, a reference to the author Roald Dahl. Dahl wrote stories like Boy, The BFG, and others that were later adapted to film, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The Witches. 'So Dahl to them,' Hartley explained, 'is a representation of great creativity, so that leaves 'the new creative.' Conservative Man Conservative Man is a group of four well-versed musicians from Philadelphia who came together in 2002 to form their own unique experiences into one pulsing rock group. Specifically, the group is made up of frontman Ian McCarthy (bass and vocals), Vahe Sarkissian (guitar) once a member of T.S.U, Darren Hyest (keyboards/synthesizer) with his own Darren Hyest Project and Justin (drums) a freelance drummer in his time outside of Conservative Man. At Breakthru Radio we've played their latest album, Mirabel and the Hikikomori, without knowing the strange origin of their collective title. According to Ian McCarthy, "The name Conservative Man came about while I was walking around Philly back in '02. I had just heard about the formation of a band involving Chris Cornell, and the musicians of Rage against the Machine. Their first moniker was Civilian." McCarthy was specifically interested in a singular term describing a group of people, but that is only the beginning. "I had dropped out of music school, and stopped performing live." He explained, "I needed an alter-ego...I began home recording on the worst gear imaginable, donning a suit jacket as my pseudo costume. It stayed that way until August of last year, when I was asked by a DJ of Boston’s alt station WFNX to put a band together, and play a spotlight show." While 'Conservative Man' has no specific political meaning, Ian explains, "It is a guise to hide behind, defined by the 'politics of delay' and 'the negation of ideology' a little jab at the rest of the world, or at least how I saw them back then. It has since become a name I can't shake, for better or for worse. I am stuck with Conservative Man." Aseton These three female folk-rockers from Istanbul have been featured on DJ Lottie's Spotlight on the City. Selin Yilmaz, Melis Soysal and Pelin Yildirim allow their music to crawl from genre to genre, including a smooth lounge-style of pop rock, acoustic slow jams, breathy jazz rhythms or just straight raw rock. Their technical ability is, in a way, undeniable, and though they are currently unsigned, they have gathered a fan base that in all likeliness will bring them to the next level of Turkish pop music. With such an edge, its no wonder their name in part references an automotive fuel additive. According to their management, the girls first wanted something to reflect the fact that they were an all-women group. 'Also it sounds good and looks good in writing,' Zeynep Atiker explained, "It's both good and bad. The smell of acetone is too much for some but attractive for others. And it connotates many things related with their lives. So it was basically a random choice, but it didn't feel wrong." The group rightfully believes that it the bite is only as effective as the bite. As Taker explains, "They still think this name should and will be filled with more as time goes on." Little Grey Girlfriend Little Grey Girlfriend can be found in the BTR archives with a Live Studio Session recorded by DJ Maia. The group began while Brad Whiteley (Keyboardist and Co-Writer) worked on a cruise ship and would send Erika Lloyd (Vocals, Co-Writer, Trumpet) tracks by email, Whiteley writing music and Lloyd recording vocals. Ultimately, they recorded Cell Planets, on June 19th of this year. The album is a refreshing return to musicality in today's artificial landscape of synthesizers and drum machines. Now living together in New York, the couple recalled for us the difficulty of the time apart. "I was in New York when he was on the ship and 5 months apart was pretty tough," Lloyd explained. "During those months he referred to his small grey cell phone as his 'Little Grey Girlfriend' because he couldn't see me, but could only hear my voice and communicate with me through it, and spent a lot of time doing just that." Be sure to check out the BTR Live Studio Session to listen for the same sweetness these two make sure to include in their soft melodic rock. Erika also asked us to add, 'We love BTR!' Link to this article:
Some quick hits today for our friends at Breakthru Radio. Recently, I got a note from the Washington, DC band Bellman Barker (they’ll be at the North Star in Philly on September 22). These guys are a tightly-wound tinderbox, a classic guitars-bass-keys set-up with melodies and harmonies to spare.  Fans of The Format (or Nate Ruess’s new band, fun) will dig them. Download a basketful of tracks here. They’re on the road with a hirsute, heavy-rocking dude from Iceland (yeah, I know) named Mugison. You’ll want to check him out, too.  Pay particular attention to the embedded video. The man does not lack charisma. We mentioned regional biases in our introductory post, and here’s a midwestern band I discovered on Breathru Radio. It’s Jumbling Towers from St. Louis, a rock and roll collective with arty flourishes, spiritual descendants of the original American new wave bands. The vocals remind me of Dan Bejar of Destroyer and New Pornographers fame, and the music bears more than a passing resemblance to Modest Mouse. Definitely worth your while. And I know these guys don’t technically qualify as “indie” inasmuch as they’re on a tiny Atlantic imprint, but (musically, at least) it’s a distinction without a difference.  Kansas City’s Republic Tigers make lush, classic pop music (think the Shins) with subtle hooks that dig in deep.  They’re ambling about Europe at the moment, opening for Travis, which seems an ideal pairing.  Plus, the bass player’s in-laws live across the street from me, and they’d rather the kids not have to move into the basement, so as a personal favor to me, please give them your support. Link to this post. Get more from Teenage Kicks
Fleet Foxes (Fleet Foxes) - Lewis & Clark could have used this album when they were trekking to the Pacific Coast. The sight of towering mountains or expansive plains wouldn't have been so daunting with Robin Pecknold crooning in the background. Take a hike with "Ragged Wood" in your play list and you'll have the strength to conquer any trail. With tempo changes at every corner and harmonies the Beach Boys would be proud of, Fleet Foxes have delivered an epic album worthy of the top spot. Antidotes (Foals) - An instant remedy for the bothersome sit-downs or arm-crossed wall leans is the debut album from this Oxford quintet. Foals pick up where Bloc Party left off (of course I'm speaking of their debut album) with toe tapping, bass heavy percussion patterns and wondrous interplays of elegant string strums and fierce guitar pulses. "Olympic Airways" is a prime example of such happenings. Youth Novels (Lykke Li) - All it took was an EP for me to fall for this Swedish siren's luster. So when her recently released debut came out, I prepared my ship for a crash landing. Lykke Li's (pronounced Luke-Key Lee) delivery during "Let It Fall" sounds as if she is strutting through a crowd, confident her words will clear a path. Not to mention that "I'm Good, I'm Gone" might be the best use of a bullhorn since Scott Weiland. Fair Ain't Fair (Tim Fite) - No wonder Shaniqua fell for this guy. Tim Fite is charming enough to warn a lass to, "wipe that mustard off your titty" and wise enough to realize that, "everyone gets to make one big mistake." If those quips aren't enough for you, just listen to the glitch driven beat of "Line By Line" to realize that fair ain't fair, it's fucking great. The Bake Sale (The Cool Kids) - "What it is what it is come check the noise/It's the new black version of the Beastie Boys."  They couldn't have said it any better on the sonar propelled "One Two". The Cool Kids serve up lo-fi Hip-Hop at its finest with sides of Sega and Fruity Pebbles providing home cooked nostalgia for B-Boys and Hipsters alike. Fate (Dr. Dog) - If there was a classification for rocking chair rock, you could file Philadelphia's Dr. Dog under it.  Their style harkens back to the good ole days of The Beatles and The Band, but the group pushes forward on "The Old Days" with a locomotive fueled banjo riff and an electric solo that adds the finishing touches near the end. They even implore you to, "Let go of the old ones/We've got some new ones." You can start a family with "From", grow old with "The Breeze", and just rock your days away to "My Friend". Crystal Castles (Crystal Castles) - The duo of Ethan Kant and Alice Glass started as a mythical live act, amassing fans purely by word of mouth and a gaggle of limited edition singles. Their vocals can range from Alice's desperate and frantic take on "Alice Practice" to Kant's alluring prose on "Vanished". Now that their self titled debut is finally out, the populous can bask in their  8-bit barrages and hypnotic hooks that have vaulted them into the forefront of the dance scene. Toi Mon Indien (Marianne Feder) - This selection technically isn't slated for release until mid October, but since it has had time to circulate through my system for the past two months, I figured I'd throw it in the batch. This is the second offering from French tickler Feder, and tracks range from traditional Parisian jaunts such as "Je t'attends", to the klezmer-infused "Vent d'Est". Marianne does perfectly well adding to the sensuality already attached to the French language. Link to this article:
Real rock and roll never goes out of fashion. I won’t bore you with the names of the non-real rock and rollers, but you know who they are. New Brunswick, NJ’s favorite sons The Gaslight Anthem have unleashed a stunning sophomore album that ranks as one of the year’s best. Combining the urgency of punk rock’s explosiveness with rockabilly’s shuffling backbeat, these Jersey greasers are classic American rockers who can unabashedly and un-ironically write lines like these from “Meet Me By The River’s Edge”:   “See I’ve been here for 28 years Pounding sweat beneath these wheels We tattooed lines beneath our skin No surrender, my Bobby Jean”   Which brings us to the elephant sitting in the middle of the room – this band owes such a debt to Bruce Springsteen that to ignore that influence would be to overlook one of their greatest strengths. The small town struggles, Mary’s red dress, washing these sins away, rock and roll as escape, carnival lights and yes, Bobby Jean, can be part of more than one songwriter’s lexicon. And who better to be influenced by than Bruce Springsteen? Do we really need another bunch of anorexic, pasty faced wallflowers citing Can, Kraftwerk and Eno as their heroes?   The Springsteen comparisons are not really for the band's sound but for the small town, heart on your sleeve songwriting and lyrics that either were lifted directly from Springsteen songs or feel like they were cobbled together from scraps on the Boss' cutting room floor. If I didn't love this record, I'd almost cringe at the overt lyrical Bruce homage, but it feels so natural that it’s endearing. Non-Bruce heads will have a field day tearing it to shreds.   But there are plenty of other influences – many referred to directly in the lyrics. Besides the many nods to Springsteen, there’s also the Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan and Seger, Lou Reed, Elvis, Tom Petty, Miles Davis, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Gary U.S. Bonds, Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett and Marvin Gaye. If that doesn’t sound like your record collection, it should. And if that list doesn’t wanna make you buy this record, it should.   So do who do they sound like?  I hear a scuzzier Rhett Miller mixed with the less preening bits of Brandon Flowers, crossed with Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent and, I kid you not, a little bit of the Fonz (the one that cruised back alleys, not the malt shop). The album kicks off with the exhilarating 1-2 adrenaline blast of “Great Expectations” (complete with an opening needle drop on an old soul record) and “The 59 Sound” that doesn’t let up until the wistful valentine regrets to old lovers of “Here’s Looking at You, Kid” (Bogie, Hepburn and Marilyn also appear).   This is a record for those who haven’t bought one since Born to Run as well as those captivated by current backstreet kings The Hold Steady. Even though it seems to have ignored most of the pop culture of the last 40 years, this is a record that feels so fresh and invigorating, it reminds me how I feel when I hear Chuck Berry or The Four Tops on the radio. Yeah, maybe it’s been done before, but real rock and roll never goes out of fashion. Link to this post. Get more from Teenage Kicks
Okkervil River The Stand Ins Released today was the second half of the double album The Stage Names: the new Okkervil River album, The Stand Ins. It has been a long road for these six Texans who formed in 1998. It only took them a single album, Stars Too Small To Use, to catch the attention of Jagjaguwar, an Indiana label established in 1996 (and ultimately EMI in Europe). Though they met in New Hampshire, they've stayed true to an indie-folk sound that a Texas music scene has no doubt helped in developing. Since gaining quite a lot of attention at South by Southwest, they've played with a number of well-known acts including Lou Reed, The New Pornographers and The Decemberists. We can only wait to hear what their sixth album will sound like, but The Stand Ins is certainly worth a listen. Though not for download, the entire album is up for listening on the group's myspace, not an unordinary practice for the boys who in December of last year released Golden Opportunities Mixtape, a free album of live content. The Stage Names (the first album) was very successful, possibly due to its intensely emotional nature. The track list included two works based on the tragic lives of 'Shannon Wilsey,' an x-rated actress, and John Berryman, an introspective poet who ultimately took his own life. The album had a number of unfinished songs that were never included, but have finally been released. The Stand Ins is very diverse within the alternative folk space through which OK River flows. Some songs draw on long and slow for over five minutes churning out a careless BJM-style ballad ('Bruce Wayne Campbell Interview'), some songs are single-styled and made for the live performance ('Pop Lie'). Still, some songs have the lonely and rugged sound that Will Sheff and the others are known for. As usual the group uses Dylan-esque absurd song titles that hint at hidden meaning and depth. Okkervil River are still very relevant to music today and can still contribute in ways that no other artists can, but ten years can wear sometimes even harder on the independent artist. In a short clip created for the album's release, Sheff left his audience with a cryptic message when he explained, 'There's a quality that you can get when you're playing and something's not working and you know something's not working and you don't know what's good about what you're playing anymore and you start to feel resentful towards everyone and resentful towards yourself and then that red light rolls and you're like 'I should not be doing music, I'm just going to quit, like I'm going to finish this album and I'm never going to record again 'cause clearly I'm not cut out for it." Link to this article:
Hello Breakthru Radio listeners. Thanks for having us. You don’t know us and we don’t know you, and since we’re going to spend the week together, some introduction is in order. First, we’re probably a little older than you are, and that may be reflected in what we do (and don’t) write about. Second, one of us lives in Philadelphia and the other in Kansas City, which may explain any regional biases that pop up. And third, we might not have the conventional mindset for a place like BTR. We love lots of indie music, but we like what we like regardless of the business model that delivers it to our ears, and we rarely ponder the distinctions. If we lapse into discussing a band that’s on a Sony subsidiary, rest assured that it’s only because we’re not paying attention.   We don’t much engage in music criticism at Teenage Kicks. We engage in music enthusiasm. I get no kick out of telling you what I don’t like, because it might be something you like, and no one likes a killjoy. Every once in a while I hear someone say that The Hold Steady sucks or that Bruce Springsteen is an irrelevant old relic, and I know in my bones that they’re wrong, but I can’t put an equation up on the board to prove my thesis. Recently, when discussing the Booker Prize for new literature, Nick Hornby wrote “there is no such thing as an objectively good book, and there is certainly no such thing as a ‘best book’; there are only books we love, for reasons too complicated and personal ever to articulate convincingly.” While I think there’s a one-percent exception (saying that London Calling is better than The Clash’s debut is an opinion; saying that it’s better than Cut the Crap is a fact), I know it’s true. I recently got an e-mail taking small umbrage to something I wrote in praise of a certain album, and offering in rebuttal a heartfelt appreciation for a record I believe to be a stunning mediocrity. I was surprised to read an impassioned case for music that sounds like audio mayonnaise to me, but heartened, too. Being a musician is a hard job. You take something deeply personal, give it over to the world, and watch a s your bones get picked by the public, the critics and the hipper-than-thou blogging crowd. If you can make a connection to even a few people, you’ve succeeding in communicating your vision and bettering their lives in some unexplainable but undeniable way. Who am I to tell you that what you feel isn’t valid? And why would I want to do that?   So that’s what we’ll do here for the next few days.  We’ll enthuse.  We’ll enthuse about Ezra Furman and Ike Reilly and The Broken West.  We’ll enthuse about Langhorne Slim and Delta Spirit and Gaslight Anthem.  And hopefully we’ll engage you and you’ll enthuse back to us about some band we’d never otherwise know.  We think that’s how this is supposed to work.  We’re looking forward to it. Link to this post. Get more from Teenage Kicks
Simply a classic that has defined my life not but a little over a year ago. 'No romance without finance.' You know, job, beer and every now and again a rent check shows up. Its my birthday, so visit Look around but before you do that look around Breakthru Radio. You just might find the next Gwen Guthrie, though it would take some serious honesty to get where she got that one faithful day in 1986. Link to this post. Can You Dig It?
Wake up world! Some of your favorite BTR artist will be on the road doing live shows thru out the month of September & October. I’m especially excited for a bunch of artists that will be hitting up my city. Let’s start off with the cream of the crop, one of the hottest producers in the game, MSTRKRFT. Al-P and JFK will be headlining the “Fist Of God” Tour.  East Coast, West Coast, Down South, Mid West and Up North, their gonna be everywhere. For all my New Yorkers, MSTRKRFT will be doing two shows, one in upstate suburbs of Poughkeepsie and one in the city that never sleeps. On Friday October 10th they’re going to be rocking the stage at Webster Hall. Also performing with them will be Felix Cartal & Congorock. Both those artist hold it down really proper on the house, techno and electronica vibe. So you know all night long you’re going to be hearing banging beats, funky synths and chopped up samples.  There are several dates and tickets available for the Fist Of God tour, this is one show not to be missed.  Also be sure to check out all the amazing remixes these guys are on. You must check out the remixes to John Legend’s “Green Light” and Metric’s “Monster Hospital”. Those two are cuts that I’ve been listening to about 4 times a day. Definite freshness! Another artist coming to the NY area and also will be doing a show in Cali would be the up and coming Cleveland native Kid Cudi. He recently linked up for the second time with Italiano producers Crookers for an amazing track on their Mad Kidz EP. You need to hear the track “Embrace The Martian”. It’s a fun fusion of sounds mixing hip-hop rhymes with some electronic beats and the outcome, well, out of this world. Kid Cudi will be playing September 9th at the Knitting Factory in NYC. Be on the lookout for other music by him, especially the banger “Day N Nite” remixed by Crookers. Ok so a couple dates for you to check out. I will most definitely be hitting up both NYC shows. I will also give you guys feedback and my opinion of the performances in a later blog. That’s all for now. Keeping it moving, - J.Dayz
On another riveting installment of "Hello, My Name Is…", Love Is All is inspired by espionage, Natalie Portman's Shaved Head conquers the intellectual competition, and Animal Nation gives us a lesson in Latin (maybe).   Markus Görsch (drummer for Swedish punk-popsters Love Is All) explains how an old television program, partly created by Ian Fleming, gave the group their name. "The story of the name Love Is All is this. We had been trying out some ideas with this new band that we started after the end of our old one, "Girlfrendo". So far we didn't really care about finding a name; it just didn't seem relevant since we didn't have any shows and only a handful of unfinished song ideas. For a while we were always coming up with new funny names like "Zunzet", "Boyfrendo", or "Gothenburg Monsters".  Finally we were asked to play our first show at the local indie club Starke Adolf. The evening before they said they needed to print the posters and Josephine and I were watching TV, desperately trying to come up with a name.  "Sports & Weather" came up and even "The News". "It was getting late and finally there was our favorite 60's secret agent show, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. We kind of gave up and just enjoyed watching Napoleon Solo infiltrating this strange hippie sect that was about to take over the world. Over the gate in front of their commune mansion, there was a big sign that looked just like the one in Auschwitz famously saying "Arbeit macht frei", only this one said "LOVE IS ALL!" Josephine immediately said "that's our band name!" I have to admit that I thought it sounded too naive and 60's at first, but I started to like it soon."   Multi-instrumentalist Luke Smith IV, of Natalie Portman's Shaved Head was once an academic jouster just like myself.  My conquests led me to Jockeydom, while his led him to new wave fame (Tip: have a dictionary close by). "The four "founding fathers" of Natalie Portman's Shaved Head musical group met at a small arts-focused high school on the second floor of a food court in the shadow of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington. This being a relatively small, somewhat non-traditional school environment, students would regularly partake in pedagogic competitions as part of class curriculum. On one such occasion in the autumn of 2005, the founding fathers were required to establish a team name for their group in the "Vocabulary Olympics". At this point in history, a young actress named Natalie Portman had recently been shorn of her hair for a film that was at the time unbeknown to the founding fathers. This act of head shaving had set the entertainment news programs, and in turn, the school abuzz with fervent discourse. Ever in touch with the social zeitgeist, the founding fathers used their rapier-sharp wit to devise the piquant moniker "Natalie Portman's Shaved Head". After relishing in the crushing annihilation of their classmates' teams, the founding fathers auspiciously assumed the unconventional title as that of their fledgling--yet ever burgeoning--electro pop rock band. Now nearly three years hence, the appellation has endured as the wunderkinds continue to amass multifarious accolades and abundant success in their enterprises." Like scientists naming species and professors looking to torture students, Animal Nation turned to Latin for their moniker. Steige "Tall Man" Turner elaborates. "So you're after an explanation for the ol' Animal Nation moniker, ehhhh? Good news! There's a real story behind it, and I'm totally not just making this up right now!  Animal Nation comes from the Latin words 'Noitan Lamina', which, loosely translated, means "Ultimate Gods of Rock." We just took the Latin phrase and flipped it around. Noitan Lamina = Animal Nation = Ultimate Gods of Rock. Awesome."   Well there you have it. Link to this article:
This sort of tune is enough to keep me looking for records in dirty basements for the rest of my days. Admittedly, the lyrics aren't really where its at, and the whole thing sort of floats along without anything remarkable in the way of propulsion or percussion. But damned if those sweet, sweeping melodic passages aren't the perfect distillation of a breezy summer afternoon. This track was looped up into Camp Lo's "Luchini" and for good reason, as the bit that becomes Camp Lo's chorus is endlessly replayable and more-than-worthy beatmining material. Truth be told, I can even get with lyrics about "communicating through the music, 'cause that's the only way to lasting harmony," complete with harmony parts, of course, just because I love the instrumental so much and maybe it's not the worst sentiment in the world, after all. Not sure if Dynasty ever hit it big, as I was -4 when this came out, but I'm sure itching to get a copy "I Don't Want to Be a Freak (But I Just Can't Help Myself)" now that this track (and its offspring) have sparked my interest. My goodness, these people knew how to title their songs. Link to this post. Can You Dig It?
What is Grunk Rock? Well the music genre is self-described but the show is sure to please. It's Boston band Humankind who's sounding better than ever with new tracks, yet to be recorded, to dominate the show. If you're in town, hope you can make it; I'll be there! 9/24 Sullivan Hall, New York, NY They're also kind enough to sit for a BTR Live Studio while in town. Keep an eye out for that from DJ Maia!
Chairlift Does You Inspire You It is finally here! After promoting the album on tour with Ariel Pink around the United States, Chairlift have given us their latest project off of Kanine Records, Does You Inspire You. The group came together in 2006 when Patrick (Drums & Percussion) and Caroline (Vocals) attended the same school together in Colorado, later meeting Aaron (guitar) in New York City. Few groups have grown in popularity as quickly as Chairlift, pairing with Columbia Records' MGMT for a few shows before their Does You Inspire You tour even began. You can check out a more complete profile of the group in the BTR archives when Chairlift were dubbed BTR Artist of the Week. More importantly, starting this month you will hear tracks from the new album all over the regularly scheduled BTR playlists. Does You Inspire You switches between intimate live percussion and charming electronic dance tunes. For example, 'Somewhere Around Here' is a soft and smooth ballad with entirely live instrumentation. 'Evident Utensil' (the very next track), however, uses electronic-dance drums and a pulsing-downbeat bass. With these discrepancies, the group somehow maintains its uniquely mysterious and endearing retro-rock feel throughout. In spite of their rapid growth, they still fill the role of a mid-level indie group at least for the time being. That being said, this album arguably has the most potential for popularity out of any September BTR add, even with the particularly high quality of new releases for the month. 10/18/08 9:00pm @ Bowery Ballroom [w/ The Juan Maclean] - New York, NY 10/22/08 8:00pm @ Paradise [ w/ Yeasayer ] - Boston, MA 10/23/08 8:00pm @ Bates University [ w/ Yeasayer ] - Lewiston, ME 10/24/08 8:00pm @ Le National [ w/ Yeasayer ] - Montreal, QC 10/25/08 8:00pm @ Horseshoe Tavern [ w/ Yeasayer ] - Toronto, ON 10/26/08 8:00pm @ The Blind Pig [ w/ Yeasayer ] - Ann Arbor, MI 10/27/08 8:00pm @ Taylor University [ w/ Yeasayer ] - Upland, IA 10/28/08 8:00pm @ Bottom Lounge [ w/ Yeasayer ] - Chicago, IL 10/29/08 8:00pm @ Turner Hall Ballroom [ w/ Yeasayer ] - Milwaukee, WI 10/30/08 8:00pm @ Triple Rock Social Club [ w/ Yeasayer ] - Minneapolis, MN 10/31/08 8:00pm @ Grinnell College [ w/ Yeasayer ] - Grinnell, IO Sebastien Tellier Sexuality From the new artist of the season to the seasoned artist, we turn to Sebastian Tellier, a Frenchman who has released three albums of original content since 2001 (including Sexuality). His song 'Fantino,' from his first album (L'incroyable Vérité)  was chosen by Sophia Coppola for her film, Lost In Translation. Most likely Coppola thought of Tellier for his smooth and airy sexually electronic style. In this vein he is much like the Junior Boys, Cut Copy and even Prince, at times. He's currently touring bars around Europe and most likely selling them out to everyone who has heard the album. Sexuality was produced by Daft Punk's Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. It begins with strictly sex-jams, but quickly turns to pop dance grooves like 'Divine,' a song that won Sebastian recognition when he represented France in the Eurovision Song Contest of 2008. It drew controversy due to its mostly English lyrics, but that was quickly remedied. In spite of his 19 of 25 placing, the song is still quite catchy and complements the album's creamy sexual soundscape beautifully. Also not to be missed are 'Sexual Sportswear,' a Kraftwerk-inspired arpeggiating highway classic, and 'L'Amour Et La Violence,' a spacey outro in prefect Tellier fashion. 9/26/08 8:00pm @ Osophere Festival - Strasbourg, France 9/30/08 8:00pm @ L’Olympia - Paris, France 10/2/08 8:00pm @ Shepherds Bush Empire - London, UK 10/7/08 8:00pm @ Concorde 2 - Brighton, UK 10/22/08 8:00pm @ Magazini Generalli - Milano, Italy 10/23/08 8:00pm @ Circolo Artisti - Roma, Italy 10/24/08 8:00pm @ Tenax - Firenze, Italy 10/25/08 8:00pm @ Hiroshima - Torino, Italy 10/31/08 8:00pm @ Nevers a Vif Festival - Nevers, France 11/3/08 8:00pm @ Le Transbordeur - Lyon, France 11/4/08 8:00pm @ La Coopérative de Mai - Clermont Ferrand, France 11/6/08 8:00pm @ L’Aéronef - Lille, France 11/10/08 8:00pm @ Espace Julien - Marseille, France 11/12/08 8:00pm @ Le Casino - Basel, Switzerland 11/14/08 8:00pm @ Hangar 23 - Rouen, France 11/15/08 8:00pm @ Le Chabada - Angers, France Lykke Li Youth Novels Lykke Li is a delicate singer with a voice much like Joanna Newsome, though not as difficult to come around to. Born in Sweden, Li has spent much of her life traveling all over the world, whether it is living for five years in Portugal, spending winters in Nepal and India or recording her album in New York City. Though it was one of her shortest stays away from home, it could one day prove to be the her important. Her new album, Youth Novels has received quite a bit of recognition due in part to producer Björn Yttling (Peter Björn & John). Once recognized by Stereogum for one of the album's stand out tracks, 'Little Bit,' and performing 'I'm Good, I'm Gone' for the Black Cab Sessions, Li's new album began making the rounds on indie blogs and radio stations. Much like the aforementioned Chairlift album, it is filled with creative live instrumentation and percussion to support and surround the sweet voice of Sweden's new pop-music gem. The best tracks of the album have all been given their proper recognition with single and EP releases including 'Tonight' and 'Breaking It Up,' two perfect examples of Li's great sense of rhythm in bold strength or subtlety. 9/19/08 8:00pm @ Razzmatazz - Barcelona, Spain 9/20/08 8:00pm @ Moby Dick - Madrid, Spain 9/22/08 8:00pm @ AB Club - Brussels, Belgium 9/23/08 8:00pm @ Nouveau Casino - Paris, France 9/24/08 8:00pm @ Paradiso (Upstairs) - Amsterdam, The Netherlands 9/26/08 8:00pm @ Roter Salon - Berlin, Germany 9/27/08 8:00pm @ Ubel & Gefährlich - Hamberg, Germany 9/29/08 8:00pm @ The Plug - Sheffield, UK 10/1/08 8:00pm @ Scala - SOLD OUT - London, UK 10/2/08 8:00pm @ Concorde 2 - Brighton, UK 10/5/08 8:00pm @ Glee Club - Birmingham, UK 10/6/08 8:00pm @ Thekla - Bristol, UK 10/8/08 8:00pm @ Academy 2 - Liverpool, UK 10/9/08 8:00pm @ Cabaret Voltaire - Edinburgh, UK 10/10/08 8:00pm @ The Duchess - York, UK 10/19/08 8:00pm @ Black Cat - Washington, Washington DC 10/20/08 8:00pm @ Music Hall of Williamsburg - New York, NY 10/23/08 8:00pm @ Paradise - Boston, MA 10/24/08 8:00pm @ Mod Club - Toronto, ON 10/25/08 8:00pm @ Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL 10/28/08 8:00pm @ Richards on Richards - Vancouver, BC 10/29/08 8:00pm @ Neumo’s - Seattle, WA 10/30/08 8:00pm @ Doug Fir - Portland, OR 11/1/08 8:00pm @ Independent - San Francisco, CA 11/3/08 8:00pm @ El Rey - Los Angeles, CA Mason Proper Olly Oxen Free Formerly named Patterns in Paris, Mason Proper is an experimental rhythmic folk-rock group from Michigan. Forming in 2004, they toured and wrote music through many of their growing pains (replacing a drummer and gathering a fan base) and ultimately released There is a Moth In Your Chest, after which they were signed to Dovecote records. Jonothan Visger then began writing more music in Michigan for an upcoming LP. After teaming up in part with Chris Coady (TV on the Radio, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blonde Redhead), the project soon turned into their next full-length album. Olly Oxen Free is set for a September 23rd release, but you can find it on Breakthru Radio before any of that. Songs like 'Lock and Key' showcase the group's soft spot for an old rock n' roll rhythm. Moreover, the drums hold a prominent place in the mix, allowing all experimentation and impact to come straight from a rhythmic point of view, especially in songs like 'Downpour.' That being said, however, Visger's vocals and keys along with the white noise created by Matt Thompson allow this band to stretch across genres and remain out of the box, especially with songs like 'Only A Moment' and 'Safe For The Time Being.' 9/18/08 6:00pm @ Whitney Garden Party (semiacoustic thing) - Detroit, MI 9/25/08 9:30pm @ CD Release Party @ The Blind Pig - Ann Arbor, MI 11/1/08 10:00pm @ Small Planet - East Lansing, MI Link to this article:
Here's hoping his lawyer's got a good eye on Discogs, because Gino's stock seems to have been rising of late. "Dancer" remixes abound, as do bootleg edits and counterfeit represses, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a good mix from anyone toiling away in the disco fields that didn't include a Soccio track (or three). "Try It Out" pumps along pleasantly enough indeed, all rock-solid bass groove, relentless chicken scratch, and those ever-enticing hand claps (seriously, can anyone resist them?!). Clearly, some recent favorites within the world of like-minded disco purveyors have copped a few tricks from this particular playbook, but "Try It Out" still stands on its own two, even in the face of comteporary imitators/swagger-jackers. The half-dozen or so Gino Soccio tracks that I've managed to get a hold of on 12" all have an extremely similar sound to them; at the risk of opening the "having a style vs. one trick pony" can of worms, it's worth noting that one editor cleverly collaged this jam and two others into an instrumental megamix of sorts that sounds a whole lot like, well, a single, long Gino Soccio track. The uplifting message of "Try It Out" might turn away some ears, but the funky strut should be enough to hold attention spans for at least four minutes. Interested parties should check Prince Language's wonderful extension of "Love Is" on Editions Disco for further listening. Link to this post. Can You Dig It?
On Monday, October 6th, I plan to officially introduce you to one of my new favorite artist on the Boston Scene. But, well, I really can't wait that long. So as a bit of a sneak preview, allow me to fill you in on one of the most talented artists you'll ever hear. His name is Jesse Dee. He's got Boston written all over him, born and raised in the 'burbs of this fine city. When you look at him and listen to him (and if you're in the Boston area you can do so on September 10th on Fox 25 Morning News), you'll think there's something wrong with the audio and visual output. When I first listened to him, I was sure I was listening to Frank Wilson, or some other great soul singer. Jesse Dee's debut solo album "Bittersweet Batch" is out now. You'll hear plenty of it on the Boston Scene in a few weeks, but in case you have a hankering for some of the freshest, most soulful music right now, I'd suggest checking it out. Visit to get the goods.
Among the most sought after bootlegs of these mixes are the Big Apple Productions records which began to be released around 1982. Up to six volumes of these exist, in several different guises, on labels such as Ouch and Pasha (see Disco Patrick’s site for a complete breakdown), but the ones most highly regarded are the (Orig.) Big Apple Productions on J&T records. While no-one seems to own a J&T copy of Volume One (a B&W version does exist, but Patrick is convinced it’s different), the other mixes are well known and loved by cut-up connoisseurs. Volume Three, made by Danish ex-pat DJ Duke and released in 1987 (although it sounds as if it was recorded much earlier), combines live mixing and cutting with tape editing to produce a classic b-boy jam, merging ‘The Mexican’, ‘Funky President’, ‘The Champ’, ‘It’s Just Begun’ and so on. But it’s Volume Two which really takes the prize. Simply titled ‘Genius at Work’ (as were all of the (Orig.) Big Apple Productions records), and credited mysteriously to ‘Ser and Duff’, Volume Two is actually the work of The Latin Rascals’ Albert Cabrera and Tony Moran, in conjunction with a little-known duo called The Kids from Brazil. Beginning with a series of fast edits designed to imitate a TV changing channels, the mix launches into some classic electro-tinged hip hop before gradually moving into more uptempo territory, cleverly repeating certain parts and skillfully blending others together with gunshot edits and other effects linking it all up. On the evidence of this, Cabrera and Moran’s quick rise to the status of Edit Kings, called upon by all and sundry to rearrange and spice up their tracks – including some stone-cold classic hip hop joints – was inevitable. - Neil McMillan, Big Daddy Magazine, Issue #11, Spring 2002 Link to this post. Can You Dig It?
ok, ok, “with so much drama in the LBC,” right. sampled, edited, chopped and looped by everyone and his mother too. original classic capital-F Funk: drums crispier than a starched shirt, relentless bass throb, and a sweet-voiced crooner on top to ice the cake. one of the more painful end fadeouts of all time. george mccrae - i get lifted Link to this post. Can You Dig It?
This week we crash on the couches of Arizona State University to soak in the Sun Devils and all the music they can burn into our brains. One group learned how to bring together everything their school could offer to form a folk-pop success called What Laura Says. The cast of five just released their Thinks and Feels LP on August 19th, and took some time to tell us the ins and outs of making the most of the college music support system. According to bassist Mitch Freedom, "I formed a great relationship early on with the programming and activities board at ASU, which lead to wonderful training for real-world situations... Also, the fact that we live in a large college town (60,000 strong at ASU) like Tempe certainly helps with attendance at our engagements, both on and off campus." Since then the group has played large venues like the Gammage Auditorium and Wells Fargo Arena, with major groups like The Format, Dear and the Headlights, Straylight Run, Annuals, Maria Taylor, MGMT and Yeasayer. What may have allowed them to maintain such a bond in the beginning was their common interest in studio production courses. Mitch explained how this allowed them to understand their own preferences for the character of the music they each create, ultimately allowing them to come together in a more efficient and cooperative way, thanks to a mutual friend. ASU and their collective passion for music brought them to where they are today, though it was up to them to take advantage of all the university had to offer. "So as you can see," Mitch explained, "Phoenix and Tempe have served as fertile ground on which we have been able to get our music out to a lot of people, while gaining amazing real-world experiences which have properly prepared us for things to come." Thinks and Feels is sure to be found all over the weekly playlists on Breakthru Radio. Take a listen after you take a lesson from this ambitious lot. 9/2/08 7:00pm @ Oz Cafe w/ Dath - Wichita, KS 9/3/08 8:00pm @ Maintenance Shop w/DATH - Ames, IA 9/4/08 8:00pm @ The Bottom Lounge w/DATH - Chicago, IL 9/5/08 7:00pm @ Rockstar at Peabodys w/DATH - Cleveland, OH 9/6/08 9:00pm @ The Picador - Iowa City, IA 9/7/08 9:00pm @ Jackpot Music Hall - Lawrence, KS 9/9/08 8:00pm @ The Marquee - Tulsa, OK 9/10/08 9:00pm @ Hailey’s - Denton, TX 9/11/08 10:00pm @ Stubb’s BBQ - Austin, TX 9/12/08 8:00pm @ Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar - San Antonio, TX 9/19/08 10:00pm @ Bar Pink Elephant - San Diego, CA 9/20/08 9:00pm @ Spaceland - Los Angeles, CA 9/21/08 10:00pm @ Beatles Revolution Lounge - Las Vegas, NV 9/23/08 8:00pm @ Blakes on Telegraph - Berkley, CA 9/26/08 8:00pm @ The Clubhouse w/DATH - Tempe, AZ Link to this article:
Well, it wasn't too long ago that i was sitting in Pospect Park in Brooklyn, NY listening to my favorite dobro player. About a month ago, Jerry Douglas held a free concert in the Bandshell. Of course this was not my first time hearing him, since my dad became unimpressed with the transformation of rock from the Winter Brothers, Neil Young, and the like to 80's glam pop, he quickly switched from synth influenced rock to its organic roots: bluegrass. So since i was born in 1985, the pluck of a banjo or strum of a mandolin has had the effect of a pacifier. Now Jerry Douglas is no rookie to the world of bluegrass. He has been releasing albums since 1977 whether they be solo, with Peter Rowan, Strength in Numbers, Alison Krauss, or even Paul Simon. So seeing this master play a free show in the middle of Brooklyn was quite the delight for me. It was great to see so many fans there, and so many other people just interested in the strange sounds that differed so much from the noise one usually hears spilling out of cars with subwoofers at least as large as their rims. Of course he played some oldies, but he also played some songs off his new cd: Glide. He explained that he named it that because when he wrote the songs he was going for that feeling you get while taking an easy drive, or calmly skiing down the mountain. Just a smooth, easy going, glide. And i suggest you have a listen, its really a great album.
Cerrone—one of the great Italo-disco innovators, producers, and musicians—was most interesting in the 1970s (in my humble opinion). Along with Giorgio Morodor, Cerrone made disco into what it's perceived as today—in both a good and a bad sense. I'm enraptured by the stuff he was doing in the early- and mid-1970s, though, because none of it was specifically disco in theme. His work with Kongas, one of his first bands, was more world music in tone than dancey disco; his early solo efforts (“Love in C Minor”) had the faint whiff of disco, but they're tough to classify solely as such. Cerrone's musical tastes were all over the map and certainly wouldn't lead one to believe that he would become such a mega-producer. The guy grew up on Otis Redding, after all! Don Ray—an early Raymond Donnez band—was one of the first groups Cerrone was in, and while it was only around for only a year or two, it put out quite a bit of stuff. They released one LP—The Garden of Love—and a handful of singles and 12”s, and while all the songs rock in this weird sort of world music-cum-funk/soul with a twist of disco, my favorite tends to be the overlook “Garden of Love,” a slow, yet super danceable and rhythmic pop song from thirty years ago. People like Cerrone inspire and allure me in their ability to take in so much and filter it all out into something concise and distinctly their own. While Cerrone has been behind a tremendous variety of music over the past three decades or so, there's a consistency to him that's unusual. He's someone you can't help but want to know everything about; one of those artists who you can't help but want to delve deep into their discography. Link to this post. To read more from Tristan, go to BiBaBiDi
Welcome to another rip-roaring installment of our recurring "Hello, My Name Is" feature here on BTR! We do have some good anecdotes this week.. The Walkmen Fresh off the release of their latest long player You & Me, The Walkmen are currently touring throughout the Pacific Northwest. We caught up with drummer Matt Barrick to get the story on how the band got their name. "I don't think there is a very interesting story," he says. "None of us are particularly fond of the name. It was a long time ago, just a random thing, I think Walt (Martin, organ/bass) came up with it, but it might have been Hamilton (Leithauser vocals/guitar). And, we just had a long list of bad names, and we just sort of crossed them off, you know, then we had our first show, and we just had to have a name, so we picked one," finishes Barrick. " It doesn't  really make for a great story." A.i. A power trio from West Los Angeles, A.i. have had the weird experience of first being signed to a major label, only to end up going the independent route due to the nature of their hard-to-market, electronically-based music.  "We used to be playing in the back of our folks' house, when we were youngsters, you know, doing a little psychedelia and writing songs," says lead singer Nick Young. "Pablo (Manazarek) brought over his Dad's (Ray Manzarek of The Doors) keyboards, all these really cool synthesizers and stuff, and we started experimenting with writing with electronics, with triggers and electronic drums. My younger brother has a really unique drum set with about 19 triggers on it, so he can play electronic drums with his live drums. Anyway, he was in his dentist's office, and he read an article on Artificial Intelligence, and it clicked, like, 'hey, this would be a cool name for a band.' It just stuck with us." "We came up with it way before that movie came out," he laughs. What an awesome dentist office! Mine always had nothing but those lame Highlights magazines, for kids, you know, with the Timbertoes? The Brobecks What, on Earth, is a Brobeck? "It is the name of a girl who Mike Gross (guitar) and Dallon  Weekes (lead vocals) went to high school with," says Dave Chisholm, the former trumpet and keys player for the Salt Lake City, Utah-based band. "She always got called to the office, but nobody knew her. The name is an ode to the unpopular, so to speak." How interesting is that! A girl who is always being heard over the intercom, being called to the office, yet no one really knows who she is. Kind of creepy, actually. Link to this article:
I'm surprised that Lizzy Mercier Descloux—a Corsican who moved to New York City to record in the late-1970s—hasn't resurged in a major way in the 21st century. She preempted a lot of today's fascination with “worldbeat” music—from Vampire Weekend to White Rabbits to Chester French—and isn't properly admired for that. Descloux met some pretty neat people while residing in N.Y.C. and wound up signing to the seminal ZE Records, on which she released all of her stuff. Press Color, her debut eight-track LP, has been expanded since its 1979 release... and that's a very good thing! The album was wrongly pigeonholed as being a No Wave release, which may be true to an extent (there's a noisy, erratic nature to the thing), but is undeniably an over-simplification. Her second long-player, Mambo Nassau, was recorded in the Bahamas; he third, Mais où Sont Passées les Gazelles, was put together in various African states; obviously, the woman was a true world music innovator. In the 1990s, Descloux did some sporadic musical work, but seemingly lost the plot and moved to Corsica to paint and write. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and died in 2004, many, many years before anyone expected her to pass. I love the abrasive funk of Descloux's work. She got smoother and a little less edgy after Press Color, but never lost her wacky sensibilities and whimsical creativity. I love how she covered the Mission Impossible theme on Press Color, for example—few would be able to pull such a feat without trivializing their record. While Descloux was a substantial figure in the late-1970s and 1980s in the N.Y.C. music scene, she's often overlooked while folks like Glenn Branca, Brian Eno, Thurston Moore, and Arto Lindsay get all the attention. There's no doubt in my mind that she was a valuable member of that “scene,” though, and she incorporated a lightness and vitality into her music (that always reminds me of the work of Plastics for some reason) that was all but vanished during that musical epoch. Link to this post. To read more from Tristan, go to BiBaBiDi
It's cliche to say old songs sound new again, but some times that just seems the case. I've long said music can bring you back to a time or evoke an emotion or two. I try to encapsilate less mushyness, but ocassionally on my shows I'll pull out a track or two from that period a year ago, typically a track or artist I played ad naseum either on BTR or in my own apartment. Next week look for a few of those, I'll no doubt call out as summer of 2007 saw such repete-ables as Animal Nation, Standfast, and Kellie Coffey. And if there's a track that you haven't heard in a while (a year or whatever), don't hesitate to request it or more by that artist/band! Hit me up on the interwebs at Can't remember the name or artist? There's always that handy multimedia archive...
Catch your last festivals of the summer! Tune into BTR and myself and fellow DJs will tell you where to hit that last roadtrip of the summer, or perhaps even where in your area you can catch one!
Brian Eno's post-Roxy Music and pre-hyper-prolific 1980s phase is vastly overlooked for a couple reasons: one, he didn't pump out all that much stellar material until 1978's Music for Films (no offense to hardcore Eno fanatics) and two, he hadn't fully discovered his strengths. His early stuff—to me, anyway—is sort of drab and not as conceptually appealing as his “soundtrack”/ambient efforts... or even his No New York compilation. When it comes to collaboration, Eno is best known for his work with David Byrne (My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Everything that Happens Will Happen Today) and middle-of-the-road production duties for U2 and, most recently, Coldplay. For some reason, though, his 1977 work with the German group Cluster (under the creative moniker, Cluster & Eno) is practically ignored. Cluster was formed in 1970 and made a name for itself with its 1971 LP, Cluster 71 (these utilitarian Germans!), an intense electronic odyssey through waves of ethereal noise, ambient ruminations, and quasi-krauty progressions. A lot of Cluster's stuff actually resembles Eno's more prominent releases (the Ambient series, for example)... all of which came after 1977! I'm maintaining that Cluster & Eno forever effected the sonic genius and enlightened auteur and actually conditioned him for his stranger electronic works. Check out “Ho Renomo” to fully understand what I'm talking about here. The entire album is impressive in its uncanny ability to convey so much emotion without words. With a variety of watery, fluid loops and experimental textures, Cluster & Eno evokes endless sentiment and clearly represents Eno's first “step” to fully forming his then nascent aesthetics and musical styles. Link to this post. To read more from Tristan, go to BiBaBiDi
All aboard the All Points West Express. The inaugural music and arts festival had a green mindset (recycling for swag, encouraging the use of mass-transit, free water spigot sites), big names (Radiohead, Kings of Leon, The Roots), and a great sound system. No muffled lyrics here, just pure sonic bliss. The highlight of the festival (besides Radiohead of course) came from an artist who never laid a finger on an instrument. Pittsburgh's Gregg Gillis simply set up a wooden table on stage with two laptops, and one had the initials GT adorning the front. You could feel the excitement of the crowd as two stage maestros dressed as cops brought out copious amounts of toilet paper and custom designed leaf blowers. The opening notes of "Once Again" started the set and an explosion of bodies rushed from backstage. These lucky participants hooted and hollered to the pleasure of everyone while tossing swimming toys, TP, and large condom shaped balloons into the crowd. The sensation reminded me of my first two years of college, as random groping and grinding occurred throughout. Gregg asserted his dominance with two events: 1) He had the whole crowd bumping to Kelly Clarkson, and 2) He tossed a pool lounge chair into the audience and took a flying leap onto it as his adoring fans held him up. I have seen fun in its purest form, thy name be Girl Talk. Brazilian funky bunch CSS did not disappoint as they cycled through almost every song from their new album, Donkey. Love Foxxx was wearing a colorful (to say the least) ensemble that looked like she just tussled with a piñata, barely survived, and wore its streamer entrails as a trophy. The group invited two neon aerobic dancers on stage that presented different dances for almost every song. During "Alcohol" Love Foxxx asked one of them, "What's your favorite mixed drink?" and the dancer quickly responded with "Alcohol". Cat Power looked healthy and happy as she playfully hugged friends off stage during the opening riffs of her set. I overheard a number of festers inquiring about who she was and what kind of music she played, and one girl even had the nerve to say that she sounded like Fiona Apple. I quickly whipped around and informed her that Chan was five years her senior and released her first album one year before Apple. ANYWAY, Cat Power lured many fans into her loving arms as she sang with a ferociousness that cleared the rain away and summoned much needed sunlight. Grizzly Bear shined through with harmonies and reverb that lulled listeners into a dream state. Their last album, Yellow House, is the kind of record you can't appreciate on the first listen. You must delve into it repeatedly to appreciate every nuance of the glockenspiel and the banjo. Group founder Ed Droste even pulled out an ivory recorder similar to the ones music teachers passed out in elementary school. In the end, their live set was much friendlier and the crowd proved it while swaying to and fro to the delightful melodies of "On A Neck, On A Spit".   One aspect of All Points West that had me overjoyed was the contingent of world acts in attendance. Malian king & queen of funk, Amadou & Mariam, showed up ready to shake it down. Side by side they churned out hit after hit that caused a stir in everyone's joints. Amadou sported a gold guitar that would have made Elvis jealous. Brazilian jam band Forro In The Dark kept the soul train moving with percussion work that was pied piper like. They brought out special guest Miho Hatori for three songs, including fan favorite "Paraiba". Mexican acoustic metal duo Rodrigo y Gabriela didn't even speak a word, but one could argue that they didn't have to. Their fine tuned fingers amazed the audience, especially Gabriela who looked like she was just shaking her hand wildly against her guitar. Of course, there was also some band named Radiohead that closed out two nights. One fact that I noticed and loved was that they don't ever announce who they are or where they're from. After watching their performance, in the immortal words of  Notorious B.I.G, "If you don't know, now you know…" All in all, this was a fantastic start to what will hopefully be an annual event for the tri-state area. Cheers to AEG LIVE/Goldenvoice for bringing the spirit of Coachella to the east coast. Link to this article:
I'm just wondering why no one has selected this song for the competition thus far. Click and chuckle away. Asianly yours, Phil
Step-Brothers Though there is no official soundtrack, the music that propels this ridiculous and predictably hilarious comedy cries out for it. 'Step-Brothers' is another collection of slapstick and otherwise dimwitted humor (exactly how it should be) from Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, last seen together in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.  But what is most impressive, other than the unexpected enjoyment of yet another Will Ferrell movie (that initially appeared in commercials as if it would be the last one you could ever see) are the eclectic set of artists that surround the instant original classics featured in the movie, like "Hairy Balls" by John C. Reilly or "Boats 'N Hoes," a duet by both of the leading actors. Getting beyond the less thoughtful choices of "You Make My Dreams Come True'"(Hall & Oates), "Sweet Child O' Mine" (Guns n' Roses), "This is How We Do It" (Montell Jordan) or even "The Impression That I Get'" (Mighty Mighty Bosstones), there are a few more interesting compositions. For example,  LCD Soundsystem makes an appearance with "North American Scum;" a song that hit the ground running since its release in February 2007. Also, the versatile Vampire Weekend show up early in the movie with "A-Punk," an internet-exhausted bright and poppy single. Even the Kinks have "Father Christmas" toward the end of all the lunacy, but probably the most interesting project is Jon Brion's "Back and Forth" and the rest of the film score. Wilco and Deerhoof worked with Brion, adding a strange twist of experimentation to a modern Marx-brothers goof off. It would be unsurprising to see Sony release a soundtrack for the film, though they've missed quite a window of promotional opportunity. Some of the indie track choices for a blockbuster as large as this are encouraging, though they somehow remain overshadowed by the mid to late-nineties college dorm room party selections. See the movie for its comedy, stay for Jon Brion, laugh at Montell Jordan when he explains, "So I reach for my 40 as I turn it up, designated driver got the keys to my truck." The songs and artists: "A-Punk " - Vampire Weekend "North American Scum" - LCD Soundsystem "Hairy Balls" - John C. Reilly "Captain Benevant & His Ragtag Crew" - Adam McKay and Steve Weisberg "Ice Ice Baby" - Vanilla Ice "Breathe and Stop" - Q-Tip "Sweet Child O' Mine" - Guns & Roses "Brother" - Lee Ferrell and Hal Radcliff "Learn" - Dizzee Rascal "You Make My Dreams" - Hall & Oates "This is How We Do It" - Montell Jordan "Live on Stage" - Dilated Peoples "Tristan and Isolde" - Richard Wagner "Something to Talk About" - Will Ferrell "You're on My Mind" - KO & the Knockouts "Under Pressure" - Oz Ravbon and Amir Efrat "Boats 'N Hoes" - Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly "A Marshmallow World" - Brenda Lee "Family Bible" - Rick Logan "Back and Forth" - Jon Brion "Slow Burn" - Set the Control "Keeping the Faith" - Billy Joel "The Longest Time" - Billy Joel "Por Ti Volare" - Will Ferrell "Father Christmas" - Kinks "The Impression That I Get" - Mighty Mighty Bosstones "Derby Day" -  Cheeseburger Link to this article:
When Nas came out with Hip-Hop Is Dead in 2006, I agreed with him. But now more than ever it seems that there is this influx of new, young, intelligent rappers talking about stuff besides girls and money. You know…The Cool Kids, Kid Cudi, Lupe Fiasco, Cadence Weapon, etc. Add Jaboy Fry to this ever growing list. Jaboy Fry Link to this post. To read more from Tristan, go to The Tape
You all know Mr. Shaquille O’Neal loves to run his mouth. Who could forget him asking Kobe how his ass tasted? Or that time he was in the Aaron Carter video. A slightly lesser known fact is that Shaq is an accomplished rap artist. With songs like “I Know I (Got Skillz)” and “I Hate 2 Brag” we can hardly complain. I’d just like to take a moment to acknowledge that this man is 7 feet tall and weighs 325 pounds. And he raps. He raps! His beats are not unlike other early 90s rap artists (LL Cool J, anyone?). But his lyrics are what sets him apart from the rest. All the songs on his album Shaq Diesel appear to be about how awesome he is. And like, shit. He’s outstanding. Not musically, no, but I can’t remember a time when I’ve been so thoroughly entertained by listening to music. Shaquille O’Neal - I Hate 2 Brag Link to this post. To read more from Tristan, go to The Tape
  I bought this for only one reason: Drowned in Sound have been going on about with such enthusiasm I thought I’d better give it a try.  And were they right?  Well they were right about something - there’s definitely something quite amazing going on here.  I don’t think I like much of it, but it’s fucking brilliant at the same time, if you get my drift. It sounds like a deranged musical, somewhere in between Rocky Horror and Moulin Rouge.  The pirhouetting falsetto is so extreme that I spent most of the first listen waiting for the Serious Indie Voice kick in, which it never does.  As I listen to this the phrase ‘you have got to be fucking joking’ is never far from my thoughts.  It’s nuts - what the fuck are they trying to do? I’m honestly flabberghasted.  Songs like The Devil’s Crayon are basically just brilliant pop songs, but most of the rest of it is so camp, so theatrical, so melodramatic it exceeds any scale I have for these kinds of things.  Again though, I think this album is brilliant, not because I am likely to listen to it - it’s a bit much for my conservative indie tastes - but because it’s just so bold and direct and shameless.  Who the fuck invested in these guys - what balls!  Not that I can’t see what he saw, in a sense, but in an era of so much conservatism by nervy record labels, something this creative must represent taking a hefty chance. What an amazing record.  As you can probably tell, I have no idea what to make of it, but I can’t help but be impressed. Link to this post. To read more from Kristian, go to Song By Toad
Sunroom Sunroom is an acoustic trio consisting of guitarist/vocalist Ryan Hobler, pianist Elliot Sneider and bassist Ethan Halpern. Hailing from in and around New York City, the group calls their music "postmodern folksicana". They just recently released their self -titled debut CD, which was recorded this past June in an East Village Apartment. Ryan explains how they came up with their name: "The name came from the literal room in my mom's house. But the name has multiple meanings to me. The first one that comes to mind is sentimental, really. When my family first moved into that house, the sunroom became the de facto family room. It was where my sister, my brother and I used to play, fight, and watch movies together. Later on, when my siblings and I got older, I sort of commandeered the room, and I definitely did some writing and playing in there (my little brother has now inherited it since I've moved out) but I also did a lot of early recordings of my songs in that room. It became sort of my own personal laboratory, where I learned how to wear 2 different hats, as a producer/engineer and as a performer.  Like 5 years ago, I visited Sun Studios in Memphis - you know the studio where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, started out and did their first records - and it really inspired me and I began ascribing the name "Sunroom" to anything and everything I could. The fake production company on my resume is "Sunroom Music." My non-existent forthcoming solo album is called Sunroom. I am glad Elliot and Ethan liked the name because I probably would have named my first born "Sunroom" if they hadn't. I really like the name because it sounds hopeful and warm, like a room you'd like to hang out in, have a cup of coffee, chat with a friend, and relax. Plus, I don't have any windows at work, either." Sep 12 at The Living Room in New York, NY Sep 25 at The Dog and Pony @ Grey NYC in New York, NY Bo and the Locomotive The name Bo and the Locomotive is not what it may appear to be. It is actually the solo project of Bo Bulawsky, a multi-instrumentalist from St. Louis, Missouri. He is also the guitarist for Berlin Whale and Cold Bear Scout. Here is how Bo decided to name his own project: "When I first started out playing music and shows, I went simply by the name Bo, my first name. The more I played, the more I kind of realized I wanted to have a little more substance behind the name. One day I sat down and just in my head rattled off a bunch of names. I started out with one word descriptors, like my own name, and then I decided to keep my own name in the title somehow. But I really almost despise names like mine, almost. What I really hate is pluralized names. For example, John and the Invaders, or Bob Jones and the Deodorants, or something like that. Although it's not always true, names like that seem to compromise the other members of the band. So I came up with a list of Bo and the ----- (blank) names, and in the end came down to Bo and the Locomotive. I liked the ring of it, and the mental image that it creates when I think of it as a whole. I wanted to have a name that allows the music to be driven by something other than myself. And since I was a solo artist, 'The Locomotive' became my alter ego in a way. Also, I like the fact that when you break down the word, you get two words, loco and motive - crazy motive, which someone else pointed out to me, right after I began using that name. I'm not huge on word play, but it says a lot. In my opinion, a band name is a word or two or three or more that is chosen not really out of great meaning, but of imagery. It’s the only chance a band has to describe themselves without anyone knowing anything about them; a good band name will help an unknown band quite a lot. However, if The Beatles were a shitty band, their name would have sounded just as bad." The Ghost of the Forest Robby Ritter, Collin Loveless, John Bloch, Josh Swindle, Noah Blackwell, Luke Ritter and Kelly Reed are the 7 humans that make up St. Louis outfit Ghost of the Forest. Robby Ritter (piano, vocals, guitar, synch, drums, bass, and trumpet) tells us the mystery behind their name: "Well, it all started back in 2006. I was a bright starry-eyed child, looking for love in all the wrong places. One day I was driving to my school, and I saw these woods, and I was like, man, it would be sweet to play a show in the woods, and then the name The Ghost of the Forest hit me. The first song I recorded under this new name was heavily influenced by Liars. I knew this would be my new style, dark, scary, and awesome! Shortly after this I wrote the song "OH", which is on our new album My Time to Die and realized that in my heart; I was a pop song writer. The next song I recorded was 'We Are Men' which quickly rose to number 15 on the charts. I knew that I must start a real band. Collin and I played 'We Are Men' at our school's talent show. It went over pretty well, and we decided that it was time for the big leagues. We started asking friends to join the band. Our debut show was May 28th at Lemp Arts Center with Berlin Whale and Frog Eyes. Since then we have added new members and lost old ones, but we have finally found our sound and are ready to take the indie world by storm!" Sep 12 (LAST TGOTF SHOW EVER) at Lemp Arts Center in St. Louis, MO Link to this article:
This is an oddly difficult review to write, not because I don’t know what I want to say, but because it seems to be a slightly silly statement to make in the first place. Basically, for all there are a lot of songs I love on this record I find myself not quite clicking with the album for some reason. No idea why. Maybe the pace is a little more homogeneous their inspired Bows + Arrows from a few years back, maybe the raw bite of that record has been slightly dulled by slicker production and slightly gentler arrangements Donde Esta la Playa is brilliant, On the Water and In the New Year are just superb and then, just as you think the album’s tailing off, New Country and I Lost You make an appearance. Maybe this is just indicative of being in the process of learning to appreciate an album. When I first heard this I heard a couple of good songs and precious little else. As I’ve listened to it more and more, however, more and more of the songs have slowly made themselves known - Red Moon is bloody gorgeous by the way - so maybe in a couple of weeks I’ll suddenly realize that I love the album as a whole, but for now it seems oddly less than the sum of its parts. Leithauser’s voice is strained, but a thing of beauty nonetheless, and the low-fi, de-tuned sound The Walkmen seem to favour is frankly fucking brilliant, as far as I’m concerned. There may not be a venomous equivalent to The Rat on this record, but it is packed full of excellent nonentheless. Link to this post. To read more from Kristian, go to Song By Toad
School is back in session and that means you will need some great tunes to listen to between classes (or, let's be real, when you are procrastinating on getting your work done). Therefore, BTR has compiled a list of fantastic new music that we have in rotation, which we think you need to have spinning on your iPod. Lykke Li - Youth Novels The debut album from this Swedish phenom is a must-have for any indie music lover. Lykke Li (aka Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson) provides listeners with electro-pop at its finest. The music is a bit spacey and disconnected, but somehow  it all flows.  Highly  recommended  for any true music lovers' collection. Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line Thank good ol' Wikipedia for helping me figure out what a "rhumb line" was. According to the magnificent wonder that is Wikipedia, a rhumb line is "a line crossing all meridians at the same angle, i.e. a path of constant bearing".  It's also the name of a bar in Gloucester, Massachusetts, which was also the hometown of John Pike (the band's former drummer who tragically passed away earlier this year). The title of the album holds much meaning, as the band is continuing on a path and fulfilling a dream that they had with their former drummer.  Pike was a huge contributor to the new album and his legacy lives on in a bold and beautiful way. The music on this album is the perfect blend of intelligence, poignant lyrics and fun pop melodies. You would be doing yourself a grave disservice if you did not add this to your collection immediately. of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping Does this one really need any explanation? Of Montreal's much anticipated ninth studio album, Skeletal Lamping is due out on October 7th on Polyvinyl Records (just in time for midterms). However, we at BTR already have our hands on the first single "Id Engager" which is getting heavy rotation on the site. Listen up for this track and any other newbies we come across and let the countdown to the release date begin (48 days for those of you wondering). Now load up your favorite BTR shows in you MP3 player... and get to class! Link to this article:
I never asked Langhorne Slim for an interview at Pickathon, and I think it was due to a needless inferiority complex. See, I was contacted by a publicity company about his new album - one of the shiny ones from New York with a good logo, an impressive portfolio of bands, and with a habit of sending a string of stellar press quotes with each email - so I basically assumed he was likely to think Song, by Toad somewhat beneath his station. Having actually met the man himself at the festival, and found him to be one of the nicest, most unaffected and most sincere chaps you could ever hope to meet, I really regret not asking. But never mind, one for the future, hopefully. The performance was another one up at the Woods Stage, all leafy backdrop and enchanted splinters of sunlight. It was a pretty basic setup, but Sean is one of these guitarists who can make an almighty racket when he chooses, or slow things down to a wonderful suffusion of sadness and regret, which makes for a really emotionally varied and captivating show. He seems to have quite a visceral connection with music too, because within a song he asks us all to stand up and show him that we love to dance (which I don’t, incidentally, but it’s the thought that counts). In fact the dancing theme surfaces a couple of times actually, and between that, the desire to have the audience on its feet and the physical contortions which performing his songs seems to require bring the picture of someone who is simply allowing the music to course through him straight to you, with barely a shred of interpretation on the way. The music is this particular way because it was born this way, not because he is trying to make it this way. Shorn of the horns and the banjo and the electric guitar of the album the songs are all performed in a largely acoustic fashion, but not for a second do these versions want for the energy of their recorded counterparts. The high tempo ones are as captivating as the sad ones are affecting, and it doesn’t take much for the underlying pathos of even the more upbeat numbers to suddenly be pushed to fore. With little more than a line about heartbreak and subtle shift in the rhythm a song which was charging forwards stops dead, disconcertingly pausing for reflection and making you feel slightly ashamed of bouncing back and forth to a song which it turns out is essentially about abandonment and loss. In the long run though, you find yourself as swept up by the whirlwind of the performance as the band themselves seem to be, and despite the occasional excursions into sadness, this is at its heart an uplifting, enthralling performance that left both myself and my Midget Companion buzzing with excitment for the rest of the day. Brilliant. And such a nice fellow too. If ever anyone deserved to be this talented it is this man. Link to this post. To read more from Kristian, go to Song By Toad
The first set of acts have been announced for the annual CMJ Music Marathon, which will take place between October 21st and 25th throughout New York City. Among these artists are Deerhoof, Sian Alice Group, The Mae Shi, The Virgins, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, the Cool Kids, Ariel Pink, Gang Gang Dance, Yip-Yip,  Dungen, Fiasco, Takka Takka, Oxford Collapse, Monotonix, Jay Reatard, Broken Social Scene, Cotton Jones, Octopus Project, Fujiya and Miyagi and many, many more. Of course, you can check out the full line-up thus far on the CMJ website, but just in case you're disappointed with only one-hundred and fifty-eight bands, remember: this is only the first set of announced acts. As usual, the CMJ Music Marathon has a million other events to go to, in case that your schedule (and the schedule of the 89,999 other attendants) is not already filled by the half-hour with every group you could ever want to hear. Events like discussion panels (with and without special guests), movie showings and industry parties, such as this year's first ever College Radio Mixer. So far the panel topics include 'Bands as Brands,' 'Internationally Licensing the Future,' 'Essential Resources for Independent Labels,' 'A New Media Fat Trimming Session,' and 'Artist Managers: The New Labels?' There are even mentoring and legal seminars. If you're a college student, it is the perfect time to learn as much as possible before stepping into the unknown world of tomorrow's music industry. If you're out of college, it is the perfect time to learn as much as possible before stepping into the unknown world of tomorrow's music industry. You could also stick around to see if your college music station receives any awards for their improved programming or stellar listenership at the College Radio Awards. Check back to Breakthru Radio for all your CMJ news and everything independent. Link to this article:
  Well the series bumbles on into its final installment.  I am writing this from Vancouver Airport, waiting for a connection to Portland, so what better way to fill the time than with needless blathering about things I don’t really understand.  It’s taken a while to post, but I thought I’d finish this off before getting into all the Portland stuff and forever banishing the whiff of leeks from these pages.  Well, maybe not forever, but erm, well… oh never mind. Once again, here are the various articles that prompted this little festival of self-indulgence, so you have some idea what to expect: A Penny For Your Thoughts by The Vinyl Villain (read the comments as well, because some of them are very thought-provoking. Does the World Need Another Indie Band? by Tim Walker, writing in The Independent. Why Has Modern Music Lost So Much Impact? by the Kings of A&R. This comment, from a reader called Alex in the comment thread of my recent podcast - The Tribecast. And here are the other posts in the series: 1. Fragmentation 2. Over Saturation 3. Hype Overload 4. Quality #4 Decreasing Quality Reading JC’s article in particular put me in mind of this common complaint, and some of the commenters pushed the point even further.  Modern music is shit - where are the great bands?  Where, in particular, are the next Smiths, for example? I can’t, and won’t, argue that there is a current band that I could honestly describe as the new Smiths.  But then, there wasn’t an old Smiths either.  You are talking about the very cream of the crop - that sort of band come along maybe once a decade, don’t they?  Radiohead for the 90s, I suppose, and erm, who for the noughties?  I really am not sure, so I can see where he’s coming from in that respect. I don’t, predictably enough, agree entirely though.  One of the things JC seems to be doing, as do a lot of the people who criticise a living music scene by comparing it unfavourably to the past, is ignoring the fact of hindsight.  It’s easy to tell that the Smiths were something special, because we can look back on anything and everything that was around at the time and evaluate them in a relatively dispassionate way - something we just can’t do for anything current.  The Stone Roses first and the early Radiohead albums stand up very strongly in retrospect, but as we get closer to the present day how can we tell how good the bands are that we’re listening to now? A couple of the groups mentioned in the comment thread on JC’s post are DeVotchKa and Calexico, but these bands are both a good solid handful of albums into their careers by now.  Think back over the last couple of years and the records that made real impact: LCD Soundsystem, Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, The White Stripes - all these bands have pretty broad appeal, but only the White Stripes are more than a couple of albums into their careers, and we just don’t know who is going to be remembered from this era yet.  If the Arctic Monkeys continue to peter out, then maybe they’ll be forgotten about altogether.  It would just take one more brilliant album from any of these groups to cement their reputation as one of the really key bands of the first decade of this century.  Do we really think that the riff from Seven Nation Army is going to be less memorable in ten years than Johnny Marr’s equally iconic performance on How Soon is Now?  I know there’s more to genius that a few memorable riffs, but I think the more general point still stands. The other question is this: who even remembers the Kasabian of the 80s anyway?  We can look back on the 90s now and identify bands like Blur and Pulp, Radiohead and early James as iconic and brilliant.  But how many Menswears and Kula Shakers are we consigning to the dustbins of forgetfullness in order to do so?  If no-one gives much of a fuck about the View now, then their memory may not survive the next full moon, never mind twenty years worth of rosy-tinted nostaligia. Then again, as popular entertainment has made ever-greater inroads into the world of indie, having realised that there was a sizable market out there that their dancing karaoke whores were not capable of suitably exploiting, it seems that the world of indie is being over-run by preening, prancing piss-artists like the Hoosiers, Joe Lean and the Short Tight Pants, that one who’s pumping, er… Kate Moss.  Whoever they are.  They’re shit, anyway.  This is indie rock as commerical product, but it must be remembered that in no meaningful way is it actually indie.  It’s a branch of the celebrity industry, approached as such, and does not deserve our attention.  The bands are in it for the fame, the coke and the floosies, the music is fucking dreadful, and the marketing spend in proportion to investment in the actual ‘product’ is repellently high.  This last one is always a good metric to use when considering whether or not something might just be fucking rubbish. At the other end of the scale, there are a lot of piss-poor bedroom bands reaching out using MySpace and the like, and we have a lot more contact with them than before because they can reach us directly.  They don’t need the middle-man, who might just have pointed out that they are shit, and so our MySpace inboxes are clogged with shit by groups that barely deserve to call themselves bands, nevermind command anyone’s ears. If you’re used to listening to all this stuff because you want the buzz of that one exciting discovery, then you really do have to stop moaning and just accept it.  The people who got to be the arbiters of what was and wasn’t worth our time before the internet all had to wade through this stuff, so if we want to liberate ourselves from being told what to like, then we have to do the work that goes with it.  With great power comes gr… er, sorry, wrong speech.  The other option is to quitchabitchin and just find a few bloggers and a couple of radio stations that you trust and let them do it for you.  If you want to participate, you are just going to have to put the time in to listen. So although I wouldn’t say that there are fewer great bands out there, I would certainly concede that we have exposure to far more really shit ones.  But as for greatness, I just don’t think we can tell right now what is going to be remembered in twenty years.  And I also think we conveniently forget all the crap that there was milling about on the airwaves at the time we thought the Smiths were so great.  I can see how you would get full, too.  After thirty-odd years scouring the country for great new bands, like JC has, there must come a point where you’re just full up.  There is a limit to the amount of music we can really find special, because if there was more of it then it would by definition be less special, but I really don’t buy the argument that bands then were better than they are now. And as Mrs. Toad is whispering in my ear, great bands tend to be born into times of economic hardship - it’s what makes the release all the more euphoric - so you never know, we could be on the cusp of great things over the next five years or so. Link to this post. To read more from Kristian, go to Song By Toad
  Well the series bumbles on into its final installment.  I am writing this from Vancouver Airport, waiting for a connection to Portland, so what better way to fill the time than with needless blathering about things I don’t really understand.  It’s taken a while to post, but I thought I’d finish this off before getting into all the Portland stuff and forever banishing the whiff of leeks from these pages.  Well, maybe not forever, but erm, well… oh never mind. Once again, here are the various articles that prompted this little festival of self-indulgence, so you have some idea what to expect: A Penny For Your Thoughts by The Vinyl Villain (read the comments as well, because some of them are very thought-provoking. Does the World Need Another Indie Band? by Tim Walker, writing in The Independent. Why Has Modern Music Lost So Much Impact? by the Kings of A&R. This comment, from a reader called Alex in the comment thread of my recent podcast - The Tribecast. And here are the other posts in the series: 1. Fragmentation 2. Over Saturation 3. Hype Overload 4. Quality #4 Decreasing Quality Reading JC’s article in particular put me in mind of this common complaint, and some of the commenters pushed the point even further.  Modern music is shit - where are the great bands?  Where, in particular, are the next Smiths, for example? I can’t, and won’t, argue that there is a current band that I could honestly describe as the new Smiths.  But then, there wasn’t an old Smiths either.  You are talking about the very cream of the crop - that sort of band come along maybe once a decade, don’t they?  Radiohead for the 90s, I suppose, and erm, who for the noughties?  I really am not sure, so I can see where he’s coming from in that respect. I don’t, predictably enough, agree entirely though.  One of the things JC seems to be doing, as do a lot of the people who criticise a living music scene by comparing it unfavourably to the past, is ignoring the fact of hindsight.  It’s easy to tell that the Smiths were something special, because we can look back on anything and everything that was around at the time and evaluate them in a relatively dispassionate way - something we just can’t do for anything current.  The Stone Roses first and the early Radiohead albums stand up very strongly in retrospect, but as we get closer to the present day how can we tell how good the bands are that we’re listening to now? A couple of the groups mentioned in the comment thread on JC’s post are DeVotchKa and Calexico, but these bands are both a good solid handful of albums into their careers by now.  Think back over the last couple of years and the records that made real impact: LCD Soundsystem, Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, The White Stripes - all these bands have pretty broad appeal, but only the White Stripes are more than a couple of albums into their careers, and we just don’t know who is going to be remembered from this era yet.  If the Arctic Monkeys continue to peter out, then maybe they’ll be forgotten about altogether.  It would just take one more brilliant album from any of these groups to cement their reputation as one of the really key bands of the first decade of this century.  Do we really think that the riff from Seven Nation Army is going to be less memorable in ten years than Johnny Marr’s equally iconic performance on How Soon is Now?  I know there’s more to genius that a few memorable riffs, but I think the more general point still stands. The other question is this: who even remembers the Kasabian of the 80s anyway?  We can look back on the 90s now and identify bands like Blur and Pulp, Radiohead and early James as iconic and brilliant.  But how many Menswears and Kula Shakers are we consigning to the dustbins of forgetfullness in order to do so?  If no-one gives much of a fuck about the View now, then their memory may not survive the next full moon, never mind twenty years worth of rosy-tinted nostaligia. Then again, as popular entertainment has made ever-greater inroads into the world of indie, having realised that there was a sizable market out there that their dancing karaoke whores were not capable of suitably exploiting, it seems that the world of indie is being over-run by preening, prancing piss-artists like the Hoosiers, Joe Lean and the Short Tight Pants, that one who’s pumping, er… Kate Moss.  Whoever they are.  They’re shit, anyway.  This is indie rock as commerical product, but it must be remembered that in no meaningful way is it actually indie.  It’s a branch of the celebrity industry, approached as such, and does not deserve our attention.  The bands are in it for the fame, the coke and the floosies, the music is fucking dreadful, and the marketing spend in proportion to investment in the actual ‘product’ is repellently high.  This last one is always a good metric to use when considering whether or not something might just be fucking rubbish. At the other end of the scale, there are a lot of piss-poor bedroom bands reaching out using MySpace and the like, and we have a lot more contact with them than before because they can reach us directly.  They don’t need the middle-man, who might just have pointed out that they are shit, and so our MySpace inboxes are clogged with shit by groups that barely deserve to call themselves bands, nevermind command anyone’s ears. If you’re used to listening to all this stuff because you want the buzz of that one exciting discovery, then you really do have to stop moaning and just accept it.  The people who got to be the arbiters of what was and wasn’t worth our time before the internet all had to wade through this stuff, so if we want to liberate ourselves from being told what to like, then we have to do the work that goes with it.  With great power comes gr… er, sorry, wrong speech.  The other option is to quitchabitchin and just find a few bloggers and a couple of radio stations that you trust and let them do it for you.  If you want to participate, you are just going to have to put the time in to listen. So although I wouldn’t say that there are fewer great bands out there, I would certainly concede that we have exposure to far more really shit ones.  But as for greatness, I just don’t think we can tell right now what is going to be remembered in twenty years.  And I also think we conveniently forget all the crap that there was milling about on the airwaves at the time we thought the Smiths were so great.  I can see how you would get full, too.  After thirty-odd years scouring the country for great new bands, like JC has, there must come a point where you’re just full up.  There is a limit to the amount of music we can really find special, because if there was more of it then it would by definition be less special, but I really don’t buy the argument that bands then were better than they are now. And as Mrs. Toad is whispering in my ear, great bands tend to be born into times of economic hardship - it’s what makes the release all the more euphoric - so you never know, we could be on the cusp of great things over the next five years or so. Link to this post. To read more from Kristian, go to Song By Toad
Last Wednesday was my turn to check out Radiohead. This past Saturday was the yearly Allman Brothers Band run. I was first turned on to Radiohead back in high school, and this was my first live show. Allmans, on the other hand, I’ve been seeing live since I was 13, two+ shows per year. Heady, brah. The Allman Brothers took the stage, a purple light offered a glow to the tops of their heads. Before Greg Allman’s count, I swear I heard the opening to Statesboro Blues in my head. Then came the count, Statesboro Blues blasted throughout the Comcast Center, and the venue exploded with an uproarious applause and shouting. Sheer luck, right? Then a short set break, and the Allmans chatted on stage, moving instruments around. I looked over at my concert buddy and said, “Jessica? Or In Memory of Elizabeth Reed?” He gave me a big nah, since they had just ended the last set with a big jam. But I was set on Elizabeth Reed. The count again, a mysterious jammy intro that had me thinking I was wrong and this was a new one, and then a minute later, straight into Elizabeth Reed. The encore? I was dead set on Whipping Post. And indeed it was. Now it’s possible that my predictions were pure luck. Or, maybe I’m just an insane fan, and because I’ve been seeing them since I was 13, I know what the sets are like. But consider the fact that the Wednesday before at Radiohead, I commented ahead of time that I was feeling a “National Anthem” after something from Kid A and before something from The Bends. What did we get? “The National Anthem” after “Kid A” and before “The Bends.” And for the second encore, either I’m psychic or I just really wanted a “Karma Police,” but that’s exactly what I got. Before the applause came for Karma Police though, I immediately FELT an “Idioteque.” It’s hard to describe, except the feeling of your body wanting to move in very strange ways, almost like you’re having a seizure continually while standing up. The final number? “Idioteque.”
We ended up at Pickathon at Mrs. Toad’s behest, would you believe. Yup, the woman who describes almost every band I listen to as ‘moaning minnies’ actually tracked down and booked tickets to this particular festival without so much as a single prompt from my good self. This all happened late last year, after my brother’s wedding. We’d been driving around America afterwards with a limited supply of CDs and the ones she loved the most consistently seemed to come from Portland. At the time it was The Shaky Hands and The Builders & the Butchers. Since then she’s discovered bands like Horsefeathers, the Cave Singers (apparently they’re actually from Seattle) and Alela Diane (again, signed to a Portland label - Holocene - but not actually from the Pacific Northwest). At the time we thought they were all Portland bands, so we booked our tickets and decided to spend a couple of weeks in this part of America, and see if we couldn’t get a bit closer to such an incredible music scene. Leaving aside Portland itself for a bit - that’s for a later post - the whole festival was truly wonderful. The location was amazing, the bands were superb, the people were incredibly friendly, and we quite simply had an amazing time. Perched up in the Oregon hills, the setting offered nothing so plain and simple as a campsite. Instead, you had to climb up into the woods and try your luck. We had decided to skip the Friday evening to see The Builders & the Butchers and Eef Barzelay play in Portland (and earn a monumental hangover in the process) so we had to go quite some way to find a suitable spot. The difficulty of finding somewhere to pitch the tent meant that people were spread thinly throughout the woods, with little clusters forming here and there, and none of the sea of identical tents that you see at larger festivals. It was quite magical actually, being perched up in the depths of the woods, and having to clamber down to the trail and walk for about ten minutes to get to the main festival area. To add to the atmosphere, the Wood Stage was actually perched right up in the depths of the forest as well, creating a tiny amphitheatre surrounded by green, splashed with what dapples of sunlight had managed to actually find their way through the thick canopy. We missed performances by Sam Crain and by Bombadil in this unreal arena and I really regret having done so. But then, we did get to see the Builders & the Butchers. We did, however, catch the superb Langhorne Slim on Saturday afternoon, and we were both smitten - it was a great performance. Generally we eschewed the main stage and its smaller neighbour, the Fir Meadows Stage, because they lacked a little for the friendly intimacy that seemed to be the beating heart of this festival. The gentle slope that banked towards the main stage, backed by towering cedars, made a gorgeous place to lie in the grass and relax though, and the view across the wooded valley was beautiful. The food was to be found there as well, and as well as finally presenting somewhere in America where the coffee isn’t thin, grey, flavourless dishwater, the edibles were excellent. There was Thai (I even ate a veggie and tofu (tofu!!) rice roll with a bit of sweet chili sauce and liked it so much I had more the next day), some fine calzones and, the pick of the bunch, a phenomenal Mexican stall. Mexican food in Britain has become something like curry - it is little more than generic brown sludge that doesn’t in the slightest resemble the cuisine from which it is descended. The quesadillas at this place were fucking brilliant, and we had loads of them! The music at Pickathon is quite specific: American roots, be it blues, bluegrass or (new to me) jug. The more traditional of this stuff I can really do without, but the acts booked overlapped with more vaguely defined Americana such that there was almost always something on that I wanted to see. And when there wasn’t, well I may not put pure bluegrass on the stereo myself, but the sawing fiddles and exceptional guitar playing that delivered everything from joyous stomp-alongs to heartbreaking balladry gave the whole place a wonderful atmosphere. If you are just lying in the sun, reading a superficial but largely entertaining book, not really paying attention to anything, what would you rather hear in the background, a mediocre indie four-piece trotting out the same old shit, or some old-time goodness, full of genuine happiness, genuine heartbreak, and not a sniff of cloying celebrity aspiration in sight. Generally we found ourselves gravitating towards the Galaxy Barn as the day drew to a close. The American’s frankly childish attitude to alcohol (I am not blaming the organizers here, the state enforcers were sniffing around like randy mongrels so they had to be incredibly careful) was tedious, with only a couple of designated beering pens allocated, but it did mean one thing: you didn’t end the day absolutely wasted. This was a refreshing change for a couple of reasons: firstly, I was able to properly enjoy all the music I went to see, and secondly, finding our way back up to our tent in the middle of the woods was Blair Witch Projecty enough, without adding a bladder-full to the mix to make life even harder. It bloody hard to find a single tent in the middle of the woods in the pitch black with no more than the camera light on the back of your mobile phone to guide you. And then on the Sunday night some bastards moved their tent clear across the path, which made life even more confusing. My phone’s battery was fast disappearing when I was finally able to successfully locate Toad HQ and calm an increasingly fretful Mrs. Toad, who was increasingly certain that we would end up having to sleep rough in the middle of the forest. The last night, before almost losing the tent, was spent sitting around the bonfire outside the Galaxy Barn, talking to random strangers about their work promoting blues music in Portland, their time spent living in Israel and Jordan, and random band members about how much they loved the festival. I’ve never been anywhere where so many of the musicians hung out (check out the new vocabulary - awesome!) until the end, mixing with punters and chatting and enjoying each other’s performances. We ended up chatting to members of Bombadil and Loch Lomond, given we knew them from the earlier interviews we’d conducted, and they. And at one point Shawn (or Sean) from Langhorne Slim came over to congratulate me on my excellent choice of attire (a Langhorne Slim t-shirt) and chat about things in general. If I have ever met a nicer bloke, I don’t remember it. He was so genuine and sincere and just, well, incredibly nice, that it really served to highlight what a special festival this really was. All in all, throughout our stay in the Pacific Northwest, the people we have met have been some of the most incredibly open, friendly and helpful people in my life. American friendliness can be irritatingly claustrophobic when it’s forced or learned by rote, as it often is. But here people just seemed so sincere, with their ‘have a great day’s and their interest in what you were doing and their eagerness to be helpful and to include you in what was going on, that it was impossible to be cynical. Even for me. The two most over-used phrases, by miles, in this part of the world are ‘hang out’ and ‘awesome’, but they are just so true. Instead of being superior and English about it, you end up wanting to just hang out with everyone and wishing you could say ‘awesome’ with such incredibly heartfelt sincerity. Link to this post. To read more from Kristian, go to Song By Toad
I mean no one comes on this site without knowing my love for Elliott Smith. I mean the only one that’s got me beat is Kev but he doesn’t count cause he followed him around France once.. (stalker!) Anyway, one of my big (musical) regrets in life was the day I gave up an Elliott Smith ticket for what would be his last NYC appearance cause I was “lazy.” Oh well. I won’t miss out on something like that again… Check out these three songs below.. Elliott Smith - Whatever (Some Folk Song in C) (Umbra Penumbra, Portland 9-17-94) Elliott Smith - Baby Britian (live on 107.7) Elliott Smith - 245am (live in Sweden) Link to this post. To read more from Kristian, go to The Punk Guy
What a fun weekend I had. As some of you may or may not know I got to take part in the first ever ALL POINTS WEST MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL.  It was a really awesome experience. We had a great view of the NYC skyline and the Statue Of Liberty. Despite Sunday being rainy and cold, it did not keep concert goers from rocking out all day. Sunday was probably the more laid back of the 3-day festival, however many awesome acts still hit the stage and did their thing. Some of the mellow sound I got to watch was that of Rogue Wave. I wasn’t really impressed by them, as a matter of fact I found there set to be kind of boring. But hey that’s just my opinion. The act that I really enjoyed was Earl Greyhound. This band gets better and better ever time I see them. When I had my DJ residency at Snitch Rock ‘N’ Roll Bar, I would be stage side watching this crew rock out. A lot of energy and great song arrangement made me a fan of their music. They ended their set with the hit “I’m The One”, which actually led into about a ten minute long outro. HAHAHA, seriously guys that was a really long last song!  I also was able to check out Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I was impressed with their set. Not having heard much of their music I was feeling their sound and the soul that embodies their tunes.        So just as the gates opened Sunday morning, I was interviewed for a little segment for BBC News. Yes, the biggest news station in the world!!!! They wanted to get some quick general tips on Djing and I was more than happy to give them a basic DJ 101 demo.  Please take the time to check out the link below to see my segment with the BBC. It came out really well. Thanks to The BBC, ALL POINTS WEST & Scratch DJ Academy for including me in this awesome event.        Till next time, Rock on!   - J.Dayz   LINK:
So finally, here is a sort of sum up of my trip to Iceland. Please note that after long debates amongst my people (read: my travel buddy) I will only be posting a few pictures and then I will point you in the direction of his pictures at the end. So as usual there are a few things you need to know about Iceland: a. It’s a small country. Not in size but in population. There are 2 people per square kilometer on the island. A total population of 300,000 … that’s the whole country, 2/3’s of them living in the (only) city, Reykjavik. I have that many people living in the apartment above me. (Damn neighbors!) We realized this when, the minute we got on line to check in to leave JFK, everyone knew everyone. It was ridiculous. It was like we were crashing some tour group that spoke some Nordic language that featured 6' tall blonde viking women. (the Masons?) b. Iceland has guidos. I know this is hard to believe. But it’s true. They wear pink sweatpants, listen to dance music and fucking CRUISE. I am not kidding. They cruise. Also everyone in the whole country smokes cigarettes.  Everyone.  Ask someone, I dare you. c. Everyone is 1/2 of a couple. We didn’t meet one person that was not in a relationship. It was strange. I guess when there’s only 200k people in a city, there isn’t much of a choice. Find someone and stick to them. d. There is a war going on. And it’s serious. Honestly, PEPSI MAX is holding down Reykjavik. Coke is running a distant second but they have to know they are losing. Pepsi Max would have signs on store fronts that were bigger than the names of the store. PEPSI MAX joes pizzaria. Shit like that. Pepsi Max is as popular as driving in Iceland. Buy into it before it buys YOU! e. There are a TON of shitty dirtroads in Iceland. Trust me, we drove on one for like 40 mins and it felt like we were driving around in snow made of rocks. But there is no reason at all for all the fuckin’ MONSTER trucks there are in Iceland. Very tiny cars and monster cars. That’s it. (oh yeah and one yellow camaro that this guido drove up and down the main street for hours on the weekend) Also there are no automatic transmissions in all of Iceland. even in minivan taxis. manual. f. I ate some whale and puffin. Yes I know. Cute animals. But if we learned anything from my trip to Buenos Aires, when backed into the corner, i’ll kill most cute animals for some quick pleasure. Whale, totally scrumptious. Check out Davey’s pictures below for a picture of the whale steak. For those who care, it takes like swordfish meets steak meets moby dick (the novel). I had a 20 dollar soup that featured mushrooms and shellfish at the fanciest place in the world. We both showed up in shitty sneakers and backpacks. WE R CLASSY! Also, their hotdogs are like what heaven and handjobs and whip cream must taste like. They were just beautiful. (also see davey’s pictures for one of those) One more thing … Beer is expensive. We found nothing less than a 9 dollar beer the WHOLE time, unless you buy from the gov’t store, then they cost like 2 bucks. it’s a ridiculous system, I know. Everywhere we went, people were sneaking beers in with them. And instead of gold diggers there were beer-diggers. Girls (or dudes) would come up to you, be super nice to you and then get you to buy them a drink then disappear. WTF? g. Just so you know… No matter where you go in this world, you will ALWAYS meet someone from New Jersey! Shout out to Thom from Roselle Park, met him on our first day! h. There are no snakes or mosquitoes in Iceland. No shit. i. This will be it for PART ONE, let this be said. Iceland is beautiful. It’s like Alaska meets Colorado meets the surface of the Moon. there will be more in PART TWO. ALSO YOU CAN CHECK OUT ALL OF DAVEY’S PICTURES HERE. (he calls me Kris, that’s weird to me. ahhh high school friends) (also, check out his BLUE LAGOON pictures at the end of D70. They are really beautiful.) Link to this post. To read more from Kristian, go to The Punk Guy
Today we’ll hear stories from three great BTR bands for this edition of “Hello My Name Is…”  Takka Takka, City & Colour, and Pas/Cal regale us with tales of art, cities, and computer programming! City & Colour is the acoustic side-project of Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. Fronted by Dallas Green, the project has enjoyed critical acclaim and has released albums on Canada’s Dine Alone Records. Tricia, manager for City and Colour, let us in on the pseudonym: “City and Colour comes from Dallas' name. When he first decided to venture out and record his own solo songs without a band, he wasn't all that confident in using his own name. He didn't want to see a lot of criticism with his name attached to it, or see kids wearing shirts that said "Dallas Green", so he knew he needed a name to record under. He also found that every time he was at a business establishment, people would ask him to verify his name and he'd typically respond by saying "Dallas like the city and Green, spelt like the colour…no extra 'e' at the end.”  City and Colour was born!” Catch City and Colour live: Sep 26 2008 at House of Blues in Dallas, TX Sep 27 2008 at Austin City Limits (BMI stage) in Austin, TX Sep 30 2008  at Tabernacle w/ Tegan and Sara in Atlanta, GA Oct 2 2008 at Rams Head Live! w/ Tegan and Sara in Baltimore, MD Oct 3 2008 at The Electric Factory w/ Tegan and Sara in Philadelphia, PA Oct 4 2008 at The Palladium w/ Tegan and Sara in Worcester, MA Hailing from Detroit, MI, PAS/CAL’s dreamy pop fit well with their creative naming process. Lead guitarist Gene Corduroy laid it out for us: “It is only now that I can reveal the full and true nature of our chosen moniker.  Our tale begins with Little Tommy Daniels (LTD, the drummer) attempting to get frisky with a lady-friend by the name of Mindy.  She rebuffed his advances with a copy of Christianity for Modern Pagans.  This book included the Pensées of Blaise Pascal, and apparently sat collecting dust on LTD's studio desk.  I noted this curious artifact, as Pascal is also an archaic computer programming language that I was attempting to master (unsuccessfully as it turns out) on an ancient 8-bit home computer.  Curiouser and curiouser, at about the same time Bem (singer) purchased a VHS of The Red Balloon at an estate sale.  The main character: a little boy called Pascal.   This confluence of unremarkable events led us to believe we'd found the perfect band name. “We soon discovered a few other acts performing, and more importantly recording under that title. Undeterred, we performed our debut show as Pas Cal (Magic Stick, Detroit / April 2001 with the Shins).  Shortly thereafter, we signed a recording contract with Le Grand Magistery.  The label suggested that we make a new selection to distinguish ourselves from other Pascals of the music world.  Names under consideration included Pascaline (a mechanical calculator invented by Pascal) and Mindy's 8-Bit Red Balloon.  By a close tally, it was nearly the latter.  In the end, a copy machine's errant slash of toner between the ‘PAS’ and the ‘CAL’ influenced the vote - we admired the geometry of the letters in all capitals: PAS/CAL.” PAS/CAL live: Aug 14 2008 at Liquid Room w/ The Lads in Edinburgh, United Kingdom Aug 23 2008 at SnoZone @ Braehead in Glasgow, United Kingdom Sep 4 2008 at Brudenell in Leeds, United Kingdom Sep 5 2008 at Night & Day in Manchester, United Kingdom Sep 6 2008 at Fistful of Fandango in London, United Kingdom Takka Takka is a New York City-based quintet that we recently featured on “Live from Piano’s NYC.” The band gave a great performance, which you can hear here. Their sophomore effort, Migration, was just released on Ernest Jennings, and their also touring!  We’re glad to be spinning their record, but we did wonder from where that enigmatic name originated. Turns out, the answer is simple enough; they were inspired by a Roy Lichtenstein paining of the same name! Special thanks to vocalist Gabe Levine for cluing us in! See ‘em live: Sep 25 2008 at Black Cat Backstage w/ Oxford Collapse in  Washington, DC Sep 26 2008 at M Room w/ Oxford Collapse in Philadelphia, PA Sep 27 2008 at Mercury Lounge w/ Oxford Collapse in  New York, NY Link to this article:
For this installment of our recurring "BTR Artists On Tour" feature, we check out three different tours currently rolling along the roads of the world, featuring three vastly different flavors of music. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings Besides the fact that there are few shows out there akin to the "Daptone Super Soul Revue" currently being blazed across the United States by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, it must also be noted that there are few shows out there featuring a catalog that consists almost entirely of songs dealing with, well, how to "deal with your man." Sharon Jones has lyrics aplenty about her issues with the opposite sex, both good and bad, so, for all you ladies out there looking to vent a little, the "Daptone Super Soul Revue" is for you. In fact, it's hard to find a song throughout the band's 3 studio releases that don't deal with the subject. Plus, Ms. Jones is a show-woman of the highest caliber. Whether she's interacting with the crowd, dancing the mashed potato, going through multiple costume changes or stalking the stage in seriously high heels, the woman has presence to the nth degree. And she's 51 years old! I know twenty-year-olds that can't run a mile. Of course, it helps that Ms. Jones is backed by arguably the best active funk/soul band on Earth, The Dap-Kings, which features guitarist extraordinaire Binky Griptite and bassist Bosco Mann. Either act would be a priority to see on their own, but, together? That's an event guaranteed to make your neck stiff (rampant head-nodding) and your calves sore (jumping/dancing) the next morning. The band has been touring almost non-stop since the release of 100 Days, 100 Nights back in October of 2007, including stops at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and just about every major continent on Earth. Hopefully this tour will never end. Check the BTR Review! Live! Aug 17 2008 at Central Park Summerstage in New York, NY Aug 21 2008 at Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, MN Aug 22 2008 at Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, MN Aug 24 2008 at Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival in San Francisco, CA Sep 5 2008 at University of California in Berkeley, CA Sep 6 2008 at University of California in Berkeley, CA Sep 7 2008 at University of California in Berkeley, CA Sep 14 2008 at Monolith Festival in Morrison, CO Sep 27 2008 at Austin City Limits in Austin, TX Oct 26 2008 at Voodoo Music Experience in New Orleans, LA Nov 1 2008 at State Theater of Ithaca in Ithaca, NY Valient Thorr It's time to throw up your rocket launchers! Do you know what I'm talking about? Nearing the end of their cross-country jaunt with Skeletonwitch and Early Man, the jean-vested and back-patched men of Valient Thorr are going to keep the dream alive after a fortnight break, joining Motorhead, Airbourne, Misfits, & Year Long Disaster on the West to East coast Volcom Tour 2008, bringing a wagon train of metal goodness to the Midwest and beyond. You got to hand it to Valient Thorr frontman Valient Himself. The man just gave one of his kidneys to his father (who was suffering from renal failure) on April 29th, and is already back in fighting shape (to the relief of 'Thorriers' everywhere). Speaking of, if you would like to become a 'Thorrier' yourself, check this out (taken from the band's website): 1. Click here to download the Valient Thorr logo. 2. Print that sucker out. 3. Go to thrift store and obtain jean jacket (the crustier the better, stone wash a plus). 4. Cut stencil from print out. Make those lines tight y'all. Put some pride in your burger. 5. Acrylic paint works well. We like to use the sponge technique to paint on the back, followed by a brush for fill in. Sometimes it is good to do a white undercoat before applying color. 6. To get a crisp outline, use a Sharpie or paint marker. 7. Cut off sleeves. 8. Put that bad motherfucker on your back, grow your hair out, and keep rock and roll dangerous. 9. Take picture of yourself and post it on the Thorriors Flickr group (if you don’t know how to do that shit, email your pic to and they will post it for you)…love Nitewolf AKA Professor Strangees. How badass is that? And never mind how hilariously written those directions are. It's no surprise that most of the cats in Valient Thorr have Master's Degrees. Check the BTR Review! Live! Aug 13 2008 at the Clubhouse w/ Early Man & Skeletonwitch in Tempe, AZ Aug 14 2008 at Karma w/ Early Man & Skeletonwitch in Victorville, CA Aug 15 2008 at Troubadour  w/ Early Man & Skeletonwitch in Hollywood, CA Sep 2 2008 at House of Blues - Volcom Tour - in Anaheim, CA Sep 3 2008 at House of Blues  - Volcom Tour - in San Diego, CA Sep 4 2008 at House of Blues  - Volcom Tour - in Las Vegas, NV Sep 6 2008 at The Fillmore  - Volcom Tour -  in Denver, CO Sep 7 2008 at Harrah’s  - Volcom Tour - in Kansas City, MO Sep 9 2008 at the Pageant  - Volcom Tour - in St. Louis, MO Sep 10 2008 at Orpheum Theatre  - Volcom Tour - in Madison, WI Sep 12 2008 at Myth  - Volcom Tour - in St. Paul, MN Sep 13 2008 at the Orbit  - Volcom Tour - in Grand Rapids, MI Sep 14 2008 at NP Music Hall  - Volcom Tour - in Columbus, OH Sep 16 2008 at Metropolis  - Volcom Tour - in Montreal, QC Sep 18 2008 at Rams Head - Volcom Tour - in Baltimore, MD Sep 19 2008 at The Electric  - Volcom Tour - in Philadelphia, PA Sep 20 2008 at Roseland  - Volcom Tour - in New York, NY Sep 21 2008 at Stone Pony  - Volcom Tour - in Asbury Park, NJ Iron and Wine, Swell Season & Blitzen Trapper If Metal is not your thing (or Funk & Soul for that matter), then perhaps some Country-tinged, folksy, Southern-styled rock and roll is the proper prescription. And if you dig Iron and Wine, then you'll have the opportunity to see the full-band version and the Sam Beam-only incarnation. Five of these dates will include The Swell Season (Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova) of Once fame (and The Frames fame), and all of the November Iron and Wine shows will be with Blitzen Trapper. Note that the final date of the tour is at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, former home of the Grand Ole Opry. They don't have chairs at that historic venue, my friends, no; they have wooden pews (the building first opened in 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle). For the angelic voice of Sam Beam, in full-on Iron and Wine form, what could be better? Live! Aug 13 2008 at the Poolbar Festival in Feldkirch, Austria Aug 14 2008 at the Pukkelpop Festival in Hasselt, Belgium Aug 15 2008 at the Frequency Festival in Salzburg, Austria Aug 16 2008 at the Lowlands Festival in Biddinghuizen, Netherlands Aug 17 2008 at the Greenman Festival in Crickhowell, Wales Sep 21 2008 at Il Motore in Montreal, QC, Canada Sep 27 2008 at Austin City Limits in Austin, TX Sep 29 2008 at Palladium Ballroom w/ the Swell Season in Dallas, TX Sep 30 2008 at Popejoy Hall w/ the Swell Season in Albuquerque, NM Oct 2 2008 at The Rialto w/ the Swell Season in Tucson, AZ Oct 3 2008 at Open Air Theatre w/ the Swell Season in San Diego, CA Oct 4 2008 at The Greek Theatre w/ the Swell Season in Los Angeles, CA Oct 5 2008 at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, CA Oct 5 2008 at Bimbo’s in San Francisco, CA Oct 6 2008 at McDonald Theatre in Eugene, OR Oct 7 2008 at Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, BC, Canada Oct 8 2008 at MacEwan Ballroom in Calgary, AB, Canada Oct 9 2008 at Myer Horowitz Theatre in Edmonton, AB, Canada Nov 13 2008 at Phoenix Concert Theatre w/ Blitzen Trapper in Toronto, ON Nov 14 2008 at Asbury Hall w/ Blitzen Trapper (inside Babeville) in Buffalo, NY Nov 15 2008 at Pearl Street w/ Blitzen Trapper in Northampton, MA Nov 16 2008 at Lupo’s w/ Blitzen Trapper in Providence, RI Nov 17 2008 at Terminal Five w/ Blitzen Trapper in New York, NY Nov 18 2008 at Ram’s Head Live w/ Blitzen Trapper in Baltimore, MD Nov 19 2008 at The Norva w/ Blitzen Trapper in Norfolk, VA Nov 20 2008 at Orange Peel w/ Blitzen Trapper in Asheville, NC Nov 21 2008 at Bijou Theater w/ Blitzen Trapper in Knoxville, TN Nov 22 2008 at Work Play w/ Blitzen Trapper in Birmingham, AL Nov 23 2008 at Ryman Auditorium w/ Blitzen Trapper in Nashville, TN Link to this article:
So TOOL has always been a huge guilty pleasure for me. I saw them on the Undertow tour years and years ago and have loved every single record they have put till the last one. Anyway, I have always wanted recorded versions of the two live songs on their first EP Opiate. Well thanks to the internet, I have demo’ed versions of these two songs. The funny thing about these was I used to own the cassette that these demos came from. I guess I just didn’t ever listen to it that much cause, well, it was on a cassette… Anyway, since I am such a nice guy, I shall share them with you.. Tool - Jerkoff (Recorded Demo Version) Tool - Cold and Ugly (Recorded Demo Version) Link to this post. To read more from Kristian, go to The Punk Guy
The anticipation was killing us, but the Black Ghosts have finally released their self-titled album. The Black Ghosts are an electronic, London-based duo who often align that electronic sound with dramatic live orchestration such as drums, piano, violins, guitars and more. This combination creates a sound much like many of the groups from the New York-based DFA crew, or many of the newer dance DJ outfits now in the UK. They are often a more intense form of electronic dance, still using vocals, but sounding something like a dark strobe-lit club just before the clothes come off. However, their new album has allowed us to view a more mature side of 'Ghost 1 and Ghost 2' (Theo Keating and Simon Lord). If you listen for only a moment, you might hear traces of Lord's previous group, Simian (currently reformed into Simian Mobile Disco), possibly most popular for their single, 'We Are Your Friends,' an initially comforting, though ultimately frightening cultish dance-tune. According to the two members, when Keating was a young boy, his mother forced him to watch horror movies directed by his godfather, while Lord claims that his grandmother was considered psychic amongst her community; more specifically, she was well versed in Russian mysticism. Even Lord's father experimented with a number of analogue musical devices. The unification of dance music, coupled with these haunting characters and their equally haunting subject matter, creates a strange, yet very unique dynamic -  almost the unwilling submission to the enjoyment of a Gothic or black philosophy. 'Some Way Through This' is the strongest track on the album. The violins and tambourine set it apart from the other four-on-the-floor bangers as a chilling down-tempo sex jam. Similarly, though to an even greater extent, the most interesting tracks on the album do much of the same, including 'Don't Cry,' 'Full Moon,' 'Something New,' and 'Until It Comes Again,' a smooth Amy-Winehouse-style breakbeat that, like many of these tracks, shows the versatility that the Black Ghosts can exhibit when they feel it's necessary. The guys have released a couple of LPs to lead up to and accompany the release of their new album as well. With their fan base well-established, and their keen understanding for the dance and club-scene, there is no question that the success of these two will continue for a long while, and longer if they continue to diversify their sound, the beginning of which we have hopefully witnessed with their latest release The Black Ghosts. Be sure to check around Breakthru Radio for more of The Black Ghosts. Link to this article:
so really quickly before I run off to set. I went to see Bon Iver last night at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg. Let’s first quickly say, that I had a bitch getting tickets prior to going down to the venue, I look on craigslist for both days (bowery the night before) and I couldn’t find tickets. There were a ton of people looking online but barely anyone selling. And the ones that were selling were selling for like … 80, 90 dollars for two tickets. WTF? the face value was 15. My roommate and I went down to the venue and sat down there at like 830 and got tickets (for face value) from two very cool people within 5 mins of each other. We go to the Greenpoint Tavern, I drink… 64 ounces of Bud. Wow. Anyway, we show up, and the fucking show is amazing. Really beautiful, the sound is crisp and the crowd is quiet, for the most part. There were a few cringe inducing, “Do you have a girlfriend”s and “I love you”s… Ugh. He did a new song called “Blood Bank” and a Talk Talk cover and ended with an encore of Skinny Love. Really really great show. However… there were a few things that really bothered me about it. I swear that 85 % of the venue didn’t know the music. Is it possible that Skinny Love itself sold out Bowery and Music Hall? I kept looking around, no one was mouthing along, singing or even looked as if they knew the songs, is that weird? Also, he ended with an encore of Skinny Love. I know I know. but really? ending with the hit? One last thing, sweatshirts were 40 dollars and vinyl was 20. What?? 40 dollar sweatshirts? Where am I, urban outfitters? And the LP was 20? Not special edition, no extra tracks, just the vinyl that you can get on Jagjaguwar’s site for I am sure at most 15. Anyway, besides all that, it was truly a beautiful show. GO and see him when he visits, just buy a ticket early, expect to be the only one singing along and know that Skinny Love will be the encore. (oh yeah and don’t buy a sweatshirt) Link to this post. To read more from Kristian, go to The Punk Guy
1. "In The New Year" - The Walkmen (off of You & Me) = Best organ melody of the year. 2. "Parable of Daedelus - Valient Thorr (off of Immortalizer) = Triumphant, epic metal. Throw up your rocket launchers! 3. "Let Your Hair Down" - Kidz in the Hall (off of The In Crowd) = Chorus is pure summer time flyyyyyyyy. 4. "It Ain't Me, Babe" - Johnny Cash, with June Carter Cash (off of The Essential Johnny Cash) = Originally a Bob Dylan song, but I like this version. 5.  "Apartments" - Jumbling Towers (off of Jumbling Towers) = Joe DeBoer's cartoon villainous vocal inflections are ddddddope. 6.  "Theme From Shaft" - Isaac Hayes (off of the Shaft Soundtrack) = R.I.P. :( 7. "The Hours" - Baron Von Bear (off of Baron Von Bear) = Beautifully bouncy harmonies yo. 8. "Sleepy" - Alias & Tarsier (off of Plane That Draws A White Line) = Guilty crashing waves on the beach pleasure. 9. "Were You There" - Johnny Cash, with the Carter Family (of off The Essential Johnny Cash) = Simply one of the most jaw-dropping harmonies I have ever heard. Every time I listen to her (not sure which Carter it is) sing "Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble," I have to stop and close my eyes. Untouchable. 10. "Happy Placebo Syringe Day" - Calico Horse (off of Mirror) = Final verse is dark on a black coffee level, which makes the harmonic peaks earlier in the song all the more striking. 11. "Since I Left You" - The Avalanches (off of Since I Left You) = Classic. 12. "Jed The Humanoid" & "Jed's Other Poem" - Grandaddy (off of The Sophtware Slump) = I've always wanted to make a film based on the "Jed" from these two songs. Of course, it would be a tragedy. How else would a film about an alcoholic robot/humanoid end?
Heck of a three days! I managed to catch news on acts intermittenly and 4 full acts myself. For those that also attended, I'm sure you'll agree...this inagural will not be the last All Points West Festival! Radiohead of course was impressive, but some great performances by BTR bands as well including the Go Team!, De Novo Dahl, and Animal Collective, among others. Having seen Animal Collective in person now, it was great to see the flow of the concert from song-to-song instead of the otherwise impressive singles we're able to air. Great show by the California band. Among the great non-BTR acts, I was pleasantly surprised by New Jersey artist/band Nicole Atkins who's Blondie-esc performance made for a great intro to the Saturday lineup of artists. Being a NJ native myself, it was funny (perhaps only to New Jerseyans) when she brought on what she called a "New Jersey Legend." She built it up as if she was bringing on Springsteen or Bon Jovi, but instead it was guys in costumes resembling a NJ breakfast food sandwhich---Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese. For those outofstaters, Pork Roll (aka Taylor Ham) was and is a Trenton specialty and can still be found in most all NJ supermarkets----not so much outside NJ. The guys in constume were borrowed from the Lakewood Blueclaws minor league baseball team. Creative :). Much like the Tweeter Center in Camden that shines in the Philly skyline, Liberty State Park is that and more with the NYC skyline and Lady Liberty as well. Who cares if she's got her back to the state :). Looking forward to another great festival next year and feel free to pass along your reflections from the BTR bands and I'll try to get them onair:  
You know what, I am tired of? (you know what really grinds my gears?) Crazy old women / men leaving fortunes to their fuckin’ pets. (read; Leona Helmsley). Could you do something more heartless than fucking leave money to an animal? I mean really? Not too mention all the poor people in this country, there are literally entire villages, towns and cities all over this world, that could really use that money. WTF? I mean I have trouble paying my rent and I have a friggin’ job and here comes this lady who leaves 12 million dollars to her fucking chow chow. To quote David Cross, ‘the terrorists hate our freedom.’ You know what? I hate our freedom. Little ol’ me, an American! I hate it! That’s all we’ve done with it? We’re fucking assholes, man. We…are…awful.” Could you give a bigger “middle finger” to the poor people in this country by leaving 12 million fucking dollars to a fucking dog? I mean how can poverty stricken countries not hate us? I mean, while people are struggling to feed their families, we are fucking giving away our gold coins to our fuckin parakeets, without being called out on it. Also, Helmsley, that crazy flying twat, doesn’t leave a dime to her two grandchildren. I mean I don’t know her situation but can you imagine being in that family? No one with priorities so fucked up, deserve to have that much money. I mean I don’t particularly like most of my family but that doesn’t mean I would give them NONE of my millions why letting my dog eat golden snausages ™ for the rest of its short life. UGH! OK I have calmed down. Now tell me how I can knock off that lil dog and gain some of it’s cash. please. Link to this post. To read more from Kristian, go to The Punk Guy
What’s this? It’s a pop song BATTLE! Two artists squaring off over the same song. Our song: the chart thumping phenom “See You Again”. In one corner we’ve got Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana, aka Destiny Hope Cyrus), she’s the composer of our contended song. In the other corner we’ve got The Mae Shi, a spazzed-out bunch of no wave revivalists from Los Angeles. How did we get here, and where are we going? Well. Marc Hogan over at Pitchfork pointed the online world in the direction of The Mae Shi’s cover version of the song in question; and, after checking out both versions of the song, I can’t decide which I like better. It’s a real problem. And let’s be clear here: I do actually like the song in question. Therefore, I’ve decided to put the two versions in a cage together and make ‘em duke it out. Two enter, one exits. Cage match! First up is Miley Cyrus: the composer. I might not even know who she is if not for the kick-ass Hannah Montana musical toothbrush some friends gave me for my birthday. Instead, my teeth and I know 68% of the words to “The Best Of Both Worlds”. And what’s Miley’s song “See You Again” (our song of battle) if not the best of both worlds; the world of cutesy Hannah Montana, AND the world of her “grown up” alter-ego Miley Cyrus? This is it: it charges out of the gate with a… Casio drum roll and Corey Hart vocals. It reeks of ringtone. Sounds like the music that might play in the background of a warning video put together to lure children away from lives of scandalous behavior and pregnancy pacts. But it builds and betters itself! And, as soon as the second line we’re already being told that our singer has “a heart that will never be tamed” - by verse two we find out that she’s feeling “deep connections” and pondering reincarnation. Alright. It’s the duty of every pop princess to blossom into a sex-charged flaunty young woman; and those Vanity Fair pictures shouldn’t have been shocking, her fans could’ve seen it coming with Britney-lite teasers like this one… brilliant Britney-lite teaser songs meant for the tonally catatonic (at times: me). Pop gems like this don’t come around very often, unless you shop for them in malls. But seriously, it’s catchy. And head-boppy. Aside: what’s up with that twangy Duane Eddy guitar lick/Easter egg at the very end of the song? That shit is HOT. Listen: “See You Again” by Miley Cyrus Buy the Miley Cyrus album Hannah Montana 2 / Meet Miley Cyrus on Amazon. Annnnnd now….. in this corner…. The Mae Shi! The contender(s)! One of those bands I’d give a standard “yeah I’ve heard of them, but I haven’t heard them” answer, when asked. Guess I “missed out on four records and 250 shows of busted electronics, spazzier-than-fuck drums, crazy-ass boogie guitar, distorted caveman bass and throat-destroying vocals” like they claim in their bio. Yeah well, I’m missing out no longer… much thanks in large part to the amazing songwriting of one Destiny Hope Cyrus, I might add. Better send that girl a subscription to the Clear High Heel of the Month Club as a thank you gift, Misters Mae Shi. She’ll be needing them sooner or later, and you owe her for the song. But how does The Mae Shi’s version of “See You Again” compare to the original? Well, it’s got a ripping kickstart beginning that’s sadly absent in the original version. Also in this version are heavy doses of synthesizers with copious pitch bending, faux-theremin action, and panning blip-outs galore. The drum beat is organic and grounded and a large measure better than the original… nice. But something is missing. The cover is entirely too faithful, relying on extended arpeggiating to elongate the track by two minutes and provide the only real ‘interesting twist’ on what Cyrus initially penned. Frankly I end up lamenting the absence of Miley quite a lot by the 1:35 mark. And then especially so during the break down that begins the third chorus: “THE LAST TIME I FREAKED OUT, I JUST KEPT LOOKING DOWN. I ST-ST-STUTTERED WHEN YOU ASKED ME WHAT I”M THINKIN’ BOUT.” Listen: “See You Again” by The Mae Shi Buy The Mae Shi album Hlllyh on Amazon. VERDICT: Nice try pretenders contender(s). Your version may indeed push more feet on the floor but I’ll take Miley’s original version of “See You Again” when I want to get my Wal-Mart stop and shop tweeny-pop on. Which, you may now realize, is frighteningly more often than one might think. Link to this post For more from Matt, check out Earfarm!
This week we have Au, Gold Streets, and Arizona slapping on the "Hello, My Name Is…" sticker. Our tales today contain natural elements, Brooklyn streets, and Christian camps. You'll have to read on to sort out the nouns from the names. Au Au (as told by lead singer, Luke Wyland) Au = Gold Au = Astronomical Unit (the distance from the earth to the sun) au = in French: "the preposition à, often meaning to, in(to) or at, combines with the definite article to produce the following contracted forms" AU = Australia   There are more meanings to this combination of letters, some I wouldn't feel comfortable listing here. I began my career with the silly moniker, "luc", and put out one album called peaofthesea. Once it became more of a revolving live band I couldn't hack introducing a group of people as "luc". Felt pretty silly. Plus my name is actually spelled Luke.    Au is meant to be open ended; for each to find their own in it. That's a bit presumptive and ultimately hides my fear of names and naming things anything specific. In essence it's more of a symbol than anything. This also reflects how the band is essentially a rotating cast of members. While I may be the only constant, its ranks change regularly allowing us a freedom of voice not usual to most bands. Hence the approach to how this project was named. Many hats for many heads. Au released, Verbs, back in July and they're in the midst of a tour that will have them playing with The Dodos & Deerhoof. Live! Sep 28  Sonar (with The Dodos and Wye Oak) - Baltimore, MD Sep 29  Spiegeltent (with The Dodos) - New York, NY Sep 30  Wesleyan University (with Belly Boat) - Middletown, CT Oct 1    The Pearl (with The Dodos) - Northampton, MA Oct 2    Museum of Fine Arts (with The Dodos) - Boston, MA Oct 3    Dartmouth College (with The Dodos) - Dartmouth, NH Oct 4    Pop Montreal (with The Dodos) - Montreal, Quebec Oct 6    Horseshoe Tavern (with The Dodos) - Toronto, Ontario Oct 8    Bottom Lounge (with the Dodos) - Chicago, IL Oct 10  Earlham University (with The Dodos) - Richmond, IN Oct 11  Milo (with The Dodos) - Columbus, OH Oct 13  Slowdown (with Deerhoof) - Omaha, NE Oct 14  First Ave (All Ages Show with Deerhoof) - Minneapolis, MN Oct 15  Turner Hall (with Deerhoof) - Milwaukee, WI Oct 16  Buskirk-Chumley Theater (with Deerhoof) - Bloomington, IN   Gold Streets Gold Streets (as told by bassist, Gizella Otterson) At the onset, we made many, many lists of potential band names.  "Coco" was too Japanese-Pop. "Trifecta" seemed too clinical and too obvious. "This Close" was too emo. "Red Brigade” just didn't roll off the tongue. One day, T & her boyfriend were on Gold Street in Brooklyn. He pointed it out, and it stuck. Now the name has taken all sorts of personal meanings for each of us. We may have been about 25% serious when coming up with a name that had "screaming" and "lava" in it, but thankfully we sobered up & stuck with "Gold Streets". Live! Aug 27   Public Assembly (formerly the Galapagos Arts Space) - Brooklyn, NY Arizona Arizona (as told by Benjamin Wigler) Arizona bassist Alex Hornbake used to live in North Carolina as a very young boy. He worked on the farm most of the day, read "The Amazing Spider-Man" comic books and practiced wah and distortion infused lead bass guitar solos at night. During the summer of 1995, Alex started experiencing painful growth spurts, and would shriek during the night. Believing that he was being beset by an incursion of evil spirits gleefully violating the peace of his dreams, he was sent to a Christian summer camp where he was to undergo rigorous religious rehabilitation. By the time Alex got to Christian camp, he could play any lead bass guitar solo ever written, from "Pulling Teeth" by Cliff Burton, to Les Claypool's "Captain Shiner" to the tapping solo from Dream Theater's epic "Metropolis". He had a Washburn 4 string half-fretted/half-fretless bass with an onboard amplifier and wah and distortion controls, so he could show off his skills at a moment's notice. At night he still would undergo those painful growth spurts, but Christian camp wasn't so bad. He was far away from home for the first time and was free to wail on the bass without being accused of Satan worshiping. After prayer classes during the day, he would tinker with electronics at night, and designed all sorts of effects plug-ins, such as multi-octave dividers, which he could manipulate right on the front of his bass. He would stay up into the night, sitting on the roof of his bunkhouse when he couldn't sleep, wailing soulfully into the black, lightly drizzling sky. He dreamed of being in a band, leaving life on the farm, and finding a like-minded soul to pass the time with.    Little did he know that on the girl's side of camp, a young lass whose parents were former hippies turned born again Christians was stretching out on the roof of her bunkhouse, listening to the faint, silvery sound coming from boy's side. She was a stunningly beautiful, but lonely girl whose crazy parents were always getting stoned and paranoid. Thinking that she was possessed by evil spirits, they invented new ways to try and "torment the spirits" in an attempt to "get their daughter back”. She found that the awful experience really did foster her faith in God, and she prayed to Him to save her life with the sincerity only possessed by small children. After she had tuckered herself out with prayer, she found she was able to sleep and she dreamed of being a dancer who would invent a whole new kind of dance. It would be fluid and silvery, with eel-like movements, doing things with rotary motion no dancer had ever attempted. Her parents eventually came to a stoned epiphany that what they had been doing was a sin. As a way of making it up to her, they agreed to send her to a Christian summer camp far away in the east coast, where she could move about and play, and they had a good dance program for young ones to boot! She had a hard time sleeping at night, so she would climb to the roof, curl up in the fetal position, and dream of dancing as the night sky drizzled tiny drops of warm rain. The music in her dreams was so vivid, that she thought she must be really dreaming as she listened to Alex's distant wailing. She uncurled herself, stood up, and walked to the farthest part of the roof she could get to hear the music more clearly. Was that a... bass guitar?    She found herself carried away by the music and vowed that she would find the person who was making it by the end of camp. She got her opportunity at the first boys/girls dance, where Alex was playing drums in a Ska-influenced Christian band called Bullwinkle's Airforce. When the girl showed up to the dance, all the boys were looking at her. Wearing a silver dress, she struck them as beautiful, with long, straight black hair, ice blue eyes that seemed to stare through you into infinity. Some of the guys were cute, but she couldn't imagine any of them as being the person who created that heavenly music. She and a few of her friends made a perfunctory effort to mingle with the boys, but found that they couldn't hear anything over the horrible music of Bullwinkle's Airforce, which basically was just covering songs like "Beer" by Reel Big Fish and making the lyrics about Jesus. The music was terrible, but when the band started playing a Christian cover of "What I Got" by Sublime, everyone at the dance seemed to get into the groove and started to mingle. That ended the first set of the band's performance. The girl watched as the band stepped away from their instruments, intrigued by the mystery of band rituals onstage. The drummer was complaining to the guitar players about having "horrible tone" and saying that their bass player "had to stop slapping”. She had no idea what "slapping" was, and couldn't recall the bass player "slapping" his bass. The guitar players simply laughed at him and said "if you don't like the awesome tone of our zoom pedals into a Fender Princeton Chorus, you do something about it", which made no sense at all to the girl, but she giggled at the technical talk and got a sense that she could learn a thing or two about it. The other members of the stage departed for the dance floor, leaving Alex to scowl on stage. He started wrapping their cables and arranging them neatly, and made a few tweaks to their amplifiers. He strapped on his band mate's guitar and started to noodle Metallica guitar solos, like the clean lead guitar part at the beginning of “Sanitarium”. The girl's ears perked up - that noodling sounded pretty cool!    Hearing that Alex's wanky noodling was more musical than their entire full-band lineup, Alex's band mates got back on stage as quickly as possible and announced that it was time for the second set of songs. They opened with a Christian version of "Basket Case" and everyone went wild! At the end of the set, the entire band dive bombed with all their instruments straight into Alex's CB Percussion drum set, which caused the crowd to go wild and the party chaperone's to start squealing with fury. Alex was so pissed that they broke his ride cymbal and put a hole in the snare drumhead, rendering it useless for the rest of the summer. Then they made him pack up all their equipment and put it back into the auditorium closet. The singer, who had been eying the beautiful girl in the silver dress, started yapping to her about his "influences" as Alex toiled away on stage. She found all of the band and music talk riveting. Alex had also seen the girl from his seat at the drums, but he figured that a pretty girl would never want to talk to a dork who owned a perfect collection of Amazing Spider-Man comic books.  After the crowd had departed and Alex was alone in the little auditorium, he started feeling pain, not in his achy growing joints, but in his lonely heart. He dragged out all the band's amplifiers and plugged his Washburn bass into a custom-made splitter box that sent the signal to each amp. He then proceeded to wail as soulfully as he ever had, manipulating the onboard wah distortion and flanger controls with the finesse of a violin virtuoso's vibrato. Every note was imbued with meaning, his longing transferred directly into the passion of his liquid silver lead bass guitar lines. He closed his eyes, and dug in with his fingers, wailing with a ferocity he had never previously achieved. His arm and leg joints throbbed and his right hand index and middle finger tips were starting to literally melt away, but with his eyes closed, Alex could imagine himself playing to a huge concert hall in New York, and feeling the love and embrace of the crowd. In his dream, he saw himself switching back and forth between electric guitar and upright bass, playing bass samples on the floor, and sometimes activating pyrotechnics that he would design himself. He imagined a wall of fireworks going off just as he reached the final climactic note of his reverb-delay-chorus-flanger-wah-distortion-compression-phaser-eq-bass-synthesizer infused solo.    As Alex masterfully finished the solo with a graceful, slow melodic ending, he opened his eyes. The big double-doors to the auditorium were open, and the clear night sky sent the light of stars into the room. In front of him was the beautiful girl in the silver dress, dancing slowly in the moonlight to the final notes of Alex's solo. After he put down the bass, they both locked eyes. "You're incredible", the girl said. "I used to dream of your music, before I even heard it here at camp".    Alex felt his heart beating. "Thank you", he said unsure of himself. "My name's Alex".   The girl looked through him, into infinity with her ice blue eyes and said "mine is Arizona". Arizona has just finished recording their second full length release, Glowing Bird, which will be released on October 14th. A fall tour is in the works, so check back for tour dates as they slide on through. Link to this Article:
“Blues For The Barbecue” by Count Basie which clocks in at 10:28 “Where’s the f#@*ing sauce?!” The first time I ever tried North Carolina-style barbecue that’s all that kept going through my mind. That and the question “why”: Why did these people hand me salad dressing (vinegar sauce) when I asked for some barbecue sauce? Why was everybody drinking “sweetea” by the half gallon? Why did our neighbor suggest this particular restaurant? (It was a local fast food spot, not unlike McDowell’s excepting that they served really terrible and cheap pulled pork and spoiled cole slaw instead of ripping off McDonald’s.) Why did I feel like I’d just landed on another planet? Wasn’t this still America?? All I wanted was some barbecue! And that’s precisely what my folks and I were having, we just didn’t know what Carolina barbecue was back then. At the time, it didn’t even occur to us that there might be different regional variations of barbecue. Heck, to us barbecue was an event, not an entrée. “Come over to our barbecue for some burgers and hot dogs!” What did we know? We were new to the area - carpetbaggers - and I was but a wee child with minimal knowledge of the art of North Carolina barbecue. And, it is an art form. In time I’d learn. Growing up in North Carolina offered me a barbecue education second to none. The catering for my high school baseball team events was always done by Wilber’s out of Goldsboro. The best. In college my friends and I used to go to any of a number of Raleigh barbecue spots for family-style dinners - cheap, delicious, and a helluva lot better than Top Ramen. And I’ll tell you what, I’ve been to more pig pickins than I can remember. Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats a pig pickin’ with your family and friends. Not long ago I wondered how, then, to best express, rekindle, revisit, and inflict my love of barbecue - and of Carolina barbecue above all others - upon the world of independent music? How to mix music and barbecue?? Why… with an EF BBQ Road Trip! Duh. Conceived by Mike and I as a perfect way to better shape our itinerary to SXSW, EAR FARM’s BBQ Tour ‘08 started with us talking to members of the bands Tapes ‘n Tapes and The Rosebuds to see if they might like to go out for barbecue with us in Austin and Raleigh respectively. The goal was to hit up the four US barbecue meccas (North Carolina, Memphis, Texas, Kansas City) with a band in tow at each location. When the first two bands we asked jumped at the opportunity, we realized there might be a chance to create something larger than a simple EAR FARM story out of the whole thing. Enter CHOW, two more bands, and a barbecue loving music nerd’s dream travel itinerary… Link to this post For more from Matt, check out Earfarm!
at Music Hall of Williamsburg - 31 July 2008 Last Thursday night EAR FARM represented at the Jukebox the Ghost show, the Wolf Parade show, and the show that took place over at the Music Hall of Williamsburg which included sets from We Are Scientists, Oxford Collapse, and Apache Beat. Leslie from Trust Me on This was there and had the following to say: The We Are Scientists set tonight was great — better than the last one that I went to… The set list was predictable, but I suppose all set lists are — “After Hours,” “Altered Beast,” “Impatience,” “Cash Cow,” “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt,” “Lethal Enforcer,” “Chick Lit,” “Let’s See It,” “Tonight,” “The Great Escape” (the last song of the encore, as always), and “Inaction” and “Textbook,” as mentioned. (I can’t recall the rest of the songs or the order that they were in, so if anyone has a recording or a set list, that would be great!) I really wanted to hear “Mucho Mas” but I doubt that they play that song anymore. All in all, it must have been about 70 minutes of music, including the encore. Link to this post For more from Matt, check out Earfarm!
Don't be afraid friends! The summer is still with us, and there are more great albums to tag along with it. Oxford Collapse, Zach De La Roche's One Day As a Lion, Radio Radio and Return to Sender are here to make sure that sticky feeling won't leave the surface of your skin. Yes, it is still summer, so enjoy the time you have left with your friends and make sure these great artists are given the chance of an obligatory first-hand experience. Enjoy. RadioRadio - Alarm 1 Alarm 2 In its current form, the RadioRadio project (Tulsa, Oklahoma)  is not even a year old. Before that the group struggled together for eleven months to bring their act together for a final show in June 2007 before reforming again in October of 2007. What makes their sorted past so unbelievable is the quality of their four-song EP, Alarm 1 Alarm 2. One explanation is their long experience as superstars of the Tulsa scene before all the trouble started, something the outsiders can finally understand and appreciate. Alarm 1 Alarm 2 is a pounding dramatic dance-rock album with the grandiose tendencies of Snow Patrol, save for its edge, rhythm and distortion. The time spent  by group of artists like these cutting their teeth on the local scene before taking on a larger audience is encouraging and evident. Greg Hosterman's lead vocals are unique. They lend passion to his music without straying into Creed or Nickelback territory. Come for the second track, 'BBC,' a convincingly prog-funk digression from the rest of the EP; stay for the rock ballads. Oxford Collapse - Bits It is now fair to call Oxford Collapse veterans of the New York scene. Once signed to Kanine records, they've since moved on to the indie-rock hall of presidents, Sub Pop. Michael Pace, Adam Rizer and Dan Fetherston started in 2002 with their self-titled EP and haven't looked back. Since then they've released eight more albums including their latest, Bits, an album that had fans waiting for two years after their previous full-length, Remember the Night Parties. Bits is eclectic to say the least. It is sometimes fun ("I Hate Nobody"), noisy ("The Birthday Wars"), soft ("B-Roll"), folky ("Featherbeds"), rocking ("Electric Arc"), a-tonal ("Vernon-Jackson"),  and poppy ("Young Love Delivers"). What links the songs together, however, is the common theme of what can only be intentional sloppiness. A great sloppiness. This is the charm of Oxford Collapse, a group that came up with many of its Sub Pop dirty nerd-rock counterparts. Bits shows the versatility of this group while all the while somehow maintaing a punk style of simplicity with fast simple chords and group vocals, especially in songs like "For The Winter Coats" and "John Blood". Oxford Collapse has somehow maintained relevance after years of creation and in a world where it seems everything has been done. Relax and enjoy. Return to Sender - The Grand Exposure For Return to Sender there has been little exposure at all, until now. Beginning when they were fifteen and seventeen, Chad Reynolds, Scott Miller and Kyler Fillerup released their first full-lenth album on their own. They moved very quickly, gaining exposure in Provo, Utah and taking only three years and a three song demo to get to this point. What is this point? They've signed with a small California label, Five One Inc. and released The Grand Exposure, an album that should keep them moving just as fast, if not faster, than they ever have in the small world of much-deserved recognition. The track, '88,' is a spacey echoing fast-paced introduction to an uninhibited dance-rock exhibition. Within the sound-scapes of The Grand Exposure, Chad Reynold's vocals grind out his emotions seemingly beyond their limits, often seizing up next to the music like a machine gun overheating. However, the album lacks the song-to-song complexity of a mature group, something these sophomores will undoubtedly learn quickly. Highlights from the album include the lyric-less "88", and "This Is A Nation". One Day As A Lion - One Day As A Lion The voice of One Day As A Lion is unmistakable.  Zach De La Roche and Jon Theodore have come together for a project much like Rage Against the Machine, though slightly less funky. The downfall of any artist having formed a classic sound is the inability to escape it. But Zach's pursuit is almost always more political than musical, though both venues are always taken on as a lion. The title of the band and the album, One Day As A Lion, is a phrase taken from the background of a George Rodriguez photograph taken in 1970 in Chicago which read, "It's better to live one day as a lion, than a thousand years as a lamb." De La Roche will always maintain significance in the two aforementioned paths. This Anti- Records album is no classic, but is another volume in the storied career of De La Roche and worth a listen for that reason only. Few tracks stand out, but make sure to listen for 'Ocean View' for Zach's vocal melodies and its experimental sonic background. Link to this article:
A few years ago I was in full-on "Sex and the City" mode. By that I mean I was taking cabs everywhere. I just couldn't deal with public transportation. Slow, stuffy, dirty. Well after about three months of that, it occurred to me that I couldn't actually afford the lifestyle. So back to the subway I went. This past weekend, however, I took more cabs than I wish to admit. In my defense, the subways and buses weren't running late enough (they stop around 12:30am here in Boston… yeah, I know). The cab rides this weekend got me thinking about some of the most memorable rides I've had thus far in the city. I'd like to share a few: On my way home from a concert with a friend last year, the cab driver turned around and handed us a cold can of beer. His last passengers had left a few behind. He said he was being responsible by passing them along. We're of legal age, though, right? (Yes.) Upon paying one cab driver, he took my hand and kissed it a few times, asking if he could be my prince. When I said I had one, he asked if he could be the jester. That would suffice for him. After dropping my friends and I off at our destination, the driver, who had been discussing proper dance moves with us during the ride, blasted reggaeton on the radio, got out of the cab, and showed us his moves. The man had some of the best foot work I've ever seen.
Barrett Martin lives in Sante Fe, New Mexico. He is an accomplished world rhythm aficionado, drummer, composer and producer currently working on his PhD at the University of New Mexico. He somehow managed to take time out of his busy schedule of touring with musicians around the world and running his own label to give us a piece of his knowledge and experience. Though it has has been a few years since  his undergraduate experience, Martin was able to shed some light on the often overlooked music scene around Albuquerque and Santa Fe, not to mention the talent roaming around the teaching department of the University of New Mexico. Martin's first instrument was the upright bass, which accompanied him through Jazz studies in college. His career quickly took off when he moved to Seattle in 1987 to play with REM, Skin Yard, Screaming Trees, Mad Season and Tuatara. Once he moved to Los Angeles in the 1990s, he found his true calling; the drums. He participated in studio sessions with the Stone Temple Pilots, Queens Of The Stone Age, Air, Luna, and Victoria Williams, amongst many others. At the University of New Mexico, Martin has played with exceptional teaching musicians like Stu Macaskie (piano), Maude Beenhower (bass), Ed Ulman, Rodolfo Gonzalez (a Guatamalan composer), Kanoa Kaluhiwa (saxophonist), Chris Golden (bass), Luis Guerra (bass), and Chris Ishee (bass). According to Martin, "These are world class musicians living right here in our community and we are very lucky to have them." It is not only UNM, however, that houses such musicians in the area. Colleges like Albuquerque and Santa Fe all come together to create a scene that Martin made sure to recognize. "New Mexicans appreciate new music," he explained, "composed and performed here before anyone else gets to hear it. That's what I like about our wonderful community. New Mexicans are hip, they know what's going before the rest of the world knows. Green energy was invented here, amongst many other things, so it stands to reason that some of the most original music would come from here as well. I think that is largely because of the cosmopolitan influences of many different cultures, all of which combine in a beautiful way here in the desert." Martin is currently teaching Ethnomusicology at the Santa Fe UNM campus this fall, before going on tour in February 2009, with Peter Buck from REM. They'll be hitting up the United States and Europe in his side-project called Tuatara. He has a lot of other plans, including a forth solo album and a 2009 tour, all of which can be found on his website, Link to this article:
31 July 2008 Yesterday Jukebox the Ghost played an outdoor show at Union Square Park as part of Union Square Partnership’s Summer Series. Union Square: right in the heart of the city. What a setting for a show! I mean, I’ve come across other bands playing in the park before, but none that I actually enjoyed. So this one was a real treat. The fellas from Jukebox were in fine form as they wooed the fan-heavy audience (lots of young ladies singing and clapping along) and delivered their Ben Folds-esque piano pop rock with deft chops and lots of smiles. I took a bunch of pics of the band as well as the audience. Check out the slideshow of pictures at! Link to this post For more from Matt, check out Earfarm!
She & Him is the new duo consisting of Zooey Deschanel, whose day job is on the big screen, and M. Ward, already a darling of the indie scene. They blend early ‘60’s influenced pop and country, light-hearted tales of love and heartbreak, and a reverence for times past with impressive sincerity and confidence. At Terminal 5 on Saturday night, She & Him sprinkled their sweet sounds on a spread of mostly eighteen to twenty-eight year old fans. She: Zooey Deschanel soaked up the spotlight clad in a glittery, blue-sequined dress, white pumps, and an oversize hair bow. Dancing with a tambourine in-hand and accessorizing with a cutesy grin, she succeeded in charming the audience with her melodious singing voice. Him: M. Ward, channeling the iconic Johnny Cash man-in-black vibe, was the mysterious guy playing guitar off to the side. He acted the male supporting role to Zooey’s female lead. She & Him has a sound that chats rather than pontificates, and begs to play with – not at – the audience. The lofty Terminal 5 is not the most suitable venue for such an act and Deschanel’s big voice would have been all the more evocative in a more intimate space. In addition to this unintentionally impersonal vibe was a limited band interaction with its audience. Deschanel addressed the audience only a couple of times, each being a short one-liner. M. Ward did not speak to the audience at all. On a similar note, the background harmonizers had a difficult time competing with the volume of Deschanel’s booming voice. Yet the band proved to be both crowd-pleasing and delightful. “You Really Got A Hold On Me” brought the first moment of grandeur: the backing band removed from stage and only Deschanel, Ward, and his guitar to serenade the crowd. The song cemented the connection between band and audience that had been previously peripheral. This relationship was most rewarding when She & Him reached an apex of quality, playing a gratifying three-song climax: “I Thought I Saw Your Face Today”, “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” and “This Is Not A Test”. Deschanel then announced “this is our last song” and the band broke into the fun, upbeat, and sugary sounds of “Sweet Darlin’”. The song ends with the repetition of “Sweet darlin’, come hold me, just a little bit longer now”. The pleading worked, and the audience lingered a little bit longer for more. Setlist: “Black Hole” “Change Is Hard” “I Was Made For You” “Sentimental Heart” “You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio” (Joni Mitchell cover) “You Really Got A Hold On Me” (The Miracles cover) “Take It Back” “Thieves Among Us” (performed with Becky Stark) “Got Me” “I Thought I Saw Your Face Today” “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” “This Is Not A Test” “Sweet Darlin’” –ENCORE– “Bring It On Home” (Sonny Boy Williamson II cover) “Magic Trick” (M. Ward song) Link to this post For more from Matt, check out Earfarm!
If it's attitude you're after then you've come to the right song. Led by Gemma Banks and her high-rise hair London 5-piece Sister have been getting as much press for their style as their music. Blondie is an obvious reference point and Banks' bolshie vocal turn is instantly memorable. Bonus points must go to the beautifully rendered music though that creates the sweetest of swirls in the background. I'm always partial to an organ drift and 'Lovers of Today' has one that Manzarek himself would have been proud of. This is a neat throwback to the days of punk without the mess that was the uncouth snarl and the buckets of spittle. Sister are currently gigging all over London in support of their second single 'Satellite'. Link to this post For more from Kevin, check out mp3hugger!
The only thing wrong about '27' is that it ends too quickly. I just love the tumbling instrumentation and even though the vocals are fairly monosyllabic they seem particularly apt in this instance. It is a delicious taster from My Secret Alphabet's new EP (it's free if you ask them for a copy!). The quartet come from L.A. and by the looks of their still-in-construction webpages they are just getting off the ground. '27' is a broody little number that is both fleet of foot and full of cerebral maneuvers. It has a grinding momentum that builds to a cascading crescendo and boasts tons of atmosphere. If this were the 80's I'm sure there'd be a 12-inch remix whereupon '27's curvaceous aura would be given a thorough workout and our thirst for more of the same would be fully sated. Damn Delorean, never about when you need it. Link to this post For more from Kevin, check out mp3hugger!
Recently there was a 9 year old girl in New Zealand who went to court and fought her parents to legally change her name.  The name given to her at birth was, Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii... Needless to say, the girl won her battle and the judge pretty much deemed her parents loony. Exactly what are we getting at here? Well, a name says a lot about a person and Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii was not fitting for the little lady to which it was bestowed. Picking a name, whether it's for your child, your pet, or your band is a big deal. In the case of a band name, it can say a lot about the direction the band wants to take, where they come from, and who they are. A name, no matter how silly or arbitrary when it is picked, can make or break a band. That is part of the reason we want to find out the thought process behind some of our favorite BTR band's names. In today's edition of "Hello, My Name Is...", we'll get the stories behind the band names of  Of Montreal, Arcade Fire, and Finger Eleven.       of Montreal The Athens, Georgia based indie rock band known as Of Montreal is a wonderfully poppy group with an equally wonderful name. Many automatically think the group is from Montreal, Canada but as has already been stated, that is not the case. The name actually comes from frontman Kevin Barnes. Barnes was the original and founding member of the band. While solo, he named the band after a failed relationship with a girl from Montreal, Canada. The story now changes from interview to interview and Barnes makes up new and exciting answers along the way, but at its root, Barnes is just a hopeless romantic who got his heart broken at the perfect time. If not, the group may not have had such a fantastic name.       Arcade Fire We've just learned that Of Montreal, is not of Montreal at all. They're actually of Athens, GA. However, the next story we'll get into comes from a band that actually is of Montreal. Confused? Arcade Fire is a Montreal, Quebec, Canada based group with an elaborate stage presence and eclectic sound. When asked about the origin of the band name, frontman Win Butler has said on numerous occasions that the name is indeed based on a fire in an arcade. However, the story was passed onto him and not an actual event he experienced, and one that is most likely not true. Butler attended a boarding school called Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire.  The fire supposedly took place at Exeter Arcade, though Butler seems doubtful that the story passed onto him was true, he says he believed it at the time it was told to him.       Finger Eleven Keeping with the Canadian theme, here's the goods behind the Ontario, Canada band, Finger Eleven. The group was originally called Rainbow Butt Monkeys.  That name was not working for them (not a big shocker there) so the 'Butt Monkeys' were looking for something new. The band decided they wanted to be taken more seriously and then came the name Finger Eleven. The moniker comes from an early version of their track "Stephanie's Song".  There is a lyric in the song that goes "when everything is pushing you in one direction and your instinct drives you in another--that's finger eleven, I couldn't get it out of my head." And there you have it! Link to this article:
Tickets appear sold out for next weekend's All Points West in Liberty State Park, just outside NYC. So, you'll have to get creative to get in the door if you're without ticket. A number of BTR DJs, including myself, will be there! Looking forward to the event. Hope to see you there; I'm psyched to see such great talent on tap, including BTR artists: The New Pornographers The Go! Team Andrew Bird Grizzly Bear Animal Collective Cat Power Amadou & Miriam De Novo Dahl and more!
The fact that I'm probably a generation older than your average music blogger means I have the edge when it comes to looking back on historical musical vehicles. Not sure if it helps or hinders though when I'm trying to establish whether a new act is any cop but one listen to the Permanent Smilers and I'd figured they'd be worth further inspection. Led by Richard Lemongrower (he has his own record label called Citrus Sounds you know) this is an act that pulls from the constituencies of a different time. The fact that the Permanent Smilers were there in the first place makes it all the more authentic. 'Temporary' has an early nineties feel that recalls the Wedding Present, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and the Wonderstuff (check the grunge opening too). Nostalgia has an audience you see, even if that audience is now more preoccupied with nappies and mortgage rates than what is streaming piping hot from their stereos. If you're still plugged in though the Permanent Smilers new album 'Jazz Liberties' is all the electricity you'll ever need. Link to this post For more from Kevin, check out mp3hugger!
When I travel, there are three things that must come with me: My camera (Hey! No Asian jokes), my laptop, and my MP3 player. Of those three, my MP3 player is by my side the most since I tend to walk around a lot and I'm a believer in public transportation. Here's a rundown of five albums that travelled well in Portland, OR. Waiting At The Airport Gate For Boarding:  Crystal Castles (Crystal Castles) - Waiting at airports is the worst. The time on your ticket doesn't seem to matter as you'll almost always be boarding late, somewhere in the vicinity of twenty minutes to infinity. Desperately needing a faster pace, Crystal Castles delivers in bunches. Nostalgic videogame beeps paired with controlled shrieks from Alice Glass helps to pass the time. Suggested Track: "Love and Caring" Trying to Fall Asleep On The Plane:  CocoRosie (Noah's Ark) - Getting rest on an airplane is hard when the roar of the engines is overpowered by the crying baby who always seems to be seated behind you. Bianca “Coco” Casady (above and to the left) helped to alleviate the situation with her serene vocals that remind me of a blended cocktail of Bjork and Regina Spektor. To be clear, this record doesn't make me sleepy. It puts me at ease which makes it easier to sleep. Suggested Track: “Tekno Love Song” Driving Through The Mountain Ranges Outside Of Portland:  Fleet Foxes (Fleet Foxes) - This might be the most obvious pick, as the gorgeous, sweeping melodies of Fleet Foxes is a perfect match for Oregon's green landscapes. Driving to Silver Falls with Robin Pecknold in the background just seemed natural. Suggested Track: “Ragged Wood” Walking Around Downtown Portland:  Born Ruffians (Red, Yellow and Blue) - Strolling through unfamiliar territory always puts an extra hop in my step. New sights, new smells, and new people calls for a light hearted romp courtesy of Born Ruffians. Whether I was heading to the famous Voodoo Doughnut or vintage clothe shopping in Southeast Portland, it almost makes me want to skip around….almost. Suggested Track: “Barnacle Goose” Shopping At The Famer's Market:  Caribou (Andorra) - Buffalo, lamb and venison were definitely on the menu at downtown Portland's farmer's market. Luckily, Dr. Daniel Victor Snaith escaped the farm in order to create melodies ideal for waking up in the morning to handle fresh fruit and fixings. Suggested Track: “Melody Day” Link To This Article:
Cowbells will probably never go out of fashion once there are cows or at the very least a NYC band called Professor Murder stalking the earth. The band have a penchant for liberally lining their tunes with the instrument and it adds the requisite madness to what is already a ramshackle jamboree of sound. Must sound particularly satisfying within the sweaty environs of a tight venue when the punters are in the mood for shaking the trials of a working week from their hair. 'The Mountain' is a track from their 2006 release 'Professor Murder Rides The Subway' and is an eerie approximation of what Clinic and the Gossip would sound like after a couple of minutes in a high powered blender. This is a jaunty and bone shaking piece of music that is out of step with current trends and all the better for it. Link to this post For more from Kevin, check out mp3hugger!
This week we go back in time a bit to visit The Caves for the Edinburgh Film Festival where British Sea Power is preparing to headline Mirrorball, the music portion of the event. They are there to accompany the 1934 film, Man of Aran. But before we eat our meat, we must set the table. Man Of Aran is a silent documentary film (with a bit of fiction mixed in) by Robert J. Flaherty. It is a representation of life on the Aran Islands, a group of islands off of  western Ireland. The group of people are so isolated that the viewer is presented with a primitive world. They fish off of cliffs, hunt for basking sharks for their liver oil which fuels their lamps and other such daily chores. Some of these chores are fabricated by Flaherty to represent a world which actually existed some time before the film was actually shot. For example, the family around which the docufiction centered was assembled by Flaherty. However, the film is considered a masterpiece for its editing, and cinematography of the expansive land and sea. Well now, shall we return? It is June 19th and British Sea Power is providing a refined but haunting soundtrack to an equally dark and strange film. The moderately sized room fits a small string section, a trumpet, a recorder and other eclectic instruments. The subtlety of the performance ties itself so well to the windy and grey experience that the music almost crawls into consciousness unnoticed as a sudden storm threatens to tear shark hunters from their prize and out into a world virtually unknown to the weathered protagonists. If British Sea Power were once unknown for their experimental tendencies, never again. Returning to the present day, the group spends their time planning for and performing in their own music festival complete with their own brand of beer. It is encouraging to see a group of artists take bold steps into their creative and even financial futures. But no matter what they do, their connection to the bold creativity of another man will remain in the minds of many for years. Link to this article:
And how! Its about time I let you folks know what’s been going on inside the mind of Moguls, and I think the best way to do so is for me to tell you about some of my favorite shows from the past couple of months. That is what these blog posts will be about, for the most part. I’ve been living in Brooklyn for almost a year now, aside from pursuing my career in law there’s been little else keeping me here aside from the NYC music scene. I go to shows, often. Back in June, I had just been at the MHOW seeing Russian Circles (see them) and a friend and I were making our way down to the Bedford stop on the L. Once we got down to the tracks I was surprised to see one of the most energetic performances I’d seen in a while, and it was a one man show. It was just a man, a banjo, and a suitcase. While he picked and sang, he kept the persistent beat with a suitcase he sat on fashioned into a bass drum by way of a backwards pedal. I was ecstatic. At the time few things could’ve pleased me more. The rhythmic pluck of the banjo, gritty vocals, and determined thwap of the suitcase blended into a harmonious, if not mathematical, melody. At this point there was no way that I would let this be the last I heard from this fellow, and I picked up a flyer from his banjo case after demonstrating my gratitude with a few bills (as one ought always do with any musician). It was only two days later when I was seeing Casa de Chihuahua (see them) play at the Glasslands (go there) in Williamsburg. I had by this time determined that it was Morgan who had been playing at Bedford two nights before hand, and I intended to cross his path. Al Foul (see him) opened, amazing. Similar to the subway jam from a few nights before, Al played a guitar, with a tambourine on his left foot and a bass drum on his right - all the while blessing the crowd with his rockabilly vocals - a truly astounding performance. I recommend anyone go check him out if you get the chance. During the set break I ran into Morgan and we discussed music, the mountains, and beer. I had by this time already decided to feature them on my next show, and was pleased when he handed me a copy of their album "What the Blind Mule Smelled and Listened At", from which came the song "Cryin’ and Dancin’" from my last show. Their set was beyond entertaining, it captivated me. As me and my friends shared our drinks and dreams, the band shared theirs with us in the intimate environment. While words can convey emotions clearly in most cases, I feel that it was the guitars, banjo, fiddle, gutbucket, and washboards that connected with everyone best that night. To say that I was pleased with the evening would be to understate my enjoyment drastically. And this is how I came to love Casa de Chihuahua (listen to them!) Long story short: There is no better way to demonstrate your talents and communicate with your audience than by strutting your stuff in the subway.
You may have heard of Allegories, an electronic duo who weave great sonic patterns and very confusing homepages. Well, now the Ontario pair of Adam Bentley and Jordan Mitchell have returned to their first creative outlet known as the Rest where they are joined by a group of their mates. The Rest's second album 'Everyone All At Once' was recorded a la Bon Iver in sweet isolation, far away from concrete and rude shop assistants. The joyous results can be heard on primer 'Walk On Water', an assault on the senses that drifts from deep contemplation to rampaging blasts of sonic experimentalism. Sounds like a nightmare doesn't it but in the hands of the Rest there are the sweetest of fruit hanging from the giant oak of noise. Sit patiently beneath its shadow and let it reveal itself slowly. 'Everyone All At Once' will be released through Auteur Recordings very soon. Link to this post For more from Kevin, check out mp3hugger!
I'm a cautious music listener, dear QBiM readers, who is as suspicious of the music-journalist phrase "experimental rock" as he is of the best friend-trying-to-set-you-up phrases "nice personality" and "great sense of humour." Immediate response is usually a raised eyebrow and pursed lips, and a narrowing of the mind. In most cases, I'm usually right to go with my hunches. Not so in the case of "experimental rockers" Feral Children, whose debut album, Second to the Last Frontier was released earlier this month. I admit that Feral Children wouldn't normally fall into my realm of musical taste, but there is no denying that these guys, from Seattle, Washington, have the musical chops to make these dense, claustrophobic songs work as music, and not just as some kind of discordant noise pollution. "Jaundice Giraffe" is an intoxicating affair, driven by a steady drum beat and an undercurrent of jungle-like sounds. "Saint" starts with a more traditional song structure, though it still moves ahead with unexpected changes in tempo, veering from one corner to another like a marble rolling across an ever-changing slanted surface. The album was produced by Scott Colburn, whose previous credits include Animal Collective and Arcade Fire, so that should give you some indication about what you'll be hearing. Taking a walk with Feral Children will definitely satisfy the adventurous spirits amongst you. In any regards, I'm declaring this experiment a success. Feral Children "Spy/Glass House" Feral Children "Jaundice Giraffe" hype machine : Link to this post for more from Jim, head on over but Quick Before It Melts!
UP COMING PARTY FUN TIME! Ha ha ha, no but seriously some really exciting stuff in coming you way in August so I am here to put you all on notice. First off lets talk about an awesome show that will be coming to the Tri-State area. Think of it as “Coachella Jr.” or as they named it All Points West Music & Arts Festival. Yeppers August 8th, 9th & 10th this festival will be taking over Liberty State Park in Jersey City and will be sure to make enough noise that will can here it in Brooklyn. Lets talk line up shall we? Independent and major label artist alike will be sharing the stage all weekend long. Acts such as Radio Head, Jack Johnson, The Roots and Underworld are some of the big name artist you can hear this weekend. But lets discuss the amazing line up on independent artist that will be rockin’ the fuck out. The New Pornographers, Chromeo, CSS, Little Brother and Grizzly Bear are just a few of the Break Thru Radio artist that will be blessing us with there sounds. The weekend of the August 8th I will be putting together a play list of some of these artists that will be performing at All Points West. So if you cant make it to the show, at least you’ll have an hour of music to keep you entertained. In some other new, last week New York Cities own independent hustle, Creature invaded the BTR Live Studios. Creature along with Rebelmatic put on a nice 35-minute live set for BTR. A lot of energy, a really tight sound and lyric’s that will intrigue your mind is what came out of the few hours spent with this artist. BTR’s own Maia also set up an interview with Creature & Rebebelmatic and will letting you in on upcoming shows, parties and other info from the independent hip-hop scene. The show will be airing in a few weeks so keep your eyes and ears open for this awesome live hip-hop / rock sound of Creature featuring Rebelmatic.
QBiM turns two today, so put on your party hat, have a piece of cake, and get yourself sick of fizzy soda and ice cream! Working on QBiM has been a blast these past two years, and I'm looking forward to the third year being even better yet. I couldn't help put stitch together a little mix for your musical enjoyment--it's a shorter one than some of my others, but it's a pretty good one, if I may say so myself. Enjoy, and thanks for your support! Quick Before It Melts presents... "The Anatomy of a Blog(ger): 2nd Anniversary Mix" featuring... Grizzly Bear "Kinife (Girl Talk Remix)" Kevin Drew "tbtf" Maybe Smith "I Fight Birds" Crystal Castles "Vanished" Elbow "Grounds For Divorce" Stars "Bitches in Tokyo" Dragonette "I Get Around" Of Montreal "Grondlandic Edit" Young Galaxy "Come and See" The Futureheads "The Beginning of The Twist" Link to this post for more from Jim, head on over but Quick Before It Melts!
This week on Hello My Name Is, we feature three groups with albums recently added to the BTR library, The Blacks, The Delicious and Destruction Island. All three are currently being showcased all over the Breakthru Radio programming, so make sure to keep an eye out, and if you're not sure what they're all about, lets start at the beginning! The Blacks are a dark and dirty hard rocking band from California. With Luisa Black's distorted drawl at the helm, they trio just released Nom de Guerre, an album that takes chances in its harsh wash of distortion and drag. The group has upcoming shows in California and New York and has already created a reputation for bringing down the house. So if you see their name on the bill, be sure to tell your friends where it came from.  According to Luisa, after starting a group with tambourine player JDK Blacker (not his real name), 'He'd never played in a band before, couldn't sing a lick and also couldn't play an instrument. We practiced twice. At our third practice I fired him, told him I was starting a new band and he was no longer the singer...I was.' The story of the two (and later three after Gavin Black), is a story of reinvention, and that led them to recall the history of music and the reinvention of replicated identities. Luisa explained, 'Later we ponied up to a bar and kicked around band names over drinks. The Ramones may or may not have been on the TV. I think we were having a rangy conversation about the history of cool in rock music and who stole what from black culture but anyway, the name suddenly came to me and when I told JDK he gave me a dead stare and said 'You can't do that.' So I did and here we are. Oh, and have you seen us? We all have inky black hair. Except the drummer but he makes up for his lack of blackness in other ways.' If you indeed haven't seen The Blacks, there's more to be admired than just inky black hair, their inky black souls. 8/9/08 10:00pm @ Bottom of the Hill - San Francisco, CA 8/16/08 9:00pm @ Union Pool Death + Taxes after-party - Brooklyn, NY 9/29/08 9:00pm @ Bottom of the Hill - San Francisco, CA After the recent release of Postcard to My Sewing Circle, The Delicious have pushed their way up the indie ladder with choppy rock that jerks back and forth from "Hokusai" to "The Tangible." A band like this is too fun to ignore especially in the days where almost every artist has begun to take themselves too seriously for their own good. The Delicious is just that and a breath of fresh air too. But if the album isn't enough, lets probe deeper into the psyche of a few crazies – Ben Fowler, David Woodruff, Matt  and Nick Romy, Julian Bransby. According to David, 'The Delicious' came about as a mock 'the' band name. Since delicious is an adjective it doesn't really sound right as a noun, for a time we found that funny. Also it's a nod to synesthesia – the perception of one sense as another, like seeing colors when hearing music or in this case, tasting.' So you see, the boys aren't always tongue-in-cheek, only most of the time.  8/8/08 12:00pm @ N.A.M.U. Festival - Pittsburgh, PA Finally we have Destruction Island. Kye Alfred Hillig (Vocals, Guitar), David Lee Bilbrey (Guitar, Keys, Backing Vocals), Daniel P. Disparte (Drums) and Yos-wa (Bass, Korg, Backing Vocals) have come together to create driving rhythmic rock music for Washington and its neighbors. They've put together a small tour for the area and seeing them shouldn't be too hard as long as you're local, just remember to remind (after you've heard this story) them that you know their thoughts! The backstory is quite dark. That makes a bit of sense for a group as harsh as they can be. Kye Alfred explains, 'Since I was about 16 I have been going to this same beach out on the Washington Coast every summer. There is an Island right off that beach out in the ocean called Destruction Island which got its name because of a disturbing number of negative happenings. A group of settlers we attacked by local indians and killed as well as many ships run aground because of its misleading lighthouse.' Alfred never saw his band being named after a place, but as he explained it, 'it seemed like an obvious choice.' 8/1/08 7:30pm   @ The Coffee House Cafe - Salem, OR 8/3/08 5:00pm   @ Studio Seven - Seattle, WA 8/15/08 8:00pm @ World Famous Bob’s Java Jive - Tacoma, WA Link to this article:
Great band to see live last weekend at Piano's randomly: Hello Tokyo. Not to be confused with Tokyo Police Club---also a great BTR band---this band's differentiator is it's female vocals led by Kat Sugar Plum. They'll be hitting the road in August with shows in Philly, NYC, and DC. Check them out; it's worth your time! Aug 1 2008 9:00P The Fire Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Aug 6 2008 10:00P Club Midway w/ Emanuel & The Fear New York, New York Aug 16 2008 9:30P Rock & Roll Hotel w/ Drop Electric Washington, Washington DC
If Monday's pop is sugary and sticky, and Tuesday's pop is tangy and tart, then Wednesday's pop is must be smart and sophisticated (don't ask about Thursday and Friday's pop, I haven't though that far). Taste test today's menu, featuring New York-based brother and sister duo Blondfire. They used to be called Astaire, but the lawyers for some dead ballroom dancer got all in a huff about it, so they had to change their name. What didn't change is their penchant for modern pop in the same vein of Saint Etienne, minus the electronic flourishes and dance-music influences.  Erica and Bruce Driscoll hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and Brazil, and from the sounds of it, they spent many a summer on the sun-drenched beaches listening to the local music and drinking in the influences.  As Astaire, the pair toured with Stars, Ivy, and Robbers on High Street, and were building quite a name and reputation for themselves. Once the legal issues started, the band got on a roller coaster ride of music business bullshit, which ended when they were dropped by EMI UK in 2006, before they had completed their debut full-length.  Why?  Who knows, really.  Blondfire seem like a sure thing to me:  they were the first unsigned band to record an iTunes exclusive EP and reach the number one spot; they've been used in the soundtrack for movies and TV alike; they're great songwriters with a knack for catchy pop hooks., and they have the indie cred to become a major player.  Doesn't make sense to me, but then, that's the music biz. Look for Blondfire's self-produced LP, My Someday at iTunes now, and check out their aforementioned EP and an exclusive holiday EP available only at iTunes (to get you into the Christmas spirit a few months early). Blondfire "Pretty Young Thing" myspace : hype machine : Link to this post for more from Jim, head on over but Quick Before It Melts!
For its inaugural year, The All Points West Music and Arts Festival is looking to be a pretty nifty shin-dig.  The festival, which will be held in Jersey City, New Jersey, has been referred to as "Coachella East", mainly because Goldenvoice/AEG Live is hosting the 3 day celebration and they are the same company that puts on Coachella every year. However, All Points West does have its differences, one being that the festival does not allow camping, which definitely sets a different vibe for the East Coast concert. There are even single day tickets available (though, the APW website says that Saturday's single day tickets are sold out). Each day will feature 3 stages featuring some pretty stellar acts. One of the big names playing All Points West is Radiohead, perhaps one of the most magnificent and talented live acts of the current time. The group will be headlining and closing things down on Friday and Saturday evening. On Sunday, Jack Johnson will take the reigns and round out the festival. There are a plethora of BTR bands that will be taking the stage throughout the weekend. Friday, you can jam out to The New Pornographers, CSS, Mates of State, and Grizzly Bear. Saturday, The Black Angels, Animal Collective, and Sia will be taking the stage. And, finally on Sunday, catch sets from BTR favorites such as De Novo Dahl,  Rogue Wave, and Cat Power. All Points West is shaping up to be one fine festival and all signs are pointing to a recurring hit amongst music fans. It seems very likely that APW will be around for many years to come. BTR will keep you posted on any new developments! Link to this article:
I've been really enjoying Partie Traumatic, the debut album from Black Kids. Originally hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, Black Kids kick-started their career with an attention-grabbing set at the Athens Popfest a few years ago, and since then have been on a musical thrill ride that's taken them to the UK and back, where they worked with Bernard Butler (Suede, The Tears) on their debut album. There's some similarities to Los Campesinos!, mainly in the quirky lyrical content and smart-ass song titles. Musically speaking, Black Kids are more new wave than indie pop in my estimation, with the slightest touch of soul and R & B thrown in to give the songs a bit of, *ahem* colour. "Hurricane Jane" in particular sounds like it has some Detroit soul influences on it, but so far my favourite is current single, "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You," with it's almost rockabilly-like opening guitar riffs bleeding into a wash of synths that could have been on the last Killers album. Please note, the link below is not a direct download; click the song to be taken to a site where you can download the track yourself. MP3: Black Kids "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You" myspace : hype machine : Long time no contest on QBiM! Well, today's your lucky day! Up for grabs, thanks to the fine folks at Columbia Records, is a Black Kids prize pack consisting of a tote bag, limited edition t-shirt and vinyl copy of the album. It's all you just for sending an electronic mail-type message to contests AT quickbeforeitmelts DOT com with "I want to Partie Traumatic with Black Kids!" in the subject line, and your full mailing address in the message body. Contest closes at 11:59 pm, Friday July 26, 2008. Link to this post for more from Jim, head on over but Quick Before It Melts!
Oxford Collapse: A New CD British Sea Power: A New Festival If the title confuses you, it should. First, let us get the given out of the way. Though slightly more conventional, no less exciting is the announcement of a new album from Sub Pop sweethearts Oxford Collapse. It will be titled BITS and released on August 5th and officially at the Glasslands in Brooklyn August 21st. Insiders claim the sound is much like hard experimental rockers, No Age. Oxford Collapse is a group from Brooklyn, New York who play often pounding Band of Horses-like rock music. On regular rotation here at BreakThru Radio, the group last released Remember the Night Parties in 2006. The current album is also especially spontaneous. According to the band, "We were standing outside of the studio figuring out a lot of these lyrics right before we recorded them.” Much of the group's music includes improvisation from within the studio, creating a very personal listening experience. Keep a keen eye and a quick clicking-finger out for all of those tracks in weekly shows of the future. But the Oxford Collapse is not the only group to give birth to a creative baby in the last month. British Sea Power, another group familiar to listeners of, have brought their own creation to the music world, but no new album since their last, Do You Like Rock Music? No, this is much different. British Sea Power Believe it or not, British Sea Power, a UK group, has decided to create their own music festival called Sing Ye From the Hillside which will take place at a bar called the Tan Inn Pub in Yorkshire Dales, an area of Northern England, over the course of three days, (August 29-31). What is even more unconventional is their partnership with Dent Brewery to create their own beer for the festival. Potentially not a bad money-making move for this group of Brits. Even more of a draw is the fact that they will play a different set every day, one with music they created for the soundtrack for a movie called Man of Aran, a documentary about life unique to the Aran Islands off the western coast of Ireland. The other two sets will be filled with rare songs and others not-so-rare. And soon to be not-so-rare could be independent artists like the BSP seeking other untold avenues from which to make money. One can only hope those ideas are as good as more beer. Oxford Collapse Live! Jul 29/08 8:00pm @ Johnny Brenda’s - Philadelphia, PA Jul 30/08 8:00pm @ Middle East - Cambridge, MA Jul 31/08 8:00pm @ Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY 8/1/08 8:00pm @ Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY 8/3/08 8:00pm @ The Basement - Columbus, OH 8/4/08 8:00pm @ Magic Stick - Detroit, MI 8/5/08 8:00pm @ The Music Mill - Indianapolis, IA 8/6/08 8:00pm @ High Noon Saloon - Madison, WI 8/7/08 8:00pm @ Varsity Theater - Minneapolis, MN 8/8/08 8:00pm @ The Abbey Pub - Chicago, IL 8/9/08 8:00pm @ Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH 8/10/08 8:00pm @ Southgate House - Newport, KY 8/11/08 8:00pm @ Diesel - Pittsburgh, PA 8/17/08 8:00pm @ Sound Fix ACOUSTIC SHOW - Brooklyn, NY 8/21/08 8:00pm @ Glasslands BITS RECORD RELEASE! - Brooklyn, NY 8/22/08 8:00pm @ Talking Head - Baltimore, MD 8/23/08 8:00pm @ Local 506 - Carrboro, NC 8/24/08 8:00pm @ Drunken Unicorn - Atlanta, GA 8/25/08 8:00pm @ Bottletree - Birmingham, AB 8/26/08 8:00pm @ Spanish Moon - Baton Rouge, LA 8/27/08 8:00pm @ The Mohawk - Austin, TX 8/29/08 8:00pm @ Solar Culture Gallery - Tucson, AZ 8/30/08 8:00pm @ Spaceland - Los Angeles, CA 9/2/08 8:00pm @ Rickshaw Shop - San Francisco, CA 9/4/08 8:00pm @ Holocene - Portland, OR 9/5/08 8:00pm @ Sunset Tavern - Seattle, WA 9/6/08 8:00pm @ Media Club - Vancouver, BC 9/8/08 8:00pm @ The Velvet Underground - Edmonton, AB 9/9/08 8:00pm @ Marquee Room - Calgary, AB 9/10/08 8:00pm @ Amigo’s - Saskatoon, SK 9/12/08 8:00pm @ The Aquarium - Fargo, ND 9/13/08 8:00pm @ Maintenance Shop - Ames, IO 9/16/08 8:00pm @ The Bluebird - St. Louis, MO 9/18/08 8:00pm @ Krannert Art Museum - Champaign, IL 9/20/08 8:00pm @ Sneaky Dee’s - Toronto, ON 9/27/08 8:00pm @ Mercury Lounge - New York, NY British Sea Power Live! 8/3/08 9:30pm @ Kendal Calling - Kendal, Cumbria 8/9/08 11:45pm @ OFF Festival, Slupna Park - Mysolwice, Poland 8/11/08 9:00pm @ ROXY - Prague, Czech Republic 8/14/08 3:45pm @ LOWLANDS Festival - Holland, The Netherlands 8/16/08 6:30pm @ Pukkelpop - Hasselt, Belgium 8/23/08 3:30pm @ Carling Festival - Reading, UK 8/24/08 3:30pm @ Carling Festival - Leeds, UK 8/29/08 8:00pm @ TAN HILL (3 DAYS!) - Yorkshire Moors, UK 9/29/08 9:30pm @ The Academy - Dublin, Ireland 9/30/08 9:30pm @ Mandela Hall - Belfast, Northern Ireland 10/2/08 9:30pm @ Brighton Corn Exchange - Brighton, UK 10/3/08 9:00pm @ Southampton University - Southampton, UK 10/5/08 9:00pm @ The Junction - Cambridge, UK 10/6/08 9:00pm @ Bristol Academy - Bristol, UK 10/7/08 9:00pm @ Birmingham Academy - Birmingham, UK 10/8/08 9:00pm @ Newcastle University - Newcastle, UK 10/10/08 9:00pm @ Fat Sams, Dundee - Dundee, UK 10/11/08 9:00pm @ Glasgow ABC - Glasgow, UK 10/12/08 9:00pm @ Manchester Ritz - Manchester, UK 10/13/08 9:00pm @ Leeds Metropolitan University - Leeds, UK 10/15/08 9:00pm @ Oxford Regal - Oxford, UK 10/17/08 9:30pm @ The Roundhouse - London, UK Link to this article:
Late concert update from The White Noise Supremacists. Great to see this band take their show on the road, having seen them at the Delancy here in NYC. Worth checking out if you're in these areas! July 24- Echo Curio - Los Angeles, CA July 25- Modified Arts - Phoenix, AZ July 26- Dry River - Tucson, AZ July 28- Beauty Bar w/ Many Birthdays - Austin, TX August 2- Danger Danger Gallery - Philly, PA August 4- Pianos - NYC
What I love most about July and August in Boston is that it means great jam band shows! This Friday Boston based band, The Indobox, will play aboard the Mass Bay Lines MV Samuel Clemens for another one of those concert cruises I love so much! The boat departs from Rowes Wharf, which if you haven't spent much time at, you should! One of the most beautiful places in the whole city! Saturday, Umphrey's McGee and STS9 will be at the Bank of America Pavilion, one of the better stops on their summer tour (hehe! yes, I am a Boston snob). That show is also right along the water. And I'd highly recommend hitting up either No Name's Restaurant or The Barking Crab for a delicious New England lobster and a nice, cold glass of Harpoon before the show! AND next Friday, August 1st, is Jerry Garcia's birthday (RIP). Boston-based Grateful Dead tribute band, Playin' Dead, will perform at the Cavern Club at the Hard Rock Café. I saw them aboard one of those concert cruises a few weeks ago and they were AWESOME! For more info or to buy tickets for that show, as well as The Indobox concert cruise, call 1.866.468.7619, visit, or check out Groovy, man.
This weekend, my friend Daryl--with tongue placed firmly in cheek--crowned me "King of the Blogosphere" which made me chuckle and blush a bit with pride.  This week, QBiM will celebrate it's second anniversary, and no one is more surprised than me that it's still a going concern (at least in my life).  So much so, that this week, QBiM has the distinction of being Blog of the Week (or maybe I'm Blogger of the Week) over at internet radio station, BreakThru Radio; That means my posts this week appear here and on the BreakThru Radio site--so welcome to any readers over at BreakThru, and I certainly hope you'll click your way over to QBiM's home site, too (it's really pretty, and the designer would love for you to see it). So, what to post for my first guest-spot?  Darned if I know.  Every once in a while I get these brain freezes, where I basically start out writing a post, but have no idea what I really want to say.  What usually ends up happening is I ramble on all stream of consciousness until something inspires me, or a cool tune pops up on the iTunes random shuffle, and I think, "Hey, that's what I'll write about."  Kind of like right now. If you're new to QBiM (as some BreakThru readers might be), then you may also be new to The Society Islands, a one-piece band from Cologne, Germany, fronted by my good (internet) pal Boris Rogowski.  The Society Islands were one of the first bands I really went to bat for on QBiM, and I hope that in the last two years, I've introduced some people to his smart, witty, orchestrated pop masterpieces. Someone else out there must like them, too, because a few months back, poor Boris had his studio broken into.  The bastards walked out the door with the hard drive containing all of the finished mixes of tracks he's been working on for the last few years.  But Boris isn't the kind of guy to let the bastards get him down.  When he realized that he had pretty much lost the album , and that his pleas and offer of a reward weren't turning up the hard drive, he decided that the rough mixes, b-sides and pre-master copies he still had should get out there as an internet-only free download. He hasn't finalized any plans on the download album, and he may well be in the studio as we speak working on new material, so for now, I'd like to share some of what made me sit up and take notice of The Society Islands almost two years ago this month; I hope you'll take notice, too: The Society Islands "The Mill" myspace : hype machine : Link to this post for more from Jim, head on over but Quick Before It Melts!
  We can feel it! We can feel it! Uff that graphic is H-O-T! Uff that tracks are too! Is this the new It? Is this an It? Is this something you have to put the boat under your butt to cruise on beats of glamour? Are you down with it? One of Brooklyn purest gleaming pieces of jewelry The New American Dream seem to grab your brain, stomp on it to leave it used and dirty on the dancefloor. We dig these gruff short dance beats and dithered vocals that makes our beautiful bodies shaking like hoes on kryptonite (chekk?)! These are fellows when you dance naked into daybreak with nothing else than euphoria, guns and grrrls. Btw: the graphic is actually longer, too long for a post, but we highly recommend to take it along here. It is coevally the teaser for the mix. Grab the tush! Mediafire: The American Dream Team - Pound For Pound Mediafire: The American Dream Team - Money & Bitches Mediafire: Pismo - Analyze or Sync (Codes American Dream Team Remix) zShare: The American Dream Team ft. Dj Code-D - What Dreams Are Made Of Mix Link to this post For more from Teen Millionaire, Pseudoe Silhouette and Mi Nou , check out The Fast Life
Nothing satisfies the never-ending itch of curiosity than finding out how your favorite bands came upon their names. All you can hope for is a good anecdote, and with this week's installment of "Hello, My Name Is," that mission is accomplished. We've got the scoop on The Black Angels, Gotye, and Half Acre Day. Enjoy! Half Acre Day Out of Seattle, Washington, Half Acre Day recently released their third album, 14 Trips Around The Sun, which takes its name from the fact that the band has been together for 14 years. Guitarist and lead singer Matt Kristiansen says the band's unique name, however, comes from an amalgam of space and time, in an attempt to measure time using two-dimensional spatial units. "It's very scientific, involving complex algorithms, equations and the like," he says. "There are currently only five people on the planet who fully understand it, but in the future it will provide the energy necessary to maintain the amenities we enjoy today, such as toast." Well, we don't want anything messing with our toast, do we? The Black Angels The story of how The Black Angels got their name is rather well-known. The Austin, Texas-based band took their moniker from the title of a Velvet Underground song, called "The Black Angel's Death Song," which comes from the Velvet Underground's debut record The Velvet Underground and Nico. Furthermore, in the liner notes for the first Black Angels record, Passover, there is a quote from Edvard Munch, which goes like this: "Illness, insanity, and death are the black angels that kept watch over my cradle and accompanied me all my life." There are Black Angels everywhere! Gotye One would expect that the story behind the name of Gotye is especially titillating, but, in actuality, it's short and simple.   “I was born in Belgium and my birth name, in Flemish, is Wouter,” says the 29-year-old Wally DeBacker, the man behind Gotye. “That translates into French as Gaultier, and my mother, being a French speaker, would call me Gaultier as a kind of pet name when I was young.”   And there you have it. Link to this article:
Our friends James and Celeste from the Island United Kingdom, both better known as Oldschoolreunion, were happy hardcore enough to deliver us their first tasty Ep called “High Five”, that makes us absolutely hungry for more. Oldschoolreunion serve 3 non-vocal tracks to show their skills in beaking the beat, pitching the kicks and appear hard-hustling on the street. We highly recommend them all, if you support and celebrate collages of glitter, glitz and sparkling wine! 2 things we’d like to give with these 3 gems: Eat them up and enjoy! Feed a band, watch them grow! They deserve it! Mediafire: Oldschoolreunion - 7 Fires Mediafire: Oldschoolreunion - Street Ninja Mediafire: Oldschoolreunion - Fast Getaway Link to this post For more from Teen Millionaire, Pseudoe Silhouette and Mi Nou , check out The Fast Life
Oh gosh I am excited. A ticket to the Ani + Kimya Dawson show fell into my hands, very fortunately, this week. It's been years since I saw Ani (if you don't count peering through the fence at Prospect Park last summer) and she puts on one of the best live shows I've ever seen. To be honest, I am not sure what her last album was (that compilation cd?) but I have faith that I'll know most of the songs. I am also wondering if Brooklyn bassist Todd Sickafoose will be playing tonight's show. I know he has been Ani's drummer for years and years, but I most often see him casually playing with his group over at Tea Lounge on Union Street. Kimya Dawson certainly has a new (younger) crowd of fans who probably know her music from Juno, as opposed to her pioneering voice in the anti-folk scene and/or moldy peaches. up down up down left right left right b a start... oh konami code!
  Buffetlibre’s 80s cover project “Rewind” makes us happy again - oh-uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh. They shipped over two tickets to paradise to us in terms of two new 80s covers. One by the fellow the whole FastLife crew likes to marry - Mr. Anoraak. He attended to The Romantics to meliorate their track “Talking In Your Sleep” with his personal touch, for what we love him that much. The other one is contributed by Findlay Brown who covers Joe Smooth’s deep house classic “Promised Land” and transmutes it into an easy-listening, easy-going, easy-easy track that makes you melt away straightaway. With these last two covers, Part1 of Buffetlibre’s “Rewind” project is completed. You can download the whole collection for free via MegaUpload or as seperated tracks directly at Buffetlibre. We, the TFL crew, love the entire result and send over our proper respect to all involved. MediaFire: The Romantics - Talking In Your Sleep (Anoraak Remix) MediaFire: Joe Smooth - Promised Land (Findlay Brown Remix) Link to this post For more from Teen Millionaire, Pseudoe Silhouette and Mi Nou , check out The Fast Life
Check out the Sub Pop label showcase here! It’s no secret that Sub Pop is a prolific label that released some of the best independent music of the past 20 years. Starting as a Northwest-based “grunge” label, Sub Pop was the first to sign acts like Nirvana, Mudhoney and Soundgarden before the genre broke into the mainstream. Sub Pop helped to define Seattle as a cultural center and an important birthplace of innovative music. The label released countless amazing, generation-defining records from bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Beat Happening, Afghan Whigs, Sebadoh, The Vaselines, and many more. Throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s, Sub Pop was at the forefront of the independent music world. After the Seattle bubble burst in the mid-1990’s, not to mention the death of Kurt Cobain, many wondered if Sub Pop had the staying power to survive as a label. The late 1990’s were rough for Sub Pop, with layoffs, office closures and even some press coverage speculating that the label’s best days had probably passed. However, new ideas revitalized the company; the retail record store closed, and was officially open for business. The Sub Pop Singles Club, originally a force in the Seattle music scene in the 80’s, began released exclusive 7” from a new generation of independent musicians such as Modest Mouse, Bright Eyes, and the White Stripes. According to Zach Braff, listening to The Shins will change your life. The validity of that assertion remains unclear, but the release of Oh, Inverted World in 2001 marked the beginning of the return of Sub Pop’s reign- the 2000s have seen some of the best Sub Pop releases, and most commercial success. The Postal Service’s Give Up, released in 2003, has been Sub Pop’s best selling album aside from Nirvana’s Bleach, and has become one of the sounds that’s defined a new generation of independent music fans.  Bands like Iron and Wine, Comets on Fire, The Brunettes and Wolf Parade have ushered in a new, more globalized version of Sub Pop: no longer a label just limited to the Northwest U.S., Sub Pop now signs bands from all over the world. The hard-earned reputation of being the single most influential independent label in the U.S. has been 20 years in the making, and the label certainly has the catalog to back it up. Sub Pop continuously signs some of the most compelling artists in recent history, with genres that extend beyond its grunge roots. From electronic and ambient grooves, to straight-up rock and roll, there is no longer one “Sub Pop” sound, rather a mix of amazing artists being brought to the public consciousness. The label has managed to expand, even taking in business from major corporations from time to time, but never losing the core values and amazing roster we expect from our favorite taste-makers.   It was with this knowledge that music fans gathered this past weekend for Sub Pop 20, a massive birthday bash celebrating all that is Sup Pop.  Performances from seminal bands Mudhoney, The Vaselines, and best of all: a performance from Green River, a band whose members went on to form the bands Pearl Jam and Mudhoney, among others. Sub Pop’s current roster was also representing: Fleet Foxes, Wolf Parade, No Age, The Ruby Suns and Foals were just a few of the new kids strutting their stuff. BTR wasn’t lucky enough to have attended, but we wish Sub Pop all the best on their 20th birthday! Link to this article:
A new Poponiv wants to be a part of your karma, your device, the glitter on your furniture, the gleaming belt around your hips, the cheeky new friend in your gang, the neon accessory of your outfit, the start into a warm ruffinov night, the reason for shaking your torsinov in your bathroom, while preparing for an event of your choice and the soundtrack while stealing inventory out of the Ritz Carltinov. Shout out loudinov to Dstrrr over at Schitz Popinov. zShare: Dstrrr - Schitz Popinov Mini Mix Tracklist: Catcall - Chicky Babe (Spruce Lee Remix) Boundzound - Louder (Henrik Schwarz Vox RMX) Dizzee Rascal - Stand Up Tall (radioclit remix) Ghostface Killah - Charlie Brown (Yuksek Remix) Dj Kue – Fuk it Up Boys Noize vs. Young MC - Busta Lava Move (Blaze Mashup) Pitbull ft. Trina & Young Boss - Go Girl (Chew Fu Fix) Teen Wolf - Fukt (BSBTRGD Club remix) Pittsburgh Slim - Too Bad You’re With Him (Pink is Punk Remix) Sinden & Count of Monte Crista - Beeper (Fake Blood Remix) Teenagersintokyo - Robocat (The Knifemachine remix) Chris Isaak - Wicked Games (Chew Fu Refix ft. Lee Majors) Dabruck & Klein - Cars (2008 Original Mix) Sarah Mcleod - White Horse - (Bass Kleph RMX) Crookers - Seglia (OH SNAP!! Booty Alarm Mix) Monosurround – Cocked Locked (Summerized Club) Secret Handshake - Summer Of 98 (Crookers Remix) Link to this post For more from Teen Millionaire, Pseudoe Silhouette and Mi Nou , check out The Fast Life
Albert Hammond, Jr. ¿Cómo te Llama? ¿Cómo te Llama? by Albert Hammond, Jr. is the follow-up to Yours to Keep, the first album by the Strokes guitarist gone solo. Jr.'s ability to release himself from the shackles of Strokes-level expectations will always be on trial, though that does not mean he will never meet those expectations. Unfortunately for him, however, it will take a leap much greater than those rarely taken on this, his most recent attempt. Too often Hammond finds safety in his own Rock and Roll drawl and sharp guitar chords,(which The Strokes have already come together to perfect), save for some small orchestral moments and sporadic echoing reverb. This is assuming he prefers to reach out to audiences beyond those he can 'hold over until the next Strokes album,' as some critics have put it. 'Lisa' is a particularly risky track, mainly for the aforementioned reasons, but it helps to forge what could have made this album much more of a solo project; the feeling of melodrama, a good kind of melodrama. 'You Won't Be Fooled By This' sounds like a thoughtful version of '12:51.'  Again, Jr. is almost on to something, but it could very well be argued that he is simply being less subtle with his emotional frustration than his mother-ship of creativity. This is particularly true in 'GfC,' the fourth track of the album in which he proclaims, 'Inside me there's a sad machine, wants to stop movin' – the most intriguing lyrics of the entire song. 'Bargain of the Century' is equally uneventful. It is unfortunate that Jr.'s career is forever overshadowed by said expectations, but those expectations are firmly based in reality. A solo career, or any career for that matter should provide enough difference (and quality therein) to stand on its own two feet. Otherwise just release another album under the same name of the original group. Unfortunately he has doomed himself with a unique guitar sound, but even Yours to Keep maintained a similar style, yet separated itself by taking off so much distortion and instrumentation and therefore sounding more raw and honest, especially in songs like 'Holiday.' But this is by no means doomsday for Hammond. What he an his dirty New York City friends did for Rock and Roll will never be forgotten, and that will always  allow him to make every attempt necessary before he carves out his own place in this art form. Be sure to check out the Video of the Week, a single from Hammond's solo debut, Yours to Keep. It's called "Back to the 101." Tracks:    1. 'Bargain of a Century'    2. 'In My Room'    3. 'Lisa'    4. 'GfC'    5. 'The Boss Americana'    6. 'Rocket'    7. 'Victory At Monterey'    8. 'You Won't Be Fooled By This'    9. 'Spooky Couch'   10. 'Borrowed Time'   11. 'G Up'   12. 'Miss Myrtle'   13. 'Feed Me Jack Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Peter Sellers' Link to this article:
So, it seems like only yesterday I was a student at the University of Florida and my then boyfriend, Matt (DJ Latola) hooked me up with a job at a really cool internet radio station based out of NYC. My how things have changed since then.  From my first show until now, I've been ecstatic to be a part of BTR... not many people can say that about their jobs! Anyway, 3 years is a huge milestone so I just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our incredible station! - Emily
Upperclass spelling style: every following sentence will start with “I”. I truly have to admit several facts: I am hardly ravished by a variety of French musicians and producers, not this standard-stuff every second-class-club is playing on midnight to get new-rave-kids moving. I think of real componists, magicians of melodies, having the skills to make you tripping every second. I am very glad guys like “As The Stars Fall” and “Anoraak” exist. I sometimes wish to be French. I got special feelings by listening to Anoraak tunes, I cannot describe, yet. I am hardly diverted by real life. I start staring into space. I heart. I enjoy breathing. I know how dreams smell. I feel sand between my toes. I just relax and let go. Mediafire: Xinobi - DayOff (Anoraak Remix) Link to this post For more from Teen Millionaire, Pseudoe Silhouette and Mi Nou , check out The Fast Life
I honestly can't get over how incredible this track is.. Xinobi - Losing Sight (Zshare) Day Off is equally sensational.. so a colourful whirlwind of endorphins or something. Definitely a fantastic first release choice from Xinobi's label Discotexas! Xinobi- Day Off (Zshare) Anoraak added a dreamy touch to Day Off which makes for a stunning remix Xinobi- Day Off (Anoraak Remix) (Zshare) But really, Losing Sight is so very very amazing plus XINOBI MYSPACE ANORAAK MYSPACE DISCOTEXAS MYSPACE Link to this post For more from Elle and others, check out Trashbags Kids
What I miss most about cities such as New York and Philadelphia is the ease of a leisurely stroll. The Miami neighborhood I live in doesn't invite such activities. As Rick Ross says, "The bridge separates South Beach from my Miami. The Real Miami". Actually, I live around the corner from the Club Rollexxx in the video (although I've never stepped inside cause I'm allergic to bullets). Maybe that's why I'm so lethargic these days. One of my favorite downtime activities is to take a walk around a neighborhood where coffee shops line every corner, strangers clog the streets, and restaurant smells permeate around the curb. In New York I could come down from my hotel room and China Town or Little Italy would be in spitting distance. In Philadelphia, I could walk a couple of blocks from my friend's place and Little Vietnam was waiting for me. In Miami, getting anywhere is a mission and a half that requires wheels and patience with reckless drivers. I have high hopes that my trip to Portland next week will give me the leggy sustenance I need.
Today you'll hear three stories from three bands who all hail from Detroit, Michigan, and are featured on the July edition of Spotlight on the City. Slumber Party Slumber Party was started by Aliccia Berg in 1998 while she was a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State. The band has recorded four full-length albums thus far, and were signed to Kill Rock Stars in 2000, a mere two years after forming. Only women have played in the band since its inception. So, how did this all-girl group get the name Slumber Party? Aliccia explains: "During a phone chat with Kim Fowley - record producer, songwriter, and founder of The Runaways - I described my ideas for a girl band, the songs, types and styles. He suggested Slumber Party for a name, it sounded right and I decided to use it." Johnny Headband Johnny Headband is a trio that consists of brothers Chad and Keith Thompson and their buddy RGS. Their latest album is called Happiness is Underrated. Keith details the day that the name was created: "One overcast, dreary, but warm, but kind of foggy green day not too long ago, Chad and Keith Thompson were eating shortbread sandwiches on the patio of Keith's lavishly landscaped backyard. The question of what they would call themselves came up after they were finished putting the finishing touches on their super secret first batch of recordings. Chad said "How bout 'The Geese and the Ghost'"? to which Keith replied "stupid, next," and I said "Ok, Johnny Headband, put your clever thinking cap on and come up with something better than The Geese and the Ghost." And they looked at each other simultaneously and knew right away.  "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Chad asked. "Clever thinking caps is amazing!" It's perfect, we will be huge!  I mean like Genesis huge," Keith yelled.  And so they named their duo, soon to be trio, soon to be 5-O, soon to be 4-oh, Johnny Headband." Mason Proper The band name Mason Proper was not always what this 5 piece called themselves. After forming in 2003 they went by the name Honesty in The Auto Industry, and in 2004 they changed it to Patterns in Paris. The group moved from Alpena, Michigan to Ypsilanti, and then decided on Mason Proper right before their debut album There is A Moth in Your Chest was released. Singer Jonathan Visger explains the name: "We have an unhealthy interest slash obsession with secret society lore, and mason proper is an obscure phrase that we found a few references to, pertaining to freemasonry. It turns out everyone just thinks we're from a town called Mason though. They also think my name is Mason.  I've gotten called that way too many times.  "So, Mason, why did you name the band after yourself?  Are you an enormous egomaniac?" We also liked that almost nobody would know what it meant, because then your band fills in the meaning behind the name, rather than your band being about the thing you named it after.  But now I spilled the beans I guess!" Link to this article:
I am so infatuated with this song I've been lying on the grass drifting in and out of consciousness listening to it on repeat all day I can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality anymore but at least I still have this song reverberating throughout my whole body Rubies- I Feel Electric (Feat. Feist) (TieDye Remix) listen to the original on Rubies Myspace Tie Dye are a duo from Sweden who also composed this dreamy sequence TieDye- Nothing Else Matters (Metallica Cover) ps did anyone else ever read the magic faraway tree? Link to this post For more from Elle and others, check out Trachbags Kids
Well, we're smack into July, and the summer touring swing is at full throttle for a vast majority of the music community. Oh sure, there are all kinds of expensive, three day, sun-blasted juggernaut music festivals out there to drop a paycheck (or four) on, but don't forget about the shows dropping by the local music venue in your town. They cost much less, feature a far more intimate atmosphere, and have better drink prices, for one. Also, there is usually a solid opportunity to meet the band before or after the show, as a lot of these local venues don't have green rooms for the musicians to hide in. With that in mind, here are a few BTR favorites currently on (or about to be on) the touring circuit, in what's shaping up to be one beast of a summer for live music.    Tilly and the Wall & The Ruby Suns What a whale of a double-barreled show! On one hand, you get to see Ryan McPhun play like a billion instruments by himself, and after that, you get to see the members of Tilly and the Wall line up and utilize tap dancing shoes for percussion. So, yeah,  this is definitely one of the more visually appealing shows to catch this summer. Tilly and the Wall are celebrating the release of their new record, O, and The Ruby Suns are still jacked up on Sea Lion, which came out in March. Live! Jul 22 2008 at The Social in Orlando, Florida Jul 23 2008 at Jack Rabbits in Jacksonville, FL Jul 24 2008 at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, GA Jul 25 2008 at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC Jul 26 2008 at Black Cat in Washington D.C. Jul 27 2008 at First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia, PA Jul 28 2008 at Mod Club in Toronto, ON, Canada Jul 29 2008 at Music Hall Of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY Jul 30 2008 at Bowery Ballroom in New York City, NY Jul 31 2008 at Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA Aug 1 2008 at Mohawk Place in Buffalo, NY Aug 2 2008 at Mod Club in Toronto, ON, Canada Aug 3 2008 at Hartwood Acres in Pittsburgh, PA Aug 5 2008 at The Magic Stick in Detroit, MI Aug 6 2008 at The Abbey Pub in Chicago, IL Aug 7 2008 at Sokol Auditorium in Omaha, NE Earlimart Taking advantage of the holiday week, Earlimart's sixth proper full-length Hymn and Her hit stores on July 1st, and, as you might expect, a fat coast-to-coast jaunt across the United States is in the offing. This is the kind of show you soak up in a comfortable pair of loafers, and maybe take your date to after dinner for some mellowed out sonic desserts. We just added Earlimart into rotation here at BTR, so be sure to tune in to the daily DJ sets to catch a taste. Live! Jul 8 2008 at Ameoba Records (in-store) in Hollywood, CA Jul 17 2008 at M-Theory (in-store) in San Diego, CA Jul 17 2008 at Casbah in San Diego, CA Jul 18 2008 at Spaceland in Los Angeles, CA Jul 19 2008 at Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco, CA Jul 20 2008 at Doug Fir in Portland, OR Jul 22 2008 at Sonic Boom (in-store) in Seattle, WA Jul 22 2008 at Chop Suey in Seattle, WA Jul 25 2008 at Triple Rock in Minneapolis, MN Jul 26 2008 at Reckless Records (in-store) in Chicago, IL Jul 26 2008 at Hideout in Chicago, IL Jul 29 2008 at Sound Fix in Brooklyn, NY Jul 30 2008 at Middle East in Cambridge, MA Jul 31 2008 at Brooklyn Masonic Temple in Brooklyn, NY Aug 1 2008 at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia, PA Aug 2 2008 at Ottobar in Baltimore, MD Aug 5 2008 at Waterloo Records (in-store) in Austin, TX Aug 5 2008 at The Mowhawk in Austin, TX Aug 9 2008 at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa, CA Matmos If you're in the mood to have your mind completely blown, a night with Matmos might be the perfect trigger. Comprised of M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel, Matmos is legendary in the realm of weird and often utterly mind-boggling instrumentation. These chaps have incorporated the sounds of all sorts of curious things in their music, including  "buckets of oatmeal," "electrical interference generated by laser eye surgery," "inflatable blankets," and, my personal favorite, "solid gold coins spinning on solid bars of silver." Just imagine if they bust out with some of that stuff on stage! Of course, the band also uses real instruments, most notably various types of keyboardary, strings and horns. Percussion could be anything. A glance at the tour schedule shows that the band isn't just playing ordinary venues either.  An institute, museum and 'center' are on the docket, as well as a big helping of various theaters, so it's safe to assume that this is not going to be your basic run-of-the-mill show.  In fact, it's probably going