1 C Dirty Projectors 2 Tbsp TV On The Radio 2/3 C Ladysmith Black Mambazo Zest of Regina Spektor Combine ingredients in mixing bowl. Beat furiously, until frothy and rich. Voila: Tune-Yards! Apologies for resorting to the music critics crutch, the “this-band-sounds-like-these-bands” technique. It’s a lame way of describing a sound, and it’s nearly impossible to encapsulate Tune-Yards anyway. But after Tuesday night’s show at The Paradise, recipes just spring to mind. Watching Tune-Yards frontwoman Merrill Garbus on stage was like watching a master chef at work. Front and center, she managed two microphones, two drums, a ukulele, and a number of looping pedals, using them to create phenomenal songs piece by piece. Starting with a small vocal melody or two, she would add harmonies and drums until she had a rich backbone for every song. Once compiled, she would turn to her bassist, silence that backbone, and begin to shred – and I mean shred – her ukulele. Building to an initial climax with bass, ukulele, and her surprisingly soulful voice,  Garbus would then hit the loop pedal and take the song to the next level with the explosive re-introduction of the opening drum/voice phrase. It was a fascinating process to watch. More than just fascinating to watch, though, Tune-Yards made blisteringly hot music. As Ben noted after the first song, each song would have easily lent itself to a half hour long jam. The crowd hooted and hollered throughout the set, vocalizing the primal joy that the music evoked. Tune-Yards wove yelps and coos together, overlaid them with strange lyrics, and somehow made them danceable. Opening for a band with one of the most impressive albums of this year, Tune-Yards managed to completely steal the show. On her final song, Garbus yelled out “DO YOU WANNA LIVE?” and the audience shouted back a full-voiced “YEAH” in unison. I don’t think there’s a better summary of how her set made me feel. Tune-Yards – Hatari (YSI) (filesavr) Tune-Yards - News (YSI) (filesavr) Link to this post You are now Stu Reid at The Stu Reid Experiment. 
Joe Lieberman was one of the most vocal supporters of invading Iraq after the attacks of September 11, 2001. He also harbored fantasies of being John McCain’s Secretary of Defense and can barely restrain his enthusiasm when the bad guys get what’s comin’ to ‘em (even if it’s only in a Hollywood film). Lieberman likes expressions of American power. A few years ago, I was in a movie theatre in Washington when I noticed Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, a few seats down. The film was “Behind Enemy Lines,” in which Owen Wilson plays a U.S. pilot shot down in Bosnia. Whenever the American military scored an onscreen hit, Lieberman pumped his fist and said, “Yeah!” and “All right!” Armchair General Joe, who has never served in the military (but he’s seen lots of films!) is always the first to advocate the use of military intervention, and yet he has been wrong about pretty much everything. Lieberman qualified for a family deferment from Vietnam because he was already married and had a child. However, that moving tribute to family devotion has not stopped Lieberman from fiercely advocating the deployment of other husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers into wars zones. Evan Bayh, Jon Kyl, Lieberman, and the rest of the Always Ready For War (As Long As They Have To Sacrifice Absolutely Nothing) Crew, all supported the Iraq invasion. They also contradicted the 2007 NIE and declared as an “inescapable conclusion” that “Iran is determined to acquire nuclear weapons.” [T]hey favorably cite a “bipartisan” report from former Senators Chuck Robb (D) and Dan Coats (R) which urges the President to begin preparing for military action against Iran, and lays out a detailed plan for what it would entail, beginning with a naval blockade and extending to “devastating strikes” against “assets” inside Iran that “would probably last up to several weeks and would require vigilance for years to come.” That’s what three key U.S. Senators are explicitly threatening. But this isn’t enough blood for Warmonger Joe. During a recent interview with — you guessed it — Fox News, Lieberman discussed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian accused of attempting to explode a plastic device aboard a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. Abdulmutallab told authorities that he traveled to Yemen to link up with al-Qaida operatives. During the Fox interview, it became clear that Lieberman is itching to invade yet another country. Lieberman admitted that in a Fox New interview that he was “not sure” whether the Nigerian succeeded in making contact with the individuals he “reached out to” in Yemen. But “not sure” is good enough for Lieberman. So, he says, it is time to start lobbing bombs — lots of them. (Presumably, Lieberman is talking about more attacks than have already been taking place as part of a U.S./Yemen partnership that has seen Washington spend $66 million this year on security and military assistance to Yemeni counter-terrorist forces — a project that most observers believe has included the use of U.S. warplanes, drones and/or cruise missiles in recent strikes against al Qaeda targets.) Referencing his own travels to Yemen, and meetings with unnamed U.S. officials, the senator chirped: “Iraq was yesterday’s war, Afghanistan is today’s war. If we don’t act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow’s war.” Hm, the use of preemptive action. Where have I heard that before? And so we’ve reached the limits of Joe Lieberman’s usefulness. A typical Lieberman-esque response to conflict entails some kind of combination of cowardly inaction (while beating his chest in a manly way and sending others to die,) political party betrayal, and/or full-scale military invasion. He sees the world in terms of “good guys,” and “bad guys,” and is incapable of recognizing that what is happening in Yemen involves water shortages and blowback for US and Yemeni army attacks on Maarib. Lieberman has a history of being wrong on the topic of military intervention, and yet he is consistently paraded onto national television as a so-called expert. I wish I could blame this on Fox News, but beyond the neoconservative propaganda channel, Lieberman has appeared on the Sunday Morning bobblehead shows (on so-called “mainstream channels”) enough times to officially rename David Gregory’s hour of beltway platitudes Meet Joe. Lieberman has blood on his hands, and yet people still listen to him when it comes to war. I’m not sure why. Maybe he’s telling the right people what they want to hear: the world is a place full of bad people, who inexplicably do evil things, and we need to build and buy more of those expensive weapons, which are some of the only products the US still produces on a consistent basis. Link to this article:
The official DJ Hanabi Pancake of the year award goes to................. The Dutch Baby! Congrats to you Germany for spawning such a lovely monstrosity.
So some of us at the station put together our top 10 lists for 2009 and to no surprise mine was filled with dub, reggae, punk, and comedy (with a little bit of miscellaneous thrown in there).  Not to prove how out of the box i am or anything but my list looks nothing like any other bloggers list around and I'm not surprised.  Personal lists should be just that, personal, and the trend im seeing is a lot of sites are picking what the so-called musically educated blogosphere is picking.  Well not me, and not BTR. Below is the list  i put out there, figured i'd use my personal blog to talk about a few: Albums 10 Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II 9 Phaseone - Thanks But No Thanks (Online Release) 8 Groundation - Here I Am 7 Andy Milonakis - Hot Soup (Online Release) 6 Weird Al - Internet Leaks 5 Dinosaur Jr. - Farm 4 The Points - The Pointsmisculaneous 3 NOFX - Coaster 2 The Black Seeds - Solid Ground 1 Pissed Jeans - King of Jeans - Groundation and The Black Seeds are the best reggae albums i've heard this year and in recent years.  Pick up both and hear new roots from Groundation and new live band dub from The Black Seeds - NOFX and The Points represent the punk.  NOFX sounds just like NOFX should with clean loud fast dualing guitars.  The Points sound like what new punk should, but unfortunately most doesn't, so if you like the throwback stuff The Points are refreshing. - Pissed Jeans album is the best....hands down.  Sounds like Flipper and Black Flag had a baby. Songs 10 Converge - "Damages" 9 Sean Bones - "Sugar In My Spoon" 8 Boozoo Bajou - Same Sun (Tontelas Roots Version)" 7 77 Klash - "Code For The Streets" 6 Ninjasonik - "Somebody Gonna Get Pregnant" 5 John Brown's Body - "The Gold (Dubmatix Runnin' Remix)" 4 Fucked Up - "Year Of The Rat" 3 Pissed Jeans - "Human Upskirt" 2 Weird Al -" CNR" 1 NOFX - "Creeping Out Sara" - 77 Klash - Brooklyn bass culture means dub, dancehall and energy, period! - Converge - New school hardcore, this track brought me back to a LI Hardcore place i didnt think i could every visit again. - Weird Al - CNR is Charles Nelson Reily in the style of The White's the Video..
It's December first - open those advent calendars (if that's your thing)! Despite the push to start the holiday season as early as November or even October (!?), December is when the festive spirit really kicks into high gear. Bring out the lights, gaudy inflatable santas, paper snowflakes, candy cane reindeer and animatronics. For the rest of the month I am going to be liberally sharing a variety of Christmas music and it starts today with the classic Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt and a newer take on O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by Bodies of Water. If you've never heard of the holiday album Hipsters' Holiday, it is fantastic. Go find it now. Eartha Kitt - Santa Baby (YSI) (filesavr) Bodies of Water w/ No Little Kindness - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (YSI) (filesavr) Link to this post You are now Stu Reid at The Stu Reid Experiment. 
Circle the wagons, it's time for the BTR DJs to drop lists. This is the music that left significant impressions upon us in 2009, and if you listen to BTR regularly, a lot of these picks should be obvious. Each DJ lists 10 albums and 10 songs that really struck their fancy, in order or not in order, depending upon their personal whims. Like  a favorite food, different things work for different people, you know? Much love and thanks for listening to BTR all year long! DJ Wynn Albums (10 to 1): Moondagger - Deastro Welcome To Mali - Amadou & Mariam Con Law - Generationals Ambivalence Avenue - Bibio Jewellery - Micachu It's Blitz! - Yeah Yeah Yeahs The Ecstatic - Mos Def Two Suns - Bat For Lashes Veckatimest - Grizzly Bear Merriweather Post Pavilion - Animal Collective Songs: "Build Voice" - Dan Deacon "Sleepyhead" - Passion Pit "Ship" - Micachu "When They Fight, They Fight" - Generationals "Stillness Is The Move" - Dirty Projectors "Causers Of This" - Toro Y Moi "Two Weeks" - Grizzly Bear "Jealous Of Roses" - Bibio "Walkabout" - Atlas Sound feat. Panda Bear "My Girls" - Animal Collective   DJ Madalyn Albums: 10. Darlings - Yeah I Know 9. Ducktails - s/t 8. Here We Go Magic - s/t 7. The Antlers - Hospice 6. Real Estate - s/t 5. Woods - Songs of Shame 4. Smith Westerns - s/t 3. Japandroids - Post Nothing 2. Wavves - Wavvves 1. Micachu and the Shapes - Jewellery Songs: 10. Dan Deacon - "Snookered" 9. Bishop Allen - "The Ancient Commonsense of Things" 8. Harlem Shakes - "Sunlight" 7. Generationals - "When They Fight, They Fight" 6. Blake Miller - "Tomorrow Sorrow" 5. Air Waves - "Shine On" 4. Best Coast - "When I'm With You" 3. Alela Diane - "White As Diamonds" 2. Wavves - "No Hope Kids" 1. Japandroids - "Young Hearts Spark Fire" DJ RePete Albums/EP's: Throw Me The Statue - Creaturesque Almost Charlie - The Plural Of Yes One Eskimo - One Eskimo The Sounds - Crossing the Rubicon The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Higher Than The Stars Speech Debelle - Speech Therapy Bishop Allen - Grrr... Violens - Violens EP Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix Matt & Kim - Grand   Songs: Here We Go Magic - "Fangela" Big D & The Kids Table - "Doped Up Dollies On A One Way Ticket To Blood" One Eskimo - "Hometime" Phoenix - "1901" Throw Me The Statue - "Hi-Fi Goon" Skidmore Fountain - "Cloudless Blue" Matt & Kim -" Daylight" Gates of Berlin - "The Curse Of The Kiss" B. Fleischmann - "Not Given Lightly" Bishop Allen - "Oklahoma" DJ Drew Albums: 10 Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II 9 Phaseone - Thanks But No Thanks (Online Release) 8 Groundation - Here I Am 7 Andy Milonakis - Hot Soup (Online Release) 6 Weird Al - Internet Leaks 5 Dinosaur Jr. - Farm 4 The Points - The Points 3 NOFX - Coaster 2 The Black Seeds - Solid Ground 1 Pissed Jeans - King of Jeans Songs: 10 Converge - "Damages" 9 Sean Bones - "Sugar In My Spoon" 8 Boozoo Bajou - Same Sun (Tontelas Roots Version)" 7 77 Klash - "Code For The Streets" 6 Ninjasonik - "Somebody Gonna Get Pregnant" 5 John Brown's Body - "The Gold (Dubmatix Runnin' Remix)" 4 Fucked Up - "Year Of The Rat" 3 Pissed Jeans - "Human Upskirt" 2 Weird Al -" CNR" 1 NOFX - "Creeping Out Sara" DJ Patrick Albums: 1. The Hunches - Exit Dreams LP 2. Nunparty - S/T CD-R 3. Times New Viking - Born Again Revisited LP 4. The Twerps S/T CS 5. Home Blitz - Out of Phase LP 6. The Yolks S/T LP 7. Fever B - The Sailor Sessions EP 8. Degraders - Psychedelic Friends LP 9. Nobunny - Raw Romance CS 10. RTFO Bandwagon - Dums Will Survive LP Songs: 1. Nunparty - "Frida's Birthday Bash" 2. RTFO Bandwagon - "Like a Dan Shearer Over Troubled Water" 3. Psychedelic Horseshit - "Sun-Bleached Kool Aid" 4. Sea Lions - "Beautiful Day" 5. The Mantles - "Don't Lie" 6. The Cave Weddings - "Bring Your Love" 7. Christmas - "Winter" 8. Meth Teeth - "Never Been to Church" 9. G Green - "Crap Culture" 10. White Wires - "Pretty Girl" DJ Lottie Albums: Heartless Bastards - The Mountain Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - Vs. Children Julie Doiron - I Can Wonder What You Did with Your Day Grizzly Bear - Veckatemist Benjy Feree - Come Back to the Five and Dime Bobby Dee Bobby Dee Tim Fite - Change of Heart Alec Ounsworth - Mo' Beauty Here We Go Magic - Here We Go Magic Lou Barlow - Goodnight Unknown Karl Blau - Zebra DJ Audrey II Albums: Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion Fever Ray - Fever Ray Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career Tim Hecker- An Imaginary Country Why?- Eskimo Snow Ducktails - Landscapes A Sunny Day In Glasglow - Ashes Grammar Holiday Shores - Columbus'd The Whim Robert A.A. Lowe - Fazo IV: La Kvalito de Speguloj Songs: "I Knew" - Lightning Dust "Sleepyhead" - Passion Pit "When I Grow Up" - Fever Ray "It Took The Night To Believe" - Sunn0)) "Bicycle" - Memory Tapes "Seagull's Flight" - Ducktails "Phones Don't Feud" - Holiday Shores "James" - Camera Obscura "Ecstacy" - jj "100 Years Ago" - Tim Hecker DJ Chris H It's been a great year for Australian and New Zealand music in 2009. As always, some top quality releases battled it out for my Top 10. I tried to whittle them down as best I could so here are my best AU/NZ albums in no particular order: Call Signs - Black Cab They Blind The Stars, And The Wild Team - Decoder Ring Moon Sweet Moon - Via Tania Songs For Tuesdays - Summer Cats Mister Pop - The Clean My Electric Family - Bachelorette Champagne In Sea Shells - Liam Finn & Eliza Jane Cosmic Egg - Wolfmother Heavy Profession - St Helens Zounds - Dappled Cities And my honorable non-AU/NZ mentions: The Warp20 Compilation Islands - The Mary Onettes A Certain Distance - Lusine Ambivalence Avenue - Bibio Goodnight Unknown - Lou Barlow Zebra - Karl Blau Columbus'd The Whim - Holiday Shores Veckatemist - Grizzly Bear Con Law - Generationals Bitte Orca - Dirty Projectors DJ Latola Albums: Tyondai Braxton - Central Market Cass McCombs - Catacombs Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle Micachu - Jewellery Dan Deacon - Bromst Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue Morningbell - Sincerely, Severely ASPE - The Dark Songs: "Even Think" - Drink Up Buttercup "The Duck And The Butcher" - Tyondai Braxton "Causers Of This" - Toro Y Moi "King Mango Strut" - Morningbell "Golden Phone" - Micachu "The More That I Do" - The Field "The Believers" - Fol Chen "Gilberta" - Jumbling Towers "Snookered" - Dan Deacon "Harmonia" - Cass McCombs DJ Emily Songs: 10) "Golden Phone" - Micachu and The Shapes 9) "Jealous of Roses" - Bibio 8) "Stolen Houses (Die)"- Iron and Wine. 7) "This Tornado Loves You" - Neko Case 6) "Daylight" - Matt and Kim 5) "Stillness Is The Move" - Dirty Projectors 4) "Blood Bank" by Bon Iver 3) "Two Weeks" - Grizzly Bear 2) "Ships With Holes Will Sink" - We Were Promised Jetpacks 1) "1901" - Phoenix Link to this article:
Hey Pals, I'm watching a documentay on Orson Welles. Frankly, I'm getting pretty bored with it, so I reckon I'll go back to watching my Rockford Files DVD boxset, or my Andy Kaufman DVDs. MUCH better! It's 7:16am, and I've not yet slept. My sleep pattern is nearly always upside down. I like watching it get light outside, just as I'm getting a little sleepy. What I normally do then, is make a sandwich, to hopefully make me sleepy enough to get some proper sleep, as that's something that I'm not very good at. Sleeping I mean. Not making sandwiches; cos I'm excellent at that! Right, well I'd better get into the kitchen and start slicing cheese. That'll make my dreams more interesting.. The cheese I mean.. I bought a really good cheese slicer at a posh supermarket on 47th St in New York in November, and until this second I'd forgotten about that. I think it's time to give it a try in the good ol' U of K. Night night my friends, Jason (Mr)
To Whom It May Concern: I recently went to my local record store looking to purchase a record or two. I’ve only just started my collection, and so was looking for a few cornerstones upon which to build. Fortunately, my trip was successful, and I found two records that I was seeking, one of which was a 180-gram audiophile recording of Sam Cooke’s One Night Stand: Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club, produced by your company. I was thrilled. It’s maybe the best live album of all time, and I had a vinyl copy of it in my hands! And then I turned it over, and found the following quotation: Live at the Harlem Square is one of my favorite live recordings of all time. It captures the true energy of this staggering, passionate talent. It’s such an intimate recording – you can hear cracks in his voice, the madness of the crowd who are so with him, encouraging him, shouting for him in each song. A particular favorite is ‘Twistin’ the Night Away.’ Sam Cooke will always be a tremendous influence on me, and who knows, if there weren’t a Sam, there might not have been a Rod. - Rod Stewart, June 23, 2005… Rod Stewart? Really? Who thought this was a good idea? Are you really asserting that Rod Stewart, the singer of such atrocities as “D’ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Tonight’s the Night,” belongs on the same page as the immortal Sam Cooke? The last line is particularly brutal. If there weren’t a Sam, there might not have been a Rod… Now, I could never wish that there hadn’t been a Sam, but to even nudge me an inch in that direction, how dare you? What was wrong with the original back cover? Maybe there was a rights issue—I know these things can get complicated. But seriously, a blank back cover would have been better than this. Why not a quote from Sam? This is an audiophile LP release; do you really see a lot of audiophiles browsing through a record store, picking up this record, reading the Rod Stewart quote, and saying, "Rod Stewart likes this album? Well then I'm sold!" I’m sure that the record sounds great, and I know that I’ll listen to it a lot. The recording is classic; it’s a record I want to sing along with, to bob my head to, a record that I want to dance to. Please forgive me for not wanting to think about Rod Stewart every time I put it on. Do better. Ben Sam Cooke - Bring it on Home to Me (live) (YSI) (filesavr) Sam Cooke - Having a Party (live) (YSI) (filesavr) Link to this post You are now Stu Reid at The Stu Reid Experiment. 
Computer Perfection We Wish You Well On Your Way to Hell Computer Perfection are a five piece outfit from Detroit, Michigan, featuring ex members of Pas/Cal. The band has only been around a short while, but has been receiving lots of attention after their standout performance at this year's (2009) CMJ festival in New York City. The group released their debut, We Wish You Well On Your Way to Hell on Le Grand Magistery, and it is great! The twelve song EP is filled with dreamy, psychedelic pop. The entire album has beautiful melodies and harmonies that are really far out. The music is full of synthesizers and can become quite crazy when there are no vocal.  For example, "Maurice on the Water" is entirely instrumental. Other tunes like "How I Won The War" are straight up pop hits. See them live: Dec 31 2009   Magic Stick -Detroit, MI Ideal Soul Mart Ideal Soul Mart Ideal Soul Mart is an Austin, Texas based duo consisting of Clay Fain and Adam Luikart. The two came up with the idea after the demise of their other bands, Crawling with Kings, Emily Sparks, The Ashes, Friends of Lizzy. and The Drawing Board. The duo named their group after a convenience store in Austin. Their MySpace page explains it like this: The original Ideal Soul Mart is a convenience store on the east side of Austin that sells the usual assortment of alcohol, soda, and snacks – but unfortunately, not a shot at better living, or a fresher start, like the name might imply. The hunger for a more ideal something is what drove multi-instrumentalists Clay Fain and Adam Luikart out from behind the wreckage of previous bands and back onto the stage, booking shows before songs were written and working it out in front of the crowd. Their eight song debut is full of high energy pop, delivered straight to you by the duo. The two create a sound thicker than what may be expected from a small outfit. The guitar is beautiful, but keeps to a minimum allowing for percussion and piano parts to fill in the spaces with quirky nuances.  I recommend "Don't Fight It", "Wrk", and "Head is Full". Little Girls Concepts 2009 has seen it's fair share of lo-fi bands come and go. Writers seem to love them and talk about them excessively. Music kids flock to their shows, and other bands want to be them. Honestly, I can't wait until it's over. There is one band that can pull off this sort of style and that's Toronto's Little Girls. The lo-fi use in their album, Concepts, takes more of an artistic approach. The eleven song album, released on Canada's Paper Bag records was written entirely by Josh Mcntryre between December 2008 and August 2009. McIntyre's approach is simple and defined throughout the entire album. Simple, danceable drum beats, guitars with lots of reverb, and the standout, muffled background vocals. My favorite part of the entire album are the guitar parts. They are simple, yet very eerie. The music has a dark tone, and takes many influences from post punk. My only question is, How many albums can you make like this? Concepts lacks definition from song to song, that is why I have little hope that a second album would even be necessary. To me, an album like this is a piece of art on it's own. A follow up would seem silly and excessive. From start to finish, the songs are very conceptual, taking the listener from track to track without altering the mood. I would say that as long as you are happy recreating the past, being part of a short lived era or part of the saturated scene of hipster lo-fi bands the album is perfect and sometimes, that is good enough. Listen up to BTR from music from all of these albums! Link to this article:
So, I'm not a HUGE fan of the holidays but this year... it wasn't so bad. I know everyone gets sick of the year in review lists but I kinda like them. If you want to check out my top tracks of the year, head to the articles section. Also, if you want to hear some of those tracks and others for which I am a big fan, check out my show tomorrow here on BTR. I'll play some of my favs from the year. Good times. With that said, I'm excited for a 2010 here at BTR. Can't wait to see what great music comes out this year and share it with you guys here on BTR! - Emily
Well for me, 2009 sucked!!!! I shouldn't complain that much. There were alotta highlights: Caribbean Cruises, Vans Warped Tour, Rocking out at the clubs. But there was also a shit load of drama. Which i will not get into in this blog, but lets just say im happy to see 2009 go. I wanted to let all ya know, for all my NYC peeps. This new years eve ill be djing at Green House. One of the hottest venues in NYC. this plant vibe, go green venue has a really kool decor and is a hotspot for good looking women. There will be a 6 hour open bar on new years, plus one of the best NYC dj's doing there thing. Your boy, DJ J.Dayz will be spinning all vibes of tunes all night long. Im gonna mix and mash Rock, Pop, 80;s Hip Hop, Disco Funk, Dance/House and every party jam all in between!!!. Shit will be bananas kid! Closing out the night we got DJ Shakes. home boy will take the party into the early morning. yo tickets are on sale right now @ enter promo code Dj10 for a 10% discount on ticekts!!!! Come ring in the new year in NYC, with your favorite DJ. PS check out my new website:
Pittsburgh.. Today, I will feature three of my favorite bar foods from Pittsburgh,PA. 1. The Pittsburgh Salad A regular salad, but with fries on top. The way they are served in every Pittsburgh area restaurant. 2. Smelts. Amazing. Deep fried fish... 3. Jalapeno Poppers Deep fried cheese and jalapeno....mmmm
As singer Buju Banton awaits his fate in jail in Tampa, Florida, he won't have to worry that his recent Grammy nomination is under threat.  Banton, born Mark Myrie, was nominated this year for 'Best Reggae Album' for his ninth studio album, Rasta Got Soul; alongside acts such as Sean Paul, Gregory Isaccs, Stephen and Julian Marley.  Since his arrest earlier this month on federal drug charges in the United States, persons have been speculating that Banton's Grammy nomination may be withdrawn.  When THE WEEKEND STAR contacted Roger Steffens, reggae archivist, lecturer, editor, producer and co-chairman of the Reggae Grammy Committee, he confirmed that Banton's nomination will not be rescinded.  He said, "no they wouldn't do that, it's strictly based on music and not personal characteristics." According to Steffens the Grammys has had a history of musicians who have been nominated and have won, that have been at one point or another convicted of a crime.  Rappers such as Lil Wayne and TI, among others, have been nominated while facing felony charges and arrests.  Steffens elaborated, "if you look at the history of the Grammys, murderers, thieves, rapists have all made Grammy categories.  Some blues singers spent half their lives in jail and still made it.  We try to be above it."  Banton is not the only Grammy-nominated singer facing drug charges. Earlier this month Grammy Award-winning singer Ramon Ayala was taken into police custody in the Mexico City suburb of Tepoztlan.  According to reports, Ayala had been performing at a party where alleged drug traffickers were in attendance.  Ayala and his associates with the Bravos del Norte band were rounded up and asked about their involvement.  The federal attorney general's office said "contradictions" in Ayala and his colleagues' testimonies led to a decision to deepen the inquiry.  The artiste was ordered held for up to 40 days pending further investigation.  His lawyer denied any wrongdoing or connection to organized crime. As to how Banton's chances for a win at the 52nd Grammy Awards stand, Steffens says it depends on the "consciences" of the persons voting.  The Grammy Awards are presented annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States (NARAS) and consists of musicians, producers, recording engineers and other recording professionals.  Currently, over 6,000 professionals comprise the Producers & Engineers Wing, a membership division of NARAS which was established for producers, engineers, remixers, technologists, and other related creative and technical professionals.  The members of this division vote on the Grammy Awards each year. Earlier in the month, members of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) urged musicians to sign a petition protesting Banton's Grammy Award nomination.  A release from the Recording Academy later stated, however, that they would not remove Banton's nomination.  Banton was arrested on December 8, after law-enforcement agents received information from an inside source alleging that the deejay and other persons were in Sarasotta seeking to purchase several kilograms of cocaine.  It is further alleged that the singer agreed to meet with the unnamed inside source to conduct the deal and the incident was recorded.  Reports continued that on December 10, Banton's co-defendants, Ian Thomas and James Mark, were arrested after they travelled to a facility where they allegedly presented a large quantity of money and were given a bag containing seven kilograms of cocaine.  If convicted, Banton faces 20 years' imprisonment. 
I just saw this Wired piece about the Happy Hollows, a band from LA who you've heard many times on my shows here on BTR. The Wired blog post was a pleasant surprise. The Happy Hollows are definitely what you'd call up-and-coming, which is why Olivia and I have featured them on our BTR shows several times, as well as invited them up to play one of our Wiretap Music Presents shows in the Bay Area. So it was definitely nice to see them getting some love from the Wired blog. But the real surprise was that, despite our connection to the band, I had no idea they did these weird little videos (the subject of the Wired post, more or less). Check them out! I applaud bands who find new and creative ways to use the internet to promote themselves. So cheers to The Happy Hollows. You can watch all of their videos here.
It's no secret that we're big Brother Ali fans around these parts. I happen to think that he is one of the most impressive voices in the rap game, and his story is exceptionally interesting. Recently we had a chance to catch up with Ali for an interview, check it out! The Stu Reid Experiment: You’re on tour right now, aren’t you? Brother Ali: Yeah. Just rollin’ into LA. About half way through a ten week tour. Is it going well so far? It’s amazing man, just really really good. We got a great crew. We put a lot a lot of work into preparing the overall show – not just my set, but the whole show. Me and my DJ BK-One put a lot of work into preparing the whole thing, and we really saw it as a three and a half hour show, not just our set, you know what I mean? Definitely. I read somewhere on your twitter account that you were re-arranging songs to work with a live band, is that right? Yeah, yeah. My DJ is a trained musician, he comes from Jazz – piano and vibes and organ and stuff like that. So we try to really make him be the band. So we brought musicians in to recreate some of my beats so that we can take them in different directions and re-arrange them for the live setting. And then, just, you know the whole night of it. We brought all these different people’s beats together: mine and Toki Wright’s and Evidence’s and tried to really approach it like a band would as far as transitions between songs, transitions between sets. Kind of like a momentum that builds during the night. On Us you used a lot more live instrumentation in the studio. Yeah, it’s all live instruments, there’s no samples on that whole album. Do you feel like that changed your recording process at all? It really did, yeah. Basically what we did was me and Ant spent like two months making demos of the songs at his house, which is what we always do. We usually spend a year doing that but this time we had like 2-3 months. He came with the basic ideas, the basic outlined structures of what the music would be, I wrote the songs at his house, and then he spent a month in the studio with the musicians fleshing out his ideas. I wasn’t allowed to sit in on that because he wanted me to be objective when I heard it. He didn’t want me to see the process and then become invested in it because of seeing it, you know what I mean? He wanted me to hear it fresh and say yes, no, change this, change that. And that’s exactly what I did. There were things that I really liked, things that I really hated, things that I was like “I don’t really know about this, I need to hear it mixed differently.” And then once that was all straight, then I went in and laid down all my vocals. And then me and him arranged the album together, for the most part. He did most of it, but I sat in on all the sessions and had a lot of input. We always give each other complete input on what we’re doing. It’s funny, I made a song on here called “Bad Motherfucker Too” where it was just me kinda braggin’, you know, exaggerating – what we call ‘signifying’, just talking shit. There’s nothing really true about that song. But I figured this was my first… There were certain words I would say where he was like, “that’s not you,” or, “you shouldn’t say that.” He definitely had a ban on certain words, like, “you’re not allowed to say this, this, this, and this.” And same thing with the music. I would say, you know, this flute just doesn’t sound right. I can’t fuck with this. Is there one song on the album that you feel particularly proud of? “The Travelers” and “You Say Puppy Love.” Why is that? Do you just connect with those better? I mean, “The Travelers” is a song that I’ve wanted to write all my life, since I’ve been writing songs. I just never quite knew the approach for it – it really just kinda came together magically. We made all these songs in really cold winter, and I went over to Ant’s house on Christmas at like four in the morning, and heard that music, sat down and wrote it, recorded it, and did a little bit of rewriting, but for the most part that’s what we wrote. “You Say Puppy Love” – I’ve never written a song like that before, like a relationship song like that. And I’ll go ahead and say that – both of those songs – no rapper has ever written anything like either of those songs. I’m not saying they’re better or anything else, I’m just saying that no MC ever has written anything like those two songs. Ever. Career-wise you have kind of trended toward the positive side of things – your music definitely isn’t all puppy dogs and sunshine, but it seems like you’ve kind of established a niche as a rapper with a positive message. Is that something you consciously tried to create, or did it just happen on its own? Nah, that happened on its own. I’m saying, my music is positive, but all of it is about pain and struggle. Damn near. I’ve made two happy-ass songs in my life – “Fresh Air” on this album and “Ear to Ear” on the last album. But the thing is that I always talk about pain the way I feel, which is an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to grow. I always find beauty in pain. This album is called an upbeat and positive hip hop album, and it’s about rape and slavery, depression and murder. And I guess what fans see is the ability that you have to find positive things in all that ugliness and all that hatred. Yeah, and there’s definitely something to that. Tying that together with being on tour, a lot of your songs are about your life and tough times that you’ve been through. Is it hard to get on stage and talk about the bad times that you’ve experienced every night? No. It’s just such a part of what I have. I’m not a person who tries to escape – I don’t do the escape thing. When there’s a problem, I run towards it full speed ahead. I feel like it’s here to stop me, it’s here to challenge me. And so it’s my job to figure out how to overcome it, and then overcome it and dwell on that. So I dwell on the problem until I figure out how to solve it – I don’t just sit around and pout and focus on it, but I figure out how to solve it and how to beat it and how to conquer it. And then after I do, I dwell on the fact that I was able to conquer it and I’m thankful and grateful for it. So that’s what my happy songs are about – being grateful. Also, I want my fans to hear what they’ve done for me. I was telling the audience last night that my happy-ass songs – that’s how all these people feel. All these rappers, all these tough rappers that are successful, that’s how they feel on the inside. They just don’t know how to say that and so they wear a big chain to show you that they’re celebrating their success. They’re not allowed to say, in the environment that they’re from, “Man, shit’s great, I’m happy”. They’re not allowed to say that. So they wear a big ass chain and they pull out a full bottle of champagne just to show you how they celebrate. But I don’t have those same things, so I can just say I’m happy and I’m appreciative. I worked hard for this and I love my life, I love the people I work with, that I’ve built all this stuff with. I wanted to get your opinion on this – there’s a community in Florida (Ed.’s note: info here) where a councilman is trying to ban hip hop shows. There was a stabbing outside of a concert and he says that hip hop shows encourage that type of violent behavior. What do you think about that? That shit is so 1996. Like KRS and Ra-Kim and Chuck D and all those guys, they covered all that back in the late 80’s. That’s like people thinking Elvis is gonna ruin their daughter. I mean, with people like that – that’s what American politics has generated into, like “What are we against?” Motherfuckers just need something to be against so everybody is going to have some group that’s going to be against them at some point. It’s like, man, grow the fuck up and figure out what you want to do. Try to unite people behind something you’re for, not something you’re against. I hear you on that. So what’s next for Brother Ali after this tour? Are you headed back to the studio, taking a break for a little while? No break. More tour. After this tour: more tour. And then more tour and then more tour and then more tour. No this one that we’re on right now is 10 weeks. It was a week of college shows, kind of to just gear up for it and get the budget – get a nice little float budget going on. And then we did a week in Europe, just to be like “Whatup Europe”, you know what I mean? “We got a new album, you guys should check it out.” And they’re like “uh, yeah, no thanks.” And then we were like alright, cool. So now we came and we’re doing 9 weeks in the states, headlining and then go home for about three weeks or something like that and do our laundry, have a lot of sex with our wives, try to convince them not to leave us, then go to Australia for a couple weeks, then we go to Europe for a couple weeks. Then we come back and do Canada so that they can calm down. Every time you do a tour and you don’t do Canada they take that shit personal. It’s like “man, you’re doing a tour and you’re not doing Canada?” and it’s like “Man, I’m in Texas.” And it’s January and negative 20 degrees in Canada. Exactly, yeah exactly. And as a band – man. You know in Europe they have special rap police that just fuck with rappers. On the border, they have band police. They don’t call them that, but they do, they have special shit just for bands. They have a bus crossing – special taxes, special searches, special asshole lines. And they just bust your balls, whenever you go into that country and whenever you come out. They humiliate you and they talk to you like you’re four years old and it’s just like fuck! Every time we go over there we have to deal with this shit. Then we drive for like four days between cities to play for a hundred people. But you know what? Those one hundred people are awesome. And I’m sure those hundred people are the ones who love you most for making that trip, too. Yeah, and that’s why we do it. Even in the states we play a lot of little towns, where it’s like man – there’s only 150 hip hop fans in this city that actually have the time and money to come to a hip hop show. So that’s all it’s gonna be. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it to get in front of them and connect with them again. And it’s true that we love doing this so much. It’s the only thing we really care about doing this much to make all these sacrifices and stuff. So I’m just kinda tongue in cheek bitchin’ about it because the reality is that when we can’t do it any more we’ll be so sad. And you know the fans appreciate it. I’m certainly looking forward to catching you when you come to Boston on November 8th. At the Paradise this time. I love Boston man, I love playing shows there. It’s a crazy place – it’s not the most welcoming city in America to outsiders, but nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to be welcoming, you just have to be decent. But in terms of shows, it’s great. It’s a great place to play a show – people appreciate it. They give you as much as you give them. Just one more question, and it’s a question that we ask everyone. What’s your opinion on music blogs? Do you think they’re good for music, bad for music? Are they good for young musicians but not more established artists? I think they’re fun. I think they’re a lot like TV. I would say that they’re fun – I look at them every day. I got like 4 that I look at every day, and it’s like TV. You get to see like…let me sit down and watch Glasses Malone write a song or do an interview. I mean, check out what Kanye West is talking about. That shit’s a lot of fun to watch. But the thing is that I think everybody that’s too closely tied to those things grossly underestimates – it’s an artificial reality, it’s not real. It doesn’t translate to sales, it doesn’t translate to fans, it doesn’t translate to people coming to your shows. The fact that people will click on a little box and watch you do something for two and a half minutes does not mean that they’re your fan, and it doesn’t mean that you’ve connected with them, and it doesn’t mean that they really care. Like, I’ll watch Real Chance At Love, but do I give a fuck about those dudes? Hell no. I’ll watch it because it’s entertaining. And I don’t really watch it, but you know what I mean. It’s like one of those things where you watch it ‘cause it’s there, but you don’t really care. And I think that a lot of younger guys, their head is all fucked up because they think that because they have a presence on the blogs, that means that they made it. And it’s like no man, until you touch somebody to the point – especially the people that are on the blogs, since they’re the people who get the most free music – until you touch somebody in a way that makes them say “I want to own this. Not only am I going to click on this, I want to own it, I want it to live in my house, I want to wear your shirt, I’ll pay $15 and drive to another state to watch you stand on a stage and perform these songs that I love. That’s what it’s about. Because when I came in, me and the people in my circle started the whole DIY punk rock style of touring within underground rap. Slug was doing it, Slug taught me how to do it. There were a few other people doing it, but nobody was really doing it like him. I don’t care what anybody says, Slug invented this shit. In terms of 50 and 60 city tours in the U.S. for underground rap. I mean that’s not – the legends were touring, other people were touring, but nobody was doing Boseman and Spokane and Missoula, you know what I’m saying. In terms of underground rap, Slug fathered a lot of shit including that. But you know, you holla at these kids and it’s like “yo, I think you’re tight, you want to come on tour” and they say “word, how much I get? How much am I gonna get?” Like well, you shouldn’t get shit motherfucker. You’re gonna get fans. What do you mean how much am I gonna get? You’re gonna get 50 chances to stand in front of an audience. It’s kinda like what you talk about on some of your songs like “Backstage Pacing” And that’s why we bring family with us. We bring our crew with us. People that – they’re head is in that space. You get a guy like Toki Wright, he just wants to rap, he just wants to perform. And it’s not about money, it’s not about the money. It’s about attitude, about the approach, and the things that people choose to prioritize. And this time we got Evidence out here with us, who won a Grammy with his group, and now he’s starting his solo career so he’s treating himself like a new artist. And somebody like that who will come out and open for me, he’s done way more shit than I’ve done with his group. But he’s not afraid to take it down a notch and come out and support you. He’s not, he’s investing in himself. And he’s supporting what we’re doing, but he’s investing in himself and saying “I’m going to build this new brand of me” as a solo artist, so I’m going to start over again and treat myself like I’m new. And that’s what these kids are missing – because they don’t invest in themselves. Many thanks to Brother Ali for talking with us! Link to this post You are now Stu Reid at The Stu Reid Experiment. 
2009 Will be a year to remember! We lost alot of people who inspire us and some of us has gained new inspirations from other people. We lost heros like Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Walter Cronkite and many more. They were heros in their own way. You couldn't see the cape but it was there. Heros who broke new ground their own way. I lost some heros that was so dear to me. Like the super hero Dj Roc Raida. He was a walking masterpiece in life and on the turntables. He was humble but yet so confident in his work it spread like wild fire around the world. It's hard to be a nice guy in the music business and do what u want and be successful at it. He did it. R.I.P Roc Raida forever missed. I lost a cousin of mines this year to the war in Afghanistan. I warned my young brothers and sisters that if they joined the army be prepared to fight. It's a dangerous world out there. Between his tour duties my cousin always emailed me that he wanted to be a rapper also. He wanted me to produce his whole album. I really thought it would go down when he came back home. He never came back. It hurts. A war i don't get or understand. A war that really makes no sense to me. If the Russians failed at Afghanistan how will we win thousands of miles away? And do u ever win a war?  We miss you Vernon. You took a brave step for your country and that's better than any of these fake gangsta rappers talkin bout how tough they are. Another hero I lost was Mister Magic. Voice personality of hip hop, he started it all back in the 80's. Mister Magic and Marley Marl are one of the reason why i do radio right now. I always wanted to dj and have my own radio show. Thanks to BTR, I'm living that dream. Mister Magic made me stay up late in the night to hear fresh and new hip hop. Him and Marley Marl were a tag team to be reckon with. I missed alot of school days listening to those guys. Some of my greatest hiphop memories go back to those days of super rocking Mister Magic ..Wow...we miss u Magic..Thank u for the inspiration. I lost some heros but gained some new friends this year. I have new family around the world. My family at My Beatminerz family. My LA fam. and my European fans who always supported the Dysfunkshunal Familee movement since 1994...Thank u...New Dysfunkshunal Familee album coming soon called "Family Reunion" next year.. Glad to be alive to write this and happy to be around good people...Life is short. Enjoy it.  Have a Happy New Year..
well. i hope everyone's holiday season has been just tremendous. In lieu of listening to good, exciting, or new music, i have been eating turkey, stuffing, and sweet potato pie like it's my job. i've been out in the midwest this holiday season, hopping on a plane today for the lovely scenic shores of new york city.  see you all soon! maia
I will be wrapping up 2009’s miscellaneous in our Loved and Loaded in 2009 list tomorrow, so without further ado I present to you the final chapter of our Best of the Noughties List: The 15 Best Albums of 2009!   Be sure to visit our Caramel Shop powered by to purchase all of the titles in our Best of the Noughties List! Previous lists are here: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Artist: Florence + The Machine Album: Lungs Label: Island Released: July 6th in the UK, October 20th (physical release) in the US Peak on UK Charts: Number 2 Peak on US Charts: Number 179 Recognition: The Mercury Prize nominated album held the #2 spot on the UK Albums chart for 5 consecutive weeks after it’s release on July 6th. Stream: Cosmic Love Purchase Lungs MP3: Florence + The Machine – You’ve Got the Love (Jamie Xx Remix) or zShare ================================================================= Artist: The Big Pink Album: A Brief History of Love Label: 4AD Released: September 14th in the UK, September 22nd in the US Peak on UK Charts: Number 56 Peak on US Charts: Number 138 Recognition: The Daily Telegraph rated A Brief History of Love 5 out of 5 and said the album “shapes up as something of a modern masterpiece.” Stream: Dominos Purchase A Brief History of Love MP3: The Big Pink – Love Song (The Cure Cover) or zShare ================================================================= Artist: The Xx Album: Xx Label: Young Turks Released: August 17th in the UK, October 20th in the US Peak on UK Charts: Number 36 Peak on US Charts: Number 125 Recognition: BBC Music’s Lou Thomas said “Every song here is an enigmatic and moody blend of smoky crooning, nimble keyboard trickery and slippery treble-heavy riffs. Such self-awareness and focus is commendable given so few experienced bands, let alone newcomers, can manage it.” Stream: Crystalised Purchase Xx MP3: The Xx – Space Bass (Jamie Xx Remix) or zShare ================================================================= Artist: Bat for Lashes Album: Two Suns Label: Polydor/Astralwerks Released: April 6th in the UK, April 7th in the US Peak on UK Charts: Number 5 Peak on US Charts: Number 141 Recognition: NME’s Tim Chester said the following of the Mercury Prize nominated album “If this year’s Mercury panel know their arse from their Elbows, this could be her time.” Stream: Daniel Purchase Two Suns ================================================================= Artist: Arctic Monkeys Album: Humbug Label: Domino, Warner Bros., EMI Released: August 24th in the UK, August 25th in the US Peak on UK Charts: Number 1 Peak on US Charts: Number 15 Recognition: Billboard said that the Arctic Monkeys “justify the hype by shifting its best qualities into different, equally dazzling shapes.” Stream: Cornerstone Purchase Humbug ================================================================= Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs Album: It’s Blitz Label: Interscope Released: April 6th Internationally, March 31st in the US Peak on UK Charts: Number 9 Peak on US Charts: Number 22 Recognition: It’s Blitz is nominated for the Best Alternative Music Album Grammy Award. NME wrote that “It’s Blitz!’s heartfelt love letter to the transcendent possibilities of the dancefloor is an unexpectedly emphatic reassertion of why Yeah Yeah Yeahs are one of the most exciting bands of this decade” Stream: Heads Will Roll Purchase It’s Blitz! ================================================================= Artist: Miike Snow Album: Miike Snow Label: Downtown Released: October 23rd in the UK, June 9th 2008 in the US Peak on UK Charts: n/a Peak on US Charts: Number 23 on the Dance/Electronic Albums Chart Recognition: Spin gave the album 4 out of 5 stars and said “Both the production and Wyatt’s shape-shifting croon are so butter-smooth that it takes repeated plays to sense the hurt that hides behind these dance-floor lullabies. Hooky on the outside, bruised within, it’s club-pop for introverts.” Purchase Miike Snow MP3: Miike Snow – Black & Blue (Savage Skulls Remix) or zShare ================================================================= Artist: White Lies Album: To Lose My Life Label: Fiction Released: On January 19th in the UK, March 17th in the US. Peak on UK Charts: Number 1 Peak on US Charts: Number 146, Number 4 on the Heatseekers Chart 4 Recognition: White Lies won the MOJO Award for Breakthrough and the Q Award for Best New Band. BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe named Death his Hottest Record in the World on February 5th of 2008 without it having been officially released. Stream: Farewell to the Fairground Purchase To Lose My Life ================================================================= Artist: Jamie T Album: Kings and Queens Label: Virgin Records Released: September 7th in the UK, October 6th in the US Peak on UK Charts: Number 2 Peak on US Charts: Never Charted Recognition: BBC Music’s Laura Barton called Kings and Queens “a more polished performance, but still enjoyably rambunctious.” Stream: Sticks N Stones Purchase Kings & Queens ================================================================= Artist: The Maccabees Album: Wall of Arms Label: Fiction Released: May 4th in the UK, Available as an import in the US Peak on UK Charts: Number 13 Peak on US Charts: n/a Recognition: Hazel Sheffeld of The Guardian said “Wall of Arms is the meticulously evolved sound of a band aiming to bid to breathe life into British indie.” Stream: Love You Better Purchase Wall of Arms MP3: The Maccabees – Love You Better (Russell Lissack Remix) or zShare ================================================================= Artist: Fuck Buttons Album: Tarot Sport Label: ATP Recordings Released: October 14th in the UK, October 20th in the US Peak on UK Charts: Number 28 Peak on US Charts: Number 50 Independent Albums, # 18 Heatseekers Chart Recognition: Louis Pattison of BBC Music said “A noise band with tunes might sound like a contradiction in terms, but Fuck Buttons have carved out a sound that owes more to personal inspiration that tradition, and here it works like a dream.” Stream: Surf Solar Purchase Tarot Sport MP3: Fuck Buttons – Rough Steez or zShare ================================================================= Artist: Peaches Album: I Feel Cream Label: XL Recordings Released: May 4th in the UK, May 5th in the US Peak on UK Charts: n/a Peak on US Charts: Number 160 Recognition: Erin Lyndal Martin of PopMatters said “Peaches maintains her flavor…I Feel Cream is a fun and worthwhile album” Stream: Talk to Me Purchase I Feel Cream ================================================================= Artist: Jack Peñate Album: Everything is New Label: XL Recordings Released: June 22nd in the UK, August 18th in the US Peak on UK Charts: Number 16 Peak on US Charts: n/a Recognition: NME’s Gavin Hines gave the album a 7 out of 10 stars and said “It’s a model for second albums everywhere and a testament to what can be achieved if you’re prepared to take a long, hard look at the man in the mirror. Let the bells ring out.” Stream: Every Glance Purchase Everything is New ================================================================= Artist: La Roux Album: La Roux Label: Polydor/Cherrytree Records Released: June 29th in the UK, September 29th in the US Peak on UK Charts: Number 2 Peak on US Charts: Number 170 Recognition: La Roux was nominated for the Mercury Prize this year and won the 02 Silver Clef Award for Best Newcomer. Stream: Bulletproof Purchase La Roux ================================================================= Artist: Bibio Album: Ambivalence Avenue Label: Warp Records Released: June 22nd in the UK, June 23rd in the US Peak on UK Charts: n/a Peak on US Charts: Number 13 on the Dance/Electronic Album Chart Recognition: PopMatters‘ Timothy Gabriel said Ambivalence Avenue “shows great promise for the perpetual present.” Stream: Jealous of Roses Purchase Ambivalence Avenue MP3: Bibio – Haikuesque (When she Laughs) or zshare Link to this post Mmm, Tastes Like Caramel. 
Florence + The Machine at Bowery Ballroom, 10.27.09 Florence + The Machine made their NYC debut at Fader’s CMJ party at the ACE Hotel on Saturday October 24, and we were front and center for the acoustic masterpiece! Last Monday we got a second dose of Florence at Bowery Ballroom, an enchanting set complete with a full band, bright lights and a gorgeous set design. The show began at 9 PM when Tennessee’s Holly Miranda took the stage to play a melodic 45 minute set. Halfway through the set she was joined with members of Nada Surf before bowing out for the lady of the night, Ms. Florence Welch. Nothing gets more intimate than being almost eye level with a performer during an acoustic set and serenading each other (yup it happened at Fader), but even during a bigger stage production Florence is a confiding storyteller confessing all of her secrets through her voice. The audience was entranced and anxious for Florence to hit the next note and bash her fire-red mane around while doing so. I was so involved with the show that after the generous 12 songs, I turned to the person next to me and asked if it was REALLY encore time. Time really stands still when Florence is in the spotlight. The set wrapped with You’ve Got The Love and Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up), the ultimate heartfelt combo that moved the entire venue to a unified and uplifted place. Yet another absolutely stellar and flawless performance. More pictures of Florence + the Machine HERE and more of Holly Miranda w/ Nada Surf HERE. MP3: Holly Miranda – Slow Burn Treason or zShare MP3: Florence + The Machine – Flakes (Mystery Jets Cover) or zShare MP3: Florence + The Machine – Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) ( Jamie T Lionheart Remix) or zShare Holly Miranda w/ Nada Surf Link to this post Mmm, Tastes Like Caramel. 
Ross Douthat is peeved. You see, there’s a pantheistic trend in Hollywood films, and where there could be talk of Jesus and The One God, there is only Kevin Costner dancing with wolves and Lion King metaphysics. The most recent example of this is James Cameron’s Avatar. Full disclosure: I have not seen this film yet, but I don’t think I need to have seen it to criticize the rest of this seriously weird column. Douthat believes Hollywood keeps returning to pantheism because Americans respond favorably to this breed of spirituality. He even quotes a Pew Forum report on how Americans mix and match theology, which found that many self-professed Christians hold beliefs about the “spiritual energy” of trees and mountains. Here’s where it gets weird. Douthat believes that Americans’ preference for pantheism isn’t a sign that they are evolving out of the dark ages of monotheism into a more connected understanding of the universe and its complexities, but that we actually “pine for what we’ve left behind, and divinizing the natural world is an obvious way to express unease about our hyper-technological society.” Huh? Where is the poll saying that? So while the rest of human beings evolve, Douthat wants us to believe we are spiritually regressing. Yet The American Religious Identification Survey recently found the number of people who claimed “no religion” had nearly doubled nationally over the last 18 years to 15 percent. They were the only demographic that increased in all 50 states. Depicting pantheism in film is just smart marketing. It’s familiar to Christians, so they’re not motivated to picket theaters with “JESUS RULZ” signs, and yet it’s also secular enough that atheists and agnostics don’t feel weirded out by all the celluloid bible-thumping. If anything, the presence of all this pantheism in film shows that we’re a less religious planet that is more interested in the big questions of the environment and the universe than arguing over the fairy tales in our religious texts. It seems Douthat skirts this most obvious reading of the pantheism trend because he’s terrified of nature. "Traditional theism has to wrestle with the problem of evil: if God is good, why does he allow suffering and death? But Nature is suffering and death. Its harmonies require violence. Its “circle of life” is really a cycle of mortality. And the human societies that hew closest to the natural order aren’t the shining Edens of James Cameron’s fond imaginings. They’re places where existence tends to be nasty, brutish and short. Religion exists, in part, precisely because humans aren’t at home amid these cruel rhythms. We stand half inside the natural world and half outside it. We’re beasts with self-consciousness, predators with ethics, mortal creatures who yearn for immortality." I can only imagine Douthat’s version of a Disney film would involve flesh-eating trees and necrophilic bunny rabbits. It appears he never engaged in an eighth-grade, stoned philosophical conversation (possibly because no one wanted to offer him weed). This is when your basic questions about life and death are pondered (not, say, when you’re a middle-aged columnist for the New York Times). Yes, nature destroys, but from every destruction arises something. Nature is life, and really the only thing that matters, and that seems like an appropriate thing to enjoy and care for. Or as Douthat calls nature: “cruel rhythms.” Wow. Did this guy’s dad run over his pet turtle or something? Someone, send him a potted flower. Link to this article:
Sleigh Bells photographed 10.30.09 by anthoNYC Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss have managed to cause quite a bit of noise on the internet, having gone from amateurly recorded obscurity to booking sought after gigs and rolling with the likes of M.I.A. and Spike Jonze. Sleigh Bells: What is the method to their mayhem? Who are they? What kind of music is this? These were all questions that plagued us and we decided to get to the bottom of this two weeks ago, the day before Halloween. We met up with the duo at Derek’s Brooklyn apartment and left no question unanswered. Alexis and Derek are two really cool kids who make kick ass music and know how to rock any stage, just read on to find out for yourself! Make sure you check out Sleigh Bells this Saturday night at Webster Hall with Kap Bambino and again on November 19th at Le Poisson Rouge [tix]! Pictures I took at their CMJ shows can be seen here: Hype Machine/Babelgum at Santos AND Quiet Color’s Anti-CMJ Showcase at The Market Hotel. MP3: Sleigh Bells – Beach Girls [EP Version] or zShare > Where are you both from? AK: I’m from NJ, the Jersey Shore. DM: I’m from Southern Florida. > How long have you been in New York? AK: I’ve been here for about 7 years. DM: I’ve been here since March of 2008, pretty new. > How did you meet each other? DM: My restaurant where I worked up until 2-3 weeks ago. AK: He was my waiter, I was out to dinner with my mom. He was talking about why he was here and mentioned that he was looking for a vocalist and my mom nominated me. Sent him an email then we met up. So yeah..that’s the short version. [all laugh] DM: I just started talking to her mom who also grew up in South Florida, and she was like ‘So what are you doing in New York?‘ I told her that I was looking for a female vocalist or a girl to work on music with. [ Audio: How they met and the reason behind having a female vocalist on Sleigh Bells. ] > Did you always have it in your mind that you wanted a female vocalist? DM: Yes, for like almost 5 years. > Any particular reason? DM: I just prefer female vocalists, it’s just more interesting for me. A lot of times I’m just less interested in what guys are singing about for some reason. I’m much pickier with guys, I guess it just depends on the genre. In hip-hop they’re usually less vulnerable sounding, but if it’s something rock oriented then feelings get involved. I just get a little weird like…guys talking about their feelings. [all laugh] I don’t wanna sound like an asshole but it’s just harder to get into it. > I read that you’re a teacher is that that true? AK: No I’m not teaching anymore, I did a program called Teach for America for 2 years. A lot of times I’m just less interested in what guys are singing about for some reason… I just get a little weird like…guys talking about their feelings. – Derek Miller > What did you teach? AK: I taught fourth grade bilingual [Spanish.] Most of my kids were new arrivals to the country so I was in the Bronx. I did that right after I graduated, then met Derek in the summer between my two years. I kinda made the decision in January of this year that I was not going to go back, but instead pursue other things and just work on Sleigh Bells full time. And here I am. Sleigh Bells at Market Hotel 10.23.09 > That’s awesome! I actually learned about you from a friend who put on the Hype Machine showcase at Santos… DM: Abbey? > Yeah, do you guys know her? DM: Yeah we just met Abbey through Sasha Frere-Jones (Music writer for The New Yorker) who is friends with her. He was pretty much our very first interview, first dude we talked to, first guy who contacted us and was into the band. So yeah we met up with him and he asked if we had any reference photos for the New Yorker. We were like “We don’t have anything, we just have an illustration of Alexis with a bandana that wont help.” He was like “Maybe my friend Abbey can come,” so she came to a show and that’s how we met. AK: She’s been amazing, she’s been there like every step along the way… DM: She’s super-cool. > So we’re among friends! When she first told me about Sleigh Bells, I was like “is it S-L-A-Y Bells or…?” [all laugh] AK: That’s a popular question! DM: That’s the first thing people ask and they’re kinda let down when I’m like “Sorry it’s S-L-E-I-G-H.” The joke is when you say it, phonetically it sounds like S-L-A-Y. That woulda been too much. > How many shows have you played together so far? AK & DM: 6 or 7… AK: We didn’t start playing until I finished teaching until…we started practicing all through the summer. Our first show was September 2nd at Union Pool. It was nice, a benefit show with the Midnight Masses. [ Audio: Sleigh Bells on CMJ ] > Having just started in September, were you a little overwhelmed about being a buzz band at CMJ? DM: Honestly I wasn’t thinking it in terms of…I know with CMJ that’s the purpose, we just randomly booked these shows. Abbey offered us to play the Santos thing– AK: A week before. DM: I was just like “Oh I guess all these bands are playing CMJ. We’ll play a show or 2 shows.” I didn’t think it’d be significant, it sounds like bullshit..if that was the case I’d tell you but it really seemed like it’d come and go. Our friend Kristen put on the ABC Amplified thing. It’s not like we were there playing the Fader Fort, they were just smaller, off to the side showcases not the big time showcases. AK: I definitely did not go in thinking “buzz band.” We literally got those shows a week before and we were shocked like “what!” > Did you see any shows at CMJ or did you just play and that was it? AK to DM: You went to some shows… DM: My friends from Florida are in Surfer Blood, so I saw them a couple of times. > They played a million times! AK: I think 2.5 was like the average shows per day. But yeah, just the bands we really played with, I didnt really go out. I was simultaneously planning this teaching workshop so I was a bit stressed out. It’s kind of the last thing you wanna do after being in a venue all day. > I was curious after hearing your songs, are those mastered tracks or rough cuts? DM: No, we actually just put up a thing on our MySpace. There have been so many people asking if they could buy them somewhere or if they’ll be on iTunes. They’re not now and will never be for sale because they’re just demos, they’re not mixed properly. I mixed everything on headphones which is rule #1: You never mix on headphones. I don’t even own monitors. So yeah we’re gonna definitely re-record everything plus a bunch of new songs for a full-length. Either late this year or early next year. > We saw M.I.A. and Spike Jonze at your show. How did you get noticed by such renowned creative luminaries? DM: Our friend Molly wrote for Spike Jonze’s blog for Where the Wild Things Are, and wrote about the music there. So that’s how Sasha got it and then Spike Jonze got it as well from her and played it for Maya. And then Maya wrote us and then since we’ve just… > You just got an email from her? Was it all in CAPS like her blog? [all laugh] DM: Yeah! [laughs] She’s a friend now, she’s just cool. It’s just very odd because it was not expected and I’m just a huge fan. AK: It’s crazy. She’s so likable and you get this comfortable feeling around her, she’s a friend. > Yeah she’s very friendly. Before we talked to you at Market Hotel I told her I was going to interview you guys. AK: Yeah that’s who she is consistently. DM: She’s definitely a very real person. …Every time I’m singing on a track or anytime I do something I’m no longer me. I’m more of a character of myself. – Alexis Krauss > So what kind of music did you listen to before pairing for Sleigh Bells? DM: We definitely don’t have a reference genre, whatever I can dig up from whatever decade that sounds good…that’s the only criteria. AK: It’s pretty diverse. I was on a whole soul, 60’s kick. DM: I listen to a lot of Motown, current stuff, hip hop. Probably the same thing a lot of people are listening to now, people are no longer restricted to regions because of the internet. > Ring Ring has a lot of soul elements, but then Beach Girls …I just love that song! – AK: We’ll play it next show! [all laugh -- I previously bugged them for not playing it at Market Hotel.] DM: There’s going to be a new version. It’s definitely going to have all of those same elements but I have all these other ideas…it’s just going to be so heavy and so great. I’m putting these horns on it, it’s still going to have those lazer annoying [white noise] but I’m really stoked to do that one. > How true to the current sound do you plan to be? DM: We’re going to retain a lot of the blown out aspects of the sounds for sure. Musically or instrumentally and vocally it’s going to be a lot cleaner, I don’t want the vocals to be quite as distorted. AK: Because that was done out of necessity, we really want that sort of shiny clean feeling. DM: I had trouble mixing it. With Crown to the Ground for example, the music is so distorted and the vocals were so clean that it wasn’t sitting in the mix. A quick solution was to put some distortion on the vocals so it would gel, but that’s just sort of a cheap fix. The answer is just mixing it correctly. > Did you have any formal training in production/recording? DM: None whatsoever, I don’t and still don’t know what I’m doing. The vocals for Infinity Guitars [were recorded with Alexis] yelling into the internal mic [points at his laptop.] AK: Very bare bones. [laughs] DM: With a lot of bands the method is supposed to be a statement but not for us, those were just the resources we had available to us. I just can’t wait to get into the studio and see the songs through. > Going back to Beach Girls, when I listen to it I can barely understand anything you’re saying. Was that intentional or was that too done out of necessity? DM: The delay just added an eerie quality to it that worked, but yeah I wish that people could could hear the lyrics AK: There’s a story to it.. DM: There’s a narrative and it sounds vapid like “Did I forget my sunglasses? Got ‘em!” But the story is this: She’s at the beach and it’s horrible. There’s like kids drowning and getting nosebleeds. I keep using David Lynch as a reference for that because it’s slick and shiny like Blue Velvet or something. Thinking of the opening sequence. But it’s just…something’s really – AK: OFF! [all laugh] DM: This is a weird reference but like the Soundgarden video Black Hole Sun. The smiles are really fucking big. AK: Yeah I totally pictured that with Beach Girls. DM: You can’t hear the fucking lyrics so it’s our fault, I like that one live when the bass drops I’m like “YEAH!” [ Audio: Sleigh Bells' Alexis discusses her singing background ] > It comes back like four times in that song! Alexis, what is your experience like being onstage? AK: I spent a lot of time doing session singing so I used to think of myself as an actress when I would sing. I almost like thinking of singing as being that, every time I’m singing on a track or anytime I do something I’m no longer me. I’m more of a character of myself. I feel like I could turn it on *snaps* whenever. DM: As opposed to it being deeply – AK: Some people are like “Oh but you should [take it deeply]“ but that’s just my experience with being a singer. My dad is a full-time musician so I started doing theatre at a young age. I had tons of vocal lessons but because my father is such a good pop and R&B soul singer, it was important to me that I didn’t become a Broadway-singing voice. I’ve been singing pop since I was 13 and for me it’s just been my sound and what I like singing. This neighborhood breeds so many projects and you just get too many people who have no idea how to use their voice – DM: Having to switch from shouting to singing falsetto, it wouldn’t work without someone who knew what they’re doing. AK: That’s another thing I love about his ideas because it’s incredibly versatile, as a singer I get to explore different options. DM: Blushing. The only other band I was in was this girl teen pop group, it was my 13-16 year old life! – Alexis Krauss > Do you plan on touring more, or are you gonna focus on making new music? DM: The next month or 2, we’ll just play around here a bunch and write new songs. We’ve talked to some people about touring next year already but nothing’s confirmed. It’s great to have people come [to our shows] because they want to hear the music as opposed to just our friends. AK: We feel like we got that at The Market Hotel, it was really exciting. [ Audio: Sleigh Bells discussing performance styles and the necessity to be versatile ] > The Santos show was really different than The Market Hotel one. AK: [The Santos show] was super fast and it was 3:15 PM, it was mostly industry people. I mean you have to be able to do both be able to give a good show either way, but when you have that interaction and energy we had on Friday night it brings it to a whole new level. > Your performance was so different, you were like going crazy! AK: You just get this like [flails around] DM: We kept saying it felt like a hardcore show. She grew up going to hardcore shows and I played in a hardcore band forever. It felt like very natural, kind of like what I imagined it to be. With the first show we were so stiff and it was just terrifying really. AK: We’ve come along way! [laughs] > Were you in other bands before this, Alexis? AK: The only other band I was in was this girl teen pop group, it was my 13-16 year old life! [all laugh] DM: Awesome actually, for real. AK: From there I went onto college and started doing session singing, but I really built my performance chops doing weddings. I worked for a big wedding company as cliche and funny as it sounds, with a big band. I sang everything from standards to Beyonce to AC/DC. A huge range and I’d just get out there and have fun. I also used to perform with my dad and his bands. > Last question, do you plan on touring Europe? AK: We’d love to!! DM: We’re talking to booking agents but I’m not sure what we’ll end up doing. > London will love you guys! DM: Oh really? I can’t wait to go back to the UK. > Have you ever been? AK: No I haven’t unfortunately, can’t wait. > Well I think that’s all we have for you. Is there anything you’d like to add…put out there? DM: Just the thanks for coming, thanks for talking to us. Link to this post Mmm, Tastes Like Caramel. 
Another smashing year in music has come to an end. It was tougher than ever to narrow down my picks for the Top 10 Tracks of the year. This is my fourth annual countdown of the best songs of the year and I take the challenge of whittling down the list very seriously. Obviously these decisions are based on my opinion alone and you may agree or disagree with my choices. However, if you are unfamiliar with the tracks I urge you to check out the songs and albums from which they came. For me, compiling this list is a great way to reflect and remember the year in music. The 10 tracks listed below were the soundtrack to my life in 2009. 10) "Golden Phone," by Micachu and The Shapes, from the album Jewellery. 9) "Jealous of Roses," by Bibio, from the album Ambivalence Avenue. 8) "Stolen Houses (Die)," by Iron and Wine, from the album Dark Was The Night. 7) "This Tornado Loves You," by Neko Case, from the album Middle Cyclone. 6) "Daylight," by Matt and Kim, from the album Grand. 5) "Stillness Is The Move," by Dirty Projectors, from the album Bitte Orca. 4) "Blood Bank," by Bon Iver, from the album Blood Bank (EP). 3) "Two Weeks," by Grizzly Bear, from the album Veckatimest. 2) "Ships With Holes Will Sink," by We Were Promised Jetpacks, from the album These Four Walls. 1) "1901," by Phoenix, from the album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix The bulk of these tracks are in regular rotation here on BreakThru Radio. So, keep your ears peeled. If you want to hear some of these tracks and even more of my favorites from 2009, tune into my show this Tuesday on BTR. Link to this article:
Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;}   No seriously.  So the other day I went into one of those buy-in-bulk type of department stores for the first time.  It was insane!  You have to have a membership card to get in.  It is actually someone’s job to check ID cards all day!  So they set it up like a chaotic Ikea, where you have to walk through the whole store before you can leave, but the middle is kind of open so you can just wander around.  It kind of makes you want a lot of everything.  It not only has like, 50 packs of toilet paper but you can also get really big things like huge pizzas or big bags of big muffins.    I believe that places like this will single-handedly save the economy.  They even have their own gas station…  It makes sense that when you buy anything in bulk it will costs less.  So why doesn’t everyone do this?  I guess it all comes down to convenience and need.  Even if you drink 2 gallons of milk every three weeks, most people would rather buy one gallon and then another once it is finished.  Why? Who cares? But the option is there and that makes me smile.   In the end people will do what makes them comfortable and happy.  Nothing wrong with that at all, but if you have not ever been to one of these stores you might want to go just for the experience of wall to wall, floor to ceiling merchandise.  It really is insane!   Ok see you guys next time. -ed
On January 12, Jam Session’s favorite genre-bending American roots string band, Hot Day at the Zoo, will release their third album Zoograss on their independent label INTA Records. Zoograss is a live album, recorded at The Waterhole in Saranac Lake, NY on February 14, 2009, and brings to life the high-energy quartet who mixes folk, blues, ragtime and jazz with progressive bluegrass and Americana-infused rock and roll. Hot Day at the Zoo is pioneering their sound in a way that is reminiscent of how Johnny Cash transformed traditional country music. They have the songwriting and full-bodied sound of the Grateful Dead, the technicality and momentum of Sam Bush, the tightness and the ability to talk musically like Charles Mingus, and the cool, easy rock demeanor of Steely Dan. Fans accurately describe this sound as “zoograss.” HDATZ will kick off their Zoograss tour at The Waterhole on New Year’s Eve. The 2010 tour includes a 2-night CD release party at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA on January 15-16, and special guest support for David Grisman on February 28 at the Portsmouth Music Hall.
Last night, after being in the states for less than 24 hours, Friendly Fires played a random private party for Fred Perry at SPIN New York…and you can trust Tastes Like Caramel was there for all of the fun! It was our first time at the venue which played host to a ping pong event with the band providing the headlining entertainment. The party was in celebration of the Fred Perry brand and Friendly Fires kicking off their winter NYLON tour Thursday night in Texas with The Xx. We had the pleasure of interviewing the band before their set for an upcoming feature on the site and were right up front for the band’s stellar 7-song set!   The boys were great both onstage and in the hotseat for our interview, adding fuel to the flames of our anticipation for the tour and the upcoming album which you can learn more about in our exclusive interview coming soon! Stay tuned! More pictures from the show can be seen HERE, and full tour dates can be found on the band’s MySpace page. Spotted at the show: Susan Sarandon and Judah Friedlander. MP3: Friendly Fires – Skeleton Boy (Grum Remix) MP3: Friendly Fires – Bring Out Your Dead (Clark Remix) or zShare Link to this post Mmm, Tastes Like Caramel. 
The DJs here at BTR will be dropping their Best Of lists next week, but in the meantime, check out these totally unnecessary superlatives. No research was done, and you can forget about that whole 'at least two sources' thing. Best Comeback From A Band Whose Last Album Was Unexpectedly Lacking: Islands, with Vapours After the amazing Return to the Sea record in 2006, the world was waiting with anxious breath for the sophomore effort from Islands. No one wanted the jogging gorgeous summer to end, or for Whitney to ever stop beefing with Bobby. Anti- Records even signed on for the occasion, around the same time they snapped up Man Man and DeVotchKa. Arm's Way proved to be a distinct departure from Return to the Sea, however. Original drummer Jamie Thompson was on the mainland, having left the band after the success of RTTS. The songs were far different in structure, longer and decidedly more proggy, making for a huge contrast in comparison to the whimiscal island breeze of the first album. It wasn't a bad record, but it lacked the 1.21 gigawatts that made Return to the Sea so powerful. The band's third album, Vapours, dropped on Anti- back in September, and it seems like a far more logical step in the band's evolution from Return to the Sea than Arm's Way. Jamie Thompson is back on board, and dude makes an obvious difference.  Best Groundwork Laid For Special 2010 Drink Up Buttercup Playing BTR's SXSW party in March was only the beginning for this Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based band, who dropped their second 7" (Farewell Captain b/w Sosey And Dosey) a month later on Kanine Records. Then it was more touring, a New York Times-noted performance at CMJ and a fresh melt of wax; the Even Think b/w Heavy Hand 7", which the band dropped in October after signing to Yep Roc Records. A Youtube search for Drink Up Buttercup reveals a bevy of evidence attesting to a fierce live set. Yes, they throw a garbage can about on stage, but don't sleep on the softer side of Sears either; search for the song "Lovers Play Dead," and revel in lead singer Jim Harvey's rather dark rumination on relationship psychology. Then there is "Even Think," which was one of the few songs in 2009 that most of the weekly DJs here at BTR seemed to agree upon. The key to the track is the bewilderingly beautiful chorus, which only happens once, after two verses of rising action, in the middle of the song. Once that little harmony sticks in your craw, it's a happy 'game over' in the ol' ear canals. Then, as if that weren't enough, you hear Jim Harvey's operatic display in "Seasickness Pills;" a bit of singing that I have actually seen give a girl goosebumps. She was at the bar, and while Harvey tried to knock people down with the force of his pipes, she raised her arm, pointed at the hairs standing on end there, and mouthed the words "I'm getting goosebumps." I knew she wasn't faking either, because I had them as well. Drink Up Buttercup will be sticking with Yep Roc for the debut full-length, which is due sometime in early 2010, and might be called Born And Thrown On A Hook. Put a big Red X on your calendar. Cemented His Comedic Legacy In 2009 Patton Oswalt His third album of the 2000's, Patton Oswalt's My Weakness Is Strong is a comedic masterstroke. The man observes the most banal of subjects (air travel, impending fatherhood, text-messaging, religion) and then writes genius-level observational comedy about it, filtering everything through a love for science fiction, fantasy and self-deprecating humor. Also, like like 2007's Werewolves and Lollipops, this album seems like more than just a comedy record. Oswalt, in addition to writing solid copy, is a storyteller of the highest degree. He does a slew of different voices throughout My Weakness Is Strong, with repeated listens only further illustrating the perfect timing, the careful word selection, the progression from loud to quiet (and back again). Sure, Dane Cook may have sold more records in the 2000's, but his copy looks like a 3rd grader's scrabble compared to Oswalt's. And for real, what other stand-up comedian would snag a starring role in a Pixar film and then joke about how he can't smoke weed and drink scotch on Halloween anymore because of it? Yes, that line is meant to make you curious. Buy the album to hear the rest of the story. Strangest Similarity In Looks: Young Peter Frampton Vs. Young Kurt Vile Yeah? Most Popular Word Found In A New Band's Name: "Ghost" Let's see how many bands in 2009 released music under a name featuring that word... 1. TV Ghost 2. Glass Ghost 3. Ghost Hunter 4. Former Ghosts 5. That Ghost 6. The Black Ghosts 7. The Marshmallow Ghosts 8. We Ghosts Well, I guess we answered Ben Bridwell's famous question of 2007. But he should have made it plural - "are there ghosts in my house?" Yup.   Link to this article:
The Big Pink at Bowery Ballroom 12.3.09 The Big Pink’s debut album A Brief History of Love was fittingly released this past September to critical acclaim and heavy rotation on many of my playlists. Before diving into my review of the show, I’d like to share a brief history of the band: The Big Pink is comprised of Robbie Furze (lead) and Milo Cordell who began making music together in 2007. Both have behind the scenes experience running the record label Hate Channel, in addition to Cordell releasing music under his own well-established label Merok Records (home to Klaxons, Crystal Castles, The Teenagers, Esser, Titus Andronicus, etc.) We missed the band’s New York debut last June but made sure to be front and center for the first of the two New York stops on their current North American tour at Bowery Ballroom last Thursday night. California’s Crystal Antlers added an extra psychedelic garage twist to the night, with their supporting set at 10PM. Shortly after Crystal Antlers left the stage, preparations were made with stage hands carrying fog juice, strobe lights and spraying aerosol cans before the lights dimmed at 11PM. The 9-song set kicked off amid a foggy strobe-light attack with Too Young to Love and hit it’s high notes mid-set with Velvet and Crystal Visions before closing with an epic drum smashing sing-a-long for Dominos. Unlike what was going on in the audience, The Big Pink’s live set was a refreshing and straight-forward performance with very little banter. We left Bowery Ballroom very pleased with the live translation and stage presence from the duo and their supporting band members. The set could have been a bit longer with possibly a few covers (namely Beyonce’s Sweet Dreams- see below) but maybe next time! The band has just wrapped their US tour and are heading back to the UK, but keep an eye out for future tour dates on their MySpace…you won’t wanna miss them! More pictures from the show can be seen HERE. Special thanks to Brooklyn Vegan for linking us in their coverage! MP3: The Big Pink – Tonight or zShare MP3: The Big Pink – Dominos (Switch Remix) or zShare MP3: The Big Pink – Sweet Dreams (Beyonce Cover) or zShare Link to this post Mmm, Tastes Like Caramel. 
Come check out Red Abbey ( at one of these two shows: January 8th 2010, R Bar, 218 Bowery - Manhattan, NY - 08:00pm January 29th 2010, Santo's Party House, 96 Lafayette Street - Manhattan, NY - 08:30pm It's gonna be a lot of fun. I'm playing tenor sax with this Blues/Funk/Rock group.
Strange Odd Mysteries is some damn fine jangly bubblegum garage from Paris. I wanna compare them to a less-produced Sonic Chicken 4, mostly because they’re a garage band from France. I think there’s probably bands I could compare them to that would be more “accurate” but comparing one band to another is a lazy way to write about music anyway so I might as well be super lazy about it. Both bands are have great tunes that make you wanna get up and move, I mean I know at least that much. I think there’s still a decent amount of this stuff going on in France, which is real cool. Hopefully a US label will get on it. Deltagold is related to Vacation Club, who I played a few weeks back. They are a little more straight-ahead groovy garage/soul dance music and less “punk” than Vacation Club, but the songs are just as good. “Young/Dumb” is especially great, the way it takes a real driving drum/bas groove and kinda builds on it for a good long while till it breaks into the song, that kind of style really reminds me of the best songs on VivaL’AmericanDeathRayMusic Smash Radio Hits, which is one of the great records. Coool stuff, hope to hear more like it from them! Junkers, from Philly, is another garage rock band, and they cover a lot of ground. In fact, listening to their myspace is kinda like listening to a great garage comp.  They’ve got a snotty stomper (”No Goodbye”), a hazy/psychy one (”Wave Daze”), a hippie folky one (”Summer Bums”), some bubblegum pop (”I Can See the Sun”), and a twangy jangly (”Painter-man”). Plus good hooks in like every song. This band has got it together. They got one record coming out on GenPop, so look forward to that. Shark? is from Brooklyn, they do super catchy, kinda sloppy indie rock music that reminds me of what it might sound if early Pavement and late-era Pavement got together to make garage music but not doing it quite right. (That is actually a good thing, at least I think it is). That’s four for four blurbs so far where i write the word “garage”. Sometimes the band gets a little dirty (”I’m an Animal”), other times they’re quite sweet (”Oh My”), most of the time they’re somewhere in between there.  They have a self-released CDEP out, I can’t tell if they have anything else coming, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens! Buffalo Thunder is doing the whole summer sun/summer fun thing on their hit “Summer Crush (Rough Cut)”, and I am digging it. Probably because, unlike a lot of these wavey let’s-go-to-the-beach bands, Buffalo Thunder is not at all lazy about it. There’s a lot of energy in this here tune, and it seems like most of the reverb and distance in the mix is circumstantial (one room mic recording sound will do that), which makes it more “realistic”. Not that that really matters too much. Usually I am more happy with the rough cuts than the real things, but I am definitely interested to see where the band goes with this song! It’s just the one song for now, it seems. Ok, now for the not-garage, comtemplative half of the show. Starting with Grandparents. For the most part, they are playing real folky/hippie pop songs with tambourines and hand drums and harmonicas (and sometimes a rock band). Sometimes it can be kind of hard for me to dig on this sort of music, but this band makes it real easy. Maybe it’s cos they ease me in with some cool rockers (”Miss Chainsaw”, “Mirror Eyes”) and then hit me with the hippy stuff (”Meet the Grandparents”, “Welcome to Sun Country”). Or maybe it’s just because I like the way their records sound, real natural and a little distant, like I am playing these from a tape I secretly recorded of them playing in the woods. Hm, that’s not really it. Who knows. Wet Wings have one song up called “Beach Party” that is super relaxed, droney, loopy acoustic piece with little ghostly vocals (that I think might sound kinda like Panda Bear but I don’t listen to him too much to know for sure) bubbling up in the distance. Actually, all the tracks here kinda sound like they’re bubbling up from various distances. It’s a really nice effect. I suppose there’s a lot of stuff coming out that sounds like this these days, but not a lot of them are making songs that I actually enjoy listening to, so Wet Wings seems to have a leg up on the competition. New Zealand gets it right yet again. Big surprise! The band Eglise Noir is like a mystery to me. Myspace says they are from San Diego, which I have no real reason to not believe, but the music is so strange to me that it seems like they have to be from somewhere else. Not to say that they are making really off the wall music or anything – it’s lo-fi groovy drum machine punk with gated reverb vocals and blurpy synths and flangey guitar like Blank Dogs, Gary War, and several others. But I don’t know, I mean, it sounds like all that but something about it is like they are trying to sound like those bands but are somehow missing the sound altogether and ending up with something that is their own. So that’s probably why I wanna think they’re from France or something. M Pyres is pretty hard to pin down, musically. Some songs are real straight guitar pop, some are pretty, earnest, uptempo indie rock sounding, others show elements of math rock/emo stuff. All real cool. Makes me nostalgic for  what a bunch of people were doing in their bedrooms in the 90s (not that I was actually around for that) but not in a cynical/manipulative way like so much of the stuff coming out these days, not really in a calculated way at all. Which is pretty nice, if you ask me. Lots of records on various labels and self-releases, it appears. Why don’t you get some of them. This seems to be a prolific band. G Green is a four piece band way out in Sacramento, CA. It used to be a one man weirdo folk music band putting out a couple albums worth of self-released stuff per year, but has come a long way from there, and now plays  poppy atmoshperic indie guitar rock. The band features members of other popular Sactoo bands including Vichy Water and Mayyors. They got a bunch of records, including 7″s, tapes, and an LP coming out on various local labels. Maybe on day they will go on a tour with the Ganglians!
As I was born in 1989 and music has been a crucial part of my life since I was a baby (see my earlier post Momma's Mix-Tapes for more on that), I have now lived through two entire decades. The 1990s for me meant going to see Beck and the Flaming Lips a lot, watching music videos (on a TV set, even - imagine that!), and discovering my love of video game music. Kraftwerk's Computer World was one of my favorite albums as a little kid, I got my first personal boombox as a gift along with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time soundtrack by Koji Kondo. While my music-listening in the 90s was fueled by my parents' influence and interest in Japanese culture, the 2000s eventually presented a huge, dramatic change for me. In the early 2000s, I was still wound up in primarily Japanese tunes, and even more so as my interest in Final Fantasy developed (Nobuo Uematsu's soundtrack to Final Fantasy IX even made it on my best albums of the decade list) and I discovered Japanese pop music, Gackt, specifically. I listened to such music almost exclusively up until around 2002 and 2003, when I took it upon myself to start listening to the radio and all of my parents' albums in full. This project began because I was writing a screenplay at the time and wanted to make a soundtrack to go along with my plot...and had no "Western" music to accompany it. I think one of the first CDs I bought myself was Alicia Keys' Songs in A Minor, and I was mad about Eminem up until the unspeakable disappointment that was/is Encore. Some of my most important discoveries around this time were The Doors, Danielle Dax, and The Strokes (yeah, it was my mom who had bought Is This It), plus I had read Blender's interview with my then-idol Elijah Wood that focused on his interest in music; this alone led me to hear The Stone Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, The White Stripes, and a load of others that he'd mentioned. In December of 2004, I very fortuitously watched a live performance of The Killers on MTV (Hard Rock Live in Orlando). I went completely mad over the lovliness of Brandon Flowers how excellent they had sounded live (I'd heard "Somebody Told Me" as a single earlier that year and didn't care much for it), to the extent that Hot Fuss was one of my birthday presents and I joined The Killers Network message boards right away. It was on these message boards that, through looking up the bands that appeared in user signatures and avatars and following listening suggestions that opened up a brand-new world of music-listening. Most importantly, this is how I heard of The Libertines, The Fall, Joy Division, and remembered that I liked The Smiths (I was only familiar with "How Soon is Now" from The Wedding Singer...yes, really), all bands I would become obsessed with shortly after. Later 2004 and early 2005 is when I began copying my mom's tapes to the computer, re-listening to music I hadn't listened to regularly from hearing it around the house or in the car as a kid, like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Adam and the Ants (totally coincidental that "&" is a constant in the three!). This is also when I started to get particularly mad about making my own mix playlists, which has continued on to this day. I started buying more and more music in early 2005 and this is also when I happened upon Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. For one reason or another, I entrusted myself with the task of listening to all of them. Today, I am about 70% of the way there, stopping to listen to "non-list" music and composing my own, and this list is the primary reason behind me first hearing a cavalcade of artists from Buddy Holly to Can. Since I did not have high-speed internet at the time, I relied on using Napster Free to stream these albums at a lower bitrate. Through their recommendations in the sidebar, depending on what I was checking out at the time, I found Television and Nico. The internet had officially become my primary tool for locating  music...though not much of it was new. 2006 was a depending of the pattern, punctured by my first gig in ages: Dirty Pretty Things with Scissors for Lefty at Amoeba Records in San Francisco (and another gig at Slim's immediately after). 2007: an intensely important event happens. I get high-speed internet - I get a profile the very next day. I had been lusting after a account ever since I had seen the recently-played widget in forum signatures all over the place and seen the wondrous tag radio in action at a friend's house. Chart-statistics, genre/theme tagging, and music music music? Count me in! It wasn't long before I was networking with like-minded music-listeners and discovering more bands, especially fabulous independent music. In March of 2008, I at last put up a compilation of my own independent music and set about tagging and promoting it. July 2008: enter A Future in Noise, this here music blog started originally as a place to hold my random thoughts about music and perhaps the occasional review, but then I started to make more and more connections on and elsewhere and before I knew it, a whole team had formed (there's 8 of us now)! December 2008 was when AFIN was approached by MOG, which has been a lovely and quiet beneficial partnership, traffic-wise and also to keep me inspired to go on writing! 2008 was, to me, an explosion of fantastic new music. Perhaps it was because I was tuned in to music blogs,, and word-of-mouth more than ever, but I noticed a definite turning-point here (see my original Top 10 Album Picks for 2008 post) where it seemed there was so much truly great new stuff to hear that it was impossible to listen to it all. I listened to more music in 2008 than I had ever before in my life - apart from perhaps this year! - plugging along with the Robert Dimery book, ending up on Rate Your Music to catalog all my listening, making connections, finally obtaining an iPod....and becoming sort of obsessed with thenewno2 and seeing Adam Green in concert. 2009 I taught a workshop on the History of Rock Music, which was quite fun and I was glad to be able to share my music discoveries with a class of students that were appreciative towards it. This is also when it has been most apparent that many of the "old ways" of the music industry are not necessarily valid; this is a changed atmosphere, there are new rules (hence my Keeping Watch on the Music Business articles). The way to promote music is to make connections and pitch to those who may listen to music similar to yours, not blindly blasting generic press releases all over the place and spamming comment boxes. The way to sell music is to make what is purchasable more exclusive and special, maybe throw in some extras for good measure. I like a physical copy as much as the next person, but I want it to be meaningfully packaged, and most importantly, REALLY GOOD!!! It seems everyone is strapped for cash, and the last thing I personally want to spend my money on is a regrettable album. 2009 has been my favorite year of music-listening in the 2000s. According to RYM, I've heard in the neighborhood of 1,000 singles/EPs/albums (my mind is reeling from this figure), and found several new-favorite-bands (The Horrors, Natural Snow Buildings, and the Manic Street Preachers - who interestingly each figured in this year's top three 2009 albums!). I also have come about expanding the AFIN universe to include Vulpiano Records (my label which will officially launch quite soon), our Music Videos Tumblr (nearly 200 followers already!), and VISIONBLURRED (a Manic Street Preachers / The Horrors links directory - wow, I really did go nuts over them, didn't I? especially after that Manics gig!). A lot happened to me in the 2000s. I graduated. I got my first job. I'm moving out tomorrow. It's my 20th birthday in just a few days. I have a hard time explaining just why I love music...perhaps it's because the routines of normal life seem so much more fascinating when you've got a soundtrack going in your head to accompany all of it. I still think I'm the same person as ever, just with the intent of expanding my musical horizons as far as they will go, and finding every fantastic band and song that exists, as far as my lifetime permits. That may sound dramatic, but it's the truth. And I'm glad you all are reading along as it's happening. Here's to a brand-new decade of musical fabulosity yet to come! Link to this post A Future In Noise, Verlaine's Dreamtime. 
Yes, I like the Dirty Projectors' record Bitte Orca, and yes I like how the band is evolving the art of harmony. But, though I have listened to the album many times, I do not think it is the Album of the Year. Top 20, sure, but that's it. Sorry world! However, I do think the band's next record will be one of the best albums of the year. Why? Well, because the band will finish their leap forward. Right now they are still hovering over the chasm. Great ideas, amazing harmonies, fascinating time changes and all sorts of unexpected sonic goodness abounds in Bitte Orca. Listening to it, I yearn to hear the next album, when all those awesome ideas will gel into a cohesive whole. True, they nailed it with a few songs, esp. "Stillness Is The Move," but the rest, though it pushes the envelope, well, it just doesn't have me salivating to hear it again. The songs seem to be missing some unifying link. And it's unfortunate, because a lot of people (whose ears I trust) are bonkers for the album. Maybe I just haven't been in the right situation whilst listening to it, you know? Perhaps I should dress in a flowing robe, climb a mountain top, hang out with goats, and practice a group dance routine for no more than a few seconds. Then, maybe, it will all make sense. Kidding kidding kidding. More people should listen to that Tyondai Braxton record.
More lists, ahoy! This time, it's my picks for top 15 favorite albums of each decade (other AFINers are at liberty to post theirs as well). Since so many of the other end-of-decade lists are best-of-centric, I figured I would step away from that to highlight my personal favorites, rather than collecting just what is critically acclaimed/respected by legions of people. Yes, there will be a number of "popular" choices here, but these are all albums that I adore and have re-listened to many, many times, including albums that were introduced to me through various channels and people and fantastic independently-released albums. As usual, you are more than welcome to list your 2000s favorites in the comments, as well as throw virtual tomatoes at me for not including picks you think I ought to know about, since there's still so much out there I've got to hear! A quick re-cap of my recent 2009 albums picks first - an essay-styled article to accompany my take on music in the 2000s is forthcoming this week (not in this post, as I am in right in the midst of the process of moving) so stay tuned: 2009 1. The Horrors - Primary Colours 2. TwinSisterMoon - The Hollow Mountain 3. Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers 4. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic 5. Fever Ray - Fever Ray 6. Natural Snow Buildings - Daughter of Darkness 7. Blank Dogs - Under and Under 8. La Roux - La Roux 9. Natural Snow Buildings - Shadow Kingdom 10. Franz Ferdinand - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand 2008 1. thenewno2 - You Are Here 2. The Fall - Imperial Wax Solvent 3. Isengrind / TwinSisterMoon / Natural Snow Buildings - The Snowbringer Cult 4. The Kills - Midnight Boom 5. Adam Green - Sixes & Sevens 6. Burnt Fur - Unfurl 7. Blood Red Shoes - Box of Secrets 8. Department of Eagles - In Ear Park 9. Mt. Moon - A Burial in Seven Births 10. Panda steps in chocolate - Just Pretend You're a Pegasus 11. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles 12. The Legendary Pink Dots - Plutonium Blonde 13. Cheveu - Cheveu 14. Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair 15. The Advisory Circle - Other Channels 2007 1. Chromatics - IV: Night Drive 2. HEALTH - HEALTH 3. Deerhunter - Cryptograms 4. Panda Bear - Person Pitch 5. The Horrors - Strange House 6. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum   7. A Place to Bury Strangers - A Place to Bury Strangers 10. !!! - Myth Takes  11. Coconut Records - Nighttiming 12. TwinSisterMoon - When Stars Glide Through Solid 13. Babyshambles - Shotter's Nation 14. Radiohead - In Rainbows 15. Beastie Boys - The Mix-Up 2006 1. Adam Green - Jacket Full of Danger 2. The Knife - Silent Shout 3. Belbury Poly - The Owl's Map 4. Thom Yorke - The Eraser 5. Archie Bronson Outfit - Derdang Derdang 6. Ratatat - Classics 7. Natural Snow Buildings - The Dance of the Moon and the Sun 8. Hot Chip - The Warning 9. Nicky Wire - I Killed the Zeitgeist  10. Dirty Pretty Things - Waterloo to Anywhere 11. Zero 7 - The Garden 12. The Young Knives - Voices of Animals and Men 13. Bob Dylan - Modern Times 14. The Rapture - Pieces of the People We Love 15. The Black Keys - Magic Potion 2005 1. Gorillaz - Demon Days 2. The Kills - No Wow 3. Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard 4. Adam Green - Gemstones 5. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl 6. Grouper - Way Their Crept 7. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem  8. The Fall - Fall Heads Roll 9. Boris - Pink 10. The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan 11. Kaiser Chiefs - Employment 12. Franz Ferdnand - You Could Have it So Much Better 13. Patrick Wolf - Wind in the Wires 14. Queens of the Stone Age - Lullabies to Paralyze 15. Beck - Guero 2004 1. Death From Above 1979 - You're a Woman, I'm a Machine 2. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand 3. The Libertines - The Libertines  4. The Killers - Hot Fuss  5. Manic Street Preachers - Lifeblood 6. The Black Keys - Rubber Factory  7. The Skygreen Leopards - One Thousand Bird Ceremony 8. Belbury Poly - The Willows 9. The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives 10. Madvillain - Madvillainy 11. Mark Lanegan - Bubblegum 12. Beastie Boys - To the 5 Boroughs 13. Interpol - Antics 14. Mission of Burma - ONoffON 15. Susumu Yokota - Symbol 2003 1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell 2. The Fall - The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click) 3. Goldfrapp - Black Cherry 4. The Unicorns - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? 5. Rufus Wainwright - Want One 6. The White Stripes - Elephant 7. Adam Green - Friends of Mine 8. The Kills - Keep on Your Mean Side 9. Outkast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below 10. Blur - Think Tank 11. Room on Fire - The Strokes 12. Massive Attack - 100th Window 13. Lighting Bolt - Wonderful Rainbow 14. Jay-Z - The Black Album 15. The Rapture - Echoes 2002 1. The Libertines - Up the Bracket 2. Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf  3. Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights  4. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots 5. The Young Knives - ...Are Dead 6. Les Rallizes Dénudés - Heavier Than a Death in the Family  7. Doves - The Last Broadcast 8. Beck - Sea Change 9. Susumu Yokota - The Boy and The Tree 10. Ladytron - Light & Magic 11. Devendra Banhart - Oh Me Oh My... The Way the Day Goes by the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of the Christmas Spirit 12. Tom Waits - Alice 13. Glifted - Under and In 14. Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head 15. Nobuo Uematsu - Final Fantasy X: Piano Collections 2001 1. The Strokes - Is This It  2. Rufus Wainwright - Poses 3. The Fall - Are You Are Missing Winner 4. Manic Street Preachers - Know Your Enemy 5. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells 6. Ladytron - 604 7. The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Bravery, Repetition & Noise 8. The Beta Band -  Hot Shots II 9. Alicia Keys - Songs in A Minor  10. Gorillaz - Gorillaz 11. Le Tigre - Feminist Sweepstakes  12. Muse - Origin of Symmetry 13. Robots in Disguise - Robots in Disguise 14. Super Furry Animals - Rings Around the World 15. William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops 2000 1. The White Stripes - De Stijl 2. Goldfrapp - Felt Mountain 3. Radiohead - Kid A 4. Nobuo Uematsu - Final Fantasy IX 5. Air - The Virgin Suicides 6. Modest Mouse - The Moon and Antarctica 7. Rage Against the Machine - Renegades  8. Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 9. Queens of the Stone Age - Rated R  10. Broadcast - The Noise Made By People 11. Cat Power - The Covers Record 12. The Fall - The Unutterable 13. Outkast - Stankonia 14. Porcupine Tree - Lightbulb Sun 15. XTC - Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 1) Link to this post A Future In Noise, Verlaine's Dreamtime. 
As hundreds of protesters neared the Bella Center yesterday morning, police officers fired tear gas, beat activists with batons, and arrested about 100 individuals in the largest demonstration so far of the Copenhagen climate conference. There has been a mix of frustration over the lack of progress on a new climate deal, and Danish officials’ decision to limit the number of campaigners permitted into the talks. The decision left thousands of NGOs queued for hours outside the conference. The frustration may also stem from the police tactic of “kettling,” penning marchers in an area and refusing to let them out. Police utilized “kettling” at the G-20 protests. Instead of engaging in oftentimes violent, bloody conflict with protesters (the stuff that looks really bad for law enforcement on the news,) police form a cordon to contain protesters within a limited area. Protesters are then prevented from leaving the area for several hours. They can be denied access to food, water and toilet facilities for a long period, which as The Guardian reports, turns the area into a “public lavatory.” As you can imagine, being forced to shit outside for signing up to protest carbon emissions may make protesters cranky. Police have used kettling three times thus far at the Copenhagen protests. The process is incredibly disempowering for protesters because successful activism relies on the ability to disrupt the normal flow of order. Officials and international representatives must be aware of protesters’ presence. Otherwise, police are essentially engaging in soft censorship and neutering the activism process. This kind of soft censorship also inspires more radical behavior from some protesters. This small minority may feel they have no other choice but to engage in extreme (sometimes violent) behavior in order to gain leverage over the police, and the society, that has forced them into the margins. In an effort to break past police handling today, organizers of Reclaim Power engaged in real protest and attempted to disrupt the summit and hold a people’s assembly giving voice to those calling for climate justice. While a United Nations functionary carries around an orange-and-white life preserver (a subtle, symbolic SOS,) and the conference reels from the sudden resignation of its president, protesters recognize this is a critical time — not just in Copenhagen negotiations — but in the world’s history. Mette Hermansen, 27, studying to train teachers, and a member of the International Socialists of Denmark, told the Times, “In the Bella Center they are not discussing solutions to climate change. They are discussing how rich countries can continue emitting and how to sell that to the public. We are not preventing leaders from making solutions but encouraging them to make solutions.” And the only way to “encourage solutions” is through meaningful protest. Though they share the planet with the rich countries and powerful leaders, protesters and NGOs have literally been shut out of all climate conversations. The only options left are acts of civil disobedience and meaningful protest — not the kettled gatherings — but actual, lively demonstrations like the ones organized by Reclaim Power. Link to this article:
E.K. Wimmer is one of my top favorite artists to be featured here at AFIN, and also an all-around nice, cool, multi-talented fellow. His last album, What Was Once Veduta is Now Found was reviewed favorably here in January, as well as the single from this album "Puppets and Ninjas". His incredible new album The Invisible Audience was just released and I got a chance to interview E.K. about it - read on below! A Future in Noise: What were the musical and non-musical inspirations behind the making of The Invisible Audience? E.K: Musical: The usual suspects (The Cure, Bowie and Siouxsie). The real influences on this record were T-Rex - Electric Warrior, Brian Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy), Sparks - Angst In My Pants, John Frusciante - Curtains, Neko Case - Middle Cyclone, Christian Death - All the Love All the Hate Part 1, The Glove - Blue Sunshine, Kylie Minogue - X, Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies, P.J. Harvey - White Chalk and a trillion more. I love discussing influences because I have a ton and any musician that says otherwise is full of it! Non-Musical: Nature, the past, my wife, the Oregon coast, depression, phony people, playing shows, my daughter and more nature. AFIN: Since you had done soundtrack music previously, do you use the same creative process for your recent solo albums? (keeping specific scenes in mind, etc.) E.K.: Definitely. I tend to always write songs that are self-contained, but are somehow connected like scenes in a film. The actual creative process is very similar between film scores and my albums. I sit down with a guitar or piano and write the structure of the song. I then take that demo and decide how I want to record it. The first track on the album, All These Things, for example, was originally a rock opera demo with strings and whatnot that I was working on for a feature-length film. I decided to completely change the sound, add new vocals and make it into more of a radio-friendly pop song (at least it’s pop in my mind, ha!) I once read that Wes Anderson makes a mix tape of songs he wants on the soundtracks to his films and then sometimes writes scenes around them. I feel the same way. I’m a director at heart so all my songs usually have a video in my mind to accompany them. AFIN: There seems to me to be a distinct difference in the vibe of The Invisible Audience as compared to What was once Veduta is now found, like a lighter, airier almost nostalgic feeling in the new album. Was this intentional? How did this come about? E.K.: Well the most obvious thing between the two is how they came about. What was once Veduta was a collection of songs recorded over several years. The Invisible Audience was written within a year. I released What was once Veduta in 2008, but the most recent song on the album was recorded around 2004-2005. The Invisible Audience is really four to five years removed from the sound of my last record. It’s also the first solo album I’ve ever released (including Veduta) that is not electronic. No drum machines or programming at all on the new record. It’s the first time I’ve released an album that has live drums throughout. It’s also the first album with someone other than me contributing and I think this gives it a dramatically different vibe. Each song is it’s own thing. I just wrote songs how I wanted, when I wanted rather than trying to fit into a genre like I had in the past. As far as the airier, more nostalgic vibe, I think it’s just not so depressing! My music usually makes people want to jump off a bridge; it’s so depressing, but this album is lighter (apart from the last track I guess). The production quality was very intentional. I’m influenced by people like John Frusciante. I think his solo work is insanely overlooked. He strips everything down and just presents a great song. You hear the shuffling of instruments, breathing, etc. I’ve always liked the lo-fi sound because it takes on a life of it’s own.    AFIN: I enjoy the album as a whole, but I think the most interesting track is The Drawers of Nature - what's the story behind this song and it's meaning? E.K.: It’s funny that you singled out that track over the others because it probably has the most involved story, so brace yourself! It was written in 2004 when I was living in Missoula, MT. It’s the only song on the album that wasn’t written in this past year, but I knew it would fit. I was in a band called Binocular with Paul and Sarah Copoc of the band Two Year Touqe. I was also doing my solo stuff (under the name Veduta) at the time. I played bass and shared the lead vocal role in Binocular. We did really fun indie-rock songs that covered topics like financial aid vampires, my van named Grandpa Whiscuit and the actor Jack Nance. I wrote this one demo and showed it to the band. It was way too dark for Binocular, but we practiced it anyway. It became known as The Bass Song because our cello player switched to bass for the track. We recorded the song, which never had any vocals, and that was pretty much it for the next five years. We never used it because it was more Veduta than Binocuar; it didn’t fit. So five years later I was in Denver working on my new album and I came across the instrumental Bass Song on my computer. I decided to record live drums, re-record my guitar part and finally write some lyrics. Back when we practiced as Binocular the drummer and I used to hum vocal parts, but never wrote anything so I went off that. The lyrics are a story in and of themselves. They are based on a poem I wrote about a short film I did, ha ha, how pretentious! It’s about a stop-motion film depicting items from nature (leaves, rocks, etc.) appearing in each drawer of a triangle dresser (the same dresser that appears in many of my paintings). Anyway, I recorded my parts and then asked my wife Maria to do the back up vocals in the chorus. The end result was a collaboration with Paul Copoc on electric guitar, Sarah Copoc on Bass, Maria Rose doing back ups and myself performing acoustic guitar, drums and lead/back up vocals. I’m very pleased with the end result. I feel the song finally found it’s home and we can all move on. Wow, sorry for that long-winded answer! AFIN: A new decade is coming: how do you feel the climate of the music industry might change in the 2010s? Any tips for independent musicians/artists out there? E.K.: I like the constant strain on big record companies to keep up with independent music. I love seeing strange new acts poping up on their own minor label and then watching the big guns try to copy it. It keeps things fresh. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. As far as tips, I always say just do what you feel you should be doing. Don’t let trends in sound or style dictate your direction. If you try and mimic what’s hot right now it’ll be cold by the time your stuff gets heard or seen. Be influenced, but use that inspiration to do your own thing. Don’t get caught up in record sales, painting sales, etc. Just create and let your artistic projects do the rest. Money might follow and it might not, but you can’t let that gauge your relevance in the artistic community. AFIN: Are there any new directions or plans you have in mind for taking your music in the future? How about art-wise? E.K.: Well the plan with this new record from the beginning was for it to be the last for a while. I’ve been releasing albums for almost a decade. I’ve reached the Brian Eno phase in my career where I record what I want with no intention of touring, selling merchandise and boosting album sales. Just because I made the album doesn’t mean I have to play shows to support it. Maybe people will hear it, maybe they won't. It’s just another project I finished, but I put everything I have into it. I’m ready to really focus in on film scores and other collaborations. I’m working on my first feature film as a director and I’ve also been directing a lot of music videos (yours included). I’ve been laying low art wise. I’ve been doing some photography, but not a lot of painting. I haven’t had any shows recently; I should get on that! I guess I consider film to be art so I maybe I haven’t been laying low. I’ve got a lot of stuff lined up and I’m really excited to see where it takes me. Planet Wimmer | E.K. Wimmer on MySpace Music | YouTube Channel Link to this post A Future In Noise, Verlaine's Dreamtime.
(Detainees at Camp X-Ray - Image via Wikipedia) The Supreme Court has refused to hear a suit seeking accountability for Guantanamo torture. SCOTUS received an assist from the Obama White House, which had asked the court not to hear the case. "Today, the United States Supreme Court refused to review a lower court’s dismissal of a case brought by four British former detainees against Donald Rumsfeld and senior military officers for ordering torture and religious abuse at Guantánamo. The British detainees spent more than two years in Guantanamo and were repatriated to the U.K. in 2004. The Obama administration had asked the court not to hear the case. By refusing to hear the case, the Court let stand an earlier opinion by the D.C. Circuit Court which found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a statute that applies by its terms to all “persons” did not apply to detainees at Guantanamo, effectively ruling that the detainees are not persons at all for purposes of U.S. law. The lower court also dismissed the detainees’ claims under the Alien Tort Statute and the Geneva Conventions, finding defendants immune on the basis that “torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants.” Finally, the circuit court found that, even if torture and religious abuse were illegal, defendants were immune under the Constitution because they could not have reasonably known that detainees at Guantanamo had any Constitutional rights." Obama’s DoJ concurs, using an old strategy employed by the Bush administration.  "Their primary argument is that Ex-Guantanamo detainees don’t have any constitutional rights. Even if they did, the brief continues, Rumsfeld and other officers should be immune from prosecution because detainees’ right not to be tortured and to practice their religion without abuse was “not clearly established” at the time of their detention. The Obama administration supports the earlier decision by the Appeals Court that the ex-detainees do not have constitutional person-hood. The case should be dismissed because of special factors “involving national security and foreign policy,” the government’s brief concludes." This is the same administration that also dropped the “enemy combatant,” status to describe terror suspects which was supposedly “deeply symbolic” because the “enemy combatant” status was the thing that allowed Bush to detain people indefinitely and without trial. Turns out, it doesn’t matter what you call ‘em, they still don’t have any rights within the United States. Let’s be clear here: torture is a violation of American and international law. The Geneva Convention explicitly bans mental or physical torture or inhuman treatment of individuals captured in war zones. The Fifth Amendment forbids the US government from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The Eighth Amendment bars the government from engaging in cruel and unusual punishment. By putting the onus on the captured (”Well, maybe you shouldn’t have let yourself be labeled an enemy combatant!”) SCOTUS is essentially saying torture is an acceptable consequence of military detention. It’s inevitable. Like the wind. This decision actively encourages torture, since it declares that detainees don’t have any rights, and defendants won’t be held accountable for torturing because they’re not expected to treat detainees as if they do have any rights. In addition to being illegal, torture doesn’t work (it escalates conflict and is an ineffective counterinsurgency strategy,) it reduces our national security, and many of the tortured were innocent. Yet, the Obama administration and SCOTUS have argued that US officials who approved or engaged in torture at Guantanamo are entitled to immunity from lawsuits. The courts are supposed to act as a “check” on executive power. The whole reason the Bush administration originally located Gitmo in Cuba was to skirt the watchful eye of the law. It turns out, they could have built their torture mill in Yankee Stadium, since SCOTUS intends on acting as an accomplice to the Bush and Obama administrations. SCOTUS and the Obama White House are asking US officials to differentiate between the people who are protected by constitutional rights, and the “baddies” who are not protected under the law. And since anyone taken into US custody is an “enemy combatant,” that means no one declared an enemy by the United States is, according to SCOTUS, protected from torture. Any innocent people better pray they never get captured by the US in the first place, since SCOTUS has declared Mad Max rules. All of those domestic and international laws, and your innocence, won’t protect you from torture. Nor will the torturers ever be held accountable. Welcome to America. Link to this article:
Bradford Cox just released a 2005 CD.  He posted it on his blog, and he says that it's very experimental stuff.  Listen to it here.
Here's My boy DJ Getlive & I going in live in BK! Enjoy Click here
Keep those songs of the decade coming! (see previous entry for full details) I've had a few entries via email. Hit me up at: For those who've listened to my show for at least a year, you know that my final program of the year is typically a "best of" reflection of the musical variety. 2009 will be no exception, but with one caviat... this year you're getting 2 best of editions! I could NOT fit all the great music into one show. Even 2 was a stretch! It was like picking favorite children! As always, I'll be focusing on the musical mix and less on picking favorites. It's just more pleasant to hear and less political... Countdown is on!
Post-Punk, frequently associated with 'gloomy' late 70's/early 80's acts, can often actually be split into two varieties there's the jangly, guitar-oriented kind (Television, the Feelies), and the dark, bass-driven kind (Joy Division, Bauhaus). After coming to the realization that an enormous portion of my music library contained artists considered post-punk and, more recently, through my crazed work on the 6-disc RYM Ultimate Box Set for Post-Punk, I thought that now would be the prime time to give overview and insight to this complex music movement that has provided such a large portion of my music listening enjoyment over the years. Influences on Post-Punk: Punk: Many artists later appearing under the umbrella of post-punk formed and recorded when the original wave of punk had not yet dissolved: Television's 1977 album Marquee Moon could be said to bridge the gap between the two genres, injecting an arty sophistication into the punk model and turning it into something altogether new. The Birthday Party's output and early Pere Ubu and Wire, Killing Joke, and even the mighty Fall and Gang of Four also stood on the edge of punk-meets-post-punk. The Lou Reed-David Bowie-Iggy Pop Triangle: There seem to be just a few patches of music that have been left untouched by the sweeping arm of the Velvet Underground's influence, with post-punk being affected by this and Lou Reed's solo work as well. David Bowie's 'Berlin Trilogy', Low (1977), "Heroes" (1977), and Lodger (1979) and Iggy Pop's The Idiot (1977; this would sadly later end up as being the last record Ian Curtis listened to) served as important blue-prints for the post-punk sound. 1960's Psychedelia: Echoes of the Doors and/or Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd can be heard in the work of bands like the Teardrop Explodes, Echo & the Bunnymen, Siouxsie and the Banshees. Krautrock: This 60s/70s German music movement, characterized by much experimentation and delving into prog (Can, Faust) or synths (Cluster, Kraftwerk). Julian Cope's Krautrocksampler serves as an excellent guide. Funk and Disco: Best described in Greg Wilson's article "When Punk Meets Funk" at Jahsonic- listening to nearly any given Talking Heads track provides a ready example! First Wave of Post-Punk: Joy Division: The premiere post-punk band, they released two (perfect, in this author's humble opinion...) albums while they were together: Unknown Pleasures (1979, pictured at the start of this article) and Closer (1980). As much as Ian Curtis' talent has been (rightly) heralded after his 1980 suicide, Joy Division were a band in which all the members were crucial: Peter Hook's signature bass sound, elevated above Bernard Sumner's guitar stylings, and Stephen Morris' adept, machine-like percussion all heavily shaped the dark atmosphere that surrounded Curtis' distant, distinctly cold vocals and lyrics. The rest of the lads went on to form New Order, with 1981 release Movement still clinging to their post-punk past, with Sumner now at vocals (apart from Hook's lead vocals on tracks "Dreams Never End" and "Doubts Even Here", where his voice bears an eerie similarity to Curtis'). Power, Corruption & Lies (1983) began the transition to the dancier, new wave elements that would characterize the rest of New Order's career. Public Image Ltd.: Post-punk in the literal sense, it wasn't too long before John Lydon set to work on something completely different than what was accomplished in his former group, punk barrier-breakers the Sex Pistols. Influenced by krautrock like his frequent point of comparison Mark E. Smith (the Fall). Recommended albums: Public Image (1978), Metal Box (1979; also available as Second Edition), the massively underrated Album (1986), and The Flowers of Romance (1981). Original Gothic Rock: Though the modern conception of what constitutes 'gothic rock' is typically, according to NME Originals - Goth and doing a bit of research into genres, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, and the Cure are all considered original Gothic rock, a branch of post-punk, with darker themes expanded upon and no small amount of camp about it all! Recommended albums: Bauhaus - In the Flat Field (1980) and Mask (1981), Siouxsie and the Banshees - The Scream (1978), Kaleidoscope (1980), Juju (1981), The Cure - 17 Seconds (1980), Faith (1981) Neo-Psychedelia: Not every post-punk group leaned towards psychedelia (despite the 60's version being a prime influence), though Echo & the Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes were chief among those that did. Echo & the Bunnymen's output from 1980-1987 is highly recommended, though Heaven Up Here (1981) provides the most post-punkiness. Kilimanjaro (1980) is the Teardrop Explodes album to hear, while Julian Cope's solo material delves further into the neo-psych side. The American Scene: Frequently new-wave-tinged and fabulous: Pere Ubu, Devo Pylon, Chrome, Tuxedomoon. (Thanks to reader Princess Sparkle Pony for the reminder!) The Scotland Scene: The Scottish brand of post-punk was typically closer to the jangly, art-rock side of things, including Fire Engines, Josef K, and Orange Juice. See eMusic feature 'Great Scots! The Post-Punk Underground in Scotland'. Ladies of Post-Punk: Aside from Siouxsie, post-punk gals are all-too-often cast to the wayside! Recommended: Essential Logic - Beat Rhythm News (1979), The Seduction - Ludus (1981), The Raincoats - Odyshape (1981), The Slits - Cut (1979) and the compilation from the band Kleenex (later known as Liliput) Kleenex / LiLiPUT not released until 1993. And More...: The Chameleons: Recently included in our 15 Brilliant Out-of-Print Albums piece (along with the following band, the Sound), the Chameleons were forerunners of shoegaze , putting an atmospheric spin on post-punk in their first album Script of the Bridge (1983), with What Does Anything Mean? Basically (1985) and Strange Times (1986) moving farther afield into an even more unique, distinctly Chameleons sound. More Recommended Albums: Nick Cave - From Her to Eternity (1984), The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace (1985), The Sound - Jeopardy Associated Genres: Shoegaze (The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine), New Wave (Devo), Coldwave (see So Young But So Cold compilation), Dance-Punk (Liquid Liquid), No Wave (James Chance and the Contortions, Lydia Lunch; see also No New York) Post-Punk Revival in the 2000s: Some of those who have made the big splashes... Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (2005) Editors - The Back Room (2005) Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand (2004) The Horrors - Primary Colours (2009) Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights (2002) Further Exploration: RYM Ultimate Box Set > Post-Punk Post-Punk Diaries, by George Gimarc Tape Delay, by Charles Neal Rip it Up and Start Again, by Simon Reynolds Link to this post A Future In Noise, Verlaine's Dreamtime.
Animal Collective - Fall Be Kind EP (Domino) They couldn't just settle for "Album of the Year," which many lists have already declared. Animal Collective wants the whole shebang by conquering the EP side of things as well. Maybe it'll be like last year, when Pitchfork couldn't decide between Fleet Foxes self-titled record or the Sun Giant EP. They just lumped them together, to be enjoyed as one, like peanut butter and jelly or cookies & cream. Besides having five new tracks to drop tabs and see the colors to, the EP features the first ever officially licensed Grateful Dead sample, from the song "Unbroken Chain." Let the adoration commence. Suggested Track: "What Would I Want? Sky" MiC K!ng & Chum - Flavor Ade (Fake Four Inc.) Former champion battle rapper iCON The MiC K!ng is teaming up again with producer, Chum The Skrilla Guerilla, for another fun outing that can honestly be labeled as great Hip-Hop. Flavor Ade is an accompanying album to the upcoming release Cool-Aide, but shouldn't be looked at as an album of leftovers. MiC has a vision for Cool-Aide, which is "to keep cool through adversity and no guest appearances." This record is comprised of songs that don't fit that bill, but are still dope in their own regard. Lucky for us too, cause now we get to hear mash-ups with Atmosphere, Has-Lo, and eLZHi of Slum Village. If you're tired of "Gay Fish" antics, then switch to Flavor Ade. Suggested Track: "Wordperfect" feat. eLZHi Jookabox - Dead Zone Boys (Asthmatic Kitty) The first song I heard from Grampall Jookabox was called "The Girl Ain't Preggers", and while I did like the fierce bass line and the trash can two step, there was still something a bit off. To quote Murakami, "Reality was one step out of line, a cardigan with the buttons done up wrong." Now that the group has slashed the Grampall from their name (which no one could figure out anyways), the group seems to have tightened up their formula of frenetic junk drum circles and wild lyrics that beg to be howled at a full moon. All that, and there's a zombie-musical side story that goes along with the record that has something to do with how the east side of Indianapolis is akin to a George Romero movie. Dead Zone Boys should be as good as BRAINS!!! Suggested Track: "Gonna Need The Guns/Doom Hope" Link to this article:
The long nights me and my friends labored switching between parallel worlds in A Link To The Past, the cartoon that had me enraptured as a kid, or the fact that I'm playing a current iteration on the Nintendo DS. Any of these could be the reason why I get the chills during the start of this video below. If you didn't know there was a cartoon, here's proof:
Just about to leave the flat, to go and rehearse with The Indie Girls. Two of us aren't girls, but all four of us are "indie". Not "indian". I played a gig in a hotel once, way back in about 1992, with my first band "My Giddy Aunt" and Magoo, who went on to have a decent amount of success. I managed a small local music shop at the time, and the manager of this hotel used to come into the shop sometimes. He knew I was in a band, and he said they sometimes have music at the hotel, and what sort of music did I play? I said I was in an indie band (we liked My Bloody Valentine, The Smiths, The Pixies, etc), and he offered me a night there at the hotel, to put on a gig. So we booked Magoo as main support, and another band or two.. Aaaanyway, we turned up at the hotel, to find they'd made some signs, and advertised the gig pretty well around the hotel. But.. They'd mistakenly advertised it as "Indian Music Night"!! We all had a laugh about it, and I think Magoo stole one of the signs (which I only found out a few months back when I bumped into Owen, from Sickroom Studios), and I think in the end all the bands had a fun night. Right, I'm off, Jason
I was introduced to the Filthy Little Angels independent label, based in Nelson, UK and which has recently celebrated its 5th anniversary, through the fabulous Captain Polaroid who is part of it (check out the Point and Click EP for free download; previously featured here in Issue #20: "It's easy to hear a true enjoyment of the creation of music itself here, from the seamless flow through musical styles to the quirky, lo-fi sound overall."), yet another fortuitous meeting via the Manic Street Preachers-fanworld I've been enveloped in for the past few months; the Captain was kind enough to send some lovely records along to me (Captain Polaroid w/ Beacons - Split 7", Various Artists - Just a Minute 7", Project A-ko w/ Horowitz Split 7"). Filthy Little Angels happens to be The Devil Has the Best Tuna's favorite indie label, who noted their "Five years of independence, five years of eclecticism, an average of twenty releases each year, five years of brilliance." The common thread these bands have is a DIY-aesthetic, which carries throughout all that's represented here, from the punky to the more mellow. To celebrate, their anniversary, Filthy Little Angels is giving away nearly every 7" as a free download for a limited time here: I've grabbed it all, and the more that I've gone through and listened to everything, the more impressive the FLA catalog sounds! I'm going to highlight a few of my favorites from the label, with free downloads for you: The Lovely Eggs Alternative / Experimental / Garage - Lancaster, UK "Mainly influenced by the ecstasy of the modern mind and all its trappings" with The Fall and Beat Happening amongst their influences? Count me in! The Lovely Eggs are a duo, David Blackwell and Holly Ross, that play a cute, quirky brand of music (you can tell from titles like "Have You Ever Heard a Digital Accordion" and "Tyrannosaurus Rex for Christmas") that is immediately fun and likeable. Check out "I Like Birds (But I Like Other Animals Too)" for an example of what I mean! Horowitz - Indie / Pop / Alternative - Stoke-on-Tent, UK Other bands calling themselves "indie pop" ought to prepare to get schooled when listening to Horowitz. "Sweetness I Could Die in Your Arms" is but one indicator of the land of Horowitz, where all is sweet and jangy, campfire-tune catchiness. They appear on a split with Project A-ko (Alternative / Indie / Post-Punk - Glasgow, Scotland, UK), a band with a similar vibe (take a listen to "Nothing Works Twice"), with an occasional added sarcasm and introspective life-observation. Captain Polaroid - Alternative/ Indie / Pop, Midlands, UK Here's the man of the hour! Taking on all the instruments and vocals on his own, the landscape of Captain Polaroid is awash in the the time-honored independent spirit of lo-fi fuzz-rock goodnes, which you can hear in "A Dream is a Dream is a Dream is a Lie". The Leatherettes - Garage / Punk / Rockabilly - Dundee, UK Now this is what I'm talking about! I'm a sucker for a Suicide-reminiscent electronic drumbeat to begin with, but with the extra dash of rockabilly and garage flavoring. Listen to the attitude-packed "Shoot to Thrill", rounding out this special selection Filthy Little Angels tracks with a heavy dose of cool. --- Filthy Little Angels - Official Site | on MySpace Music | at Big Cartel Link to this post A Future In Noise, Verlaine's Dreamtime.
I love taking the bus here in NYC. Well, not all of the time. It can be slow and late , but I do enjoy this "above ground" transportation method. It is great on sunny days and mornings when you don't want to be with a bunch of rushed commuters. The bus crowd always seems to be a bit more laid back. Taking the B61 to Queens, Long Island city to be exact, has introduced me to my new favorite "morning deli". It is called Sage General Store. The have amazing biscuits, granola bars and cupcakes. The lunch and dinner looks superb, too. I just haven't had the chance. I highly recommend their Chai Late. It is OH SO GOOOD! Here is the location 24-20 Jackson Avenue Long Island City,NY 11101
Popular deejays Mavado and Vybz Kartel took hundreds of fans for a trip down memory lane on Sunday night, reminding them of a time when there were no Gully-Gaza issues.  The two performed together in a gesture of unity at the annual West Kingston Jamboree stage show in Tivoli Gardens, Kingston.  When Mavado was called to the stage by Alliance boss, Bounty Killer, he soon began hinting at the anticipated meeting with himself and Kartel after unleashing songs like “Fall Rain Fall” and “Every Situation.”   "Unnu waa si history?" Mavado asked a few times while urging that the path to the stage be cleared.  Kartel's entrance would then send the crowd into a frenzy and make for the onstage meeting of the two, who were all smiles as they unleashed tune after tune to the delight of the frantic crowd which in return gave them 'forward' after 'forward'.  When Mavado sang the chorus to “Happiest Days” after Kartel did the first verse, fans were reminded that the two were once friends.  Simultaneous shouts of "Gully" and "Gaza" could be heard echoing from a number of fans who jumped repeatedly to show their approval of the two deejays who shared the stage. "Yu naw sing my tune? A which tune a my tune?" Mavado asked Kartel to which the Portmore Empire boss replied by singing, "... Luv dem tender touch dem..."   While addressing the audience, Vybz Kartel claimed that the feud between himself and Mavado was planned.  "Yu see wah yu a see, a dis wi plan, yu si wi a war, a plan it plan," Kartel said.  The coming together of the two is said to be the ending of the back and forth word-jabbing and conflict between them that has been going on since 2006.  Earlier, the cross, angry and miserable Bounty Killer brought the house down during his performance.  He was in sizzling form and easily shrugged off at least three unwanted rounds of applause to deliver “Eagle And Di Hawk” to monstrous cheers from the crowd.  Other acts like comedic duo Twin of Twins, I-Octane, I Wayne and female deejay Spice were also excellent and had the crowd going wild with their selection of songs.
  It’s a rare treat when you find a song that succeeds not because it’s hip or poppy or ironic or slick or catchy, but because it is, down to its bones, a perfect song. That’s the way I feel about Air Waves’ “Shine On,” and it’s such a refreshing feeling that I find my self grasping to it like a life raft, hoping it doesn’t float away. Artist: Air Waves Song: Shine On I had heard the song before; I’ve heard most of Air Waves’ stuff before, both live and recorded. And I had always appreciated the sparseness of arrangement, the strength of Nicole’s songwriting, the timbre of her voice. But, as is often the way with music, for some reason, this past week, “Shine On” sought me out. It took me by the lapels and shook me, and demanded to be taken in fully. The song hangs by a thread from a pretty, melancholic melody, supported by whistful melodica, determined guitar strumming and simple, restrained drums. The lyrics are heartbreaking and yet reassuring, and delivered with an unmatched earnestness that’s rare in the current music scene. And all the while, not a drop of schmaltz are preciousness to be found. The rest of Air Waves’ catalog is no less impressive. In a Brooklyn scene dominated by men (and a few women) making noisy, distorted, lo-fi, reverb-drenched noise, Nicole (the leader and soul of the band) is not afraid to write simple, gorgeous tunes that stand alone, bare bones, no frills. It’s a testament to her talents as a songwriter and as a performer that each songs succeeds. It’s hard to imagine that there’s any goodness in this world if Air Waves doesn’t break big time. Dan Deacon has already espoused their talents in a Pitchfork interview. But I worry that this may always be a bands’ band — a group whose immense talent is only ever recognized by other musicians. But I pray that I’m wrong, and listen to “Shine On” for the millionth time. Link to this post Quiet Color, the purveyors of an interdisciplinary pop culture.
Here on BTR you can catch me weekly on my reggae show and my Sunday show, but last Geek Show with DJ's Wynn and Mimi i made a special appearance because the topic was Pro-Wrestling.  I love wrestling and I'm not afraid to admit it....and shouldn't be either!  You know you love it, or loved it, so don't hate; relate! I was joined by my friend and fellow wrestling fanatic Dave P of Ringside Collectables and we spoke about the biz behind the scenes, the art of collecting wrestling figures, favorite matches, favorite moves and favorite memories.  It was what we do without a mic there anyway, but i hope now that it is out there for all to see we converted some of you non believers out there. So check out the Geek Show interview here! check out and check out Mr Wrestling himself Kevin Steen and his violently amazing Package Piledriver.
  If you’re unfamiliar with what Tomer Hanuka is all about, you’ve been doing your eyes a great disservice. A slew of industry accolades and awards (including an Oscar nomination earlier this year) notwithstanding, the man’s images have been plastered across a constellation of commodities in our visual universe. His unparalleled comics-influenced combinations of strong line work and volatile color schemes have come to almost single-handedly define illustration in the early days of this century. Today, Tomer’s work continues to appear regularly in the pages and on the covers of some of the most interesting things in print. Artist: Harlem Shakes Song: Technicolor Health … I met with Tomer and my friend and fellow burgeoning illustrator, Rob Stites, over dinner at a little café in the shadow of Tompkins Square Park. There we bitched about the economy, cracked some jokes about our peers, and ruminated on the possibility that the whole industry is about to tank. Quiet Color: Tomer, you’re a prince, thanks for taking the time out of a ridiculously busy schedule to speak with our humble blog. Tomer Hanuka: Sure, no problem. I’m happy to be here. QC: So we’re in the worst recession/depression/what-have-you since 1929. How far up does this crisis go? You’re a pretty big name in the industry; have you been able to rely on your reputation or is this storm sinking all ships? TH: Well, you can’t really buy bread with your name you know. On my end I made a decision about a year ago to really scale back on illustration and take a very small amount of gigs, just enough to survive and try to develop other things in the background; two projects basically. So I didn’t really feel the recession, just kept plowing through self-inflicted assignment. You do have a point though in that it’s probably a bit harder to break in these days since budgets are tighter and people are less inclined to take a chance. Still, you see young hungry artists rise quickly if they’re committed and have something interesting to say. There would always be a fascination with the new; people need to bank on that more. QC: So, you’ve got your comics, The Placebo Man and Bipolar, which you did with your twin brother Asaf that you can always go to as a passion project, but it seems that mainstream America is kind of getting into illustration; like Where the Wild Things Are was the number one movie in the country because it was part of our collective childhood. What’s next, Good Night Moon the movie? The Very Hungry Caterpillar? TH: The Fantastic Mr. Fox QC: Oh yeah, and that… Rob Stites: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs QC: Yeah, exactly, do you think Hollywood is just mining children’s books for fodder or is this just another avenue for Illustrators to get work in an industry that seems to be deflating? TH: I think the place that illustration is becoming very trendy is in advertising, in places that we’re not short of the classic places in terms of the aesthetic space they used to create. I see a lot of the corporate world taking street creds from graffiti artists and putting it on sneakers and putting it on billboards to get cool points in a very cynical way. And there’s a lot of like that anti-craft, scruffy, un-digital, unrefined illustration that finds its way into advertising big time. Magazines are shrinking, newspapers are shrinking but advertising is growing for illustration… nobody believes photographs anymore because there is so much Photoshop, so a drawn image is suddenly a silver bullet exploding hearts of unsuspected preteens and other desired market shares. QC: You’ve worked on the animated documentary Waltz with Bashir. Is Hollywood the next big thing for illustrators? TH: I’m not sure. The budget on Waltz With Bashir was so small that the only way to create it was to get the illustrators to draw out the entire key frames including backgrounds and figures and props and textures, and the animators made cut-outs of everything, like tens of pieces per figure, so that everything would look smooth when they moved it in flash and after effects. That specific film was a special case in the sense that I don’t see a mass movement of indie directors hiring many illustrators to do their films though it would be so cool if that suddenly became a legit subgenre. Of course Pixar and Blue Sky have amazing illustrators behind every frame, as they should with their comparatively healthy budgets. … QC: So that aesthetic you talked about before, that handmade look seems to have been very prevalent for the last couple of years. Do you think it will suffer the same kind of backlash that purely digital art has been feeling? … TH: There’s a certain backlash towards digital stuff if it smells too shinny to be alive, people are experimenting beyond ready made fonts and seem fatigued with everything being slick and [Adobe] Illustrator and vectory. I feel like everything in the 90s was vectorized to perfection and a decade later there’s the mandatory reactionary response: suddenly people want to see that there was an artist sitting in a studio somewhere and their fingerprint is on it. RS: I don’t think that the handmade stuff has reached its zenith yet; it’s not over saturated but it will be. It always seems to go that way. TH: I sense that by 2011 there will be a new sort of way to react to digital stuff in a handmade way. I think that’s what young people are doing with things like collaging Youtube videos at sites like Sort of like using digital media to do something very scruffy and personal. But who will do it and how, that’s going to be interesting to see. QC: One thing about you that I’ve always wanted to pick your brain about is what you’re listening to. I’ve read in other interviews that you usually have the news on while you’re working, but is that always the case? What about in your spare time, is there any groups or artists that you’re really into right now? TH: I’m not a big music guy, I listen to stuff occasionally and I fall in love with it and I listen to it in loops but I don’t know, music is almost too emotional, you know. It’s like you’re sad now, you’re happy now, you’re hopeful now; I don’t want these mental cues, not when I am working. Occasionally I’ll listen to Phillip Glass, I like soundtracks because it’s already a narrative. I listen to The Hours a lot, which is sad but hopeful. RS: I feel it’s really useful to kick-start the process if I’m having trouble coming up with Ideas. I throw on an album that invokes something… TH: So as like encouragement? RS: yeah, If I put on something energetic… TH: Really that works? RS: For me it does. It helps me spitball with myself until I come up with something. TH: I feel like [music] has an amazing power and I’m not using it as much as I should. I feel like music has a lot to give us, it’s such a primal human impulse, probably just as primal as drawing. Once every two months or so a song would just grab me and crash me to pieces, like an epiphany about everything connecting and coming together. A sense of being a citizen of humanity. But I relapse to cynicism quickly. QC: Right on. Being that you’re a comic book kid whose work appears in very highbrow literature arenas like book covers and The New Yorker, do you think that there’s going to be some kind of melding of the novel and the graphic novel? Sort of a reaction to the dying book market, I mean as of yet you can’t see pictures on a Kindle… TH: I don’t think it’s gonna be too long before you can get color pixels on a Kindle. I don’t think they’re really going to merge though because a novel is such a distinctive thing and a graphic novel is such a separate product. I hope that graphic novels are going to keep growing and that novels are going to stay alive and an illustrated novel would be an amazing feast if these were demanded more broadly; I’d be dying to do one. If I had my way that’s all I’d do. I’ve pursued it once and got the doors slammed on my fingers and then got distracted. So it didn’t work out. QC: You’re working on a graphic novel with your twin brother Asaf. He is drawing, you are inking/coloring. Was that always the dynamic between you two? TH: It was always that way; that was sort of the vision. We drew together when we were young, but once we hit puberty, when you want to become your own person, we drifted apart. Years later we decided to work together and naturally slipped into a familiar routine. The act of drawing was much purer when we were younger, before we got contaminated by the need to make a living and work in the confines of an industry. It’s a challenge trying to get back to that frame of mind, and that space between us somehow invites that. QC: So what’s it like to be so popular? TH: I don’t know about that. There was a lucky moment, when I graduated in 2000, the illustration market started to change a bit. It used to be dominated with more painterly and somber images. Culturally comics where swinging back into the center, and I was there ready to spill years of absorbing comics art into an editorial context. Other and better illustrators (like Istvan Banyai) worked in a similar arena much before myself but it felt like suddenly everyone wanted it and the phone didn’t stop ringing. I took everything for a while and when I say a while I mean like a stretch of five years. It was reaching burnout so I had to change lanes and take some country roads, reprogram the GPS essentially. RS: Aren’t you in a sort of self-imposed exile? TH: I was young and hungry and living the dream, going on autopilot to the point where I forgot why I was drawing in the first place and that is a dangerous place to be in because once the work looses a certain excitement (of discovery and risk) it shows. I re-evaluated, a process that eventually led to developing self-generated content but also massively scaling down the amount of jobs I took on. I love illustration, and still take on an occasional job if I think it will be an interesting journey. It’s a balancing act. QC: So is that something of a cautionary tale? TH: Yes absolutely. You got to know where is the line that a job stops and you start. The thing is once you disappeared into an industry, when you’re completely branded and commoditized you’re either very boring or very bored. And no amount of money is worth going through life without the risk of gloriously failing. QC: Well alright, with that inspirational note I think that we’re going to have to wrap it up. Thanks again Tomer. TH: Yeah man, my pleasure. Link to this post Quiet Color, the purveyors of an interdisciplinary pop culture.
Today we feature three artists from Miami, Florida! Elastic Bond includes Andres Ponce (keyboards/samplers/musical direction), Sofy Encanto (vocals), MC Orion (vocals), Buffalo Brown (guitar), El David (trumpet) and Manuel “Papayo” Corao (percussion). Andres told us Elastic Bond's story: "Sofy and I were brainstorming band names. When we said Elastic Bond, something resonated. I just saw it in my head as an integration of all of our different personalities and musical influences into this "sound," almost like a molecule that's held together firmly but at the same time is somehow shifting. Then when I Googled the name I found out it is actually a term used in physics and chemistry. It also just sounded cool (maybe because of James Bond) and we could see it as a reflection of ourselves as human beings and musicians." Live: Nov 21 2009 at Tobacco Road Anniversary Party in Miami, FL Nov 28 2009 at JAZID Midnight Special in Miami Beach, FL Sirens and Sealions consists of Chantal Meza, Johanna Viscaino and a few groovy Sealions (Nick Deluca, Matt Gajewski, Gerry Felipe, Daniel Fernandez and Danny Higuera). The band has been around since 2008. Johanna tells us about S and S: "The concept of being in a band was always a joke to us - almost the way people can joke about being ninjas. We love to come up with fictitious scenarios related to pop culture, and we kept joking about being in a band with an acquaintance of ours. I mentioned something along the lines of 'our fake band should be based on mythical creatures!' and my friend replied with 'unicorns and sirens!' The jokes kept rolling, and that following weekend, we all went to go see Rachel Goodrich play a solo acoustic performance at Restaurant 190. There, our current female vocalist Chantal Meza - who had heard of the different absurdities we came up with for our 'pretend band' - wanted to relay the humorous band names to her sister and asked me 'what is it that you and Josh came up with for a band name? Sirens and sealions?' I instantly replied 'no, unicorns and sirens, but sirens and sealions is so much better!' A couple of months later was when I took out my song book, showed it to Nick and Chanti, and we snatched the name sirens and sealions, which was technically created by a jumble of words in Chanti's memory bank." Ex-Norwegian is a three-piece outfit consisting of Roger Houdaille, Nina Souto and Arturo Garcia. The group formed in 2008 in Miami. Roger let us in on the secret behind their name: "The story starts with the previous band name, Father Bloopy, which was something I picked off of a British comedy/childrens show called Maid Marian & Her Merry Men. Essentially it was a solo record, and then I formed the band to promote it, and after 1 year of that, we decided to start fresh, new band name, image, songs, etc. We got Arturo on board as full time drummer, so Nina and myself had the task of coming up with a great new band name. I remember I was already interested in having a country name, or something geographical. And Ex Norwegian just came out of putting on Monty Python episodes in the background non-stop, to see if anything stood out, and sure enough there it was, a reference to an Ex-Norwegian prime minister. And that was it. I knew I had it. It was later that a fan pointed out that it could be a 'parrot sketch' reference, since the ex-parrot was a Norwegian blue. Now, that's the real story. Of course, we have been having fun with the name of the band and we will make reference to being from Norway sometimes, or just other crazy stories." Link to this article:
Hey every one! In my last Blog i was totally bummed because my 4 month old Boston Terrier puppy dog Rocky was hit by a car. We'll thousands of dollars later, my dog is back at my home. I first took him to the emergency clinic. where there were able to stitch up his wounds and clean all the scraps and cuts he had on his back legs. They also took some x-ray to determine what if any internal injuries had occurred from the accident . We'll luckily there was no internal bleeding. however, he did have a fractured hip. Which such because alotta dog get hip injuries, but not usually in the first year there born. So what the emergencies clinic told me was to bring him to a Vet. Specialist out in Long Island. So i took my pup the next day. On the drive to the specialist i was praying that this injury would not effect the rest of his life. The Vet took my dog for the night for more x-rays, and over night observation and told me in fact, they would have to do a surgery. So the following day my dog under went hip surgery, Costly hip surgery! He had to stay at the vet for 3 nights for some post operation observation. And on Thursday i was able to pick him up and go home. So my pup came home, all drugged up and tired. But seemed really happy to see me and be back to his house. I had bought him a big ass bed, for him to sleep and stretch out in. Most of the day he is sleeping, probably because of his med's and his body is healing. But he has been eating well, walking with a slight limp and becoming more playful as the days go by. The vet said in about 5 to 8 weeks his hip surgery should be healed and he will be back to running around, being a lil terror that he is. For now he still has to wear that stupid cone, but next week i bring him back to the vet for a follow up. I'm happy to have him home and safe. Hopefully we can get back to are normal routine of run's in the park and throwing the bone, playing fetch, some time soon!
  I’m focusing on vinyl this week in A Fistful of Dollars, which is, let’s be honest, one of the main reasons to seek out buying music these days. ► Nite Jewel - “I Was Born” b/w “Suburbia” ($4.99) First up is the Nite Jewel, whose 7″ is now available on the Stones Throw site but put out through the very mysterious 1984 Records. Nite Jewel sounds like she was from the early 1980s (I’d even say pre-84) but she’s actually a very youthful Los Angeles-based artist whose first 12″ came out on Italians Do It Better. “Weak For Me” is weird and spacey and not particularly quick, but somehow still makes you want to get up and start dancing around in big shoulder pads and a floral-print blouse. Add this to the fact that the songs on this 7″ are from her full-length Good Evening, which is pretty damn near impossible to find, and are probably the best of the bunch, anyway, and five bucks seems like a pretty good steal. Artist: Nite Jewel Song: Weak For Me … ► Bear in Heaven - “Wholehearted Mess” 12″ ($12.00) Admittedly, I came in late to the Bear in Heaven game, a band who just released their second full-length, Beast Rest Forth Mouth, on Hometapes last month. It was the single off that album, “Lovesick Teenagers,” a combination of early Genesis and the Flaming Lips, that initially won me over, but “Wholehearted Mess” is equally good. Even better is that the 12″ is pressed in multicolor (aka reddish) vinyl and comes with three exclusive remixes and an mp3 download. ► The Supremes - “Stoned Love” b/w “Shine On Me” ($2.00) I recently picked up a very scratched, very warped copy of this 45 without knowing much about and it (almost) literally blew my mind. “Stoned Love” was one of the very first singles put out in the post-Diana Ross lineup, in October 1970, and newcomer Jean Terrell does a great job on lead, but it’s the b-side, recorded in 1969, before Ross officially left to pursue her solo career, that’s most exciting. This isn’t the Motown of “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.” It starts with sustained, almost droney guitar and ends, over three minutes later, with echoes on the lead vox. That’s already a bit of a trip in its own right, but add that to the fact that it’s being played on an old warped piece of plastic and you have an utter psychedelic mindfuck. These are selling on eBay, the cheapest for $2, and in this case, I think quality (or lack thereof) is a big selling point. ► Grand Total: $18.99 This puts your grand total at $18.99, which, happily, allows you just enough for a guilty-pleasure mp3 download from your favorite DSP. May I suggest Kid Sister’s “Get Fresh,” or anything from the early Ace of Base catalogue that-you-may-have-once-owned-on-tape-and-have-never-gotten-around-to-buying-again, which would actually not qualify as guilty, but as smart. Link to this post Quiet Color, the purveyors of an interdisciplinary pop culture.
(Michael Lang at Woodstock) In a recent article on this website, I pondered the differences between the generation that produced Woodstock and our current young generation - the generation that can only claim the likes of Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Internet addiction. I asked the following series of questions, that may or may not have an answer: "What do [Bonnaroo and Coachella] lack that make them so inferior to the original rock and roll music fest? Hundreds of thousands of young people still peacefully congregate to hear live music and do a lot of drugs, but with almost no historic notice. Will we ever have another event like Woodstock again, one that crystallizes an entire generation, or is everything far too advertised and commodified to see the likes of that again? Is this our fault, or is it merely a product of the times? While our parents were war-conscious and peace-loving, do we merely buy into capitalist culture, spending $200 on concert tickets just to say we were there? And what was so great about Woodstock, after all? Are today's music festivals that different?" Rather than let these tough questions hang in the air, BTR went straight to the source. After chatting with a few actual attendees of Woodstock (and speaking from experience as far as today's generation is concerned [forgive me for attempting to represent all young people's views; as we'll get to in a few minutes, that's hardly even possibly anymore]), we here at BTR decided that we needed to go straight to the source. Original Woodstock producer, Michael Lang, was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time. Lang was humble and thankful when asked about his participation in Woodstock. When pressed about his experiences with the festival - good and bad - he keeps it positive, but in perspective. "It was an incredible experience. Nothing is all good and nothing is all easy. But I think it comes out at the end if you get together with smart good people. Good things can happen." But Lang knows better than anyone that Woodstock wasn't just the product of a few people's desire to put on a concert or make money. While he did play a huge role in creating the event, he's well aware what a special set circumstances the late 60s provided. As an organizer, he can see perhaps better than even the most critical historian how Woodstock was really more of a series of events leading up to one another, a felicitous and fleeting outcome (and beginning) of decades of multiple building narratives. "It was a really interesting time. There was so much going on for the generation growing up in the 60s. We felt so empowered and so full of possibility that we could really make a difference. It was a very wonderful time to be growing up…There was a moment in the 60s that came out of the fifties where young people could really prove that they could make a big difference. There were a lot of very common goals we put out for ourselves in terms of creating a better world. But there was this commonality of thinking and it pervaded our generation - especially the subculture. It was a very unifying feeling for youth in those days that we could create positive change. So I think coming together to see if we could actually do it was really a result of the time." So many things immediately strike me about the way Lang speaks about the lead-up to Woodstock, in contrast to young people today. First of all, he touches on the singular focus of his generation. In comparison, the American youth of today is nowhere at all close to reaching this unity.  With more and more reports of conservative Christian youths and young republicans being in stark contrast to their liberal counterparts on either coast, and the infinity of possibilities that the Internet provides, it's difficult to imagine a unified personal identity, let alone a generational one like that of the late 60s. In one sense, this could be a case of hindsight. It seemed like the entire youth of the country was united for fairly vague liberal causes - sexual freedom, liberal freedom. But what about those in the middle of the country for whom these new values might have seemed terrifying and wrong? Certainly there were at least if not more racist and homophobic young people then as there are today. The fact of the matter is that the political climate was not nearly as partisan as it is today (as the whole country came together to mourn Kennedy's death, for instance), or at least certainly not as highlighted by the news media. I'm just not sure you can argue a singular-focus of young people as a cause of Woodstock. Instead, perhaps, the way that the consciousness of the country operated (less information available in general, via the news media and the Internet) allowed an easier focus to be drawn to a particular type of liberal young person. And with fewer representations of self offered to young people at that time, more people than is possible today latched on to that idea of self. In that sense, Woodstock is an event that is impossible to duplicate. Lang, however, is hopeful that with enough determination, anything is possible. He sees Barack Obama's election and inauguration as the Woodstock of our generation. "If you look at Obama's inauguration on that day in Washington, with hundreds of thousands of people coming together out of this longing for a better world, and hope was offered for that. The possibility for that was heavily in the air. And I think that a lot of that had to do with the fact that he got elected. Forty years ago a black president would have been a completely absurd thought."  When drawing that comparison, it's easier to understand the driving force behind Woodstock. If the racial and sexual oppression of the fifties led up to the 60s Woodstock in a way that cannot be duplicated, then eight long years of the Bush administration led to the singularity of our belief in "hope" in a way that can't be duplicated. It's just that the expression of sexual freedom is sort of a lot more rock and roll than the expression of political freedom. (The Hollywood version of Michael Lang: Jon Groff) Let us not forget, though, that Woodstock was steeped in politics. That is, ultimately, Lang's answer for why we are not replicating Woodstock today. No concert organizers in recent years have come from the grass-roots political ideology that was behind Woodstock. Live-Aid and Live-8 are for good causes, but somehow their ideologies are expressly a-political, if you stop to think about it. They're not rebelling against anything, they are merely supporting what anyone could agree is a good cause. "Woodstock was more a sociological event," Lang says.  "It was something that came from a political point of view and a sociological point of view and a social point of view. Which, I think, were the motivating factors that brought us together, in addition to the music and to having a fun experience. There's nothing wrong with [having a fun experience]…I think you need a couple of things. Most important, you need to show up. You have to get out there and actually make yourselves known. The other part of that is you have to have a very positive kind of attitude about the possibilities." Ah, the possibilities. It's a little depressing to hear Lang speak so bluntly about the importance of aspirations of political change in  a Woodstock-like event happening today. But, he's not necessarily saying that our generation is politically unmotivated (in fact, he's saying the opposite with his ideas about Obama). He is saying that there hasn't been a true politically motivated concert produced by us yet. He certainly doesn't rule it out. His advice to anyone trying to throw a concert today is to just do it, and make sure the spirit behind it is there. I don't think that Lang doubts the sincerity and seriousness of purpose of young people today, either. I think he just isn't sure if the next pivotal, cultural event is going to be a concert. I think he's probably right. More than anyone, Lang probably realizes how important both individuals and larger circumstances are to making history. It's just a matter of time to see which individuals and which circumstances will make the next great impact. Link to this article:
Our next show is going to be a super sweet dancehall and dub show. In the meantime enjoy a little Junko. She's basically the reigning world Dancehall Queen and oh yeah, she's from Japan.
At risk of appearing pretentious, it’s not difficult to admit that new music can be more fun to listen to when it’s obscure, when one discovers not a ubiquitous, studio-slick act, but rather has a more personal encounter: a sincere recommendation from a friend, a random band caught late night at a loud show, or an attention-grabbing track on a lovingly made mixtape. It’s far more satisfying to adore a great local group than it is to bliss out to the pop perfection of the latest Lady Gaga single. This simply represents a divide between the pre-packaged and the joy of self-discovery, and as such, it’s unsettling to consider the alarming number of “indie” acts that have been making their way into television commercials for popular products. Sure, it’s neat to be able to identify the source of the music being hawked, to have discovered a sound before its popular introduction and the resulting rush to itunes that will almost certainly follow. But it also feels sort of dirty. Artist: Tom Vek Song: Music Television .. Of course, another consideration is the prickly issue of selling out, a phenomenon that some believe cannot be helped while others hurl as the ultimate insult. The unfortunate reality is that bands do not always have a say in how their material is used, so that the appearance of a song does not mean the featured product was willingly endorsed. Contractual fine print often allows a label to license music for commercial use after the first year, once the band has had ample time to profitably tour their material. Hence arises the age-old conundrum: the second an act stands to make money, and is in the position to sign with a label, their artistic integrity comes under scrutiny. It takes a serious kind of artist to be entirely about the art, especially when the harsh hand of reality is eager to feed any morsels it can to struggling musicians. While the debate on selling out could rage on endlessly, the most disturbing thing about recognizing a once obscure act tucked into a prime-time ad spot is the kind of market research it suggests the business folk are conducting. When the corporations of America have decided that the “indie” demographic is now profitable to appeal to, there comes that slimy feeling again. Are they now reading the same blogs and attending the same shows as a once discerning few? Behold some of the more disturbing commercial spots that highlight just how thoroughly advertisers scour “indie” culture for tidbits. ►Matt and Kim for Bacardi This is admittedly a well-made commercial, one that’s visually and stylistically pleasing, and who could oppose a celebration of drinking throughout the decades of American history? But it seems odd to have the duo known for raucous basement shows creep into a series of classy parties. As so many college campuses nationwide can attest, Bacardi is affordable mid-grade rum and nothing more. The fun-loving youths this ad appeals to may indeed enjoy drinking, but it remains unclear how frantic geek-vocals and thumping drums couple with that. ►Dodos for Miller Chill Again, the problem here isn’t that they’re purporting the consumption of beer. It’s the fact that Miller Chill is a stupid product, as it is asking people to swig factory-made lime flavor when a real lime can be purchased at any grocery establishment for mere pennies. But how did one of the country’s largest beer distributors come to be aware of last year’s indie darlings? It would appear that niche marketing has become so specific that analysts have time to scour music blogs and small distribution music magazines. It’s an odd case of worlds colliding. ►Joanna Newsom for HSBC It’s true that perhaps the music choices for these commercials are simply made in order to fill a sonic need. The below actually does go along nicely with the serious, calming Joanna Newsom tune. But what is this commercial even suggesting? That a bank is similar to a couple who seem to be deeply in love despite the fact that they oppose one another when it comes to one pretty significant issue: morality? Joanna Newsome is appealing because she crafts pleasing melody, but also because her unabashed quirkiness elevates her to a seeming sincerity. The package of the weight her music carries, and the presented “love conquers all” couple is intended to make HSBC personify caring and humanity, but that goal achieves little when it’s so see-through. It feels odd to hear an underground act is a commercial not because of the pretentious desire to have obscure tastes, but due to the pressure to reckon the aesthetic of a band with the product it’s coupled with. Perhaps advertisements would do best to stick with instrumental pieces. Or better yet, the endlessly entertaining selling-power of a catchy jingle. Link to this post Quiet Color, the purveyors of an interdisciplinary pop culture.
Ever wonder what is on the Pope's iPod? Well, the world has a better idea now that the Vatican has launched its official MySpace Music playlist.  One might be shocked to find out just how hip and diverse His Holiness's musical tastes are. The blogosphere has been abuzz since the Vatican released the playlist this past week. Perhaps garnering the most attention, the fact that late hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur's track "Changes" is found on the Vatican's playlist. Also found in the mix is the track "Uprising" off of Muse's latest album, The Resistance. BreakThru Radio favorite, Fleet Foxes is another contemporary artists found within the playlist. Fleet Foxes track "He Doesn't Know Why" has received over 37,000 plays. However, Shakur's track has the most spins on the playlist with over 4.7 million, and in just a few days. The 12 featured songs chosen for the mix also include tracks from Mozart, Dame Shirley Bassey, and selections from the album Music of the Vatican. The playlist was not actually compiled by Pope Benedict XVI. According to CNN, the playlist was compiled by Father Giulio Neroni. Taking into consideration his eclectic taste and the amount of attention this playlist is getting, we are contemplating asking him to DJ a show here on BTR.  Link to this article:
I sent a friend to Gunfight’s MySpace page the other day. They weren’t sold on the music, but they had this to say: “I’m glad they sound like their name.” Artist: Gunfight! Song: Empties … I, on the other hand, have been sold on Gunfight! since I stumbled into the Cameo Gallery late last week to catch the last four songs of their late-night set. I felt, in my admittedly drunken state, like I had wandered into an old saloon populated with punks instead of Cowboys. Their self-proclaimed “Post-Country” style is perfect for slinging back shots of Jack and chasing them with PBRs. The band is tight as all hell. Drummer Dominc Turi, who graciously handed us a free copy of the band’s EP Hide Your Empties, hit his fills with the precision and power of a pile driver. The next thing you notice is lead singer Drew Mintz’ twisted yelp of a voice. Full of passion and pathos, it’s equal parts country yodel and punk spew, and it fits the band like a glove. The crowd was sparse — it was one in the morning on a Wednesday night — but those in attendance were clearly driven to move by these songs, and I couldn’t help but be drawn in with them. Slinging back a shot of Jack, I felt an urge to howl at the moon. I held it in, but next time I see Gunfight!, I doubt I’ll be able to contain myself. Link to this post Quiet Color, the purveyors of an interdisciplinary pop culture.
Normal 0 21 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Normale Tabelle"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} My boyfriend and I live in a historic house. It’s a sweet deal. We are the caretakers of a little museum that is included in the house. In fact, we also take care of a garden surrounding the house and an area surrounding the garden, as well as the huge amount of litter that is surrounding and besieging the area around the garden. Yes, it is some price to pay, but nope, no rent - we are lucky. Lately though, the daily litter pick up drag has turned into some wondrous and revolting experience and it feels almost like a cat and mouse play, only we don’t know who is who. We found our first piss bottle a couple of weeks ago - a discovery that first wasn’t paid too much attention to by us. As a matter of fact, I thought it was apple juice and decided to poor the bottle content into the grass, little did I know - right until the smell hit me remorselessly.   Being a quick learner I did not repeat my procedure the very next day when a new bottle rested peacefully under the mailbox - the very same spot as the day before – instead, I picked it up with rubber gloves and fairly disgusted facial expression and tossed it into the garbage bag where it kept walking with me around the garden until I completed my unglamorous mission. The meetings between bottle and us became regular. We started dating on a daily basis. And we started taking pictures. Photos of  cars next to the piss bottle were taken to learn more about the origin of the ochre yellow liquid. After a few days we made out two potential donators. A cab and a silver van, that is, their drivers. Another dozen piss bottles and silver van pics later Joel decided to take some – admittedly, a bit risky and not quite kosher - action by clipping a bottle on silver van mans windshield. The answer or maybe a coincidental pisscalation followed the next day when on a crispy yet beautifully sunny fall morning a plastic milk container full of piss was waiting right in front of our gate. The gate itself was being decorated for us with what piss bottle man might consider warm regards. He poured his (or who else’s pee … or does he really pee one gallon a day?) from top to bottom over the gate and the lock, a routine that has found its daily repetition ever since.   I must say one thing, piss bottle man sticks to what he does and he seems to be a very dedicated person.    That is why (and because this is supposed to be a music related blog) I wanna dedicate a song to him which has helped me deal with bottled urine issues.  Maybe it helps you, too, piss bottle man! Mike Watt and Evan Dando go out to you.
Just because there's snow on the ground doesn't mean there isn't great bluegrass to be heard. Check out any of these up-coming bluegrass festivals for a guaranteed good time, listed chronologically. IIIrd Tyme Out Christmas in the Smokies 12/10/2009 - 12/12/2009 Join the town of Pigeon Forge, TN for a pre-holiday spectacle. This shindig has an impressive list of performers: The Larkins, IIIrd Tyme Out, Dailey & Vincent, Janis & Lewis Phillips with Travis Lewis of The Lewis Family, Goldwing Express, David Davis & The Warrior River Boys, Bluegrass Mountaineers, Barbwire Bluegrass, Barry Scott & Second Wind, and J. Max McKee. If you're in the area you'll have no reason not to attend, and I'd argue its worth a bit of a road trip as well. Bobby Osborne The New Year's Bluegrass Festival 12/31/2009 - 01/02/2010 Head on over to Jekyll Island, GA for a bluegrass celebration of the new year. The extensive list of performers is as follows: The Tennessee Gentlemen, The Gary Waldrep Band, Jesse McReynolds & The Va Boys, Marty Raybon & Full Circle, Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press, Blue Highway, The Larry Gillis Band, Goldwing Express, The Inspirations, The Grascals, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Dailey & Vincent, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, Nothin' Fancy, The Little Roy & Lizzy Show, Phillip Steinmetz & His Sunny Tennesseans, The Travelin' McCourys, Dailey & Vincent, and Rhonda Vincent & The Rage. Sierra Hull The River City Music Festival 01/14/2011 - 01/16/2011 Now I can barely plan further ahead than an hour or so, but if you're the type to plan weeks, months, or even years ahead, you should be looking into this festival. It is held at the Red Lion, on the river at Jantzen Beach, yearly, however they're taking a hiatus in 2010. For 2011, tickets will go on sale in march. They're still working on the preliminary lineup, but note that you are encouraged to bring your instruments. So, if you're under the impression that you'd like to pick along with a strong cast of bluegrass moguls about 13 months from now, start practicing!
nina simone never gets old. that is all. i mean, have you SEEN the video of her performing "ain't got no...i got life"? No? please, please watch it now, i promise it will brighten your spirits
I’m not big into “tweeting”, but this is by far the best bio I’ve ever read on Twitter: Name: Elliott BROOD Location: Toronto Bio: If a whiskey-stinking Harry Dean Stanton busted into your living room window one night and knocked your teeth out with a tire iron, EB might be the sound track. A bit extreme, but you get the point: Elliott BROOD will certainly demand your attention.
Just blocks from novelty shops that sell sequined tube tops and Elvis key chains, up from the corner where wishful thinkers strum cheap guitars, past the bedazzled, fringed, and spurred crowds, stands the mother church of country music. The neo-gothic, red brick Ryman Auditorium, with its rows of windows and slanted roof, is nestled between Nashville’s skyscrapers and honky-tonks. Inside, the auditorium, with its high ceilings and original pews, is haunted by ghosts, both holy and not. John Dowell, museum supervisor at the Ryman, visited the famous auditorium when he lived in Nashville as a young child, and though he had moved from the city by the age of 7, the legendary place stayed with him and he eventually began working there. Now, as he oversees tours, he gets to explain its history, and one gets the feeling his long standing relationship with the place he calls “magical” is never far from his mind. He excitedly rattles off dates and names. “In 1948 Hank Williams played and did 6 encores…Houdini…Van Morrison…James Taylor…Tony Bennett, at 80, played to a sold out crowd.” Though most might think of Hank Williams performance and the early days of country music as the beginning of the Ryman, it was actually half-a-century before when the building got its start as the Union Gospel Tabernacle, a vision of Capt. Thomas G. Ryman, who wanted to construct a place to host Nashville revivals. “Anything that could be seen as a moral or educational type of program was OK from day one,” says Brenda Colladay, museum and photograph curator for the Grand Ole Opry. “It’s been the center of cultural life in Nashville since 1892.” The auditorium, which today hosts acts like the Raconteurs, Ray LaMontagne, and k.d. lang, was, for years, the home of the Grand Ole Opry, the longest running radio show in the country. Though the Opry moved to its current location in 1974, the members understood the importance of the Ryman to their history. When the Opry moved, a round piece of the Ryman’s stage was inlaid on the Opry’s new stage. Today, the Opry’s featured act will stand on this circle during their performance. More than thirty years since the Opry relocated, and over a decade since its renovation, the Ryman is still a Mecca for Opry fans. Dowell remembers when in 2002 a woman arranged for her 68-year-old husband, who lived outside London, to tour the Ryman and see the Grand Ole Opry for his birthday. During the tour, the man remarked what a shame it was that when he went to see the Opry that night it would be at the Opry House, not the Ryman. Dowell knew the Opry had returned to the Ryman for several months and when he told the man, the visitor began to cry. Dowell says he has had an ongoing love of the place and enjoys sharing it with others. “It’s a real sense of price…I want them to love the Ryman when they walk out of here too.” According to Dowell the acoustics at the Ryman are second only to the Mormon Tabernacle. “You can hear yourself on stage like an audience member would hear it,” explains Dowell, who has played on the famous stage as part of “Ryman Stars on Stage,” an event where Ryman employees are invited to perform. Though the Ryman is known for its acoustics, the legendary names that seem to hang in the air in the auditorium give the place its real mystique. “The first time my knees shook…You’re standing where Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Minnie Pearl, Johnny Cash…They’ve all played there.” Link to this post Country Music Pride, the best little country music hot spot.
Image from NY Daily News Update: Citizen Radio’s interview with Howard Zinn can now be heard here. Noam Chomsky’s interview can be heard here during the second half of the show. The intellectual holocaust known as the Sunday news shows (Meet the Press, This Week, Fareed Zakaria’s GPS, FOX News Sunday) have been criticized for their protectionist treatment of beltway platitudes. If the week’s discussion concerns Afghanistan, then Meet the Press will feature a panel comprised of Rudy Giuliani, Tom Friedman, Harold Ford, Jr., and Tom Brokaw (as Atrios would say, “Document the atrocities”) — all participants who believe it’s in America’s interest to remain in Afghanistan. Conversely, producers rarely use anti-war activists on their panels. MTP’s decision to invite Rachel Maddow as a panelist on a few shows has been the one genuinely interesting moment in the show’s recent history, namely because Maddow is perceived as somewhat of an outsider, at least when it comes to the recycled corpses normally propped around the table (it’s reported tha David Broder actually sleeps on set). A majority of Americans oppose the war in Afghanistan, and yet they are not represented on mainstream news shows. The Sunday bobblehead shows are supposed to frame the national debate, and yet the largest chunk of the puzzle — the American people — are completely missing from the discussion. MTP and Company continually invite back the people who so frequently get it wrong (on the economy, and on the wars). The same people who gushed about the virtues of the free market, and the “slam dunk” WMDs in Iraq, get to air their wrongness every Sunday, while the ones who were right — the pro-regulation, anti-war crowd, are shut out of the conversation entirely. You’ll never see a Noam Chomsky or a Howard Zinn on MTP. The closest you’ll likely see is a Rachel Maddow, a woman who just so happens to have a show on MSNBC, which is owned by NBC, MTP’s home network. And yet, the nation would benefit from having these great minds on television. Chomsky has been called the greatest living intellectual by the New York Times, and Zinn is arguably one of the most famous living historians and activists. The guys must have at least as many interesting things to say as Robert Novak. I recently interviewed Chomsky and Zinn for my radio show, and asked them some of the very same questions directed at the panelists on the Sunday morning news shows. Their answers illustrate why non-mainstream voices aren’t included in these panel discussions. It’s not that Chomsky or Zinn are incapable of saying interesting, valuable things. It’s that their answers directly challenge the establishment — corporations, media, and government — i.e. the very institutions MTP and Company rely upon for survival, including the steady supply of empty-headed Washingtonian puppets. In the following pretend Sunday Morning talk show, the anti-war voice finally gets to participate in the national conversation. The Washington Posts’ Charles Krauthammer calls the Khalid Sheik Mohammad trial a farcical show because Mohammad will never walk free. Do you agree with that assessment? (Question from MTP)     What actually went down: Panelist Diane Feinstein replied that she does not think Krauthammer is right. Instead of expanding on the answer, moderator David “Stretch” Gregory proceeded to harp on Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement that “failure is not an option” concerning the KSM’s theoretical conviction. At one point, Gregory asks if Holder’s statement is “appropriate.” Notice, the question if torture is “appropriate” never arises (KSM was repeatedly water boarded).     Panelist Noam Chomsky: That’s a comment by someone who has profound hatred for the Constitution, for law, for justice, and thinks he can use a hammer to beat people you don’t like…It’s a farce because it’s not going to come out the way he wants…Is it a farce? Well, I don’t see how they can have a serious criminal trial after a person’s been put through extensive torture, but that’s a problem for the US justice system. If [KSM] is tried in New York, at least there will be some semblance of a trial. Do you believe that there should be some kind of political outreach to the Taliban? (Question from Fareed Zakaria’s GPS)     What actually went down: Zakaria’s guest, Manmohan Singh: Well, I think President Karzai, having been re-elected, it is his responsibility and his obligation to harmonize and to bring together all elements who can contribute to the construction and development of Afghanistan. And I hope that he will rise to the occasion.     Zakaria: Has he done so, so far?     Singh: Well, I think there have been limited efforts before. And I sincerely — yesterday, in his inaugural address, he appealed to Dr. Abdullah and other elements to work with him. So, I hope that all elements of Afghan societies which are opposed to the terrorist elements can get together to give a purposeful government to the people of Afghanistan. Zakaria quickly transitions away from the topic of Afghans:     Zakaria: The United States is trying to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan, is trying to help President Karzai establish a stable government there. What is Pakistan’s objective in Afghanistan, in your view? Do you believe that there should be some kind of political outreach to the Taliban?     Chomsky: If we want to solve the problems of Afghanistan, sure. They’re Afghans. They’re going to have to be part of any solution in Afghanistan. If a large majority of Afghans are in favor of that. Anyway, it’s not our business. We have no authority to make that decision. I think one of the striking things about the intensive debate going on here is that there’s one voice missing: Afghans’. And they’re the ones that have the right to decide. An invading army doesn’t have any right [to decide].     I’m sure there were debates in Russia in the mid-1980s, but we all know there was one problem with those debates — they were not considering Afghans. Are we any different? No, so the whole discussion is skewed. There is a very deeply rooted imperial culture in the west. We take for granted imperialist assumptions. They’re so deeply rooted, we can’t even see them. They’re like the air we breathe. But there’s no justification for accepting them. On Meet the Press this week, Joe Lieberman said that Afghanistan has to be “stable,” before US troops can leave. Do you think that Afghanistan can be stabilized by the US, and should that be our goal in the region?     Panelist Howard Zinn’s response: If Joseph Lieberman thinks that we are going to stay in Afghanistan until its stable, he will be long dead before Afghanistan is stable. Not only that, a lot of Afghans will be dead, and he doesn’t seem to care about that. Afghanistan has not been stable for a very long time. Ever since the British imperialists after World War I moved into Afghanistan, Afghanistan has been the play thing of imperial powers: England, Russia, the United States. And the United States government, which has a terrible history of bringing stability to countries — the United States is not going to bring stability to Afghanistan. Lieberman is out of his mind. If hawkish armchair Generals like Joe Liberman get to pretend that they know anything about military strategy, then left-wing intellectuals like Chomsky and Zinn should at least be permitted to respond to these ridiculous, imperialist statements. At least Howard Zinn actually served in the air force. Joe Lieberman never served in the military, and yet he gets to militarily strategize on national television. Certainly, intelligent citizens of all kind — those who served and those who haven’t, white-collar, blue-collars, rich, and poor — should all be permitted to participate in the Afghanistan debate. However, this kind of media pro-war bias is harmful. Pro-war chickenhawks should not be allowed to spout their venom unchallenged on a national television program. (Side-note: It certainly is strange that the radically left-wing media consistently shuts out anti-war voices.) After our interview, Chomsky chuckled and asked if the guests gave any similar answers on Meet the Press. “No,” I responded, “They did not.” Link to this article:
This weekend, December 4-6, over 40 bands, DJs, jammers and hip-hoppers take over three stages at Kerhonkson NY's Hudson Valley Resort & Spa for the inaugural ROCK THE RESORT festival. Headliners include: KRS-One, Melvin Seals and Jerry Garcia Band, DJ Logic, Lettuce, Rubblebucket, Rustic Overtones, Eric Krasno & Chapter 2, Glitch Mob and Radioactive. And, even better, some of our Jam Session artists will be performing at the festival including Roots of Creation and Hot Day at the Zoo. HDATZ has a ton of new material they're ready to perform at the festie, as well as a new live album coming out January 12! Rock The Resort is a 3 day indoor festival with music all weekend until 6am each night. It's just 90 minutes from NYC and 20 minutes from New Paltz. Room/ticket packages, meal plan, and RV passes are available. For the full schedule and online ticket sales go to See ya'll at the Resort!
The Vine of American music grew slowly at first. Traditions were passed down from person to person. Music and musicians were relatively isolated, unique to each region. This slowly shifted as people arrived here from a wider range of countries, settled more of the country. The advent and growth of recording, radio and the Internet, new frontiers, have helped shape American music as well. Virginian and musician Mike Seeger, brother of popular Folk singer/songwriter Pete Seeger, has recorded traditional American music for decades. His parents were among the first people to do so. He describes the impact of technology on American music: “The whole way that we deal with music now is very different than prior to 1925, when we started recoding in earnest. The first recording was in 1922. It took off in 1925, shortly after electricity made it possible to record a guitar. Before you couldn’t, it was too quiet, too subtle. <A HREF=”” mce_HREF=””> Widgets</A> “The whole idea of being able to hear somebody you never heard face to face was an amazing change. It sped up the development of American music. So did increasing urbanization, which was happening at the same time, the result of industrialization, which had also sped things up. It was a changing process. “At first, radio was very much regional or local. The advent of the playing of recordings gradually changed that. This was during the 30’s and into the 40’s or so. At that time it began to expand, became less locally oriented. And it grew from there. “Now the Internet is gradually broadening the whole thing, making it much more open to difference. Radio and recording changed the process of music into one that was commercial. In a way, the Internet is doing that a little by giving people who aren’t necessarily pro’s access to tools formerly only available to professionals. This makes the possibility of becoming a professional more or at least a professional as seen by Mr. Google, more available.” My Grandmother: Music in the Rural South, 1930s-1950s My Grandmother, Edith Bissette, grew up in a musical family in rural Virginia and North Carolina in the 30s and 40s as the changes Mike Seeger describes were taking place. She expands on what Mike describes above as she tells us not only what the advent of radio was like in the rural South, but what life and music were like as well. She and her brothers played the traditional music of the rural South. Her brothers played on the radio when radio was new. By the 60s, musicians like them, every day people playing in their homes and with friends would, in part through the efforts of Mike Seeger, influence the way all genres of American music sound today. We hear echoes of the music they played, the traditional music of the Southeast in today’s most popular songs. “When they first came on scene it was in 30s during the Depression, 1929 or 31 or something”, my Grandmother said, “my neighbors were the only people in the area who could afford one and everyone from miles around would go to their house every Saturday night to listen to it. Saturday night was only time you could get anything but news on it, and you usually got more static than anything else. “Back then, radio was on only a short time in the morning and then in the evening. Maybe news came on at 12. There was only one station, it was local, then regional, eventually national. As technology progressed, people became more aware of what could be done with it. At first radio was just entertainment, then advertising found a place on it, now it’s used for everything. “A lot more people played music back then. My mother ordered an organ from Sears when she was first married and I loved to play when I was big enough for my feet to touch the pedals. By that time, my brothers had almost wrecked it. “They used to run up and down the hall with it. I don’t think it was very well constructed anyway, but they wrecked it. When I got older, I wanted a piano so badly I even promised my Daddy I’d never get married if he’d get me one. But it was the Depression, and we couldn’t afford it. I learned to love music playing the organ. “You wouldn’t know it from that but my brothers were musically inclined too. A lot of people on my mothers’ side were. We mostly learned from our uncle, who played guitar. He would drink and then come by the house. My mother didn’t appreciate him coming by when he was drinking, but he would and he would bring his guitar and sit on the steps and play. “I picked it up by ear. We all did. It takes more than learning from a book for anyone to be an accomplished musician of any magnitude I think it has to be somewhere in your genes. My mothers’ younger sister played guitar when she was young. “You have to just have it somewhere in your bones to want to pick up an instrument, especially without music. Religious songs were written down but we didn’t play those. Song sheets were popular at the time but we didn’t have them. We made them up. To do that, you have the something it takes or don’t. “People played all kinds of things back then, whatever they could make or afford; guitars, accordions, banjos, and zithers. The first instrument brother my brother had he made from gourd. It had 3 strings. He graduated to a cigar box, built a staff on the box. He went from there to being able to buy a cheap one guitar. Eventually he got a Gibson. “My brothers started playing guitar with 2 other boys in a band called The Rambling Hustlers. They would play at parties. A friend got them on a Saturday broadcast from Rocky Mount. I practiced with them but didn’t play on the program. “I never even thought of a woman going with 4 men to play on a radio program somewhere at that time. My Mother wouldn’t have let me. Things weren’t nearly as open they are now. It would have given me a bad reputation to go. People were old fashioned in their thinking then. There was nothing modern in my day. “Old Man Depression didn’t start growing a full beard until 37 in the country where I was, we had an easier time than people in the city did I think. We could grow our own food. We did a lot to help each other, worked together as a community. “We started coming out of it in the early 40s with World War II. People started thinking more about entertainment. By that time radio was national, and more people were able to buy them. Around that time, there was a barn dance in Richmond on Saturday nights called the Old Dominion Barn Dance. “A woman named Sunshine Sue had a show there that was broadcast on the radio. She had the Carter sisters perform I think, I don’t remember who but remember seeing them. Mother Maybelle was there every Saturday. I didn’t go every Saturday but I went often. “It seems Mother Maybelle and her daughters were living in Ashland at the time because of her husband. I remember a friend of mine pointing out their farm there. They may have went to Nashville and the Opry from there, and then June met Johnny Cash. I’m not sure of it though. She didn’t realize when she went to the Barn Dance to see Mother Maybelle play that she was watching someone who’s guitar style, along with her families’ music would influence the way not only Country music, but other American genres would be played from that time on, but she was. The Carters were, in a sense, our first Pop stars, touring and recording songs that remain popular today; “Keep on the Sunny Side”, for example. Not only the hundreds of songs recorded by the Carter family but many of the traditional songs my Grandmother remembers playing have remained popular. They’re mostly known now as rock or pop songs, popularized by countless musicians, including Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, and Johnny Cash. I didn’t go into that with my Grandmother. I think she’s happier not knowing. She’d balk at the very name of The Grateful Dead, I’m certain. But I was curious to know if she’d heard any of the songs I knew before they were recorded. She could only remember one. She said there was a man who worked with her family on their farm. On his day off, he would walk to the nearest city. She said he sang the same song each time he went off down the road. When I asked her what it was, she started to sing what you may recognize as a Grateful Dead song: “Goin’ down the road, feelin’ bad. Goin’ down the road, feelin’ bad. Goin’ down the road, feelin’ bad, bad, bad. Don’t want to be treated this-a-way.” The hair on my arms stood up. I felt like he’d walked to the crossroads of past and future, and sang loud enough to be heard in the present. In a sense he had, via the True Vine. And so the voice of one man walking a hard and lonely road echoes through decades of popular music. Mike Seeger: The 60s Folk Revival to the Present: Mike Seeger has helped bring the music of the rural South to popular attention. It is in great part through his influence on his own generation that we hear the voice of the otherwise unknown wanderer my Grandmother describes in a Grateful Dead song, for example. Though he influenced Jerry Garcia and Bob Dylan, he feels that all musicians, those who play for their own enjoyment and with their friends, those of younger generations as well as his own, have equally helped shape the Vine of American music. We perhaps see this reflected in the stories of my Grandmother and Bo Bice. Here is a little of Mike’s story… Mike Seeger? Sure, most of you probably know who he is, or have heard of him, but why isn’t he super-famous, like Bob Dylan or Jerry Garcia? Well, he reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. Ensconced in the emerald green of the Shenandoah Valley, he has been, for some time, a “’man behind the curtain”; an somewhat unseen, yet fundamental force in American music. As the Wizard didn’t set out to change Oz, Mike didn’t set out to change music, or to be a celebrity. He just does what comes naturally to him. He was born with music in his blood and so he plays. He’s not an average musician, he’s not even an average exceptional musician. His unique style and approach were somewhat revolutionary during an important and influential era of American music, the 60s. That’s not the type of thing even the most talented musicians achieve. But he didn’t try to do that. He just did all that by being himself. He’s a very good example of what my Grandmother said, “to be an accomplished musician of any magnitude, you just have to have it somewhere in your bones. You have the something it takes or don’t.” There are many accomplished musicians. Some of them have it in their bones. There is, however, only one Mike Seeger. He doesn’t keep his talent on an inaccessible pedestal as many who have reached his level of accomplishment do. He shares it by playing it every day with musicians from his own and younger generations, showing us that it can be part of our daily lives as it is of his. Because of this, he has helped shape American music. Mike is described in ‘Rolling Stone Magazine’ as “An American artist standing forth…himself branch and root of the entwined true vine…” said of himself in our recent interview: “These days you tend to think of personalities as being the most important thing. When I started with music I thought of that secondarily. Because I’m playing the music, the music I’m choosing says something about me, in sounds and with the types of songs I choose. But I’ve always felt I’m part of a long process, which is why I call it music from the true vine. Mine is just a part of it.” Although ‘Rolling Stone’ seems to focus on Mike Seeger the celebrity, and Mike Seeger on himself as a part of the Vine. I see that not only is he part of the vine, but its gardener. He is not only a performer but has helped ensure its preservation by devoting himself throughout his life to recording and archiving traditional American music for both the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. The lyrics of these songs provide a first-hand history of every day people. It is, in many instances, the only record of them we have. In them, we have a soundtrack of American life. It is part of the ever-growing American cultural tradition Mike Seeger named in his 2005 CD the “True Vine”. The musical branches of the Vine tumble and wind from Virginia, across Appalachia onward through the territories of American music. Each culture in our country has helped to water it, so that it’s branches have become blues, bluegrass, country, rock, rap and all American genres. In it, we see generational, cultural unity. By participating in it, as listeners or as musicians, we can maintain the unity in our own generation, laying groundwork for generations to come, as Mike did and continues to do. Bob Dylan, another underlying force of generational unity, said of meeting Mike Seeger, in his Chronicles: “He was extraordinary, gave me an eerie feeling. Mike was unprecedented. He was a duke, a knight errant. As for being a folk musician, he was the supreme archetype. He could push a stake through Dracula’s black heart…It’s not as if he just played everything well, he played these songs as good as it was possible to play them. It dawned on me that I might have to change my inner thought patterns…the thought occurred to me that maybe I’d have to write my own songs, ones that Mike didn’t know. That was a startling thought.” Though he does have a strikingly sonorous voice, Mike didn’t strike me as eerie over the phone. In fact, he was the opposite, down to earth, funny. It is a little eerie, however, that almost as if in response to the above he said in our interview: “All music doesn’t have to be something. These days, people seem to think you either make up your own music or you’re not anything. That’s not the important thing. You can do that, as Mr. Dylan has shown, make up things on your own and show your perception of past, but also what the possibilities are. I think there’s real value in that. I think, at the same time, it’s very important to keep old songs alive.” Why is keeping the old songs alive so important? Well, there are many answers to that, too many to explore in one feature. One reason is in the music of the True Vine we have a first-hand account of people like my Grandmother, of people who lost the battle of potential versus opportunity: railroad workers, coal miners, members of the underground railroad, those blown about in the Dust Bowl, migrant workers, and countless other minorities and those who fought for their rights throughout American history. It is these people who often have the most to say; but for their songs their voices would be silent. Of it Mike said: “It’s very like classical music in a way, but it’s the classical music of the people. That’s why they called it folk music. There was classical music and there was folk music. All music has, since then, built on a combination of both.” The music of the folks has inspired countless recording artists. Many, if not most, of the songs recorded by both Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead were either traditional or tradition-based songs. Before them, Pete Seeger along with band-mates Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, along with countless others did the same, each in their own unique way. Many follow in their footsteps. This music encompasses the entire range of human experience and emotion. The songs that speak of hardship seem to be the ones most often re-recorded by popular musicians during turbulent times. Perhaps this is because they are so straightforward about past struggles they unveil present injustices equally well. They speak the timeless truth of the experience of multitudes. Often the heroes of the songs become archetypes, like John Henry or Stagger Lee Shelton, the first musician on record as selling his soul to the Devil. Some of the musicians who popularized the music have also become almost archetypal, like Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan and, as Bob Dylan himself pointed out, Mike Seeger. Is this because of the singers or the songs? While the answer is both, (they are as entwined as the branches of the vine), I think the scales tip slightly more heavily on the side of the songs. They are re-interpreted, generation after generation, as they have always been. We hear them in some of the music of Johnny Cash, who once gave Bob Dylan his guitar, a symbolic gesture that reflected his feeling that their music was connected. In addition to his popular “American” albums and the recent movie about his life, a play based on this, “Ring of Fire,” opened on Broadway in February. Bob Dylan, up to now infamously reclusive, is breaking the silence with his recently published autobiography as well as in documentary recently aired. A Broadway show incorporating his music is in the works. These tributes, along with the work of new and established artists have contributed to bringing the immense relevance of this music back to popular attention. Bruce Springsteen recently released a Pete Seeger tribute album. Cyndi Lauper and Bono are incorporating traditional music into their work more and more. Neil Young wrote a new set of songs for his recent protest album. Artists in younger generations are doing the same. We are having another folk revival. Why right now? It may seem to us that these people and songs speak to us because we feel we live in a uniquely uncertain time. Maybe right now we thirst for truth yet find it too often veiled, so hear the eternal truth of the “True Vine” more clearly. However, looking back, life has always been this way. Moving forward from 1607 through the history of all American people, decade by decade, one finds new struggles as injustice dons different masks: economic depression, the ravages of the dust bowl, the struggles for equal rights, war after war after war after war after war. In the face of each sorrow, traditional or tradition-based songs rise up and speak loudly against it. The music of the True Vine is the heart of the struggle. New songs have grown from it, others have been adapted, the words changing as each artist reflects his or her own time in its mirror. The men and women who have written, recorded and popularized these songs have often been jailed, killed or otherwise had their lives destroyed for their efforts. It is in this light that I see Mike’s efforts to “keep these old songs alive” and the importance he places upon doing that. For example, during the heated struggles for workers’ rights in the early 1900s, a singer, songwriter and activist named Joe Hill was jailed, tried and given a death sentence. His songs were part of the reason why. His music, traditional and tradition-based, became a sort of hymnal for those who fought against the extreme conditions of the Industrial Revolution. This led, ultimately, to the reforms that were the foundation of today’s labor laws. Some of us may know him through the beautiful song Joan Baez wrote about him in the 60s. Most of us have, probably unknowingly, heard his story in the song “Long Black Veil,” recorded by Johnny Cash, The Chieftains and others. Another example of the force of these songs is found in the life and music of Pete Seeger. He wrote and co-wrote immortal classics like “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “We Shall Overcome”. We all know that these and other folk songs were sung as riots raged in the ’60s, but did you know it happened in the ’40s, too? At that time at a music festival in upstate New York, Pete Seeger and many others were attacked in full sight of police. Worse still, the police appear to have assisted the attackers. Why? This was because their music strongly supported integration and workers’ rights, among other things. Poor people, African-Americans and unions, oh my! Pete would not be defeated, he ‘overcame’, (just like his song) and kept on being an “unsettler” in the landscape of American music. In the ’50s, he was blacklisted by McCarthy, which drove him and much of the newly emerging pop-folk genre underground. When called before the Committee, he refused to speak against others but also refused to take the 5th Amendment, which many artists cited in attempts to avoid testifying about others when faced with the same situation. (They failed. McCarthy imprisoned many and/or had their careers destroyed.) An unabashed Pete said he was happy to talk about his music, which was, he thought, why he’d been called before them in the first place. As a frustrated and blustering Committee repeatedly talked themselves in circles trying to get something out of him, he asked if they’d heard the music. He then offered to sing instead of speak, humorously remarking that he wasn’t sure how well he’d do without his banjo, but he’d try. The Committee declined and threatened him with 10 years prison time. The music of the True Vine has also “disrupted” people’s lives in happier ways. An example of this is found in the life and music of Elizabeth Cotten, who worked for the Seeger family. Peggy Seeger, sister of Mike and Pete as well as a beloved folk singer and prolific songwriter, was active in the folk revival in England. Among other songs, she brought Freight Train there, which she had learned from Elizabeth. Elizabeth won a Grammy in the ’80s for her “Live” album. She was a talented songwriter and had a guitar picking style that influenced the way the instrument is played in popular music today. Though she was obviously a quite remarkable musician, the music-laden Seegers didn’t know it for some time. Mike said: “She worked for our family for about five years before anyone knew she played an instrument. One day my sister found her playing the family guitar. Later, Peggy sang Freight Train, which at the time I don’t think any of us even knew she’d written, when living in England. It was picked up by English folk singers who made Pop recordings of it. Then Americans made Pop recordings from there. There have been recordings of tradition-based songs ever since. All have been huge hits.” So, Freight Train was a sort of musical “shot heard ’round the world”. Elizabeth Cotten, contrary to what one might imagine, did not become rich and famous although her song skyrocketed instantly to #5 on British Pop Charts and was recorded by countless other artists. I asked what happened and Mike said that after his brother helped her sue a publishing company she got 1/3. “After that”, he said, “sometimes they paid her and sometimes they didn’t.” “Was she angry with this?” I asked. “Well, outside of the being angry about the money other people had made with their top 10 covers of her song?” “I don’t know that she necessarily wanted that,” Mike said. “She was a remarkably graceful person. She didn’t have ill will and she went on being Elizabeth Cotten. She grew to love to perform for people and that’s what she did until she passed.” What about Mike? Was his life also juggled like dice because of his music? I don’t think so, but he is definitely an “unsettler”. Perhaps he shook things up the most with The New Lost City Ramblers. Though they played traditional Southern music, they weren’t necessarily doing something new simply by doing that; urban musicians had been playing folk songs for quite some time. The revolutionary thing about The New Lost City Ramblers was they played the music the way it was played in the rural South, whereas others before them gave it an urban sheen, smoothed it over. The Ramblers also toured with or otherwise promoted rural virtuosos like Maybelle Carter, the Stanley Brothers and the Monroe Brothers. The musicians of the urban folk-revival began to imitate them. The ever-humble Mike said of the Ramblers: “We didn’t become influential, if we were, until the ’60s. A lot of musicians listened to our playing at that time who were folk urban, most notably Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia. We influenced them and others, not as well known, who started listening to and playing more and more traditional music. Bob Dylan continues. Jerry Garcia was going back that way.” What did Mike Seeger, hope to find at the end of his yellow- brick road? Fame? Fortune? No. Like the Tin Man, he did it for love. “I didn’t start out wanting to make a living doing it,” he said with graceful candor. “It just happened that it was possible to do it. We try to, in being musicians on our own, show that it’s accessible from day to day. To show that we have a lot to say, that old songs have a lot to say.” Because of the impact he has had, in part through showing us that all musicians, of all levels and all generations, have something equally valuable to say, he has helped us to follow the winding path of the True Vine for a very long time. At the end of it, we are fortunate to still find a man, not a wizard. A man who is similar yet different from the rest of us because he most reflects the best parts of us: sincerity, humility, revolutionary boldness, and a rare, all-encompassing patriotism that embraces all Americans as equal. He tells it, or rather, plays it, like it is. It is also the best of us that is reflected in his music. It is that to which we find him keeping time at the end of the vine. If we but find him and listen, we hear that the most valuable things we have are the unchanging truths we have had all along. It is certainly a great honor for a musician to receive a Grammy Award, but it seems to me that it is Mike Seeger who has given the musicians and audiences of America the most valuable award of all. The ability to hear our own voices clearly resounding, echoing over centuries and some certainty that generations to follow will continue to do so. He gives us the heart, mind and courageous spirit of America that he so aptly calls the music of the True Vine. So, if I ever become a rock star or whatever kind of music star, I don’t think I want a Grammy Award. I want a Mike Seeger Award. Michael Seeger, Grants and Awards Include: Six Grammy nominations, Grateful Dead’s Rex Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Smithsonian Research Fellowship Program, The Guggenheim Foundation Via my Grandmother, we climbed a branch of the Vine through a window of the past and found ourselves carried upon its back into the present. Through the story of Mike Seeger, we found the Vine itself, past, present, and future. Now we will climb a branch of the now and perhaps peer into the future. Here we have another musician who emerged from deep-rooted Southern music traditions, Bo Bice. There is something of a prophet behind this “Idol”. How is that? Well… While he’s a brightly burning star right now, charismatic, witty, talented, he’ll be the first to tell you stars fall and wit does not wisdom prove. But there’s more to him than that. He does not take himself too seriously, but he takes music seriously. More than just a good singer and performer, he has been a songwriter for years and plays not only guitar but also a bevy of other instruments including saxophone, piano and harmonica. Additionally, when he talks about himself and the world, he is insightful, at times profound. Bice was influenced by the same music Mike Seeger helped popularize and preserves, the music my Grandmother played. From Alabama, he absorbed the Gospel and Blues traditions there. His mother performed at the Opry and she and her sisters had a gospel group for some time. I found, through our conversation, that he is not only influenced by but reflects the spirit of the True Vine: “We are such an instant gratification-oriented society, wanting everything now, everything bigger better, everything better, we grab the thing of the moment.” Bo said, “Then we get mad because six months later we have to buy new one because the other has become obsolete. But music, Rock & Roll, transcends that, crosses boundaries we as human beings can’t cross. It crosses segregation, hatred and sorrow. It can bring peace. “Behind the instant gratification of the moment, of the new, bigger and better, there is something pure. One of the things that is so pure, about Rock, Blues & Gospel as well, is love; love of poverty, of innocence. Sometimes the music sings about the turmoil of life, sometimes the misery. But it, and life, is about finding love in everything you do. Something about the South, and the music that came from the South exudes that. “I lived for a time in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, called the birthplace of the Blues because Chicago style Blues started there with W.C. Handy. On the back of one of my first CDs I had a picture of his monument in tribute to him. I also grew up around deep-rooted Gospel traditions. I’ve always been a writer and feel all of this helped form my songwriting, my music. “I still pay homage to bands that came before because I’m proud to be part of Americas’ rich musical heritage. I’m proud to be from the South, I think it’s cool, in part because it is such a crucial part of that.” As Mike Seeger did, Bo described that he hadn’t set out to make a living doing music, he just did what he loved and it was just possible for him to make a living at it: “I’m not a reluctant celebrity, I’m not reluctant to live in this lifestyle, but I’m reluctant to use the word to define myself. I’m a musician. I’ve always loved music & everything about it. I’ve played for a long time and it’s never seemed like work. It never does today. “It can get hectic; sometimes I do three interviews a day, for example. I try to fit in a lot. I get tired but I never get tired of it because I love what I do so much. It’s fun getting the chance to do this without feeling I’ve sold my proverbial Rock & Roll soul. “Music, what I love, why I play it, is that it’s about what life’s about, being helpful to your surroundings, to your fellow man. That’s what I want to bring everywhere. I’m not trying to change the world, but if you don’t try to make a difference you’re doing nothing and if you’re doing nothing you’re so far behind you don’t even see yourself how miserable you are. So try to do something. “Here’s what I think is the worst thing, the one line you hear from every person that doesn’t try, “no one else is doing it”. Like the guy who didn’t even register to vote then tells you his political stand on everything, how he’d clean up the world if he were only president but he doesn’t even mow the lawn.” Bo is not that guy. I’ve no doubt he votes and he has been in the press lately for making a political statement in one of his songs. He’s not trying to change the world, but it only takes one inspired person to change the world. Musicians are in a unique position to do this. Is he one of those people? I don’t know. But he doesn’t take “no one else is doing it” as an excuse not to try anything he sets his mind to do. He has music in his bones, seems to have what it takes by my Grandmothers’ wisely put criteria. This sets him apart. By participating in the Save the Music Foundation, he helps make sure as many people as possible that have musical aptitude have a chance to realize it, along with contributing to other charitable causes: “I see this as my opportunity to shine”, he said. “While people do care what I say, do, think, I’m going to do my best to bring awareness. I can’t just go down and build a house for Habitat for Humanity, or for people who’s homes were destroyed in Katrina”, (but he offered his home to victims of the hurricaine). “I keep things on my radar and try to keep them on other peoples minds. It’s not just New Orleans, it’s Missouri, Alabama, it’s Florida. It’s a lot more than any of us fathom because there are always more problems. The shelf life of problem is about a week and if it’s not on CNN we lose track.” Before our conversation ended, he told me a story, his own and quite powerful story of how his own world ended, and how he saved it: “One of coolest parts of the way all this stuff happened for me is that it happened like this. I was playing the bar scene, scratching out a living, I had ups and downs, several bands; some guys stuck it out over years. I ran into the law, had bar fights. I dabbled in drugs. I was arrested twice. “The first time it happened I was 21 or so and I thought, that’s it. My life is over. But I got up, dusted off and kept on. I watched friends get lost. I didn’t. I was lucky. I got in trouble early and was able to straighten out and focus. “It happened sometime around the time I was 26. I was in a weird kind of spot. I had a run-in with the law again. Again, I thought my life was over, not because of that so much as what happened next. “I came home from work one day soon after and thought my house had been burglarized. Almost everything was gone. All that was left was a futon, my music equipment and the television. Then I realized, wait, everything of my girlfriends is gone, all my stuff is here. She’d just left and taken everything with her. “I remember it was the time when things started changing. I met my wife soon after that. I was managing a guitar store. I didn’t feel good about the things I’d been doing so I just started living life differently, started treating people like I’d want to be treated. “And soon after, this commercial comes on for “American Idol”. I know that, and the good things that preceded it and have come after, don’t mean everything going to be great. It’s actually harder when you try to live like that, by treating people right and doing what’s right. People try to bring you down by truckloads. “But I learned that you have to roll with the punches. When you do that, sometimes you’re going to get hit. You’ve just got to suck it up and take it. Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off and go on.” And where, I asked, does he think he’ll go from here? “I’m realistic.” Bo said. “There are two ways the type of scenario I’m in usually plays out. The life expectancy of most bands is about three years, one hit wonders have been out there since the beginning of Pop. I might be one. I’ll have enjoyed the ride and I’ll keep on playing music wherever people want to hear my music, bars or clubs or wherever. “Or, I might find a way to continue, to go on, conquer the world. It doesn’t really matter to me because I’m doing what I love. Whatever turns and bends in the road are there are there because of the decisions I make and the guidance I try to follow. Where the road ends, I don’t know but if it’s good it’s good and as for the bad, it’s still good.” And so, in each of these stories, we find a man going down the road, feeling bad or feeling good, it’s all the same because they’re singing all the while. Their songs will continue to echo in the united voice of generations that is the music of the True Vine. Link to this post Country Music Pride, the best little country music hot spot.
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Feeding America This season, remember people in need and try to help out.  Here at BTR we want everyone to enjoy the holidays, and we urge you to give that give with the help of Feed America. Their website can help you find a food bank closest to you, so where ever you are in the country you can help too! Happy Holiday's to you and yours From, BreakThru Radio
US Marines in a fire fight in Mian Poshteh, Afghanistan in July 2009 (Joe Raedle/Getty) President Obama has issued orders for the implementation of his Afghanistan strategy to military officials and cabinet members. The plans include sending 55,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan (when counting the 21,000 he dispatched last winter shortly after his inauguration) as part of Obama’s grand scheme to “finish the job.” After this new escalation, more than half of the 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will have been sent by Obama. What does “finish” and “the job” mean? Perhaps the president will enlighten us tonight during his speech at West Point, but for now, one has to assume the declaration in part means to build up the Afghanistan government and the military. It’s time for those Afghans to start taking some personal responsibility! ABC News (11/30/09): “While tomorrow night’s speech will have many audiences … a senior administration official tells ABC Newsone key message will resonate with all of them: ‘The era of the blank check for President Karzai is over. . . The president will talk about, this not being ‘an open ended commitment’…” As Greenwald points out, this chatter is all very familiar. President Bush said of those freeloading Iraqis: "I have made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq’s other leaders that America’s commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people — and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act." And that’s not the only similarity. Obama’s Afghanistan goals and promises are virtually identical to Bush’s Iraq plans:     * A demand by the Occupier for the Occupied to take personal responsibility for the chaotic aftermath of their society, which was destroyed by the Occupier: Check A prerequisite to “taking personal responsibility” is that the government gets its act together, a dubious outcome for Afghanistan, Juan Cole argues: "Months after the controversial presidential election that many Afghans consider stolen, there is no cabinet, and parliament is threatening to go on recess before confirming a new one because the president is unconstitutionally late in presenting the names. There are grave suspicions that some past and present cabinet members have engaged in the embezzlement of substantial sums of money. There is little parliamentary oversight. Almost no one bothers to attend the parliamentary sessions. The cabinet ministries are unable to spend the money allocated to them on things like education and rural development, and actually spent less in absolute terms last year than they did in the previous two years. Only half of the development projects for which money was allotted were even begun last year, and none was completed." I know what you’re thinking: Sounds like Congress. Well, at least our representatives have the decency to show up to do nothing. "Nader Khan Katawazai, an MP from Paktika, complained that only 30 of the 238 MPs attended Monday’s session. This is the government we are being asked to prop up with blood and treasure? Only 30 legislators bothered to come in to work?" President Karzai pleaded with the lower house of parliament on Monday to delay its winter recess by one week so that he can present his final cabinet nominees for confirmation. Karzai may be late presenting his list because he had to do some last minute swap-outs due to three of his current cabinet members being under investigation for corruption. Even the supposed “good guys” are unpopular right now. Cole writes that there is “substantial dissatisfaction with the inability of many of them to spend the development money their ministries had in the kitty.” "Seven ministries spent only 40% of their allocated budget in the past year, according to Pajhwok News. And, the sums expended on development projects declined 10% last year from the two previous years!" "Let’s repeat that. The Afghanistan government presides over the fifth poorest country in the world. It has millions of dollars in aid to spend for the betterment of its constituents. But it actually managed to spend less on these tasks this year than in previous years, despite having more money."     * Demands for strict benchmarks: Check     * A commitment to train troops so they can independently secure their country: Check     * Strengthening local leaders: Check The “Strengthening local leaders” part always amuses me because the Serious Experts never explain who these newly empowered leaders are. For some insight, I highly recommend reading this article by the extremely courageous Malalai Joya. Joya calls Obama’s decision to escalate in Afghanistan “worse than a mistake.” "It is a continuation of a war crime against the suffering people of my country. I have said before that by installing warlords and drug traffickers in power in Kabul, the US and Nato have pushed us from the frying pan to the fire. Now Obama is pouring fuel on these flames, and this week’s announcement of upwards of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan will have tragic consequences. Already this year we have seen the impact of an increase in troops occupying Afghanistan: more violence, and more civilian deaths. My people, the poor of Afghanistan who have known only war and the domination of fundamentalism, are today squashed between two enemies: the US/Nato occupation forces on one hand and warlords and the Taliban on the other." The US government has a long tradition of paying off Afghan despots and hoping for the best. Most recently, it was alleged that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the CIA, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials. Then there was Mohammed Qasim Fahim. After the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Fahim became first defense minister and then vice president of Afghanistan. But before all that, he was the former senior commander of the Jamiat-e-Islami militia, and was named by Human Rights Watch in its 2005 report Blood Stained Hands as a key commander in the Afshar Massacre during which about 800 members of the Shia Muslim Hazara minority were killed in a bout of murder, rape and looting in a civilian area of Kabul in September 1992. And let’s not forget Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq, leader of the notorious Hezb-e Wahdat, which in late 2001-early 2002 targeted Pashtun civilians for violence because of their ethnic ties to the Taliban. Human Rights Watch reports that Hezb-e Wahdat engaged in widespread looting, violence, and rape. Mohaqiq moved on to become vice chair of the interim government and Minister of Planning where he used threats and intimidation against other delegates. Are these the local guys we’re strengthening? A paper by the Afghanistan Research Reachback Center reiterates the military may be strengthening the wrong guys (h/t Andrew Sullivan): "[T]he desire for “tribal engagement” in Afghanistan, executed along the lines of the recent “Surge” strategy in Iraq, is based on an erroneous understanding of the human terrain. In fact, the way people in rural Afghanistan organize themselves is so different from rural Iraqi culture that calling them both “tribes” is deceptive. “Tribes” in Afghanistan do not act as unified groups, as they have recently in Iraq. For the most part they are not hierarchical, meaning there is no “chief” with whom to negotiate (and from whom to expect results). They are notorious for changing the form of their social organization when they are pressured by internal dissension or external forces. Whereas in some other countries tribes are structured like trees, “tribes” in Afghanistan are like jellyfish."     * Rationalizing all of this because if we don’t Al Qaeda will get us: Check     * We do this because it is our moral responsibility to do so: Check     * Everyone totally thought hard about all options before committing more troops: Check     * Michael O’Hanlon: Check Anyway, what this guy said: (Disclaimer: I always find it hilarious when Olbermann crows about the military-industrial complex on a daughter network of GE, one of the largest weapons manufacturers in the world. Also, I think America lost its moral compass way before the start of the Afghanistan war, but aside from those hiccups, good speech.) Link to this article:
Sometimes when u know what your doing at everything you do, people will always come to you for help. So in the music biz, there are alot of people who don't know what the hell they are doing. Plus they don't know what good advice is also. Anyway that can wear and tear on a person like me who continues to go and make everybody else happy besides  himself. Most of the time i'm in a great mood. I don't like to let the world or people get me down. So in between the djaying and traveling I have to deal with real life. Some people just don't get things and never will. Your probably like well elaborate, I can't cause I'll be writing for ages. I'll put it like this, music is hard work and if you don't know what your doing it will show sooner or later. Sort of like alot of bubble gum artists that come and go and people continue to fall for it.   I love producing, djaying and traveling. Even when I get real tired, i love it and don't complain. I just get tired of the fake people in the industry who give out their facebook, twitter and phone number for no reason other than to look important.  People like you need to stay away from me because I will call u out. Second, put out some real music..not popcorn, candy music..1 hit blunders. stay away from me too. Three, if your artists answer your phone,,interviews are important to selling records...U not going to just sell records because u recorded one..put in the work.   This year is almost over..that quick..It's been a crazy year..Ups and downs. I'm thankful though. To be apart of a great radio station that gets it and plays almost all the music you can think of, even comedy..Maybe I'll have comedy show on here soon..Thanks and salute Breakthruradio for letting me showcase my skills to the world.   My holiday was great and fast..When your eating , drinking and having fun the days go by very quick...When your lonely and depress they go slow..So what's the point of complaining and moaning and growning..Get up and live life...cause nothing is better than Good Exhaustion.....Christmas here she comes!!!! 
All right, workin hard/on break the past while, so sorry that this one is coming up a couple weeks late. I apologize. These things take time to put together, I didn't wanna rush it and have even worse writing than I usually do. But yeh, lots of good stuff in this episode. Two bands from Olympia and many from some other places. That's not really a thing. This week's episode was actually a "looking back" anyway, so whateverrrr. Just pretend like I didn't do an episode last week! Listen/Download/Subscribe in here: 00:00 Mic Break 02:19 Winter - Christmas (Olympia, WA) 04:48 Castle - Christmas 07:27 Mic Break 08:50 Nostalgic Mirage - Brain Idea (Chicago, IL) 10:43 One More Time - Brain Idea 14:24 Freudian Slips - Big Troubles (Ridgewood, NJ) 16:30 Mic Break 17:57 For Those Who Were Asleep - Dash Jacket (Orange County, CA) 20:22 Blah - Dash Jacket 22:19 Mic Break 23:39 Bird in My Garden - Dream Diary (Brooklyn, NY) 26:58 End of Summer - Young Salmon (Olympia, WA) 28:10 Before I Leave - Young Salmon 29:24 Mic Break 30:34 I Miss You Mrs. - Brown Ghosts (Brooklyn, NY) 34:13 Says to Liz - Petting Zoo (Philadelphia, PA) 37:00 The Sting - Petting Zoo 39:02 Mic Break 40:28 Bouyancy - Woven Tales (St. Petersburg, FL) 44:29 Dried Blueberries - Woven Tales 49:50 Mic Break 52:22 Rambling - The Yolks (Chicago, IL) 57:22 To Do List - So Cow (Tuam, Ireland) Christmas has gotta be one of my favorite new bands I have heard since starting this show. They play groovy, weird surf/punk/postpunk. And no I don't mean that in a Wavves way. Wavves never played any surf punk ever, just wrote songs that seemed semi-summerbeach related. Christmas writes songs called "Winter" that are actually way surfy and awesome without resorting to dumbass lets go to the beach stuff. Hmm. Bright reverby guitars, lots of bass, fast light drumming, a bit of delay on the vocals, and killer riffs/licks. That kinds of surf music. They have a 7" on Endless Latino that is only $4 so what are you waiting for?? Brain Idea is another band that I want to call "indie rock", as I tend to do a lot on this blog, and not have it be seen as a pejorative. I don't know, maybe it's too late for "indie rock" but how else am I gonna describe this kind of catchy, sincere, not totally obvious, interesting guitar rock that is reminiscent of a lot of 80s/90s bands? This is a sound that is "coming back" I think. Brain Idea does it really really well. These are songs I wanna hear over and over. Their cover of The Clean's "Getting Older" (one of my favorite ones) seems to sum up what they're going for really well. Big Troubles is a 90s indie rock guitar band (see I did it again). Lots of their songs are murky, catchy pop. "GreyDayz" is a good example of this. It has an old doo-wop/surf style guitar and a nice pop groove with some drum machine a distant midrangey vocals and it is probably my favorite song from them. "Freudian Slips" is their hit, though, it would seem. Cos it's just extremely catchy, has a few jangly guitar tracks, a rousing anthemic chorus, all the kinda stuff everyone wants to hear these days. I can't talk about this stuff without talking about "inherited nostalgia" and sounding cynical and stuff. But whatever. I actually like these songs and this band a lot more than most of the Ridgewood NJ crop I think. I wanna call Dash Jacket a strange folk band, because their songs are generally blown out, stripped down, sound like they're being played acoustically into a bad tape recorder. But the songwriting is not all that "folky". Plus the songs are not even all that blown-out for the most part. So really, it turns out that everything I thought about Dash Jacket is wrong. Except that I like them a whole lot. Dream Diary is a real 80s love-rock band. If you hear them you will think you are hearing something that was released to little fanfare in the late 80s on Creation or something, it is that convincing! The drums even sound 80s. So if that kind of thing puts you off then you probably won't like this band, but if you're interested in twee-pop from that era, there's no legitimate reason you would have to not like Dream Diary (fyi "it's not authentic" is not a legitimate reason! it's a bad reason). They say that they will play your prom, so high schools take note- this would be a good band to play at your prom. Young Salmon is also from Olympia, and does really quiet, dreamy folk/pop stuff. Actually, it's dreamy but also very down to earth. In that sense, some of his songs remind me of some of the quieter moments of the Microphones (though maybe it's just the Olympia thing and nature pictures priming me to think that). The pieces are short, instrumental, almost sketch-like, but that only adds to the charm, really. Actually, Young Salmon covers a lot of ground in the few minutes worth of music on his EP (released digitally on Erefutre Records). I'm interested to see where he goes from here. Brown Ghosts is a band from Brooklyn that does not seem to be dying to be associated with Brooklyn, which appeals to my sensibilities quite a bit. Brown Ghosts is actually a perfect name for what they're doing. If ever there was a ghost made of ethereal mud, it's ghost wail would probably sound like this band. They call themselves "lo-fi psych dark garage rock n roll", which pretty much hits the nail on the head, so to speak, though they have enough snot in their indecipherable, reverb's out vocals to make me say they should also throw "punk" in there somewhere. It's cool, intense, almost spooky stuff. No records out yet, but they're making a couple comp appearances in the future! Speaking of snot, here's Petting Zoo, a band from Philly who play real obnoxious noisy garage/punk/folk (i only say that because it is real primal and has acoustic guitars and minimal percussion and gang vocals). Well actually the songs I play on here are the more "rock" ones, a few of their others are actually kinda folky, which is pretty cool i gotta say. "Water Falls" is way bluesey, like in a classic sense, and "Black Horse" is weird subterranean groovy that musically reminds me of Tom Waits. All these songs have real desparation built into them, though, which is what holds them together.  I would bet they could play a great live show with nothin but a couple acoustic guitars and a trash can, or acoustic guitars made from trash cans, or something. Woven Tales is from St. Petersburg, FL, and I wrote up a bunch of bands from the area a few shows ago and did not mention them. That's cos I hadn't heard about them at that point! TO be fair, they are on a real different kind of kick from bands like Ghost Hospital and Blast and the Detergents. Woven Tales is pretty much doing straight electronic/ambient groove/drone kinda stuff. Which is a music I know very little about, but I kow enough to say that this stuff is pretty cool. There is a lot of variety as each track mutates over its running time, and the beats hit surprisingly hard. Outside of that, I don't know that I can say a lot, I'll just let the songs speak for themselves! The Yolks and So Cow are excellent bands, but they don't exactly need anyone as small time as me to write about them at this point. Both are getting a decent amount of "press", have several records out, and have been playing shows for a while. BUT I played them on my old radio shows on WSRN back when their first records were coming out, and it's nice to check in on successes (not saying that I had anything to do with it-- no one listened to my old radio shows). Both of these tracks come from the bands' respective self-titled records which came out earlier in the year (the Yolks on their own Randy Records, and So Cow on Chicago-based Tic Tac Totally). Go get those records like right now! OK, cool. Next episode will be up tomorrow, with commentary on time!
As we round out another 10 years, there's a sleu of banter and articles out there trying to capture the decade from all different angles. One such article I came across (via NPR---giving credit where credit is due!) asked what's the song of the decade? Naturally you can approach this from many angles. It could be a song that defines your personal decade, or the masses within your country, or the world.  It doesn't necessarily have to have come out this past decade, but it could also just be your favorite song that's come out over this past decade. So I leave it to you: email me your song of the decade and I'll discuss a few of your submissions on my show as we count down the zero's decade of the 21st century. Email me at
On September 23rd, Old Crow Medicine Show will release their third album Tennessee Pusher, a beautifully cinematic and empathetic album about a people and from a people, the American people, the people from which this musical tradition is sprung. After going into the lost alleys and forgotten trailer parks to find the real Americans, the lost Americans, the Old Crows stand up here as their representatives. And they sing! They sing for the people. They sing because that is what they do. It is their lifeblood. The album was produced by the legendary Don Was (Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan) at the famed A&M Studios (now called Henson Sound Studios) in Los Angeles. Members Ketch Secor (fiddle, harmonica, banjo, vocals), Willie Watson (guitar, banjo, vocals), Kevin Hayes (guit-jo, vocals), Morgan Jahnig (upright bass), and Gill Landry (slide guitar, banjo, vocals) along with major session men Jim Keltner (John Lennon, Neil Young) and Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) recorded 13 tracks about this America, using Tennessee as their canvas. I had a chance to speak with founding Crow, vocalist and musician Ketch Secor. This man’s speech reveals the way his mind and heart work, and to witness it is truly a beautiful thing. He cares about us all. Despite the clinical agenda of the interview, we had a relatively organic conversation, and though it would be more typical to lay down the press info I got from their publicist and some brief highlights of our interview, I don’t think I do this man, this band, this album or the people justice unless I just print the interview in its entirety. Country Music Pride: Hey, Ketch, my name’s Jesse Hill and I write for Country Music Goodness. Ketch Secor: Well, hey Jesse thanks for your call. I apologize. My other interview went really late. So, I know you’ve been waiting to get through so I appreciate your patience. CMP: Not a problem. How you doing? KS: I’m doing great. Where you calling from this morning? CMP: I’m calling from Austin, Texas. KS: Right on. CMP: How ’bout you? Where you at right now? KS: I’m in Nashville. Wish I was in Austin. CMP: Well you ain’t coming through here anytime soon, are you? KS: No. It doesn’t look like the Texas tour has been put together yet. It might be in the spring for us. I know it’s way over due. We keep getting e-mails from places all over the Lone Star State. Getting ‘ancy. When are you gonna come back to Dallas? When are you gonna come back to Pflugerville? CMP: Yeah, y’all played Pflugerville before? KS: No, I made that part up. Nobody ever wrote that. But meanwhile I got my own thoughts thinking, ‘When are you gonna take that plunge in Barton Springs? When are you gonna dance the two-step with that girl down in Victoria that you want to? When are you gonna get back to Port Aransas and go for a slurry dip? CMP: I was just in Port A two weeks ago. Got swimmer’s ear. KS: Well, that’s a good place to catch it man. CMP: Well, I listened to Tennessee Pusher yesterday. Three times. It’s great, man. It’s really fucking great. I really love it. Best album I heard all year. KS: Hot damn! Hey, thanks. That’s what we’re hoping for. CMP: You hear it all in there. Hanks crying, Dock Boggs sly grinnin’. Trickster cool and humble hearts. I really dig it. KS: Cool. Well, I can tell you do and I can tell you got out of it what I put into it. CMP: Now I’m not going to ask your influences because I think what’s obvious is that they come from this American music tradition. And anything you could have possibly come in contact with is basically a part of this tradition. Do you feel like you are now a part of this tradition? Do you feel like you’re contributing to it? KS: Oh, I definitely feel a part of it. I mean it’s all around. Everything that this band does is very related to everything that’s been done before. I feel, I’ve often spoken about this great thing that Pete Seeger once said about making folk music back in the late 50’s. Pete talked about us all being links in a chain and that chain going way, way back. And that all of us are fused together in the forge. So, I read that when I was 14, and thought, ‘Wow! You mean I could be like Leadbelly? I could be like Bob?” So, I’ve spent the last 15 or so years since I was first dreaming of those things trying to make them happen, trying to, well, trying to build up my repertoire. I like to fancy that we could go into any barroom in America and be their hometown band. That we could be the boys that they looked upon fondly. The band that the old ladies felt wistful towards and that the old men wanted to throw their daughters at. And in our travels we’ve found that to be true. It’s a little different now in the climate controlled comfort of the tour bus, but when you get into the studio, particularly a band like us, I think it’s just fun to be evocative, to evoke, I’m always talking about who my influences are and I say that they’re just old dead men and women and old dead men singing about old dead women. And that’s really true, but I like being able to, I like the controlled atmosphere of the studio because you get to say it exactly how you want to. CMP: You’re the hometown. And this music comes out of the American people. I know you cite Nashville’s inhabitants as definite inspiration for the album. How do you stay in touch with the people? How do you relate with them when you are riding in the climate controlled comfort of the tour bus these days? KS: Well, you know, you get off at the truck stop. You go to the pay shower and it’s right there in front of you, staring you down with a soap bar in its hand. Me and Critter had this song once about these bad signs everywhere. We said, “If you don’t see the signs, then you must be blind.” If you can’t see the wasteland, you must be wasted. Cause it’s all around. It’s in everything. It’s in all avenues of American life. Whether they’re looking for love or a fix (which is their love), whatever their love is, whatever their fix is, they’re always on the hunt, on the prowl for it. That’s just the way that the world goes round, especially now. So, there’s no membrane impenetrable enough, there’s no wall that can be built between folk music, all music, if you got your feet in the ground or on the ground, then there’s nothing to keep you from singing the songs of the people. What are the people up to? The people are hungry. The people are sleepy. The people are tired. The people wanna fuck. The people wanna lay down and die. All these different emotions are represented in song. So, here are a handful of songs that thematically go for a certain range of them. I needed to write something convenient for the press; so, I said Nashville, but it’s not really true. Tennessee’s a good example. We go from Mountain City to Memphis. We start up in the Southern Islands. We start in this place that the Cherokee got pushed away. Well, some of them stayed and it really has effected the bloodline. You can still talk to women with Indian features there, and more so than that you can feel the reverberation from after the Buffalos thundered through. What’s the sound that follows? Well, I think that sound is what’s happening all over the country. The Buffalos jumped off the cliff, and there’s a sound that follows the emptying out of the American landscape. And you can still here that. And Tennessee is a good canvas to work with. It’s easier than trying to tackle the whole thing. But I feel my influences in writing this record have been much more across the continent. CMP: And under a climate that’s been developing since the Buffalo jumped off the cliff, do we Americans have a heavy, black curtain on us? KS: No, it’s not heavy and black. It’s light and airy and mystical and magical. And if you can tap into it, you can know something much greater about where you are. And it’s had a great effect on folk music. It’s the reason why there’ve been songs that, whether they’re topical or not, have been, it’s the reason for the universal theme. You can’t really have the universal theme without the landscape having a role in it. I mean the history of America has so much to do with what we’re working over. What we’ve plowed and at this point, what we’ve paved. Underneath all that, well, if you wanna know what the story is, don’t go asking a dude. Dude’s story is down at the bus station. He’s hungry, he’s thirsty, he wants to fuck, and he wants to sleep. Dude’s got a lot on his mind right now. A lot of nothing. But underneath dude’s feet is what makes dude. And that’s where you go asking those five journalistic questions. That’s where you go looking to get to the bottom of it all. Is at the bottom. CMP: And do you feel comfortable there? KS: Oh yeah. I got to be there. I’d go crazy. And I do go crazy every time I got to come up for air and see the things that you see, that we all see like the Bush regime and the fucking Iron Curtain. If I pick up the newspaper and read about Saakashvili and Putin squaring off in Georgia and Daddy Cheney on the way and I think about, ‘Oh, what if it was Sarah Palin instead,’ that kind of stuff makes me just crazy. Just thinking about it. You know I saw Greenland for the first time coming home from England. I saw it from the plane, from 35,000 feet. You know it’s there, you see it on a map, but to see it with your eyes is everything. It wasn’t real before. But now I know that’s there and I could go to it. I saw an ice sheet that stretches for 800 miles, maybe more, and at the very end of it, it’s green. It’s just like any other rock in the ocean. There’s life. CMP: Was the European tour a good deal this go round? KS: Man, this was a great trip. It was real low key. It was a lot easier than the last one. But it was just a short thing that had to do with generating press in the UK for our new album. CMP: And do you get a chance to connect with people their too? KS: Yeah, you know. Really everywhere that we get a chance to play, I’m always on my eternal quest for truth. And there’s always something different about all of the towns and I’m always trying to get to the bottom of it. I’m always trying to understand, ‘Why is it this way?’ I like to ride a lot of public transportation. I like riding public transportation in England especially, well in the British Isles, because of just how pleasant it is. But I like riding it in America because of how unpleasant it is. But in England, it is so different. Where here in America social order has been completely bulldozed on our buses, it is still very much in place on the buses in England. It’s breathtaking to see. CMP: Well, I can’t wait to get the chance to experience that one day when I can get out of Texas. I recently read a Jakob Dylan quote where he says, “There’s a reason why imagery that sounds like it’s been dragged right up from the middle of the earth keeps getting re-spun every year—’cause it’s the best. Yeah, I work within those parameters, and I see those images, and I hear music that way. [My dad's] stuff is the high water mark for anybody doing what I do so there is no way to avoid it, not just for me but for any songwriter. If your goal is to not be referenced to his career, there are not a lot of options.” This quote is certainly applicable to your music as well. Can you rap on that a bit? KS: Well, I think that we’re all in debt and we all need to know the gratitude of the era of music that comes after all of the great artists. To talk about Tennessee Pusher being a great record is a bit superfluous when you imagine that somebody got an advanced copy of Sergeant Pepper’s and was the first to hear it for five hundred mile and got on the phone with Paul McCartney and said, ‘Your record’s really good, man.’ So, for a long time, I really felt like I had a foot full of concrete over that. That somehow being in the shadow was a bad place. But as I got older…well, you know, you just have different eras and times of creative thought. You have a Renaissance and then you have another time that comes after it. I think that anybody who heard those Dyaln records when they were a kid wanted Dylan to be there father too. I always like this quote that Pedro Martinez said. He said, “Maybe the Yankees are my daddy.” Anyway, we all wanted that man to be our old man cause he’s been such a huge influence. He really taught Us a new sense of beauty. Or re-taught us. Because what Bob did was to recount what’s been said before, and that’s all that anybody can ever do. Because it’s all been said before. I’m looking at floor to ceiling shelves of books in which it’s been said since the Age of Bronze. They’ve been saying the same ultimate truths about the world. You can read the mystic writings of poet Rumi and know that Bob read them. Or you can read William Blake’s A Little Boy Lost. You find the trailings of Dylanisms throughout all the literature of the world. He really read the greats. And he listened to American music. And that was his medium. He needed to find a way to be William Blake and Robert Frost and Dickinson with guitar. He needed to be Hart Crane with a harmonica. So, what better way to do that than sing Black American music? To wear the mask, you know, minstrelsy. Well, Jews have been wearing that mask a long time. Look at Al Jolson. I grew up in the world where Black and White is now so blurred. And those signs for whites and ‘coloreds’ have been painted over a dozen times. But they’re still there underneath the paint. And it’s all a part of the social fabric. So, the themes may have been totally diluted by the mall, and seventh grade lunchroom politics, but underneath it all, it’s still the quintessential Mark Twain America that you hear referenced to when you listen to Bob Dylan. CMP: You ever read John Leland’s book Hip: The History? KS: No, but it sounds like a good one. CMP: Well, it does a really good job tracing the history of the masks and getting to that point where the delineation gets blurry. I actually read it right after I read Greil Marcus’ Old, Weird America, which by chance was the book that got me into you Old Crow Medicine Show. I was reading it and somebody thought I was reading a book on you, and I said, ‘No. Who’s Old Crow Medicine Show?’ And they gave me O.C.M.S. KS: Well, man, I take that as a real compliment. I don’t really have this memorized, and I wish I did, but my band was given a quote by Greil Marcus that’s…negative. And it’s fucking the money. I want to see it reprinted bad. (Greil Marcus’s quote, “Old Crow Medicine Show. Why people hate folk music.”) CMP: What’s the gist of it? KS: That we’re junk. CMP: He’s probably just jealous that you share a songwriting credit with Dylan. KS: You know I heard some great Dylan stories working on this album with these guys (Don Was, Jim Keltner, Benmont Tench.) Especially from Don. But I heard this one story. They were in England in the mid-sixties and someone asked Dylan, ‘What do you think about the Rolling Stones?’ And Dylan said, ‘Oh, you mean that cover band?’ CMP: And for Dylan of all people to call someone out on that? KS: Right. CMP: How was working with [legendary producer] Don Was? KS: Man, that was great. To work with someone who’s had a hand in stirring up so many great artists. To help them reach their great potential. It made me listen to those records differently knowing that Don said to dig a little deeper here or play a little colder there. He’s made scores and scores of albums, and so many of them have been Grammy award records and so many seminal records of the eighties and nineties. I was always surprised to hear just whom he worked with as we were rapping. I like to get down to it with folks. And I tried to get down to it with Don, this Detroit born, Beverly Hills cat with his dreadlocks and his jewelry and his Cadillac SUV that he got from like a sponsorship. All those things make up Don. There are a lot of masks to Don too, but they’re only on the surface. Don is really real. In the studio, Don listens to music. The best thing I can say about the way Don is how he listens to music. When he’s in the studio and he’s supposedly producing, he’s just listening. He’s listening with his whole body; it’s like he’s breathing in the music. His whole face is listening, and his hands are listening, and his hair is listening, and his feet are listening. And it’s like he’s breathing it in like a vapor. CMP: And he’s doing this under all these Beverly Hills masks? KS: Right. CMP: Werner Herzog said something along the lines of, ‘Beneath the glitz and glamour, Los Angeles is the city with the most cultural substance in America.’ Well, I totally disagree. Maybe when he said it was in a time of classic America where I think that certainly that thing happened, but it’s come and gone. L.A.’s great. I like L.A., but if you’re trying to find the most culturally fascinating place in America, I just wouldn’t go looking at the place with the longest lines and the thickest traffic and the loudest horns. I think that what’s fascinating about America is all old news. What’s fascinating about America is rubbish, stuff in somebody’s old garage. It’s junk. Just like Greil says, ‘its just junk.’ What’s fascinating about it all is the evidence that remains of what was once fascinating. The homogeneity has done more to destroy America’s sense of itself than any neutron bomb ever could have. The sameness and the cultural sterility and the spiritual decay disguised as consumer advocacy. I don’t know where I would go looking for something truly American. Maybe Mexico. CMP: Your sense of hope is obvious in your music. How do you maintain it? KS: They sang when the great ship went down. (Long pause…) And it’s going down baby. It’s going down to the icy depths. But it ain’t gonna stop me from singing. We might be in the dark shadow cast from the great arch. We might be in the time of the great undoing of our nation. And we might face a dark and lean time, but you gotta sing! I was taught to sing. I was taught to sing and play and make that joyful noise. So, regardless of what it is around me, inside me I feel like singing. CMP: Is fortune really just a painted stone? KS: Yeah. I guess so. Frog-skins. Green frog-skins. There’s a great old time tune called “Fortune.” (Sings…) “Once I found a fortune; locked it in a trunk. Lost it all in a poker game one night when I got drunk.” That’s the kind of fortune I’m up for. I like an easy fortune, the kind that’ll make you king for a day. CMP: Spend it if you got it? KS: Yeah. It ain’t worth holding onto. CMP: Yeah, I’m living in a dog kennel right now. KS: Well, you’re in Austin, man. That’s perfect. CMP: Pretty forgiving town to the broke folks. KS: You got a good bus system, the Dillos. You Texans, man. You Texans you see what you can do. CMP: I appreciate it, Ketch. It’s been a real pleasure. KS: Yeah, man. I appreciate it to. CMP: Take care. KS: Bye. It’s going down folks, but the Old Crow Medicine Show is singing. Listen! Link to this post Country Music Pride, the best little country music hot spot.
Israel Darling Dinosaur Bone and Mechanical Hands Israel Darling is a Greensboro, North Carolina-based band, the brainchild of a precocious 21-year-old named Jacob Darden. Darden's band includes Alex Dagenhart, Jeff Bechtel, Mat Masterson and Arlie Huffman. Darden grew up as a Baptist and son of a guitar maker in the small Appalachian town of Drexel, North Carolina. After a life-altering experience and time in the hospital, Darden gave up his religious roots to concentrate on music. Dinosaur Bones and Mechanical Hands is the self-produced debut from the group. It was picked up and released by NYC's Engine Room Recordings. The songs on the album are beautiful reflections of a young man's life and the lessons he has learned from a very young age. Although Darden is only 21, many of the tracks display someone that has had a lot of experiences and self-reflection in a short time. There are many religious touchstones in the music, and although Darden says in interviews he is an atheist, there seems to be a deep spirituality that permeates throughout the tunes. One will find similarities to Bright Eyes and Langhorne Slim in Israel Darling's music. The ten song debut boasts many standout tracks, my personal favorites are "Woman, God, and Pity For a Man" and "Samson The Mason." This young band has nothing to offer but potential, and I am excited to see what else this outfit has to offer. Dec 5 2009 at Michael’s House - Asheville, NC Jan 22 2010 at The Green Bean - Greensboro, NC Birds & Batteries Up To No Good EP After two years, Birds & Batteries have released another wonderful masterpiece in the form of a 5 song EP. It's called Up To No Good and it is fabulous. The San Francisco-based four piece is spearheaded by Mike Sempert and includes Jill Heinke on bass/keys, Christopher Walsh on guitar/pedal steel and Brian Michelson on drums, percussion, sampler and laptop. The five song EP combines elements of funk, electronic, rock and pop. As a whole, the album can be dark and haunting with psychedelic elements that affect the listener in more ways then one. The heaviest and newest element that Birds and Batteries utilize for this particular work is the electronic landscape present in all of the songs. The EP is very conceptual in the sense that each song seamlessly flows into one another, but the tracks do not blend together. Each tune has its own presence and force. Imagine being on a dark dance floor, late at night in the 1970's, in a drug-induced haze. Now imagine a band that is barely visible on stage, but has a large vocal presence that not only acts as an additional instrument, but as a voice that calls to all of its musical followers. The voice will bring you up, then down, then up again, causing you to experience an amazing musical trip. This is definitely my favorite effort by Birds and Batteries (not to say that I don't love their other work). If this is the first time you have heard of B&B make sure to check out the two albums in their back catalog, I'll Never Sleep Again (2007) and Selections from Nature Vs. Nature (2005). Dec 5 2009 at Bluesix - San Francisco,CA Jan 8 2010 at The Starry Plough - Berkeley,CA Jan 23 2010 at Bottom of the Hill w/ Movitz! - San Francisco,CA ASPE The Dark (album art currently unavailable) An artist like ASPE is a huge mind fuck for me. We have this extremely talented guy, who goes by the name of Mike, that runs an amazing little indie label, called Arkain Records. He has several other amazing musical projects including Monolith, Swayze, Moto & Mouse, Indian Teeth and Red Canary. The music that is made for all of these projects is phenomenal, yet, this guy, Mike, is barely known in the music world. I was introduced to the music of Mike Maines over three years ago by fellow friend and BTR DJ, Matt Lehtola. Mike apparently was a local musician in Gainesville that became friends with Matt. Lehtola shared the music with me and I have been loving it ever since. I was super excited to hear that there was going to be a new album and when I did listen, it was amazing. Here is how Mike describes ASPE in comparison to the rest of his projects: "This is the run-off and original solo project for my concept albums. Anything that doesn't fit within the confines of the other projects, gets listed as ASPE. Its an acronym for something dumb... everything from electronica, classical, jazz, and the avant garde and can be found herein." Check out The Dark. It is freaking amazing. All 14 tracks. Now, the next thing we need is for ASPE to tour. Link to this article:
I'm mildly obsessed with Yeasayer's new single "Ambling Alp."  Now they've come out with a video for it, and I think it's super-cool.  It could use a little more Ira, in my opinion, but other than that it's great.
Rosanne Cash’s new album, The List, could be called the Dead Sea Scrolls of country music. A strange analogy, but an entirely apt one for a disc with twelve tracks by Cash from a list of 100 essential country and roots songs compiled for her by her father, the legendary Johnny Cash, when she was just a teenager. For 35 years, the existence of the list was unknown outside the Cash family. But now, Rosanne Cash has brought 12 songs from her father’s list vibrantly and powerfully to life with this album. With songs identified (some might say “anointed”) as foundations of American music by the Great Johnny Cash and performed by his daughter Rosanne (herself one of contemporary American music’s most remarkable and skilled performers), The List has a genealogy worthy of an Old Testament patriarch. THE LEGEND It is rare that an album transcends the need be merely reviewed and presents a story that deserves to be told in its own right. The List is such an album. When the existence of Johnny Cash’s list became public knowledge in 2006, the story behind its creation instantly became a legendary moment in American music history: On a hot summer’s day in 1973, young Rosanne Cash was riding on a bus with her already legendary father, Johnny Cash, as he toured through the southern United States. On that particular day, father and daughter were talking about music. As the elder Cash kept referencing foundational songs of American country and roots music, Rosanne found herself repeating “I don’t know that one.” Concerned that his daughter seemed unaware of her own musical heritage, Johnny Cash took up pencil and paper and spent the rest of the day preparing a truly remarkable document in American musical history, which he titled “100 Essential Country Songs” — a list of songs which the elder Cash considered vital for Rosanne to know in order to understand American music’s true origins. Seldom has a musical figure of Johnny Cash’s stature (and there are few of them) given us such an explicit window into his own musical consciousness and into what he saw as the fundamental genius of American music. Cash says that, even then, she knew her father was giving her something very special. But it was not until she was much older that she appreciated exactly how special of a gift it was, both for herself and for American music in general. “Even at the time, I was vaguely aware with the kind of cognizance that an 18-year old could have, that it was important. I thought, ‘Wow, this is good. This is a lot of information,’ I wouldn’t have saved the list all these years if I hadn’t had some idea of how important it was,” Cash explains. “Of course, my understanding of it now is greater and my understanding of its importance it is much greater.” Indeed, it would be more than three decades before a combination of necessity and coincidence would bring the existence of the elder Cash’s list to the world’s attention and plant the seeds for this album. In 2006, Rosanne Cash was working on the The Black Cadillac Show, a multimedia theatre piece accompanying the release of her album, Black Cadillac. Cash told the story of her father’s list in a film that was part of the show. She had though it would simply be an interesting little anecdote of musical history. Instead, the story set the public’s imagination on fire. As Cash describes it, suddenly everyone had three questions for her: What about the list? Can I see the list? When are you going to record the songs on that list? And slowly, the idea of The List started taking on a life of its own in Cash’s mind. She was already performing “Sea of Heartbreak” as part of The Black Cadillac Show and said to herself, “Well, that’s one that should go on the record.” Still, it would be another year before Cash herself really embraced the idea of an album based on her father’s list. Two developments in her personal life helped take “The List” from abstract idea to concrete project. First, at the end of 2007, Cash underwent brain surgery for Chiari Malformation Type I. The episode inspired significant introspection and reflection on Cash’s part, “You think about your own mortality, about what’s really important — not only for myself, but in terms of what I want to impart to my children.” Second, her own family began to take an interest in the idea. Cash’s daughter, Chelsea Crowell, a musician and songwriter in her own right, called Rosanne Cash and said, “Okay, Mom, where’s my list? [As a side note, Crowell’s first album, the eponymously titled Chelsea Crowell, hits stores in November.] Her husband also began talking seriously about doing an album based on her father’s list, suggesting that if Cash was going to do a cover album, the songs should be drawn from that list. And so, the wheels for “The List” were set in motion. ON THE RIGHT TRACKS This first challenge, and one of the most important questions that had to be answered in producing “The List,” was how to narrow her father’s list of 100 songs into the dozen tracks that would appear on Rosanne Cash’s album. Ultimately, the songs that were selected had to meet three criteria. The first was emotional resonance. Cash selected songs from the list that meant something to her and that she had already been singing to herself for years, like “Old Black Veil” and the Carter Family songs. Second, there was a scholarly criterion. Cash wanted all the songs on the album to have musical or historical significance and represent key figures in American music like Jimmie Rodgers or the Carter Family. Third, there were as artistic consideration. The songs selected had to be appropriate for Carter’s voice and for her supporting musicians. Even then, selecting one album’s worth of songs from a list of 100 was a collaborative process. In addition to Cash and her husband (producer/guitarist John Leventhal), her manager and record label’s A&R team were all involved in discussions about which songs should appear on the album. However, Cash leaves no doubt about where the final decisions were made. “Ultimately, it was John [Leventhal] and I alone in the studio with a computer and a guitar, doing research and saying, ‘Okay, yeah, definitely this one or that one.’” From this process, a collection of 12 songs emerged (or 13, if you’re one of the lucky people with one of two special release versions). Cash describes the process as long and challenging, but also very enjoyable. In all legends, points sometimes get missed or twisted. One common misconception about Johnny Cash’s list was a list of 100 most important country songs. Since Cash himself dubbed the list “100 Essential Country Songs” this perception is understandable. But, as Rosanne Cash explains, her father’s vision was broader than that, “My dad had this great understanding of the evolution of Southern music.” In addition to the many styles and traditions grouped under the umbrella of “country” Rosanne Cash says the list includes protest songs and historical pieces as well as blues and gospel. As an album, The List reflects much of that diversity. Both in tone and content, a strong sense of melancholy, loss and tragedy permeates most of the tracks on “The List.” Cash says there are some more upbeat songs on her father’s original list, but she feels the selection of tracks included on the album is reflective of both daughter and father and the kinds of songs that were most meaningful to both artists, “As you know, my Dad had a deep melancholy streak in his own music, and I do as well. So, its not surprising that we both incline ourselves to these kinds of songs.” Plus, Cash observes, “It’s not like Appalachian music and Southern blues and gospel are exactly full of cheerful little ditties.” Even once a final track list for the album had been agreed upon, there were many songs that she wished could she could have included. “There were a lot — but one song in particular that broke my heart not to include was ‘I’m So Lonesome, I Could Cry (written and recorded by Hank Williams, Sr.),’” she explains. Feeling that so many deserving songs were left out has Cash thinking seriously about a Volume II for The List. While there are as of yet no concrete plans for The List II, Cash has begun thinking about which songs would belong on such an album. And she has already started work on her own version of “I’m so Lonesome.” ROSANNE CASH AND FRIENDS Liberally sprinkled throughout the tracks on “The List” are duets with a range of talented artists, including Wilco front-man Jeff Tweedy, singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, gravelly-voiced rocker-poet Bruce Springsteen and musical Renaissance man Elvis Costello. Like the track list itself, the featured artists on “The List” were chosen carefully. Serious thought was given to finding artists whose sound and style would match a particular song as well as matching Rosanne Cash’s own distinctive vocalizations. While Cash expected great things from each of the duets, the results surpassed her expectations. “I was happily surprised with all four of them.” And she has high praise for her fellow artists. She raves about Jeff Tweedy’s meticulousness and careful attention to inflection. Of her friend and previous musical collaborator, Elvis Costello, Cash praises his hard work and his love of music. She also believes their duet on the Guy Mitchell classic “Heartaches by the Number” may show fans a side of Costello with which they may not be familiar. “This wasn’t a song he had to learn, he already knew ‘Heartaches by the Number,’” she explains, “I think people will be surprised by how deeply versed he is in American roots music and country music.” For Cash, Springsteen was the biggest wildcard, “I knew [Springsteen] would be great for ‘Sea of Heartbreak’ and he has this deep, romantic quality in his voice — but I didn’t realize what a great harmony singer he is.” Additionally, there are two special editions of The List available. As available through iTunes, the album contains a bonus 13th track featuring a duet between Rosanne Cash and alt-country Neko Case on the Porter Wagoner classic “Satisfied Mind.” The version available through Barnes and Noble includes a rendition of Willie Nelson’s “Sweet Memories” performed by Cash and singer/mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile. Cash describes the special iTunes rendition of “Satisfied Mind” as “really, really lovely.” FATHER’S LIST, DAUGHTER’S SONGS Anyone who thinks of this album as only a collection of covers of songs picked by Johnny Cash is missing the real genius of The List. Make no mistake, this is a Rosanne Cash album, and she brings both passion and vision to every song on the album. Just as it is a mistake to think of Johnny Cash’s list as only a list of country music, it is mistake to think this album as only a country album. Throughout her career, Cash has displayed versatile and sophisticated aesthetic sensibilities. Combined with her impressive knowledge of American music history, this gives The List a sound and feel that is as much Manhattan coffeehouse as it is Southern honky-tonk or Music City studio session. The List is one of those rare discs on which there are no weak tracks. Nothing here was phoned-in or added as filler. The artist has an emotional investment in each of the twelve tracks, and that is reflected in the quality and intensity of the music. That having been said, some tracks on the album are extraordinary standouts. One of the most powerful songs on the album is unquestionably “Motherless Children,” the timeless folk tune that has been recorded by everyone from the Louvin Brothers to Eric Clapton. Cash’s interpretation is unique, but clearly more akin to the almost forgotten version by Blind Willie Johnson than cuts by more contemporary artists. Under Cash, “Motherless Children” becomes a haunting traditional blues flavored with mournful Appalachian harmonies. “Miss the Mississippi and You” is a country standard that has been embraced by everyone from Jimmie Rodgers, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris and Chrystal Gale to Arlo Guthrie and Bob Dylan. On The List “Miss the Mississippi” emerges as a slow, swank Western swing number. This track also contains some of the album’s best instrumentation, showcasing John Leventhal’s formidable talents on guitar. Equal parts melody and melancholy, Cash’s “Long Black Veil” is unforgettable. While the song is strongly associated with her father, who scored a major hit with his 1965 version, “Veil” was originally a Lefty Frizzell number. In her own interpretation of the “Veil” Cash seems to draw inspiration form both versions. “Sea of Heartbreak,” the Cash/Springsteen duet that so pleasantly surprised Cash, succeeds spectacularly in blending two of the most distinctive and bewitching voices in American music. Other very strong tracks on The List include Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings” (featuring excellent, if understated, supporting instrumentation) and the duet version of “Heartaches by the Number” as well as an emotional rendition of the Carter Family classic, “Under the Weeping Willow Tree.” In addition to the song’s origins and Cash’s own musical talents, one of the foundations for The List’s success is the high quality of its instrumentation. Led by guitarist/producer Leventhal, the roster of instrumental musicians supporting Cash consistently and confidently delivers beautiful performances in the multiple genres tackled by this album. Being queried on which of an album’s tracts are his or her favorite is a difficult question for any artist – he or she has put their time and energy into every song on an album. This interviewer upped the ante by asking Cash which tracks she thought were most worthy for being included on someone else’s future list. After pausing for reflection, she concluded there were several songs she would pick – for entirely different reasons. In preparing her version of “Motherless Children,” Cash looked at all the many different versions (often with varying lyrics) that had been done in the past. Then, using these as a base, she built her own version — keeping true to the song’s spirit while also adding a definite narrative arc that is absent in many previous versions. “I really feel like we almost did a new definitive version,” she says. “Take these Chains from My Heart” is another track of which Cash is proud. “After he heard the full album, I got a letter from Elvis Costello,” she explains. “He told me, to him, there had really on been two versions of this song – but now there were three.” This interviewer also took the risk of treading on personal ground by asking Cash which of her songs on “The List” her father would have enjoyed the most. Cash thinks either “Long Black Veil” or the Carter Family song, adding “Those were so special to him. I kept thinking of my dad when I was recording ‘Long Black Veil’ and thinking ‘Oh, my god, if he heard me singling this, he wouldn’t leave it alone. He would love it so much.” THE FUTURE… In case you’re curious, for now, the full contents of Johnny’s Cash’s original list remain a secret. It may be a bit of musical history, passed from one of America’s great artists to another. But it is also a gift from a father to his daughter, something profoundly personal and emotional. It’s not something Rosanne Cash feels comfortable sharing with the world, at least not yet. The List is currently in the middle of a full-scale media blitz, scheduled to last through December. But look for a tour in support of the album to occur around spring 2010. Rosanne Cash has already enjoyed an extraordinary career, in which The List is merely the latest link. She has earned herself a distinct place in the history of American music. Her children are growing up and one of them is getting ready to launch her own first album. But Cash shows no signs of slowing down — if anything, her creative pace seems to be increasing. She has written a memoir that is scheduled to come out next year. There is already volume two of The List to consider. A project with Billy Bragg and Joe Henry has been on her mind for awhile. She is excited about the box set of Civil War songs she has just ordered and, with her love for historical music, she wonders if there is a project for her in there somewhere. “It is interesting how, as you get older, there’s this kind of urgency about the things you’re passionate about,” Cash observes, “I’m feeling that a lot right now.” That might even be an understatement. The album “The List” by Rosanne Cash and produced by Manhattan Records is available now. Link to this post Country Music Pride, the best little country music hot spot.
So although I'm usually cheery and fun spirited, today is not such a day. Earlier this morning my 4 month old Boston Terrier was hit by a car. At the moment he is in the hospital under going surgery. This past week my dog Rocky and I had a fun filled week. We had a trip up to Canada, where my dog and my girl friends 13 year old dog, got along fine, playing, jumping, sneaking into the doggie treat bag, usual dog stuff. Rocky boy got to run around the back yard and get some of the suburban life he does not get to see in Brooklyn. Thursday I brought my dog to Thanksgiving dinner in NJ at my uncles house, My uncle has two dogs and Rocky and them were playing, although those dogs were a bit mean to my pup some times, he had a great time none the less. Then this morning Rocky was out side and ran away from me. He ran across the street and i chased. Then as he was going to cross back to go to are house, a car was speeding and i assume did not see my dog. I tried to single to the car to slow down by waving my hands in the air, but apparently they were too concerned with beating the red light that they hit my dog. Rocky was crying and bleeding a lot. I ran and picked him up from under the car. His back legs were dripping blood. I then brought him in the house right away and laid him down on a towel. I called 911, because it was just my natural reaction in an emergency. Then they told me to call 411. When i called 411 they were no help at all and told me i had to call the operator. I then called the operator and got the number and address to a local animal hospital. A few of my neighbors had seen the accident and asked is every thing was okay. I was dripping in sweat from running around and was way out of breath. One of my neighbors had told me about a closer animal hospital and i put my dog wrapped up in a towel in the front of my car, laying on the ground. He was in a lot of pain, crying, bleeding and looking really tired. I was really worried. He could not stand up on his back legs. There were huge gashes and his back legs were swollen. i raced to the animal hospital, which took him in right away. The doctor said the cuts he would be able to take care of but they need to take x-rays and do surgery. Then i discovered the costly price of taking your pet to an animal hospital. Its going to cost me $2000. Although that is a lot of money to spend around this time of season, as long as he is okay i will find a way to pay it. This all happened around 1130 and its now 2:30. Im waiting at home for the hospital to call and let me know the status of my dog. I pray he doesn't have server damage or long term damage to his body. He is only still a pup. Right now I'm really depressed because he is like a child to me. I love that lil guy. I hope he's going to be alright. Why hasn't the damn hospital call yet? now I'm stressin'!! Lets just pray and hope all is okay with Rocky Boy.
Hey Pals, I've been ill for weeks and weeks now. It started before I visited New York at the start of the month, was made worse by lots of travelling, eating bad food, drinking, stress etc, and I'm getting a bit fed up with it now. I've recorded some really good bands recently for Live @ Old School Studios, and in my normal life as a record producer, but I just have no energy whatsoever, from the moment I wake up. I hope that the bands I've recorded recently haven't assumed that I don't think they're good, hehe, cos of my lack of enthusiasm. Actually, I tend to keep a fairly even keel in the studio, and I'm told that bands like that about me. Bumped into an old friend of mine from the mid 90s on Friday night. Neither of us knew that the other was living in Norwich, as when we knew each other I lived in Cambridge, and he lived in Lincoln. He might be selling one of his 16 track reel to reel machines, and of course I want it, but I'm not sure that I really need a 4th big tape machine, haha. I'm sure that it would get along well with its new brothers and sisters in Old School Studios, but still.. I do get carried away when it comes to tape machines.. Over and out, Jason (Mr)
As creative as hip-hop is in the present era of the genre, it seems to not stride away from reality into the supernatural. Deltron 3030 was an underground group that went where nobody had gone before in rap as well as in music in general. The group consists of the two producers Kid Koala and Dan The Automator, and the more known lyricist named Del Tha Funkee Homosapien. This concept project is based in the year 3030 where Del takes a rebel approach to a fantasy futuristic world where corporations control the universe. Pretty crazy right; but musically it goes where no other projects have gone in hip-hop. The lyrics are multi-layered with stories and hidden meanings, and the production has an ill futuristic dark edge to it. This was one of the first underground hip-hop albums I really loved, and if you’re lookin for something different to play on your iPod I definitely suggest checking this one out. Here’s one of my favorite tracks on the project, and I did hear a rumor that they’re working on the long awaited sequel to this epic CD. Link to this post The illest Hip-Hop commentary at Ghost Faction.
As creative as hip-hop is in the present era of the genre, it seems to not stride away from reality into the supernatural. Deltron 3030 was an underground group that went where nobody had gone before in rap as well as in music in general. The group consists of the two producers Kid Koala and Dan The Automator, and the more known lyricist named Del Tha Funkee Homosapien. This concept project is based in the year 3030 where Del takes a rebel approach to a fantasy futuristic world where corporations control the universe. Pretty crazy right; but musically it goes where no other projects have gone in hip-hop. The lyrics are multi-layered with stories and hidden meanings, and the production has an ill futuristic dark edge to it. This was one of the first underground hip-hop albums I really loved, and if you’re lookin for something different to play on your iPod I definitely suggest checking this one out. Here’s one of my favorite tracks on the project, and I did hear a rumor that they’re working on the long awaited sequel to this epic CD. Link to this post The illest Hip-Hop commentary at Ghost Faction.
Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Yep, it’s that time of the year again.  I am currently battling some congestion and a cough.  People around me are getting the flu and I’ve managed to dodge some strep-throat.  I’m someone who regularly takes vitamins and washes their hands and all that good stuff, and yet, here I am.  It’s all good, I suppose, because it could always be worse.  I guess the holiday season just makes it a little more annoying than usual because you are required to do more of everything. I’m not trying to bring anyone down, it’s just the truth.  So I have been getting some new music, not all electronic, but some good stuff, to make the sickness go faster.  I don’t have so much time to listen to new music anymore, my hour long drive to work being my main source of record reviews; but all in all I have been able to find some good stuff to be my audible cure (I will be playing a lot of it in the next few Glitch/IDM shows, so be up!).  So this brings me to remedies.  A lot of people just think of the orange juice + soup + rx = better equation but there is more to it, I think.  Your atmosphere is a big factor that lends to your health or ailment.  So be careful of the atmosphere you create for yourself.  Listening to music that makes you happy and seeing movies that entertain you are important…I think. So here is to being healthy and a good person! Woo! ---ed
Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Yep, it’s that time of the year again.  I am currently battling some congestion and a cough.  People around me are getting the flu and I’ve managed to dodge some strep-throat.  I’m someone who regularly takes vitamins and washes their hands and all that good stuff, and yet, here I am.  It’s all good, I suppose, because it could always be worse.  I guess the holiday season just makes it a little more annoying than usual because you are required to do more of everything. I’m not trying to bring anyone down, it’s just the truth.  So I have been getting some new music, not all electronic, but some good stuff, to make the sickness go faster.  I don’t have so much time to listen to new music anymore, my hour long drive to work being my main source of record reviews; but all in all I have been able to find some good stuff to be my audible cure (I will be playing a lot of it in the next few Glitch/IDM shows, so be up!).  So this brings me to remedies.  A lot of people just think of the orange juice + soup + rx = better equation but there is more to it, I think.  Your atmosphere is a big factor that lends to your health or ailment.  So be careful of the atmosphere you create for yourself.  Listening to music that makes you happy and seeing movies that entertain you are important…I think. So here is to being healthy and a good person! Woo! ---ed
Sometimes hip-hop aficionados take the music too seriously, not acknowledging some rappers as skilled artists just because they don’t put out songs with serious messages, or because most of their rhymes are focused around sex and money. In a way I understand this perspective since a lot of rappers nowadays have no musical talent, and achieve success just by having half naked girls and bling in a video. However, artists like Juelz Santana, Three 6 Mafia, Jeezy, Young Buck, Cam’ron and others are all skilled with the craft, but put out music that’s main focus happens to be sex and money. The feel-good vibe that oozes out of these artists’ music is a special thing. Music that you like doesn’t have to be depressing, dark, or intense. Three 6 mafia puts out a lot of shitty tracks, but a lot of them have sick beats, and the lyrics, although not amazing, sync well with the music. An example of this is their song Poppin my collar, which is one of my favorite songs period. As far as other rappers in this unique category, Juelz is the shit. He puts together metaphors like Lil’ Wayne, but with a Harlem twist, and almost every other line that he spits on most tracks makes me laugh. It’s music like this that I like to bump in my car on a hot summer day, dance to, get fucked up to. People critique it so hard and don’t value it as good music when in fact it is. Just because little girls might listen to it since it’s on the radio doesn’t necessarily make it garbage. On the other hand it might, but you get my point. Juelz can be serious too, but whatever his demeanor is, his charisma is priceless. I look forward to hearing his upcoming LP, Born To Lose, built To Win, which should be ill. Here’s a video for his first single, Days Of Our Lives, which proves my point of how fun of an artist he is to follow. Don’t get me wrong, I like my depressing intense edgy rap more than the next guy, but this shit is entertaining as fuck, and I dig it. Maybe the main problem nowadays is that people take music too seriously, and should open up their ears to whatever sounds tight. Check out the video: Link to this post The illest Hip-Hop commentary at Ghost Faction.
This week, stories from three great bands featured on my new show Overnight Sensation! G. Green (formerly Green Green) is a one-man folk band from Utah turned full on four-piece noisy pop band from Sacramento, featuring members of Vichy Water and Mayyors. They are gaining notoriety in the Northern California region for their wild n crazy live shows, which may or may not feature a lot of vomit. Here's G. Green's short, to-the-point story on choosing a name: "One day i was trying to like Punk Rock Music (PRM) and so I listened to Black Flag.  There is this other band called the Minutemen on that SST label. SST is Greg Ginn's label.  He was in Black Flag. In the Minutemen there is a guy called D. Boon. G. Green is like D. Boon. The End." Sea Lions are from Oxnard, California. They play the sweetest melancholic love rock you will ever hear. No kidding, they are one of the best bands going today. They recently released a tape on Obeast Tapes that, in a fair world, would take them to the top of the charts! Let's hear their story: "So we were called 'Girlfriend Boyfriend', but that name was kinda lame. We had been trying to figure something out for a while but nothing really stuck. One day we were at the beach, when all of a sudden from the water a sea lion popped up and scared the f*** out of us. When we got back to the shore, Adrian had an epiphany! 'We'll call the band Sea Lions' he was heard yelling that day, and now, you know the rest of the story..." Last up, a nice tale from Florida-based Ghost Hospital. They play weird, catchy folk-pop (more like front porch fun, not like Fleetwood Mac or anything!). Sometimes it's just acoustic guitar and voice, sometimes it's a full rock band with drums, but it's always good. Their records are like discovering an old Shrimper tape and feeling like it just sounds so right how could you have never heard it before. Here's the deal with the name: "I got the name Ghost Hospital when I was living in Pittsburgh. My friend Gabe's band was playing like an off-the-cuff jam/improv one-time thing and didn't have a name. So when I got to the show, the sign outside said 'The Ghost Hospital.' They had a backdrop with some weird stuff playing and lots of strobe lights in this basement. It was like really loud droning one chord feedback free noise stuff and after that one show they never played again, but I really liked the name. I ran into Gabe at an art show and asked if I could use the name for my next band. He said 'Sure. Go for it.' And I did.  We had several other names before ultimately picking Ghost Hospital. At different times we were The Mud Angels, The Spoons, Teen Apes, The Inclusives, Red Umbrella and a few others.  All pretty bad so I'm happy with what we have now. Although there have been a lot of bands springing up with the word 'Ghost' in their name. I've had the name in my head since at least 2004-2005, but didn't actually start the band until 2007." Link to this article:
Sometimes, undiscovered gems are the most important and amazing little discoveries one can make. Three years ago, fellow DJ, Matt Lehtola introuduced me to Arkain Records, an amazing little record label, virtually unknown, that boasts the most amazing lineup of artists, not to mention Mike's amazing work. I was so excited when I found out that one of Mike's project, Aspe, was release a new album. It's called The Dark. oh ya, Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Here's me chilling at the APT in New York City with some of my friends. DJ Bogie Blind from the legendary  X-Ecutioners DJ Crew. Shout to Sweet Back for the flix. DJ Boogie Blind Jean Grae, MeLa & Me Torae & DJ Evil Dee Crazy DJ Bazarro & Mr. Walt DJ Scratch on the set
If you tuned into this week's Geek Out and checked out the play list, you probably saw videos of myself testing out DJ Hero and Total Slacker playing at a show of ours from last week. Unfortunately, we didn't add video of Scott Deadelus who also played the same show, but here's what you missed.
So many bands now are either reuniting or retouring now its hard not to see it as a trend.  It's not exactly news that bands can only make money touring and selling merch, but who knew that once successful bands that made money way back when it was possible would come back in full effect.  Here are a list of noteworthy bands who are back and in full effect (i say noteworthy because i'm leaving out a lot mainstream crap): Descendents/All Pavement Pixies The Jesus Lizard The Smiths Catch one if not all of these bands and feel the nostalgia warm over you.
If you haven’t heard already, Lil Wayne just pled guilty to gun charges in NYC to avoid up to 15 years in jail, and will be sentenced in February to go to jail for about 8 months. Yes, Weezy’s into drugs; Yes, Weezy’s irresponsible: Yes, what is Weezy thinking half the time?! However, this is total bull shit. This charge is from when Wayne was in concert in New York, left the venue after a great show, and then was stopped in his tour bus by NY’s finest because they claim they smelled mary jane. The cops got onto the bus and found a gun, then asked which one was Lil Wayne, and only arrested Wayne. 1. It is clear the cops wanted to humiliate and make an example of wayne. 2. You have an artist from the south who came up and put on a great show for the Empire state, only to get fucked by the man. 3. How are you gonna convict a man for a gun charge just because his DNA was on the gun! I’m sure he held it, i’m sure he was fuckin around with it. But whether or not the gun was his, why is he the only one who is getting charged. What if you were in a situation where someone you know, lets say a bodyguard in this case, had a gun. I’m not into guns, but it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for someone to want to hold the gun just to hold it out of curiousity, or just to play around. Seems that the pigs in blue not only want to get wayne, but every rich black rapper with success. New York denies it, but there has been a lot of evidence that NYPD has a division just focused on bringing rappers down. Think about all of the rappers who have been targeted and arrested in NYC. Besides the racist implications here; on a human level it is just so twisted it makes me sick. This is just the new form of Police vs. African American stars (i.e. Ray Charles and all the other jazz musicians that have been targeted and arrested for drug use). For people who claim racism is dead because of Obama being elected I say them: you are an ignorant individual out of touch with reality. Racism is alive, and in some ways is more dangerous in our society since people are in denial of it’s existence. Even though Kanye is an egomaniac and an idiot, you really think his VMA stunt would have been such a big deal if he was white? Who knows, all I know is I hope Weezy puts out a lot hard tracks fueled by all this shit he’s dealing with. Really lookin forward to his new mixtape: No Ceilings, and I hope Weezy F’ll be alright, cuz whatever hate people say about the dude, he has defined this new era of hip-hop, both good and bad; FREE WEEZY!!! Link to this post The illest Hip-Hop commentary at Ghost Faction.
It's time to celebrate Thanksgiving. This means turkey (or tofurkey). This means stuffing. This means gravy. Basically, Thanksgiving means everything good in life. But it also means something else: it's time to go shopping. Thanksgiving is the official start of the most capitalist time of year, and for music fans, this can often be intimidating. It can be even more intimidating for someone who has to purchase gifts for said musical lovers, and frequenters of BreakThru Radio's excellent tunes. I mean, what else could any true fan of music want but the perfectly constructed rock song to get them through the holiday season? Don't worry. If you need to buy for that oh-so-picky music snob this year, I've got you covered. Here are the only five gifts you even need to think about in order to satisfy your favorite hipster. I bet these gifts are things that your friends and loved ones don't even know they want yet, that's how cutting-edge you'll seem. Or maybe you'll just seem like a nice, thoughtful person. Either way, take my word for it: these gifts will not go unappreciated (wink, wink Mom and Dad). Books. I know what you're thinking. Books? Really, books? But don't hipsters listen to music while generally scoffing at any serious form of higher education? Perhaps on the outside that's true, but there's no better way to brush up on your rock and roll history to prove to other music snobs that you can out-snob them than to read a few totally sweet books on rock and roll. Here a few specific suggestions. In 1996 Rolling Stone published a book called Alt-Rock-a-Rama: An Outrageous Compendium of Facts, Fiction, Trivia, and Critiques on Alternative Rock. It's an amazing collection of tidbits about the birth of indie rock music starting with 70s punk and ending with Kurt Cobain and Lollapalooza. The most fascinating aspect of the book is that it has a very different perspective on the 80s and early 90s than we do today. It's fun for any music fan to flip through and see how we've rewritten history. This volume is currently out of print (which makes it even cooler), but you can easily find it on Amazon. Another great book to give your favorite indie-rocker is Lester Bang's Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. They'll think Bang's stream-of-consciousness writing style is totally rad and even be inspired to start their own music blog. Don't worry, they will quickly abandon this after they realize that when Bangs talks about the death of music as the beginning of pluralism, they're killing music by writing yet another blog. If something more current seems like your hipster loved one's thing, then try Perfect From Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life by John Sellers. It's a nice account of one man's obsessions with Guided By Voices. If none of these choices sound appealing because your music-lover truly does not enjoy reading, then there's a choice for them, as well! Try the Yellow Bird Project's Indie Rock Coloring Book. This book asks nothing more from you than to color- in or out of the lines- to some great bands' original art work. Plus, all proceeds go to charity! Music Players. So, you got your favorite hipster a fancy-schmancy iPod dock last year with what the sales person promised you was the best bass sound you could buy. Don't worry, that piece of equipment is already totally lame and outdated, and you can purchase him or her something much more appropriate this year. Instead of purchasing something nice and new, it's time to turn to e-Bay to find the oldest, vintagiest record player you can get your hands on. I know that you're asking yourself why someone would want a gift that went out with the 80s, but records are BACK! I guarantee you anyone who listens to rock music this year has been stocking up on LPs with no way to play them. Make your favorite music snob's 2009 collection listenable again by giving them a turntable. Better yet, get them what's really cool: a walkman. I know that you're now asking yourself, "But, I could just go Tommy's old one from when he was 8 out of the basement. Why would he want that?" Because tapes are cool again. Trust me, you'd be the coolest Mom or Dad ever if you re-gift your kid their old walkman. With indie record labels like Fuck It Tapes putting more and more records out on tapes, this is one of the hippest, coolest, of-the-moment gifts you can give to any music-lover. Show Posters. Hipsters love showing other people how subtly cool they are. What better way to help them than to give them neat show posters to decorate their apartments with? Actually, I'm having a difficult time being snarky with this one. Show posters really are cool. Usually they are limited edition prints, and buying them will most likely support local artists. Find out what your giftee's favorite bands are and buy them one or two. I promise they'll love them. If you need a specific suggestion, check out Post Typography's website. Post Typography is a design house run by the guys in the band Double Dagger. They've done some really cool stuff, and one especially good gift would be their 2010 wall calendar. Beautiful and practical! Concert Tickets. Of course. Kind of an obvious one. But which tickets to get? Don't most music-snobs go exclusively to the types of shows at venues where you can't get tickets for? Well, usually that's true, but once in awhile a great show will come up that's just a little bit out of a hipster's normal price range. For instance, I can't imagine anyone wouldn't be ecstatic to find Central Park Pavement tickets under the tree (they're going for fifty bucks a pop or more on-line now). Or you could try Patti Smith tickets at Bowery Ballroom for New Year's Eve. I don't know anyone who would turn up their nose at Patti Smith. OR, if you're dealing with the "I pretend I'm being ironic about it but I really secretly enjoy pop music" kind of hipster, you could get them tickets for Lady GaGa at Radio City Music Hall. I'm not joking. They'll love this gift. Write Them An Original Song. This one is tough because it could come at great personal sacrifice. Unless you're dealing with an ice queen, no one would turn down a personal song, written just for them. Yes, it might be bad. Yes, you might be teased relentlessly for the rest of your life. Yes, it might make its way onto the Internet.  But seriously, this is a nice, touching thing to do for anyone who cares about music. If you have a computer with Garage Band you can easily do this. Just pick three chords, write a few lyrics about your favorite music-snob, and sing away. You could even take a popular song, Vampire Weekend's new single, for instance, and change the words to fit your friend or family member. Instead of "In December, drinking horchata/I look psychotic in a balaclava," you could say "In December, drinking some egg nog/Sally leans down and pets Spot the dog," if your friend's name way Sally and she enjoys egg nog and has a pet dog. Named Spot. You get what I'm saying. This gift is hilarious and free, and anyone would love it. Just these few simple gift suggestions should open up a wealth of ideas for your favorite music-lover. Ultimately, just remember that people like indie rock music because it's unique and different, so don't be afraid to give a gift that's a little off the beaten path. A strange book on a weird subject will be much more appreciated in the long run than a gift card to Best Buy. Happy, eccentric holiday hunting! Link to this article:
Deejay David 'Mavado' Brooks is calling for the end of the Gully/Gaza war by inviting musical rival Adidja 'Vybz Kartel' Palmer to make peace at his birthday bash on Saturday, December 5.  Mavado's manager, Julian Jones-Griffith, yesterday said he wanted to publicly invite Kartel to make peace once and for all. "Basically we want to invite him to the show at Temple Hall Estate as a show of unity for the nation," Jones-Griffith said.  Jones-Griffith and Mavado have been in discussions with Bishop Herro Blair and other prominent figures to come up with a solution for the Gully/Gaza issue, which people have insisted is dividing Jamaica. Vybz Kartel is supposed to be appearing on Bolt's SuperParty in St Ann on the same night as Mavado's bash.  Jones-Griffith said: "We just want to put it out there, Mavado has been coming under pressure for this Gully/Gaza thing and I'm sure he wants a better Jamaica. I'm sure Vybz Kartel, as a Jamaican, wants the same thing. For the sake of the Jamaican youths we're inviting him to come on stage to show the people it's all about the music and dat we can live good. We want him to come and participate, its something that needs to be done and we need a big stage to do it."  According to Jones-Griffith, Kartel or his representatives can contact them before the show, through the media or simply come to the show on the night. He says Mavado is 100 per cent behind the initiative. Efforts to speak to Kartel were futile up to press time.  This will not be the first time that the two have tried to make peace. In March 2007, the deejays met with DCP Mark Shields to call for an end to the feud, however, weeks later the two were at it again. Jones-Griffith says that will not be happening again: "We've been down dis road before and we don't feel good it ended up going back to the feuding. This is not a publicity stunt, we want to explore how we can do this - reach out to di youths in schools and make it permanent. The war is in no way beneficial to anybody's career and it's bringing a lot of negative energy to the country."  The two have been feuding since 2006 and last year faced off at Sting. Since then they have come under increasing pressure garnering nationwide attention due to the negative effects of the feud. 
Who is Jay Electronica you ask? He’s the man to watch in hip-hop for 2010. Dude is well known from being married to Eryka Badu, but also starting to be known for his unique skills on the mic. Jay started getting recognition when he showed his skills by rapping over the weirdest shit. He’s rapped over the background sounds of documentaries, commercials, old movies, willy wonka songs, etc. Now here is where it gets exciting: His debut cd is going to be produced by Just Blaze! Jay Electronica’s from New Orleans, I would describe his style as a southern politically conscious version of NaS. Dude is so nasty, and he might be a musician that could change the path of hip-hop. He also produced one of the tracks off of Nas’ last album. His music is politically and socially motivated, His rhymes are so multi-layered and intelligent, and the musical quality of his projects are amazing. Here’s a tagged up leaked track from Jay’s new project, and if you haven’t heard of this musical mastermind definitely check out his myspace to get a feel for what he’s all about. Link to this post The illest Hip-Hop commentary at Ghost Faction.
Hurry up! Even though there are great shows all throughout the wintertime, touring does slow down during the holidays. Bands have families too, and it's the time of year to spend with them instead of running around entertaining us all over the country. Here are three bands you should catch on their tours beforehand. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros is the brainchild of Alex Ebert, originally of Ima Robot. He got dropped from his major label, moved to the woods, eschewed cell phones, and wrote music as fictional character Edward Sharpe. His songs are sprawling, cinematic, folk-pop tunes, enhanced by his girlfriend's incredible voice. Their song "Home" has been licensed quite a lot. You might recognize it from Gossip Girl or Community, just to name a few. I haven't seen this act live, but if their recent performance on David Letterman is any indication, their hippie earnestness makes for a particularly entertaining show. They'll be all over the West Coast before taking a break for winter. 11/24 - El Mocambo Club - Toronto, ON, Canada 11/25 - El Macambo Club - Toronto, ON, Canada 11/27 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL 11/28 - High Noon Saloon - Madison, WI 11/29 - The Varsity Theater - Minneapolis, MN 12/1 - Boulder Theater - Boulder, CO 12/2 - Sheridan Opera House - Telluride, CO 12/4 - The Bell Tower - Pullman, WA 12/5 - Neumos - Seattle, WA 12/8 - The Biltmore Cabaret - Vancouver, BC, Canada 12/9 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, OR 12/10 - WOW Hall - Eugene, OR 12/12 - Great American Music Hall - San Francisco, CA 12/14 - The Mayan - Los Angeles, CA This time last year Real Estate was still in their parents basements in New Jersey, occasionally venturing to Brooklyn to play uncrowded shows. Now the little Jersey band that could is playing big venues and was one of the best acts at CMJ. Dreamy, summery rock is exactly the kind of pick-me-up you need for your emerging winter blues. It seems fitting, since this was one of the first bands I discovered in 2009, to end the year catching them on tour. Their live show has improved leaps and bounds since last winter. They sound like a band that's been touring around for much longer than a year. Catch them in these size venues while you still can! 11/24 - Echo Curio - Los Angeles, CA 11/25 - Modified Arts - Phoenix, AZ 11/26 - Black Market - El Paso, TX 11/27 - Mohwak - Austin, TX 11/28 - City Tavern - Dallas, TX 11/29 - Sticky Fingerz - Little Rock, AR 11/30 - The Lyric - Oxford, MS 12/1 - 529 - Atlanta, GA 12/2 - Local 506 - Chapel Hill, NC 12/3 - TBD - Baltimore, MD 12/4 - Market Hotel - Brooklyn, NY Capgun Coup is Conor Oberst's Team Love's latest signee. Like the record label, they are from Omaha, Nebraska, and will tour much of the South through Christmastime. They play rickety punk tunes that sound a lot like other similar 60s-inspired bands these days - Ty Segall, for instance. Capgun Coup is one of the few bands touring all the way through the holiday season, though they're a band I'd recommend any time of the year. 11/24 - Bottleneck - Lawrence, KS 11/25 - Outland Ballroom - Springfield, MO 11/27 - Hailey's - Denton, TX 11/28 - Mohawk - Austin, TX 11/29 - Cin El Ray - McAllen, TX 11/30 - Walter's on Washington - Houston, TX 12/1 - Spanish Moon - Baton Rouge, LA 12/2 - One Eye Jacks -  New Orleans, LA 12/3 - Alabama Music Box - Mobile, AL 12/4 - Sluggos - Pensacola, FL 12/5 - The Social - Orlando, FL 12/6 - Common Grounds - Gainesville, FL 12/7 - Lenny's - Atlanta, GA 12/8 - Proud Larry's - Oxford, MS 12/9 - The Rev Room - Little Rock, AR 12/10 - George's Majestic Lounge - Fayettville, AR 12/11 - Mojo's - Columbia, MO 12/12 - Vaudeville Mews - Des Moines, IA 12/13 - Waiting Room - Omaha, NE 12/27 - Bourbon Theatre - Lincoln, NE Link to this article:
I know! Working on it! In the meantime though, let us appreciate album art... Warp Records =  clever
Joe Albano's debut album "Open the Gate and Flood the Valley" is an intense spectacle of some daring music, often expressed with complex lines, intense vamps and grooves; at times it even takes shape in experimental or free improvisation. It is no coincidence Albano launched his group under the name "Joe and the Meanderthals" as once in a while there seems to be some aimless or undetermined wandering around happening in their music. This is in no way to be taken as a negative comment - the modern day Neanderthal's aggressiveness and "ignorance" of society's current rules and norms bring a whole new approach to freedom and meandering freely throughout the planet. Joe's music often goes against the rules - take the first track "Cry Foul" as an example. Steve Ruel's solo as well as Joe Albano's solo begin in a seemingly free tangle, sooner or later locking back into familiar harmony and rhythm. Now it isn't that Joe and the Meanderthals are just ignorant - au contraire! Whereas a modern day Neanderthal is somebody who is not familiar with current trends, a musician better be familiar with the presence and more importantly with the past, as it is the only way to successfully build on it. Joe and his group certainly have an extensive knowledge of their predecessors. Only a solid background and masterly control over your instrument(s) lets you go a step further. Attending a catholic school in Massachusetts that had no budget for music and growing up as part of a family that had no real interest in music, it is quite astonishing where Joe Albano is at today. Joe once said that as a kid he would every so often listen to an avant-garde jazz radio show at 6:30am during breakfast, driving his mom crazy. At a young age, musicians like Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane or Anthony Braxton would wake Joe's interest. He emphasizes though, that a lot of music was mistakenly called "free", while it was actually just pushing the boundaries by being extremely complicated. Much like Joe's music which may at times sound very complex, but is still based on relatively simple vamps or familiar harmony for the most part. "Open the Gate and Flood the Valley" is also proof that Joe is not simply emulating his childhood woodwind heroes. His eclectic and unique improvisations speak for themselves, not to mention his compositions that combine jazz with the likes of Rock and Heavy Metal. Joe Albano clearly found his own voice, though in such an early stage of his career. He is an avant-garde musician in the literal sense - an innovator and daring experimentalist - yet incorporating a strong background of form and structure in order to create a message that is overloaded with energy. Joe's compositions and performances are captivating and mesmerizing, his control over almost every woodwind instrument, including the EWI (title track "Open the Gate and Flood the Valley") is inconceivable. Unless you are a hopeless musical Neanderthal (!), you have to embrace "Open the Gate and Flood the Valley" with an open mind and open ears and the music will let you travel to places you have never even thought of before. "Joe and the Meanderthals" are the kind of energetic musicians that will make you get off your butt and not the kind of musicians you want to be listening to on your way to bed - unless of course you are ready to be taken on an intense journey first.
If you tune into my Bay Area Live show this Thursday, you'll get to hear a show I just recorded this past Saturday night at San Francisco's Hemlock Tavern by a band called Shuteye Unison. Shuteye Unison is a very cool indie/post-rock band who I first discovered because they sent me their self-titled debut album. I popped the CD in to check it out, and then was focusing on something else when I realized at least a minute had gone by and there was no music, just a slowly building wall of feedback. I knew right then that I was going to like this band. Anyone who is willing to start an album that way is okay in my book. This is something Bright Eyes does on just about every album — put a couple minutes of noise or other random sound at the beginning. I read somewhere that Connor Oberst says he's doing that to ward off casual listeners. I dig that, man. But I was EXTRA impressed with Shuteye Unison when I found out that their label, Parks and Records, is not only run by members of the band, but that they have also taken it as their mission to "build a community of like-minded musicians and fans, release passionate indie-pop/ noise-rock albums, reduce waste through 100% recycled/reused packaging, and support organizations dedicated to making our planet greener." Last year, according to their site, they donated funds to National Parks Conservation Association, National Forest Foundation, and Friends of the Urban Forest. I dig that too, man. So why not drop by the Parks and Records website and pick up a copy of Shuteye Unison's debut — it's for a good cause!
In a world where hip-hop is slowly shifting into a number of different newly forming genres of music, not many artists are effectively moving into the rock-rap genre. Lil’ Wayne’s rock music is definitely not his strong-suit, Run-DMC did their thing back in the day, but it was more of a marketing move then anything else. An underground rapper named Cage has made an LP that is an effective synthesis of the two genres. As I’ve talked about in the past, Cage has had a crazy life, from his own father holding a shotgun to his head, to being a test subject for LSD and anti-depressents in an insane asylum, cage has been through the darkest of times. This comes out in his music, and he paints pictures with his lyrics of the most depressing and disgusting situations using his unique humor and intelligence. Cage’s last CD: Depart From Me , is an amazing project, and if you’re a fan of underground rap, and trying to find a new sound to get into you should definitely check this out. Below you can see that I posted one of my favorite songs from the project, where he describes the situation of the fake love that so many young partiers experience in their drunken and drug induced lives. Amazing stuff; make sure to check this man out if you have never heard of him, and click the link below to hear this track. Link to this post The illest Hip-Hop commentary at Ghost Faction.
Rock The Resort just announced the addition of hip hop’s “Teacha,” KRS-One, to the inaugural festival’s line up. KRS-One will kick off the late night music on Saturday, December 5 at midnight on the Main Stage with a 90-minute set. He will also present a lecture and sign copies of his new, highly anticipated book, The Gospel of Hip Hop: First Instrument (PowerHouse Books, 2009). Keeping the hip hop spirit alive throughout the festival, on Sunday afternoon former Spearhead rapper and human beatbox, The Original RADIOACTIVE, will host KidHop, hip hop for children that is not only fun, but educational. He will also perform a Grateful Dead BeatBox Hour on Saturday evening. The Main Stage schedule for Rock The Resort has also been posted: Friday, December 4, 2009 5:30-7pm - Humble Boy Club 9-10:30pm - Trevor Hall 11pm-12:30am - Keaton Simons Saturday, December 5, 2009 12-2pm - The Trapps 3:30-6pm - Melvin Seals & JGB 6:05-7pm - RADIOACTIVE: Grateful Dead Beatbox Hour 9-11pm - Lettuce ft special guests 11:30pm-12am – The Original RADIOACTIVE 12-1:30am – KRS-One Sunday, December 6, 2009 12-1:15pm - Hot Day at the Zoo 1:30-2pm - RADIOACTIVE: KidHop 2-3pm - Jaden 3:30-5pm - Zach Deputy 7-7:30pm - Keaton Simons/RADIOACTIVE Duo 7:30-9pm - Tyrone Wells 9-10:30pm - Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk 12:45-2am - The Glitch Mob Additional artists performing at Rock The Resort include: Eric Krasno & Chapter 2, DJ Logic, Roots of Creation, Rustic Overtones, Rubblebucket, Break Science, Jatoba, The Big Takeover, Humble Boy Club, The Moon, Madam Bills, and Sophistafunk. The “All Spa Jam” will perform during Saturday’s late night set from 3:30am – 6:00am. This jam will feature Eric Krasno, Adam Deitch, The Original RADIOACTIVE, Skerik, Sam Kininger, Ryan Zoidis, Nigel Hall, Keaton Simons and many special guests. Rock The Resort will take place on December 4-6, 2009 at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa in Kerkonkson, New York, just 20 minutes from New Paltz and 90 minutes from New York City. This 3-day indoor festival boasts 3 stages of music which will run until 6:00am every day. Tickets for the festival are now on sale at Tickets can also be purchased in the Hudson Valley at: Fuzion, 18 East Main St, Middletown; Sierra Moon, 56 Main Street, New Paltz; and Postal Plus, 314 Route 94 South, Warwick.   Please visit for more information. SEE YOU THERE!
After a long, wet and exhausting Friday night, I slept a long time. On Saturday morning I was so happy to be in bed that I didn’t get out of it until about 1. I watched Mad Men and Bored to Death and read the paper and drank coffee. All in bed. When I did finally leave it was only because I had heard Brooklyn Bowl had awesome fried chicken. (It’s true.) I got to Brooklyn Bowl just as Surfer Blood was about to play, talk about great timing. I’d never been to this monstrosity before, but let me just say, “damn.” How can a place be both fancy and comfortable? Three words. Big, Leather, Couches. Honestly, I expected a lot from Surfer Blood. Even The Times was giving the band high approval ratings. I wasn’t impressed. Sure, they were tight and the singer’s vocal stylings were very, very hip, but there just wasn’t anything really going on. Or rather, there wasn’t much of anything substantial going on. When the guitar player broke a string the band’s sound was almost better- less fussy, more direct. That said, I think Surfer Blood have a ton pf potential. And they’re only like, 18, so seriously how good could they really be?? After a delicious lunch I headed to Cameo for Underwater Peoples’ showcase. I didn’t want to pay and I was lucky because the sets I especially wanted to see were performed in the bar area and were thus free. Alex Bleeker played first. He strummed his way through a handful of acoustic songs that reminded me of campfire sing along type tunes. I felt like I was back in college- what with the vibe in there and all. Everyone was gathered around Bleeker, (who was accompanied by Alex from Mountain Man, they went to Bennington together), and some people were sitting on the floor. It was an intimate and beautiful experience. Here’s a taste: more about “Alex Bleeker and Alexie (Mountain Man…“, posted with vodpod   Next up was Mountain Man, and they sang with as much heart and soul as they had on Tuesday. The girls arrived from Vermont literally 5 minutes before Alex Bleeker’s set — but they weren’t flustered. They were right there in their element- singing loudly and with shrill as if their voices could lift them up and carry them away. At one point they climbed up on a bench and sang. Why not go higher and higher? Link to this post Microphone Memory Emotion on Park Ave.
  Elliott Smith has been on my mind a lot lately. It was just the reunion of his sad passing on Oct. 21 and then a few days later I saw the documentary “Searching for Elliott Smith.” And then I was googling him looking for something i’d heard once before but needed to hear again. And here it is, Elliott covering The Kinks classic, “Waterloo Sunset” performed live at Brownies (remember Brownies) in the East Village on April 13, 1997. Link to this post Microphone Memory Emotion on Park Ave.
White Denim This Austin trio have been making the rounds to support their new record, Fits, but bassist Steve Terebecki took some time to explain the harrowing big fish tale of how White Denim came to be: "Four blue collar workers, Bop, Terry, Nick, and Byshop, were hard at work on gluing hair, eyes, ears, and mouths to doll heads in their rugged blue jeans at Parque Touch Industries Co. One day the plant was raided by 15 masked figures toting super soakers filled with bleach. Three were saved by covering their eyes with the dolls' eyes, but their jeans were all bleached white. In addition, Byshop was captured and exiled to Siberia. Consequently, the heartbroken trio re-entered the workforce with white denim jeans and could not get hired and eventually were banished to the trailer parks. They moved many times but finally settled into a 1940s spartan trailer that was filled with musical instruments. When they picked them up all they could play was country music... so they did. And they called themselves White Denim, named after the cloth that had ruined all of their lives." One man's ruined life is another man's joy, especially when you get two albums for the price of one. White Denim's latest release includes a bonus disc of their debut record, Exposion. Put the money right into their frayed white pockets by seeing them for their last couple of dates. Tour Nov 19   The Social - Orlando, FL Nov 20   Cafe Eleven - St. Augustine, FL Nov 22   One Eyed Jacks - New Orleans, LA Ladyhawke Matthew Broderick's baby face and a hawk using his head as a perch has always been there to greet me at the $4.99 bin in Best Buy. Who knew a 1985 fantasy that also featured a shape-shifting Michelle Pfeiffer would inspire New Zealand's Phillipa Brown to make a transformation of her own: "I guess Ladyhawke is a side of myself I always wanted to have the courage to do for a long time and so it's basically me just exploring all my different ways of writing songs and improving my own abilities and seeing how far I can stretch them." Ladyhawke just finished up a tour and plans on taking some time off to work on her second record. Dance floors worldwide will miss her. Bibio Stephen Wilkinson released Ambivalence Avenue this past summer and it encapsulates the feeling of a tranquil, sunny day. As a kid, Stephen would spend similar days with his father fishing and he recollects how those memories led to his present moniker: “It’s a type of fishing fly. I think it’s Irish in origin I found out later. It’s a small black and red fly, nothing fancy, but it’s a classic fly. There’s lots of different fancy designs and crazy colours that use googly eyes, but this one, it’s pretty bland to look at. But it does the job and my Dad always swears by it and he still uses it now. He has this box of flies that he’s collected over the years since he was young, and some of them are beautiful things, and obviously when you’re a little kid you’re saying ‘Dad, use this one, use this blue metallic one’ and he’s like ‘No, these one’s are the best.’ And he always just used this one and I asked him what it was called and he said ‘It’s a bibio.’ So when I was trying to think of a name, I wanted to think of something that was a word that it was unlikely anyone else had used…but also something that was really personal to me and my childhood. And…I liked the idea of something small and inconspicuous capturing something beautiful and majestic. And also at the time it paralleled the fact that I had virtually no equipment to make music with but I tried to capture something with what I had. It was that low-fi aspect as well. Because if you think about fly fishing, it’s such a simple idea – to make a tiny little imitation fly to catch something as beautiful as a rainbow trout. But the skill of the angler and the imagination of the angler of where to cast… that’s what makes it such an amazing sport because it’s such a personal thing.” Bibio has a new Warp release entitled The Apple and The Tooth that features 4 new songs and 8 remixes of tracks from Ambivalence Avenue. Watch him turn the wheels in person by attending these dates. Tour Nov 28    Le Guess Who? Festival (DJ Set) - Utrecht, Netherlands Dec 18   Musée Art Comtemporain (DJ Set) - Nice, France Dec 19   Cabaret Aléatoire (DJ Set) - Marseille, France Link to this article:
Hello Friends, I love hearing new music. If you've got a band or know of someone/something new  that you think I might like, hit me up. There is so much amazing music out there and it is impossible for me to find it all... so, I need your help. Fill me in! Hit me up at And, while you're at it, tell me what music you want to hear more or on my shows. I'm always taking suggestions and comments. Thanks Friends, Emily :)
Often times on my programs here on BTR, I come up with the name of a genre I think fits a set of songs or encapsulates the sound of a particular BTR artist. Granted, some of these are self-dubbed by the individual bands, or just plain out of left field, but I think in this emerging world of underground and independent music, a lot of music has been getting that elusive iTunes merit under genre, "unclassifiable."  I for one am happy to hear, explore, and even come up with a communicative description for the new sounds emerging in today's music. Without plugging them too much, check out via the internets a great piece on NPR about your favorite new genre of the past decade.
I was alerted to Larry Gus by the awesome Rose Quartz and I can only say “thanks!” Larry Gus is Panagiotis Melidis and is from Greece but makes his music in Barcelona- alone in a bedroom with the bare minimum of materials: a portable turntable and a Roland sampler. The result is some mind expanding sound collages– with a little R&B influence. The song below would be particularly good as the soundtrack to a foreign spy film, probably something French, where women in trench coats jump out of doorways at you. Info on Gus is here. And you can also pick up a promo of his whole album “Stiches” there, which is coming out on Cast-a-Blast. Link to this post Microphone Memory Emotion on Park Ave.
Image from The Exile You would think during a time of vast unemployment, wealth disparity, and economic instability that great minds would unite in order to imagine and build a new tomorrow in which the suffering of the masses could be lessened. Of course, that fantasy includes the provision that The Smartest Guys In The Room are also The Most Moral Guys In The Room, which is rarely the case. Enter T.A. Frank, a New America Foundation think tank lackey, who believes the solution to horrific living conditions in the ghetto is to privatize Section 8 housing and ship black people out to the subprime suburbs. This is a bad idea for obvious reasons laid out in The Exile by Yasha Levine. First, the area where Frank wants to ship poor black people isn’t that great, according to Levine. "My adopted home of Victorville, California, a McTractHome paradise on the edge of the Mojave Desert 100 miles east of LA, has a buttload of crime, non-existent employment options, racial isolation and a gestapo police presence—just like the real ghetto." If men like Frank were truly acting in the spirit of altruism, wouldn’t they want to improve the preexisting communities of poor black people, say, by increasing police presence, creating job programs, fostering small businesses, and rebuilding public schools? Frank’s idea to “help” poor people is the same strategy negligent pet owners employ when they want to get rid of an unwanted dog. Drive to the city limits and dump the mutt in the woods. Then drive away as quickly as possible. Second, unless the government is also willing to supply cars for this newly created diaspora, I have no idea how these people are supposed to get around. L.A. isn’t exactly known for its wonderful public transportation, so I doubt there is an efficient bus fleet. Of course, these are all minor details. The main goal is to get the black, poor people the hell out of the way so that Frank and Associates can get their fingers on that prime real estate. As for the black people, it’s like Levine says: "Outta sight, outta mind." That’s the best kind of charity! Third, this is just another way to reinforce class and race divides in our country. The wealth disparity and racist policies of the United States has already been well documented, but I do want to share this chart, which simultaneously illustrates the rise in poverty and unemployment across the board, but also the magnified impact the trend has on the minority communities. I have no idea how any economist, after looking at these figures, doesn’t run screaming from the room. Clearly, an economic system in which these are the “success” figures is very broken. Perhaps now is the time to rethink hyper-Capitalism, and not tear down public housing, the last refuge of the dispossessed. If this seems like the sad, racist fantasy of one free market jackal, it’s not. This is already happening. Last summer, the New York Times ran a story about Atlanta’s public housing woes. [emphasis mine] "[C]ritics of the demolitions worry about the toll on residents, who must qualify for vouchers, struggle to find affordable housing and often move to only slightly less impoverished neighborhoods. Especially in a troubled economy, civil rights groups say, uprooting can lead to homelessness if more low-income housing is not made available. Lawsuits have been filed in many other cities, generally without success, that claim that similar relocations violate residents’ civil rights and resegregate the poor. The federal government has advocated variations of this approach for several decades, particularly since President Bill Clinton began the Hope VI program in the 1990s to disperse residents from centralized projects. Atlanta may be the furthest along, but its plans to demolish buildings, relocate residents and work with private developers to gentrify destitute neighborhoods are being mirrored across the country in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Miami and New Orleans. Over all, 195,000 public housing units have met the wrecking ball across the country since 2006, and over 230,000 more units are scheduled for demolition, according to the Housing and Urban Development Department." This seems utterly insane. During an economic crisis, and spiking unemployment, why the hell would any Great Mind look at this mess and think — You know what? Let’s tear down the affordable housing! Beyond being cruel, this is dangerous. Poor people rely upon urban geography for their very survival. They need cheap public transportation and nearby stores (including the frequently understocked and nutrition-lacking Bodegas) in order to eat and get to their jobs. If the poor get pushed to the outskirts of cities and towns, not only is that a step backward into a more segregated society, but it threatens the survival of these human beings. And when rich people want the outskirts — what then? Where will the poor go then? Will it even matter? Link to this article:
Had a fun session with Emilyn Brodsky tonight. She plays ukulele and sings about lots of people, and things, and situations. She released an album called GREATEST TITS last year and hopefully we'll be hearing some more recordings from her in the next few months. She brought along a stellar band including the wonderful Emily Hope Price (from Pearl And The Beard), Anthony Da Costa, and drummer Brian V (from the Dresden Dolls). Live Studio is PACKED this fall. More dispatches soon. Triple header this wednesday! Brian V returns to the studio next week with the fresh new CLIKS.
  Dean Bein of True Panther Sounds is the man behind the biggest (probably) break out band of the year, Girls. Bein also threw like, 4 CMJ shows, DJed a FADER party, and even did another party on Sunday of CMJ weekend– when the shit was already over. He’s devoted to sound. Bein took some time out to discuss the music of Girls, working with Matador, the appeal of cassettes and records, how to pronounce his last name and more. How and when did you start True Panther Sounds? My friends Molly, Avi and I started a band called Red Tape Apocalypse so our friend Sam could have a vehicle to learn how to play guitar. We wrote some songs and decided we should go on tour. We made a recording in the basement on my 4-track, mixed it on a friend’s computer, pooled our money and put out a tour-only 7″. That record sold so we decided to put out another one using the money. The label has sort of kept afloat on that one-to-one project style since then. That was in 2006. Putting money into something, praying it would sell enough to put out something else. You started in San Francisco right? Why the move to Brooklyn? We started in San Francisco. At one point I realized that growing up in SF and moving back there made it really difficult to focus on anything. San Francisco is a fantasy-land in the best and worst possible ways- you can walk down the street, get some free pizza, step into Dolores Park and run into 20 of your best friends. It was really hard to accomplish anything longterm for me there because it had so much history for me. Once I got to New York I realized how vital the music scene in San Francisco actually is and how unfortunate it was that it didn’t really have a loud voice singing its praises. How many people work for you? Do you operate in Cali too? Nobody works for me. The label started out as just Molly, Avi and myself. Then it was just me. Now I’m really lucky to work with the staff at Matador to promote and support TPS releases. I also have a really smart industrious and generally awesome intern named Ben Mallett who helps a couple of times a week. But I don’t have any employees, per say. How do you find talent, primarily? I listen to music from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, usually go to sleep listening to music. I trade music with friends, talk about it with them, DJ radio shows and parties, collect records, etc. Music is pretty much my life, so a part of that is constantly discovering new bands and musicians. I’m lucky now to also have the bands that I currently work with hip me to things they think are cool. Tell me the story of Girls, were they first friends of yours? Did you know instantly that they would get so much love? I used to see Christopher around SF a lot. I ran into him at Glen Park BART one morning at 8am as he was going to work, and I was going to work. I found it really surprising that he was up so early and commuting to San Mateo for work. A few months later, I was living in New York and incredibly homesick. I heard his and JR’s songs and completely fell in love, overwhelmed by the images of San Francisco they evoked and the beauty and intimacy of their songs and recordings. I feel like most people, if they are listening with an open heart, will recognize that their songs are really special, and have a sincerity that is rare these days. What do you think is your job? Curating? Finding music? Or just helping share it? I think if labels can’t provide something that bands can’t do for themselves they are useless. The job of the label is to realize the dreams and aspirations of a band, use our resources, ideas and experiences to help a band make the best music they can, and share it with the right audience. Everyone can find music these days, and a lot of those same people can release music. The job of a label is to help organize and tell the story of the music. I suppose a part of that is curating, wading through the volume of music in the world, selecting something and telling the story of the music. What do you think about the music industry in general these days? I think it’s an incredibly exciting time for people to try to think of new ways to make the business work, and an incredible opportunity for people with fresh ideas to take part. It’s a wonderful time for music, and especially independent music, to get an audience and tour the world. It’s also a special time for music fans who can now access music from all over the world. As a lifetime participant in independent music and punk rock, I enjoy the fact that major labels are struggling, and that indies can negotiate the music world with a dexterity and quickness that the goliaths can’t. Our ability to adapt and think about what artists need creatively is our greatest strength. Are vinyl and cassette formats the future? Or is it really digital? I think vinyl and cassettes are signs of the continued need of music fans to feel a physical connection to their favorite bands- to purchase something directly from them and put it up on their wall or shelf. Just as the CD was a transitional medium for the evolution of analog to digital music, I think the resurgence of vinyl/cassette is the sign of another kind of transition, from purely audio physical objects to some kind of integrated but still tangible object. No idea what that will be, I suppose if I knew TPS/Matador would be billionaires! What are some of your favorite acts these days? Brooklyn or elsewhere? I feel honored to work with some of my favorite artists. I think Girls are writing some of the most heartfelt, beautiful and ultimately classic songs around. Lemonade is toying around with totally new and mind-blowing sounds. Glasser has one of the most powerful and versatile voices I’ve heard in recent memory. Tanlines and Teengirl Fantasy are reformatting house music in really liberating and progressive ways. Outside of TPS, I love the songs of Cass McCombs and the sounds Cold Cave is exhuming. Also, the fact that Willie Nelson and Motorhead still tour, that Omar Souleyman is making a record with the dude from Blur, etc. etc. etc…. How did the deal with Matador develop? It seems odd that Girls didn’t put out any music and Matador teamed up with you for their debut. I feel really honored that Matador came to believe in the music that was coming out on TPS, they saw it over a period of time and believed in it enough to bring it into their fold. Along with Lemonade and Glasser, they watched Girls develop, heard songs as they came in, and came to fall in love with them just as I did. Do you handle press and promotion for True Panther as well? I used to, now I do for certain releases, and Matador staff helps with others. It depends on the demands of the project. What other future projects are you especially psyched about? As I mentioned before, the Lemonade album is going to be incredible, utilizing all kinds of new sounds and beats. Their new music is a daring evolution in American beat music, a true product of the international and musically liberated subculture we’re living in. A few bands who can’t be mentioned yet. The Hunx and His Punx album is hilarious but still better than 99% of the garage rock out there. What upcoming bands would you love to put something out for? Paramore. What’s the best thing about working in/with music? Never buying furniture and sleeping on record boxes, eating off of record boxes, eating used cds, wearing only promo/band t-shirts and slowly but surely becoming a bonafide alcoholic. How do you pronounce your last name? Bean? Bein, rhymes Chow Mein. I used to think my last name was spelled wrong because I moved with my family to America when I was 6 and my dad didn’t speak English. I don’t think that’s the case anymore though! How was CMJ? What were the best bands you saw, True Panther or otherwise? I’m completely exhausted after CMJ. I usually am super hyper but on Monday I woke up and actually couldn’t move my body…I just needed some rest. My favorite bands were Lemonade, Glasser, Tanlines, Harlem. Some other ones but I hope to be putting out their records some time next year. Link to this post Microphone Memory Emotion on Park Ave.
Late nights yield surprises. Saturday evening was spent soaking up the shiny new sound of Donnis. His new album, 10.Deep Presents: Diary of an ATL Brave came out of the ether and jumped onto my radar with a massive blip. First I heard "Sexytime," a hilarious song with a chorus of "I'm gon' bring some friends some of mine/ And we gon' have sexytime/ You can bring some friends of yers/ and we gon' have some sex occur/ 'Cause girl I got Patron in my cup/ I'm all dr-own up/ and you know I'm tryin' to fuck/ So what's the hold-up?" At the end of the song, like bonus material on a DVD, Donnis breaks down in a gale of giggles. It's like he fell laughing out of the recording booth after singing such lyrics, and that is excellent. Nothing is better than hearing people who can laugh at themselves. The whole room relaxes a little. A banger called "Country Cool" came on next. As soon as the song started, I thought, "this sounds like..." and then Donnis answered my question when he said "you know the home of Country Grammar." Indeed. Nelly was who I was thinking of, esp. when the "chorus" rolled around, which is nothing but Donnis saying "ah" "ah "ah" "uh" "uh" "ah" in a harmonic fashion, while a quick-paced clap crushes along. It's awesome, but explaining it in print does the vocal no justice. The same issue comes up describing certain lyrics from Nelly and the band Pinback, where the sounds of the words are more important than the actual meanings. Needless to say, the chorus is stickier than flypaper, and don't be surprised if you catch yourself humming it aloud at random moments, frightening friends and strangers alike. Bringing a fat stamp of approval, Bun B. makes a for a swell 'featuring' in "Country Cool." He literally appears out of nowhere, with no ad-libs to hint at his upcoming guest spot, a big ol' "yeah, Bun B, king of the trill transmittin'/ Live from Texas where them boy's ain't bullshittin.'" His voice has always reminded me of Nate Dogg's, all deep and boss-declarative. It's great hearing him own it in the midst of a such an infectious party song, where Donnis advises wacky people to "just pick your coffin out." Two songs into it, I was hooked. Then "Gone" came on, a joint which could easily make Donnis famous. It's got a starshot, laser-beamed beat, complete with an ethereal synth choir and a T.I.-flavored bounce. "In the middle of the club blowin' indo/ Rolling up a Swisher Sweet as fat as Mr. Winslow/ 'Cause right now only Family Matters/ And all these other niggers pissed 'cause they got little bladders" says Donnis, and all is well at the club for winter 2009. The chorus of "We gone, let's get some green/ Let's get some drink/ Let's get it on/ Say tonight we gon get goin, goin gone/ Say tonight we gon get going, going gone" makes for a catchy, neon-lettered chant, complete with a surprisingly un-annoying T-Pain filter. Meanwhile, underneath the bed, a tinkling stew of whirling space sound effects heightens the drama, bolstered by a campy, yet key, 70s-style haunted house organ.    Similar to the fun-yet-clever lyrics, the production throughout the album is top shelf. It's the kind of stuff they keep in the back, until someone asks for it by name up front. Then you got to pay, but boy is it worth it. I'm not sure who did the beats for Donnis, or if he did them himself, but it's safe to say they was done proper. Feel free to break him out on the hi-fi next weekend, right at that critical point in the night where A. the party ends or B. the afterparty is christened. A B beats out an A, in this case.   Link to this article:
So I hope you enjoyed how awesome we are at making you appreciate Jazz. We are seriously that good yo! Anyway check out how exciting my weekend was. You'll feel bad because it was way more awesome than your weekend. I promise you that.
  Very rarely does one see a show where all the bands are equally satisfying. Last night at Maxwell’s was one of those times. The double whammy of a bill featured two sides of the same coin: Real Estate, the New Jersey rockers who focus on solos and long, textured rhythmic build ups, and Girls, the San Francisco band focused on the major-swoon inducing Christopher Owens and his superb heartbreak act. By the end of the show I didn’t know whether to jump up and down with enthusiasm or run home and cry. I’ve seen Real Estate before and each time I do I like them more and more. It’s just that kind of band that gets into your head and grows, filling up all the space between synapses, like a re-uptake inhibitor drug. The band is really all about jams- of course there are lyrics and melody but the power in Real Estate lies in their guitar solos and Alex Bleeker’s interesting and almost guitar-like bass playing. Matt Mondanile and Martin Courtney trade back and forth, when one solos the other builds the song– it happens slowly and deliberately. It’s easy to get lost in the hazy chord progressions… and that’s a good thing. Girls came up next and I have to say, I haven’t been taken aback by a performer like I was last night in a very, very long time. Christopher Owens is literally the wounded bird with the tough shell. He is one part pure, sexy confidence and one part tender, perhaps bitter confusion. And his music reflects this tension. At times he sings mournfully into his microphone (he brings his own), singing about loving someone so much he wants to be them, and other times he is dancing across the stage Chuck Berry style and creating more noisy sounds with a slide. It’s this dichotomy, this utterly confusing and palpable feeling of bewilderment that makes Girls so fucking great and powerful. Owens is a singer and musician that people can relate to- and that people can love. He is completely lacking in pretension on stage, has an adorable lisp, a strange demeanor and yet he has both rock star and boy next door qualities. While Chet “JR” White was surely an even keeled back-up to Owens, it’s pretty clear that this is Owens’ game. It is he who stands starkly center stage with no fear– though he sometimes hides behind waves of dirty blonde California beach hair– and leads the band, which also includes newcomer Ryan Lynch from Dominant Legs, and Garett Godard on drums. Both bands last night reminded me of one of my favorite musicians of all time, Evan Dando. I know many people consider Evan an impostor, a phony, whatever. There’s a lot of hate around him. But what Evan and the Lemonheads did was take emotion, extreme blissed out and romantic emotion, (sometimes juvenile), and turn it into something serious, something adult. And drugs played a big role, as they do with Girls (anyone read the FADER cover story?) and Real Estate, too. I think… The Lemonheads ook pretty songs about love and loss and turned them into alt-pop/ rock and roll- which is just what Girls is doing too. Get your ass to Girls and Real Estate if you know what’s good for you. You may walk away bewildered, confused, in love, whatever, but it will feel really good either way. See a video from the bands here and here. (iPhone videos…not good sound.) Link to this post Microphone Memory Emotion on Park Ave.
So, on a scale of 1 to Free Pizza, how much do you love Liquor Store? I'd say I love them about a Rut's Hut Hotdog. Liquor Store is a really great old-fashioned hardcore band that beats you over the head with New Jersey-ness. They play with up to 7 guitars on any given night and just party and cause a scene and make people nuttttz. They feature members of LiveFastDie, Indian Casino & Jail Hippies and Home Blitz. Here's something I wrote about them on Facebook last November that really sums up my feelings: friends and family, this is the most important facebook note you will ever read. I don't know if you have plans already, but LIQUOR STORE is playing at Cake Shop on Friday, with other good bands. but seriously, i don't think you understand. a LIQUOR STORE show is the most amazing experience of your life. They are from new jersey. They crack jokes. They are punk rock. Most importantly? THEY HAVE FIVE FUCKING GUITARS AND TWO DRUM SETS AND THEY WRECK SHIT UP. I really think you would love them. Everyone does. There is nothing not to like. Read this interview Margherite did with them on Yo-Ster. That's right... Liquor Store thinks that the only thing better than free pizza is FREE PIZZA WITH WEED ON IT. RAWK But anyway, to get to the point, Liquor Store played at Don Pedro's last week with Human Eye and Terrible Twos. All three bands were amazing, as always, but... Liquor Store really stole the show before it even started by pulling up in a fucking convertible, looking stylish as all hell: Yeah, those boys know how to bring it. And, as always, here are some DirtBerry pixx of Terrible Twos and Human Eye: Also, a video of Sarim being Sarim: Link to this post Pop Jew in Brooklyn is just a Jewish girl in Brooklyn that loves music.
Art, music and fashion collide on November 19 at the new Shea Stadium for a free night of DIY in Brooklyn, presented by BreakThru Radio.  Jam to music sets from Nunparty, Scott Deadelus, Total Slacker, and Byrds of Paradise.  Feast your eyes on photography by Ben Rowland and comic illustrations from Josh Neufeld, author and illustrator of A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge.  Browse the fashion pieces on display by men's and women's designer Jeannette Tiso.  Do all this while sipping on an ice cold Brooklyn Lager, free while it lasts!  These artists did it themselves - shouldn't you? Thursday, November 19 Shea Stadium 20 Meadow St | Brooklyn, NY Doors 8pm | All ages | Free ------------------------------------ New shows on BTR - Click here for the new show info! Link to this Article:
There is a new Flaming Lips video.  There is a weird, giant vagina, you see Wayne Coyne completely naked, and the song is awesome.  Watch it here.  Huzzah!
So I am really trying to get the hang of this regular blogging thing. I am trying all kinds of things, live show reviews, myspace reviews, etc. but none of them seem to be able to keep my interest. Then I realized that I keep an external blog for my radio show, Overnight Sensation, where I do short write-ups on all the bands that I play. SO I think that this would also be a good place to post those posts, because they really should exist some place on BTR site too. So I am gonna do that NOW!
Only 10 bands this week! Some of these guys write long songs, so I can't help it. they're all great bands. Sorry this post is coming at you one day late. I had yesterday off and I wanted to take it for myself! Here's the setlist: 00:00 Mic Break 02:00 Never Been to Church - Meth Teeth (Portland, OR) 05:18 I Was Wrong - Meth Teeth 08:17 Mic Break 08:53 Boperator - Dirty Fences (New York, NY) 12:05 Leo House - Dirty Fences 14:06 How We Do - Vacation Club (Bloomington, IN) 16:36 Meltin' With Elton - Vacation Club 18:18 Mic Break 20:02 Be With Me - Gape Attack! (Seattle, WA) 22:43 Fetal Position - Gape Attack! 25:21 Key Buzz - Cheap Smokes (Omaha, NE) 27:50 Ryan - Cheap Smokes 29:13 Mic Break 31:42 Liquid Elves - Rebecca's Room (New Waterford, Nova Scotia) 33:21 Cave Behind a Face - Rebecca's Room 34:48 I Seen Your Grave - Rebecca's Room 36:17 Mic Break 37:34 Silent People - The Dead Baron (Lynwood, CA) 40:03 Tree Limbs Together - Cat Killer (Cleveland, OH) 43:39 And Your Heart Beats - Cat Killer 47:36 My Demons - High Magic (Fayetteville, AR) 49:26 Mic Break 51:56 Crystal Necklace - Total Slacker (Brooklyn, NY) 54:45 Video Store Rental Guy - Total Slacker Meth Teeth is already big enough that they kind of don't fit in on this show! I mean, they have an LP out on Woodsist, that is a pretty high profile label these days. But I wanted to play them because they are one of my favorite bands and I played the hell out of their 7" on Sweet Rot when it came out and they are still one of the best bands of their kind, a kind that I tend to play a lot on this show. They've really pretty much mastered the weird-folk sound better than the other bands. These songs are like "Swanee River" or something. They all sound like they're 100 years old! It's wonderful! Dirty Fences appear to have started in Boston as a high school band, but now they're based in NYC. Their sound is all over the place, but in a good way. Actually, it's not that all over the place. For example, one song will be a kinda dark jangly train-hopping garage tune in the vein of The Goodnight Loving or Brimstone Howl ("Shere Khan"), the next will be a fuzzy doo-wop sort of thing that reminds me of the Smith Westerns or something ("Sabretooth"), next will be straight-ahead fast-paced garagepunk that owes something to Oblivians ("Can't Tame Me"), then you get cool powerpop ("Boperator"). While these are all pretty different sounds, they're all vaguely related in record collector sense and they all go together well. And Dirty Fences does them all well. Alive-Naturalsound should take note. Vacation Club is doing the messy garage-pop thing out in Indiana, an ever-fertile state for killer boneheaded rock n roll. I mean, you got The Boy Toys, The Perennials, The Snot Rags, The Sweet Sixteens, TV Ghost, etc etc you would think they woulda run out of awesome dirty stuff by now but man, it is a deep thing in that state, going to way back in the day. Vacation Club is picking up on that very same tradition, but in their own way. They got a big drum sound, not so tinny, and they play fast and fun. Well, yeh they pretty much sum it up right with "Hoosier boys making bad decisions." Some one put out a 7" with "How We Do" and "Maybe" on it please. Gape Attack is synth pop that I like a lot. What it makes me think of is what it would sound like if Digital Leather wasn't so hit or miss, but was actually only hits. To me that's really great because I was always super-frustrated by how hit-or-miss Digital Leather was. Gape Attack makes really cold digital drums and synths into really warm and inviting songs through fuzzy recording methods and good songwriting. It makes sense, then, that FDH is doing his (their) first 7", a split release with Skrot Up. This could be a big thing, I think. It's cool stuff. Cheap Smokes comin out of Omaha, seem to be a part of that scene I mentioned a couple weeks back when I played The Cave Kids so go dig up that post if you want some links to more good Omaha bands! This band is drums/guitar/keyboard indie pop in the tradition of the Clean (via Times New Viking / Eat Skull). Sounds blown-out n buried by fuzzz but catchy as all get out. Nothing new, but incredibly satisfying when it's done well. And if it's gonna be done well anywhere at this point, it's gonna be done well in Omaha. Conditions are good there for it. Cheap Smokes got it. No records coming out, as far as I can tell, but maybe it will happen one day. I sure hope so. Rebecca's Room is from Nova Scotia. I don't knw much about the band, or Nova Scotia really. I have never been there, and it doesn't seem like there's a ton of bands coming from there. There probably are though. There's a ton of bands coming from most places! BUT I would bet that Rebecca's Room has to be the best band coming out of Nova Scotia these days. Not because I think Nova Scotia can't produce that much good music or anything, just because I like Rebecca's Room that damn much! They got a sound going that seems to be reminiscent a lot of my hometaping favorites (Charlie Mcalister, Guided by Voices,Refrigerator, but only in the sense that it evokes that kind of loner / outsider with an excellent pop sensibility vibe  that all those bands do. That is not something you can really fake, but it's something a whole lot of bands wish they had. No records yet, but I want one pretty bad. The Dead Baron is gonna always be compared to Lightning Bolt cos they are a Loud Guitar/Drums duo that plays fucking heavy, spastic riff music. Well, they do that some times. The rest of the time they are doing weird experiments with samples/loops from pop songs and hip hop beats and noise and it's kind of all over the place. So I don't really want to call the Lightning Bolt comparisons unfair, but it's like, obviously that is not even kind of what this band is about. It just seems like they have this spastic creative energy that is best worked out in these hyperactive heavy riff songs so that they don't overload their brains too hard. Then once they've calmed down a bit they work on the more out-there stuff. Then they get all wired again and have to pound on something for a while. At least that's how I see it. They have a few records on Obeast, Wheaton, and a forthcoming one on Lazy Roar. Cat Killer is fucking cool stuff, maaan. The band name makes it sound like some violent hardcore band, but that is pretty far from the truth. In fact, Cat Killer plays a kind of fuzzy, heartwarming underwater pop music. It manages to be inviting and almost nostalgic lo-fi pop without relying on shameless 60s pop / c86 aping. That is really kinda special these days. Sometimes it kind of makes me think of what City Center would sound like if they sounded more like Saturday Looks Good to Me. That won't mean anything to most of you, but it's a good thing, I think. Tapes galore out on Bathetic, Speed Tapes, Leftist Nautical Antiques, usual tape suspects it seems. High Magic comes from Fayetteville, Arkansas. "My Demons" is the only track they have on myspace there, and it is way cool. Kinda messy psych/surf/garage vibe. The sound is way off in the distance, which I will chalk up to this being a demo, but I do think it suits the song pretty well, gives it an essential bit of haze in the mix. I do believe that a more hi-fi version of the song could sound really great, as long as they can keep that haze in there. Anyway, I think this band is gonna be recording more stuff in the future, I am definitely excited for that. Total Slacker is from Brooklyn and they have a good name to describe their sound. It is slow, low-key pop music with kinda lethargic vocals. Really nice stuff. For some reason it reminds me a lot of Nirvana, like if Nirvana only had really slow songs and just stayed quiet, never did the quiet/loud thing. And had female vocals. Yeh I think that describes Total Slacker pretty well. I guess they also kinda sound like some of the ealier Oh Sees stuff too (and amybe their more recent stuff, I suppose, I just have not heard it). So anyway, that's it! Tune in next week for some more GOOD MUSIC :)
Thomas Function is one of the current bands that if you mention to me I'll get all weak in the knees and say "OMG they are my favvvvvorite band". I get called out on this a lot, I know that I'll call lots of bands my favorite band, but that doesn't mean I don't mean it when I say it. Thomas Function (or T-Funk, as the kids call them) are a total cute band from the cutest part of the country: The South! I love the South, for some reason, I don't know, but really, all a boy needs to do to impress me is talk about NASCAR in a drawl. I'm simple. Thomas Function plays sweet key-board infused punk rock with a slight twang to it and seriously, if you're not booty shaking for their entire set there might be something wrong with you. I just love them. They make me smile on the inside (and on the outside). The T-Funk boys were just in New York and played three great shows (Silent Barn, Studio @ Webster Hall, Bruar Falls), but they also had a small run-in with the cops: Yep, that is Zach (keyboards) handing over a CD copy of "Celebration" (Thomas Function's first full-length) to the NYPD. Here's the scoop: The Thomas Function van got into a tiny little fender bender outside of a beer distributor in Ridgewood, Queens. Thomas Function just wanted to exchange info (with the illegally parked woman) and leave, but instead the cops became involved and blah blah blah. The whole thing wasn't a big deal, but after the interrogation had ended, the police woman started to get curious about what kind of band these boys were in. They eventually offered her a CD. Travis ran back to the car and was about to grab the new album "In The Valley of Sickness" (officially out October 13th!), but then thought better when he remembered that it features "ADP Blues", a song whose chorus includes the lyrics "the only good cop is a dead cop" (very catchy song BTW). He handed over the older CD instead and everyone had a good laugh about it. Adventures at the beer store, fun times. Here's a "cute boy" pic of Zach and Travis in front of their van: Here's a youtube video of their hit song "Filthy Flowers" (off of "Celebration)... because I'm still trying to figure out how to embed mp3s (e-mails with helpful information would be appreciated): ...and here are a few BamBerry pixx of the fun yet under attended show at Webster. The Barn show was better (they just kept playing all my favorite songs), but this show had better lighting: They're on tour for a bunch more weeks! Check them out if you can!!! xoxo Link to this post Pop Jew in Brooklyn is just a Jewish girl in Brooklyn that loves music.
The Marcellus Shale (Image from New York Times) There’s an incredible video posted at the website of Toxic Targeting, an environmental watchdog group that maps toxic sites on a lot-by-lot basis. The video shows a man lighting his tap water on fire. The water, and the tap, belong to a disabled Vietnam veteran who has lived in his Candor, New York home since 1962. Naturally, he called in a complaint to the Department of Environmental Conservation. Unfortunately, the DEC did nothing. They didn’t send anyone out to investigate the problem. All they told the veteran was, “don’t drink the water.” Yeah, thanks. Not an issue. The veteran lives above something called the Marcellus Shale, a formation few people know about, but which has a huge impact on their water and gas supplies. It’s basically a giant rock formation that extends from New York all the way down to Tennessee. Industry first became interested in the Marcellus Shale when scientists realized there was gas inside the pores of the rock. Walter Hang, President of Toxic Targeting, explains in an interview today with Democracy Now, that a new process called “slick water hydrofracking” was developed to extract the gas. However, the extraction involves tremendous amounts of water, and it’s incredibly polluting. The water that comes out of the ground has toxic chemicals, petroleum compounds, and it’s actually radioactive. Huge corporations like Chesapeake, Fortuna, Talisman, and Hess benefit from slick water hydrofracking, but the process is potentially polluting the drinking water of 15 million people, including 9 million New Yorkers. With further Marcellus drilling planned, the full range of environmental consequences from this breed of drilling has yet to be seen. Link to this article:
Is Hip Hop Dead? It seems to me on the main stream radio stations we hear alotta pop tunes / with hip-hop collaborations, but where is all the real hip-hop? Jay-Z dropped another amazing album with great flow and lyrical content. I definitely give it a 5 out of 5. But it seems like the hip hop world needs more than just Jay & Lil Wayne to revive the scene. Ahhh but it seems like a new rebel has emerged giving us some of that essence that hip-hop is losing. On November 10th Allido Records artist Wale released his debut album "Attention Deficit". Now he's had a buzz for a little while now, releasing several mix tapes and other tracks. Now he finally has released the full length album and guess what? Its Great!!! Really though, fans of real hip hop are going to love it. the album which is 14 tracks (16 if you get the bonus joints off Itunes), from front to back is consistently good. The album features plenty of collabo's including tracks with Bun B, J.Cole, Pharrell, Gucci Mane and a few others. Female vocalist are also on some tracks with song featuring Chrissette Michele and the banger single "Chillin" featuring Lady Gaga. My favorite tracks include: Pretty Girls, Let It Loose & Chillin'. Beats are tight, rhymes and style is off the hook. i definitely suggest picking this one up. i give it 4 out of 5. WALE "ATTENTION DEFICIT" OUT NOW
So you know what you guys, The Beatles are my favorite band. I know every1 loves the Beatles, but you don't love them like I do. I love the Beatles more than you, okay? Deal with it. I love the Beatles even more than these girls wit a contagious case of Beatlemania: I love The Beatles so much that my dreams look like the cover of this magazine: And I got that way because of my father. When I was growing up I felt kind of like a loser 'cause I didn't know any of that fancy Top 40 stuff all the kids loved. I couldn't talk about TLC or NKOTB or any of that cool stuff... The only music my parents played around me was The Beatles and show tunes and weird old comedy records. On long trips in the car my dad would play Beatles songs and my brother and I would have to identify who was singing each song. I got really good at it. I would sing "I Call Your Name" whenever I got the chance to perform ANYWHERE. Such a histrionic little child. Well, in case you hadn't noticed, there is a crazy Beatles marketing offensive going on right now. I got a call from my father a few weeks ago asking me to explain to him what Rock Band was... and found out from my mother that he was planning to buy it for me (sorry Daddy, would love it, but you'd need to buy me a Playstation too!). You can't open your eyes without hearing about this Rock Band thing and hearing the re-masters that they made and blah blah blah. I'm fine with it. If it means I hear The Beatles more often, that's cool. If more people get excited about Beatles music and the tweens are into awesome pop, that's the best. Only one thing has upset me. And you probably know what it is. Yes, you're right: The fucking p4k reviews of the fucking Beatles albums. When I first saw them posted I kind of thought maybe it was a funny joke, that they all got 10.0's and that it was Pitchfork kind of parodying themselves. Then I woke up from my pleasant dream and remembered that p4k has no sense of humour and that they are just trying to grab at a piece of this as much as someone else. The idea of reviewing Beatles albums is pretty ridiculous. Especially in pretentious pitchfork speak with ratings out of 10. An interesting editorial, fine. A fucking review? No. This is Revolver. It's not the fucking new VivGrrlz album. You don't review Help! in the same way you review the xx. You just don't. Okay? I think Hipster Runoff, my favorite blog of all time, joked about this in The perfect way: I finally know that ‘Let it Be’ (9.1) is slightly worse that AnCo (9.6) but slightly better than Grizzly Bear (9.0). I don't want to act so mad bros, but srsly, leave The Beatles alone, let them be awesome. The Beatles: The original cute boyz! You know, when I was little I used to think Paul was the cutest, but nowadays I'd probably go for George! Real talk. Link to this post Pop Jew in Brooklyn is just a Jewish girl in Brooklyn that loves music.
Thanksgiving. Sure, this signifies delicious home cooking, a chance to sleep in, and a tryptophan coma. But, for music lovers everywhere, this holiday stands for that one weekend a year when you forgo seeing shows in the great city you moved to after graduation, in favor of hanging out in your hometown bar with people you haven't seen since 1999. It's not necessary, though, to give up your first love of music in order to stuff yourself with mashed potatoes. If we had to list what we're thankful for, wouldn't great indie music top that list? So why give that up during one of the few holidays of the year? With BTR's guide to Thanksgiving shows, you don't have to. Whether you stick around your city for the day before Thanksgiving or sneak out of the house to a show on the actual Turkey Day, there's plenty of great things to see all over the country. New York City is offering a veritable buffet of Thanksgiving treats. First and foremost, the Pixies are playing Hammerstein Ballroom on both the day before and the day of Thanksgiving. What's better than gobbling down stuffing? Hearing Kim Deal churn out killer bass lines and listen to the entire band play Doolittle in its entirety. This one is a no-brainer.  Any reasonable family member would understand your need to get out to this reunion tour. If Pixies aren't your thing (but really, why wouldn't they be?), you could check out Sonic Youth the night before Halloween at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. So much old school talent!  If you're looking for something newer, you could check out Screaming Females at The Bell House. Marissa Paternoster's throaty vocals propel this new-school punk band's thrashing rhythms, and they are definitely one of the break through acts of 2009. If you happen to be celebrating the big day in the suburbs of Chicago, you are also in luck. The 25th has three shows ripe for the picking. If you're into hip-hop you should definitely make it out to House of Blues Chicago to catch Kid Sister and Flosstradamus. This BTR Artist of the Week alumni has some of the most innovative beats and rhymes in indie hip-hop. If you're looking for something that you can bring the whole family to, then Laura Veirs at Lincoln Hall is your best bet. A BTR All Access alumni, Marling has grown enormously in popularity over the past few years, and her beautiful voice has only gotten better. If you're in the mood to totally get away from the whole family vibe, then Grooms at Ronny's is the perfect pick. This Brooklyn band will bring the noise. They were one of the best acts I saw for CMJ, and I imagine they'll do something for Thanksgiving. If you're lucky enough to be in sunny Los Angeles, then you're best option is to get your dance on with Peaches and Amanda Blank at the Wiltern. They're playing on Thanksgiving day, and knowing Peaches, it should be nothing short of entertaining. Besides, I can think of no better way to burn off all of those cranberry sauce and stuffing calories than shaking your stuff to "Lovertits." If you're further up on the West Coast in Seattle, then The Dutchess and the Duke at Tractor Tavern should be a nice, relaxing show to chill out with before dealing with all of that family. This duo just put out a fantastic new album and play beautiful, melodic rock. Last but not least, if you're in the mid-Atlantic region on the East Coast, then you can escape to either Philly or Washington DC. Both have excellent options. In Philadelphia Metric is playing on Thanksgiving Eve at the Electric Factory. Her no-nonsense pop music will be sure to steel your heart against any petty family arguments that come up the next day. Further South you have two amazing show options. Devendra Banhart is playing the same day at 9:30 Club in DC. His freak-folk is sure to prepare you for any all-too-normal family members. Plus, you can also catch the up-and-coming Philly band Free Energy at DC9 if you need to get your cute scuzzy rocker fix before making small talk with Grandma. Or take your Grandma to the show. This band is so good, I'm sure even she would like them. No matter where you live, there are great shows to escape to during the Thanksgiving holiday. Better yet, make your family a mixtape now and bring them on out to the show. An indie rock Thanksgiving for everyone! Link to this article:
So how weird is fucking Ridgewood, New Jersey? So weird! Stuff keeps pouring out of this place and it just keeps making me smile and giggle. What's on my mind right now? Sweet new band Big Troubles. Yeah, they're young boys from Ridgewood that play lo-fi pop, so, you know. Big Troubles is two members of the Fluffy Lumbers backing band: Alex Craig and Ian Drennan. Both total cuties of course. I like to call Ian the Jonas Brother of Ridgewood. He's got good hair and makes the young ladies go crazy. Alex is as alternative as you can get. His favorite bands are Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine and Teenage Fanclub. He loves cream soda. Here's a pic of them playing music. <3 But don't take my word for it. Listen to the music! Big Troubles has an EP coming out on new-label Blackburn (run by Jonathan Williger- Alex's roommate and current Program Director at WNYU), as well as an EP on always-cool label Olde English Spelling Bee. A song of theirs will be on the next Nice-Core People Chillaxing Under The Sea (better known as Underwater Peoples) comp as well. They are in good company and have great places to go! Finally, check 'em out at my fantastic Rosh Hashanah party at Silent Barn on September 19th with Dream Diary and The Kezners! It's gonna be fun! I think 5769 kinda sucked, but I have a feeling that 5770 is going to be my year! Flyer by honorary PopJew Courtney: Link to this post Pop Jew in Brooklyn is just a Jewish girl in Brooklyn that loves music.
When Philip Ekström moans, "Do you feel strange on the inside?" a whiff of déjà vu permeates the air. Did I add this song to my "Cry Me A Fjord" play list the summer my ex left me, or was I swaying to it clad in black at The Kitchen (my old goth hangout in Miami)? It turns out it's neither cause The Mary Onettes second record, Islands, was just released last week by Labrador. The band is secure with their 80's influenced sound and have cited The Cure and The Stone Roses amongst their musical interests. That first line comes from the opening track, "Puzzles," which is a surefire single with its snappy cymbal slaps and hop along string section. It's sad enough to lament over a loved one, but catchy enough to play in any smoke-filled club called The Morgue. The actual first single, "Dare," is a modern version of "Friday I'm In Love." It's the kind of song you listen to in the shower while imagining yourself courting a crush outside the window in the pouring rain. Some might find the retro wave a tad recycled, but the "what's old is new again" mantra seems to be pervasive these days and The Mary Onettes do it with class and grace. Besides, their self-titled, debut record has more of a modern feel, so this nostalgic dip was cultivated over time. Other endearing lines worthy of smearing your mascara for include "Don't, don't, don't cry for love" and "Wishing for life to go backwards forever." Robert Smith and whoever he has cast as The Cure can officially take the rest of the year off. Link to this article:
The new album by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! frontman and songwriter, Alec Ounsworth is out now!!! It is one of my favorite albums of the year..... Track Listing: Modern Girl (... With Scissors) Bones In The Grave Holy, Holy, Holy Moses (Song For New Orleans) That Is Not My Home (After Bruegel)        Idiots In The Rain South Philadelphia (Drug Days) What Fun    Me And You, Watson Obscene Queen Bee #2    When You've No Eyes
What is considered a king of dancehall?  So far there have been kings such as Bob Marley, Shaggy, The self proclaim king himself Beenie Man and questionably Dutty Cup's own Sean Paul.  Can Mavado live up to these expectations? I ask that question. David Brooks aka Mavado hails from the streets of Cassava Piece in Kingston Jamaica and is the hottest thing in dancehall right now.  Known for his melodic vocals his music has crossed borders that most Jamaican artists dream about.  Collaborating with the likes of 50 cent, Busta Rhymes and also recording on a Kanye West track for Jay Z's album the Blueprint 3, with this international success he is undoubtedly the hip hop voice of Jamaica. With his current hit single "So Special" receiving crazy airplay on American radio and his new album "Mr. Brooks Better Tomorrow" climbing the billboard charts he has cemented jam-packed shows in the UK, that also featured Serani, Bugle, Chase Cross and Alliance selector Boom Boom, Mavado moved on to his first-ever European Tour Visiting 6 countries for 9 shows in 10 days across the continent, Mavado has been met with nothing but love, underlining the international appeal of his music and message. "The response everywhere we've been has been mad," said Mavado.  "Paris was the first show and it was crazy, the venue was packed and the crowd sang every word. It set the tone for the rest of the tour which has just been more of the same." Traveling by day and performing night after night, Mavado has so far blazed through France, Belgium, North and South Italy, across Switzerland, and had shows in Germany, Holland and US.  Whilst every show has left the crowd in rapture, perhaps the most poignant appearance was in Zurich, Switzerland, the city where his Father was killed over 3 years ago.  Mavado got the chance to meet with some of the elder Mr. Brook's friends, who knew him as "King" and to cap off a memorable visit Lee Scratch Perry, who is based in Zurich and was also a good friend of Mavado's Father, attended the show. With all these achievements and accomplishments and ongoing success can we now truly say that Mavado the Gully God is now the king of dancehall?  Since the controversial battle at sting his nemesis Vybz Kartel now has numerous top 10 singles in "Jamaica" and can be heard practically on every new dancehall riddim that hits the streets.  Should Vbyz Kartel be dubbed the king or is he just second best?  What makes them different?
You gotta cough up an email address, and it has to be valid, but otherwise completely free live tracks from a show The Pixies played in Paris. These tracks are meant as a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the classic album Doolittle, which the band is playing in its entirety on their current USA Doolittle Tour.
Do you guys like to laugh? I do. I like to laugh whenever I'm not listening to music. Sometimes even when I AM listening to music. Have you guys heard of Tom Lehrer? He rules. Got a few of his LPs. But I digress. Anyway, Alex Craig, guitarist in the Fluffy Lumbers backing band, found this delightful entry in an Italian blog about Fluffy Lumbers that is absolutely hi-larious when translated using Google. The main text of the article: Do you like pop but can not stand gaping faded Mickey Mouse T-shirt bearing Wavves with feigned nonchalance-not? Do you like the Beach Boys under the glare but find ludicrous the snooty Wavves to play in? Find unbearable that her appearance tainted by drugs and pimples but you can not help but dance on Bored? Listen to whatever steps Victim of Time, Chocolate Bobko, Pitchfork, which has a distant lo-fi aspect but are tired of yet another cover of the Teletubbies Wavves? Try Fluffy Lumbers, The Official Wavves - Good Guy Version. Not disappoint you. Now, I know that my official stance on Fluffy Lumbers is "please don't compare him to Wavves", but in this situation I think it's okay. Link to this post Pop Jew in Brooklyn is just a Jewish girl in Brooklyn that loves music.
Hey everybody, I just wanted to let you know that I am playing a weekly gig in Brooklyn at the moment. It's just a small & quiet duo setting with Ronaldo Lobo on guitar and myself on clarinet and tenor sax to create some ambience. Please find all the details below, I would love to chat with some of you listeners/musicians at this great place over some fantastic food or a couple of beers. Bossa Avenue Duo with Ronaldo Lobo (g) and Linus Wyrsch (cl, ts) Every Thursday 6:30pm-9:30pm @ Coco Roco 139 Smith Street Brooklyn, NY Come have some drinks at this beautiful Latin American place and enjoy some brazilian, latin and jazz music in a duo setting. DIRECTIONS: Bergen St (F, G) Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts (A, C, G) Hoyt St (2, 3) check out the reviews of the food :-)
Lettuce, Melvin Seals & Jerry Garcia Band, and Tyrone Wells will be among many acclaimed musicians to perform at the first Rock The Resort festival, December 4-6, 2009 at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa in Kerhonkson, New York. This 3-day indoor festival will also feature Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, DJ Logic, Glitch Mob, Skerik, Eric Krasno & Chapter 2, Rubblebucket Orchestra, Rustic Overtones, and The Original RADIOACTIVE, who will host the festival. Rock The Resort is located on 600 acres of beautiful land among the Shawangunk Mountains, just 20 minutes from New Paltz and 90 minutes from New York City, making it the best Phish after-party and Furthur pre-party! Music will start on Friday at 4:30pm and go until 6:00am. On both Saturday and Sunday music will start at noon and go until 6:00am. There will be 3 stages of music at Rock The Resort, one in the resort’s indoor ballroom, one in the lounge, and the main stage in a 2000-capacity heated tent. Art exhibits run by Cappy Franti, poetry workshops, daily open mics, non-profit community booths, live painting and yoga classes will also take place throughout the resort. The All Spa Jam will perform during Saturday’s late night set from 3:30am – 6:00am. This jam, proving that Rock The Resort is a festival for the musicians as much as it is for fans, will feature Eric Krasno, Adam Deitch, The Original RADIOACTIVE, Skerik, Sam Kininger, Ryan Zoidis, J Bowman, Nigel Hall, Keaton Simons and many special guests. Additional artists performing at Rock The Resort include: Trevor Hall, Break Science, Skerdio, Roots of Creation, Hot Day at the Zoo, The Trapps, Zach Deputy, Jatoba, Humble Boy Club, Sophistaphunk, Revision, and Jaden, with more artists to be announced soon. Tickets for the festival are now on sale at Weekend passes cost $129 and passes for Sunday cost $49. Rooms at the resort are available for $139/night and can be booked online while purchasing tickets. Packages for weekend passes and rooms are also available, as well as RV passes for $50. Passes for dogs (allowed at both the festival and inside the resort rooms) are available for an additional $50. The Hudson Valley Resort and Spa will offer buffet meals for the weekend in their dining room, where guests can expect to dine alongside the musicians. Breakfasts will cost $10, lunches $15 and dinners $20. Room service will also be available for guests at the resort. For more information on the resort and its amenities please visit Rock The Resort is the second festival produced by Paper Chaser Productions. This inaugural festival follows the 9th annual Harvest Celebration in Redfield, New York that took place on September 24-27, 2009 and featured Keller Williams, David Grisman, Rusted Root, and The Original RADIOACTIVE. Please visit for more information.
Ahh never stops..That's all I can say.. Once again it was good to see the whole BTR staff a week ago at the Noodle spot...Thanks Cal. Mann this has been a crazy year...And the year is almost over. I have to catch one of those documentaries that puts the whole year in perspective. So much has happen and u still forget. Tommorow Dj Evil Dee and me will be at the Brooklyn Museum tearing it up..from 9pm to 11pm...get more info at Also coming up next week NOV 13th for me is a Big Skating Ring party and video shoot out in East Stroudburg , on the link for the info.. Come out and have fun with us while Da Dysfunkshunal Familee shoot their video for the song "Don't Leave Me" produced by Crazy dj BAarro here' the info for the party After that party is over , I will be up in Toronto January 11th rocking with the Beatminerz and Dj Law...I can't wait Toronto is my 3rd home. I've been there more than I have been to Staten Island. Then we come back chill for a couple of weeks then we off to rock a party in Rochester , NY. See I told u it never stops. When the video is done I'll definitely post it right here on my blog.. Albums u need to check out and buy on the real hip hop tip.. Get that new album by Masta ACe and ED.OG , it's called ARts & Entertainment. It's dope..word believe me. or ask DJ Wayne Ski. Also pick up that new Poison Pen album I've been telling you about for weeks. Matter fact check this new video out by Masta Ace & ED.OG ..called "Little People" I'll keep u up to date..every chance i get...peace...have a great weekend...
In case you haven't plucked from the grapevine lately, I am hosting a new show with Mimi called Geek out. We had our debut episode this week, which you can listen to here. Next week we're having wiz rockers, Swish & Flick, and as a non-Harry Potter reader I still immensely enjoy their music. Here's a teaser to have you salivating for next week's interview. Getcha your booty shakin' with me in the house of Slytherin.  
Tomorrow is Killington's opening day! In honor of the first day of skiing for the season, I've made this playlist for my Creative Zen (it's a type of MP3 player): The Bohannon Walk-Hamilton Bohannon, Comme Des Enfants (Le Matos Andy Carmichael Remix)-Coeur De Pirate, Whachadoin (DJ CHERNOBYL Bailemix)-N.A.S.A., Sleepyhead (Neo Tokyo Remix)-Passion Pit, Two Weeks (Tomato Remix)-Grizzly Bear, Time Stands Still-Cut Copy, School-Supertramp, Garbage-Chairlift, P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)-Parliament, Papa's Got A Brand New Bag, Part 1-James Brown, Sabali-Amadou & Mariam, Release Yourself-Graham Central Station, The Lonely Rider-Ananda Shankar, Creaking Tree-Psychograss, The Good Thing-Talking Heads, Any Major Dude Will Tell You-Steely Dan, Myke Ptyson-Starf**ker, Operator-Grateful Dead, Georgia Boy-Al Green, Golden Bird-Levon Helm, Stepping Razor-Peter Tosh, Gwan a School-Sister Nancy, We Are the People (cagedbaby remix)-Empire Of The Sun, Malko-Russian Circles, Carry On-Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back-Deerhoof, Note Bleu-Medeski, Martin & Wood, Un Simple Histoire [Voidd Remix]-Thievery Corporation, The True Wheel-Brian Eno, In Step-Girl Talk, Crown Of Creation-Jefferson Airplane, Mr Big Stuff Cover-Dan Deacon, 2 More Dead-RJD2, For The Turnstiles-Neil Young, Through The Hosiery-Crystal Castles, Rub-A-Dub Partner-Jimmy Cliff, AND (FINALLY) Okie From Muskogee-Lynn Anderson That should get me through the better part of the day. Here's a picture taken TODAY. So while you're doing whatever you do on Saturdays at 8:00am, I'll be taking the first lift up. See you on the slopes!
Wet Wings, hailing from Canterbury, New Zealand, creates some of the most beautifully lilting tunes I've heard in some time. Something about the song "Beach Party" just seems to brighten my day when everything outside is so damn gloomy feeling. MP3 :: Wet Wings - Beach Party Link to this post Bring the ruckus to Get Off The Coast.
I've often used this phrase in my shows: BTR Veteran. What could this possibly mean for a station that's just over 4 years old? Basically that they've been on the station before. It's kind of like calling an event a tradition after you've done it once. It's more fun than meaningful, ha. What I mean to convey when using the phrase is that the band has been popular on BTR before and coming up this Veteran's Day next week, I'll be hitting up a few of these so-called BTR veterans, apprapoh, as they have new albums out. So, keep an ear out for new stuff from such BTR veterans as: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the Headlights, Yacht, The Whigs, Alec Empire, Chromeo, Sufjan Stevens, among others!
Florida's Mike Diaz, aka Million Young, crafts some of the haziest most beautiful tunes you may ever hear. Rhythmic pulses mixed with jaunty samples and wonderful vocals make Million Young an artist to watch out for, and a force to be reckoned with. Expect some great things. Grab the Sunndreamm EP below, and then head to his myspace to hear "Cynthia", a newer tracks that has got my head spinning. Download :: Million Young - Sunndreamm EP Link to this post Bring the ruckus to Get Off The Coast.
Free Energy "It was actually a song first," says Geoff Bucknum, of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based band. "We were looking for a name, looking for something we felt that described us, and we tooled around with lots of names. Finally, we just settled on that."     You Can Be A Wesley "The name began freshman year in college, when we started playing together," says frontwoman Saara Untracht-Oakner. "We were in search for a name, and we'd text each other names, and just get 'no' as a response, or 'you're just naming things that you're seeing.' So one day we're all sitting around the dining hall table, eating with a bunch of friends, and one of our friends is like, 'you look like a whatever - you look like a Jeff, and you look like a Tom.' And our bassist Nick really likes the film The Princess Bride, so our friend Dan says 'yeah, you can be a Wesley.' So, that's how that started." "It's funny, we get all types of different assumptions that people make, like Wesley Willis, Wesley Snipes, Wesley from Star Trek, or something, and we're like 'no, no, it's Princess Bride.' There's even a little forum going, saying we should change our name to You Can Has A Wesley." Moodhosa has been around for a good 5 years in Gainesville, Florida, and the story behind their name is rather well-known. Founding members Jose "Junior" Peruyero (singer/rhythm guitarist) and Jason "Mumbles" Moody (lead guitarist) decided to keep thing simple. They combined different parts of their own names ('Moody' and 'Jose') to form 'Moodhosa.' Unfortunately, turnover in the bass and drums department in Moodhosa has been a constant over the past 5 years, but the core duo of Peruyero and Moody has remained, and as long as that continues, Moodhosa they will be. Link to this article:
We all know that music is big business. What has always been more than a little surprising to me is how slow the business has been in adapting to the internet. I won't try and catalog all of the backwards ideas and missteps that have characterized the music biz's creeping embrace of modern technology, but there are two projects I think bear mentioning.The first is Google's new music search. Google has partnered with internet music sites — including imeem, lala, MySpace, Pandora, and Rhapsody — to provide one simple search for all things music-related online. The coolest parts are that: A) you can enter a band name, song title, or even a snippet of lyrics and it will return links relevant to the band or song you're searching for; and B) it prioritizes streaming links in the search results.A couple of my searches have seemed to baffle the search engine. And I'm a little sad to see how few GWAR songs are streamable on the internet. But at least Google's search algorithms are always a work in progress so there's every reason to believe that that at least will get better fairly soon.Blinkx Music is another new site for searching for music. This one presents the search results in a bit more of an organized manner. Rather than making you sort through a simple list of links, as Google does, blinkx Music breaks out all the info into nice, orderly sections: there's a bio on the band and links to each of their albums; the more you drill down, the more links you'll find. For instance, once you get to an album page, there are links to all songs from that album with a video you can stream. This site is still in beta though, so expect it to get more data-rich and usable as time goes on as well.The reason these bear mentioning is because I firmly believe the internet is going to some day replace the traditional record label pretty much altogether. The internet gives even the average garage band unlimited options for marketing, networking, advertising, and distribution of their music. The big advantage the record labels have is the clout to force unknown or underappreciated bands' albums into record stores where fans old and new can discover them. But tools like Google's music search and blinkx Music are even leveling this playing field, as they are giving music fans new ways to discover new bands and new albums by old favorites.
A while back I told you about Waylon Thornton and the Heavy Hands, a duo making some of the grimiest garage rock you can find. Well they just released their first album, and it's free. With ten tracks that only span about twenty minute total, it's one helluva ride, despite how short it is. This is one of the most enjoyable albums I've heard in a while, so do yourself the favor. Download :: Waylon Thornton and the Heavy Hands - Pure Evil Link to this post Bring the ruckus to Get Off The Coast.
David Berkowitz ("Son of Sam") image via Wikipedia Goldman spent years buying hundreds of thousands of subprime mortgages, many of them from some of the more unsavory lenders in the business, and packaging them into high-yield bonds. Now that the bottom has fallen out of that market, Goldman finds itself in a different role: as the big banker that takes homes away from folks such as the Beckers. The couple alleges that Goldman declined for three years to confirm their suspicions that it had bought their mortgages from a subprime lender, even after they wrote to Goldman’s then-Chief Executive Henry Paulson — later U.S. Treasury secretary — in 2003. Fortunately, the Beckers won what McClatchy calls a “David-and-Goliath struggle” when Goldman Sach’s subsidiary, MTGLQ Investors, dropped efforts to seize their house. However, “by then, the college-educated couple had been reduced to shopping for canned goods at flea markets and selling used ceramic glass.” Most people aren’t so lucky. A majority of Goldman subsidiaries continue to contain bondholder losses by foreclosing on properties and evicting delinquent borrowers. All the while, delinquent companies like Goldman get to merrily skip along, kicking people out of their houses, while profiting from a tumultuous economy the corporation helped to destroy. McClatchy observes that Goldman and other Wall Street firms are primarily responsible for people losing their homes. "Many of the families being put on the street never would’ve gotten their big mortgages if investment banks hadn’t provided a seemingly insatiable secondary market for millions of loans to marginally qualified buyers." These loans were given supposedly bulletproof triple-A ratings, and yet the shysters who sold snake oil to millions of Americans not only go unpunished, but actually stand to gain from their crimes. Most recently, it was discovered that Goldman Sachs may receive a payment of $1 billion – while US taxpayers would lose $2.3 billion – now that embattled commercial lender CIT has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Americans need protection from the unregulated, unethical practices of huge corporations like Goldman Sachs. An easy first step would be to make it illegal for corporations to profit from their crimes. The first “Son of Sam” law was created in New York after the Son of Sam murders committed by serial killer David Berkowitz. It was enacted after widespread speculation about publishers offering large amounts of money for Berkowitz’s story. The law makes good sense. A convicted killer shouldn’t be permitted to profit from their crime. Such profiteering is unfair to the victims, and makes a mockery of the justice system. Well, it’s unlikely that Goldman Sachs executives will ever see their day in court. However, a huge financial firm like Goldman, which helped to facilitate toxic mortgages that led to one of the worst economic catastrophes in US history, should not be allowed to now profit from those crimes. The profiteering is made all the more nefarious because taxpayers continue to pay a disproportionate chunk of the bailout, while Goldman Sachs plans to double its 2008 bonuses this year by handing out $23 billion. Raw Story points out that $23 billion could send 460,000 students to Harvard, and buy insurance for 1.7 million families. It could also keep a lot of people in their homes. Meanwhile, Goldman pays very little in taxes. In 2008, the company paid just $14 million in taxes worldwide, and paid $6 billion in 2007. The firm’s corporate tax rate is 1 percent. This kind of behavior would have made Berkowitz blush. Most insultingly, there’s been chatter that Goldman plans to throw $1 billion at the nearest charity in order to deflect some of the criticism for its lavish bonuses. They must think very little of the American people if they seriously think that’s going to distract taxpayers from the fact that Goldman: 1) Helped tank the economy and 2) Now stands to profit from the chaotic aftermath. Since the Son of Sam law is used to prevent serial killers from financially exploiting their crimes, it should also be used to stop a corporation from similar profiteering (in the case of corporations, we’re talking about the exploitation of millions of individuals). It just makes good sense. Link to this article:
Aloha from New York! So good they named it New York, cos the Grand Old Duke Of York would've got annoyed and confused otherwise.. Lilly and I are just about to sit down to eat lunch with the staff of Breakthru Radio, and we're very hungry. For both food and gossip! Had a lovely lamb shank last night in Times Square. And no, that's not some sexual euphemism! Speak again soon, Mr Jason
  railcars makes explosive experimental noise pop that if listened to improperly can almost immediately turn you away. Their albums are the sort you need to listen to from start to finish. That being said, it almost feels improper giving you only a couple of tracks. These are the first two tracks from their newest LP, Cathedral With No Eyes, available now on Stumparumper. As with the album itself, these tracks are best if listened to in order. They're not bad otherwise, they're just better together. MP3 :: railcars - Life Of Saint Edmund (Ponds) railcars - Castles Link to this post Bring the ruckus to Get Off The Coast.
Some great bands played our CMJ day party at Trash Bar this year, listen to them all right here on BTR _______________________________________ Jumbling Towers     Jumbling Towers Live @ BTR's CMJ Party Trash Bar - Brooklyn, New York Aired Oct 27th _______________________________________ The Loom The Loom Live @ The BTR CMJ Party Trash Bar - Brooklyn, New York Aired Oct 28th _______________________________________ Generationals Generationals The BTR CMJ Party Trash Bar - Brooklyn, New York Aired Oct 29th _______________________________________ Holiday Shores Holiday Shores The BTR CMJ Party Trash Bar - Brooklyn, New York Aired Oct 30th
In this crazy post-CMJ world, bands are picking up the touring for one last push before the long break between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's much better to load in and out all those amps and guitars before it gets way too cold! Maybe that's also why a lot of these touring bands seem to focus their efforts in California during November. Either way, there's tons of great bands playing live around the country. Here are three must-see picks from BTR. Karl Blau is difficult to describe. He has such a vast back catalog of recordings, and you can't really classify him as one thing or another. Sometimes he sounds like typical lo-fi rock. Other times he sounds like a 70s lounge singer. It really depends on what kind of Karl Blau you're listening to. The Washingtonian is on K Records and has worked with many different artists, most notably Phil Elvrum of Microphones and Mt. Eerie. Such musical and eclectic artists are always exciting to see live; you never know what you're going to get. It's an even easier sell when you add the fact that BTR favorites LAKE are touring with him.  They play quiet, indie-folk gems that are sure to please on tour with Blau. Karl Blau (w/ LAKE) 11/3 - The Camel - Richmond, VA 11/4 - Square One - Greensboro, NC 11/6 - Pilot Light - Knoxville, TN 11/7 - Party Party Partners - Athens, GA 11/8 - Club Downunder - Tallahassee, FL 11/10 - Swiss House - Dallas, TX 11/11 - Emos Jr. - Austin, TX 11/12 - Bash Riprocks - Lubbock, TX 11/13 - Burt's Tiki Lounge - Albuquerque, NM 11/14 - Trunk Space - Phoenix, AZ 11/15 - The Hangar - Tucson, AZ 11/17 - The Smell - Los Angeles, CA 11/18 - The Biko House - Isla Vista, CA 11/19 - KSPC 88.7 FM - Claremont, CA 11/20 - SLO Art Center - San Luis Obispo, CA 11/21 - Resource Center for Non-Violence - Santa Cruz, CA 11/23 - Green House - Arcata, CA 11/24 - Ike Box - Salem, OR JEFF the Brotherhood are a hard-rocking duo straight out of Nashville, Tennessee. With just a bass (sometimes guitar) and drums, they play face-melting 60s inspired grunge rock that will rouse even the most cynical hearts into rock and roll delight. Though their Myspace staunchly claims that they are "not garage rock," they do seem to have that genuine feel of two kids with instruments who started playing music in their garages. I don't know what it is about these guys, but they seem like the real deal and are up to their elbows in "it." Maybe it's those Nashville Southern influences that make them sound delightfully different to this Brooklynite's ears. Either way, catch them live. I promise you won't be able to get them out of your head. JEFF the Brotherhood 11/10 - Spanish Moon - Baton Rouge, LA 11/11 - Hi-Tone - Memphis, TN 11/12 - EARL - Atlanta, GA 11/13 - Plaza Bowl - Richmond, VA 11/14 - Maxwell's - Hoboken, NJ 11/15 - Great Scotts - Allston, MA 11/16 - Johnny Brenda's - Philadelphia, PA 11/17 - Brooklyn Bowl - Brooklyn, NY 11/18 - Mohawk Place - Buffalo, NY 11/19 - Sneaky Dee's - Toronto, ON Canada 11/21 - Booby's - Carbondale, IL 12/1 - Bobo Gallery - Asheville, NC 12/3 - Speakertree Record - Lynchburg, VA 12/5 - Terrace F Hall - Princeton, NJ 12/6 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY The first time I saw The Dutchess and the Duke was waiting to see the Ruby Suns during CMJ 2008. I was immediately impressed by their easy, flowing, fun 60s-inspired tunes. The band just had a great vibe. While Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison were clearly in fact meant to be The Dutchess and The Duke (as their first album title reminded us, She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke), I thought it was more like the Princess and the Hobbit. A more disparate-looking duo probably can't be possible, which makes the fact their voices fit so well together in those Beatles-esque harmonies all the more sweetly surprising. Both Lortz and Morrison just seemed so nice, with pleasant stage banter that was far from annoying (a difficult thing to achieve). Not only do I thoroughly enjoy their music, but I thoroughly enjoy them as people. They have a brand-new album out, Sunset/Sunrise, that they're on tour supporting. Our lucky readers in California have ample chances to see them live before they head out on tour throughout November, all over the middle of the country. If they're not coming to a town near you, be sure to listen to Sunset/Sunrise, out now on Hardly Art Records. The Dutchess and the Duke 11/7 - Luigi's Fun Garden - Sacramento, CA 11/8 - 1-2-3-4-GO! - Oakland, CA 11/8 - Bottom of the Hill - San Francisco, CA 11/10 - Crepe Place - Santa Cruz, CA 11/11 - Spaceland - Los Angeles, CA 11/13 - UC Irvine Student Center - Irvine, CA 11/14 - Casbah - San Diego, CA 11/15 - Rhythm Room - Phoenix, AZ 11/17 - Launchpad - Albequerque, NM 11/18 - Larimer Lounge - Denver, CO 11/19 - Kilby Court - Salt Lake City, UT 11/19 - Urban Lounge - Salt Lake City, UT 11/21 - Neurolux - Boise, ID 12/4 - Gardner Lounge - Grinnel, IA 12/5 - Reckless Records - Chicago, IL 12/5 - Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL 12/6 - 7th Street Entry - Minneapolis, MN 12/7 - Waiting Room - Omaha, NB 12/8 - Replay Lounge - Lawrence, KS 12/9 - Mojo's - Columbia, MO 12/10 - Sticky Fingerz Chicken Shack - Little Rock, AR 12/11 - Rubber Gloves - Denton, TX 12/12 - Mohawk - Austin, TX 12/14 - One Eyed Jacks - New Orleans, LA 12/15 - Bottletree - Birmingham, AL 12/16 - The Earl - Atlanta, GA Link to this article:
The other day I told you about Cough Cool. What's weird is that I somehow missed his full band project, Nude Beach, which seems to be getting some really cool attention. Check out the band's self-titled track below, and discover one of the best songs I've heard this year. Nude Beach also has an upcoming cassette on Bathetic, so we'll keep you posted on that as well. MP3 :: Nude Beach - Nude Beach Link to this post Bring the ruckus to Get Off The Coast.
I wasn't alone last week in my sickness, according to news reports, the swine flu became a national epidemic right around the time it took me over.  What was left out of the news reports was how the swine flu ruined my CMJ festivities (the news should be all about me BTW)  What i did catch of it was pretty rad, Tuesday night i caught a few bands which i was impressed with and i spent the rest of the week reading about the festivities. I saw Sean Bones, a pretty sweet poppy reggae act that left me wanting more reggae, and i saw a friends band formally known as Secret Life of Sofia, and now known as Milagres and they were definitely on their stuff.  Very emotional and deep with good harmony's left me wondering what else was in store for CMJ. Not going and just reading about CMJ created a different sort of feeling i'm used to.  I've experienced CMJ the 2 previous years before this one and had my own opinions, some of which i've read too on blogs documenting the festival too.  This year all i had was blogs, many of which were complaining about the whole thing.  Either it was too lame, too heavy, too boring.  It's the nature of the indie blogger to hate but for someone who actually wants to know what happened i didn't get much reporting on anything (other than the DJ's here at BTR).  Hating aint reporting, of course people are gonna make fun of bloggers if all they do is whine, bitch and complain.  Truth is, if i was there i would have been bitching and complaining myself about something, so all my anger is based on not being there.  Oh well, always next year.
We had a blast during CMJ week. Check out the Family Of The Year session airing today, we recorded it right at the beginning of the Marathon. We also recently had great performances from Dub Defender, Katy Steele, Callers, and Sydney Wayser! November is shaping up to be a busy month, so stay tuned. And ps. Happy Halloween!!
MMC: Welcome to our Monday Modern-Day Classics Column, where we discuss a track of the past decade that will live on forever! Burial's 2007 album, Untrue, was one of the most incredible releases of the year (second best after MIA's Kala) and since then, nothing of its genre has matched what is essentially one of the most emotional and ambient pieces of, well, noise. Burial's experimental Dubstep creations reached critical acclaim in 2006 when his self-titled debut album reached many Best of Year lists, claiming UK magazine, The Wire's, top spot and certifying Dubstep as a serious genre, not to be messed with. 2007 was another successful year for both Dubstep and Burial, as Burial's second album was one of the best reviewed albums of the year according to review aggregator, Metacritic. The album was also nominated for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize. During the run-up to the event, at which Burial lost to Elbow's millionth album, speculation grew and rumours flew regarding the identity of the London based innovator. Despite the nosey chit chat about who he was, his anonymity only helped his music. Without history or reasoning Burial's music is pure. Due to his anonymity, the music means absolutely nothing and yet it conveys the deepest and darkest impressions of emotional reality. The uneasy amalgamation of distorted vocals, intense strings and a lo-fi fuzz from his lo-fi instruments are what have created Burial's gritty, reflective and unique sound.   No matter how well Burial's work is reviewed, day time radio air play is forever a no no and the track I'm posting today is probably the closest he'll [dub]step towards pleasing the masses. Archangel loops ambiguous vocals in a simple but pleasing and powerful manner, contrasting with the mostly instrumental work of Burial. First listen leads you to think you've heard the song before but second listen makes you realise that in fact you haven't, it's just so perfect you wish you had. Sample the MP3 below, hear emotions you didn't think you could and ensure you buy the historic album. Also, don't forget to keep to date with Burial's latest work at ECOUTEZ, start by listening to his breathtaking collaboration with Four Tet. MP3: Burial - Archangel Sample these MP3s and support artists, by buying their material here. Link to this post Listen up at Ecoutez.
Ok so i gotta so love to my favorite sports team of all time, the NY Yankees. I so excited that they made it to the World Series! No although they lost game 1 last night, its only the first of many games to come. Hopefully tonight they do better. They need to get there bats swinging, however there opening pitchers have been on point this post season. Now i hope ya'll don't think im one of those fans that only become a fan when they make it to the championship. Actually i've been a fan since the day i was born. No joke, i was born into being a yankee fan. Being born in the Bronx about 10 blocks away from yankee stadium, and have a whole lotta family as fans, it was hard not to be. Every year i got to regular season games, and this year i got to go to two games, including one post season game against the Twins. The new stadium is amazing for sure. The new looks is proper and the yanks seem like there at home, hitting several home runs throughout the season. So with all that said let go Yankee Pride!!! Lets go fellas, lets make it world series win 27! In other news i recently got a puppy. A three month old boston terrier. I named him Rocky, cuz he's a tough lil pup. having a dog is a big responsibility, as im learning, however having a pet with such companionship is a great feeling. He chills by my side. loves to go on lil trip on the leash or in the car. He's definitely an adventurous doggie. Oh yeah guess what i did yesterday? i bought him a lil Yankees jersey, LOL. yup im that guy. i got my dog my favorite teams jersey, doggie size of course. so thanks for taking the time to read my blog this week. LETS GO YANKEES! Rocky pup is the Man!
Infamous for its feuds, followers of the volatile Dancehall scene will all have had the "King of the Dancehall" debate. From Sean Paul and Beenie Man to Mavado and Busy Signal, Dancehall fans are loyal listeners each with their own favourite riddim making bro. Strangely then, that for a genre that dominates Jamaica, countries like our very own England know practically nothing about one of the greatest music genres ever created. Fortunately for us, the Internet delivers the reggae goodness overseas to our British little speakers and fortunately for you, ECOUTEZ are about to introduce you to some of the hottest talent and craziest tunes as we ask the question: who's the King of the Dancehall? Movado: King of the Dancehall? Raised in Kingston, Jamaica, David Brooks, better known as Mavado, is indisputably a huge player within Dancehall. His second full length album, Mr Brooks... A Better Tomorrow, released in March earlier this year and featured on SPIN Magazine's Greatest Albums of 2009 (So Far). Having worked with some of Jamaica's most established producers: Daseca, TJ, Baby G and Di Genius, as well his long-term influenced Bounty Killer influence, this 17 track album is quite possibly one of the most sophisticated Dancehall LPs of all time. Despite Movado's musical talent, he may be better known for his long running feud with Vybz Kartel. Starting in 2006, the aggressive fallout between two former collaborators sparked a fire of "diss" tracks, creating a chance for each to discriminate one another on top of some sick beats. Fine by us. Download one of our all-time favourite tracks (Mavado - Neva Believe U) here and listen to a Mr Brooks... album track below. Listen: Mavado - So Blessed Sample MP3s & support artists by buying their material. Link to this post Listen up at Ecoutez.
On this week's edition of "Hello My Name Is," we have three bands from Pittsburgh, PA. You'll hear the stories behind Medic Medic, L'Ohio and Ball of Flame Shoot Fire. Of course, you can listen to all of these bands on Lottie's recent edition of Spotlight on the City, which is all about The Steel City! Medic Medic is a threesome from Pittsburgh that consists of Nicole on vocals/lyrics, Jesse on drums and Phil on guitars/vocals. They have been playing music together for over three years now. Nicole tells us about their name: "Medic Medic was actually Phil's idea. He is a huge history buff, mostly interested in World War II, and constantly reading war stories, watching documentaries, movies, et cetera. He just wanted to name our band 'Medic Medic' because he thought it sounded cool. I was opposed to it for a long time because I didn't want to come across as the type of band that was trying to make some grandiose political statement. After a while it grew on me because, writing/performing/listening to music is, well, definitely therapeutic for me, as it is for all 3 of us, and many other people in the world! So in the end, it was personally fitting." L'Ohio is a five piece outfit from The Steel City that consists of Greg Dutton on vocals, acoustic guitar and electric guitar, Liz Adams on bass and backing vocals, Erik Cirelli on electric guitar, Chris Ryan on keyboards, electric guitar and backing vocals, and Sven Stens plays drums and sings backing vocals. They have two releases currently: the Sleeping Stereo EP, which came out in 2007, and History, The Destroyer, which came out in 2008. Greg tells us the story behind the bandname: "Low Ohio, well, it kind of stems from a bad joke. I grew up in Ohio and was playing mainly solo acoustic, singer/songwriter type shows in various parts of the state. I was really into old folk and country at the time. Thus, the subject matter was kind of darker, like Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska songs. I don't remember if it was me or one of my friends that coined the name. A crack was made during a show about one of my songs being about 'Low-hio,' I guess meaning a depressing part of the state. At least that's how I took it! Anyway, I liked the way it sounded and started using it as a moniker. That's kind of a roundabout explanation, huh?" Live: Nov 20 2009 at Brillobox w/ Donora (Album Release) in Pittsburgh, PA Nov 28 2009 at Rhumba Cafe w/ Karate Coyote in Columbus, OH Ball of Flame Shoot Fire recently moved from the 'Burgh to New York City. The group boasts five members; Winston, Tim, Peter, Patrick and Jess.They have released two EPs, Grumpy Little Bird and Danny & Rob, as well as a full-length called Jokeland. Peter tell us the story behind the name: "As for the story behind BOFSF, it sounds more embarrassing than it is. Basically, a friend took a bunch of drugs and started shooting fireballs at strangers at a music festival, occasionally stopping to say 'Ball of flame, shoot fire!' We don't tell people about it, because if you weren't there to soak in the moment, it sounds like a pretty lame reason to name your band. Basically, we liked the sound of it and liked that it was fairly long. We almost called ourselves Big Big Truck or Cock-a-Doodle Don't." Link to this article:
DJ Wayne Ski, Cash Money, DJ Eclipse, & DJ Bazarro DJ Wayne Ski, DJ Dummy, & Crazy DJ Bazarro Wayne Ski & Bazarro
Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;}   So I grew up watching a lot of movies, most of them were horror-related; and like most people my age or older I have been fairly disappointed in the horror genre over the last 10 years.  Happy endings, bad stories, hot young actors and big budgets have made for some pretty crappy scary movies.  Added to all of this is the increasing number of unnecessary remakes that tend to shame the originals rather than improve on them.  Now, I’m not a horror movie elitist, if you find enjoyment with these movies, cool!  For me, I just like to be freaked out, scared or just in that “what the hell was that” mode.  Some movies I have seen in the past few years have been pretty awesome, so it’s not all bad.  I just wish we could get some more classics.  The point of this pointlessness is that it is Fall, which is peak horror movie season, so go and rent some fun cheesiness, preferably from the 80s, make some chips and dip and kick it like back in the day.  Love you guys! -ed
Many people say music is their passion. From the manufactured poptarts to the independent bedroom bloggers, being passionate about music is a fool's game. Dying for your love of music is also not cool, but then until now passion wasn't as audible as it is from Bluey Robinson. The soulful vocalist from South London releases his first single, I Know, on September 28th. The sparkling debut dazzles with synths and a disco-groove bass that, no doubt, girls will be going weak at the knees for as BR takes over the UK charts this winter. Of course, at ECOUTEZ, we like to think we're "underground" so this "future pop" was brought to our attention by the Attacca Presante Funky House remix. Not the most pristine work we've ever heard, but one of the most authentic and passionate funky house remixes we've heard since the funky house Kyla original. Enjoy the remix and keep your eye on Bluey. Pretty boy gon be HUGE! MP3: Bluey Robinson - I Know (Attacca Presante Funky Remix) Support Attacca Presante here. Sample MP3s & support artists by buying their material. Link to this post Listen up at Ecoutez.
Every year at CMJ industry "experts" and "leaders" sit on panels designed to talk about the cutting edge of what's going on in the music biz. From how to do-it-yourself for bands to changing laws in music publishing, each year the panels seem to cover a wide range of topics. They vary from one CMJ to the next, but in some senses, it's always the same panels over and over again with slight changes depending on current Internet trends and music laws.  Last year the prevailing topic seemed to be social media. How MySpace and Facebook are a band's best friends. How blogs are a much more interactive way to do A&R. The fear that LaLa and LastFM are doing a lot of industry people's jobs for them. Basically, the Internet sent the music industry into complete disarray over the past ten years, not just from illegal downloading, but also from the way ideas about music are disseminated, and the industry was attempting to put the pieces together in this "totally new landscape." This year, the conversation shifted. It seems like everyone has become used to the idea of the Internet's role in the business. Maybe the increasingly desperate times over the past year have made people realize they need to dig in and make whatever they can work. For instance, I heard an argument at one panel between Rich Bengloff and Jeff Price about whether or not music sales are actually down. According to Price, Sound Exchange doesn't correctly report all of the statistics, and record sales are actually alive and well, especially on his website, TuneCore. At one panel I even heard someone say, "MySpace is totally irrelevant." A huge turn around from last year. Much in the way the industry seems to have settled into the Internet, so have consumers. With so much to choose from and literally "unlimited shelfspace," you're better off having your band Tweeted about by a gate-keeping blog than getting a lot of MySpace hits. The conversation was much less about how the Internet had changed everything and how to utilize that change, but rather what's going to come next from the 'Net, and how we can all make money off of it. One strong theme continuing from last year was the question of what is going to happen to record labels. There were so many panels dedicated to answering that question, in one way or another. There are panels about how to start your own band's label, panels about how to start your own 360 company, panels about music licensing firms as labels, panels about management firms as labels. At some point, it seems that all we're really talking about here is how the internet has managed to allow everyone to become a record label. One of the most interesting points made about this topic, one different from what I heard last year, was during the "management as labels" panel on Wednesday. While everyone agreed that a good manager is probably more important than a label these days (simply because a manager is with you for the long term, and will actually help develop you as an artist- an act that most labels no longer perform), not everyone agreed on management's eventual transformation into the labels themselves. One panelist pointed out that managers and label heads ultimately have two conflicting goals. Labels want to make money selling records no matter what. Managers want to make money from an artist's long career. It makes sense that no matter how far down the Internet may break barriers, these two goals will frequently be at odds, necessitating both types of businesses. The most interesting panel I attended was supposed to be about mobile media. How can artists use mobile devices to promote themselves? It turned into a panel about music licensing laws, which was pretty interesting in and of itself. The reason for this sudden shift in topic encapsulates many of the changes being hashed over during all of the panels. Smart phones, much like the Internet, have created an entirely new way to for consumers to experience music and an entirely new way for money to be made from that music. The music industry is all about technologies. The player piano initially threw music publishers into a fury because it meant that they were no longer going to make money off of sheet music, so the government (with a strong lobby from the powerful publishers) created mechanical royalties. The same thing happened with records and cds, and the same thing will happen again with the Internet and mobile devices. The point is, there's nothing inherent or singularly correct in the way the music business makes money now. Everything up to this point has been rather arbitrary, and based on technology. You don't think of the player piano as high-tech, but it truly is a piece of technology. What we meant by "label" and "management firm" was arbitrary to begin with. Soon, everything will be deconstructed and the field will be wide open.  The panels reflected this idea most overall. The mood at CMJ was serious because the economy is bad, but even more than last year, the Internet and the music biz seemed to give the panelists hope for the future. Link to this article:
Next up was Generationals, out of New Orleans, Louisiana. Comprised of Grant Widmer and Ted Joyner, the duo brought along some really good-looking back-up to play keys and drums. This deluxe version of Generationals churned like butter through the bulk of the band's debut record Con Law, which came out on July 21st via Park The Van records. It's been one of those rare albums at BTR that all the weekly DJs seem to unilaterally fancy. And when all the DJs are picking their own playlists, that's pretty impressive. The live set was impressive as well, and I got frustrated as bloody heck when, in the midst of "Nobody Could Change Your Mind," my Flip ran out of room and stopped recording. Now isn't that a stain on a white tee. I interviewed both Grant and Ted after the set, under the Trash Bar awning, and tried to convince them to play Gainesville the next time they were in the area. They seemed into the idea, and they answered all my nattering questions with ease. I totally forgot to ask them how they came up with the name Generationals, which I was kicking myself over afterward, but ain't nobody perfect. While all this was transpiring, the pizza arrived, and was devoured. Then Holiday Shores assumed the stage, and started to play. Rumors had been circulating that more than one person in the band was currently suffering from a fierce migraine headache, but I saw no evidence of it in the set. The last time I had seen Holiday Shores play live was at the Digital Freedom/2 Syllable/True Panther CMJ showcase the year before, and they were called Continental Divide. Much has changed. First of all, the band sounded a million times better, esp. the singing of frontman Nathan Pemberton. And the guitarwork was tighter than the spaces between those mighty blocks in the Cheops pyramid. "Days Drag," still my favorite, sounded amazing, and the rest of the set followed suit. Unfortunately, I didn't interview the band afterwards, as Nathan had to be somewhere directly following the show. And I felt awkward talking to the rest of the fellows in the band, because I have been trying to get Nathan on the horn for a while now, and no dice. I interviewed him over the phone last year, before CMJ, and since then I have yet to secure a return engagement. The paranoid part of me thinks I pissed him off somehow, at some point, but damned if I know what it is, or what it was. And, if multiple people in the band did have migraine headaches, I am sure the last thing they wanted to do was answer questions from me. So, onwards and upwards, to the final set at BTR's CMJ showcase 2009, local NYC band The Loom. They got a lot of people in that group, a total of six, and they posted up on stage like an arrowhead pointed at the crowd. The music made for a totally different vibe than the rest of the bands, with French horn,  trumpet, banjo and multiple percussion in the stew. The songs themselves were lengthier, with more time changes and a down-home feel. They played a few new songs I hadn't heard yet, and I am quite looking forward to the band's forthcoming fresh material, which they told me about while they packed up their van afterwards. I gave them a fat stock of BTR t shirts, as I had done with all the other bands, and wished them a hearty good luck on their next CMJ engagement. Just like that, our CMJ day party was over, and night had fallen over Brooklyn. All the bands made it, all sounded great and there were no sound issues. Reckon we can call it a success, and the only black eye on the day was not getting to interview Holiday Shores. Ah well. Don't forget, my interviews with Jumbling Towers, The Loom and Generationals will all be bubbling up in the coming weeks on my new talk show here on BTR, In The Den, so keep your eyes peeled and your ears perked. We hung about Trash Bar for another half-hour or so, trying to decide where the next destination would be. DJ RePete, DJ Wynn and myself decided to stroll on over to the Cameo Art Gallery, where Dent May, Excepter, Drawlings, Tickley Feather and Kria Brekkan were scheduled to hold court for the Paw Tracks CMJ showcase. First, however, was a much-needed food stop, which ended up being a Thai restaurant focusing on noodle bowls. With a chilled rain drizzling, and the temperature hovering about the 50s, some hot tea and hearty crocks sounded swell. And it was. I got myself some green tea noodles with vegetables and minced pork, as well as a pot of honeyed green tea. Also, the whole table split a heavy jug of hot jasmine tea. Damn that was good. All I had eaten that day was the ol' meat arepa, and I was starving.  Living in Florida, it's hard to appreciate coming in out of the cold rain for hot tea and food. It's always hot, and we drive everywhere, you know? In the city, and outlying burroughs, you foot it everywhere, and if it rains, you get wet. It makes you appreciate shelter, warmth and good company more, or at least I think so. While we soaked up the sultry steam from the bowls and talked about the BTR showcase, I seized the opportunity to steal some electricity and charge my phone up. Then it was on to Cameo, which had one of the more ethereal lighting rigs I was to encounter at CMJ. And that tale will have to wait for tomorrow...
On Thursday night my lady and I were in L.A. because her friends had organized the Hello Kitty 35th anniversary party at the Royal T tea shop. My lady has a few items in the Hello Kitty fashion show so we were invited to the event. I had no idea it would be a s big and crazy as it was. Totally random b list celebs and some great artists who submitted Hello Kitty inspired work. Gary Baseman was doing some live drawing at my table which was pretty awesome. Also if you love Harajuku Lolita fashion or just the girls then Royal T is the place for you. It's a regular meet up spot for gangs of L.A. Lotlitas. We had a night cap with some of my ladies peeps at Swingers diner which is pretty tasty. We were only in town a very short time because I had a Tattoo appointment the next day. I made it back just in time to be tortured. My artist did some touch ups on the upper part of my sleeve, mostly in the arm pit area. I was super tired and hungry and really not in the mood, but all is well and it's nearing completion after a year and a half and countless dollars. There's your DJ Hanabi real life up date. Our next show will be a total Jazz invasion. Ahhh yeah!!!!
In no particular order, here are the noteable bands I checked out during CMJ last week. Rather than bore with lengthy individual reviews, I've put in a few blurbs after each band, and some photos. Twas a great time hanging with the BTR crew and hitting several shows. A ton of new artists for this DJ. Looking forward to playing some on BTR! U.S. Royalty (indie alt band with cool hats out of Washington DC, with new 7" vinyl coming out soon: Midsommar) Middle Distance Runner (also Washington DC indie alt band; also cool, but in a non-hat way) Skidmore Fountain (NY band; sounding as good as ever, with new tracks off the Cloudless album) Quitzow (NY band; witty banter between songs is a staple of any Quitzow performance---love it; new album on the way, but lead singer Erica said she couldn't play any of the new tracks yet, since she's not sure how to reproduce them live just yet---sounds intriguing, can't wait for the release! See DJ Emily's write-up on these guys via the BTR homepage) Setting Sun (NY band; ahead of the new album, the audience was treated to some of the new tracks---can't wait for the release! See DJ Emily's write-up on these guys via the BTR homepage) Pac Division (decent hip-hop group, also with cool hats) Drink Up Buttercup (psychadellic alternative out of Philadelphia, who I enjoyed a lot more live than recorded... just a personal preference) Tanya Morgan (Brooklyn hip-hop trio that performed as a duo, cool getups circa 1994) Kria Brekkan (experimental Icelandic accordian? I had nightmares, but was strangely entranced by her music, her voice, and this truly unique performance) Dent May (southern Mississippi alternative with ukulele! can't beat it) The Loom (mellow, instrumentally diverse band who performed at the BTR's CMJ Showcase at Trash Bar) Photo:    
I bought KISS tickets for the show in Boston a few weeks ago on a total whim. 45 minutes prior my boyfriend told me we were taking some time apart, and rather than cry about it I immediately marched over to the box office and got KISS tickets. Sidenote: I've been on a kick this year to see every great, classic artist before they stop touring for good or, well, die. That was my reasoning behind seeing Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, and Aerosmith this year. Best consecutive $50 I've ever spent. I have to admit that I'm not a big KISS fan. I also only know maybe 4 of their songs well, and they played 3 of them that night. My buddy came with me, who knows their catalog just as well as I do, and we were those silent people in a sea of screaming, sing-a-long fans. Now maybe if we knew and loved the music just as much as the guy dressed up like Gene Simmons sitting next to us, we would have thought the music was off the hook! But... well... the music itself is nothing special. In fact, it kind of sucks in the grand scheme of talent. (Sorry to offend the big KISS fans out there. Feel free to try to put me in my place.) I soon realized though that it's not about the music -- it's about the performance. How they all walk in those platform shoes and perform with that much hair spray and face paint is truly beyond me! Those guys were flying through the air, rocking out on the top of the stage set, and shooting off more fireworks than the Fire Marshall probably allowed indoors. There was an overwhelming amount of confetti falling from the ceiling, too. How can you go wrong with that? By the fourth song, we had forgotten that the music sucked; we were entranced by the entertainment before us! Great, mindless entertainment is what you get on a whim. While KISS is not exactly quality music, they were way better than the pint of Ben & Jerry's waiting for me at home. Instead of the extra calories I would have had to burn off at the gym, I now forever have the image of an old guy in tight black leather and facepaint flying towards me and thrusting his pelvis into his guitar. Classic.
Turning down big name producers (such as Diplo) and choosing to self-produce your debut album is certainly a risk, but it's this kind of confidence in art that's cherishable in our deafening world of banging electro, crass hip hop and mediocrity. As four dropouts of south London's Elliott School, the XX have grown up together in area of Britain becoming increasingly famous for it's innovative music production. With a modest superiority, the XX's debut echos genres from R&B, Hip Hop, Indie Rock and London's magnetic Dubstep. Produced by band member Jamie Smith, alongside Oliver and Romy's husky vocals and Baria's beautiful guitars, it's a wonder if it's the band members' life-long friendship that has forged the album's intimacy. The duet of voices, contrasting male and female but both as soft and as naked as each other, instantly give the XX uniqueness. These alternating vocalists tell abstract and contemporary tales of love and life but lack the ego and drama of superstars or self-proclaimed "underground artists". XX is a breath of fresh air. It's refreshing and new and sounds like nothing from before. Which is strange considering the group's use of the common; drum machine, bass, guitar and keyboard. It's the XX's basic use of the ubiquitous guitar, it's their reluctance to over-clap the drum machine and it's the pace they refuse to rush that creates their final instrument: atmosphere. They convert space and air into audio format, but it's not boring or ignorable, it's peaceful and enjoyable. Awarded an Ecoutez, 9 out of 10, XX is one of 2009's essentials purchases. Highlights include Islands, Crystallised and Heart Skipped a Beat. MP3: The XX - Islands Sample MP3s & support artists by buying their material. Link to this post Listen up at Ecoutez.
Via Tania Moon Sweet Moon Via Tania is the project of Australian born singer and instrumentalist Tania Bowers. At a young age, she played in  a vowel-free, noise pop outfit with her sister called SPDFGH, and opened for bands like The Breeders and Bikini Kill. She eventually worked on a solo effort and self-released an EP under the moniker Sunday. Fast forward a few years to Chicago, Illinois where she began to piece together songs for her debut as Via Tania. The first album, Under A Different Sky, was released in 2004. Bowers' sophomore release, Moon Sweet Moon, began to take shape in Australia. While still in Australia, Tania randomly met Craig Ross, a music producer from Texas. Ross  had worked with artists such as Emmylou Harris and Daniel Johnston. The two hit it off and began to work with each other. She traveled between the United States, Europe and Australia to complete the album. The eleven song set starts out with "The Beginning," a song that focuses on Bowers' vocals. Her voice is light and airy, and it has a very enchanting feel. The second song "Wonder Stranger" opens up with bells and light percussion. It sounds like the intro to a horror film. You can picture a baby carriage rocking in a dark bedroom while a cold wind blows the curtains about the window. Continuing on through the album, "How Come" is another track that stands out. With its minimal guitar parts, it is Via Tania's own ballad track. She sings a love song, "How come you love me like you are holding on to something, to someone?" The album may be a bit hard to swallow at first; the songs don't flow like typical pop songs. They aren't easy for the listener to ingest right away. In other words, none of the tunes will leave you humming the melody after one listen. The tracks have many subtleties, and that is the true beauty of Moon Sweet Moon. Bowers' voice is the most dynamic part of many of the songs. The minimal instrumental parts are light to the ear. The arrangements are brilliantly proportioned throughout the album. As with any good record, I always wonder what the artist can do live. So, if you can, check out Via Tania! I'm sure these recordings will make for a beautiful show. Live: Nov 10 2009 at Bordello Bar in Los Angeles, CA Nov 11 2009 at Bootleg in Los Angeles, CA Headlights Remixes Sometimes a remix (or a remix album) can be more fun than the actual songs/album itself. At other times, remixes can ruin the beauty of the original song. Headlights latest album, Remixes, defies both of these stereotypes. I actually think of it as a bonus disc! The tracks are from three of their albums; Kill Them With Kindness, Some Racing Some Stopping and their latest effort, Wildlife. Headlights hail from Champaign, Illinois and formed in 2004. The group consists of Erin Fein, Seth Fein, Brett Sanderson and Tristan Wraight. The Fein's and Sanderson had been playing music together since 1996, in bands such as Absinthe Blind and Orphans. The album boasts remixes from The Album Leaf, Cale Parks and Son Lux, to name a few. After giving the album a few listens, I immediately fell in love with the Casiotone For The Painfully Alone's remix of "So Much For The Afternoon." Uzi & Ari remix "Towers," which recalls sounds of "The Postal Service." Jason Caddell of The Disemberment Plan fame produced "On April 2." I wasn't sure what to expect from this song, but it pleases with its abundance of electro-pop goodness. Headlights' own Brett Sanderson remixes "Tokyo," giving the tune a more mystical/spiritual feel. Although it would be a dream to see Remixes performed live, I don't think that will be happening any time soon. Still, their original songs make for a great show as well, so go see them! Live: Oct 28 2009 at Will’s Pub in Orlando, FL Oct 29 2009 at Bottletree in Birmingham, AL Oct 30 2009 at Hi Tone in Memphis, TN Oct 31 2009 at The Iron Post in Urbana, IL Grooms Rejoicer We here at BTR have been fans of "Grooms" since they were known as the Muggabears. Personally, I never thought Muggabears was a bad band name. It always reminded me of gummy bears, which is is odd, but definitely an enjoyable treat, much like the group itself. My favorite Muggabears tune was "Dead Kid Kicks." I could hum that in my head for days. But on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 the band issued a statement via their Myspace blog: Hello Everybody, We were Muggabears, now we're Grooms. Is it a verb? Is it a noun? Not telling. We've also put up a new song off our new album. The album is called Rejoicer. And the song is called Dreamsucker. We hope you like it. If you don't know about Grooms, they are a Brooklyn trio that have been around for about five years now. They just released their latest album, Rejoicer, on Death By Audio Records. Rejoicer is filled with lots of reverb. Lots and lots of reverb... In between all of the fuzzy goodness, I couldn't help but recall the influence of Dinosaur Jr. It's almost as if the DJ boys had some hipster kids and they made this new album. The first three track are the real standouts for me, but with each listen, the tunes grow on you. I am very fond of singer Travis Johnson's voice. It has a slight uneasiness to me that is very attractive. He sounds as if he is experiencing both pain and pleasure when he sings, something that is quite difficult to pull off. Rejoicer boasts ten moody tracks that will be a surefire hit with all their Brooklyn peers. Live: Nov 5 2009 at Larry’s in Danbury, CT Nov 8 2009 at AS 220 in Providence, RI Nov 15 2009 at Contemporary Space 13 in Cincinnati, OH Nov 16 2009 at Bishop Bar in Bloomington, OH Link to this article:
Yes, I know CMJ is over, and I know I am talking about things that happened a few days ago. But, just know the reason I haven't been updating is because I was too busy interviewing people and covering as much ground as possible. For real, I have at least 4 weeks of content for my new talk show on BTR, In The Den, and a month's worth of programing is beefier than a one-off blog. But I digress... On with the story! Day three in the realm of the College Music Marathon was all about the BTR day party at Trash Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Phil (aka DJ Wynn) and I departed his crib in Forest Hills and got on the F train to Manhattan, where we stopped by the BTR office to pick up some last minute supplies. Then it was back onto the F, transfer to the L at 14th Street, and into Williamsburg we rode. Trash Bar wasn't far, and when we got inside, I finally shook hands with DJ Mojo, who hosts Maximum Music on BTR. Dude fought in Vietnam as a marine, started DJ'ing a few years before I was born, and is a legend in the business. We've recorded some phone conversations in the past, in which he talked about his history and told some amazing anecdotes, and it was just smashing to finally meet him in the real world. Then I saw some cats who looked a lot like they might be in Jumbling Towers, the St. Louis, Missouri-based band who were first on our bill. Meeting Joe, Nate, Dmitri and Kyle, man, it was ace. These are blokes I would be hanging out with on the weekends if they lived close by. It's funny, I can't remember if I interviewed them then, or after their set. The BTR day party flew by in flash, and it was the only part of the marathon where I didn't have time to take actual notes. While that was going on, Phil had been a gent and got me a coffee from some place down the street, which Mojo said had the best in Brooklyn. This was most definitely good news, but it kind of put a damper on buying coffee anywhere else in Brooklyn the rest of the week. For real, if you start with heroin, how can you  then switch to marijuana? Chuckle, that's a bad analogy, but you know what I mean. After that I got BTR T-shirts (really good-looking/fitting garments, by the way) for Jumbling Towers and their girlfriends. Then I caught up with my fellow DJs a bit, as we were all there: DJ Lottie, DJ Pat, DJ Madalyn, DJ Chris H, the whole merry crew. Lottie said she was going out to grab an arepa, and she asked if I wanted one, to which I replied "hell yes." Writing this now, I am just realizing I never paid her back for it. It was an arepa with meat in it, and that beast stuck to my ribs boy. We of course had pizza for all the bands, but I never made it to a slice.  Reckon I was too busy trying to document everything that was happening. Anyway, by now it was 2 PM and Jumbling Towers were posting up. I readied my Flip. If you listen to any of my shows, than you know that I really love this band's music. It's like catnip for my inner villain. They played four new songs off the new, as-of-yet-unreleased Kanetown LP, and four old songs from the self-titled, debut record. It all sounded spot-on, and no one instrument overpowered the others (which is so often an issue at live shows). Posted up at his Rhodes piano, frontman Joe DeBoer was extremely busy. In addition to singing, playing his Rhodes, and the other keyboard on top of it, he wielded a guitar. Also, he had to constantly shift his microphone by hand, as he shuffled about in his seat, ranging from instrument to instrument. But damned if he didn't do it all, whilst singing so expressively that the veins in his neck bulged. Reckon it takes a lot of jugular strain to sing in that utterly unique voice. Having never seen them live, I had no idea he did so much, and it all came off like fireworks. The only new song I was familiar with (record is still being mastered) was "Gilberta," and that sounded fresh as flavor crystals. Drummer Dmitri has had a fine influence, no doubt, and there was another new song that had yet another  ridiculously dope bass line from Nate Drexler. They closed with "Cowards," and it was as badass as ever. How can you not close the show with a song featuring lyrics like "you should kick him in the face!" It was everything I hoped it would be, and when the set finished, I either interviewed them outside (where it seemed like the temperature had dropped 10 degrees in 20 minutes), or talked to Phil outside. I remember Phil saying "I didn't realize they were so dancey," and I concurred. Kanetown is going to be a heck of a release, when it comes out next year. More in a bit!
Sometimes when you attend an event like CMJ or SXSW, you see so many bands that you start to forget why you like music.  What could possibly be original about a guitar, bass, and drum kit anymore?  Discouragement reigns and all you want to do is crawl home and sleep.  But suddenly, you're watching an amazing new band that you've never seen before, a band that really stands out and inspires, and you fall in love all over again. I saw several bands that stood out in that way over CMJ.  I revisited some old favorites including Lovvers, JEFF the Brotherhood, Darlings, Real Estate, Grooms, Woods, and Titus Andronicus (I think because of the economy many bands didn't feel it was prudent to travel this year, thus the prevailing of so many Brooklyn/NYC/NJ bands).  But for my top five of CMJ I'm going to go with bands I've never seen before.  So here are the top five brand new bands (to me) from CMJ. 5. Duchess Says  I'm not sure that I'd necessarily put on Duchess' Says album, but the Montreal band sure did make an impression live.  They play thick, electro-trippy grooves that are really the backing for the amazing Annie-Claude.  She's an amazing front woman, making jittery, jerky motions, as if she were caught in a strobe light.  She often whirls and clicks instead of singing, much like Molly from Ponytail.  It's almost like watching a very energetic robot front a band.  I'd definitely try to get out to see these guys if they tour in your town. 4. Freelance Whales Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get a photo of this band because I walked in towards the very end of their set.  A song and a half was all it took to make a huge impression, though.  There were about five or six young people perfectly, aesthetically arranged around a group of instruments.  A banjo, an acoustic guitar, a harmonium, a xylophone.  They played delightful, simple folk songs that chug along happily.  But what really reeled me in within only second were the harmonies!  Five part harmonies!  Perfectly done!  Absolutely impeccable.  A band to watch out for for sure. 3. Pete and the Pirates This British band was one of the big surprises of CMJ.  They're listed in quite a few peoples' favorite bands and for good reason.  Their Brit-rock isn't anything particularly new, it's just that they do it much better than everyone else.  This band is really for anyone who is a fan of music with guitars.  It's easily likeable, and top quality at the same time.  The next time they come through the states I bet they'll be playing some pretty big venues. 2. Peggy Sue The British bands really won the day at Pianos.  Friends with another great band, Sky Larkin, Peggy Sue play dark, enchanting songs with ominous vocal harmonies (also spot on).  They're the kind of band that I want to describe with colors: navy blue, brown, black, pea green.  Their vibe was great, and they were doing something different.  I can't wait to see them again on a better soundsystem. 1. Smith Westerns I'm completely enamored with this band.  They play scuzzy rock and roll with all of the teenage angst and poppy hooks that a good punk band ought to have.  Except they actually are teenagers.  I heard that they got kicked out of Music Hall of Williasmburg for peeing in their trash cans.  I really think these guys are the genuine article, and that why they win my #1 spot of CMJ
"FIRERAMA" is the concert and dance that will be coming to New York City on Friday, November 13, 2009.  Brooklyn will lyrically be set ablaze by three of the leading fire spewing messengers of conscious dancehall reggae - Anthony B, Capleton, and Coco Tea - as they make appearances at the Cultural Performing Arts Center (C-PAC) located at 1020 East 48th St., Brooklyn.  The doors will open at 10p.m. The show will be hosted by Selector Noah and will feature a slew of New York City's top disc jockeys -  DJ Roy, Irie Jam, Massive B, Bobby Konders & Jabba, Baby Q of Libra Love, Six Love Ent, DJ Elly, Redman, and Obsession.
Went to the Mercury Lounge this weekend for the Sub Pop/Hardly Art CMJ Showcase. There were a whole lot of bands playing until late into the night. I was feeling a bit sick/fatigued, so I did not wish to stay very late. So I saw precisely three of the bands that played. Dum Dum Girls went on at 8:00pm. In my life, I have been mostly indifferent to the Dum Dum Girls. I played some tracks from her myspace on my old radio show, so I guess that means I felt generally positive toward her at the time. However, I was not that impressed by that first CD-R (later repressed in 12" format by Captured Tracks). The hooks were few and far between, and the recordings just sounded kinda thin and weak. It was like these kind of weird groovy songs but there was no bass in them, thus no groove. Unfortunate to say the least. I was also unimpressed with the Hozac 7". That one actually left me with negative feelings, as did all of the Mayfair Set songs that weren't "Junked!" And then there was the whole thing with her selling an album to Sub Pop that she had already promised to Hozac, which I won't get into because indie politics are generally embarassing but still. Anyway, maybe it's because I'm a pop guy at heart, but i just didn't get the appeal of this pop-less pop music. So I didn't go into the show with high hopes. But I have to say, I was actually very pleased with the Dum Dum Girls live set. The sound was really big and meaty. You could actually hear the grooves, where most of the hooks are. Plus, she had at least two members of her band singing backup, that really helped a lot too, hooks-wise. The reverb was maxed out on the vocals, which was cool. The vocals sounded like ghosts swarming around the room and around the grooves. So it turns out that Dum Dum Girls can write some good songs and play them well (at least in the NYC iteration). I was happy about that, and I am back to "generally positive" re: Dum Dum Girls. Maybe I will even get that big Sub Pop debut LP. Up next was Moondoggies, from Seattle. I had never heard/heard of the band before. I don't have a ton to say about them. They were twangy, American classic rock. The songs were generally good, if not a little samey and overlong. The sound was nice, they had the four-piece drums/bass/guitar/Rhodes going, and some great four-man vocal harmonies. Sometimes they got a little chaotic and reminded me of Akron/Family at their more restrained moments. That is not really meant to be an insult, though I understand how it could be taken that way. They didn't make me wanna leave or anything. I've just seen a million bands like this and am hella jaded so blaaah. Finally, at 10PM, the band I was there to see took the stage: The Dutchess and the Duke! It is hard for me to guage actually how popular this band is in the real world. I know they opened for Fleet Foxes when that band was popular, and Hardly Art is a pretty big label, so I think they must be really popular. All I know is their first 7" ("Reservoir Park"/"Mary" on Castle Boom Boom Records) could very well be the best single of the decade. Plus their other records since have been really great too. How's that for expectations? But I tell you what, they did not disappoint me one bit. They had a stripped-down set-up, just two guitars (Dutchess and the Duke) and one man on floor tom and tambourine. And they played really straightforward renditions of their songs. And I don't know what was going on, because they played so quietly that you think the crowd would drown them out (NYC crowds are pretty bad for this), but it was the most reverent audience I have ever been in here. Everyone was so quiet you could hear tuning between the songs (while the guitar was unamplified!). Can you imagine? Not a peep, not a heckle. Even the band looked bewlidered, and awkwardly tried to make jokes and stuff. It was cute and people laughed at the jokes and everyone loved it. I guess it is just a testament to the power of great songwriting, because those two are writing songs better than just about any other band going. And it's not complicated or unique stuff, I mean they mostly sound like the Rolling Stones, and they don't have a crazy performance or anything, they just stood there and sang and played. But that's all it took because their songs and records are classics and everybody already knows it! So yeh, their set was great, even though they didn't play "Mary". probably for the best, I would have just embarassed myself singing along. Don't think i could have suppressed the reflex! So that was it for me. Golden Triangle was up next and there is no way in hell I was gonna watch them. I was OUTTA THERE. It was good though. There should be more reasonably timed rock shows that actually run on time and don't go late. I go to work, why I gotta stay out till 3AM just to see a band I like. I don't think so! It's a terrible system. Three or four bands per show, start at like 8:30, end around midnight! Come on, guys, we can do this!!
Any blogger who doesn't run up an end of year "best of" list has basically been wasting their time all year. Whenever a new song gives us goosebumps, makes us pretend we're in the music video, or gives us that horny heart-racing feeling of warmth, we'll add it to our ongoing 2009 playlist. Come the end of December and after a quick re-shuffle, we'll have an instant "Greatest songs of 2009" chart. ARTIST: Memory Tapes TRACK: Bicycle UK RELEASE: 03/08/09 (12" only) VAGUELY DESCRIBED AS: Ghostly electro-pop MYSPACE Hailing from New Jersey and part of the mysterious Weird Tapes/Memory Cassette project, Dayve Hawk (the emotional mastermind behind Memory Tapes) is releasing the atmospheric "Bicycle" from his solo album still in the making. Smoother than water, intensely uplifting and futuristically beautiful; we wonder, what is it that makes it so good? The vocals? The electro melody? The psychedelic range? We don't know but we do have word from Michael Jackson that it's the soundtrack to heaven right now. MP3: Memory Tapes - Bicycle Link to this post Listen up at Ecoutez.
By far, my favorite moment of CMJ was seeing The Main Drag live at Spike Hill in Brooklyn! The band rocked it so hard and it was amazing to finally see them live after being a huge fan for 4ish years! It was a 1am show but that didn't stop them from putting on stellar set and impressing the crowd. It was also impressively pack for such a late showcase and not a soul was disappointed. I'd met members of the band before at SXSW but it was great to finally meet the whole band and hear some of my favorite tunes live, including "Dove Nets" and "A Jagged Gorgeous Winter". A highlight for me was the band giving myself and DJ Latola shout-outs and dedicating a song to us. They were very appreciative of BTR's support of them over the years. It was a really special moment for me and Matt as well! If you're given the opportunity, please see this band live. And, certainly check them out online at - ILY
The last day of CMJ found me mostly at Pianos during the day, with a few brief respites at Cake Shop.  I then made my way over to Don Pedro's, then back to Manhattan to end at Mercury Lounge.  Pictures from most of the bands below.  I'll have a full recap with my favorite from the marathon tomorrow. Beast Beast Surf City Surf City Sharon Van Etten UUVVWWZ UUVVWWZ Smith Westerns Pete and the Pirates Pete and the Pirates Local Natives Local Natives Local Natives Darlings Darlings Darlings Darlings Dum Dum Girls Dum Dum Girls Dum Dum Girls
The plague struck me this night, but at least I got in a good day party and finally had a chance to see Dent May's Ukulele. Still a successful CMJ in my opinion. Here are the pictures to prove it. Front man of Jumbling Towers, Joe Deboer, and battling for best named drummer in the back is Demetrius Sledge. Ted and Grant of Generationals Nathan, Ryan, and Peejay of Holiday Shores John and Sydney of The Loom Good ole Dent May My sick face, and DJ Repete apparently reveling in it
Friday of CMJ was our BTR Day Party at Trash Bar in Brooklyn. We had quite a stellar lineup and good times were had by all. A good crowd showed up, including lots of BTR staff, all eager to see Jumbling Towers, Generationals, Holiday Shores, and The Loom. Jumbling Towers from St. Louis, Missouri kicked off the set. The band did an excellent job of kicking things off. They played new music which they recently recorded to open the show. Then the third song of the set was "Pure Jew" off of their self-titled album. Jumbling Towers have a new 7" coming out in a week. They referred to it as a "single-double". As, the 7" is a single with 2 songs. Which they played at the show. Jumbling Towers Next up, were Generationals. They played all of their hits including my favorite "Angry Charlie".  They are a really fun group to watch and drew quite an audience of followers. Generationals The tunes throughout the day were pretty upbeat and everyone had quite a great time. I mentioned before a bunch of the BTR staff turned out. Including DJ Jezz (below) whom I had a good time rocking out with. Jezz does our Live From Piano's show here on BTR. Me and DJ Jezz Holiday Shores was the third group to take the stage and I felt at home. The band is form my neck of the woods in Florida. I mentioned before that Generationals were a lot of fun to watch, well Holiday Shores were as well. Both bands have 2 vocalists and put on a great set. Holiday Shores The final band of the show was The Loom. They produce an interesting and unique blend of folk, alt-country, and rock. With banjos, forceful drumming, and a french horn this group was differnt and a lot of fun. I think they may have been my favorite of the evening. Best part was when Sydney Price the vocalist and percussionist stated that a man in the front row looked a lot like Tom Cruise. That guy happened to be our very own co-worker Patrick. She received lots of laughs from the BTRers in attendance. The Loom I had so much fun watching all of our bands and hanging with and meeting my fellow DJ's. DJ Katia and I are pictured below. She's just as sweet as she wounds on the air. Me and DJ Katia ENJOYING THE BTR PARTY! After the set, I hang with DJ MOJO who provided his superior DJ skills between acts at the BTR Day Party. He and I watched some more bands at Trash Bar. We also headed over to The Knitting Factory for the Dap Tone Records Showcase which was incredible. Budos Band = Amazing! Then it was back to the hotel to get ready for my final day of CMJ. Looking forward to seeing The Main Drag. Check back for the full report! - ILY
My second day in New York City was split into two parts. The majority of the morning and afternoon was dedicated to manning the BTR table for College Day at CMJ, and the night involved a big dinner and more shows. For College Day, the BTR staff set up shop at the back of the auditorium on the fifth floor of the Kimmel Building at NYU. There we spread the good word and handed out glow-in-the-dark BTR buttons, swank T-shirts and BTR Live Studio compilation albums, volumes 1 and 2. Naturally, all this cheery promotion came to a halt when the panels were going, and esp. afterward when the food arrived. It was actually kind of cyclical. Promote, break and listen to college music directors/station managers, eat, rinse and repeat. I met some far flung DJs, filled a pocket full of business cards and wondered about where I would go later. We broke down our table after the CMJ awards ceremony, packed up all the BTR propaganda and brought it back uptown to the office. Then it was on to Sammy's Noodle House for dinner, with about 20 DJs and staff from the ever-growing BTR fambly. Much sake was drank, though I stuck to the green tea. I just can't conduct a good interview on the sauce, and I heartily thanked myself later for  resisting the temptation. Still, it was a hell of a reunion. Even BP Fallon showed up, in a dapper black bowler and matching coat (festive Chucks in effect). The only ones missing were DJ Drew (victim to the Swine Flu, man I feel bad for that guy) and DJ Mojo, and no one could call him because dude doesn't have a cell phone.  After that, having not even looked at the CMJ schedule, I found myself alone for the first time. DJ Wynn, my partner in crime, went home to eat vitamin C and drink hot tea, as he was not feeling well. He said I should go to Pianos, so I did, and saw three smashing sets. When I walked in the door to the staging area, I was immediately confronted by a fellow in red shorts and a red shirt, wearing a  red backpacking/vacuum cannister-type contraption on his back. Two wrist thick antennae shot out over his head on opposite sides, each about 3-4 feet in length, and each bent down at the ends like street lamps. Red and green light bulbs adorned both. He had a control panel on his chest composed of about 6 switchplates, just like the kind next to almost every basic household door. He was flipping them on and off to the music, changing the blinking sequence and shuffling about. He was posted up in the middle of the room and singing with no microphone. The band had apparently eschewed the stage for the floor, and, after casting my eyes about more fully, I figured it was probbaly because they couldn't fit everyone on the plank. In addition to Dynamo, there were three other chief singers. One wore a full-body Spiderman outfit, another wore a leotard with jeans, and another cat was representing in gold sequin pants, matching bowtie and a collared shirt. They also had back-up singers in Grecian robes, one person (no idea if it was a man or a woman) in a massive shark outfit, and another full-costumed character that looked a bit like a birthday cake. All the music came from a machine, I think, and it was a mix of 8 Bit and highly energetic indietronica. "This retinue should just parade down the street like it were Mardi Gras," I thought. The choruses were Journey in size, often built to crazy explosions of emotion, and the energy was extremely positive. The four singers were everywhere, interacting with the crowd or just writhing on the floor. Imagine Of Montreal and Monotonix combining for a kid-friendly show. That was it, and it was hard not to get into, as their enthusiasm was quite contagious. I learned they were called The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt (after talking to the man in the leotard, look for the interview in the coming weeks In The Den) and was tickled to hear they were signed to Luaka Bop records. While we spoke, the band set up collapsible laundry hampers (which quickly filled), and then they were off to their next show. After that came Free Energy, signed to DFA Records, whom I had heard plenty about but never actually heard. Their set was all about rampant audience participation via huge choruses and straight-up rock and roll. Cowbell, check. Japanese rising sun T-shirt, check. Chops and stache, check. Drummer twisting drum stick between fingers, check. Shredding (on a glittery Slash guitar), check. Lead singer in vintage Batman shirt, check. Song with a chorus of "Bang Bang Pop Pop," check. I suppose the music could easily be categorized as '70s' rock, while we're on this ride, but without any high-pitched harmonies. They got some dancey funk in their blood to boot, and the frontman is rather Jagger in his movements. Certain aspects, like the fleet-fingered guitar solos and over-the-top lyrics, reminded me a bit of The Darkness, minus the gauche and wasted career. The set was super-tight, and the crowd was super-hyped. To my ears, Free Energy aren't exactly breaking any new ground, but the ground they tread is damned well-kept, like an executive golf course,  and they sounded amazing live. This is the kind of show where everybody gets cheered up, rowdy, meets someone new, and then takes that new friend home for a bit of love. I'm saying, the frontman just looked so damn happy to be there, it was hard for anyone to have a puss on the ol' face (look for the live interview in the coming weeks In The Den). After that was Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers (apparently all dudes), and I didn't know it was her until the last song. She sounds like a female Jim Morrison, and that harmonium she wields is richer than chocolate torte. Also, she struck me as quite cabaret in her singing style. Shilpa has that big band swang, with a mighty backbeat, though the actual band was not swinging much. Other than the dexterous bassist, who looks like he works in the lumber department at Home Depot, the rest of the Happy Hookers were rather subdued. Still, this made Shilpa herself even more impressive. There were crescendoes and harmonies that made me take a step back in awe at the sheer power coming from her throat. I had a great interview with her afterwards, on the sidewalk in front of Pianos, and it may have been one of the best of the week (again, listen up for that beast In The Den). Three bands, three interviews, plus a stop for a lonely late-night dinner and time in transit, I was done for the night. Peace out until Friday.
CMJ day four was great because it was BTR's day party!  We had such an amazing time with Jumbling Towers, Generationals, Holiday Shores, The Loom, and our very own DJ Mojo.  All of the bands put on great performances that you'll be able to hear on the station throughout the week.  A few pictures below.
Time to fill you in on what I've been up to. For starters, had a blast at CMJ College Day. It was nice to talk to some students about BTR and listen to some panelists in the college music industry. They also did the College Music Awards. BTR was nominated and unfortunately did not win. I'm determined to win it next year! After that, we had a grand ol' time at Sammy's Noodle Shop in NYC! I can't say exactly how many BTR DJ's were there but it was close to 30. It was soo great catching up with everyone and meeting some of the staff that I only know from their shows. Myself and DJ RePete... Good Times! Next, ventured out to The East Village with DJ RePete. We stopped in at the Side Walk Cafe for the Young Love Records Showcase. Got to see some amazing music! Please check out the reviews section for the rundown of the show. Four amazing bands played and good times were had by DJ RePete and myself.  (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW) Headed home from the Young Love show. RePete, a true gentleman, walked me to my subway and I was good to go... or so I thought. My train was not running! I then went to call RePete and my phone died. Not only could I not call anyone I was sans GPS, which has been my life line since I got here.     It took me FOREVER to find my way back to my hotel. I then wrote a review of the Young  Love show which took me until about 6:30am. I had an appointment for a haircut at 830am and though, there is no way I am going to that. However, I layid down and I was wired. Could not sleep. So, I headed out to get my hair trimmed. Had breakfast at Happy Days Diner in Brooklyn and then headed to Trash Bar for a very memorbale day at the BTR Showcase. And a memorable evening hanging out with DJ MOJO. I can't remember the last time I was awake for over 38 hours! CMJ is truly a marathon.  Details and pictures  of our BTR showcase to come!  Check back and  follow me on Twitter for all of my CMJ updates. - ILY
BrooklynVegan's day party at Pianos was the place to be for CMJ yesterday.  Here's a recap in photographs: A Classic Education Sky Larkin from the UK A great rocking three piece band. Peggy Sue from the UK.  My favorite act of the day.  Their vocal harmonies were spot on! Duchess Says!  She was out of control.  She totally ruled the room and the band rocked. JEFF the Brotherhood.  Love this two piece!  Just bass and drums. I saw Suckers at The Delancey later.  They were fun.  I also say Yes Giantess and The Antlers, but it was so crowded I couldn't get close enough for photos.
[mp3] Charlotte Gainsbourg "IRM" Today, Charlotte Gainsbourg debuted a new mp3 "IRM" as a free download on her website. There has been a good deal of attention surrounding her new release (also titled IRM) as Beck wrote the music, guests on the record and produced and mixed it - much in the way Air collaborated with Gainsbourg on her last release 5:55. Of course, none of this would be possible without Gainsbourg whisperlike vocals and distinctly French flair. Gainsbourg has recently starred in several movies, but was severly injured and suffered a brain hemmorage after a water skiing accident. "IRM" is a reflection of her time spent getting MRI's during her time in the hospital. It's good to hear she's doing better. The album comes out in early 2010. She also released an album preview video. See it after the jump. Photo: Autumn de Wilde Link to this post Stark Online, we've made a cuckold of you.
True to form, the CMJ music marathon began and I was on my feet for almost 23 hours. I was up at 3:30 AM in Gainesville, then drove to Orlando, flew to NYC and suddenly it was noon. Took a taxi to Brooklyn with DJ Emily  for her hotel check-in, subwayed into the Apple for lunch at Righteous Urban Barbeque with the Chief (brisket sandwich and cornbread), and then it was on to the Gutter in Williamsburg for the Pirate Playground comedy and bowling party showcase at 4 PM. BTR's Marcus Parks pulled off a dope lineup of Joe Mande, Mark Normand, Adam Newman, and Sean Patton, all of whom were hilarious. They was cracking on hipsters for letting the yuppies infiltrate Williamsburg with their Duane Reedes and posh baby strollers. Also, the good people at Pirate had thrown down for a free keg of Dogfish, clocking in at 8.5% alcohol, so mirth was merry (though 'rampant' might be a better word). I ran into all the blokes from Drink Up Buttercup, who were doing a bit of bowling. Turns out a lot of the BTR staff was headed to their set Cake Shop (myself included) at 8 PM, so we all exchanged the dap and bid adieu until later. After talking with the good folk from Pirate, and catching up with my fellow BTR comrades, it was time for a leisurely stroll through Williamsburg to the train. Weather was choice as the gloaming settled in, and we passed The Antlers unloading their van at SoundFix, and a Hassidic baseball team practicing in the park. Apparently they play a Puerto Rican team there a lot, and they have a fiery rivalry. Into the Apple we went, where we detoured right quick to grab some crazy fried Belgian goodness at Pommes Frits, before moseying down to Cake Shop. That's the thing about knocking around New York City; you feel like you can eat whatever you want, because you will burn it off right quick (esp. if you plan on walking around for the next 12-odd hours). When we got to Cake Shop, I made a few calls, telling all the people I knew in NYC to come the hell on down and have a frosty 3$ can of Rolling Rock with me.  A good friend I hadn't seen since drama class in high school showed up, and there was much hugging and good cheer. Jen looked great, and I knew it was her because she refused the Rolling Rock and opted instead for the superior Newcastle, which was too pricey for me. I told Jen and everyone else that they had better get ready for Drink Up, and the rowdy roddy foursome from Philly did not disappoint. At the bottom of the sloping basement stage at Cake Shop, beneath a bright firmament of white Christmas lights, they got to work. The group opened up with "Mr. Pie Eyes," which I hear tell is the first song they ever wrote. It was loud boy, yes indeed. After that  came "Sosey & Dosey" and "Even Think," which is one of the most poular songs on BTR at press time. Then, trouble struck frontman Jim Harvey via a broken guitar string. Now began the true test of the CMJ shuffle. Already wrestling with a short amount of time to post-up and play, with the next band looking on from the corners (The Depreciation Guild), would the band rise or fall to the occasion? Drink Up Buttercup handled the crisis with aplomb. They convened in the center of the crowd with multiple yellow maracas, a crash cymbal sandwiched betwixt two aluminum garbage can lids and a glut of energy.  All four members got the beat going by calling on the crowd to "stomp" and "clap," and then they went into "Lovers Play Dead," a song that is going to take over the world when the band's debut album, Born And Thrown On A Hook, drops on Yep Roc in January. It sounds hackneyed as bloody hell, but from the first line of "Started with a glass of fine red wine/ Turned  the veins into powerlines" to the last  of "Look at the lovers play dead/ Like two little dogs," it was a magical moment. All it needed was a camp fire and crickets. Cameras flashed like the dickens throughout, and  I heard later that both the New York Times and Rolling Stone were in the house documenting. After this happy harmonic interlude, DUB reassembled on stage and tsunamied through their no-filler catalog, with Harvey perfectly nailing the operatic vocals in "Seascikness Pills." They stopped only when the chief Baker of sound at Cake Shop blatantly cranked the house music up at the end of "Heavy Hand." After a good hour of hobnobbing on the sidewalk in front of the venue, it was off to Santos Party House for Cymbals Eat Guitars, who ended up having electrical issues. We were there for about 2 hours, and the band played only one song. It sounded great, but then we had to split like a lightning struck tree to catch Saul Williams at Grammercy. That was quite a scene. I saw some cats from the Pirate staff there, and a Janelle Monae look-alike on stage that may have actually been Janelle Monae on stage. Apparently Chris Rock had been there before, and I saw a decent iPhone photo that proved the claim. But really, why wouldn't he and Monae both be there? Saul Williams is the man. First, however, was a speed hop band by the name of Krak Attack (speed hop being my definition for their blended sound of pounding bass, speed metal loops and screamed rhymes). Their were two frontmen: one with a purple shirt and a mohawk (aka warrior stripe) named CX KiDTRONiK, and another fellow in a Karate Kid skeleton shirt, tailored like a bullet proof vest (straps and all) named TCHAKA DiALLO. He wore matching black skeleton gloves and a matching black skully.  Dude was looking fierce. The keyboardist was dressed like Dracula, white face makeup and all, and the guitarist was wearing a hilarious tux, similar to the one Ben Stiller wore in Something About Mary, but more outrageous in ruffles. The music was furious on the BPM tip, way faster than "BOB" by Outkast, and CX KiDTRONiK was tearing his lungs out and jumping high in the air. Dudes in glowing green LED-type eye masks shot confetti cannons from the corners. There was quite a lot was going on, and then, suddenly, Saul Williams emerged from the pit and climbed up on stage, as if the crowd had birthed him. In addition to a fat helping from both Niggy Tardust and Amethyst Rock Star, Saul busted out a jaw-dropping spoken word solliloquy. He began with his lips so close to the mic they must have been touching the wire mesh, and his breath control and annunciation were perfect. As he got going, he slowly, SLOWLY began to pull back from the mic, his voice becoming less loud,  but more intense. The crowd was so quiet, however, you could  hear every word perfectly. Then he straight up went off,  prowling the stage mic-less, shouting, dropping name after name of influential artists and historical figures, while the crowd shouted words like "Ohhhhh!" or "What!" It was utterly ridiculous, and he finished by coming slowly back to the mic, his voice growing in amplified volume, until he was back where he started - so close to the mic that every "P" popped like a gunshot. Excellent theatrics indeed, and it was, well, just a really nifty performance trick. At the last phrase of the soliloquy, which I think was "the nation is on fire," the bass suddenly dropped and the next barnburner began. Saul took a step back from the mic and began to dance. Thick purple eye makeup covered his lids and was shot back  wide to his temples like wings, and it all flashed bright in the crazy-ass Blender Theater light show. By then it was 1 AM, and after some late night pizza down the street, a longsubway ride back to DJ Wynn's crib in Queens, and finally bed, it had been almost 24 hours since my day began. But I wouldn't change a thing.
One of the big things at CMJ are the panels. Today I checked out a panel on Online Marketing. Pretty interesting :) Not much more to say. Gotta rest!! The big BTR show is tomorrow!!
Day two of CMJ got off to a whirlwind start.  Another afternoon of shuttling between Cake Shop and Pianos for the Forcefield and Terrorbird parties, respectively.  I started out at Pianos, presented with a band I'd never heard of before, Stricken City.  They're a female-fronted British pop(ish) outfit.  The singer reminds me a bit of Regina Spektor, but think of the band as more along the lines of Bell in terms of song arranging and tone.  I'd definitely check this band out on Saturday at Bowery Ballroom if you're looking to discover a new pop-ier band with a dynamite lead singer.  She got extra plusses for wearing sweat pants to perform. Another brand new, completely unknown band awaited me at Cake Shop.  Apparently, Warpaint is pretty big in Los Angeles, but I've somehow missed hearing about them.  They seemed like they had some pretty cool droning guitar part/intense vocal harmonies going on, but they were having truly unbearable technical difficulties.  I felt sorry for them that nothing seemed to be going right, but I left in favor of... Real Estate!  I love, love, love this band.  Their breezy tunes just make me feel happy.  When I say breezy, though, I don't mean unsubstantial.  I think the interplay between Martin and Matt's songwriting and guitar sensibilities creates a truly unique sound that is the essence of today.  A thoroougly modern indie rock band, and my favorite act so far. Then it was back to Cake Shop for the Black Hollies.  This band doesn't have the hipster flash or the buzzy momentum that many of the other bands playing at CMJ have, but they have pure, raw, rock and roll talent.  This is a New Jersey band that's been around for awhile now, and you can tell.  They rip through their early Beatles meets the Ramones rock tunes like seasoned professionals.  It never got boring, though.  They knocked over a drum before the set even started, and the keyboard player used his head to play the tambourine as he hit a maraca against the ceiling, experimenting with what part of the wall produced to most desirable sound, all the while managing the feedback from a mostly unmanned guitar.  These guys truly seem like veterans, making music that's still relevant and exciting. After a quick dinner at Pianos (their food is good and seriously cheap!), I booked it on down to Santos Party House for Free Energy.  This South Philadelphia band plays cheery rock anthems that are fun, and I could see them appealing to the late-teen set in a big way.  They're distinctly from South Philly, as well (I'm guessing on the South part, but I bet that's right).  They have a scrappy, determined, unashamedly fun vibe that New York bands don't seem to possess.  Maybe they were just really happy that the Phillies are doing so well.  Good, high energy show. The last band of the night was a definitive surprise.  Ungdomskullen from Sweden are a...they're a...they're a metal-ish band with a NSync's energy and Abba's outfits.  They rocked out HARD with some seriously thrashy tunes, adorned in sparkly grandma sweaters and tight pants/short shorts (note the precariously half-zipped fly), pulling off moves as if they were in the Darkness.  I absolutely could not tell how ironic they were being if at all.  Were they joking about the music or just the clothes?  Or both?  Or neither?  Either way, I didn't really care too much by their last song, which was called "Spartacus" and had a chorus that consisted of yelling "Spartacus" at the top your lungs.  Man, Sweden must be fun.
Last night I went to the show at Silent Barn. The bill was Happy Birthday, German Measles, Male Bonding, Unnatural Helpers, and Uzi Rash. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was kind of like an (unofficial) Sub Pop party or something. I arrived a bit late, so I missed Uzi Rash and Unnatural Helpers, which was a bummer. I have seen Uzi Rash play a couple times before and they always put on wild shows. They do some off-the-wall, spastic art-rock and wear creepy lizard masks and crawl around and stuff. You can expect a generally strange time from one of their shows, and it's a different kind of thing every time. So I was particularly sad to miss their set. Unnatural Helpers, in town from Seattle, seem cool from their myspace (they cover one of my favorite Intelligence songs), and have records coming out on good labels Dirty Knobby and Hardly Art (a Sub Pop subsidiary). So yeh I might try to see them later on this week! That means I got there in time for Male Bonding. I liked them a lot. I was surprised by how much I liked them. The only prior experience I had with the band was their songs on a three-way split tape with fellow Brits Pens and Graffiti Island, and theirs was my least favorite set on there. I think because they kind of came off as wanting to be the "tuff guys" of the new London scuzz scene, cos they were a bit more punk/hardcore influenced. That kind of thing always turns me off a little. But their live set was awesome. It had the "tuff guy" thing going a little, they are a punk band, I think. But most of their songs were actually really poppy (not "pop-punk" per se, just kinda fun, no frills punk). One of the better straightforward "rock" bands I've seen in a while. I'd recommend seeing them before they go back to England. This band recently signed to Sub Pop. Up next was the German Measles, who I have never been all that into. I mean, I am a fan of sloppy post-punk/pop/garage in general, but for some reason I can't get into a single song by this band. Maybe cos their clothes and on-stage antics/affects come off as more calculated than most boy bands. Maybe cos they kind of are a boy band. I don't know. They didn't play for too long and they set off some smoke bombs that weren't too good in the poorly-ventilated space but OH WELL. Finally, Happy Birthday was up, which is King Tuff's new band. King Tuff's first LP, which came out last year on Colonel Records, is definitely one of my favorite records in a while. It's pure powerpop/garage with killer hooks that don't wear out. It is probably my most played record of the past year, next to the Hunches one. So needless to say I was really excited about Happy Birthday. And they did not disappoint. Though they didn't play any King Tuff songs (kind of a surprise), the new songs were generally of the same high-quality and showed he was going in some interesting new directions. The songs were a little weirder and less straightforward (though there were still plenty of hooks). The songwriting was more Beatles-esque and less consistent -- some songs were real "tunesmith-y", like frilly and bouncy, some were groovy classic rock sounding, like T. Rex, and there was at least one garage screamer in the bunch that might have been the best song of the night. It was kinda like John and Paul became one person and wrote weird songs. Don't miss Happy Birthday if you get a chance to see them. This was (I think) their second show and they sounded more accomplished then 95% of the bands I see live. They don't have any recordings out yet, but their full length is gonna be out on Sub Pop some time next year.
For me, CMJ started with an afternoon of BTR supported comedy at the Gutter. Four comedians were put through a rigorous assortment of obstacles, like those ghost towns policemen endure that have cardboard cutouts of burglars and grandmothers springing up. Instead, jokes had to be catapulted over crashing pins, ringing rotary phones, and even worse, snide hipsters. Maybe it was self-defense than that all the comedians made it a point to tell at least one hipster centric joke. My favorite was Sean Patton’s rant on music snobs, where he declared that he thought Death Cab For Cutie’s last record was amazing. Adam Newman almost caused an uproar by bashing Bon Jovi, but seriously, it’s pretty hard to defend Bon Jovi (unless you’re from Jersey). On the itinerary next was Drink Up Buttercup at Cake Shop. After hearing their new single “Even Think”, I was eager to see their new recordings live. I immediately noticed mannequin heads and trash cans floating around, and wondered if they would be used in unison. As it were, the heads were mere decoration, but the cans and lids were dented up in gleeful abandon. When a guitar string broke, the band ventured into the middle of the crowd to do an A cappella version of “Lovers Play Dead”, and I was officially converted. I do believe great things are in store for these lads. Finishing off my night was Saul Williams, a prolific poet who I’ve missed three times in my lifetime and a fourth would have been unbearable.  Saul sported blue make-up in the spirit of Aladdin Sane and he came on stage via crowd surfing. Crowd favorite “List Of Demands (Reparations)” sent a surge into the crowd that got everyone dancing, while a five-minute poem garnered undivided attention and ended with a roar of applause. You have to be some kind of amethyst rock star to be able to kill with poetry.
[mp3] The Roadside Graves: "Far and Wide" [mp3] The Parson Red Heads: "You can Leave It" [mp3] The Parson Red Heads: "Burning Up The Sky" Photos by Karp   So, the age old adage held true: never see a show at Lit Lounge. Such was the case again on Saturday night. While both bands, California's The Parson Red Heads and New Jersey's Roadside Graves were both in top form, the club provided the proverbial wet blanket to the evening's excitement. The Parson Red Heads, who have shed their usual electric big band ways for a more practical touring ensemble, began the evening with lovely harmonies and softly strummed west coast beach-folk melodies. Their songs proved well-constructed, and tastefully executed. It would be interesting to see their full ensemble, as we imagine it would reflect more of an Edward Sharpe type of psych-folk jam rather than the stripped down Vetiver-like performace we saw Saturday. Above are links to mp3’s that feature the both of best worlds, the full band “You Can Leave It” from their recent 7” Orangufang as well as “Burning Up the Sky” that better represents the acoustic shows they are performing around the tri-state area over the upcoming weeks, most noteably Union Hall tomorrow night with Ladybug Transistor and Hymns. See after the jump for full tour dates, photos and our recap of Roadside Graves' all too short set. All evening the Roadside Graves were forced to battle sound issues and a pushy sound guy. Not surprising given the locale. Somehow, the band managed to fit all 6 band members onto Lit's tiny stage. Their set started out in classic fashion with "Far and Wide", engaging the packed house (and the 7 foot tall #1 fan) and continuing with songs from their recent (and amazing) My Son's Home. Somewhere in the set, right around the peaking energy of "God Touched Me" they lost the bass guitar sound. SO, the band unplugged and got off stage into the crowd to play their undeniablely free wheeling single "West Coast" . Sure, why not. ALSO around this time, the sound man told them they only had 12 minutes left to play, before the fucking DJ went on. They had been playing for about 15 minutes. So, play on they did, as their voices, guitars, and fiddle were drowned by the audience members singing along, and chanting "I'm not going to Jail" the undeniable hook from the unreleased gem "Jail." It was a unique, fun, and memorable ending for what could've been a disaster of a gig from a great band. That's why we'll go to see The Roadside Graves anytime - it's always, always, worth it. Parson Red Head's Tour Dates October 12 @ Googie’s Lounge w/Linda Draper – New York, NY October 13 @ Union Hall w/Ladybug Transistor, Hymns – Brooklyn, NY October 14 @ Arlene’s Grocery (early 7pm set) – New York, NY October 15 @ Northeast Kingdom w/Brittain Ashford – Brooklyn, NY October 16 @ M Room w/Cotton Jones, Roadside Graves, Blood Feathers – Philadelphia, PA October 17 @ Northern Lights w/Airborne Toxic Event, Henry Clay People, Red Cortez – Albany, NY Link to this post Stark Online, we've made a cuckold of you.
From whence came the name Drink Up Buttercup? "That was an arbitrary statement by Farzad Houshiarnejad, of our band, of all things," says Ben Money, who plays bass and keys for the band. "Of all things?" says Farzad, who also plays bass and keys for the band. "Yeah, of all things," says Ben (the entire band laughs). "It's a name that has really come to absorb us now," continues Ben. "I feel like our music really represents the name, if you actually analyze it. At first I think it was totally arbitrary, and it's like, what are you supposed to name your band anyway? Like, get out of here with that. But now I think it's something that really represents our music, and it's a name we do love." "It's bright, but it's also dark, just like our music," adds Farzad. "Sometimes it's happy and poppy, but it's all very dark stuff." Starfucker no more! The following was taken from a blog (exactly how the group wrote it) on the  Portland, Oregon-based band's Myspace page, dated October 16th, 2009: so we've picked a new name. PYRAMIDDD ohh we hate it blah blah, we love it blah blah. it's just a name, get over it... THANK YOU to everyone who sent us suggestions, and for talking to us in person at shows! We got so many name submissions, but unfortunately, nothing worked out. But, we wanted to share some of the entries. Some we thought about for moment, some are just fucking hilarious... master control (from tron) trust fund (we thought of that) virgin moms $.89 for a taco (i think that's a taco bell campaign) stargayzers rad stewart (amazing) cop feelings beauty queens intercourse speed dating famebanger theodore huxtable (cosby sweater is better though) cunt eastwood mike ptyson (the best song title idea for sure) the scrotes ghostride the whip wasabi lube LVLS (levels) celine dion's shaggy penis (hmm) emergency landing unknown unknowns gravity tractor (texas apparently wants this one) ohh ohh radio holy ghost orange astronauts (the other original name possibility) farestucker (the most suggested name) fuck fucker the fucking sellouts (that is what we're doing right?) Grampall Jookabox no more! The following was taken from a blog on the  Indianapolis, Indiana-based band's Myspace page, dated February 13th, 2009: "Our name is now just 'Jookabox.' We don't want to sound like an old man anymore. That is final! You can use the old name if you want, but if I hear you I'll do a Springsteen knee slide into your private junk. So, you've been warned." Link to this article:
Yesterday began quite early for me on the trek from Florida to NYC for CMJ. DJ Latola and myself flew from Orlando to New York City. We live about 2 hours from the Orlando airport and our flight left at 8am... so, the day started a 4am! I'll be honest, I don't remember much of the 2ish hour flight. I passed out and apparently had my mouth wide open for the majority of the trip... according to DJ Latola. I still maintain that he made the whole thing up. :) However, the one thing I do remember are the funny looks I got for rocking my snuggie on the plane. Is that weird? Everyone else seemed to think so but I felt comfy, warm and I still had full use of my arms! Me in my snuggie (note: my mom monogrammed it for me!) When we arrived to Newark Airport it was a quick jaunt to Brooklyn (and my hotel) then  to Manhattan for delicious BBQ at Rub. Then back to Brooklyn to Gutter, an old school bowing alley in Williamsburg. Gutter housed a fantastic comedy showcase hosted by our good friends a Pirate!. The setting was not ideal for the comedians and I wanted to punch this blonde chick in the face the plopped herself done right in front and talked loudly and annoyingly to her boyfriend. But, all of the comedians did an excellent job (based on the circumstances) and I was near tears twice from laughing so hard. So, that's always a good sign. The comedy was provided by Sean Patton, Mark Normand, Joe Mande, Adam Newman, and John Flynn. Check these guys out if you get a chance... you will not be disappointed. After lots of comedy it was off to Cake Shop to see Drink Up Buttercup. However, along the way we stopped at Pommes Frites for Belgian french fries. Pommes Frites is also known as HEAVEN! Sooo good. They have delicious fries and a long list of dipping sauces to enjoy. Our favorite was the Dill Lemon Mayo (full menu below). Gotta give bigggg thanks to DJ Wynn my NYC tour guide for introducing me to this fantastic estblishment! Yummy times with DJ Wynn Not a lot of music in day one. I was exhausted after such an start to my day. However, tomorrow will be much more action packed. Check back for updates and be sure to hit up the review section tomorrow for a CMJ show review!
Today I was a bit disappointed. The show I wanted to go to didn't start on time, I won't say what show, but no one showed up. Therefore, it was pushed back a TON and I was planning on going to the Pirate Day Party at The Gutter. OH WELL... We had some great comedians at the Pirate/BTR party!!! Here is a list of the comedians that performed: Sean Patton: Mark Normand Joe Mande Adam Newman John Flynn Check them out!!! Thanks to Marcus, the wondeful director of our new comedy platform for putting on an awesome show!
Only one day of CMJ and I'm already exhausted!  After attending a few panels in the morning, I headed over to Cake Shop for what was pretty much the only show in town during the day.  It was the Pop Tarts Suck Toasted showcase, and aside from the Music Slut party next door at Pianos, not too much else was going. Fortunately, the line up was so excellent at Cake Shop that it kept my attention for the entire afternoon.  First I caught Sisters, pictured above.  A totally rocking duo, they reminded me of a lot of recent bands that we play on BTR like JEFF the Brotherhood or Woven Bones.  Definitely a can't-miss if you're into those bands.   Then was Motel Motel, another band I'd never had the pleasure of seeing before.  I was pleasantly surprised how far they took their good alt-country songs.  Their redition of "Coffee" was pretty amazing, with Hold Steady-esque dueling guitar solos at the end.  Definitely a great performance of their best song.  Then Grooms, Ex-Muggabears, played.  This was my third time catching this under-the-radar band.  I'd seen them first at SXSW outside at Ms. Bea's.  Then, I recently saw them at the new Knitting Factory.  This was by far my favorite show of theirs.  The trio's experimental scuzz was perfect for a basement venue like Cake Shop.  Honestly, I felt as if I were watching Thurston and Kim play an early Sonic Youth show- a young band full of inventiveness and exciting presence.  I'll definitely be playing a lot of their new album, which dropped today, on BTR. While waiting for Surfer Blood to take the stage, I ran upstairs to hear a few of Will Stratton's songs.  The former Sufjan Stevens collaborator plays beautiful, down-home singer-songwriter tunes.  They're special because of the simple humbleness of Stratton's voice.  Immensely likable, Stratton recently "came out of hibernation" after finishing school, and will have a new album out soon.  Definitely a young artist to keep your eye on. Speaking of young new artists to keep an eye on, Surfer Blood was full of infectious energy, and not one of them could have been older than nineteen.  The Florida natives won me over through the course of their set with solid, poppy guitar work that was unexpectedly mature.  After a failed attempt to go see Surf City and a quick dinner break, I headed over to Webster Hall.  The first act up was one I'd never seen before, Brooklyn's Beach Fossils.  The lead singer's snotty attitude (at one point he told the audience that we needed to wake up, yeah thanks, dude, it's Tuesday of CMJ) was a turn-off at first, but actually lent to the DIY feel of this young band.  Definitely another up-and-coming group with some good guitar energy, I also loved the bare-bones drumming on all of the tracks.  The bass player has some especially interesting ideas going on. Woods played a fantastic set after, of course.  With lots of tape deck manipulating and falsetto-singing, Woods rocked out harder than I've seen them in the past.  I was also close enough this time to notice that during one song the drummer takes a bass with only two strings, drapes it across the snare drum, and hits the strings as a percussion instrument throughout the song.  It was amazing, and I'd never seen anything like that before.  In fact, no one else today sounds quite like Woods.  I bet you this is a band that will outlast many of their peers, just in terms of sheer originality. To round out the night, I saw Titus Andronicus (second time in one week- it wasn't my fault!  They just happened to be playing with these other bands I wanted to see...).  It was the best I'd ever seen them, huge and grand, commanding the enormous stage and making an ironic mockery of the ridiculous light show Webster Hall threw at them.  Patrick even mumbled something about a 90s-themed Halloween party and then launched into Weezer's "The Sweater Song."  A pretty sweet way to end the night.  More tomorrow from BTR and CMJ!
Old Canes: "Little Bird Courage" Saddle Creek has quietly (or not so quietly) been having a stellar year for releases. While most blogs (this one included) have oft focused upon lo-fi experiments and the ironically named "chill wave" movement, it's been great to see a slow gravitation back to well crafted songs played on real instruments. Enter Kansas band Old Canes. While mostly the vehicle of Chris Chrisci (formerly of Appleseed Cast), Old Canes recorded Feral Harmonic piece by piece over the course of three and a half years. There is a true exuberance to the album, as it channels older foot-stomping country, and modern indie-rock shout choruses. This hybrid of folk, country, and "indie" is the most successful undercurrent of 2009. While only a few listens into Feral Harmonic, there is a good chance Old Canes may find their way next to their peers The Dodos and Rural Alberta Advantage on many year end lists. Feral Harmonic comes out October 20th. See after the jump for tour dates, including CMJ, and information on limited edition CDs and vinyl. From the press release: Limited edition CDs and LPs of Feral Harmonic are now available in the Saddle Creek online store. Hand-assembled at the Saddle Creek office by Grammy award-winning artist Zack Nipper, each CD and LP is wrapped with a black ribbon and features hand ink-stamped impressions on the cover label and inner/outer packaging, and a booklet of black and white photographs. The vinyl run is a hand-numbered edition of 1,000 and includes a code to download the album in high quality MP3 format. Check out images of the packaging below, and a slideshow of the CD artwork here and the LP artwork here. More info can also be found here. Old Canes tour dates: OCT. 13 LAWRENCE, KS JACKPOT OCT. 15 DES MOINES, IA VAUDEVILLE MEWS OCT. 16 CHICAGO, IL BOTTOM LOUNGE OCT. 17 ROCK ISLAND, IL RIBCO OCT. 18 BLOOMINGTON, IN THE VIDEO SALOON OCT. 19 CLEVELAND OH BEACHLAND BALLROOM OCT. 20 ROCHESTER, NY BUG JAR OCT. 21 HAMDEN, CT THE SPACE OCT. 22 BROOKLYN, NY KNITTING FACTORY (CMJ) OCT. 23 PITTSBURGH, PA BRILLOBOX OCT. 24 CINCINNATI, OH SOUTHGATE HOUSE NOV. 12 OMAHA, NE SLOWDOWN NOV. 13 DENVER, CO HI-DIVE NOV. 15 SALT LAKE CITY, UT KILBY COURT NOV. 16 BOISE, ID TERRAPIN STATION NOV. 18 SEATTLE, WA SUNSET TAVERN NOV. 19 EUGENE, OR BOND'S GARAGE NOV. 20 SAN FRANCISCO, CA HOUSE OF SHIELDS NOV. 21 UPLAND, CA THE WIRE NOV. 22 LOS ANGELES, CA VIPER ROOM NOV. 23 SAN DIEGO, CA CHE CAFÉ NOV. 24 PHOENIX, AZ MODIFIED ARTS NOV. 28 AUSTIN, TX MOHAWK Link to this post Stark Online, we've made a cuckold of you.
So many new shows happening here on BTR, here they are...dig in! _____________________________________________________ ____________________________________ Caribbean Fever with DJ Meredith New school and old school dancehall riddims with a touch of other calypso and caribbean vibes Most Recent Episode - Sat 07-10-2010 Airs Every Saturday! ____________________________________ Sew and Tell with DJ Audrey II The most up to date fashion news, trends, and interviews from the world of high fashion. Most Recent Episode - Fri 07-16-2010 Airs Every Friday! ____________________________________ Xtreme Endurance with DJ Meredith High pulsed music for you gym lovers with a workout regiment in mind. Most Recent Episode - Mon 07-19-2010 Airs Every Monday! ____________________________________ The Night Show with DJ Audrey II Midnight electro indie mood setting music for you insomniacs that just can't get to sleep Most Recent Episode - Wed 07-14-2010 Airs Every Wednesday ____________________________________ Overnight Sensations with DJ Patrick The DIY spirit lives here with bands in their early stages; whether they've completed one record, one song or only played one show Most Recent Episode - Wed 07-14-2010 Airs Every Wednesday ____________________________________ Big Terrific A great new comedy show with new alternative and underground comedy recorded live every month from Brooklyn Most Recent Episode - Thur 06-24-2010 Airs Monthly on Thursday! ____________________________________ The Geek Show DJ Thompson Live your nerd fantasy with DJ Wynn and DJ Mimi and everything there is to know about geek culture Most Recent Episode - Thur 07-15-2010 Airs Every Thursday! ____________________________________ ...more to come... Check them all out right here on BTR! Link to this page:
“My students are survivors–their very existence in my classroom is a statistical miracle. My 10th grade English class is full of inner city students who are the first in their families and communities to have any secondary schooling and are some of the few who dare to dream of college. Of the 60,000 people who have entered this inner city school in the past 40 years, 2,000 have graduated from college. My students will succeed as adults, but they need exposure to texts that dignify their interests and ability levels. We need 40 copies of the classic text, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to complete our study of survival and autonomy. These books will be shared by six classes and will service 150+ students this year alone. You will help my students “survive” their circumstances. Your donation will make them college ready, life ready, and ready to turn over a new leaf in their communities. You can make a difference in these kids’ lives." via We are Survivors This is a plea from “Ms. H,” one of the teachers asking strangers for help at Donors Choose, an online charity that allows individuals to help students in need. The website hosts many similar requests for supplies like markers and paper. One post, titled, “Help We Have No  Library” reads, “My kids have to read and have no library!! I work in a high need community with 8th graders. I am trying to model how to read a chapter book to them however I don’t have enough books for the kids!” Meanwhile, Wall Street firms continue to hand out tens of billions of dollars in fat bonuses to executives. It was President Obama’s pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg, who approved the compensation package for Robert Benmosche, the new CEO of taxpayer-owned AIG: $3 million in cash, $4 million in stock, and $3.5 million in annual performance bonuses for a grand total of $10.5 million. Did I mention unemployment is 9.8 percent? The Obama administration claims federal stimulus dollars have saved more than 250,000 teaching and education jobs this year. However, this claim fails to acknowledge the tens of thousands of other teachers who lost their jobs, budget cuts, unpaid furloughs, shortened school years, and overcrowded classes. Schools barely have enough money to pay for chalk, and in the meantime, Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the government’s financial rescue program, claims Feinberg has limited jurisdiction over executive bonuses like the $198 million in bonus pay AIG has promised its employees by next March. Barofsky calls the bonus quandary “a mess.” True that. Banks and Wall Street firms (some of which prospered from the taxpayer-funded bailout) continue to make a killing from the economic catastrophe, while teachers and students suffer. It’s unsurprising, but sickening. The only question is: where is the outrage? Link to this article:
This is kind of weird, but I have a secret. This is my very first CMJ. I have been working in radio for almost seven years now, maybe longer, and I have never attended this fine festival. Today myself and the rest of the BTR staff made our way over to NYU to pick up our badges. I was terrified that there would be long lines of bratty college radio kids talking a lot of shit about music. I was wrong, we got our badges and were on our way in minutes. Our first stop was food, not music. We hit up the uber yummy NYU/West Village eatery, Dojo. After filling our tummies with lots of good food, we were on our way over to Stanton Street. Stanton is a pretty hopping street during CMJ. Both Pianos and Cake Shop are within twenty feet of each other and The Living Room is in between. We first went into Pianos and there were two shows going on, one in the upstairs lounge and one in the main room downstairs. The first band I saw was Milagres, they were a group of talented guys but they sounded like a poor mans Grizzly Bear. After a few songs I was a bit bored so I went down and saw Sean Bones. He is singed to Frenchkiss records and gets tons of hype. He plays what I would call Reggae Hipster Pop. Honestly, I was completely unimpressed. He had no soul. Why doe this guy get so much attention???? Finally, I left and headed over to Cake Shop. I watched Motel Motel. They were OK, but that is it. I was feeling a bit down. Was anyone going to impress me??? Tuesday night I went to the Impose Magazine Party in East Williamsburg at Don Pedros. Don Pedros is a hole in the wall shitty rock club. I had been hearing so much about Dub Defender from my friends, I couldn't wait to see him! Dub Defender is fronted by Steven Borth on guitar and some weird vocoder type instrument. He played with a backing track and a bandmate on melodica and a few other computerized things that I didn't understand. Finally! I was blown away. Borth sings with so much soul and so does his musical partner Andy. They were amazing. Check them out in our live studio soon!!! Next up was Ninjasonik, very great old friends of mine. I was blown away by them. Great Rappers and Great Showman. I felt like I was at an old school hip hop show hosted by ODB. There were chicks getting naked on stage and random fans smoking blunts. Holy Shit! This never happens. If you ever get a chance. Check them out. They play all of the time!!!
Laura Veirs: "Wide-Eyed, Legless" Laura Veirs: "I Can See Your Tracks" Laura Veirs: "July Flame" So, here it is, the first January of 2010 release we're posting about. Oh, it seems like only yesterday that we were all brimming with excitement at the fact that the new Animal Collective record was on the horizon. Well, Laura Veirs is definitely not Animal Collective, but she is a strikingly consistent songwriter, who has quietly been plying her craft for going on 6 albums. Veirs has friends in the right places, or at least friends with great taste. She's appeared on a Decemberists' record, and is a favorite of A-list producer Tucker Martine (who produces, uh, The Decemberists.) Guests on Viers' new record July Flame include Karl Blau, Jim James, and Eyvind Kang - not too shabby. While excitement is high in our camp for this record, it is interesting to note that Laura Veirs has seemed to have parted with label Nonesuch for this release. July Flame comes out on her own label Raving Marching Band - where you can grab the above tracks for free. Link to this post Stark Online, we've made a cuckold of you.
The Internet is abuzz with news that Jack White (The White Stripes, Raconteurs, The Dead Weather) was a guest lecturer at Dublin's Trinity College this past Sunday. Bloggers and news outlets alike have picked up on the story since NME delivered the news just yesterday.  Perhaps even more suspect is the fact that he spoke to the University's Philosophical Society. The department was founded in the 17th century, making it one of the oldest student societies in the world. White not only addressed the department but was given honorary patronage as well. This honor has been bestowed upon the likes of Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde in past years. Some are questioning the Philosophical Society's decisions as of late. The world renowned society made headlines earlier this year after featuring the world renowned drug addict, (amongst other crime related accolades) Pete Doherty as a guest lecturer. However, the tidbit from this story that is stirring up the most hoopla is a comment made by White in which he states that Britney Spears may be more "authentic" than Bob Dylan. Aghast! NME quotes white as saying, "I don't know if Bob Dylan and Tom Waits are as authentic as I think they are. Perhaps they're not...Sometimes you start thinking that maybe Britney Spears or someone like that who's doing exactly what they want to do in the way that they best know how, is more authentic than any of those people you could mention." White dropped other bombshells during the lecture as well. Including the fact that he has numerous EPs recorded with his band The Upholsterers, which he hid within furniture back in his days as an upholsterer in a Detroit shop. Jack white is currently on tour with his band The Dead Weather. Their next stop is tomorrow night, October 21st, at The Newcastle 02 Academy in Newcastle, UK. Catch them live and check out Jack White's acceptance of the Philosophical Society's honorary patronage award below. Link To This Article:
BTR iPod Nano Contest! Want to win a new iPod Nano with video? -  Just re-post this message! Here’s how to: - Follow us @BreakThruRadio on Twitter. - Send a Tweet to your followers about us with this link (link for this page) and hashtag #btrnano #cmj - That's it! Re-post the message as often as you want - the more you post it, the more likely you are to win an iPod Nano! We will choose the winner randomly. __________________________________________________ Plus... Come to BTR's FREE CMJ Showcase! 2PM @ Trashbar! You could win an iPhone! Friday, October 23 @ Trash Bar in Williamsburg Brooklyn (256 Grand St, between Driggs and Roebling) 2 PM Jumbling Towers 3 PM Generationals 4 PM Holiday Shores 5 PM The Loom We'll see you there!!
In high school people kept saying I was crazy. I never paid it no mind. Ha ha, my rap name back in the 90's was Scott De= Shawn Cutting On Two Turntables. D=Different E= Everlasting. That use to be my name .LOL. But I notice the title being Different wasn't working. I used to read the newspaper everyday in high school. So i would always come across things in the news i thought was crazy. Being that people said i was different and a little bizarre. I put it together to come up with the name Crazy DJ BAzarro. No dj back then had a title in front of dj. It was always dj something. I flipped it into always wanting to be in everyday conversatioin- the word CRAZY! We all say it everyday. crazy , crazy crazy. So that's how i got the name. Thinking outside the box and always wanting to stand out of the crowd. I'm glad i bored you with one of my dj stories. lol Let's get into this month of October. wow!!! Crazy. The first week of the month i was in Atlanta for the A3C festival. It was great! . I seen alot of my rap homies down there. Ninth Wonder, the group Tanya Morgan, Joe Scudda, Big Pooh and Dj Sharp who dj's for Dre's of the group Black Sheep. I was down there with my partners also the BEatminerz DJ Team. Me, Evil Dee, Mr. Walt and my booze brother DJ Wayne Ski who also rocks here on BTR , Tuesdays and Sundays. check the listings. We had so much fun down there in the dirty south. We didn't get any sleep at all. It was always something going on. We went from four guys on a mission , that grew into a 40 man posse. women included too. We didn't start no trouble just going from venue to venue drinking and celebrating hip hop. Black Moon show was packed wall to wall.. RAkim show was also packed wall to wall. I had to run back and forth becaused I djayed for Tiye Phoenix at a different venue. Oh I forgot to say. I was down ther managing my crew also. So u know I didn't rest. The trip was a success. Salute to everybody who came down. It was like 150 groups down there. I bumped into professor griff, ex-member of Public Enemy. Dj Premier was down there rocking a set. it was all out fun. I just got a call that we might be setting up something for Africa, New ORleans, back to Atlanta, Germany and still Austrailia. I will definitely let u know. Oh and if u bored. Check out my "Krazy Mixtape pt 1". it's me rapping and bugging out on my beats.. free download. Here's some of my crew with the Legendary Professor Griff of Public Enemy
Music and sports don't always mix so well. I mean when was the last time you saw a musician in shape to run a marathon? And frankly, I believe that music has nothing to do with competition, whereas competition possibly best explains what sports are all about, right? Growing up in Europe, I'm a big fan of soccer. Not the best sport to love, when you live in the US. Sure, in big cities like New York, you will often be able to find some dark bar that shows the game you wanna see, but then there is the time difference. The game is most likely going to start somewhere between noon and 3pm, not really anyone's favorite time to watch a game. Additionally, when watching sports - soccer in particular - men have this urge to drink beer, otherwise it's not really the same thing, is it? You see the problem? You're just going to get used to a bad lifestyle, if you watch a lot of soccer in the US, so I suppose the only solution is to watch less soccer in the US... Anyway, the inspiration to write about soccer in this jazz blog came from the fact that Switzerland just made it to the World Cup 2010 in South Africa! E-mail me if you're another jazz & soccer fan (do these people even exist?) or if you have other solutions to the dilemma above.
Will I be able to stick to this schedule, or will I collapse in a heap of Vietnamese bones by the end of the week? Stay tuned to find out. Tuesday, Oct. 20 April Smith and The Great Picture Show - Canal Room (8:30 PM) Wednesday, Oct. 21 Drink Up Buttercup - Cake Shop (7:30 PM) The Very Best - Le Poisson Rouge (11:00 PM) or Saul Williams - Gramercy Theater (11:15 PM) Thursday, Oct. 22 Choir Of Young Believers - Le Poisson Rouge (7:00 PM) Via Tania - Le Poisson Rouge (8:00 PM) Dinosaur Feathers - Bruar Falls (9:30 PM) Friday, Oct.23 BTR Day Party featuring Generationals, Holiday Shores, Jumbling Towers, and The Loom - Trash Bar (starts at 1:00 PM) Menahan Street Band - Knitting Factory (6:00 PM) The Budos Band - Knitting Factory (6:00 PM) Dent May - Cameo Gallery (11:00 PM) Saturday, Oct.24 Mum - Le Poisson Rouge (9:00 PM) Au Revoir Simone - Bell House (11:00 PM)
    Grand Archives: "Oslo Novelist" Grand Archives: "Silver Amoung the Gold" For some reason we always mix up Grand Archives and Sea Wolf. Both put out great records recently that people aren't paying enough attention to. (Sea Wolf: White Water White Bloom on Dangerbird and Grand Archives Keep in Mind Frankenstein on Sub Pop) Sure, they're not rewriting the musical landscape, but both bands, like similarly minded J.Tillman, fill the gaps in your day when you can't stand hearing one more weird ass new Flaming Lips song. Enjoy the video and the mp3s! Link to this post Stark Online, we've made a cuckold of you.
Drink Up Buttercup "Even Think" b/w "Heavy Hand" 7"
The brainchild of both Steve Martin and John McEuen, Martin's album "The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo" was released at the beginning of the year. I must sadly admit that I just got my hands on this recording last weekend. However, I happily agree with David Amram when he said, "Wow ... [t]his guy can really play!". Though Martin and McEuen tapped some of the greatest artists of the scene (namely Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Tim O'Brien, Mary Black and etc), this album never ceases to hold on to an apparent Martin tone. The Steve Martin portrait that we all seem to be well acquainted with after following him though his many charming, if not a bit oblivious, comical roles (namely The Jerk, Father of the Bride, Sgt. Bilko, Bowfinger, his role as "Gavin Volure" in 30 Rock, and etc) is quite prevalent throughout the record. However, though there are a few silly songs like "Late For School", this album should not be taken lightly. Martin lays down some serious banjo in "Saga of the Old West", "Banana Banjo", and naturally, the title track "The Crow". His apparent knack for banjo has produced a wonderful habit (or is it the other way around): he keeps a banjo in every room. If you haven't yet heard him pluck, he's out touring with the Steep Canyon Rangers this Thursday at Cadillac Palace in Chicago, IL and the following Wednesday at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA. Also, have him perform in your very own living room by picking up this CD (or vinyl?) from your local audio pusherman.
So it seems it went from a horrible rainy summer to a freezing rainy Fall. Like Honestly the temp dropped like 40 degrees yesterday and some parts of NY got snow!! Thats Right snow! I'm all for snow, usually i like it when it falls in December through February. Not so much in October. I have a feeling Halloween this year is going to be very cold and wet. Lets just say my hunches are usually on point. Hopefully the weather turns out well for the 09 CMJ Music Marathon going on Oct. 20-24. Hey quick lil mention BTR is nominated this year for best Online Only Radio Station. So for those of you attending and will be receiving a CMJ Pass, make sure you go ahead and vote for BTR. It would be a great achievement for us here. In just a few short years BTR has made quite a name for it self. I hope we can go past the 5 year more and beyond! So in other blog related / my life pertaining news..... I have just more into my new apartment. Still kickin' it in Brooklyn, but i have moved from the up and coming neighborhood of "South Slope" (The area between Park Slope & Sunset Park). I now reside in Cypress Hills. Much more of a quiet neighborhood, with mostly houses and the largest cemeteries in Brooklyn. Although i much rather live off the the R line I must say the price my apartment cost and the size is quite worth the move. Has any one else moved recently? The prices some people ask for are crazy! Don't people understand there is a recession going on? like realy some places i went to go view we so small and over 1,100 dollars. BS! So i moved in the other day. Now im in the unpacking mode. A mode that i hate. Its so much work unpacking 4 rooms worth of stuff, that i have collect thru the years. The two items im not looking for to working on are my two desk. One desk is for my music studio. The other a Ikea Desk. Although fairly simple to put together the pieces are large as fuck and some of the attachments can be a bit of a pain to put together. Plus im almost positive i lost the instruction booklet, sooo hahaha that'll be fun! Ne ways i gotta get back to unpacking this place. if any one would like to help, i would gladly take the offer. ;)
Sunset Rubdown is tonight!  I'm so excited to see this band again.  If you've never seen them before, I definitely recommend that you make it out to Hammerstein tonight.  This show also brings up one of the biggest questions I have ever faced.  Who is the bigger indie rock hottie? -OR-
Well i checked the CMJ calender and all the blog sites for some sense of reggae/ska/dub anywhere in NYC next week for the CMJ Marathon and guess what....slim pickins.  Some stuff, but in my opinion, not enough (i guess I'm biased cause to me it's never enough).  I will do my duty as BTR dub god and give you the 411 on what to look for. Sean Bones - (popish reggae/rocksteady) - Playing all week, many shows so check out at least one in BK or NYC Gully Bank Sound System - (old school jamaican soundsystem in a new school way) - @ Brooklyn Bowl Wednesday night, curious to know what's up with these guys Julian Marley & The Uprising - (when you see the name marley, you know what to expect) - @ BB Kings Monday night / @ Brooklyn Bowl Wednesday Night King Chango - (latin ska/pop) - @ S.O.B.'s Tuesday night ..........and that's it, as far as i see.  In all honesty, its probably a good thing for me that it's a light reggae scene this year, it will give me a chance to check out some stuff out of my comfort zone that is going on.  Check the blog during the week, i will keep you up to date on reggae and not so reggae stuff going on during CMJ!
Fresh back from globe trekking, I picked up a few new artists I hope to bring soon to the BTR airwaves. Suprisingly a lot of new age covers of 80s music dominate local artist hits (we're seeing some of that here in the states too as the nostalgia wave continues), but their own work is just as good. Other music can feel exotic blended with mainstream beats or electronica crossover sounds. Here's a few favorites of mine out of Greece where I was most in tuned to the local musical pulse: Rallia Christidou Giorgos Tsalikis Konstantinos Xristoforou The question with these popular Greek artists is, have they broken thru? In their respective regions, yes. But if you'd like to hear popular music from other regions (some in English, some not) a good source is always DJ Wynn's Worldwide Hour. Hope to see these artists there soon.
When I typed Today's New Band's name into Google, one of the search results was a question on from an anonymous poster - "Can a bear's tail break when frozen?" If the internet has proven anything, it's that humanity's capacity for mindlessness can always find a new, stupider low. Assuming if you're not kept awake at night by this kind of idiotic query, you'll love Frozen Bears. Even if you are now pondering the brittle nature of massive mammals' tails, try to distract your mind momentarily from such tribulations with Frozen Bears' garage-psyche-crunch-rock punch to the face that is all pleasure and no pain. Like Tuesday's new band, Nutrition On Tape (see below), they grab at all the best sounds from years ago, churn them up and cough out songs that laugh at the past and greedily eye the future. The bullish insistence of They Don't Need You will reach up your trouser leg and grab your attention with delicious echo-stretched guitar howls, riffs from a dark, warm place and drums that fall apart. Speaking of which, The Hoax features a drumbeat that is so broken that an entirely separate rhythm develops. Perfectly, just as your rattled mind begins to appreciate this, another monster riff begins, and it's all you can do to hold on for the ride. Dirty, chewy and grimy, Frozen Bears are here to shake you awake with thrills of their own crafting. If you were wondering, the answer given to the earlier question was: "If its cold enough anything can break." And thus the world can now get back to whatever mundane business it was doing before such wild theories were pondered. So listen here! Link to this post Your daily vitamin at A New Band A Day.
CMJ Music Marathon kicks off next Tuesday in NYC and I'm currently trying to plan my schedule to maximize my time there. I have not solidified a complete plan of attack but I can fill you in on some of the shows I refuse to miss! I'll give you a destination for every day of the festival! The festivites get underway Tuesday and a long time BTR Favorite, Beat Radio will be taking the staget at Grasslands Gallery at 7pm. The group has been in heavy rotation here on BTR since pretty much the begining of our station. Another BTR favorite is taking the stage on Wednesday at  Cake Shop. The group is Drink Up Buttercup. The high-energy band played our BTR showcase at SXSW this past march and put on quite a show. You won't want to miss this, so stop by Cake Shop at 7:30pm on Wednesday for some good times, good times. Playing at The Knitting Factory on Thursday are UUVVWWZ (pronounced double-U, Double-V, Double-W, Z). The band takes the stage at 10pm on Thursday night. I first became a fan of the bands name.  But, after giving them a listen I'm a fan of their tunes as well. Now Friday has the must see event of the entire marathon. And, I'm not being bias here. If you are in town you have to come to the BTR showcase at Trash bar on Friday. We've got an outstanding lineup and it's sure to be a great time (Flyer below). Also, on the docket for me, Joan As Police Woman. Joan Wasser was one of the highlights of my CMJ experience last year and I'm dying to catch her live again. She'll be at The Knitting Factory on Saturday at 8:30pm. Now, time to fill in the gaps. Check out our BTR @ CMJ article in the archives and see the rundown of your favorite BTR bands playing the Music Marathon for ideas. Hope to see you there! - Em
We're all gearing up for CMJ week here in New York City! BTR is having an awesome day party at Trash Bar in Brooklyn next Friday October 23rd. See you there! In the mean time, I'm heading into the studio to record live studio with award winning songwriter Clara Lofaro on Thursday, and next week we'll hear from Cymbals Eat Guitars, Deleted Scenes and more. Stay tuned!
Today's New Band are really nice. Ouch, I just used the 'N'-word. But it's in context, yeah, so it's OK. And anyway, lots of my friends are nice, and they don't mind me using that word. I'll say it again: Boat Beam are nice, and unashamedly so too. They're a peculiar Australian-Spanish-American hybrid, and this shows in their music, the origins of which can't quite be nailed to one place. Their niceness, I assume, comes from the bonhomie that a multi-lingual friendship necessitates. This is a good thing. Igloo begins loopily and rolls from there, embracing unusual structure, sounds and intent on the way. It's always heartening to hear an indie band working differently, and here they have a good stab, wrapping reversed vocals around a hesitant rhyme. The Rain Pauly is just lovely. Again, there's no other, more zingy, word to describe it. Slippery vocals slump over a simply rounding guitar and form a dreamy, sweet, floating song that feels like a heartfelt hug received after a tough day. Lots of the bands on ANBAD are abrasive, or obtuse, or noisy, or all three at once. Boat Beam are here to partially redress the balance; slight, happy-go-lucky and warm. Listen if you have the sun shining on you. And if not, listen anyway and maybe you'll forget that it isn't. Link to this post Your daily vitamin at A New Band A Day.
A police officer tasers 72-year-old Kathryn Winkfein (Image from Kathryn Winkfein, a 72-year-old great-grandmother, is better known as the woman who became the target of an officer’s taser after she was pulled over for a traffic offense. The video footage below shows Winkfein arguing with the cop before he tasers her (twice,) while she screams and writhes on the ground. Winkfein has returned to the news again, this time because she has been compensated $40,000 by local authorities, an outrageous sum, according to Travis County Constable, Richard McCain, who told the Today Show he was unhappy about the payment. “When the County wrote a check for $40,000 it rewarded this defendant for bad behavior, which is wrong” said McCain. Fascist apologists like McCain aside, Winkfein has also hinted that she somehow deserved to be tasered. “I just lost my temper,” Winkfein told the Today Show. “I do that maybe twice a year, but that day I lost it.” She added that she had learned her lesson and would stay in the car if she was pulled over again. This is all a little bit like when Harry Whittington apologized to Dick Cheney after Cheney shot Whittington in the face. The media is portraying Winkfein as an irrational hag, who somehow deserved to be shocked with 50,000 volts of electricity after getting mouthy with a police officer. Winkfein’s civil liberties were violated after she was pulled over for a traffic offense. There was nothing warranted or excusable about the officer’s behavior, and yet the media and average Americans have become active apologists for this kind of fascist, violent behavior. Citizens, who have never been tasered and who know nothing about the degree of damage taser guns inflict on human beings, frequently laugh at video footage of taser victims. We all remember Andrew Meyer, the “Don’t taze me, bro” victim, who became a late night punch line after he was assaulted by police officers during an address by Senator John Kerry at the University of Florida. Americans have become apologists for the inexcusable behavior of their oppressors rather than showing solidarity with a 72-year-old woman, who clearly had her rights violated. One Youtube commenter says Winkfein was “asking to be tasered.” Another says Winkfein clearly has to take some “responsibility” for being tasered. Another adds, “That reporter is hoTT.” Okay, so maybe Youtube commenters aren’t the cream of the crop, but the problem of people acting as apologists rather than outraged citizens extends to the media, the supposed “responsible players” in our society. A local Texas television channel, KVUE, ran the story with the headline, “Tasered Texas woman says next time ’say nothing’” as though Winkfein was the guilty party for having the nerve to resist police orders. The Philadelphia Inquirer repeated the same headline. Local Australian news channels ran the story with the Winkfein line as a lead as though to say, “The old hag finally apologized!” Tasers are not safe. They kill people all the time, and yet we’ve become so desensitized to their presence, and so brainwashed into believing tasers are a “safe alternative” to guns, that people not only laugh at taser victims (because “no real harm” is being done,) but also then claim that taser victims deserve their fates. After all, citizens have no right to question the authority of police officers, and if they do, they should be put down immediately. All dissenters must be crushed. If a 72-year-old woman has a bad day, and has the nerve to yell at a cop, she should be assaulted by the side of the highway with a weapon that sends 50,000 volts of electricity coursing through her body, daring her heart to stop beating. This brainwashing is so systemic that now taser victims like Winkfein are offering Whittington-style apologies to their attackers. Why should Winkfein be afraid to get out of her automobile if she’s pulled over for a ticket? It’s not as though a law was written anywhere that reads citizens don’t have the right to verbally challenge the police. Verbal altercations have existed since towns first handed out uniforms to a tier of average folk and invested that bedecked tribe with the right to oppress their neighbors. Naturally, the oppressed get mouthy sometimes. We never voted to then allow officers to kill the mouthy people. In fact, cops undergo extensive training to learn how to handle such altercations so no gun is ever fired. Unfortunately, tasers create the illusion of a second “safe” option, and some cops are getting trigger-happy. Additionally, Americans have been conditioned by television programs like Cops and DEA to believe they are weak and defenseless, and should always unquestioningly obey police officers even if officers jam the prongs of deadly electrical weapons into their spines. If they resist, they should expect to be crushed, and anyone who resists is a troublemaker, or stupid. The reality is that tasers are not safe, and yet the companies that make the electrical guns continue to claim the guns are a safe alternative to deadly force — to be used only as a last resort. Yet many recent stories show that tasers have become authoritarian tools for the police that are used excessively, while an unthinking pack of blood hungry Americans cheers on the violence. It never crosses the mob’s mind that they should, perhaps, show solidarity with their oppressed neighbors, or imagine if it was their own grandmother being electrocuted by a cop, or contemplate that they one day may be on the receiving end of a 50,000 jolt of police-issued electricity. I agree with what Digby wrote during the Henry Louis Gates scandal: the police aren’t a street gang. Citizens should not fear interacting with them. After all, Americans pay the salaries of police officers, servants who exist to defend and serve, not electrocute and bully. Winkfein deserved compensation, but she did nothing to warrant being tasered by a power hungry police officer. Victims, stop the apologies. Link to this article:
Check us out in studio getting prepared for Tiye Phoenix Live Session!
For someone who specialises in listening to new music, it turns out I don't know very much about, er, new music. Example: it took me this long to realise that MGMT are American, and not French as I'd assumed. I initially thought I was confusing them French bands like Justice, or MSTRKRFT, until reading that MSTRKRFT are Canadian, which just confirms that I'm an idiot who knows nothing. I suppose the knowledge of nationality helps further mentally establish a band's sound - Daft Punk couldn't really be any other nationality than French, just as Nickleback couldn't be any more rootin' tootin' American if they tried. Wait, they're Canadian too. Crap. Today's New Band are from Birmingham, UK. I've double-checked, and that's definitely correct. So, if my half-formed theory is right, do Ace Bushy Striptease sound British? Well, yes, I suppose so. But no more than they sound Mexican, Japanese or Slovakian. Theory abandoned. Ace Bushy Striptease have one of the most, er... evocative names featured on ANBAD for a long time. A good name is all-important, and the band members must have known they were half-way to success when they came up with that one. Luckily, they have the tunes to complete the equation. Iluvya would be a heartbreaking rejection song - "I don't care what you say, I love ya anyway" - in any other hands, but here it becomes a fun, carefree blast. Knockabout songs like Mervyn and Isaac Find A CD and the so crazy-it's-crazy remix-magedddon that is Ace Bushy Exceedddrrrr show Ace Bushy Striptease to be a band that don't take themselves too seriously. This is an admirable trait, but one that could become grating if it wasn't tempered with occasional glimpses of substance. This they do in Heartbreaks In The Snow - an actually affecting song. It's a delight; a sad, lonely, cold and sweet song. Ace Bushy Striptease are a band brimming with youth, fun coming out of their eyeballs and an ear for a great tune. Expect great things - listen here! Link to this post Your daily vitamin at A New Band A Day.
CMJ Music Marathon 2009 gets underway in about a week and there are an abundance of talented acts to catch. If you are looking to narrow down the field, below you will find a list of some of our favorite BreakThru Radio artists that will be playing throughout the festival. There are numerous acts each night of the 5 day marathon, which officially runs from Tuesday, October 20th to Saturday, October 24th. There are events taking place on Sunday as well. The best bet is to plan your schedule ahead of time. Know your routes and modes of transportation. It's impossible to see it all, but you will certainly catch a healthy smattering of musicians. Organization, as always, will help maximize your experience. Of course, be sure to come by BTR's CMJ Showcase on Friday, October 23rd (flyer below)! We are throwing down! TUESDAY - OCTOBER 20th Beat Radio - Grasslands Gallery - 7pm Look Mexico Look Mexico - Spike Hill - 7pm Glasser - The Studio @ Webster Hall - 8-pm Gold Streets - Charleston - 9pm Kaiser Cartel - Living Room - 9pm The Forms The Forms - Kenny's Castaways  -  10pm The Antlers - Music Hall of Williamsburg - 10:15pm Hooray for Earth - Crash Mansion - 12:15am WEDNESDAY - OCTOBER 21st Drink Up Buttercup Drink Up Buttercup - Cake Shop -  7:30pm Paul & The Patients - Southpaw - 8:30pm Takka Takka - Knitting Factory - 8:30pm Deastro - Santos Party House - 8:45pm Modern Skirts - Crash Mansion - 10:15am Malajube Malajube - Arlene's Grocery - 11pm Miz Metro - DROM -  11:30pm Middle Distance Runner - Fontana's - 12am Holopaw - Piano's - 12am THURSDAY - OCTOBER 22nd Theophilus London - SOB's -  7pm Spottiswoode - Delancey - 8:15pm Beep Beep Beep Beep - Knitting Factory - 9pm The Frontier Ruckus - Spike Hill - 9:30pm UUVVWWZ - Knitting Factory - 10pm The Teenage Prayers - Trash - 11pm Speeche Debelle - Music Hall of Williamsburg - 12:20am FRIDAY - OCTOBER 23rd Binky Griptite and The Dap Kings - Knitting Factory - 6pm The Budos Band - Knitting Factory - 6pm Glasser - Le Poisson Rouge - 6:30pm DJ Pumpkin Patch - Delancey - 8pm Glasser - The Suffolk - 8pm Hot Panda - Fat Baby - 9:15pm Generationals Generationals - Union Hall - 9:30pm Holiday Shores - Delancey - 10:10pm Lemonade - The Suffolk - 11pm Paul & The Patients - Arlene's Grocery - 11:15pm Crystal Antlers - Cake Shop - 11:30pm School of Seven Bells - Music Hall of Williamsburg - 11:45pm Headlights - Bellhouse - 12am Ted Leo + Pharmacists - The Suffolk - 12am Portugal. The Man Portugal. The Man - Bowery Ballroom - 12am The Spinto Band - Union Hall - 12:30am SATURDAY - OCTOBER 24th UUVVWWZ - Union Pool - 8:20pm Joan As Police Woman- Knitting Factory - 8:30pm Joshua James - Living Room - 9pm Mia Riddle & Her Band- Union Hall - 9:30pm Lemonade Lemonade - Santos Party House - 10pm Blue Scholars - Gramercy Theater - 10:10pm The Loom - Union Hall - 10:30pm Kidz In The Hall Kidz In The Hall - Gramercy Theatre - 10:45pm Glasser - Pianos - 11pm Skidmore Fountain - Living Room - 11pm Speech Debelle - Santos Party House - 11pm SUNDAY - OCTOBER 25th (BONUS!!!) The Main Drag The Main Drag - Spike Hill - 1am There is a brief rundown of some of your favorite BTR artists playing CMJ. Plan accordingly... and have a great time! As always, keep listening to  BTR for music from all of these artists! LINK TO THIS ARTICLE:
more coooool bands from myspace :) Nunparty (Baltimore, MD) Really great poppy pop in the vein of early Saturday Looks Good to Me and Mirah (two for formative bands for me). Definitely really cutesy stuff (songs about crushes making you nervous and going to birthday parties), the kind of twee that might get on people's nerves but the whole thing comes off as very sincere, and the songs are really well done. None of them are even over two minutes, so really, how could you ever get tired of that. The best tracks here are the ones that are the furthest from the Tiger Trap-Vivian Girls end of the spectrum, but really they're all good. The Cheap Smokes (Omaha, NE) Cheap Smokes are part of the new Omaha noise pop underground that has produced a lot of great bands like the Box Elders, The Prairies, The Yuppies, The Cave Kids, Head Phones, yeh yeh yeh. The noise is dialed down a bit on these tunes and the pop is turned up. The obvious influence here is The Clean via Times New Viking/Columbus (wheezy organ sound over rickety drums and open chord riffs). It's good though! TNV kinda got a bit somber on the new record so we need someone to keep the excitement level high. Probably my favorite new Omaha band I've heard since the first Box Elders 7"! Talbot Adams (Mississippi) The first three songs on here are clean, understated power-pop that doesn't exactly sound like power-pop. By that, I mean Talbot Adams omits many of the common tropes of modern power-pop bands (throwback style, teenage kicks, I don't exactly know how to put it into words). The songs are almost slick, but they're not. Sorry. For the last two songs, they got a couple slower, noisier tunes that are not really slick at all and quite different from the first few tracks. "Nashville Avenue" is a slice of tape recorded folk, "Sirens" is a hazy instro reminiscent of Yo La Tengo. Crazy! I say that because Douchemaster, a premier power-pop label is doing an LP and I don't think they've put out anything remotely similar to the last two tracks. I hope the LP is Side A power-pop Side B slow it down and space out. If he can make 10 more songs as good as these, it's gonna be a hit!
I have no non-rotting food in the house. The milk in my tea is "turning" in front of my eyes. I'm about to go and record a College Music show. I will also be recording a Funk & Soul Hour. I will also be editing a "Live @ Old School Studios" show. Buy me a drink! I do it all for you people! rock rock on, Jason (Mr, if you're nasty)
  I received a moderately angry email from a reader, haranguing me along these lines: "Joe, I was prepared to ignore your lack of organisation over the summer while you were living in a tent, but you've now been back over a month, so there's no excuse for the absence of the round-up of September's Top Five Bands. Sort it out, idiot; chop chop." OK, it wasn't an email at all, but the shrieking sound of my guilty conscience. So, belatedly, here are September's best bands in no particular order: Robert George Saull & The Purgatory Players - We said: "Their songs are sung in a manner suggesting an interest in the quixotic and sung using words that almost have the wrong meaning, but not quite. It is recorded by young men in very normal clothing from the north of England." Golau Glau - We said: "A dreamy clatter, hissing angrily and throbbing with monster synth stabs, over vocals that vanish into the swirl." Ace Bushy Striptease - We said: "Ace Bushy Striptease are a band brimming with youth, fun coming out of their eyeballs and an ear for a great tune. Expect great things!" Shark? - We? Said?: "Songs like these leave nothing else on which to ponder: superb grimy garage-rock, with the added benefit of 30-odd years' hindsight." And September's Best New Band is: Run DMT - We said: "Run DMT are daring, imaginative and downright bizarre. Their songs sound like they were born after some sort of perverse musical DNA-splicing experiments, or if your iPod could separate individual sounds from a million songs and then shuffle-play ten of them at once." Run DMT are worthy winners indeed - flexible, awkward and, dare I say it, avant-garde: well worth ten minutes of anyone's time. And speaking of time, I promise that the round-up for this month will be published when it should be. Honest gov'nor. Link to this post Your daily vitamin at A New Band A Day.
Who are Restless People? Said question came to my mind a few weeks ago, after hearing a song called "Days Of Our Lives" (The Light In Mix) on RCRD (that magic motherlode of free, downloadable music). I recognized the man singing as the party atmosphere of Michael-Bell Smith, frontman for Brooklyn/Philadelphia's Professor Murder. Word of this news inevitably led me to wonder aloud "hmmm, new business indeed!" But what of the old business, right? Still active and afoot? Mere seconds of search revealed more details - Restless People also involved the work of Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm, better known as the Brooklyn-based duo Tanlines. A questioning email was sent via Intenet to the Restless People post, and the band answered my questions as a unit. How did Restless People come to be, and, that said, are Professor Murder and Tanlines now defunct, or are either/or just on temporary hiatus? RP: "Restless People is a new project from the people that brought you Professor Murder and Tanlines. Professor Murder production has been ramped down for the time being, but is not permanently discontinued. Tanlines is very much alive, playing shows, writing music and working on an EP for True Panther Sounds." What's the 2009 prognosis for Restless People? RP: "Restless People plans to make more music and play more shows. Our first show is on October 19th at Santos Party House in New York City with Washed Out and we're playing at CMJ as well. We are definitely planning to release music soon and are in the process of working that out. Go to to download songs by Restless People and check out other projects from the Family Edition family." Mystery solved for now. Until, of course, the grand unveiling of Restless People in the Apple next Monday. Put a stop sign red X on your calendar. And don't sleep on the music of Washed Out, either. Sidenote: Remember when P-Murder was BTR Artist of the Week, back in November of 2006? We did things the exact same way, in which the band spoke as a whole. Also, instead of a more conservative interview and bio, the band gave us their 25 Things (5 Lists of 5 Things) going on with Professor Murder, which ye can of course still read here on BTR. Click yonder. Link to this article:
  It's been the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this week. Don't worry, that's as far as I''ll dip our collective toe into the murky world of politics. Still, the main outcome of it all is: well, it's been a bit of a pain getting round town. Even once you've negotiated the massive security barriers everywhere - vast concrete lumps that make you feel like an extra on the set of Children Of Men - you end up being continually harassed by dowdily-suited Tory leafleters, apparently tricked into believing that a career in politics is just a four-day flyering campaign away. Having politicians swarming the streets has the same dreary effect as tipping 10,000 gallons of beige paint over the city. At a glance, the average iPod of these people would contain: James Blunt (lovely man, ex-soldier) Coldplay (ooh, edgy) Starship (non-ironically) 10 hours of David cameron podcasts It's terrifying. Looking for Today's New Band became a mission to find the definitive Anti-Tory-Conference Band. In the Estonian three-piece Chungin & The Strap-On Faggots, I think I found them. Don't think too hard, just feel the politico-tension as songs like Cats of Destiny and Dogshit City trouble your ears. They're not the student joke-thrash band you might think: The Professional Skinny Girl is a neat slice of power-pop-punk. It's short, sharp and dancable, as is Victor, which starts with a battered drum, and, if played at your local indie club, will end with clobbered toes from all the pogoing you'll do. Chungin & The Strap-On Faggots: perfect for terrifying C/conservative politicians. I bet they didn't anticipate that when they first got together. But don't dismiss them because of that - they're a fun, garage-with-a-small-'G' punk band. Finally, the sound of youth's political apathy. Listen here! Link to this post Your daily vitamin at A New Band A Day.
I think I witnessed one of the strangest and coolest genres of music the other night in Boston: chiptune! It's a relatively obscure form of electro/rock/dance music that uses exclusively old video game hardware for a distinctive sound. Everything from Nintendos, Game Boys, Segas, and Commodore 64s are retrofitted into live performance synthesizers and used either solo or with live instruments and vocals. More of a method of performing music than a genre, a live chiptune set can range from dance music to electro folk to pure art/noise music. Popular in the European, Japanese and Australian underground scenes, chiptune concerts are still a rarity in the US outside of a few brave souls performing in NYC and Philadelphia basement clubs or house parties. But there's this group of chiptune performers in Boston who formed this online community,, and it's an incredible resource for artists and fans. They put on the first of what they hope to be a monthly gig at the club Felt in Boston on Thursday night and drew an impressive crowd. With quirky, fun, and positive sounds throughout the night, I'm certain this will grow into a successful scene in the 617.
It appears that solo dancehall artists reign supreme in the dancehall industry.  Few notable groups exist in contemporary dancehall reggae nobility.  Every since Da'Ville ventured off to the solo side and ARP divided in the mid 90's, there are only three prominent grops left; global starts T.O.K., Serani's three man group DASECA, and a three man group known as Voicemail.     O'Neil Edwards, who some would call the unspoken leader and organizer of the group Voicemail, started the group in 1999 and each member quickly grew into their roles in the music industry.  O'Neil himself was, "born and grow into da ting" referring to his father, long time reggae producer and writer, Rupee Edwards.  Voicemail has seen changes through the years, losing two members, Leonardo Grand and Robert Manning, so they could pursue there own ambitions.  Through that, Craig Jackson, Kevin Blaine and O'Neil have solidified themselves into the group we now know as Voicemail. "There has always been talent, but Voicemail has grown significantly", O'Neil commented, in response to the notion that Voicemail was just a group putting out dancing songs.  "Voicemail been have a different flava to it.  It's just that we happened to bust with a dance tune." Ironically, it was not their intention.  Voicemail had always thought themselves along the  lines of artists like T.O.K, Bounty Killer, Baby Cham, Wayne Wonder, and Sizzla, who were all multi-talented and able to cross between reggae genres. "What the hell is a dance tune?", O'Neil questioned their reputation as a typecast talent.  One can witness the evolution of the group as they continue to explore new techniques and categories of reggae.   When O'Neil was asked about the comparison of their success to that of T.O.K. he declared, "I respect dem yute.  You like a comparison like that.  At least I do."  I think that T.O.K. and Voicemail have continued to light up the Dancehall industry over the past few years while many other so called "groups" have come and gone. Voicemail has dropped three albums and have become quite notable in places like Japan.  The future of the group concentrates on promoting themselves in the United States and Europe.  ‚"Da ting we have a lock off," O'Neil said of their success in the Orient, "but there are still many different types of songs coming at you." What I found interesting was that Voicemail is supporters of the radio ban that has blanketed much of reggae music.  "You can't have the radio be like the Internet," O'Neil said; "It all gets so over exposed, you see nine year-olds daggering."  O'Neil remembered a time when there was a separation, a de facto kind of regulation.  "When you wanted to hear a certain song, you had to go to a dance, you had to buy the cassette there."  Some associate this ban strictly to daggering tunes.  O'Neil feels differently: "We (the industry) have to realize that dem nah pick on di dancehall.  It's not just daggering; it's gun tunes and suggestive lyrics artists get used to it" he said.  "But at the same time, no one stopped to slap their hands."  Voicemail has had some of their tunes edited for content, "but we have to work to come to a common ground." The struggle also continues for recognition in the dancehall itself.  "Kartel a di best lyricist, but Assasin ah best writer," O'Neil said about the difference between the two ideals.  "It's like Jay-Z is a better song writer, but Nas is the lyricist."  O'Neil believes that Busy Signal is "him in a class by himself, his ting ah totally different." While there are many notable artists in the dancehall industry, there can always be more.  O'Neil wants to "move to the next level."  He feels that there should be more variety in reggae music.  "People can move forward and make it grow, but do not concentrate on certain artists, that does nothing for the business; we need to widen the music." O'Neil believes there is a slew of talent coming through the ranks such as Aidonia, Tifa and Stacious.  "People need to support dancehall, listen to its potential, be keen and listen for yourself.  You don't know who has the next big tune," he said. I believe that Voicemail is on the right path because they have the proper focus on quality recordings and a vibe that is sure to keep them moving forward.  With the dedication to their craft, I look forward to hearing more about Voicemail in the future as they continue on their journey.
  Like many people who follow the local music scene here in San Francisco, I'm eagerly awaiting the sophomore release by San Francisco's The Morning Benders. The Morning Benders are a a buoyant San Francisco band that makes whimsical, Pet Sounds-influenced pop music. The band consists of Chris Chu (vocals/guitar), Joe Ferrell (guitar/Rhodes), Julian Harmon (drums), and Tim Or (bass). They have been working on the new album, which is titled, Big Echo, in the studio with Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear, but have yet to announce a release date. I had the opportunity to hear a few tracks from Big Echo performed live when they opened for John Vanderslice at the Rickshaw Stop back in May, but since I haven't heard any of the recordings from the new record, I can only speculate how it will turn out. With that said, I think it will be very good. I had been tempted to wait until the new album came out to write about them, but after further consideration thought: why wait? They have already released a full catalog's worth of solid releases. In fact, their collection of covers titled The Bedroom Covers (in part to reflect that the tracks were recorded in a bedroom in their apartment), is a fantastic album of lo-fi covers of various great pop songs and is presently available as a free download from The Morning Benders' website. On The Bedroom Covers, the Morning Benders tackle a collection of popular singles from a wide variety of sources including Randy Newman, Roy Orbison, the Cardigans, The Crystals, Talking Heads, The Smiths, etc. Some of my personal favorites on the collection include their minimalist, but chirpy takes on "Lovefool," "He's a Rebel," "Dreams," and an addictive take on the Talking Heads' "Pull Up the Roots." Follow the link above to their website to download the whole album as a .zip file from the band, or use the links below to download and/or sample some of the individual tracks. The Morning Benders - Cyring (Roy Orbison Cover) The Morning Benders - Mother & Child Reunion (Paul Simon Cover) The Morning Benders - Why Don't They Let Us Fall In Love (the Ronette's Cover) The Morning Benders - Lovefool (Cardigans Cover) The Morning Benders - I Won't Share You (the Smiths Cover) The Morning Benders - He's a Rebel (The Crystals Cover) The Morning Benders - Marie (Randy Newman Cover) The Morning Benders - Fools Rush In (Johnny Mercer Cover) The Morning Benders - Temptation Inside Your Heart (Velvet Underground Cover) The Morning Benders - Dreams (Fleetwood Mac Cover) The Morning Benders - Pull Up The Roots (Talking Heads Cover) The Morning Benders - Caroline, No (Beach Boys Cover)(Remix) Here is a short video I recorded of their performance opening for John Vanderslice at the Rickshaw in San Francisco back in May of this year: Head back to eating/sf to read about The Corner...On the Corner (in the Mission). Just in time for Happy Hour! Link to this post Like a fine wine with a delectable meal at Musical Pairings.
If you're half the Radiohead fan that I am, you probably already know about Thom Yorke's new, super-strange super-group that he's put together with Chili Peppers' bassist Flea, some time Beck drummer Joey Waronker, and famed producer Nigel Godrich. Hell, look who I'm talking to. The BTR audience! You probably already saw the videos that proliferated on YouTube of the shows the unnamed group played in LA recently. (Before you go clickin, that there link is to the New York Times review of the show. I ain't even gonna try to catalog all the videos that popped up. Besides, I'm on a ship in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean right now, no lie, so I can't watch any of them to do any sort of curating.) But you might not necessarily have seen this solo performance Mr. Yorke played to commemorate the global premier of The Age of Stupid, a really interesting movie about climate change. And I know you're probably rolling your eyes right now, but serious, consider this - the movie is part documentary, part post-Apocalyptic sci-fi flick, and features tons of animation. Seriously. I told ya, it's intriguing. Anyway, here's that video of Thom, playing an acoustic version of In Rainbows cut "Reckoner" all by his lonesome:
  Like Kasey, and probably like most of our readers, I have associations with banana bread. Specifically, I associate it with childhood. In fact, I still have lots of great memories of mom's banana bread, which of course for many years was the only "good" banana bread. However, unlike some of my other favorite childhood foods (i.e. Fruity Pebbles, Oreos and the uncooked cake batter than I would eat with my younger brother when our parents were away), I never grew out of this stuff either. And it still makes me feel good, and although it probably isn't an especially "healthy" food-stuff, it isn't as bad for you as the other childhood favorites. Accordingly, I think banana bread, especially a banana bread with crystallized ginger and chocolate, deserves a pairing that calls to mind the excitement of childhood. Thus, Matt & Kim's self-titled debut album is a perfect pairing for this banana bread recipe - after all, you'd be hard pressed to find a band that plays and performs with more enthusiasm and excitement. Matt and Kim are a hyper indie-punk duo from Brooklyn, formed by keyboard player Matt Johnson and drummer Kim Schifino. Their fun music is simple but dance-y, and filled with an almost child-like earnest jubilation and energy. The album opens with the chugging "It's A Fact (Printed Stain)," a track that reaches a hyper-drive feel-good state about a minute in thanks to the insistent full-throttle drumming provided by Kim as well as Matt's warm, bouncy keys and lively vocals. Matt & Kim retain this animated, breathlessness for the length of their entire eponymous album. Album standouts include "Dash After Dash," "Yea Yeah," "No More Long Years," and "5K." Of course, it is worth taking the time to hear the music for yourself: Matt & Kim - Yea Yeah Matt & Kim - 5K Matt & Kim - Silver Tiles The Hood Internet - Good Ol' Fashioned Rump Shaker (Matt & Kim v. The Beastie Boys) Matt & Kim's live performance is just as hyper and caffeintated as their album. Check out this video I recorded of the track "Silver Tiles" from a Matt & Kim performance in San Francisco opening for Girl Talk in November 2006: Head back to our homepage to get the recipe for this delicious banana bread. Head over to Insound to pick up Matt & Kim's album. Link to this post Like a fine wine with a delectable meal at Musical Pairings.
"Giant" porn, Huck Finn, and gambling have all lent a hand in helping today's artists choose their band name. With a combination like that, I'll skip the formalities and just get to the origins. Neon Gold have been mining Massachusetts for pop diamonds as of late. Passion Pit's single "Sleepyhead" panned out to be a success, and now the label is hoping the same for Boston's Yes Giantess. The group obviously wants you to dance, evidenced by the impeccably placed clap track and sugary sweet cries of "baby" from their single "Tuff 'n Stuff." What the group doesn't want, is for you to send them hate mail cause you couldn't get your rocks off to one of their videos. Jan Rosenfeld explains: "We picked the name because of this hilarious concept based on this video of a real life giantess denying this little man entrance from his home, and it just became this funny inside joke for us, and we just went with it. And then the next thing we know we were having thousands and thousands of people mistaking us for giant fetish pornographers. Our YouTube videos were getting an unprecedented amount of plays, and we were trying to figure it out. It was hilarious. We'd get hate mail, because when people want to see a giantess, they fucking want to see a giantess. We added the "Yes" to our name cause a band in Canada had the same name. They’re not a band anymore. Haven’t been a band for years, but their label still owns the name. Also, thousands of people were searching for porn and coming up with our name. It was kind of funny because people would get really pissed off." Yes Giantess Tour Dates Oct 8     Thekla - Bristol, England Oct 9     Warwick University - Coventry, England Oct 10   Civic Hall Bar - Wolverhampton, England Oct 12   Waterfront - Norwich, England Oct 13   Koko - London, England Oct 14   Concorde - Brighton, England Simone Felice drummed with The Felice Brothers back when they would busk for loot underground at subway stations in Greenwich Village. After finding some success, Simone was starting to feel the winds of change, when he and his girlfriend unexpectedly lost a baby during pregnancy. With the brevity of life thrust upon him, Simone followed his heart and left the band to find a new musical direction. He hooked up with an old friend, Robert "Chicken" Burke, and the pair holed themselves up in a cabin in the woods with a copy of Huckleberry Finn to keep them entertained. They borrowed the name, The Duke and The King, from Mark Twain's pages. The characters are roaming grifters who pretend to be European royalty (bad accents and all), and later stage an obscene play that forces them to leave town and eventually gets them tar and feathered. The name is a kind of reminder for them to keep it honest, which they do wondrously on their new album, Nothing Gold Can Stay. The Duke and The King Tour Dates Oct 22   East Brunswick Club - Melbourne, Victoria Oct 23   Notes Live - Sydney, New South Wales Nov 7     Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble (SOLD OUT!) - Woodstock, New York Nov 21   The Ruby Lounge - Manchester, England Nov 22   THE Scala - London, England Listening to Turbo Fruits gives you the image that the trio have been devouring supersonic strawberries from their own stand. After singing about not having enough grass on their first record, I guess success has provided a stable hook up. Maybe they're able to buy bountiful bags of produce cause of their winnings from slots. It's a theory that formed after Jonas Stein explained how he hit the jackpot and won the band's name: "We were on tour in Scotland, and they had these really cheap one pound gambling games. It's almost like a video game, but you just put in a pound coin, press some buttons and some lights flash up. Sometimes you win, but usually you lose. Anyways, I won for the first time and lights came on and flashed all around the machine. A picture came down on the machine, that had some berries and some fruits next to it, and it said "turbo fruit". I thought if I pluralized it, that it would be a good band name." Turbo Fruits Tour Dates (with Monotonix) Oct 9     Santos House Party - NYC, NY Oct 10   Market Hotel - Brooklyn, NY Oct 11   First Unitarian Church - Philadelphia, PA Oct 13   Rock and Roll Hotel - Washington D.C. Oct 14   Plaza Bowl - Richmond, VA Oct 15   Pour House - Raleigh, NC Link to this article:
Last night my buddy and I ended up managing to score some tickets the Fever Ray show at the Regency Ballroom here in San Francisco. I am pre show ticket purchase challenged. I should have bought tickets a month ago and I put it off. I had no idea they'd sell out the venue. But my sense of adventure took us to the venue anyway. It only took me about five minutes to snag some tickets on the streets. I have a knack for attracting common street criminals. Anyway Fever Ray ended up just killing it! I loved the stage set up it was so minimal. The lighting was low. They managed to sound like the album and that's super important as far as I'm concerned.
Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Well, I have been DJing now since 2000 and the other day I was thinking of how I started working in radio.  I remembered that I was wearing an Atari Teenage Riot shirt at some campus comedy show that was supposed to be a place where the freshman can get to know each other and chill out (very University of Miami style).  I was approached by the then general manager of the campus radio station, Eric, and he said "If you like that band you should join our radio station."  So I started hanging out there and soon I had my first show.  It was 1am to 4am!  I did the show with this kid Andy who would make prank phone calls to people in his dorm while I learned how to DJ.  It was good times. Before all of this when I was in high school we had to do a "Job Shadow" of something we wanted to do when we were older.  I, along with BTR's DJ Lottie (now you see how it all went down), went to the local Alt. Rock station, 105.9 the X, and sat in with the DJ for the day.  Good times indeed. So there it is, my eventual rise to BTR and the glitch IDM show, in a few short sentences.  Ok, I'm gonna go to work now and arrest people. Sweet... -ed  
At first thought, pairing an album with baby turnips and greens seemed pretty hard. I sought inspiration in a variety of sources. Some foods have symbolism, but despite significant research (i.e. I looked up turnips on Wikipedia), I could find no symbolic meaning associated with turnips. I even busted out the Oxford English Dictionary in order to look into the etymology of the word turnip, and found no inspiration there. However, I did learn that the earliest usage of turnip found in the English language is from a recipe dated approximately 1533, which noted that when "turnepes" are "boyled" they "norysheth moche" (although, as an fyi for the nerds like me, turnips do appear much earlier in Latin, and references date back to Pliny the Elder and Columella from the Roman Empire). After deciding to give up on inspirational gimmicks, I decided just to look for a simple, beautiful album. An album that is warming, earthy and that norysheth moche, er... is very nourishing. The result of this search was Sufjan Stevens' 2004 album Seven Swans. Sufjan Stevens' more recent albums have been lush, complex and intricate. Seven Swans, however, demonstrates that he doesn't need this complexity to sound powerful and beautiful. Most of the songs on Seven Swans are relatively stripped down to Sufjan basics: his voice, acoustic guitar or banjo, subtle harmonies, and his witty, clever lyricism. The result is a gorgeous, simple album. I'm a fan of all of his albums, but my favorite Sufjan songs to date are definitely "That Dress Looks Nice On You" and "To Be Alone With You," both of which are on this album. Although many of the songs on Seven Swans are religious in nature, Sufjan frequently focuses on aspects of religion that are universal. While "To Be Alone With You" is most certainly a song about Christ, it easily doubles as a secular song about the depths of love. You can still get the reissue of Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans on vinyl over at Insound. Sufjan Stevens - The Dress Looks Nice On You Sufjan Stevens - The One I Love (R.E.M. Cover) Sufjan Stevens - The 50 State Song Head back to the homepage to read Kase's suggestions for preparing and enjoying baby turnips. Link to this post Like a fine wine with a delectable meal at Musical Pairings.
It may only be October 6th, but Halloween is going to be here before you know it. Remember how it felt like August yesterday? Where did September go? Don't let the end of October catch you off guard like its cool, blustery beginnings have (at least here in NYC the weather has been nice and cool). This Halloween is certain to see a lot of dead celebrity costumes. Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze - and if you're an indie rock fan, I guarantee that you're going to see some irritatingly ironic and irreverent takes on these, as well. If you thought that your boyfriend/girlfriend Kanye/Taylor Swift costume was oh-so-original, you better start thinking about different plans.  It's not too early to start thinking about your plans for the night, either. If a bone-crushingly crowded party isn't your cup of tea, and a night full of great music sounds more like your speed, you should start thinking about your options, and start convincing your friends that a show is a way better use of a Saturday night than getting hit on at a crowded bar by someone in a George Bush mask. There are some killer Halloween shows out there, and some are bound to sell out early. Here are my picks for best shows at a few cities around the country.  New York is the only place I've personally experienced Halloween outside of college, and it was absolutely insane. Attempting to walk down 6th Avenue was a nightmare, and getting a cab home at 3 AM, an absolute impossibility. That's not to mention the freakiness of riding a Q train filled with people in masks carrying what I could only hope were fake guns. Catching an indie rock show is definitely a more laid-back way to spend the holiday. Besides, where else will anyone believe me that my jeans and hoodie costume is Todd P.?  Junior Boys There's three New York shows I'd definitely recommend. The first is Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts at 171 Lomardy Street. Two solid Brooklyn bands, sure to attract a good Halloween crowd. If you're looking for something a bit more on-par with the theme of the night, I'd suggest either World Inferno Friendship Society and O'Death at Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom or King Khan & BBQ Show plus Dum Dum Girls, Junior Boys, and Woodhands at The Bell House. The former is a perfect show for a spooky night. The genre-bending tunes of both bands are sure to delight, and with a band name like O'Death you can't go wrong on Halloween. The Bell House is known for throwing great parties and drawing a laid-back but cool Brooklyn crowd. Start the night out with some crazy King Khan, and let it degenerate into awesome dance party with Woodhands and Junior Boys. Something for everyone. Crystal Stilts If you live in Chicago and your default Halloween costume for the past five years has been Bob Dylan, then I think I know what you'll be doing on Halloween. Even though it's the priciest event on this list, coming in at $50, a Bob Dylan Halloween show has to be epic. He's releasing a new album this winter, a Christmas album actually, so maybe he'll have some new original material dedicated to this holiday, as well. Only thing is, probably best to leave your Dylan costume at home this year. If it's tacky to wear a band's t-shirt to their own concert, imagine how weird it is to come dressed like the band. Dirty Projectors Los Angelenos have it good for Halloween. The weather is always warm, which means that you don't have to think about how to incorporate boots, gloves, hats, scarves and a winter coat into your sexy Debbie Harry costume (it's not easy, and the answer is usually tequila shots [just kidding, Mom!]). The clear and obvious choice for the night is the Dirty Projectors at the Jensen RecCenter Studio. I can think of nothing I'd rather be doing most nights more than seeing the Dirty Projectors. In a Los Angeles-appropriate blonde wig and thigh-high Debbie Harry boots, of course. If you'd like a little more oomph to your Halloween night plans (though Dave Longstreth's vocals can be downright ghostly sometimes) try the classic Bouncing Souls at the El Ray Theatre. The classic hard-core band should be a ton of fun, especially on this holiday. These Are Powers There are, of course, great shows happening all over the country. Butthole Surfers, Men, and Peaches will be performing at Stubb's in Austin, Texas. These Are Powers will play at 941 Theatre in Philadelphia. Walking skeleton, Bradford Cox, will be entertaining crowds with his second band Atlas Sound at Neuomos in Seattle. Actually, that's a pretty good costume idea. Wear a skeleton costume, carry around a bottle of liquor, and tell people you're Bradford Cox. See, where else would that work except at an indie rock show? No matter where you live, if you're an indie-music-lover (and I know you are because you're at BTR), then make sure to incorporate music into your Halloween holiday plans. Link to this article:
Although fish tacos may not seem like an intricate dish, after trying this recipe, I think you'd agree that the quality of any fish taco is heavily dependent upon the individual ingredients you use to make the taco. That is to say - each ingredient is important. That is certainly true with this recipe, which is fantastic. Here, the pickled onions are every-bit as important as the fresh, spicy salsa, which is then as important to this recipe as the seasoned fish. In other words, lots of small parts contribute to create a delicious, flavorful taco that seems fun and effortless. These tacos are fun for dinner for two, but are also excellent party food. Girl Talk's album Feed the Animals is similarly fun, seemingly effortless party music, and is successful in part due to the well thought out selection of quality pieces that comprise the whole. Girl Talk is the most well-known of the moniker's adopted by mash-up DJ Greg Gillis (he also goes by the name Trey Told 'Em). What makes Gillis stand-out from the flood of less-talented mash-up DJs is his excellent selection of numerous, brief, well-known samples recontextualized into a seamless patch-work to create a whole-new danceable track. For example, on the first track on Feed the Animals, Girl Talk relies upon at least 25 identified samples that include samples of UGK feat. Outkast, Sinead O'Connor, Rage Against the Machine, Huey Lewis, Twisted Sister, and Bird Man & Lil' Wayne. It is definitely worth your time. Feed the Animals is available on a "pay what you want" basis from Illegal Art. Oh, and if you get a chance, go check out Girl Talk's live set - it is ridiculously fun (see the video [below] that I recorded at a recent show at the Fillmore). Below, I've provided links to a veritable Girl Talk starter kit for your enjoyment including a rare track from the 2007 Illegal Art Sampler that is more representative of his glitchy, pre-Night Ripper work and his new remix of Bonde Do Role's Gasolina: Girl Talk - Still Here (from Feed the Animals) Girl Talk - Bounce That (from Night Ripper) Girl Talk - LC and Lo (from the Bone Hard Zaggin' 7") Girl Talk - Let's Run This (from a 2007 Illegal Art Sampler) Bonde Do Role - Gasolina (Girl Talk Remix) Video from Girl Talk live at the Fillmore in San Francisco, California: Head back to eating/sf to read the recipe for the fish tacos and homemade spicy salsa. Link to this post Like a fine wine with a delectable meal at Musical Pairings.
It's time for the October Adds update! Yo Gabba Gabba! Music is Awesome! The first time I heard about the television show, Yo Gabba Gabba! I was visiting friends that have two young kids. They explained to me that the show was something they could watch with their kids and enjoy, and they also discovered some great music from the program. After a bit of research, I realized why they (and their two young girls) loved it so much. The series is a mixture of live action segments, animated sketches and musical numbers. Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh hosts a segment called "Mark's Magic Pictures," which teaches children how to draw with their feet. Biz Markie stars in "Biz's Beat of the Day" where he demonstrates beat-boxing styles and, yes, beats. The "Super Music Friends Show" segment boasts an amazing lineup of celebrity guests and musicians. The first two years of the season welcomed Mates of State, Of Montreal, The Roots, Low and Jack Black, just to name a few. The show is hosted by DJ Lance Rock, a DJ, actor and musician from Los Angeles. After moving to the West Coast, Rock began to work at Amoeba Music (an independent chain of music stores in California). He became immersed in the local music scene and eventually met Scottie Schultz. A few years later, Schultz asked Robertson to host the show he was co-writing with Christina Roberts, lead singer of the The Aquabats. Now that you have a bit of background on the show, I can talk about my one of top three picks for the October update. The album, Yo Gabba! Music is Awesome!, is just that - awesome. The track listing is a mixture of Yo Gabba Gabba! tracks and songs from artists that have visited the show. The tunes spout life lessons that teach kids morals, manners, and  sound advice. The first song that stands out to me is by The Shins. It is entitled "It's OK, Try Again" and has really great lyrics like "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but it's OK, try again." The track sounds like a Shins tune, but with a slight spin on their normal song topics. My favorite song or 'lesson' is from I'm From Barcelona, called "Just Because It's Different Doesn't Mean It's Scary." The verses read,  "New things in life can be great, try new things." It encourages kids to take mini-risks and not to be afraid of the unknown. "Here's a new fruit, c'mon let's taste it!" Of Montreal contributes "Brush Brush Brush" which, of course, encourages 'good dental hygiene.' Brushing your teeth can be kind of boring, but Of Montreal and Yo Gabba Gabba! make it seem  exciting! Also, Mark Kozelek wrote a song by the name of "Bedtime Lullaby" for the show. If you are a fan of Mr. Kozelek or any of his projects (Sun Kil Moon, Red House Painters) you will fall in love with this lullaby. This album is great, and after all, they are songs written for children. Songs can make learning fun and easy and Music is Awesome! definitely will please the little kid in all of us! Shantel Planet Paprika Planet Paprika is the latest release from Shantel, a German producer and DJ. Shantel was born Stefan Hantel in Frankfurt. He is known for his work with gypsy brass orchestras. He is also known for mixing traditional Balkan music with electro beats. He fell in love with "Gypsy music" while watching the audience reactions to  Fanfare Ciocarlia (a twelve-piece Romanian Roma brass band) and Boban Markovic (a Serbian trumpet player and brass ensemble leader, who is actually one of the most famous Balkan trumpet players in the world). Planet Paprika boasts 13 beautifully arranged tracks full of high-energy Balkan brass. The medium-to-fast-paced tempos on the album are extremely danceable and make for a beautifully proportioned mix of old world meets new world. Not only did Shantel write, produce and mix the album - he also sings on several of the tracks. His arrangements include accordion, trumpet, flugelhorn, baritone and alto sax, clarinet, violin and keyboards. I am a sucker for Eastern European music, Roma or gypsy, Balkan brass or folk. The album utilizes all of these genres to their fullest potential without directly copying from the original sounds. Planet Paprika is partially a dance album. It is a great spirit lifter, and probably a lot different then what you are used to listening to. If you are in Europe, check out Shantel's live show! Live: Oct 7 2009 at Palc Akropolis // Shantel & Bucovina Club Orkestar in Prague, Czech Republic Oct 8 2009 at Centralstation // Shantel & Bucovina Club Orkestar in Darmstadt, Germany Oct 9 2009 at Muffathalle // Shantel & Bucovina Club Orkestar in Muenchen, Germany Oct 10 2009 at Wagenhallen // Shantel & Bucovina Club Orkestar in Stuttgart, Germany Oct 11 2009 at Jazzhaus // Shantel & Bucovina Club Orkestar in Freiburg, Germany Oct 13 2009 at  Werk II // Shantel & Bucovina Club Orkestar in Leipzig, Germany Awesome New Republic Hearts Hearts is the fifth studio album by the Miami duo known as Awesome New Republic. ANR formed in 2004 when Michael John Hancock and Brian Robertson were attending Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. They had played in a 5-piece band together called Empirical Mile before going on to do their own project. Hearts is the third album they have put out in 2009. They released Rational Geographic Volume 1 in April and Rational Geographic Volume 2 in July. These works are their take on the ties between the Stars Wars trilogy and the past thirty years of the American government. Hearts has heavy electronic influences. The opening track starts out with layers of synthesizers and electronic beats. It reminds me of mellow 80's clubbing music, but that definitely doesn't describe the tone of the whole album. The third track, "Alleycat," channels their inner Tears for Fears. You can hear it in both the vocals and the instrumentals. If you immediately forward to track four, however, you will taste an entirely different flavor. My one complaint is that the album doesn't have a solid vision. Each song is good in it's own right, but there is no sense of flow or theme to the entire piece. Track 5, "Digital World," is a letter to the modern world as we know it. Are Hancock and Robertson scared of what is inevitable? I think not, I think it is more of a love letter to the digi-world that has helped to launch their careers. They can't live without the Internet, for one. Would anyone know of ANR if this medium didn't exist. Who knows? My favorite tracks are "Alleycat," "Wheels No Engines" and "Digital World." But I have a feeling this album will grow on my ears with each listen. Check out ANR live! Live: Oct 15 2009 at Rokbar w/ Neon Indian - Miami, FL Oct 16 2009 at Club Down Under w/ Neon Indian -Tallahassee, FL Oct 17 2009 at Club TSI w/ Neon Indian - Jacksonville, FL Oct 19 2009 at The Bridge PAI - Charlottesville, VA Oct 20 2009 at Bowery Electric - CMJ - New York, NY Oct 22 2009 at The Space on North 8th - CMJ - Brooklyn, NY Oct 24 2009 at R Bar - CMJ -New York, NY Link to this article:
This post comes exactly one month and one day after the actual "field trip" occurred. I have to admit, it wasn't much of a "field trip", it was a long walk, actually. One long New York City Avenue block. My work mates and I decided to travel the distance to explore the mythical and legendary Shake Shack. The critics reviews have been amazing, the people's reviews have been mixed. I was excited to check out this well talked about eatery located in the heart of Madison Square Park on 23rd St. The wait was about 60 minutes, which, for a burger and a shake seems kind of crazy. The line was full of suits and collars. After all, there are some insurance and banking companies in the area. Not the type of people that I like to surround myself with, but you gotta make some exception in the name of food. Anyways, we waited, we waited, we ordered and waited. Finally it came time for the food. I ordered the single Shake Shack burger and a peanut butter and chocolate milkshake. I borrowed fries from my co-workers. The fries didn't impress me. They were fine, but nothing to talk to highly about. The shake was decadent, good high end chocolatey taste with the right amount of peanut butter. The burger? I really, really liked it. My perfect burger, nice size, melds together well with a yummy mayo sauce. The verdict? Standing in line that long for a freaking burger is stupid. I would go back if there wasn't such a crazy mind. My mind wasn't blown, it wasn't the best meal on earth, but I am glad I did it. Don't go with high hopes, after all, it's just a freaking burger. But!, it's a good one!
  San Francisco's Papercuts are led by Jason Roberts Quever, a singer/songwriter whose already developed a reputation for tight, well written songs that have an almost detached day-dreamy quality that is both breezy and soaring. These qualities are a result of the excellent use of reverb enhanced vocals and tentative, but uplifting melodies. Indeed, Papercuts' third album, You Can Have What You Want, is one of the best albums I've heard this year, and I can strongly recommend it. It is a warm, soothing album that is perfect for night-driving or curling up with a relaxing glass of red wine in a dim-lit living room after a difficult day. You Can Have What You Want is another unusually solid, successfully coherent album that plays well from start to finish. Opening track "Once We Walked In The Sunlight" features quivering vintage organs and tight, controlled percussion which serve to elevate Quever's vocals. "Jet Plane" is a sleepy, beautiful epic that floats high above ground that almost sounds like the musical equivalent of watching something at a distance moving slowly across the horizon. "Future Primitive" is blissful, and easily one of the album's highlights: a track that is definitely worth evaluating. Check out the MP3s provided below, and If you like what you hear, support Papercuts by picking up their album over at Insound or (ever better) your local record store. Papercuts - Future Primitive Papercuts - Future Primitive (Go Team! Remix) Papercuts - Baby Its You (Casiotone For the Painfully Alone Cover) Head back to eating/sf to read Kasey's review for San Francisco's beloved bakery, Tartine. Link to this post Like a fine wine with a delectable meal at Musical Pairings.
Checking in while globe trekking. The music scene is alive and well in Greece where I've seen everything to the cliche singer/songwriter on the street to the peruvian flute bands, to bass thumping clubs. Most of the radio stations are piping in american hits or popular contemporary. Off in search of some local talent to scout for your BTR airwaves...
I believe in the 'indie" spirit so much, i only watch indie wrestling!  No joke there, i've always been a fan of professional wrestling but the "big boys" of the biz started getting a little to ridiculous, i needed to go somewhere else.  To many of you reading this who aren't fans of wrestling it might all seem ridiculous to you, but to a fan of real fun and entertaining wrestling, its tough to find a product worth watching.  WWE is not exciting anymore and TNA has some good young talent that they don't use very well....and then there is ROH!! ROH or Ring of Honor Wrestling is the cream of the crop when it comes to professional wrestling.  Longer matches, better moves, real fans.  Thanks to ROH, wrestling now has as close to the feeling of when i was 7 watching it as it ever will.  If ROH sounds familiar to you, its the league in the movie "The Wrestler" where Randy "The Ram" did his wrestling.  Most of the wrestlers in the movie are actually ROH members and it helped to get it back on the map. I just went to see their first taping in NYC in a while and it was awesome.  While 2 of the top guys in ROH were contracted to WWE, there final fight was a great way to say goodbye. And to everyone who doesn't watch wrestling......start! and start with ROH.
I had the pleasure of catching Cut Copy and Matt & Kim at the newly reopened House of Blues in Boston this past weekend, a great show to be sure. But there was one drawback – the crowd. Not the whole crowd, though. Specific members of the crowd who were seemingly there with the sole purpose of annoying music fans. I’m sure you’ve been at concerts full of these people. It’s awful. Crowds at live concerts vary wildly depending on where you are and who you are seeing perform, obviously. New York fans are savvy – often bordering on jaded – and knowledgeable. Philly fans are dancey and ragey. SXSW fans are bloggers. And Boston has grown a unique breed of concertgoers, too old to be hipsters and too drunk to be polite. But everywhere you go, really, the people who bring the crowd down are the same. So next time you go to a concert, please, don’t be That Guy or That Girl. Disclaimer: I hope this doesn’t come off as too angry or bitter. I get pretty riled up when I think about how much these people annoy me. But it’s for everyone’s good, in the end. Don’t be… The Drinks Guy: I have no problem with people enjoying some frosty oat sodas during a concert – and if it makes the crowd dance more I’m all for it. But seriously, your PBR comes in a big can for a reason – maximum beer, minimum trips. The Drinks Guy, though, needs to have a mixed drink in hand at all times and wants to be in the center of the pit. So throughout the show he goes back and forth to the bar, spilling on everyone in his path, spending outrageous amounts of money on booze, and – of course – holding his drink high above his head as he maneuvers through the crowd, lest he spill a precious drop of his Long Island Iced Tea. If you’re going to drink all show, stand at the bar. Otherwise, get your drinks between acts and listen to some music for once. The Pusher People: These are, hands down, the lowest of the low. Here’s the scene – you get to the show in time for the opener. You even catch some of the opening DJ set. You find the perfect spot on the floor – good view, good distance from the stage, enough room for you and your friends to groove to some tunes without bumping elbows all night. Everything is fine until about 2 songs into the headliner, when suddenly 7 small girls funnel past you to the front of the crowd. Followed by their 7 large boyfriends. And 4 other people going to “meet their friends”. Within three songs you’re at the back of the crowd with Shaquille O’Neal standing directly in front of you. And to top it all off, no one even said “excuse me”. As a friend best put it – even if you’re pushing past me to get to the front, we’re still both human beings. If you want to be in the front row, get to the concert on time. I’m going to keep making it as difficult as possible to push past me. The Mosher in the Back: The exact opposite of Pusher People, this person decides to bring the front-crowd party to the back-crowd floor. A ball of energy with reckless abandon, he bounces off people trying to calmly and sedately enjoy some good music, demanding that they join him in headbanging and playing Tasmanian Devil. It’s not cool. Go to the front of the crowd and throw your body against people who signed up for that, nobody appreciates it back here. I still have nightmares about the large sweaty girl who insisted on rubbing up on everyone around her at an RJD2 show at the Middle East. The Talkers: Arg, these people make me angry just thinking about them. They’re not usually a problem during the headliner (although when they are it’s even more excruciating) but The Talkers will destroy any opening act. They stand directly in front of you, talking about inane topics as great bands play softer music. I saw The Faint play at the Roxy in 2004, and the two people in front of me talked during the entire opening act – a little group known as TV On The Radio. Makes me want to pull my hair out. If you don’t care about the music, that’s fine. I dig the concept of concerts as social events, and I think it’s fine to chat it up with your friends. But do it at the bar, between sets, or in your friend’s ear. I really don’t need to hear all about how Tanya wanted to go bowling yesterday but you were hanging out with Sarah instead. The HUGE Swaying Dude: Now, I know that you can’t control how tall you are. And I truly believe that you should be able to stand wherever you want in a crowd, no matter how tall you are. We’re not going to line up with the shortest people in the front and tallest in the back, so you shouldn’t feel bad about standing in the front of the crowd. But please please please, Mr. 6’5”, stay in one place. You should dance, you should bop, you should get into the music. But you shouldn’t shuffle back and forth in a 3-foot line from left to right. I’m watching over your left shoulder, now I’m watching over your right shoulder, now I’m watching over your left should. Please pick somewhere and stay there. Thanks. Also, please don’t beat me up. The Cell Phone Girl: Three main ways you can misuse your cell phone during a concert. 1) You can talk really loudly on it. Unless you’re giving directions for someone to find you, you should put that conversation on hold. But in the grand scheme of things, this is not a huge offense. 2) You can hold your phone up during a hit song so that “your friend can hear it”. Having been on the receiving end of this sort of call, let me tell you what it sounds like: “ khhhrhrrrrkrkkkckchhchhhhhhhhck OMG WISH YOU WERE HERE”. This is the best way to use technology to brag to your friends, annoy them, and destroy their hearing simultaneously. 3) You can use your cell phone light as a lighter during slow ballads. This fad, in all seriousness, makes me want to shoot myself in the face. Nothing about it is good and it makes everybody participating look like a tool. Lighters are cool because they are made of fire, which is cool looking. Cell phones are essentially little bluish flashlights, and they just make everyone sad that the lighter thing doesn’t happen anymore. So put your cell away. The Makeout Couple: This one is a problem everywhere, obviously, but it’s the worst at shows. This weekend there was a couple making out for a good 20 minutes in front of me. And it’s frustratingly hard to ignore – my mind starts racing desperately to figure out what is going on. What are these people thinking? Did they really pay $30 to french kiss in a group of strangers? Do they not have homes? Or Subway tickets? Did they just meet? How long are they going to keep doing this? How is he breathing? By this point I’m completely repulsed, both by them and by myself, and music is an afterthought. We don’t need to see it, we don’t want to see it. Turn around and pay attention to the show, and all problems will be solved. The “Freebird” Guy: I have a soft spot for this guy, since I think every music fan has this person inside them. You’ve been a fan of a band since their first album, and you’ve had a lot of good times while listening to one song. Every bone in your body wants to shout out to request it. Except that the band isn’t playing requests, and they have a setlist. So unless it’s a quiet acoustic show and the band is open to suggestions, please don’t shout out song titles. Even doing it once or twice is fine. But if every time there is a lull onstage you yell “Electric Feel!” as loud as you can, everyone is going to hate you. Best Freebird Guy I’ve ever seen was a college student who went on stage during intermission and left a note for Béla Fleck asking him kindly to play Big Country, since it’s a cult hit at Dartmouth. Worst Freebird Guy I’ve ever seen was a concert late-comer who yelled for the Flaming Lips to play Yoshimi two songs after they had just played Yoshimi. Ouch. Alright, I’m all ranted-out. Stay classy, say excuse me, and don’t be obnoxious. It’ll be nicer for everyone that way. Chris Barth writes a weekly Thinking Man feature here at Pretty Much Amazing. You can read his more succinct daily entries at his blog, The Stu Reid Experiment. Link to this post The name says it all at Pretty Much Amazing.
Kyp Malone (Rain Machine, TVOTR) Versus Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) FIGHT!
I recently wrote an article for BTR about all of the madness surrounding Wavves.  I'm pretty fascinated by him and the media coverage of his various outbursts and meltdowns.  If Vampire Weekend were sort of the first band to really get huge in record amounts of time because of bloggers, then Wavves is the next generation of that hype, taking quickly-won fame from questionable to clearly too much. Now, Pitchfork uses Williams' adventures for their own purposes once again.  Apparently there was some sort of fight between Wavves and the Black Lips.  It broke on BrooklynVegan, which makes sense since it's local gossip, and everyone loves some decent local gossip, I suppose.  But Pitchfork goes ahead and makes it a NEWS story!  This stuff isn't news, it's editorial, and I wish Pitchfork would QUIT IT.  At least we all have something to talk about.
The weather is getting nippier, coat stores are calling, and CMJ is around the corner. Seems like a good time to bring Holiday Shores to the forefront once again.
The Antlers Hospice Frenchkiss out August 18th 90/100 [Rating Scale] There are few albums that give me shivers. Few albums that really get me at my core – real albums, honest albums, painfully personal albums. Even rarer are those records that continue to do so on subsequent listens, hitting me hard each time I hear its story unfold. The Antlers’ Hospice does it like few I can remember. The album is the product of Peter Silberman’s two year isolation in New York City, a seemingly foreign concept that is much closer to reality than many of the New York City myths you hear on records. Emerging from his self imposed exile, he joined with Michael Lerner and Darby Cicci to form the current incarnation of The Antlers, recording two EPs that would eventually merge to become Hospice. The album tells the story of a man forced to watch his loved one struggle with – and eventually succumb to – bone cancer, and it tells it eloquently, brutally, breath-takingly. If, as Ben Gibbard proclaims, “Love is watching someone die,” then Hospice is a love album. And, unconventionally, it is. The album is remarkably multi-dimensional, delving into the perspectives and moods of both lovers involved – the love, the hate, the fear, the denial, the dependence. It is the sinking stomach of a desperate hope fading. It is the pain of being a helpless bystander as invisible Death works his slow knife. It is the phantom limb left by a loved one. The album begins with an instrumental track, entitled “Prologue,” that evokes William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops, an experimental series that chronicles the gradual demise of old magnetic tapes. It is no coincidence that much of Hospice evokes that same sonic experiment – the record is a study in degradation over time. But although the album is sonically fascinating, it is the storyline that carries the record. Reading the album’s liner notes – arranged as if a series of short stories – opens the door to a depressive fog. I won’t even bother trying to do it justice here. The story is beautifully written and perfectly framed. And stretched over the canvas of haunting and stark music, the somber lyrics of Hospice somehow manage to be beautiful. The more I listen to Hospice, the more impressed I become. Its swells and silence combine to form a completely devastating piece of art. This is not a happy album. This is not something you want to listen to at a party, or on the radio. But it is an album that begs to be understood, excruciating though that understanding may be. Amazingly enough, Silberman’s exile, isolation, and loneliness have given birth to a testament to human connection. I will be visiting this album for years to come. 90-94 — Near Perfection. One of the bodies of best work in recent memory. Required listening for anyone who loves music in its purest form. (Rating Scale) Chris Barth is a columnist here at Pretty Much Amazing. You can read his more succinct daily posts at his music blog, The Stu Reid Experiment. Link to this post The name says it all at Pretty Much Amazing.
Welcome back to our recurring, weekly feature in which we hear the stories behind the names of the bands we fancy. Let us learn! Jumbling Towers "We all were friends when we were very young, long before music started, and Jumbling Towers was a game we liked to play, back in the era of carefree, high school life," says Joe DeBoer, frontman for the St. Louis, Missouri-based band (and current BTR Artist of the Week). "It worked, and no one really second-guessed it. It's certainly not great, but we're not claiming greatness." Rio de la Muerte "Well, it's a reference to the ebb and flow of life and music," says the Gainesville, Florida-based singer/songwriter Rio de la Muerte. "Certain patterns emerge out of the human experience when looked at from both the mortal perspective and the context of Earthly history. These patterns flow like a river, but they can never stay the same. Instead they keep going and going, just like water. Death can't stop life, it only helps to change the face. This is a metaphor for art, of which the music I play is only a portion of the infinite possibilities." New Roman Times "It's a quote from John Lennon, when he was living in New York," says Daniel Owens, frontman for the Austin, Texas-based band. "And I'm a big history buff, as it was part of my undergrad. Anyway, in an interview, they were asking Lennon why he had moved to New York - this was before he got shot obviously - and Lennon said he wanted to be at the epicenter of culture. In ancient Roman times, Rome was the epicenter for culture, and everybody wanted to be there. Lennon then said these are the new Roman times, and New York was that for him. It's a really cool historical allusion there, and, no, it has nothing to do with the font. It alludes to a time, an era, a presence - a feeling that we all live in. Our society has evolved, and we are pretty much at - or have been, for the 5-10 years or so - on the precipice of either decline, or pushing the envelope further of what our culture's become in our society. The name has always resonated really strongly with me, and when we put the band together, I was like 'hey, let's use this name.' And that's it. In hindsight though, people are always like, 'hey, that's a great font, I really like it,' but then once I spend 15 minutes explaining what it means, people say 'ah, that's really cool to hear how it makes sense." Link to this article:
A couple weeks ago I talked about the concept of the album in this space, and somebody by the handle of “Knatterjak” shared the tidbit that “The EP is the future”. That got me thinking – is the EP the new album? Is orange really the new pink? EPs, loosely defined, are short albums. Strictly defined, Extended Play records are records made up of 4 songs (plus alternative versions) or 25 minutes of music. This strict definition, however, is often subverted – specifically through artists adding the letters “EP” to the end of longer releases. Autechre, for instance, released “EP7”, a collection of more than an hour of music divided into 11 tracks. They were permitted to get away with it because they are Autechre, and they are just weird like that. EPs, like most good things, originated during the vinyl era, when singles reigned and people gathered around the phonograph to hear the latest tunes from bands that were “the bee’s knees” and “the cat’s pajamas”. They were developed in direct competition to the 45” single, with narrower grooves making it possible to fit more music onto the same size record. Since those golden olden days, however, the EP has taken on a life of its own, morphing into distinct forms that serve a variety of purposes. Just for funsies, I thought I’d outline the different types of EPs that I’ve seen, along with my favorite examples of each type. I’m almost undoubtedly leaving some types out, or ignoring some classic EPs, so please feel free to mock me ruthlessly. 1. The Debut EP This type of EP makes a ton of sense – it’s a test, a chance for a young band to prove that they can garner a following, win some fans, and get people interested in a full length release. It’s often hurried, rushed out onto the market to ride a wave of buzz or a strong single. I would imagine that thousands of trial EPs are released every year, and only a handful ever gain traction. A recent example of this is Passion Pit’s Chunk of Change EP, which took a number of songs written by a single dude (Michael Angelakos) and put a band behind it. The EP is great – buzzy, peppy, and full of great ideas, and accomplished the explicit goal of building hype for an emerging band. MGMT and Bloc Party both used the debut EP perfectly to create a wave of anticipation which they later rode to mainstream album success.   Download Passion Pit - Cuddle Fuddle     2. The We Have 4 Great Songs EP These EPs are beautiful creations. A band comes up with a handful of incredible tracks that are untouchable – and rather than stuffing an album full of filler tunes, they decide to release a short but sweet EP. If Knatterjak is right and the EP is the future, then the future will be built on these releases. The perfect snapshots of a band’s moment in time. Some people might not have the attention span for a full hour-long album, but if you can’t spare 20 minutes for these 4 or 5 incredible tracks, well then you are missing out. The perfect example of the We Have 4 Great Songs EP is TV On The Radio’s Young Liars EP. It’s also a Debut EP, but it’s so exquisitely crafted that it doesn’t seem that way. This album, in my mind, remains the band’s most impressive release – every band should aspire to release such a spotless EP.   Download TV On The Radio - Staring At The Sun     3. The We Have 2 Great Songs EP Quickly on the heels of the We Have 4 Great Songs EP is the We Have 2 Great Songs EP, the bastard cousin of the aforementioned exquisite work. These EPs are built around a couple standout tracks – too good to be a single, but not enough to wrap an entire album around. So bands take those two tracks, record a few other throwaway tunes (and probably an acoustic or live version of one of the two great tracks) and put it out as an EP, confident that the solid tunes will be able to carry the mediocre songs to good sales numbers. And it usually works – because sitting through 12 minutes of bad music for 8 minutes of good music is completely tolerable. If it were an album it would be another story, but since the EP is so digestible, even the less than stellar tracks seem pretty good. Perfect example? MGMT’s Time To Pretend EP. I’m probably going to get some push back on this one, but let’s face facts. “Kids” and “Time To Pretend” are amazing songs. “Boogie Down” and “Love Always Remains” not so much. The quintessential We Have 2 Great Songs EP.   Download MGMT - Boogie Down     4. The Between Albums EP While the first three EP types are usually associated with young and upcoming bands, these next three are typically utilized by more established artists. The first of these is the Between Albums EP. It usually hits after a few full length releases, in the lull between albums 3 & 4 or 4 & 5. It’s a taste to keep fans happy,