Crazy Couple Weeks

Going straight from Memphis to the Cleveland International Film Festival has made for a crazy couple weeks. Anxious to get back to regularity, both in life and on this blog. To get it started, how about a song from Jay Brannan about having it all...


MGMT Played on iPhones

I know this has been making the rounds lately, but after recently watching the Apple webcast for the iPhone 3.0 software and being at the IA Summit in Memphis, I just can't believe the prevalence and diverse uses of the iPhone. While there are some reasons to complain about it - it's undoubtably an amazing device.

Thanks Boing Boing (I'd suggest checking out their page and the comments - good times).


Brilliant: Sigur Ros in a Take Away Show

I'm still just enamored with the production of these videos from La Blogotheque. I love the opening when trying to convince the locals to stay.

Sigur Ros - Við spilum endalaust - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

A trip across Paris in a van. Lost drumsticks. A cafe you'd never expect to visit before the age of 60. An hour of waiting, and then, voilà--a few notes on the harmonium, a grand piano, a heavenly voice. Sigur Ros on a Take Away Show.


i heart cleveland: Meiko (3/06)

Thought I'd share a post from a great new blog I just discovered. Meiko sounds great. Sad I missed it.

Meiko (3/06)
Friday, March 6th, 2009

Enjoy an evening at the historic Kent Stage with Meiko (www.myspace.com/meiko) who will open for Joshua Radin (who's music is featured on Scrubs, Brothers and Sisters, Grey's Anatomy and One Tree Hill).

[From i heart cleveland: Meiko (3/06)]

No Passion Pit on Wednesday / Free Remix Download

This was a blow. I'd been just as excited to see Passion Pit on Wednesday as I was to see Ra Ra Riot. But it's still worth going, despite missing a night of the CIFF. Besides, I'll probably need a day off from movies.

Despite being slightly angry with Passion Pit, I'll still share this great remix.

Passion Pit - Sleepyhead (Kids at the Bar) (1031) [From Passion Pit - Sleepyhead (Kids At The Bar Remix) at Pretty Much Amazing!]


Delta Highway Blues Band (3/19/09)

This was a surprise concert. I'm in Memphis, TN for the IA Summit and I've just been checking out the local drinking establishments. Well, we walk into a bar, order some drinks, then all of a sudden a band walks on stage and starts performing (Delta Highway Blues Band). The were GREAT, and I'm not even a huge blues fan!

The stage was also pretty sweet, I'm glad the photos came through okay.

Delta Highway Blues Band (3/19/09)

I also thought I'd try grabbing a quick video clip and see how Flickr handles them:

Richard Shindell / Chris Castle (3/18/09)

As previously noted, I haven't seen Richard Shindell since Cry Cry Cry back in 1999 at the Ark in Ann Arbor. I enjoy his sound, but haven't been keeping up with him as much as I have with Lucy Kaplansky and especially Dar Williams (the other parts of Cry Cry Cry). But honestly, I was really showing up to support Chris Castle. Having Richard Shindell perform was just an added benefit.

First I have to say how happy that it was an earlier show, starting at 7:30. When I showed up and saw the older folkie crowd, it made sense. This was also my first time seeing the new soundboard position in the Tavern.

Chris' performance was great as usual, and it was great chatting with him afterward (as usual).

Chris Castle (3/18/09)

I was surprised at how "hippie" Richard Shindell was looking. I guess that's what I would expect from an expatriate living in Buenos Aries. He has a wonderfully smooth voice and he's a great songwriter. For me, he's one of those people that I've been aware of for a long time, but can't necessarily recommend to friends because I'm not finding him as "relevant" as some of the other artists out today. Not that you shouldn't check him out.

Richard Shindell (3/18/09)

I will share one of my favorite songs of his from Cry Cry Cry:

Cold Missouri Waters - Cry Cry Cry

After the show, we swung by the Spot to see Plushgun, but didn't end up arrived during the opening act didn't end up staying long enough to see them. Maybe next time.


Newsweek Article on Neko Case

Interesting article on the "indie" music scene, focusing on Neko Case, from a major publication perspective (note the mentions of / comparison to Kelly Clarkson). A good read.

All the Pretty Verses, Indie Style

Alternative bands once avoided melody. No longer.

Seth Colter Walls


From the magazine issue dated Mar 16, 2009

You may think this month's most powerful new album from a singer-songwriter belongs to Kelly Clarkson. Not quite. Though the talented "American Idol" alumna has just given us "All I Ever Wanted," her new songs fall short of the mark set by "Middle Cyclone," from Neko Case. "Cyclone" is a platform for Case's voice, an instantly recognizable instrument that could win "Idol" in a walk, if its owner wouldn't detest the very idea. Though her music does crack with an addictive, sugar-buzz quality that matches the highs derived from bubblegum, it is decidedly not pop. Case is an indie artist—the kind who writes songs titled "I'm an Animal" or uses a tornado as a narrator. And yet her style is instantly appealing, blending Patsy Cline's rich country tone with the gale-force intensity of the original blues shouters, plus a jazz chord or three. If that sounds suspiciously ornate for indie music—well, you haven't been listening to the new notes from the underground.

While the idea of indie rock used to suggest radio-unfriendly noise or hopped-up aggression, a wave of unapologetic loveliness has swept through hipster nation. Acts such as Bon Iver, Iron & Wine and Antony and the Johnsons have been bringing pretty back, to paraphrase Justin Timberlake. Not all of indieland is preoccupied with elegance, of course. You can still seek out bands like Tyvek for joyous blasts of tuneless skronk, if that's your thing. But whereas Kurt Cobain once felt the need to hide affection for R.E.M. from his underground peers lest he be booted from their secret society, today's alternative acts no longer look at melody as the love that dare not speak its name.

What's changed since then has to do with the age-old dance between the mainstream and the underground. Back in the America of Bush the First, smiley-faced pop prodded punks like Nirvana and Green Day to embrace raw guitar feedback and bratty defiance. But pop music, that resilient thief, absorbed their innovations and turned outsiders into industry standard-bearers. By the middle of Bush 43's tenure, Green Day was selling 14 million copies of "American Idiot," and so the underground's contrary, hit-'em-where-they-ain't philosophy was pointing toward a less bombastic direction—a path filled with vulnerable melody and pretty voices. The fact that, by the 2000s, the vogue in pop production had largely retreated behind ringtone-bleep fetishism only fueled indie's desire to stake a claim on graceful writing and singing.

Though the construction of Case's own songs can be deliberately odd, there's no doubting the central grace and flexibility of her voice. Just as capable as Bon Iver or Antony when it comes to singing with subtlety, she also knows how to belt in a radio-ready fashion. That volume, when it appears, never strains her range, which seems elastic enough to fit any conceit—a rare-enough talent in all eras, let alone one that finds "Idol" preaching against vocal restraint. During the song "People Got a Lotta Nerve," in which a female tiger confesses to being a "man-eater" as though she were a supermodel prowling the meatpacking district, Case deftly plays off her own image as every straight indie boy's heartthrob. It's a good joke, and a better chorus—one that, if there's any justice in the world, will inspire as many singalongs among girlfriends at bars as Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" did a couple of summers back. After decades during which the underground studiously paid attention to the mainstream—if only to subvert it—perhaps it's time for the establishment to start taking notes. If they listen up right now, uninspired hit makers won't hear anything that needs rebelling against. What they will hear, simply, is the thriving pulse of American song.

Couple Shows Tonight...

Still recovering from some St. Patrick's Day shenanigans... But that's not going to stop me from seeing a couple shows tonight.

At the Beachland is Richard Shindell w/ Chris Castle opening (7:30). I've only seen Richard Shindell as part of the Cry Cry Cry group back in the day. I haven't really been keeping up with his current music, but I'm sure he'll be great. Though I'm really going to catch up with a local favorite - Chris Castle.

From the Beachland's website:

An expatriate New Yorker now living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Richard Shindell is a meticulous craftsman of song whose six studio albums and one live recording have been revered by critics and fans alike. Innovative, original and occasionally spiritual, Shindell’s songs weave tales that interchangeably champion the downtrodden, exalt the disaffected or wax empathetic to those lost to society’s fringes. From his first record, Sparrow’s Point (1992) to the newest album Vuelta (2004), Shindell has demonstrated a penchant for songwriting at once passionate and profound. His songs are often slowly and painstakingly crafted until honed to perfection. Conversely, he is also capable of writing tunes that are simply clever and amusing.

Shindell’s songwriting is truly eclectic, ranging from lighthearted ballads and adulterous love songs, to dirges and diatribes that skillfully skewer politics, prejudice, war and religion. He has a unique ability to morph into the soul of the many and varied personalities he casts as narrators in certain songs--songs that are veritable novellas framed in haunting acoustic melodies, sometimes including cryptic, revelations through the eyes of a woman.

"After more than a decade and a half of playing music, 32-year-old Chris Castle is still a well-kept secret. Maybe it’s because the Ohio-based singer/songwriter put down his guitar for six years before re-emerging last summer to record this 11-song collection, which feels like a confession from the heart of the American Midwest." - Cleveland Magazine

Tonight is another show at the Spot on campus (CWRU). Plushgun is another Brooklyn electro-pop band, but they sound great - and the Spot hasn't let me down yet. Here's their description:

Plushgun is a project birthed in the cramped confines of Dan Ingala’s overpriced and undersized “bedroom” in New York City. While writing a song on his acoustic guitar, Dan had an idea: “what if I added some synths to this?” And synths he added, and this song is known today as “Just Impolite.” Dan incorporated the name Plushgun to this project, as in something soft, something killer. With a newly released album, Plushgun is sure to make a splash in 09.

For Fans of The Postal Service, The Magnetic Fields, and The Notwist, as well as older acts like New Order, this is not a Spot Night to be missed!

Here's a sample:

Without A Light - Plushgun

Getting up for my early morning flight to Memphis won't be easy, but it'll be worth it. ;-)


Apple Adds Still More DRM to iPod Shuffle

Here's another techie post... Had a nice long weekend away from the laptop, and have a crazy-busy week to come. Still, have a lot updates to share, hopefully soon.

March 13th, 2009

Apple Adds Still More DRM to iPod Shuffle

Commentary by Fred von Lohmann

Even as it attacks DRM on music, Apple is continuing to add more DRM to its own hardware (we recently documented all of Apple's various hardware DRM restrictions). The latest example is the new iPod Shuffle. According to the careful reviewers at iLounge, third-party headphone makers will have to use yet-another Apple "authentication chip" if they want to interoperate with the new Shuffle.

Normally, of course, independent headphone makers could simply reverse engineer the interface. The "authentication chip" is there so that Apple's lawyers can invoke the DMCA to block those efforts. So this shows us, yet again, what DRM is for -- not stopping piracy, but rather impeding competition and innovation.

iLounge sums up what this means for consumers:

This is, in short, a nightmare scenario for long-time iPod fans: are we entering a world in which Apple controls and taxes literally every piece of the iPod purchase from headphones to chargers, jacking up their prices, forcing customers to re-purchase things they already own, while making only marginal improvements in their functionality? It’s a shame, and one that consumers should feel empowered to fight.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

One final thought: why have so many of the reviews of iPods failed to notice the proliferation of these Apple "authentication chips"? If it were Microsoft demanding that computer peripherals all include Microsoft "authentication chips" in order to work with Windows (or Toyota or Ford doing the same for replacement parts), I'd think reviewers would be screaming about it.

Thanks for the tip, Tim


imeem's CEO Interview

Almost as much as I enjoy the music I put on this blog, I enjoy the technology that brings it to you.

Being that I use imeem as the primary embed media player for this site, it was interesting to see an interview from the Founder/CEO. I'm also glad to hear that they're planning an iPhone app in the future.

(from Hypebot.com)

Dodo's on NPR

If you haven't checked out the Dodo's yet, listen to this set on NPR Music. Good stuff.

The Dodos' Tribal-Folk Crossover

Dodos (300)
Elizabeth Weinberg

Meric Long and Logan Kroeber of The Dodos.

World Cafe, March 10, 2009 - The Dodos began as the unlikely partnership of Meric Long's country-blues finger picking with Logan Kroeber's experimental drumming. By incorporating their experiences with West African Ewe drumming and prog-metal, The Dodos created a sound driven by polyrhythmic tribal beats and acoustic guitar, as well as sincere lyrics. Though the band's almost primitive play with syncopated beats has likened it to acts such as Yeasayer andAnimal Collective, Long and Kroeber have developed a distinctly lyrical and sweet folk style.

The Dodos' propulsive sound is best consumed live, but it's captured effectively on band's sophomore album,Visiter. The constant conversation between driving guitar and energetic drum patterns turns what would otherwise be simple folk-pop melodies into dynamic, danceable hits. In a session with host David Dye, the duo discusses the complex creation ofVisiter.


The Presets "If I Know You" Video

Here's a new video from The Presets. Kinda strange but gives me that Billy Elliot vibe. Check them out at the Grog Shop on Friday, April 17th.

Also, check out a free MP3 from Arjan Writes below...

[From :: arjanwrites music blog ::: Watch The Presets "If I Know You" + Free MP3 Download]


Justin Townes Earle on LaundroMatinee

Some great videos of Justin Townes Earle on LaudroMatinee... Just another reason I'm upset I missed him at the Kent State Folk Festival. Hopefully he comes around again soon.

Don't forget look for his new release "Midnight at the Movies".

Justin Townes Earl~I Don't Care from LaundroMatinee on Vimeo.

Justin Townes Earl~They Killed John Henry from LaundroMatinee on Vimeo.

Justin Townes Earl~So Different Blues from LaundroMatinee on Vimeo.


New Roman Candle EP [FREE]

Not quite a month since posting the about the last EP from Roman Candle, they released a new one today. Download the 128k version for free, or pay what you want for 320k.


I also discovered they're touring, but not hitting Cleveland this time... maybe next.

The Artists Den (CD, Ani DiFranco, Josh Ritter, etc.)

I received an update that Ani was going to be on the new Artists Den CD (exclusively at B&N), which I will definitely pick up.

Went to the Artists Den website and LOVED the video video quality.

Check out Josh Ritter...

And Ani DiFranco...


iTunes eCards on someecards.com

Great stuff... both of these were sent to me by my co-worker. I've been on the lookout for eCards that weren't the obnoxious flash, sound, motion-craziness. I think I've found it.


Tracy Chapman: Demos

I subscribe to this Quality Boots blog, because who doesn't like a good bootleg? Most of the time, they're just traditional artists on the bootleg circuit (Led Zeppelin, Rush, Beatles, etc.), but occassaionally an artist I like gets posted (not that I don't like LZ or the Beatles, but you get the point). This is a gem.

Tracy Chapman
Studio Demos 1986 or 1987
OU Notes:
I've had this 5 song demo laying about for 20 years. It is labeled 1987 but a source who knows a bit about Tracy Chapman history believes these might have been recorded in 1986 in Medford MA at WMFO studios at Tufts University where Tracy was going to school.
The tape was probably circulated locally in conjunction with a few shows she was doing in Boston at that time. It was before her debut was recorded.

1 Baby Can I Hold You
2 Talkin bout a Revolution
3 This Time
4 Mountain O' Things
5 For You



Comments welcome. [From Tracy Chapman: Demos 1986 or 87 (Studio) FLAC]

Fabchannel is Closing... Another Win for Greed.

Sad news... You have 1 week left to watch (record?) any of the concerts in their archive... Ugh, so many.


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Free Download

So not sure what's going on with these guys... taking a break or not? Who cares, I'm just happy to get a new song by them. It's up now... Go get it!

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Debuting New Song On TV

March 04, 2009 12:01 PM ET
David J. Prince, N.Y.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the Brooklyn and Philadelphia-based indie band, will debut a new song, "Statues," on NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" tonight (March 4).

Immediately following the performance, the band will make a demo version of the song available for free on its Web site. The band says it "might work" on the song "some more in the future" but has not provided further details about its upcoming plans.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah came to prominence in 2005 when its self-titled debut scanned more than 126,000 copies without the help of a label.

The band became a poster child for a new D.I.Y. approach for indie bands, opting to release its follow-up, "Some Loud Thunder," independently as well. "Thunder" debuted on The Billboard 200 in February 2007 at No. 47 with first-week sales of 19,000.


Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest Leaked

So Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest has leaked. I was a little surprised it happened this soon too...

I like Grizzly Bear's take on this. Both understanding a little regret, which is completely understandable. What I can't wrap my head around is buying albums that I don't know if I like. Unless I was a huge Grizzly Bear fan (which I'm not), then I want to know the album before dropping $16.99 + shipping for the Vinyl. Maybe I'm just cheap. But I'm going to get comfortable with the leaked copy before I decide to buy.

I definitely appreciate supporting artists and will always do so. If not by buying their album, then by seeing them in concert or promoting them on this blog. Most of the time it involves all 3.

There’s a hole in the bucket, Delilah

Hey all,


So yeah, we are kind of bummed this leaked so early. We know it’s not the 90’s anymore and times have changed, and we’re super grateful for all the support people have shown us on the blogs and internet, but we were kind of hoping it wouldn’t happen this soon.

Ultimately we feel like we put out a great album and hope people enjoy it, and we really hope people take the time to pre-order and support the good one-and-a-half years it took to write and record it.

I promise you the album art for both CD and vinyl is going to be gorgeous. And a bonus: all vinyl people will get a high quality download coupon with their purchase.

Leaking is a tricky subject; as we all know, I’ve had my run ins with the law O__o (Hi, Mr. Sheriff!) I have conflicting opinions about it, as it’s really complicated, but ultimately it saddens me that a bummer-quality version of Veckatimest is going around. Please consider putting your energies into a pre-order or into waiting till May 26 for the album the way we intend it to be presented.

Not to get all mushy, but we definitely put a lot of love and work into this one and are just excited to hit the road and tour it again.

Ok, there! Got that off my chest.

Warm regards.

Pre-Order directly from the band:

- CD - or - Vinyl -

or from Insound:
- CD - or Vinyl

In the UK:
- CD - or - Vinyl -


New J. Tillman Video

Gorgeous video. His mellow sound is exactly what I would want to be listening to when watching the incongruous pattern of birds. He also has a new album out that slipped by me. I'll definitely be checking it out.


C'mon Sea Legs Video - Immaculate Machine

This was an unexpected treat. With a new album out soon, I wasn't expecting to see any more videos from them. This is my FAVORITE song from their last album, and one I played during my guest V-day appearance on WRUW.

MGMT: Time to Pretend

I know this video has been out a while, but Pitchfork.tv just posted a good quality version. Still a great song and quite the eclectic video. Good stuff.


Pitchfork Music Festival 2009!

Dates are set!!

Pitchfork Music Festival 2009!
Union Park, Chicago, July 17-19

Drum roll: The fourth annual Pitchfork Music Festival will take place in Chicago July 17-19. So cancel that "screw the recession" European vacation ASAP-- it's not worth it. The Pitchfork Music Festival, on the other hand, is definitely worth it. Not like we're biased or anything. The three-day fest will once again take place at Chicago's lovely Union Park, so get ready to gawk at the coolest sunglasses you've ever seen while soaking in the finest music known to man...on earth...and in space. It will be mega.

Tickets go on sale Friday, March 13. I know what you're thinking: "So which incredibly awesome bands are going to be there this year?" Slow down. We can't give everything away at once. Stay tuned to this space for a regular stream of festival updates in the coming weeks. While you're waiting, go ahead and check out Deerhunter's Bradford Cox performing with Spoon from last year's show or Girl Talk doing th [From Pitchfork Music Festival 2009! | Pitchfork]