Greg Laswell (7/22/09)

I was glad to see Greg Laswell coming back to Cleveland after missing him the last time he was here in March (both times at the Winchester). This time he was asking for people to sell merch for him on his MySpace blog. I figured it was a new experience and what the hell, so I signed up. It was a little more disorganized that I was hoping for, but then being a Librarian, that's usually the case. Overall it was a fun experience. I was there by 8:00 (as asked), and basically sat around. I sat through the sound check, then through Elizabeth & the Catapult, who were really good (and sold their own merch). Kind of reminded me a little of Nellie McKay with the great jazzy voice. A fun, light pop sound.

I continued to sit around through Greg's show as well. His voice was even better than I expected - wow. He played a nice mix of old and new stuff. He performed his usual cover of Girls just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi as well as a little jam of Right Here Waiting for You (but added the qualifier "unless you fuck someone else"). They were fun and I got to meet Greg for a hot second after the show. They "sold" this job as a way to meet him, but that wasn't really my motivation. I'm not much on trying to meet the artists, though it was fun to see how many people are - which you really notice when hanging out at the merch table. I never got to sell a thing until after the show ended, and then it was a blizzard of sales. It was fun, I'd do it again.

Greg Laswell (7/22/09)

Greg Laswell (7/22/09)

Guster at HOB & New Album

Yes, I'm still a fan... especially reading this article ("the band has purchased carbon credits to offset the environmental impact of recording and distributing the forthcoming album"). Guster will be at the House of Blues on November 5th.

Guster tour markes 10th anniversary of 'Lost' album
By Tjames Madison / LiveDaily Contributor


Alt-rockers Guster have mapped an eight-city headlining tour this fall celebrating the 10th anniversary of the band's "Lost and Gone Forever" studio album. The Boston-based group will perform two sets at each venue on the outing, playing the album in its entirety during one of the sets each night. There will be no opening act on the tour, which kicks off Oct. 28 in Charlotte, NC, and runs through a Nov. 27 show in New York City. Dates are below. "Lost and Gone Forever," Guster's 1999 release, was the band's third studio album, following 1995's "Parachute" and 1998's "Goldfly." The venues chosen for the fall tour each have historical significance to the band related to the original tour in support of the album 10 years ago, according to a press release. Apart from celebrating the "Lost and Gone Forever" mile [From Guster tour markes 10th anniversary of 'Lost' album >> Tour dates and concert ticket info >> LiveDaily]


Pitchfork 2009

This was another amazing year at Pitchfork. For my third year, we were a trio... my roommate as well as Ken from Brooklyn. Neither Andrea or Ken had been to Pitchfork and I think I can speak for them and say they had a GREAT time as well. It's hard not to when you're surrounded by great music, amazing people watching, phenomenal beer & food. All in a festival that's not too expensive and isn't too large. The hardest part to deal with this Festival is knowing that you just have to give up on some good music for other things. You get used to it... sort of like how I have to just briefly gloss over the events of the weekend - it's just too much (for you and I).

Day 1 - Saturday

As you've probably already heard me lament, I missed the Kid Cudi / Asher Roth show on Friday night. But it was entirely worth it. We hit the road and made good time to Chicago. As usual, we stayed with our gracious hosts, Sal & Chris in the Gold Coast. On Saturday morning Andrea insisted we hit the Bongo Room for breakfast. Wow. Best. Breakfast. Ever. We still made it in time to see Plants & Animals. They had some good songs, but I couldn't say the same about Fucked Up, though it seemed like so many other people liked them. Then hit some Pains of Being Pure at Heart, which sound very much like their name, but not for long before going to see some Bowerbirds. Then we discovered the problem with the B stage. If you can't get close, the sound sucks, which was the case for the Bowerbirds. Headed back over to the PABPAH. Took a break and heard some Final Fantasy from the distance, who I wasn't really excited about, but who Andrea just loved. Saw some Yeasayer which impressed me more than I was expecting, but then I migrated over to check out Lindstrom. Now that was some GREAT dance music. I wanted to stay and wait to see Matt & Kim, but they were running late. Just as I was about to ditch them for Beirut, they began. Watched for a little bit, but I was already in the bad-sound area. Beirut was great! I hadn't had much experience with them, and not sure I'm a fan of their recorded stuff as much as their live performance. Ended the day with some corndogs and The National.

Day 1.5 - After Party

This was a Pitchfork first. Hanging out with the cool kids means you get to hear about the cool after parties. We hung out a little bit around Wicker Park before heading over to this after party, which was in this random building on some random side street. The fucked up kids out front encouraged us to go in and assured us there was plenty of coke and something else... Maybe there was. We walked up a couple flights and entered this "apartment" that was T-RASHED. A band was playing and they were selling $1 PBR cans. Just a wild mix of people, music, beer, and probably a lot of illicit substances. I really have no idea if they had a landlord, but I'm sure they couldn't be happy. I also couldn't imagine waking up in that place the next day. Still, it was a blast.

Pitchfork 2009

Day 2 - Sunday

Another great breakfast, this time at the Wishbone. Unfortunately we didn't get an extra ticket for Ken, but he was able to hang out and explore Chicago for the first time. He dropped us off just in time to see Frightened Rabbit, which was definitely one of the bands I wanted to see this weekend. We got called away early because Rebecca was hanging out for Press access to Blitzen Trapper, who has become a new favorite of mine. So we decided to listen to the rest of the FR from the other stage and get a good spot for Blitzen Trapper. They only solidified their spot as a favorite after that performance. We took another break to look around, but was back to the stages to see the Thermals. I've seen them enough, so I wasn't really excited, and it seemed like we just couldn't find a good spot to hang out. I suggested we head over to DJ/Rupture, and I'm so glad we did. Andrea and I first hung back and were just loving the beats he was putting down. Finally we couldn't take it any more and had to move closer. I think Andrea had a spiritual moment. One of the most impressive parts was that I didn't see a laptop on stage with him, but did see the 4 turntables he was workin'. A definite highlight of the weekend. We walked around, got some amazing food, heard the Walkmen from a distance, then headed over to see M83. We kinda hung back because we were getting tired, but really liked what I heard. We ended with some Grizzly Bear (which for some reason, I just can't get in to), and watching some of the opening of the Flaming Lips show before we headed out. Whew.

Click below for my Flickr Photostream of the event.

Of course there are many better photos out there if you're interested. In particular, check out Rebecca's (who had a press pass). Seriously, these are amazing:



The Album Reinvented Digitally?

While hanging out at my house with some friends this weekend, some music questions came up and at several points I pulled out vinyl to for the answer (and to just look at the artwork). It was a very nice visual and tactile experience. This is something that I don't think can be recreated digitally, but I do think a similar concept can still be viable and succeed. I think the concept of the album is important to the art of music (any joe schmo can release a single), so anything being done to preserve it in my eyes is warranted.


Apple working with record labels to resurrect the album
The rise in digital music has seen a corresponding drop in album sales. Now, Apple, which has played a huge role in digital music sales, is reportedly working with the record labels to prop up the album.

By Chris Foresman | Last updated July 27, 2009 1:12 PM CT

Industry insiders say that the big four record labels are working with Apple to boost full album sales, as individual songs have come to dominate digital downloads. A project called "Cocktail" is reportedly underway and set to launch this fall, which will bundle interactive "booklets" including artwork, liner notes, and other content with a full album purchase. Another interesting twist is that the new content may be launched alongside a long-rumored Apple tablet.

Apple has worked with labels and bands in the past to promote digital music. Many albums are now available with digital booklets, a PDF file that includes cover art and liner notes. A few artists have released a "digital box set," most notably U2, which released a package that contained every song that band ever recorded—it could also be purchased alongside a special edition U2 iPod. Most recently, Apple unveiled what's called an iTunes Pass with the release of Depeche Mode's latest album Sounds of the Universe. iTunes Pass gives purchasers access to exclusive remixes, b-sides, videos, and other content leading up to the release of a new album.

The "Cocktail" project would see a further evolution of such ideas. "It's all about recreating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork, while you listened to the music," one executive familiar with the plans told Financial Times. The problem is that most of today's digital music audience has little or no recollection of the album's heyday.

"It's not just a bunch of PDFs," said one executive. "There's real engagement with the ancillary stuff." One reported feature is that songs can be played directly from these interactive booklets without going into iTunes to play the tracks—though it's not clear if iTunes must be running for the magic to work.

[From Apple working with record labels to resurrect the album - Ars Technica]


A Great Food & Drink Weekend

The Beachland is hosting a BBQ throwdown, featuring some of the best food Cleveland has to offer (details below).

This is also the weekend for Great Lakes Christmas in July! Several bars in the area should be tapping the crack-in-a-glass tonight.


Download Róisín Murphy (and others) - I'm Every Woman (FREE)

And help a good cause...

Action Aid's Six Degrees of Separation present: I'm Every Woman from 6Degrees on Vimeo.

To support Action Aid and download this song for free, please visit: http://www.actionaid.org.uk/6degrees/?page=free-download

Based on the theory of 6 Degrees o Separation, the project is bringing women in the UK together with women living in poverty, in the fight for women's rights and an end to the violence they face.

The single, I'm Every Woman, is a cover of the Chaka Khan classic, but with 6 artists as innovative, exciting and individual as Amanda Ghost, Michachu, Roisin Murphy, CockNBullKid, Alessi's Ark and Sinead O'Conner - this was never going to be a straight rendition.

Flipping the original on its head, I'm Every Woman is a call to action, echoing the sentiments of 6 Degrees that whatever is going on in the world, we're in it together

(thanks Electroqueer)


Cass McCombs Video / Performing Thursday

Just getting back from Chicago and a great Pitchfork weekend... still trying to re-group. In the meantime, here's a Cass McCombs video for you to enjoy. He'll be here at the Beachland on Thursday opening for The Walkmen (who were also just at Pitchfork).


Download Free Pitchfork Artists from RCRDLBL (M83)

Don't forget to be checking out RCRDLBL for a bunch of Pitchfork Music Festival artist downloads all week! I've never heard M83 before, but I'm looking forward to seeing them.

Have you heard of this guy M83? Oh, right, he’s huge. Essential listening if you’re going on a cross-country road trip and scrolling through your phone to dial up ex-loves.“We Own The Sky” has got me fantasizing. That staccato blink, that planetarium spring, that slip and slide chorus—man I hope Pitchfork sets up an enormous dome where he’ll shoegaze on Sunday under the cover of celestial explosions, star belts and chocolate milk fountains.

[From PITCHFORK FESTIVAL DOWNLOAD: M83 – We Own the Sky (Maps Mix) | RCRD LBL | Free MP3 Downloads]

Impressive Music Video Recorded on the iPhone

From Ohio's (Dayton's) own BJSR, a light and playful song & video. Makes me want the new iPhone even more. (p.s. you can download this song for free from his MySpace page)


Stream the new Dodo's "Time to Die"


So I guess the new Dodo's album leaked out on the internet, so they decided to stream the full album online here. They also posted a video explaining this, and they're obviously not crazy about it happening. Truthfully, I didn't realize it leaked until they told me! It sounds good though, check it out (however you like)

The Dodos stream new album online

The Dodos are streaming their forthcoming third album, 'Time To Die', in its entirety online for a week beginning today (July 14).

The San Francisco-based band are due to release the physical album on September 15 in the US and August 31 in the UK. It will be available digitally the week of July 27.

In the meantime, you can hear the Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Shins)-produced album here now.

Meanwhile, the band are in the midst of an extensive tour throughout the US, the UK and Europe, which will extend well into the autumn.

[From The Dodos stream new album online | News | NME.COM]


Good Morning Valentine (7/11/09)

This show was a last minute decision. I checked my MySpace account (a rarity these days) and saw Good Morning Valentine's post that they were performing a free show at Matinee over on W. 25th. I hadn't been to this venue yet and thought it was a great option for a Friday night. Later on I checked out the opener and she sealed the deal. Emily Rodgers has this kind of Jessica Lea Mayfield sound. It's nice, but I can't say her live performance was anything to write home about (but still enough to write on my blog).

I'd seen Good Morning Valentine before, back in 2005 when they opened for Martha Wainwright. Sadly, I haven't seen them since, so this was the night. They're definitely a great band. Nothing magical about this particular night, but it was a good show. It also reminded of their big bike ride around the country which blogging about here: http://ilikethatbike.blogspot.com/

Anyway, here's a visual timeline:

Good Morning Valentine (7/10/09)
Good Morning Valentine (7/10/09)
Good Morning Valentine (7/10/09)
Good Morning Valentine (7/10/09)


Josh Ritter (7/7/09)

This show had been a long time coming. He's one of the few artists left who I've really enjoyed and had not yet seen perform live. To think about it, I can't think of any left off hand. Hmm.. Anyway.

Prior to the show I received an email about Joe Pug, who was opening for Ritter. Linked was a free download of his EP "In The Meantime."
I liked it, but leading up to the day of the show I *really* started to like it. His performance just emphasized for me how impressive on an artist he is, and having not actually seen what he looks like before the show, he's younger and more attractive than I was expecting! :-) Unfortunately I didn't get any good pics of him. Next time. Until then, check out "Nation of Heat" below and his Daytrotter performance.

Josh Ritter emphatically took the stage. Kinda surprising almost, but glad to see he was so jovial. The place was packed and was quite happy to see this Oberlin graduate back in the area. Even Elyria, Lorain and Parma got shout outs. Despite how loud the show was, Josh sounded great. I wasn't expecting to need my ear plugs for his show, but they would have come in handy. Overall, I wish I had seen him 5 years ago before he started filling the Beachland Ballroom, in smaller, more intimate environments. I'd still see him again.

Josh Ritter (7/7/09)

Oh, download Joe Pug's EP for yourself:


Tom Evanchuck (6/30/09)

This was a perfect series of events. I discovered Tom Evanchuck when he opened for Justin Townes Earle at the Kent Stage. His performance was great and I wanted to hear him again. I got a copy of his album and that made me even more excited to see him. Then to find out he's performing at the Barking Spider less than a month later was just icing on the cake. He's perfect for the Spider.

I showed up and not many people were there. But within a couple songs, the place was filling up with a group of cool twenty-somethings. It was a perfect weather night to be there too. Tom is charming and fun, and someone you should definitely see. I thoroughly enjoyed every song, and his covers of Bob Dylan and Neil Young would have even impressed them.

Tom Evanchuck (6/30/09)


One Week To Go!

Getting warmed up. Here's some video footage of Vampire Weekend from Pitchfork Music Festival last year. We're leaving 1 week from today!!

The Agora Closed Their Doors?!

The World Famous Cleveland Agora Theatre and Ballroom

I missed this! I can't say the Agora has been bringing in many shows that I'm interested in, so I'm not that sad - but I do hope they come back this Fall. It is a Cleveland legend.

The Agora Is Closing It's Doors

The Agora is closing its doors. I don’t know sadder words in the vein of Cleveland music history.

Hank LoConti Sr said the Agora is closing for the summer with plans on re-opening in the fall but we have heard that from many businesses in the past especially in these hard economic times.

The Agora was/is our Fillmore West, our Whiskey, our CBGB, and our Stone Pony. The Agora was our identity when Cleveland was the place for music in the country, when we really were the Rock And Roll Capital Of The World.

The Agora was originally started in 1966 by LoConti near Case Western Reserve University campus. Hank really was a pioneer of promoting live music in the Cleveland area and quickly outgrew the original building and the next year moved to the famous 1730 E24th St location next to Cleveland State University where music history was made not only for Cleveland but on the national and international level also. After a fire destroyed the E24th location in 1984, LoConti moved The Agora to the present location on Euclid Ave.

[From Bears Rants from Clevelandrockandroll.com: The Agora Is Closing It's Doors]



Just created my SoundCloud account and posted the badge for sending me your music. So do so.

SoundCloud Threatens MySpace as Music Destination for Twitter Era
By Eliot Van Buskirk July 6, 2009 | 5:20 pm | Categories: Social Media, Startups, The Cloud

In a few short months SoundCloud has begun to give mighty MySpace a run for the hearts and minds of recording artists eager to interact more nimbly with fans than is possible on the giant social network which has, for the past five years, been the de facto online platform for musicians.

Sonic Youth used SoundCloud to stream their latest album via Twitter while Moby uses it to promote his latest tracks on his site rather than on MySpace. And when Beck decided to trash his so-five-years-ago Flash-based site and start over with simple pages heavy on high-quality content and light on everything else, he too turned to SoundCloud.

SoundCloud sounds like an obvious idea — like every good one does once somebody else has it. The necessity that was the mother to this particular invention was the absence of a truly collaborative online environment that could replicate the kind of back-and-forth spontaneity that musicians need to feed on and which proximity uniquely enables.
[Continued... SoundCloud Threatens MySpace as Music Destination for Twitter Era | Epicenter | Wired.com]

Man Man Tonight (FREE)

Part of the Rock Hall's impressive (and free) summer concert series. Still debating on whether I should go...

(via I Rock Cleveland)

The Ticket Shuffle

Sacrifices suck. I'm going to have to give up my ticket to the sold out Kid Cudi / Asher Rother show at the House of Blues next Friday (July 17th) in order to get to Chicago for Pitchfork at a reasonable time. Grrr... So I have 1 ticket (possibly two) that are up for sale. I'm only asking to recoup my costs ($38.70).

Respectively, I have a friend coming to Pitchfork with us and he only has a Saturday ticket and needs one for Sunday. Know of anyone willing to sell one?

Email me: onlymusicleft.blog@gmail.com


Loving MEN

Not what you think. Loving the new music by MEN (the band)... Check out the video below, and you should definitely check out some of the other tracks posted over at ohhcrapp.net (which has now become Nightmagnets). Wish I were in Pittsburgh tomorrow or Columbus on Thursday.

Brookyln’s MEN—comprised of JD Samson (Le Tigre), Johanna Fateman (Le Tigre), Michael O’Neill (Princess), Ginger Brooks Takahashi (The Ballet) and Emily Roysdon—are bringing their dance-friendly electronic jams to cities around the US this summer. Make sure to check out the hilariously low-budget video for “Off Our Backs.”

Tour dates:

[From melophobe | MEN bringing their jams to cities around the US]


The Lighthouse and the Whaler (6/25/09)

This was actually the Ha Ha Tonka show at the Beachland Tavern, but I didn't stay long enough to see them. The Lighthouse and the Whaler is a Cleveland band and was the first performance. These guys are a gem for local music! Check out their MySpace and listen for yourself.

Their recorded stuff is great. Their live show could use a little more polishing on the harmonies, but still a great band to see. I'm excited to see what they can do going forward. They probably had the largest crowd of the night, and the most people I've seen for an opening act at the Beachland!

Lighthouse and the Whaler (6/25/09)

Next was Via Audio from Brooklyn, NYC. Meh. They were a little too over the top with the clangy, dancy, 80's sound. Too much irony going on there.

Via Audio (6/25/09)

Not staying for Ha Ha Tonka was in no way a hit on their music, but it was just time to go home and mourn the death of Michael Jackson. Just kidding.

Download New Avett Brothers Song

In case you missed it, Spinner put up a track from the new Avett Brothers album, being released in September. Good stuff.

The Avett Brothers, 'I and Love and You' -- Free MP3 Download

They might be from North Carolina, but the Avett Brothers' new single finds them in a Brooklyn state of mind. 'I and Love and You,' the title track for their new album, is a piano ballad soaked in folk flavor, crying "Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in." Makes sense, since the song was inspired by a gig at Brooklyn's Galapagos. "It was the coolest place we'd ever been, and the furthest from home we'd ever been in every sense," Scott Avett tells Spinner. "So the Brooklyn chorus kind of embodies the rest of the lyrics."

Download 'I and Love and You' below, exclusively on Spinner.

Listen to 'I and Love and You'

Download: The Avett Brothers, 'I and Love and You' (MP3)

[From The Avett Brothers, 'I and Love and You' -- Free MP3 Download - Spinner]


July's Zender Agenda

My best of the best concert listing for July is now posted over at Spangle Magazine. Check it out.