Feel Like Dancing?

Here are some free remixes from Danger Danger... Pretty good stuff. ;-)

GRUM - Woah (Clockwork Remix)

Kanye West - Love Lockdown (Clockwork Remix)

Cut Copy - Hearts On Fire (Clockwork Remix)

Matthew Ryan on Mountain Stage

Still catching up on some things worth sharing...
From NPR. He's such a great songwriter, performer, and all around nice guy... as you may remember.

Matthew Ryan On Mountain Stage

Matthew Ryan 300
Brian Blauser

Matthew Ryan.


  • "American Dirt"
  • "Some Streets Lead Nowhere"
  • "Jane, I Still Feel the Same"
  • "Could've Been Worse"

NPR.org, November 13, 2008 - Making a long-awaited return to Mountain Stage (his first visit was 10 years ago, when his debut album May Day was released), Matthew Ryan performs his organic and sparse folk tunes alongside Molly Thomas on piano and vocals.

As occasionally happens, due to the nature of live performance, Ryan's voice wasn't heard by the audience until the middle of his opening song. Slightly deterred after realizing this, he didn't check his tuning and had to re-start his second song. Still, Ryan is a consummate performer, and as he jokes with the audience, he comes off all the more charming. Mountain Stage host and artistic director Larry Groce includes the set in its entirety here, capturing the spontaneity of the show's live setting. Echoing Ryan's final song, Groce concluded that "it could've been worse."

Three of the songs heard here also appear on Ryan's latest CD, Matthew Ryan vs. The Silver State. "Some Streets Lead Nowhere" has been featured on the TV show One Tree Hill, and was issued as a digital single.


Belated Christmas Video

I was sick over the Christmas holiday, so I'm just now catching up on some of these things. While Christmas is over (thankfully), this video is still worthwhile. The things that get recorded, let alone posted on YouTube, amaze me.

Earles on NPR

This morning I was listening to this piece with Steve Earle and his son Justin Townes Earle. The more time passes, the more disappointed I am for missing Justin at the Kent State Folk Festival. Hopefully he'll come back soon.

Check it out...

Steve And Justin Townes Earle: Life Lessons

Steve and Justin Townes Earle 300
Courtesy of the artists

Steve Earle (left) and his son, Justin Townes Earle, are both acclaimed singer-songwriters.

Morning Edition, December 29, 2008 - Justin Townes Earle went into the same business as his father. Steve Earle, the acclaimed singer and songwriter, passed on a lifetime's worth of advice about music and rebellion.

Justin says his father wasn't easy to rebel against.

"I could have become a Republican," he says. "That would've really pissed him off."

Instead, says his dad, Justin took up golf. Steve says Justin would hit golf balls in the front yard, just to irritate him.

But Justin says that no one in his family — on either his mother's or his father's side — discouraged him from playing music. He was in trouble a lot when he was young, but Steve Earle says he recognized his son's behavior.

"I knew what this looked like," he says. "I couldn't do anything else."

Steve says he raised his kid on food stamps because he wasn't prepared to do anything else with his life but make music. So he wasn't shocked when Justin began following the same path he did.

When Justin did begin writing songs, his dad gave him some advice. At around age 13, Justin says he hadn't been reading much, but his dad told him, "If nothing was put in, then nothing comes out."

Asked if he'll pass on music to his children, Justin says he has the feeling his offspring will not be as similar to him as he is to his father: "I got a feeling that when I have kids, I'm going to have a little girl, and she's going to be completely sensible," he says.

His father disagrees.

"I do believe in karma," he says, "and if you think for one minute that there would be anything karmically correct for you to have a well-behaved little girl, you're dreaming."


Brett Dennen is Coming

Hope for the Hopeless Album Art! Available 10/21!

My wish is finally coming true after all this time. I couldn't be happier to see Brett Dennen perform again (Sat. Feb 21st), at the Beachland no less. Top that with my thoroughly enjoying his new album and you can probably imagine my excitement.

Brett Dennen maps long tour for 'Hopeless'
By Tjames Madison / LiveDaily Contributor
Singer/songwriter Brett Dennen will embark on a mammoth headlining tour early next year as he begins to support his latest studio effort, "Hope For the Hopeless," in the US. The California native will stay on the road for more than three months, traveling through more than 50 cities during the outing, which kicks off Jan. 16 in Orlando, FL. Dates are shown below. Support acts for the trek include Erin McCarley, Angel Taylor, The Little Ones and Angus & Julia Stone. Check Dennen's official website for more information. "Hope For the Hopeless,' Dennen's third studio album, emerged in October after the singer returned home from a tour of Australia. The set--which features an appearance on the first track, "Make You Crazy," from afro-beat star Femi Kuti--debuted at No. 41 on The Billboard 200, making it Dennen's hi [From Brett Dennen maps long tour for 'Hopeless' >> Tour dates and concert ticket info >> LiveDaily]

I know it's a little late, but check out these holiday songs he recoreded.


iTunes Tip: Remembering to Rate Your iTunes Music | TheAppleBlog


For me, iTunes plays a huge role in discovering and appreciating music. I have a system of acquiring albums, organizing them, rating them, and listening to them in different ways. I've thought about documenting the entire process (why not?)... maybe some day. But this is a good article to read if you've considered using some of the more advanced features of iTunes and just haven't yet.

iTunes Tip: Remembering to Rate Your iTunes Music
Written on December 22, 2008 by Nick Santilli

My life is busy (and yes, if you’re wondering, it is all about me), and frequently I tend to rip or download music without taking the time to apply ratings to it. Since ratings are one of the best methods for determining the usefulness of your playlists, neglecting to add that information to your tracks can really handicap the power iTunes offers.

Some pondering of the issue (and a putrid burning smell) led me to come up with a Do It Yourself kind of solution that everyone can institute without spending anything more than a little time. If this sounds like something useful to you, feel free to follow along at home.

Data Dips First, what kind of information do we want to leverage? ...
[From iTunes Tip: Remembering to Rate Your iTunes Music | TheAppleBlog]


Download Sufjan's New Christmas Album

Not a huge fan of Christmas Music, nor am I ga ga over Sufjan Stevens like so many others, but I thought this was a pretty nice score. Hope you enjoy... (I am, especially the opening "Angels We Have Heard on High".)

Download Sufjan Steven’s 2008 Christmas album! December 20th, 2008

It’s the first original Sufjan music we’ve heard in a while, so enjoy it all you can!

As you probably well know, Sufjan records a yearly Christmas album to give out to family and friends. And even though he released a compilation back in 2006, he hasn’t stopped recording them. The 2008 version is called Astral Inter Planet Space Captain Christmas Infinity Voyage, Volume VIII.

Head over to So This Is What The Volume Knob is For to download the full set.

[From You Ain't No Picasso]


Joan Armatrading Live in San Francisco

A "gift" from Joan...

All that remains is to wish you and your family the very best for the New Year and to give you this online concert by Joan from 2007 in San Francisco. Just click on the link to view this great concert. It will be available online for free until January the 7th 2009. The DVD is available to buy in the stores or online at HMV or Amazon but Joan wanted you to have this free online viewing as a Christmas present.



"Set You Free" (N-Trance cover) | Pitchfork

I'm always enjoy seeing an indie rock band doing a cover of a 90's dance song... I don't know why. I'm also still enjoying Frightened Rabbit and their new album The Midnight Organ Fight, so I was happy when these two areas of interest came together.

I don't remember the original. I thought about embedding it as a comparison, but once I saw it, I realized you wouldn't be missing anything if I didn't.

From Pitchfork
Video: Frightened Rabbit: "Set You Free" (N-Trance cover)

We can (and should) debate about the whole idea of what "guilty pleasure" means in the context of pop music, but Frightened Rabbit couldn't be ironic if they tried. Sincerity is wired into this band to a degree that probably turns a lot of people off, but that sincerity makes songs like this, their contribution to the second Guilt by Association comp, a lot more interesting than they would be otherwise. Here they are in a sorta perfunctory video for a cover of N-Trance's "Set You Free", a gushing dance-pop hit from 1995. In a sense they arrive at the same vulnerable place as the original while taking a very different route to get there.


Pre-Order the Animal Collective LP @ Music Saves

If you haven't already heard, Animal Collective will be releasing their new album on Vinyl several weeks before the CD. Music Saves is taking pre-orders for it now... Why not use your holiday gift cards to pay for it?

Music Saves

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE PREORDERS! Animal Collective’s new album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, is set for release on INDIE ORTHODOX NEW YEAR, January 20, 2009 

BUT we just found out that THE VINYL WILL BE OUT JANUARY 6! We’re destined to sell the bejesus out of this, so if you wanna preorder the CD, that’s great, but if you’re gonna want the vinyl, please please pretty pretty please just let us know you’re gonna want it so we make sure we get enough (but not toooo many). VINYL DETAILS! 180gram double vinyl gatefold jacket printed inner sleeves full album download card HOORAY! http://www.myanimalhome.net/

And if you're not on the Music Saves mailing list - you should be.


I Might Have Guessed

Birdmonster is offering an exclusive download at RCRD LBL... a "mean version" of I Might Have Guessed.

Listen to it. Download it. Free.

Okay... so it seems the embedded player doesn't work on this site, nor on the RCRD LBL site...  So just go download it here.


And to continue with the EFF news...

(which is a great organization btw):

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Fred von Lohmann is cautiously optimistic at the news that the record labels are considering offering a blanket license to college campuses that will legalize their students' file-swapping. Fred's glad to see the record-saurs finally declaring a truce in their war on the Internet. But, he warns, we have to make sure the universities and the artists are getting a fair deal for their money:
Universities would pay Choruss, a new nonprofit collecting society, in exchange for an end to the "John Doe" subpoenas seeking student identities, DMCA notices, lawsuits against students, and legislation mandating copyright surveillance of campus networks. Students who pay will be free to download whatever they like, using whatever software they like, in whatever format they like (and presumably keep it all when they graduate, since there would be no way to claw back DRM-free MP3s). The monies collected would be divided up among artists and rightsholders, based on relative popularity. The rest of the details are still to be determined, including whether it would be a mandatory fee for all students, or an opt-in fee (complete with continued lawsuits for those who fail to pay?). It's also not clear what the fee would be, although those familiar with the talks suggest less than $5 per student per month...

So we are cautiously optimistic. There are lots of hard issues that will need to be addressed. How will a collective licensing approach protect user privacy? What will universities do to stop "leakage" to ISPs whose users have not opted in? Will independent artists get a fair shake from Choruss? But it sounds like the labels are, for the first time, interested in having the right discussion.

Labels Open to Collective Licensing on Campus [From EFF (cautiously) optimistic at record labels' offering of a blanket license to universities]

EFF berates Apple over open-source iTunes project | Macworld

As you may know, I'm an ardent Mac supporter... Sure I was a little sad when iTunes came out of the gate with DRM, but I've been happy to see that battle is being won against corporate greed. I felt like they were just doing what they had to do to get the ball rolling. But now between their buidling HDCP into their new MacBooks, and things like this below, it makes me a little sour. C'mon Apple, I don't want to have to switch to Linux.

EFF berates Apple over open-source iTunes project   by Robert McMillan, IDG News Service

Apple's attempt to quash an effort to help the latest iPods and iPhones work with non-Apple software such as the Linux operating system is out of line, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said Tuesday.

RELATED IPOD ARTICLES Gear Guide, part one: Gear for your iPhone EFF berates Apple over open-source iTunes project Review: More iPhone dictionary apps Judge: Apple's new VP could cause 'irreparable harm' to IBM Apple teases Black Fr [From EFF berates Apple over open-source iTunes project | Macworld]


New eMusic Features

I love eMusic.  It's the little online music retailer that could...
I'm not a huge fan of the subscription model, but I'll deal.  It does force me to download more music than I probably would want to, but it also gives me some room to experiment with new music.  To facilitate this, eMusic just rolled out a new recommendation service, similar to iTunes Genius Playlists.  I was originally skeptical to these kinds of services, but I've thoroughly enjoyed Pandora, iTunes Genius service, and I think this is a welcomed addition to eMusic.
Unfortunately, it's currently down, but hopefully it'll be up soon so I can play with it.  In the meantime, here's a couple articles with some more indepth reporting.
If you haven't checked out eMusic yet, do it.  If you want something fun, edgy, and indie to download, try the BLK JKS (FREE!).  You can read about them over at I Rock Cleveland.


Dream of Life - Patti Smith

Saw Dream of Life this past Friday... Patti Smith is one of those artists I've heard a lot about but I never really had a chance to explore her work. When my friend Tom suggested we see this film, I was intrigued. Then after watching the trailer, I was sold.

After watching... I'd say the film was a bit too "artsy" for my taste. I do appreciate the effort and some of the scenes / segments were absolutely beautiful, but overall I was still hoping for a bit more structure. I think this film is more appealing to the existing Patti Smith fan, versus someone just discovering her. Regardless, there's no denying Patti is an artistic force. This movie motivates me to check out her music.

The first album Tom recommended was Horses. I'll let you know what I think.


Drew Gibson (12/6/08)

I was right, it was a beautiful night for Drew Gibson at the Barking Spider. The snow outside was perfect. Unfortunately, it was that snow that kept people away. However, that just allowed for a more intimate setting... You have to love it when an artist greets you by name after his first song.

So this is my first time at the Spider with my new camera. I've even got a video for you... (wish the sound could be better)

As you can see, Drew is a great guitarist.. and the atmosphere the Barking Spider provides couldn't have been a better backdrop for Drew's blend of folk, roots and blues.

Drew Gibson (12/6/08)

I'm Such A Dork

A perfect mixing of music and sci-fi

(via Queerty)

And to top it off, making me even less cool...


Drew Gibson Tonight - Saturday Afternoon Updates

Sitting in a bustling coffee shop, looking out out the steamed-up windows.. A perfect environment for a couple folk music updates on this beautiful, chilly Saturday afternoon.

First off, it's shaping up to be a great night at the Barking Spider, listening to Drew Gibson perform by the fire. I've seen him twice before (1/2) and I will vouch for him. You should check him out. 8:00pm.

NPR.com just posted Folk Alley's top albums of 2008. Looks like an great list that I'm currently listening to.

Speaking of Folk Alley, you can now listen to it, and MANY other Public Radio stations through the new iPhone application Public Radio Tuner. Very cool. (still loving my iPhone)

Here's a great video of Ani at the Wall Street Journal Cafe (??), performing Present/Infant, which I'm liking more every time I hear it.


Music Saves the Holidays

GREAT Idea! If you haven't been there, you need to check them out.

INTRODUCING THE MUSIC SAVES GIFT CARD EXCHANGE PROGRAM! Yeah, we stole this idea from Shake It Records in Cincy, then messed it up a little, but hey, it should work out well for all of us in the end! How does it work? When grandpa or Aunt Flo gives you that gift card for Best Buy or Target that you really didn't want, bring it on in to MUSIC SAVES and we'll trade it for a MUSIC SAVES gift certificate in the same amount! Hey, and since we don't accept American Express gift cards in the store, we'll trade those, too! It's a win win win all around - grandpa and Aunt Flo's good intentions are made better because rather than stocking up on more deodorant (who needs that?), you get a bunch of music at your favorite local record store - something you REALLY want! (Only Best Buy, Target, and AmEx gift cards are valid for the exchange, through January 31, 2009. Yes, we will call and verify the balance on the card before we trade ya. It's only fair.) POSTERS = GIFT WRAP Yep, not many people think of this, but we have a ton of posters available for 50¢ and $1, and they make fantastic gift wrap! Posters were just restocked, so there’s lots to choose from!

MUSIC SAVES Holiday Sale, 15801 Waterloo, 216.481.1875, MUSICSAVES.com

Saturday, December 13, 11am-4pm

Rockin’ deals from your favorite indie record store!


Pollstar Redesigned (finally)

I've been complaining about Pollstar.com for a while.  Over a year ago they informed me they were killing their premium service (one of the few things I paid a subscription for on the web), which I found ridiculous.  I'm surprised they've been able to survive this long in this fast-changing web world we live in.  Well, they've finally taken a huge leap...  http://live.pollstar.com
(an email I received)
Pollstar is extremely excited about the upcoming launch of our entirely new pollstar.com website and we invite you to be the first to check out our working beta.

Customize your experience to fit your needs! As an existing AutoNotify user, we have already transferred your basic account details to the new site. Just log in using your same name and password.

There are a number of really exciting new features and plenty more are in the works as we transition from a site that has not changed substantially since 1994 to one suitable for the 21st century.

Check out our amazing new Photo Wall for the finest live concert photographs on the net. Look for the link to the Fullscreen Slideshow on the Photos index page. This new feature requires a free plug-in that can be downloaded in seconds the first time you access the wall.

As part of your MyPollstar customization, create your own screen name and upload an avatar. Make comments on news stories and post reviews of concerts and we will automatically award you StarCred points. More details on the benefits of building your StarCred is forthcoming.

The new site also offers the ability for you to rate photos and artists themselves and your opinions will help guide others on their quality. Please note that there is a bug in the awarding of StarCred points for ratings and we are working on it.

The beta of our new site can be found at http://live.pollstar.com

Pollstar continues to be the central data source for professionals working in the live entertainment industry and we are delighted to be able to offer music fans the ability to have free access to the world’s premier concert information database.

Thanks again for using Pollstar and we look forward to hearing your feedback.

Gary Bongiovanni
Pollstar Editor-In-Chief
Blogged with the Flock Browser


Darin - My New Crush

I have to admit that I'm a little embarrassed on this one. For one, I'd like to think that my musical interests aren't swayed by attractiveness. Secondly, I'm always a little embarrassed to talk about pop/dance music. I guess it's because I really don't know many people who enjoy it, but also, there's so much crap out there.

But whatever, I like Darin's look AND sound... it's well produced and catchy. Besides, he's from Sweden!


Breathing Your Love (feat. Kat DeLuna) - Darin Photobucket

I can't embed his new video, but if you want to see the beauty in motion, click here.

While you can stream his entire new album on MySpace (thanks Electroqueer), I can't get ahold of it otherwise... Hmm... Hopefully it will show up on the internets soon.


Neko's New Album Details (and Date)

Finally some news (and a date) for the new Neko Case!!

Neko Case Stirs Up Cyclone With M. Ward, Calexico Giant Sand, Garth Hudson, Los Lobos, few Pornographers also guest

New Pornographers crooner and solo star in her own right Neko Case is all set to release her new album, Middle Cyclone March 3 on Anti-. Crafted during a sort of whirlwind tour of North America's studios-- it was recorded in parts in Tucson, Brooklyn, Toronto, and Vermont-- Case's follow-up to 2006's excellent Fox Confessor Brings the Flood was produced by Case and Darryl Neudorf.
The album finds Case joined by both her core backing band-- guitarist Paul Rigby, bassist Tom V. Ray, vocalist Kelly Hogan, multi-instrumentalist Jon Rauhouse, and drummer Barry Mirochnick-- and a very impressive array of guest stars. The 15-song Cyclone is bolstered by appearances from M. Ward, Calexico, the Band's Garth Hudson, Los Lobos, Giant Sand, the Sadies, the Lilys, Visqueen, Sarah Harmer, and several of Case's New Pornographers bandmates. In addition to...
[From Neko Case Stirs Up Cyclone With M. Ward, Calexico | Pitchfork]

More Details on Andrew Bird's Noble Beast

Damn, a deluxe package. I'm such a sucker... Sad to see no Cleveland Shows.

Andrew Bird's 'Noble' Plans For New AlbumPhotobucket Dec 1, 2008 Story by: Christine Broomhead

Folk musician Andrew Bird has bumped up the release date for his new studio album, Noble Beast. The album will now be available January 20 on Fat Possum. Bird will also release a deluxe 2-CD edition that will include the bonus instrumental album, Useless Creatures. This limited edition features collaborations with Glenn Kotche and Todd Sickafoose, and will be available exclusively through physical retailers. It comes with custom packaging including additional photos, a poster and a 24-page illustrated lyric booklet.

Tickets for the first leg of Bird's North American tour are on sale now. He will kick off the trip by headlining Carnegie Hall on January 28.

Tracklist For Noble Beast: 01. Oh No 02. Masterswarm 03. Fitz and the Dizzyspells 04. Effigy 05. Tenuousness 06. Nomenclature 07. Ouo 08. Not A Robot, But A Ghost 09. Unfolding Fans 10. Anonanim [From CMJ News Story]


Catie Curtis (11/30/08)

Catie Curtis (11/30/08)I'll admit that I wasn't that excited about this show. I've seen her many times (we go way back) and I wasn't crazy about the new album, but I also had Monday off and the ticket was free (yay Street Team!)... so I went. I arrived early enough to see the opener and grab a bite to eat. Unfortunately, both were a little disappointing. The Beachland has changed their menu, offering a food with a little higher brow - and price. I really miss the $3 chili dog w/ chips and salsa... (got the French Bread Pizza - meh.) The same sentiment goes for the opener.

When Catie took the stage, her smile reminded me why I came. She has such a positive, flowing energy about her. She's also a confident, sophisticated, funny and talented artist. While her new album (Sweet Life) is a bit too happy for my taste right now, seeing her was a reminder of why I like her. I also really appreciated the looping of vocals and instruments to her one-woman show... The recordings of Sam the Pug were great too.

Overall, whil I can't recommend the new album (unless you're pre-disposed to like Catie), I would URGE you to see her next time she's in town. Hint - it will probably be next Thanksgiving.


Birdmonster Video: Born To Be Your Man

Just can't get enough of these guys...

Matt Pond PA Offers Free Thanksgiving EP

Download the new (free) EP from Matt Pond PA and be thankful there are cool musicians like this...


(thanks MOKB)

Justice Documentary

Justice really caught my attention with their last video, so I'll be interested to see how this little documentary fares.

Justice: Fantastic Documentary of Frenchman Make American Women Take Off Clothes and Gays Dance For Benefit of Ticket Promoters

Because you're not really a French electronic superstar duo until you have a needlessly arty film made about you, Justice, the band that brought you that D.A.N.C.E. song you listened to a thousand times over the summer, is out with a DVD documentary called A Cross The Universe. It's on shelves today, packaged along with a live tour CD. More previews of the DVD here. Directed by Romain Gavras, the film focuses on the sex, violence and mayhem that's so popular with our youth today, while following the band as it tours across the U.S. It's just like Borat (hence our goofy post title), except instead of the drunk frat boys spewing out racist invective, they make out. Nov 24, 2008 · Link · 5 Responses Tagged: Justice, Music Videos, Romain Garvas Comments (5) No. 1 · fredo777 Less boobs. More moobs. Posted: Nov 24, 2008 at 2:25 pm · @Reply · [Flag?] No. 2 · Simi [From Justice: Fantastic Documentary of Frenchman Make American Women Take Off Clothes and Gays Dance For Benefit of Ticket Promoters / Queerty
JUSTICE - A CROSS THE UNIVERSE (teaser) by justice



1993 was the year I graduated High School. It was a year of major changes in my life and in my music consumption... I was just coming out of my hair-metal phase and just started to discover new bands like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Melissa Etheridge ;-). Since that time, my appreciation for music has grown immensely and I feel like I have a much better grasp on what's happening out there now.

But what's strange is looking back at all the music I missed. Kinda makes me sad that so much passed me by, but also appreciative of where I am now.

All Music Guide posted an entry of a bunch of videos from 1993. Check them out, it's a blast from the past.

They also posted their favorite songs/albums from 1993 as well. Enjoy.


The Bay Bridged Volumes 1 & 2

One of my favorite music blogs is promoting another great music site... Now I'm sharing it with you.

The Bay Bridged, Volume 2 The Bay Bridged is one of my favorite music sites that champions its local musicians and shows. The site combines a music blog, audio podcasts, a video podcast, a concert calendar, and more into a truly essential portal for music fans in the San Francisco Bay Area (and those of us unlucky enough to live elsewhere). The level of entertainment value and professionalism is always high and impressive for a site not even two years old.

Anytime there's a site that posts / releases exclusive live tracks immediately gets my attention. I definitely want to pick up Vol's 1 & 2. You can preview them below.

Just another reason to envy those getting to live in SF.


More on Vinyl's Resurgence

In other news, my record player just died. Now begins the hunt for a new (used?) one... Any suggestions?

Related: Vinyl's Comeback

Some Ani Updates

For all you Ani fans... there's been a flurry of activity with her lately...

She has a new live concert on Fabchannel. I'm still continually surprised with the quality of content & production of Fabchannel, especially for being a free service.


There's a new iTunes Originals album:


Also, Righteous Babe Reords is now on eMusic.com


She also has a live, in-studio performance over at WNYC, which also includes a new election song.


Estelle - Come Over Video

If you've been reading this (and the previous) blog for a while, you'll know that my forté is indie pop / rock and folk music.  However, I do have quite a wide range of interests, but it's rare I find artists in other genres who grip me in the same way.  
I haven't found a great R&B album in some time (c'mon Janet & Mary J.!), but this new Estelle has me hooked.  I'm sure you've heard the amazing American Boy feat. Kanye, but this is another great song of the album.  Check it.


Nanci Griffith (11/15/08)

Nanci Griffith (11/15/08)This was unfortunately my first and only performance I attended for this year's Kent State Folk Festival. What a mistake. I've heard so many great things about the festival this year from my friend Tim. Next year I will block out time to attend more shows.

The highlight for this year was definitely the Nanci Griffith show (obviously). I was very excited to see her, but that paled in comparison to my friend Tim. I was concerned he would throw himself at her on the stage, but luckily he remained seated. However, I left immedately after the show and he stayed around to meet her, so I can't say he didn't do such a thing later. But rather than me talking about the show, I thought I'd let you hear about it from Tim:

The final evening of the 42nd Kent State Folk Festival was amazing - with opener Peter Mayer's beautiful voice, masterful playing and great writing. If I could do one of the three half as good as he does, I'd be so happy.

As wonderful as Peter was, Nanci Griffith was the highlight of the evening, the Festival and my year! A fan ever since Roger introduced me to "Dust Bowl Symphony," she gave another great concert with a nice mix of new and older material in the wonderful Kent Stage venue. Having center seats eight rows back made the experience all the more enjoyable. Meeting her aftewards was, well, incredible.

Whether she's doing an uptempo tune like "Simple Life" or the gripping, soulful "From A Distance," Nanci always pleases; her wit and political comments made the show even better. Her brothers in arms played extremely well and tight. In short - what a night.


Chris Castle Trio (4/12/08)

Cool night outside, a fire and folk music inside. I couldn't have asked for a more cozy night at the Spider. Chris played songs from both his albums, including Crazy Wind which I hadn't been able to listen to yet (but did purchase).

On this Wednesday night, there wasn't 2 acts like there normally are that Spider. But if I were only going to just see one band perform for the whole night, Chris Castle's would be the one. Sitting there, I was just able to lose myself in the music and the banter. It was a nice little crowd and everyone loved them. I was happy when Martin told me to suggest to them that they come back. I think they got the message loud and clear.

Chris Castle Trio (4/12/08)

(p.s. this will hopefully be my last iPhone photo, as I have a new (used) camera!)


Two Great Shows Tonight

If you're looking for something to do tonight, you're in luck. Two good shows, both "free."

At the Barking Spider tonight is Chris Castle (9pm) I've seen him before (twice), and I'd highly recommend him. Not only for his superb writing and performing, but also because he's one of the coolest performers you'll ever meet. He's also the only performer there tonight which should be interesting. Not something you see everyday.

Also performing tonight is Oxford Collapse w/ Pepi Ginsberg. They'll be performing at the Spot. I had such a great experience there last week with Birdmonster, it's very tempting.

For me, I'll be sticking with the tried & true, going to the Spider to see Chris. But who knows, maybe afterward I'll have it in me to walk over to the Spot for Oxford Collapse.

And as always, you can get all the "cool" shows coming to Cleveland on my concert calendar. (Also, feel free to let me know of any shows I should add.)


You Need to Check Out Greg Laswell

As much as I've been raving about Birdmonster lately... I'm equally captivated by Greg Laswell and his new album (Three Flights from Alto Nido). He deserves every bit of attention he's getting.

He was just mentioned on Perez Hilton for covering Cyndi Laupers Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and I'm hoping that draws more people to him. (And for all you Perez haters out there, I understand. I'm not a fan, but he does post some decent music, sometimes.)

Anyway. CHECK HIM OUT. I will say that I wasn't hooked on the first go-round, but I'm sure if you spend some time with him, he'll charm you just like he did me. His voice alone is phenomenal.

Three Flights from Alto Nido
Here's a track not listed above, but one of the BEST on the new album: I'd Be Lying

Id Be Lying - Greg Laswell


Why I Still Like the Killers (performing Girls Just Wanna Have Fun)

This is why I still like the Killers. I can't say I motivated to spend much time with their last album, but I'm looking forward to giving their new album a chance (Day & Age, out November 25th.

As a side-note, I love it when people turn the camera during a recording. How do they think it's going to look in playback? But I digress...

Folk Alley Blog Story

I think Folk Alley is one of the best produced radio programs out there, and much of that praise goes to Jim Blum, the host. He's truly an amazing person, both on and off the air. You can get a sense of this from his recent post on the Folk Alley blog.

As much as I love music, I also love dogs. I feel for Jim and his loss, but I'm also inspired by his dedication to animals and the life he provides them.

Farewell Josie November 1, 2008 In the spring of 1995, I adopted a lab shepherd puppy through PAWS, an animal welfare organization in Cleveland. I asked WKSU listeners for help in naming her, and I received nearly 300 suggestions. Almost immediately I could tell "Josie" was different. When guests came over she exhibited shyness and exhilaration simultaneously. She wagged her tale furiously, spread her ears straight out and squinted her eyes to where they almost closed. It was her way of sending joy to strangers, just hoping she would be accepted. Of course she always was. Most were on the floor laughing. Josie had other talents. She could catch a grape from 15' away. She adopted her own kitten. She used to pat ME on the head. She modeled for an American Greetings card. Her best talent was that of a counselor. She pulled me through a very sad divorce. She was a traveler. Accompanying me at many bluegrass festivals, we usually went hiking and mountain biking afterward. She summited mountains in 6 states. If there was an old fire tower on top of the peak, she insisted on climbing that too. She followed me on every cross country ski journey. Earlier this year, her 13th, she stopped going on our nightly runs. She limped a bit and struggled to climb stairs. Her bark began to fade; she couldn't hear very well. On Wednesday Oct. 29, I came home around 11 PM. She greeted me, walked over to the carpeted hallway, laid down, and died. It was awful and precious at the same time. At least we got to say goodbye. Josie left me with one wish which I would like to share with you. She loved other dogs which encouraged me to rescue 2 more. Now with Harriet and Kali, I can't imagine having less than three. People look at me strangely when I mention that I have 3 dogs and 7 cats. Today, I think it's strange not to have that many. Songwriter David Wilcox told me once: "It's not what you give up, it's what you get." (I think he was talking about children, but you get the point.) There are overcrowded rescue shelters in every community, including yours, full of Josies, and full of kittens like hers. I hope one (or more) of these companions can bring you as much happiness as I received from my best friend. I buried her in my backyard. Rest in Peace Josie girl. ~ Jim Blum 10/31/08


Because they're still on my mind...


Kent State Folk Festival This Weekend

Are you going to the Kent State Folk Festival? You should. It's going on this weekend, through next week. I'm hearing great things... particularly from the Richard Shindell & Justin Townes Earle shows. I'm (unfortunately) only going to make the Nanci Griffith show next Saturday. But I think it should be a phenomenal show... I'll let you know.


White People Don't Dance

Also while cleaning out bookmarks, I foundthis piece

that I find completely hilarious (and true). I myself can't stand still at shows and have perfected the art of the non-dancing dance. A kind of groove that doesn't require moving your feet. It's not that dorky... really.

(from http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com)

#67 Standing Still at Concerts

February 17, 2008 by clander Music is very important to white people. It truly is the soundtrack to their lives, meaning that white people are constantly thinking about what songs would be on the soundtrack for the biopic. The problem is that most of the music that white people like isn’t really dance-friendly. More often the songs are about pain, or love, or breaking up with someone, or not being able to date someone, or death. So when white people go to concerts at smaller venues, what to do they do? They stand still! This is an important part of white concert going as it enables you to focus on the music, and it will prevent drawing excess attention to you. Remember, at a concert everyone is watching you just waiting for you to try to start dancing. Then they will make fun of you. The result is Belle and Sebastian concerts that essentially looks more like a disorganized line of people than a music event. If you find yourself invited to a concert with a white person, do NOT expect to dance. Prepare yourself for three hours of standing reasonably still. It is also advised to get a beer or (if legal) a cigarette so you have something to do with your hands. Although it is acceptable to occasionally raise one hand and point just above the stage. Note: the addition of the drug ecstasy changes everything.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Still Tinkering...

I purchased ecto, which after a brief review of blogging apps, seemed the most promising.  Well, I'm still running into issues with embedding, as well as adding additional paragraph tags.   I've been going through all my blogging bookmarks,  updating info in places like Technorati and Feedburner.  In that process, I found another blog editor Qumana, which I'm trying now.

Let's try an embed.  The illustrious Joan Armatrading:

aTags: , ,

Powered by Qumana


Birdmonster (11/05/08)

What a GREAT show...

I listen to a LOT of new music. Much of it falls off my radar pretty quickly, but some albums seriously stand out (but not that often). This newest Birdmonster album (From The Mountain To The Sea) is one of those albums. The entire album is solid... I would almost go so far to say that every track is great.

Once I was hooked, I realized I had completely forgot they were coming to town. When I switched my calendar view from October to November, that's when I was reminded they were coming to the Spot here on CWRU's campus! Talk about a pleasant surprise (and being giddy...). This show quickly became one of the most anticipated shows of the year for me.

I met my co-worker at the Spot, arriving at 9:30. Birdmonster was on stage, doing their soundcheck. I began to dread the long night that was to come (oh... Ha Ha Tonka was also performing). But much to my surprise, Birdmonster was the opener! They took the stage and performed to a nearly empty room. No matter, they performed as if the place was packed and put on one hell of a show. Their performance was inspired and they had this magnetic "personality" that I love to see with live bands.

Birdmonster (11/5/08)

At one point they kind of joked and asked for requests, probably not expecting to get any. After the next song I yelled out "Lost at Sea" (a favorite of mine), which seemed to delight the lead singer. He asked me my name and dedicated the song to me. What a treat. I felt like I was almost watching a personal performance.

They continued, playing some new songs as well as some songs of their older album (No Midnight) which I will be getting from eMusic. After the show I purchased a copy of their CD and a T-shirt, and I was glad to see that quite a line of people emerged to buy merch.

I have to admit, I have a crush on the band... They are definitely as good as some of the best indie pop/rock bands out there today. I would love to see them perform to a packed house at the Grog Shop next time their in town.

We stayed a bit longer to see some of Ha Ha Tonka. They were good, but I wasn't going to give up a decent bed-time. But you should still check them out as well.


Blogger / Wordpress Differences

I had originally planned to embed the Presidential Playlist Showdown from imeem today, in honor of our election day. At first I thought there was an a problem with ecto, but quickly realized that Wordpress doesn't allow any embedding of Flash. wtf? Really??

For me, the beauty of moving from iBlog to a modern platform was to take advantage of embedding as much as possible. I hopped over to Blogger and was happy to see this wasn't the case there. I started setting up a blog with Google, only to quickly realize there are several other benefits. So here's just a quick run-down of some quick, obvious differences for me


  • Allows for "Pages" as menu items across the top
  • Utilizes Categories and Tags
  • Has a media library for hosting images


  • Embedding of Flash
  • More control over the template / CSS
  • Rich Text editor as "Gadgets" or "Widgets"

Wow, after getting this out, I'm realizing this embed thing must be a BIG issue to lose those 3 features... Wow.

Here's a more complete comparison.


Wolf Parade (11/02/08)

It had been a LONG time since I saw Wolf Parade. 2004 to be exact, as the opener for Modest Mouse. Since that show, I've been patiently awaiting their return to Cleveland. In that time, they've released two albums and have experienced some great success. This was apparent at the show last night. A full house (though I don't believe they were sold out), and the crowd was psyched to see them.Wolf Parade at Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR

But first, Listening Party opened. I didn't check them out until last night, right before the show. I liked what I heard on their MySpace page and quickly downloaded their album from eMusic, and listened to it as much as I could. This also convinced me to get there in time to see them open. Overall, I can't say that I was extremely impressed with their show, though I enjoyed their creative approach to music. The lead vocal was also drumming while standing (sometimes with maracas), and the always welcome use of a looper (love the technical jargon?).

Wolf Parade came on stage to an impassioned crowd. They dimmed the lights and played with an intensity I haven't seen for a while. The energy in the room and on the stage was great, something I hadn't experienced in a while and was glad to see. Just seeing a crowd that was excited but yet respectful was a breath of fresh air. This show definitely has me going back and checking out their albums again, and I would urge anyone and everyone to see them in concert if they get the chance.

Unfortunately, I took a photo but they had the lights so low that nothing came out. Maybe something will show up on BlueHaze or Flickr. In the meantime, this a pic from another show.

At Mount Zoomer


Amy Ray (10/31/08)

I had family coming into town this weekend and was quite excited to take them to the Beachland for the Amy Ray show. I wasn't quite sure how they'd like it, but whatever.

I wish I could say they loved it, but it really wasn't quite the show I was expecting. I would never want to talk poorly about an Amy Ray show, but it wasn't as good as her performance at the Grog Shop. A little disappointing, especially because I've been liking her new album even more than the previous two. The crowd was a little small too, and I think being Halloween might have had something to do with it. But that being said... she is such an amazing person and always worth seeing in my book, even if some shows are better than others.

Click the image for the entire Flickr photoset:


Thanks to my cousin Neil for the photos... Can't wait to get a camera of my own soon.


New Bishop Allen album coming...

Bishop Allen

Bishop Allen's The Broken String, as well as their show at the Grog Shop made them one of my favorite bands of 2007. It's very exciting to see a new album is in theworks, but unfortunately they're not coming to NEOhio (yet)...

Bishop Allen Plan November Tour, New Album

Prediction: they will both be pretty catchy Photo by Aubrey Edwards

As Brooklyn pop combo Bishop Allen happily report in their latest e-newsletter, they're almost done with their new disc and follow-up to last year's Bishop Allen & the Broken String. They've tentatively titled the thing Grrr..., and are looking to release it in mid-February on Dead Oceans.