WTF Videos of the Day

Good songs... strange videos.

Peter Bjorn & John - It' Don't Move Me

Grizzy Bear - Two Weeks


The Complete Pitchfork Lineup

Just bought my tickets... VERY exciting. I'm highlighting the bands I'll be excited to see. This also begins the process of listening to everyone I don't already know.

The National
Final Fantasy *
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Fucked Up
Plants and Animals
Cymbals Eat Guitars *
Matt and Kim
Bowerbirds *
Charles Hamilton
The Duchess and The Duke
Michael Columbia *

The Flaming Lips
Grizzly Bear
The Walkmen
The Thermals *
Pharoahe Monch
Blitzen Trapper
Frightened Rabbit
The Mae Shi
Black Lips
The Very Best
Vivian Girls
Killer Whales *


Killers on Letterman

My friend Tim has been militant about my viewing this. I'm glad he was.

I love Brandon Flowers intensity here... you can see the veins popping out of his forehead.

Napster still kicking...



Napster just became relevant again, with dirt cheap music plan
by Brad Linder May 18th 2009

It wasn't that long ago that Napster was the dominant force in online music distribution. Of course, at that point, Napster didn't have a business model, nobody (including the record companies) was making any money off the service, and while the peer to peer network was extraordinarily popular with users, it was soon sued into oblivion. The Napster music service that eventually emerged out of the ashes was never quite as compelling, even after launching a DRM-free MP3 store last year.

But a funny thing happened today. Best Buy (which snapped up Napster last year for $121 million) came up with a business model that actually sounds pretty good. Here's how it works. For $5 a month, you can download and keep five DRM-free MP3 tracks a month. That might not sound that impressive, but here's where it gets interesting: On top of those free downloads, you get unlimited streaming access to Napster's library of 7 million tracks.

In other words, if you subscribe for a year and pay $60, you get a year's subscription to a pretty decent on-demand music service. You also get access to 60 commercial-free internet radio stations and 1,400 "expertly programmed playlists." And when you cancel the service, you'll get to keep 60 songs... which probably would have cost you about $60 anyway if you'd purchased them from Amazon, iTunes, or another online music store.

The only down side is that the streaming music service is no use on the go. You'll need a computer, not an MP3 player to listen to the streaming audio. But if the model proves successful, I wouldn't be surprised to see mobile Napster apps for iPhone, Windows Mobile, or Google Android show up. in the meantime, you can still sign up to Napster's older "Napster To Go" service which lets you download DRMed tracks to portable devices.

[From Napster just became relevant again, with dirt cheap music plan]


Hessler Street Fair this Weekend!

Hope you're planning on attending the Hessler Street Fair this weekend.

Unfortunately it always falls on the same weekend as the Risingsun Community Garage Sale (the town I grew up in), so I'll be hanging out in my sister's garage all weekend (but no worries, there's a kegerator and popcorn machine in the garage).


Sound the Alarm

The first single from one of my most anticipated releases this year, here's the video for Immaculate Machine's "Sound the Alarm." From their new album, High on Jackson Hill.

Big Cool Cats Music Festival

June 20th is going to be a busy day... This new festival is happening the same day as the Larchmere Porch Fest, as Cleveland Pride, and probably a dozen other things). Tix are $40, which was a little surprising - but then I'm a cheap ass when it comes to ticket prices. (Larchmere Porch Fest will be free.)



Girl Talk (5/7/09)

Last night we went to see Girl Talk in Adelbert Gym here at CWRU. The show was sold out and I had high expectations for this returning Alumni performing on Finals Week. I can't say I'm a huge fan of his recorded stuff, but the live shows sounded epic, and this was a perfect chance to experience it.

After standing in line to get in, then standing in line to get into the beer area, then standing in line to get beer, and then running out of beer and waiting for a new keg (total, an hour and a half), then getting only 2 really crappy $1 MGD's, the evening started off rough. VERY poor planning. Didn't pay one bit of attention to the opening act.

Girl Talk jumped on stage with all the lights and fanfare I was expecting. Donning each side of the stage were two girls in what looked like rain coats, skull masks and shooting toilet paper into the air. He also loaded the stage with people whom held the first 50 tickets. The lights were flashing, the beats were pounding and images of excess were being shown on the screen (10 patty burgers, mad wads of cash, marijuana leaves, etc.). I couldn't tell if he was trying to be ironic or make some kind of commentary on our culture, but I think it was lost on the drunk students.

I tried figuring out what was special about his shows. Sure the energy was high, but I couldn't figure out what GT was doing behind his computer that warranted a live show. Sure he was jumping around a lot, taking off his shirt and occasionally screaming into the microphone, but to me there seemed to be nothing about the show that couldn't have been pre-recorded.

I did enjoy some of the songs he sampled and seeing the crowds reactions to them. But I also noticed the crowd would cheer for the 10 seconds of a song they recognized, but were then forced to move on to the next. I can't say that I wouldn't see him again. Maybe the Beachland would be better, where I could get a little drunk on without the frustration, and be able to get into it a little more.

Overall, Girl Talk proclaims he's "Not a DJ!" but I struggled to find the difference.

Girl Talk (5/7/09)

Free Grizzly Bear Remix

I find myself liking Grizzy Bear Remixes better than their album tracks... Just found this great Tom Ato Remix of Grizzly Bear's Two Weeks (download it here).

(Here's another favorite...)


Free Fleet Foxes Download at RCRDLBL

I almost passed this free download up because I'm kinda tired of hearing about Fleet Foxes. I think they're good & all, but sometimes I get name burnout. But for some reason I paused with this track and I'm glad I did. I'll have to go back and check out this Sun Giant EP.

Download the song and watch the video.

Mykonos from Grandchildren on Vimeo.


Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams, Catie Curtis, etc... all performing Closer to Fine. It takes me back...


Girl Talk Tomorrow!

Going to be seeing Girl Talk (a CWRU Alum) for the first time ever on Thursday - here on campus! Should be quite the experience...


Oh... and: [Girl Talk Experimenting With Actual Songs For Next Album]

Camera Obscura

I've been listening to the new Camera Obscura album lately... a great summer sound. Check out My Maudlin Career out now on 4AD.

FYI: they're also on tour, with dates in Columbus & Pittsburgh (nothing in NEO this time).


Article: Are record shops worth saving?


Record stores have a soft spot in my heart. I spent 5 years working at Finders Records in Bowling Green, OH while I was in college (and afterward). So I'm very biased and my answer is a resounding YES! I think they provide a "space" where people can get together to experience and discuss new music. Very similar to what libraries are going through, where yeah, you can get a lot of information online, but you can't beat having a space to experience the information searching and gathering process with face to face assistance.

I believe record stores need to reinvent themselves. Not so much about having as many CD's as possible (though that is a nice feature), but more about creating a comfortable and inviting space. Music Saves is going in this direction with their Alley Cat series and in-store performances.

Are record shops worth saving?
by Donald Bell

Last Saturday, independent music retailers organized a national Record Store Day, complete with in-store freebies and exclusive releases from dozens of bands who want to see these business survive. As someone who spent two of the best years of my youth working at an independent record store, I have a nostalgic attachment to these mom-and-pop shops.
I don't know if I was motivated more by sentimentality or pity, but I felt an obligation to honor the spirit of the day and visit my local music store. The shop was ripped right out of "High Fidelity," and contained all the requisite elements for an indy music store: aloof, yet knowledgeable staff; equal ratios of vinyl and CDs; postered walls; a selection of local music; and a lazy pet cat. But nostalgia aside, I couldn't shake the reality that stores like this can't last much longer.

It's a shame, because some aspects of shopping in a record store haven't (or can't) translate into the world of online music. I'm not delusional enough to think that everyone should go back to buying CDs or LPs, but at the same time, my gut tells me that music consumers (and our culture in general) may realize all too late that there's something worth preserving about today's endangered music shops.

continue reading... [From Are record shops worth saving? (Part 1) | MP3 Insider - CNET Reviews]


The Thermals (5/1/09)

A rockin' good time. What I would consider a true rock & roll show (complete with crowd-surfing), but with a positive energy. C'mon... they even crowd surfed a man in his 60's and the crowd went wild, kinda making The Thermals jealous. But antics aside, you can't deny the power and the passion that the Thermals bring to a crowd. Case in point, a couple guys standing in front of us, one of which sang every word with every fiber of his being. It's great to see the inspiration (when it's not "slap you in the face" annoying). Made me wish I knew every word and could sing them.

This is a dark pic, but I like it.

The Thermals (5/1/09)

Ani DiFranco (4/26/09)


This is my first time seeing Ani, post-baby (last time was in 2005). It seems like seeing her in concert was a yearly routine, but then came an injury and a baby. But seeing her again was like visiting an old friend. She's as good (if not better) than she's ever been.

I was bummed that she played the House of Blues, but I'll take what I can get. I was glad to see it was well attended with an excited crowd, but typical HOB annoyances persisted: drunk and aggressive audiences, poor sound, high prices, etc... Unfortunately I wasn't really able to hear any of her inter-song banter, which is usually a highlight for me.

Hopefully this show is the reemergence of a new yearly routine. Here's one of my favorite songs from her newest album. Listen - carefully:

Ani DiFranco (4/26/09)
Ani DiFranco (4/26/09)

Neko Case (4/21/09)

This'll be brief... It was a great night out with friends, which is what this show was mostly about. Had dinner at Number 1 Pho, drinks at Bricco, and made neko_case.jpgit just in time for seeing LOTS of friends in the lobby. I was surprised to realize that this was my first time in the Allen theater! Nice, but different... representative of the whole experience.

I was a little surprised at the level of attendance, as the theater was only half-filled (most of whom seemed to be drunk, including the "sound guy" sitting next to me). Overall, the show was meh. I love Neko, but something was off... maybe it was that her backup singer was sick, or the girls screaming stuff at her, or maybe it's that someone was thrown out for flipping her the bird. Still, despite my negativity, her shows are still better than most and shouldn't be missed. I doubt a night like that could happen again. :-S


The Zender Agenda

Taking another step towards establishing my place as one of the Cleveland-area music illuminati, I've begun a monthly piece over at Spangle Magazine. Called The Zender Agenda (thanks Brian), it will be highlighting the "best of the best" of next month's concerts coming to the Cleveland area (along with some noteworthy road trips). Well, "best" meaning shows I'm excited to see... well sorta, it's actually a compromise. I'll also be pointing out stuff that I think is important to Cleveland. For example, i'm not a huge fan of Kings of Leon, but I'll list them because I know they're respectable, think it'd be a good show to see, and I'd like to see Cleveland give them a good turnout.

I'm sure there are many more shows happening that are not making my list, but you gotta start somewhere. The fact that it's a gay magazine and that I'm a gay man, hopefully there's some kind overlap of my interests with that of their readership. I hope so... This is some good shit. ;-)

Check it out.

Updated: Passion Pit - The Reeling (Video)

Another videos that's been making the rounds. Passion Pit are definitely the new "it" band out there. Check out their new album being released May 26th. Hard to believe I just saw them at the Spot earlier this year.

Thanks Wongie.