Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Music of the Week - Anita O'Day, Arctic Monkeys, Amy Winehouse, Feist, The Unmixed Tracks

This week, I have been listening to a blend of new and old. These songs have stuck with me as I have wandered around town making and trying to implement plans.

Anita O'Day, I Didn't Know What Time It Was.

This has long been a favorite song. It's Rodgers & Hart, and though I have heard it dozens if not hundreds of times, the meaning eludes me. Perhaps, because it's reflective, it's quite sad, though the lyrics would suggest happiness.

This is the refrain:

I didn't know what time it was
then I met you.
Oh, what a lovely time it was,
How sublime it was too!
I didn't know what time it was
you held my hand.
Warm like the month of May it was,
and I'll say it was grand.

Grand to be alive, to be young,
to be mad, to be yours alone!
Grand to see your face, feel your touch,
hear your voice say I'm all your own.

I didn't know what time it was
life was no prize.
I wanted love and here it was
shining out of your eyes.
I'm wise,
and I know what time it is now.
Buy Anita O'Day on iTunes.

Arctic Monkeys, You Know I'm No Good.

I actually love Arctic Monkeys, and I am looking forward to buying their new album. Here is there cover of another of my favorite songs, Amy Winehouse's You Know I'm No Good, which has followed me around all week.

Buy Favourite Worst Nightmare.

Feist, Tout Doucement.

I have been humming this all week. It's lovely and lounging.

Buy Let It Die this week and The Reminder next week.

The Unmixed Tracks.


The most exciting thing I have heard this week is an unmixed guitar/bass/drum track from the album. I literally jumped up and down when I heard it. It was as I had imagined it would sound when I first heard the demo. I am tempted to play it again, but getting my heart racing would be extremely foolish when I really should be falling asleep.

The Sign of a Good Meeting

My face actually hurts from smiling so much.

Everything clicked. Mission confirmed. I am slightly giddy.

I wonder how I will be able to sleep since I have been home for only 30 minutes. Long enough to wash my face, call S to deliver the update, and say goodnight to an already sleeping (and mildly irritated) A.

Tomorrow, we reconvene to work out details and I am introducing them to some of my team.

"what good is a blog if you dont write"

Excellent question, M. Thanks for the reminder that posting has been a little sparse of late.

The past few weeks have been crazier than usual as I near the finish line on a bunch of projects.

In a few minutes, I am dashing downtown to meet with my partners on a big project we've been talking about for 6 months. Everyone flew in at the last minute for us to knock out some mission business and reconfirm the foundation as we move forward. I am extremely anxious about the meeting, though the fact that they are here shows a strong level of commitment.

I also have some projects lined up to fall under the big project. If we can pull it off, which I believe we can, we will do something really special.

My nerves are getting to me a bit. It's a good sign actually . . . adrenalin pumping, focus sharpened, etc.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sick.



A is sick. The cat is sick. I am fine.

The vet is closed, because it's Saturday. Emergency care says wait and watch, so that's what we're doing. It's nerve-wracking. She's 11, and she's never been ill.

She's also an incorrigible brat: she talks all the time, she curls up on or next to the keyboard as I type, she thinks she's the boss, and she insists on sleeping under the blankets with her head on a pillow. She sleeps in between us, her small 7 pound body pushing one of us to the edge of the bed (as seen above).

Update: The emergency vet gave us great advice. Her behavior never changed, so we watched her and after about a day, she recovered. We've been slowly giving her bits of food and now she's completely well.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

New D'Angelo!

I have been waiting since 2005 to say that.

Every five years, D'Angelo would emerge from his cave and release something amazing:
1995: Brown Sugar
2000: Voodoo.

In 2005, we waited. And waited. And waited.

Nothing.

That year, John Mayer endearingly wrote an open letter in Esquire, which said, in part:

I'm writing to ask you to put out a follow-up to one of the few records to change my life forever, Voodoo. When Voodoo came out in 2000, I stood in line at Tower Records in Atlanta at midnight to get it . . . I'm no less excited by it today than I was when I played it full blast in my mother's Plymouth Voyager on the way to my bullshit job.
Now, in honor of A's birthday, we have a new D'Angelo song.

Listen:
Download from Idolator.

Buy:
D'Angelo, Brown Sugar
D'Angelo, Voodoo.

Bonus:
From Live at the Jazz Cafe:
D'Angelo, Me and Those Dreamin' Eyes of Mine.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Blog Round-Up -- The Noisettes, Deerhunter

Guardian Unlimited has "The perfect playlist for the neighbour from hell," featuring Motorhead, House of Love, The Damned, and others.

The Passion of the Weiss has an imagined "Emperor's New Clothes" conversation about Deerhunter.

The New York Times has an interesting post about artists rerecording old tunes for licensing deals, cutting their labels out of that lucrative piece of business. Nice.

Boing Boing has a link to Lookout Records, who are selling digital punk and alternative tracks.

I Am Fuel, You Are Friends links to a track by The Noisettes.

Idolator has a list of the Best and Worst Singles of the 70s.

Don't Stop Believin'

A condition of a recently negotiated deal involved the mastery of "Don't Stop Believin'" in the key of C.

When I mentioned this to my mother as she was awaiting her Aer Lingus flight yesterday, she reminded me that my brother and his crew often fill those random, standing-around, smokin' and jokin' on-set moments singing the same song over their headsets.

Listen:

Of Montreal, Don't Stop Believin' (Journey cover).

Journey, Don't Stop Believin'.

Buy:


Journey, Greatest Hits.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Finally.

They are in the studio, recording the album. After all the pre-production, we're finally underway. Someday soon, we'll have an album.

It's been a lot of work to get here, and we have a lot of work left to do, but, finally, it's all happening.

I believe in celebrating small moments, especially when they are in the middle of a big project.

So, I am exhaling for a moment.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

New Favorite Album - Mark Ronson Version



Yes, really.

Mark Ronson's Version is an absolutely fantastic album. I've been listening to it all afternoon (well, in between Grindhouse and talking on the phone to S about music and H about film).

It hits all of the elements I love: 60s soulful, funky arrangements, British (for the most part) pop songs, British pop singers.

It's like he knew and made the perfect Musette album. In reality, it means I have extremely universal taste. It also means we're on the cusp of a complete motown revival now that our English friends are leading us back to rediscovering our own music. Again.

The album is released on Monday in the UK and can be purchased from Amazon and the complete album is streaming on Mark Ronson's myspace.

Grindhouse - Why Haven't You Seen It Yet?

A and I went to Alamo South to watch Grindhouse this afternoon.

If you haven't seen it yet, go! It works as a double feature much better than as two single films. Alamo had an actual intermission in addition to the faux (or not) trailers, and I assume other theaters would do the same.

A few brief thoughts (spoiler-ish only if you're like me and like to blank-slate everything):

It was really, really excellent. There were moments of horror, and moments of hilarity. They were both clever and well-acted (when they were supposed to be).

Kurt Russell is amazing. I have not thought much about him as an actor in a long time, but he's really amazing.

They really got the tone and style right with the movies. The first one reminded me of cheap horror movies we used to watch on Saturday afternoon tv. The second reminded me of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!-type Roger Corman movies we used to watch in college.
The only problem we had with the movie is that we ordered food during the first movie, directed by Rodriguez. Biiiiig mistake, shared by the rest of the audience.

Overall, it was a great way to spend an afternoon. Everyone we know who has seen it loved it (some making plans to catch it again) and I know we'll be picking up the dvd.

Of Montreal on Conan O'Brien






Of Montreal - Heimdalsgate like a Promethean Curse (live) on Vimeo

Just watch as they recreate the video for one of 2007's best songs. Live.

Originally spotted on Shameless Complacency.

UPDATE: Obviously, vimeo took down the clip. It's too bad, it was quite extraordinary. At some point, NBC needs to work out its clip policy.

Austin Buzz - Matt the Electrician, Golden Bear, Peel

jefitoblog has an eclectic "Friday mixtape" that includes Matt the Electrician, along with Genesis, Kool Moe Dee, Tom Petty, etc.
(Fun Fact: I attended a charity dinner in 2003 just because he was the opening act, after I had heard him live on KUT's Eklektikos.)

Austinist links to am post about Austin band Golden Bear. I find myself painfully unaware of Golden Bear, though they have been getting great reviews. Sometimes, my stunning ignorance surprises even me.

Austin Sound reviews Peel's new album in the context of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It's an excellent review:

It's in this regard—the club-sandwich vocals, the busy-but-not-too-busy musicianship, the playfulness of the atypical sound effects and distortions—that they are most reminiscent of CYHSY. It takes seamless studio work for both Peel and Clap to make it all happen, for this is ludicrously difficult music to put together. If the puzzle pieces do not click perfectly together then things fall apart quickly. On Peel, the joints never show.

Joanna Newsom - Pretentious and Overrated

Shameless Complacency wonders why Joanna Newsom sucks so bad, and yet is beloved by bloggers with otherwise good taste.

Okay, he doesn't. But I do.

My goodness, people, she's completely overrated with the most grating voice and "vocal delivery" I've heard in years. Plus, she achieves Tori Amos levels of obnoxious pretension.

He says it better than I could:

Part of me can’t help but admire Newsom; she’s clearly a skilled harpist and vocalist, and she’s doing something genuinely different than any other musician currently performing. At the same time, however, I can’t help but think this style has been around for hundreds of years; how can one woman simply follow a set of musical guidelines that have been in place for centuries, and suddenly be hailed as great? It just seems so pretentious to me.
Are we really so inundated with sameness that something that sounds different is embraced as "good"? Step outside your genre once in a while and embrace the actual good. Damn.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Marvin Gaye's Forgotten Here, My Dear

Spinner has an interesting article about Here, My Dear, a Marvin Gaye album with which I was not familiar. According to the article:

As part of a 1976 divorce agreement, Gaye was required to assign royalties from his next project to his estranged wife.

Gaye's initial plans to submit a half-hearted effort were scrapped as the singer immersed himself in some painfully cathartic songwriting. The resulting album, pointedly titled 'Here, My Dear,' frankly and acidly chronicled the marriage, from its blissful beginnings ('I Met a Little Girl') to the bitterness of breakup ('You Can Leave, But It's Going to Cost You') and admissions of extramarital affairs (Gaye eventually married Janis Hunter, daughter of the comic jazzman Slim Gaillard).

Blog Round-Up -- Amy Winehouse, Andrew Bird, Annuals, Bloc Party, The Cinematics, Kaiser Chiefs, Mark Ronson

Culture Bully has 13 live songs from an Amy Winehouse show in February.

Good Weather for Airstrikes has a review of the Annuals/Kaiser Chiefs show in NY. I am a huge fan of Annuals (Complete or Completing is still a favorite) and I also really enjoy Kaiser Chiefs, so it's an interesting read. Plus, mp3s.

Good Weather for Airstrikes also has an mp3 from Bloc Party's appearance on BBC Radio 's Live Lounge: a cover of Nelly Furtado's Say it Right. Plus, more mp3s from my favorite source of wacky covers.

BBC's Collective, which is not technically a blog, has an interview with Mark Ronson about his new covers project.

30 frames confirms why all music videos look the same.

The Music Slut covers Spinner's coverage of The Cinematics covering Jeff Buckley at SX, under the headline "Jeff Buckley's Mother 'Teary Eyed' After Cinematics Cover." An impressive example of great pr at work.

I Guess I'm Floating reviews Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha.

The Week That Was - A Bad Week and a Zombie-pocalypse

I am ill. I've been ill since Tuesday, so I've spent the week on the sofa and in bed.

Right now, we're in bed watching Shaun of the Dead, which is one of our favorites. A is a connoisseur of zombie movies. He has "seen all the ones worth seeing and some not worth seeing." He is describing Night of the Living Dead and freaking me out. (He just noticed I was typing: "You can have vampires and still get by, but not zombies. You don't often get to use the word inexorable, but ...")

I have been listening to demos this week. I was asked to provide "
an honest opinion"
of a business associate's artist. That's always a dodgy proposition. How honest? I gave a bit of criticism about one of the tracks, but overall, it is a good project with a great song. As I was walking around tonight (well, from the sofa to the kitchen to the bed), I realized I had it going through my head after only a handful of listenings.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut, RIP

I am sad to see that Kurt Vonnegut has died.

He was an extraordinary American writer, who captured a changing world with a mixture of horror, humor, and fantastic digressions and progressions.

I began reading Vonnegut when I was in high school. My mother had all of his books in paperback, with yellowed red-rimmed pages. I am sure I started with Breakfast of Champions, and then read voraciously everything I could find.

I loved them all.

I saw him speak maybe 15 years ago in a small auditorium in Gainesville. While I can no longer remember the words he spoke or the wisdom he shared, I vividly recall the elation I felt for days thereafter.

Here is a list of reviews of his books from the NY Times.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Wasn't This a Chappelle Sketch?

Okay, not quite the Clayton Bigsby sketch:

The Guardian has an interesting article on a racist American Facist, who was passing.

Lawrence Dennis was, arguably, the brains behind American fascism. He attended the Nuremberg rallies, had a personal audience with Mussolini, and met Nazi leaders; throughout the 1930s he provided the intellectual ballast for America's bourgeoning pro-fascist movement. But though his work was well known and well appreciated by the intelligentsia and political elites on both sides of the Atlantic, there was one crucial fact about him that has never emerged until now: he was black.
Fascinating stuff.

Read the article in The Guardian "The fascist who 'passed' for white."

Live Performances - Live Lounge Non-Covers - Basement Jaxx, Keane

BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge has been long my source for excellent covers. Every artist who comes on performs one original and one, often wacky, genre-busting cover.

But, the Live Lounge also has great live in-studio performances by bands I love.

Here are a few favorites:

Basement Jaxx, Romeo (live).

It's lovely. The singing, the arrangement. I am just adore this song. This version often floats into my head during quiet moments, unbidden, but not unwelcome.

A originally turned me on to Basement Jaxx years ago. How he found them I will never know . . . even he's no longer certain, though he thinks it was a dj at the B-Side (RIP).

Mp3: Basement Jaxx, Romeo (live).

Buy: Basement Jaxx, Romeo EP.

Keane, Somewhere Only We Know.

Another song I love by a band I love. People generally don't think much about Keane. They haven't fallen into Snow Patrol/Fray territory, not popular enough here for a backlash, I assume. Or maybe the backlash is on and my no radio listening self just doesn't know (or care).

Mp3: Keane, Somewhere Only We Know.

Buy: Keane, Hopes and Fears.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Indie Compilations

Entertainment Weekly reported that Vice Records is going to be releasing an indie compilation, similar to NOW That's What I Call Music, to be sold in big box stores in conjunction with MTV2. Matador and Subpop may also release in this series.

The big quote from the article:

''These bands' records sell really well to a particular audience,'' says Adam Shore, the publicist for Vice Records, which aims to release the first volume this July (they're already the American home to high-profile acts Bloc Party, the Streets, and Charlotte Gainsbourg). ''But even though these artists are getting all this media exposure, they're not necessarily crossing over to a very casual record buyer.'' The plan of action? ''We're partnering with MTV2, and the focus is going to be Walmarts, big box stores, red states, and TV advertising — to really go beyond.... We don't really expect indie-rock stores to support this record. It's for the casual fan.''
Honestly, it makes me nervous.

The difficulty is the dance we do in the indie world: how commercial, how common, how Starbucks and Wal-mart, how soccer mom, in short, how big, before the pendulum swings and we lose our audience?

Should I be worried? Yeah. Tastes change, styles change, audiences move on.

Each genre has a core group of listeners who buy and support their artists. When you expand beyond your core, you risk alienating your core. It's different now than when I was young. People 14-24 seem much more willing to forgive sponsorships, "selling out," tv appearances, etc.

If indie labels start reaching beyond, it may hasten the decline of that specific type of indie music and the teenagers may move back to a punkier, more hardcore music to spite their Shins/Decemberists/Arcade Fire compilation-buying and listening parents.

Or not.

Cycling: Paris - Roubaix and Why I Am Not Allowed to Ride



I love watching cycling. Though it's a fringe sport, it is not so weird in Austin, home of Lance and unofficial home of the best US pro team: Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team.

Our favorite one-day Classic is next Sunday. You can catch Paris - Roubaix (aka "The Hell of the North") on VS. It is 260 km over at least 21 separate sections of cobblestones.

Quotes about the race:

"The best I could do would be to describe it like this - they plowed a dirt road, flew over it with a helicopter, and then just dropped a bunch of rocks out of the helicopter! That’s Paris-Roubaix. It’s that bad - it’s ridiculous." - Chris Horner [1].
Bernard Hinault upon winning in 1981: "Paris-Roubaix est une connerie" translating to "Paris-Roubaix is bullshit."
I suffered an ignominious end to my recreational riding - a bad crash and broken arm on the Veloway. It was too early in my riding to bounce back.

In the Spring, I take the bike back out to relearn how to ride without killing myself. Before Summer rolls in, it goes back into the library with A's training and racing bikes and my cycleops trainer.

My clients, friends, and family beg me to leave the bike on the trainer and ride only indoors. I owe it to them, really. I am too skittish and easily distracted. My leg strength always outpaces my steering.

My crash came at an inauspicious time. I was negotiating a deal with a NY rap label and preparing for the most important meeting for what was then my day job -- convincing the president and all his vps that acquiring a multi-million dollar art collection was absolutely essential to our future.

The art meeting was amusing: my vp (who was my boss's boss's boss's boss) had to drive me there and slip a jacket over my swollen, broken, unbending arms, as I sat in the meeting making the only gesture of which I was then capable (spreading my arms several inches from "here" to "here"). After that gesture, the president decreed that all of his employees were banned from cycling.

Listen: Queen, Bicycle Race.
Buy: Queen, Greatest Hits.

Buzz - St. James, Inc.

St. James, Inc. have been one of my favorite Austin bands for a while.

Technically, they are no longer an Austin band. They left Austin for LA last September.

Since then, they have been making huge strides:

They are performing live on 97.1 KLSX FM today @ 6:35 Pacific time.

“Black Light” has been placed in the show “Men In Trees” on ABC.

“Busy” has been placed in the film “Moving McCallister” starring John Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite”) and Milla Kunis (“That ‘70’s Show”).
They are (finally!) returning to Austin to perform at Momo's, Friday April 13th, @ 11:30pm.

Check them out on myspace.

Buy their EP Drifting at CDFuse.com.

Lazy, Lazy, Lazy

It's still cold.

It's bright and blue outside, but it's still cold. Especially for April.

That means, I am still here. On the sofa. Watching really terrible movies on HBO on demand while I read the paper (online), movie reviews (online), music reviews (online), and Interview magazine (on paper?!!!).

We've had a subscription to Interview for a while, but I don't know that I've done more than glance through it. I don't know why (or how) I get it. We have stacks of unread magazines in the coat closet (W, Vogue, Private Clubs, Psychology Today, Vegetarian Times, Domino, Dwell, Marie Claire, Elle, Elle Décor, Saveur, and there may be others). I usually toss magazines in my briefcase when I travel, but I haven't traveled for 3 months.

Anyway, this month's issue has brief feature on Andrew Bird. I actually despise reading features about artists I like. But this one is quite good. It offers brief insights into method, rather than meaning.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Extremely Clever Website

Signal vs Noise directed to one of the coolest websites I have ever seen No One Belongs Here More Than You.


Definitely check it out.

RIAA and MPAA Want Pretexting

I read an interesting article in this morning's LA Times entitled "Recording, movie industries lobby for permission to deceive".

There is a bill working its way through the California Senate to ban pretexting.

"Basically, we want criminals to feel comfortable that who they're dealing with is probably some other criminal and let us in on what's going on," said Brad Buckles, the RIAA's executive vice president for anti-piracy. "We're not talking about trying to go in and get customer information. In no case have we ever tried to do that."

Raining and Freezing!

We have had a glorious Spring. Yesterday was a little chilly, but still gorgeous, and today is downright freezing.

The rumor in the neighborhood is that there could be sleet and a light freeze. Rather than do our usual weekend outdoor activities, we ran errands in the cold. Now, we're happily ensconced on the sofa under a blanket, watching Milan-San Remo from a couple of weeks ago.

Hard to believe it's April.

Friday, April 6, 2007

The Week That Was - Hope and Movement

This was actually a pretty good week. Stressful, of course, but we are making progress.

Work: I had a great meeting with half of the team one day, and then the rest the next day. We're all excited about moving forward. I spoke to F today, and he is all of a sudden completely on board. (That may change again, but he was insulted when I told them I had moved on without them.)

Also, my oafp called with a couple of new projects. He's producing an album or two, which sound good. Very catchy club music. He negotiated his own distribution, again. I am not certain how I feel about launching back in, but our last meetings in August were really productive.

Life: A is riding again regularly, so he's feeling great. I am not down with regular exercise yet. It's been about three months since I was working out all the time with my trainer, and I can definitely tell. I will be walking around the lake tomorrow and Sunday, and that will be my exercise for the week. I usually do 1.5-2.5 hours/day, but it's not like when I was doing an hour/day of aerobics and/or my training sessions.

Music: I have been listening to the iPod to fall asleep each night. I plug in, set it up for a playlist, and plug in my "real" Sennheisers (as opposed to my Shure earbuds) and toss and turn while I hear one of my nighttime playlists. This week, it's been all British Soul.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Blog Round-Up -- RIAA (and Nine Inch Nails), Satellite Party, John Vanderslice, 50 Cent vs Cam'ron, Prince, U2

Consumerist has a great post about the RIAA's cease and desist letters to shut down the viral marketing campaign for Nine Inch Nails' new album. The best quote: "These f*cking idiots are going after a campaign that the label signed off on," the source says.

arjanwriteshas a download of "Wishing Upon a Dog Star" and a link to the epk for Perry Farrell's new project Satellite Party. The project sounds very intriguing.

Status Ain't Hood has a list of the top 10 singles for 2007.

Gorilla vs Bear links to an episode of The Merlin Show I have been meaning to link to for a while and provides a transcript. Merlin Mann interviews John Vanderslice about the future of music.

Some Bootlegs has two French concerts: Prince from 1981 and U2 from 1987.

Radar has an amusing feature about "E-Beefs" . . . rappers using the net to wage wack beefs with each other. "Nas vs Jay-Z" they are not.

Recent Purchases - Field Music, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Antibalas

Since I was still underwhelmed by the new releases, I bought 3 albums I have been meaning to buy for a while.

Field Music, Tones of Town.

I love this album. I first heard it on Music for Kids Who Can't Read Good in January. This is what I wrote then:

Field Music is buoyant Britpop (and British Pop), while being more than the sum of its parts. The songs are catchy and I have a sneaking suspicion that this album will be one of my favorites for this year.
I particularly enjoy "Give It Lose It Take It," which reminds me of early Beatles and early Oasis, and "A House Is Not A Home," which Fluxblog says "seems effortless in the way that only the best songs can, and has a way of sneaking into the back of your mind and setting up residence like a welcome, yet uninvited guest."
Buy it on iTunes, Amazon, or eMusic.

Rodrigo y Gabriela, Rodrigo y Gabriela.

I have been loving this song Tamacun since I first downloaded it as a free iTunes download. I heard it again as walked around Town Lake last weekend, and realized I had to get the whole album.

It's defies easy description. It's acoustic, latin, jazzy, and extremely sophisticated. The Amazon review outlines it well:
Rodrigo and Gabriela are two fast-fingered, Dublin-based, Mexicans with a unique sound created on acoustic guitars. Their music is difficult to define, straddling both world and rock, and often imbued with the timeless Hispano classical influences. The fire in it comes from their life-long passion for metal music.
Sounds intriguing, doesn't it?

Buy it on iTunes, Amazon, or eMusic.

Antibalas, Security.

I meant to buy this weeks ago, but just never got around to it. Frankly, I wanted to pick it up on cd, as I do with most of my jazz purchases.

Buy it on iTunes, Amazon, or eMusic.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Voxtrot Kid: Apology and the New Music Business

The Voxtrot Kid has an "Apology" for a previous post about the impact on the internet and leaked music and snapshot criticism.

The previous post, which was really long, included this:

The internet is fickle. Everything is disposable. Everything is fleeting. The internet is a very dark place to be. Everybody's a fucking authority and everybody knows better than everybody else. You (I am now going to use "you" in a general sense, though I realize that it does not necessarily apply to the reader) may think that you deserve to be able to download an album at no cost, store it in your iPod, pass your particular judgement, and then immediately dispose of it or hype it at will, but you actually don't deserve that. Sorry if I sound a bit critical, but I guess that, at this point, I'm not talking so much about Voxtrot specifically as I am about the relationship that every band is forced to maintain with the internet.
Honestly, this is something about which we all worry.

I was in a meeting tonight where we openly acknowledged that the album we are all so concerned about is just a marketing tool, rather than the product itself, in terms of how the band will make money.

The band is striving to make an amazing album, and the work they've done with the producer in pre-production has been wonderful (so I have heard, they are not actually letting me hear the tracks yet, only the acoustic demos).

But, we know that, most likely, the album will be leaked and traded, that people will buy singles rather than the whole disc, and that the album's success will be due in large part to music bloggers who may decide to embrace or disdain, after a few listens, what the band has spent months creating.

I commented a few weeks ago on Idolator that blogs are the new record store -- the place where we go to hear about new music we should buy.

Buying music is part of the social contract. The artists create; we buy.

Blog Round-Up - Diplo, Feist, Live Blogs

Status Ain't Hood has an insightful interview with Diplo. They hit a lot of interesting topics and it's always interesting to read other people's experiences working in independent hip-hop and club music.

Spinner has a short interview with Feist.

Notes from a Different Kitchen links to a Devin the Dude performance on a new web show called Freestyle 101.

Dreams of Horses references a Serge Gainsbourg tribute album entitled Monsieur Gainsbourg:Revisited featuring covers by Cat Power, Feist, Franz Ferdinand, and others.

Surviving the Golden Age has a rundown of this week's underwhelming new releases.

Superb Live links to two other live music blogs: Some Bootleg and All Night Thing.

Boing Boing has a quote from Dick Dale, advising artists to stay away from major labels.

Slashfood has a post on a new web series, Dinner With the Band, which features indie bands and um dinner.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Mashups and Mixtapes in Congress

Radar has an interesting story about Pennsylvannia Congressman Mike Doyle and a speech he gave invoking both DJ Drama and Girl Talk:

The congressman likened Gillis to the Beatles—who famously ripped off a Chuck Berry bass line for "I Saw Her Standing There"—saying that both groups might have stolen, but hey, the world is better for it. Doyle called for a loosening of DRM laws on new music (Steve Jobs has caught on already), arguing that because people are going to sample beats anyway, it should not be illegal to use other's music in the name of one's own art.

Essential New Releases - None

For a second straight week, there are no essential new releases.

The highest profile release may be Timbaland. Yikes.

Idolator has a brief run-down.

Re-Release Therapy

Idolator has a link to a Mashup of Ludacris's Release Therapy with the Jackson 5 by 5G Productions, originally posted on The Rap Up.

American Idol - American Songbook Edition

"Sanjaya singing is like Carl Lewis playing basketball: he's fast, he can jump, he's in shape, but that's not basketball."

Sanjaya has a nice voice, but he can't sing. Vocal training could definitely help.

Melinda is really incredible. There was a moment in her song, when we paused the recording, just amazed at what she had done.

Jordin Sparks did a great job, as did Chris Richardson.

Blake was fine, if unmemorable.

Phil was pretty awful.

LaKisha was great. She can really sell a song, and that's essential in these songs.

Needs to go home: Haley Scarnato. It should be Sanjaya, but she was terrible and trashy. And not in a good way.

Of all the songs we heard tonight, I have "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" stuck in my head, but the Frank Sinatra version.

Reading List - The Intuitionist and Resumés With Monsters

A and I picked up a stack of books on Saturday.

I am reading The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead.

Best line so far:
In describing the effect of integration: ". . . the replacement of sure violence with deferred sure violence."

A is reading Resumés With Monsters by William Browning Spencer.

Best line so far:
In describing the status of employees in corporate America: ". . . a mouse conscripted by cats for feline purposes."

Monday, April 2, 2007

SoMuchSilence: I Used to Love H.E.R. - Low End Theory

I have been really enjoying the So Much Silence series I Used to Love H.E.R.

Today's installment was the drummer from Palomar reflecting on one of my favorite album's A Tribe Called Quest's Low End Theory.

It's Great to Be a Florida Gator



My friends, I wish I could share with you how great it feels to repeat as national champions, while being the reigning football national champion. It is unprecedented. It is glorious.

Surprisingly, I have received no congratulatory calls, emails, texts. When we lose, you're all over it. At least, as far as I remember. It's been a while.

Go Gators!
Image from the NY Times.

"Retro Soul" Primer on Soul-Sides.com

Check out the Retro Soul primer on Soul-Sides.com.

There are links to songs from Amy Winehouse, including a new live version of "He Can Only Hold Her," Sharon Jones, The Poets of Rhythm, Breakestra, and Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators.

Confirmed - EMI to Drop DRM, Offer Higher Quality Downloads

Idolator has all the scoop on EMI's new plan.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Live Performances - Alicia Keys, Ben Harper

A great live performance is transcendent.

Alicia Keys, If I Ain't Got You.

Live at the 2005 Grammy Awards, being ably assisted by Jamie Foxx (in full on Ray Charles mode) and backed by a full orchestra, this is my favorite of the five versions we have of this song.

Listen: Alicia Keys, If I Ain't Got You.
Buy: Alicia Keys, Unplugged

Ben Harper, In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel cover).

It's a beautiful acoustic version of the song. About 4 minutes in, the audience starts singing the "missing part" and he thanks them. It's a lovely, moving cover of a beautiful song.

Listen: Ben Harper, In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel cover).
Buy: Ben Harper, Live From Mars.

Aimless Wandering and New Deletions

Like the rest of Austin, I spent part of Sunday wandering around Town Lake.

There were moments when I was the only person on the trail, I could see and hear no one else around me, even though I was out at 1 in the afternoon on a gorgeous, cloudless April day.

In the couple of hours I walked up and down the south shore, I was able to sort through some of my collection and mark some crap for deletion. I have too much music on my iPod. Shuffling through mediocre crap keeps me from hearing great stuff. So gone are Mates of State, Jenny Owens Young, and about 40 others. Not terrible, not great. Twee-ish, precious indie pop . . . gone.

I try to rank my songs by how much I want to hear them again. A 5 star song is one I will listen to nearly every time it pops up. A 4 star song is one that I look forward to hearing again while I am listening to it. A 3 star song is one I enjoy if it pops up randomly, but I would not search out. 1 and 2 stars are basically marked for deletion. Some of those stay in for completeness -- part of an album, a cover collection, my Austin collection, or a band my friends/clients like so I give them additional opportunities to impress me.

WSJ and Idolator Report: EMI to Drop DRM on iTunes

It is April 1, but the Wall Street Journal and many tech and music sites have been announcing a press conference scheduled for tomorrow between EMI and Apple.

Rather than announce that the Beatles catalogue would be available on iTunes, the rumor is now that EMI will be dropping DRM from its tracks on iTunes.

If true, this would be a major move in the world of digital distribution.

Sources:
Wall Street Journal
Idolator