Archive for the 'music' Category

Reunited Blur Perform First Gig in Nearly 10 Years

Oh man, I’m so excit­ed for the Blur reunion this sum­mer, even though it seems lim­it­ed to the UK for now. The first of these new gigs hap­pened on June 13th at the site of their first gig, and from the looks of a few YouTube videos, they sound fan­tas­tic.

From NY Mag’s Vul­ture Blog:

On Sat­ur­day, before an audi­ence of 150, Blur played its first con­cert as a four-piece in a decade, at Essex, England’s East Anglian Rail­way Muse­um (it’s where they per­formed one of their ear­li­est gigs) — and some won­der­ful per­son has uploaded video of prac­ti­cal­ly the entire show.

Video of Blur performing ‘There’s no Other Way’ on June 13th.

More Cov­er­age:

[Via Hal­fAlien]

Camera Obscura & DJ Victoria Bergsman, at the Bell House

Victoria Bergsman
Victoria Bergsman, DJing at The Bell House in Brooklyn.

Ned­ward: Vic­to­ria Bergs­man (for­mer­ly of The Con­cretes) is DJing at The Bell House, much to my delight. Wait­ing for Cam­era Obscu­ra!

As big a fan of Cam­era Obscu­ra as I am, the more inter­est­ing bit Tues­day night was a spe­cial guest DJ, Vic­to­ria Bergs­man. A lot of peo­ple know her voice as the female coun­ter­point in Young Folks, the Peter Bjorn and John sing-along hit from a cou­ple of years ago. But she was also the singer in one of my favorite bands, The Con­cretes. (Cam­era Obscu­ra fans should check out their epony­mous debut album.) She has since left the band, and formed a solo project under the name Tak­en By Trees, (also a great debut).

Any­how, I might have been the only per­son in the crowd that had any idea who she was – or cared – so Lisa encour­aged me to say hel­lo. But, I’m just not one of those peo­ple who walks up to a famous per­son, and just gush­es in their face. Call it shy­ness, call it fear of dis­ap­point­ment… the bot­tom line is that I chick­ened out.

To make mat­ters worse, Lisa went over to the DJ booth with­out me, and told Ms. Bergs­man that “her friend was a big fan,” but that he “didn’t want to both­er her.” Nice. So now I’m shy, and embar­rassed.

I don’t real­ly regret it that much, but I would’ve liked to show off some dance moves from The Con­cretes’ On The Radio video. I’d like to think that she would’ve laughed.

Con­tin­ue read­ing ‘Cam­era Obscu­ra & DJ Vic­to­ria Bergs­man, at the Bell House’

U2 on Letterman, $4 Album Download

U2 kicked-off their his­toric 5-night res­i­den­cy on David Letterman’s Late Show last night, with a per­for­mance of Breathe. They even par­tic­i­pat­ed in a lit­tle sketch, where Dave had them out­side on 53rd Street, shov­el­ing snow.

The res­i­den­cy is to cel­e­brate the release this week of their twelfth stu­dio record, No Line On The Hori­zon. And it just so hap­pens that you can grab a copy of it in non-DRM MP3 for­mat for $4 from Ama­zon. I don’t reg­u­lar­ly lis­ten to U2 much any more, but this is a great thing for a major-label artist to do, and I’m more than hap­py to give it a few lis­tens for that price and for­mat.

UPDATE 3/5: Night two, the boys played Mag­nif­i­cent, which sounds like a clas­sic U2 song. Bono needs to treat his voice with more care, though.

When I Grow Up” Video by Fever Ray

When I Grow Up video from Karin Dreijer Andersson’s solo project, Fever Ray.
Karin Dreijer Andersson
Publicity shot of Karin Dreijer Andersson.

Karin Drei­jer Ander­s­son has a solo album out now, under the name Fever Ray. She is one-half of the sib­ling pair that is The Knife, and the solo album is very much a con­tin­u­a­tion of their moody work on Silent Shout.

This is the sec­ond Fever Ray video, and it’s a nice com­pli­ment to the gothy/creepy visu­als in the first video, If I Had a Heart, which was direct­ed by fre­quent Knife col­lab­o­ra­tor Andreas Nils­son. (See the video for Silent Shout, and his visu­als for their last tour.)

And no, that’s not Karin in the video – she hasn’t appeared reg­u­lar­ly in her videos since her days in the Swedish indie band Hon­ey is Cool, in the 90s. (A few notable excep­tions include You Take My Breath Away, a chip­per duet with for­mer First Floor Pow­er front-woman Jen­ny Wil­son, and her guest vocals on Röyksopp’s club hit What Else is There? No, she’s not the float­ing chick, but the one sit­ting at the table, mid-way through.)

Speak­ing of that Röyk­sopp song, this video is direct­ed by the same direc­tor, Mar­tin de Thu­rah, a Dan­ish film­mak­er that seems to have a thing for effects and screw­ing around with the laws of physics – beau­ti­ful work.

I warmed to the album almost instant­ly, but see­ing the songs come to life in these videos, they’ve start­ed to take on a cin­e­mat­ic qual­i­ty inside my head. Like all of Karin’s work, some peo­ple might be turned off by her singing style or be too quick to dis­miss her as Björk-lite. I like this album, and I like it more and more after each lis­ten.

Pur­chase & Down­load Fever Ray »

Inter­view mag­a­zine inter­view with Karin »

Obamicon.Me

Make your own Obam­i­con:

Your image in a style inspired by Shep­ard Fairey’s icon­ic poster. Regard­less of your can­di­date of choice in the 2008 elec­tion, here’s your chance to sound-off.

From the folks at Paste, via Sean.

Blur to Re-Form for Massive Hyde Park Gig

Blur to Re-Form for Mas­sive Hyde Park Gig »

It end­ed in acri­mo­ny, with the gui­tarist brand­ing the singer an “ego­ma­ni­ac”. But after months of spec­u­la­tion, Blur have con­firmed that they will be reunit­ing for a mas­sive gig in London’s Hyde Park next sum­mer.

My favorite band of the 90s, togeth­er again for the first time since gui­tarist Gra­ham Cox­on quit the band in 2002.

More: Blur In Video » | Review of Gra­ham Cox­on Solo Show in 2005 »

Love Is All @ The Bowery Ballroom

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Love Is All performing at the Bowery Ballroom, in Manhattan.

It was not as leg­endary as their first show at the Knit­ting Fac­to­ry, or the sweat-dripped set at Mar­ket Hotel in Bush­wick this past sum­mer, but Love Is All still knows how to bring it. They played a mix of songs from the new album A Hun­dred Things Keep Me Up At Night as well as from their debut, and even mixed in their Flock of Seag­ulls cov­er.

UPDATE: My Pho­tos on Flickr » | NYCTaper’s Audio From the Show

MSM Ahead of Curve on V.P. Debate

Did you know that NYTimes.com streamed live video of last night’s debate, right on the top of its home page? There was a full-screen option, too. Pret­ty cool stuff – even Gawk­er was impressed.

Also, check out our V.P. Debati­na­tor – a mashup of video, tran­script, and time­line from the debate.

My Bloody Valentine @ Roseland

Walk­ing out of the Rose­land Ball­room last Tues­day night, I felt blind, deaf and dumb­found­ed – and I’m not the only one. We had just stood through an assault on our eyes, ears, and patience, but it was an amaz­ing show.

Ear plugs were hand­ed out on the way in, and I jammed them in as far as they would go – but, I’m not sure it was enough. It was cer­tain­ly the loud­est show I’ve ever wit­nessed.

And it wasn’t enough for the light show to be trip­py and beau­ti­ful, but it also had to burn out your reti­nas. Lisa made the point that there were more lights point­ed out at the crowd than at the band them­selves. Still, the bright pink glow was exact­ly the per­fect accom­pa­ni­ment for the band that record­ed Love­less.

Con­tin­ue read­ing ‘My Bloody Valen­tine @ Rose­land’

Vivian Girls @ Death By Audio

Vivian Girls

Cassie Ramone and Vivian Girls perform.

Last week I saw Vivian Girls play at Death By Audio in Williams­burg. It was my sec­ond time see­ing them, and cer­tain­ly won’t be the last. The Times print­ed a rave review:

Even though this band’s music tends toward the dis­cor­dant, Vivian Girls … are roman­tics at heart. Their taut, no-non­sense songs brim over with noise and touch­es of shoegaze reverb, but at the cen­ter are glo­ri­ous, gen­tle har­monies.

They open for Son­ic Youth tomor­row, August 30th, at the McCar­ren Park Pool, or you can catch them again at Death By Audio on Sep­tem­ber 2nd.

Blur in Video

Par­lophone Records recent­ly put all 22 Blur videos up on YouTube, which is pret­ty cool. It’s inter­est­ing to com­pare the Pop­scene video from 1992, with the icon­ic Song 2 video from five years lat­er – there are a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties, (though I wish music video direc­tors would refrain from putting sing-a-long lyrics on the screen).

Blur was my favorite band back in the 90s, and I’ve seen them per­form live a hand­ful of times, the best of which was a rau­cous small show down­stairs at the Mid­dle East in Cam­bridge, MA in 1997. [MOKB]

Ladytron @ Terminal 5

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Ladytron performing at Terminal 5.

I’ve been known to make some blan­ket pro­nounce­ments over the years – such as, “I don’t like cov­er bands,” only to be proven wrong lat­er. What I dis­cov­ered was that I quite loved cov­er bands when they play music that I like, as opposed to the baby boomer prog rock and frat boy dri­v­el that you usu­al­ly hear.

Apply the same les­son to light shows… fan­cy lights at rock shows always seemed ridicu­lous to me; a ston­er cliché. Ahh, but fan­cy light shows accom­pa­ny­ing music that I love? That’s awe­some!

Ladytron is one such band. As good as many of their records are, their live shows are some­thing bor­der­ing on the tran­scen­dent. Now, I real­ize that it is noth­ing new for elec­tron­ic bands to have light shows synced to the music, but what is impres­sive to me about them is their seri­ous­ness about play­ing real instru­ments, live, in the room. It brings a lot more ener­gy to the show.

But, it has me won­der­ing… how do they sync the lights so per­fect­ly? It’s almost like there is a com­put­er with a line-in feed, pro­cess­ing every­thing as it’s played.

Con­tin­ue read­ing ‘Ladytron @ Ter­mi­nal 5’

Love is All @ Market Hotel

Josephine

Josephine Olausson, singer and keyboardist for the Swedish Indie band Love Is All, performing in Bushwick last Saturday.

Despite the heavy rains, thun­der and light­en­ing last sat­ur­day night, I ven­tured out to Bush­wick on the J train to catch one of my favorite bands, Love Is All. They’ve acquired some­thing of a good live rep­u­ta­tion over the past cou­ple of years, and though it was a short set, they didn’t dis­ap­point.

One glance at these pho­tos and video, and it should be clear that this was a very hot and sweaty show. And giv­en that I found myself in the “pit” for the first time since my grunge days in high school, I’m pret­ty sure that I left the Mar­ket Hotel that night with a lot of oth­er peo­ples’ sweat on me.

Con­tin­ue read­ing ‘Love is All @ Mar­ket Hotel’

Radiohead covers… ::yawn::

I don’t under­stand why Radio­head is con­sid­ered by many to be one of the best rock bands of all time. Since The Bends, I’ve been bored.

Radio­head cov­er of Joy Division/New Order’s “Cer­e­mo­ny”
Sounds excit­ing, but 30 sec­onds of this made me want to hear the orig­i­nal instead. One doesn’t think of Bernard Sumner’s voice as in the same league as Thom Yorke, but he wins.

Radio­head cov­ers the Smiths’ “The Head­mas­ter Rit­u­al”
Here again, a life­less, list­less cov­er. Thom does an uncon­vinc­ing ape of Moz’s mock-tor­tured cadence that just ends up tor­tur­ing us all.

Go ahead and try to con­vince me oth­er­wise…

U2’s “Wave of Sorrow”

If you look in my iTunes library right now, you won’t find any U2. But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have the entire back cat­a­logue. The Joshua Tree was my first CD when I was a kid, I even have Under a Blood Red Sky on vinyl.

But, just because I don’t real­ly lis­ten to them any­more, doesn’t mean that I don’t get a lit­tle excit­ed when some­thing new U2 comes out. In advance of the re-release and remas­tered spe­cial edi­tion of The Joshua Tree, the band has released a video on iLike’s Face­book app where Bono dis­cuss­es an unre­leased track includ­ed on the com­pi­la­tion.

U2 – “Wave of Sor­row”

The sen­ti­ment is mov­ing, but man, I can’t believe the guy sings along to his own record­ing… as ever, Bono strad­dles the line between ego­ma­ni­ac and saint.

[via]

The Go! Team

It’s fri­day – time to get ready for the week­end. I final­ly got around to get­ting the new The Go! Team album Proof of Youth, and it’s great. I’m lov­ing the jux­ta­po­si­tion of hiphop, noisy gui­tars, and the mul­ti­c­ul­ti line­up.

Here is a live video:

A short doc­u­men­tary on the band is below the fold.

Con­tin­ue read­ing ‘The Go! Team’

Vamoose Bus

I know what bus I’m tak­ing now, when­ev­er I need to get to Boston or DC:

NYC-Boston bus offers free wi-fi, and reser­va­tions
…will pro­vide rid­ers with free WiFi on its leased bus­es, which are equipped with routers. Vamoose is sell­ing one-way reserved seats for $22.

Free wi-fi and a guar­an­teed seat, for $40 round trip? Done.

More at Vamoosebus.com.

iPhone 1.1.1 and 3rd Party Apps

iNde­pen­dence for iPhone
It ain’t pret­ty, but I used this to upgrade to the 1.1.1 firmware, and then to man­u­al­ly copy installer.app onto the phone. Hel­lo 3rd-par­ty apps!

Beware, this is a lot more com­pli­cat­ed than the way things were, before 1.1.1.

Alma Mater

Lisa and I still keep in touch with a lot of friends from high school, some of which we’ve known since grade school. We were all try­ing to remem­ber today if there was an alma mater anthem for our High School. As none of us were par­tic­u­lar­ly rah-rah back then, we couldn’t remem­ber.

Three of us, how­ev­er, could remem­ber the words to our grade school anthem — which is a bit shock­ing, con­sid­er­ing the last time I heard it was some­time in 1988, in the fifth grade. I think they forced us to sing this thing dur­ing assem­blies, through­out the school years:

Coun­try Park­way is our school,
where we learn to obey the rules.
We do our best and take great pride,
with our Country’s flag fly­ing high.

Here we work and here we play
Learn­ing new things every­day.
From north to south and east to west,
Our Coun­try Park­way is the best.

Creepy, in its empha­sis on con­for­mi­ty — espe­cial­ly for a fair­ly pro­gres­sive pub­lic school dis­trict.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Is Is”

New YYYThe new Yeah Yeah Yeahs EP Is Is is out, and it kind of reminds me why they were worth lis­ten­ing to in the first place.

From Pitch­fork:

Each aspect of her (Karen O’s) stage iden­ti­ty finds equal expres­sion on these songs, which only makes them sound more imme­di­ate and affect­ing. In fact, Is Is may be their most instant­ly acces­si­ble release, which is not a crit­i­cal dig but just a way of say­ing it finds a good bal­ance between alien­at­ing and invit­ing, between song and per­for­mance.

It was pro­duced by Aus­tralian Nick Lau­nay (who record­ed Gang of Four, Killing Joke, and Pub­lic Image Ltd). Not too shab­by.

8/10 — iTunes

Silent Shout: An Audio Visual Experience

I’ve been lis­ten­ing to a few CDs on repeat a lot, these past few months – my chief obses­sion being The Knife’s two LPs, the ear­li­er Deep Cuts, and last year’s Silent Shout. I’m not a big tech­no fan, but I am a con­fessed sven­sk-phile.

I’m excit­ed to hear from Pitch­fork that The Knife are get­ting ready to release a deluxe edi­tion of Silent Shout, “fea­tur­ing a live disc and a DVD in addi­tion to the orig­i­nal synth-rat­tled mas­ter­piece.”

I’m total­ly look­ing for­ward to the DVD [Pre-order with Ama­zon] – my favorite track “Heart­beats” was re-worked awe­some­ly. Here’s a pre­view:

Sabres as Oasis?

Chris DruryWe’re head­ing home to Buf­fa­lo for the hol­i­day, (and my 10-year High School reunion), which reminds me of how well the Sabres are play­ing.

ESPN’s John Buc­ci­gross com­pares the Sabres to the brit­pop Oasis of all things:

At full strength, the Buf­fa­lo Sabres are unequiv­o­cal­ly the best team in the NHL. Not only do they have the full com­ple­ment of parts, but Buf­fa­lo has that con­fi­dence that Oasis had when they went head-to-head with Blur back in 1995 in a Brit­pop mano a mano, or more accu­rate­ly called boyo-a-boyo.

Noel Gal­lagher said he and Oasis’ soul was more pure than Blur’s because they grew up poor, with dirt under­neath their fin­ger­nails, while Blur was mid­dle class. The con­cept is inter­est­ing, espe­cial­ly when it is spo­ken with a rough Eng­lish accent while sit­ting in a gigan­tic and expen­sive chair.

But Chris Drury, who grew up in a mid­dle-class town in south­ern Con­necti­cut, makes $3.1 mil­lion this sea­son and prob­a­bly will sign a five-year, $22 mil­lion con­tract with some­one next sum­mer. And yet, he plays every game like some­one kid­napped his entire fam­i­ly and the ran­som is win­ning the face­off he is about to take. That’s the sto­ry, morn­ing glo­ry.

I may not agree with John’s take on the 90s Brit­pop war, but it’s hard to argue with his thoughts on Drury.

Indie Rock and Pot

Sor­ry for not post­ing in a while, but Pres­ley post­ed some­thing too fun­ny:

Weed Makes You Lis­ten to Indie Rock

Accord­ing to the Office of Nation­al Drug Con­trol Pol­i­cy and the Part­ner­ship for a Drug-Free Amer­i­ca, smok­ing the wacky tabacky turns you into a poseur. Even worse: an indie rock poseur.

Lis­ten to this PSA. Just lis­ten to it. And then just try to tell me it doesn’t make you want to put down the bong and start lis­ten­ing to rap music.

[mp3]

links for 2006-10-10

The Good, The Bad And The Queen — “Her­culean”
Stere­ogum has an MP3 of the first sin­gle from TGTB&TQ… it’s more Goril­laz than vin­tage Blur, but haunt­ing none the less.
More info on TGTB&TQ here

Lad Lit in Song

I always knew there was some­thing wrong with Nick Horn­by… now I have proof.