Tag Archive for 'music'

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.

Gondry’s Flight of the Conchords

The first four episodes of sea­son two of Flight of the Con­chords were unin­spired and for­get­table, but that all changed with episode five. Direct­ed by Michel Gondry, the Con­chords return to the top with two great songs – the Sausage­fest anthem Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor, and an ode to Jemaine’s ex-girl­friends titled Car­ol Brown.

I’m just catch­ing up on this sea­son now, but episode six has Kris­ten Wiig from SNL… omgz!

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 »

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


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

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]

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog is a fan­tas­tic three-part web-only musi­cal, star­ring Neil Patrick Har­ris. I can’t under­line enough how good this is. Avail­able online for free until July 20th, and then avail­able in iTunes for $3.99.

Ladytron @ Terminal 5


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 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’

Ari Up and the Slits

The Slits

The Slits, Mercury Lounge, Wednesday March 5, 2008 – NYC

It’s not 1976 any more, but it was great to see Ari Up per­form Slits songs. She’s so full of ener­gy, still sport­ing those crazy dread­locks, and was wear­ing a fan­tas­ti­cal­ly ter­ri­ble Amer­i­can-Appar­el-gone-wrong hand craft­ed space out­fit. At one point she com­plained about the tights, and encour­aged every­one to shoplift from AA.

Cut is still a clas­sic record from the post-punk peri­od, and I espe­cial­ly love their cov­er of I Heard it Through the Grapevine. See them at SXSW, or on tour this spring – see Myspace for details.

On Video

I didn’t make any excit­ing res­o­lu­tions this New Year, except to get back to my fight­ing weight, and land a more per­ma­nent design job. Look­ing back on 2007, one thing that stands out is that my Flickr pho­to­stream final­ly became a more real-time pho­to reflec­tion of my life, with the con­ve­nience of my iPhone and its unlim­it­ed data plan. Sure, the qual­i­ty of my pho­tog­ra­phy might have dete­ri­o­rat­ed, but I’ve always pre­ferred to shoot from the hip any­way. The iPhone suits what I want to do with Flickr.

But for 2008, I’d like to make one small res­o­lu­tion: do more with video. I bought a new point-and-shoot cam­era that does OK VGA video, (Canon Dig­i­tal Elph SD750), so I want to put it to use. It’s out­put is a lit­tle grainy, espe­cial­ly in low light, but I think it suits what I want to do with it.

Here is a lit­tle idea that I got while walk­ing around the Meat­pack­ing dis­trict this past week­end: the The­o­ry store on Gan­sevoort street has these amaz­ing pul­sat­ing col­ored lights in the win­dow – so I shot them, and then looped them in iMovie, set to The Knife’s live arrange­ment of “Heart­beats”:

Con­tin­ue read­ing ‘On Video’

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.


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’

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.


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.