Tag Archive for 'music'

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BU Central

Man, I’ve tak­en a long break from this site… a belat­ed wel­come back to all the col­lege kids—I almost for­got about all of you.

And since it’s the new school year, it’s also time for BU Cen­tral to start up. They host bands, come­di­ans and oth­er fun stuff that we nev­er had dur­ing our years there.

Rainer Maria

It makes me laugh when they pop up on Sir­ius Left of Cen­ter, as “up-and-com­ing”.

Catastrophe

Beirut

I real­ly don’t get what the buzz is about, but, I have to respect their live act. I’ve nev­er seen a room of kids go that apeshit over ukule­les.

Beirut

Oth­er shows will be post­ed on their web­site, but a BU ID required to get in.

The Good, The Bad And The Queen

Damon and Paul
photo by NME

The Offi­cial Blur mail­ing list announced today that Damon Albarn’s new project The Good, The Bad And The Queen, will per­form their first gig at a BBC fes­ti­val in Octo­ber. TGTBTQ is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between Albarn (Blur & Goril­laz), bassist Paul Simonon of The Clash, and gui­tarist Simon Tong of The Verve.

Damon is already set­ting expec­ta­tions high, accord­ing to the BBC:

It was “a sto­ry” rather than a band, said Albarn, adding he was “very, very proud” of the work, which will be per­formed on 26 Octo­ber at the Round­house.

It’s a very Eng­lish record. It’s the first time I’ve real­ly writ­ten about home since Park­life,” he said.

The sound of the com­po­si­tion was “very cos­mopoli­tan” with “a lot of songs that have got his­tor­i­cal sto­ries to them”, Albarn added.

A sin­gle will be released this fall, but the album isn’t due until 2007, pro­duced by Dan­ger Mouse. Check out the offi­cial web­site for more info and a teas­er video.

UPDATE: Scott at Stere­ogum post­ed with a YouTube link to the teas­er video.

The Beatings

ErinI went to see Reverse play at Bill’s Bar Fri­day night, and got to catch The Beat­ings for the first time. They’re a four-piece indie-rock act from Boston that’s been around for a cou­ple of years, and they remind­ed me a lot of Hüsker Dü and the last Pix­ies album, Trompe le Monde.

It’s a pret­ty raw sound, but always melod­ic and direct. And I liked that the two gui­tarists and bassist each took turns at the mic — (no doubt they also share in song writ­ing). 

Pitchfork Music Festival

Pitchfork Music Festival

We didn’t make it down to SXSW, but we are head­ing to Chica­go for Pitchfork’s fes­ti­val.

96 degrees and humid… see you in hell, Chica­go!


Asobi Seksu @ Great Scott

Asobi Seksu

Yuki Chikudate and Asobi Seksu performing at Great Scott in Allston.

We went to The Plan at Great Scott on Sat­ur­day night to see the Brook­lyn band Aso­bi Sek­su — I got some good shots of them and two of the open­ing bands.

As I wrote ear­li­er, the new record Cit­rus is an incred­i­ble step for­ward for them, and the live show suc­ceed­ed in dupli­cat­ing the wash of gui­tars and noise, with­out com­plete­ly cov­er­ing up Yuki’s voice. They’re nice peo­ple, too.

The oth­er great thing dur­ing the set were the lights and smoke effects… so cool. The Plan peo­ple are real­ly show­ing up the old Cam­bridge clubs, because it was freak­ing cool.

Glass Candy

micNobuko and I went to see PDX’s Glass Can­dy play at Great Scott last night… wow, what a fun show.

It’s a three piece band, made up of a drum­mer, gui­tarist, and a glammed up blonde singer named Ida No. They use a lot of loops and beats, which mix with some relent­less drum­ming and No’s post-punk vocal stylings. She coos, she screams, and she mean­ders around the stage, bare­foot.

And most of all, she makes white boys like me dance. She’s Deb­bie Har­ry on meth. What’s not to like?

My New York City friends can catch them tonight at Don Hill’s, with the Chro­mat­ics.

Copyrights Pressure

The New York Times dis­cov­ered everybody’s favorite cut-rate Russ­ian MP3 site… allofmp3.com. And appar­ent­ly, the Moscow-based busi­ness is hold­ing up Russia’s appli­ca­tion to the WTO, (nev­er­mind that it’s a total­ly legal ser­vice inside Rus­sia).

In oth­er news, I found this BBC head­line humor­ous: Web­site back after Swedish raids — almost con­jures up visions of Viking mau­raders… any­way, The Pirate Bay is up, and the Swedes are start­ing to take to the streets. Stay tuned…

New to You, New to Me

A cou­ple of music things to post about today – some­thing new, and some­thingnew to me

Asobi SeksuAso­bi Sek­su – Cit­rus

The New York City band released their 2nd album this week, and it’s very good. They always remind­ed me of My Bloody Valen­tine meets Pizzi­ca­to Five, only bet­ter… and I absolute­ly love Sean McCabe’s art­work. Check them out on Myspace, or peep my shots of lead singer Yuki danc­ing with Jen­na.

Tilly and the WallTilly and the Wall – Wild Like Chil­dren

I am so not into Bright Eyes, but I love this band… The album reminds me of 60’s folk music, as sung by Oma­ha hip­sters. Vil­lage Indi­an has some MP3s and an inter­view, and you can check out the video for Ice Storm, Big Gust, and You to get the idea. If you liked Jen­ny Lewis’ solo album, you might like Tilly.

No SXSW, but…

OK, so I’m jeal­ous of all of you SXSW’ers out there… my Flickr Con­tacts feed has been full of SXSW antics… next year, I must go, (yea I’ve been say­ing that for years).

Metric

possessed

Mean­while, back here in Boston, I’ve seen a cou­ple of good shows. First up was Met­ric, at the Roxy, on March 7th. If you have the chance to see them on this tour, do your­self a favor and get a tick­et. I’m not the only one who is impressed.

They’ve got the best front­woman in Rock n’ Roll right now, (step aside Karen O), and are musi­cal­ly pret­ty tight. They played for about two hours, and invit­ed chaos for secu­ri­ty at the end of the set, when they wel­comed audi­ence mem­bers up on stage. Then, Emi­ly dashed into the crowd for an impromp­tu meet-n-greet, which is some­thing I have nev­er seen at a rock show. Bra­vo!

Reverse

Ian

The oth­er show was this past thurs­day, at the Mid­dle East UpstairsReverse, Scam­per, and a cou­ple oth­er bands. Reverse is also very musi­cal­ly tight, and pret­ty roc­ki’… and, our work­mate Ian is the singer/guitarist, so it was nice to come out and sup­port him. We’ve seen Scam­per before, open­ing for Kay Han­ley, and I have to say that I enjoy them. They def­i­nite­ly fit the tra­di­tion­al “Boston” Indie pow­er-pop sound, which I appre­ci­ate.

Music for a Cold Sunday Afternoon

  • Depeche Mode’s Pre­cious The per­fect track – I want this played at my wed­ding, should that day ever come.
  • The Sun­days’ Wild Hors­es I like this bet­ter than the Rolling Stones’ orig­i­nal… Harriet’s voice is haunt­ing… As a kid grow­ing up in Buf­fa­lo, I used to sit in my base­ment and teach myself to play gui­tar. I had a Bea­t­les song book, some records to play along to, and print­ed-out tab­la­ture.
  • Matisyahu’s King With­out A Crown The only hasidic reg­gae star I know of… incred­i­ble live per­for­mance.
  • La Laque’s La Sirène dort I’m still wait­ing for a prop­er­ly-record­ed LP, but their live show is awe­some. These girls (and guys) are on to some­thing here.

Courtney Love does the math

I don’t know how I missed this, but Court­ney Love gave an incred­i­ble speech at a May 2000 con­fer­ence, on the music busi­ness, copy­right law, and the real music pirates – the Majors. Salon has the unedit­ed tran­script, but I rec­om­mend read­ing it on Dave Ray’s site.

My favorite excerpt:

Some­where along the way, record com­pa­nies fig­ured out that it’s a lot more prof­itable to con­trol the dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem than it is to nur­ture artists. And since the com­pa­nies didn’t have any real com­pe­ti­tion, artists had no oth­er place to go. Record com­pa­nies con­trolled the pro­mo­tion and mar­ket­ing; only they had the abil­i­ty to get lots of radio play, and get records into all the big chain store. That pow­er put them above both the artists and the audi­ence. They own the plan­ta­tion.

Being the gate­keep­er was the most prof­itable place to be, but now we’re in a world half with­out gates. The Inter­net allows artists to com­mu­ni­cate direct­ly with their audi­ences; we don’t have to depend sole­ly on an inef­fi­cient sys­tem where the record com­pa­ny pro­motes our records to radio, press or retail and then sits back and hopes fans find out about our music.

Record com­pa­nies don’t under­stand the inti­ma­cy between artists and their fans. They put records on the radio and buy some adver­tis­ing and hope for the best. Dig­i­tal dis­tri­b­u­tion gives every­one world­wide, instant access to music.

And fil­ters are replac­ing gate­keep­ers. In a world where we can get any­thing we want, when­ev­er we want it, how does a com­pa­ny cre­ate val­ue? By fil­ter­ing. In a world with­out fric­tion, the only fric­tion peo­ple val­ue is edit­ing. A fil­ter is valu­able when it under­stands the needs of both artists and the pub­lic. New com­pa­nies should be con­duits between musi­cians and their fans.

Court­ney Love was, (dare I say), a vision­ary… too bad nobody at the Major labels was lis­ten­ing.

IP in China

Don’t tell the Gov­er­na­tor, but you can down­load pirat­ed music via Yahoo! Chi­na.

Music

Maybe it’s been all this iPod talk these past few days, but I’ve added a bunch of new albums to my iTunes library recent­ly…

metric / live it outMet­ric, Live it Out

Hands down, bet­ter than the first album.

old Arcade FireThe Arcade Fire, Arcade Fire

Not as good as the sec­ond album, but love­ly just the same.

BRMC, HowlBlack Rebel Motor­cy­cle Club, Howl

All my female friends seem to love these guys, but I nev­er could get past the ston­er-rock facade. This is more a “root­sy” album, which nor­mal­ly should turn me off… but, I’m intrigued.

Stellastarr*, Harmonies for the HauntedStel­las­tarr*, Har­monies for the Haunt­ed

ehh, sigh.

Ladytron, Witching HourLadytron, Witch­ing Hour

Anoth­er My Bloody Valen­tine homage… but, this one doesn’t suck.

Franz Ferdinand, Franz FerdinandFranz Fer­di­nand, Franz Fer­di­nand You Could Have It So Much Bet­ter

I hope all of their LPs are epony­mous­ly titled. Thanks to Chris, for point­ing out the obvi­ous… this is not anoth­er epony­mous­ly titled release. I do love the Sovi­et-inspired art­work, though.

iTrip LCD

I’ve had the iTrip LCD for a cou­ple of weeks now, and I am very frus­trat­ed with it. I’ve used the reg­u­lar iTrip for a cou­ple of years, and it per­fomed about as well as can be expect­ed from an FM trans­mit­ter.

How­ev­er, when I recent­ly broke it, (the con­nec­tor some­how bent and detached, caus­ing some wires to dis­con­nect), I decid­ed to buy a new one. When I saw the LCD ver­sion, I ordered this instead.

My set­up in my car is exact­ly as it was with the orig­i­nal iTrip, (2000 Saab 9–3, 3rd-Gen iPod, with flat EQ and broad­cast to 88.7), but the result is sim­ply mad­den­ing.

With the old iTrip, the iPod vol­ume was set to about 90%, and caused very lit­tle dis­tor­tion. But, with the new iTrip LCD, the sound is heav­i­ly dis­tort­ed at 90% vol­ume, and the unit auto­mat­i­cal­ly reduces the vol­ume to about 50–60% for most music. This of course ampli­fies the sta­t­ic and back­ground noise. To make mat­ters worse, even then the music is still dis­tort­ed. DX-mode makes only a mar­gin­al dif­fer­ence.

I hate to rain on the parade, but I had the old one, and it worked fine. I sub­mit­ted a help tick­et to Grif­fin 12 hours ago, and have yet to receive a response… per­haps their ser­vice techs are busy draft­ing the product’s sup­port web site?

Stellastarr* tonight

I got a nice sur­prise from our friends at FNX:

Con­grat­u­la­tions! You and a guest have been added to the VIP list for the PRIVATE WFNX / Smirnoff Off the Radar con­cert with Stel­las­tarr*.

This pri­vate con­cert is Wednes­day August 31st at the Mid­dle East Down­stairs (472 Mass Ave in Cam­bridge). The doors open at 9pm. HOWEVER, your entrance is based on club capac­i­ty. SO GET THERE EARLY - it’s a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE admis­sion.

Last time I saw Stel­las­tarr, we were down in front, and all the col­lege kid­dies were mak­ing out with each oth­er. How roman­tic

La Laque & Pas/Cal

When I was in New York, Jen­na and I checked out the La Laque & Pas/Cal show at Ton­ic, in the Low­er East Side. They were cel­e­brat­ing the joint release of a 12″ sin­gle.

The real sur­prise for me was how much I liked the Brook­lyn-based La Laque. They’re three girls & three boys, play­ing French New Wave / Surf rock. Lis­ten­ing to the few MP3s out there won’t quite con­vey the ener­gy and feel­ing they exert on stage. I may nev­er lis­ten to anoth­er Stere­o­lab album again [sic].

And it was nice to see Yuki & James (of Aso­bi Sek­su) again… they’re com­ing to Boston soon, and I can’t wait to see them play again.

Pixies @ The Paradise

Yes­ter­day, we scored tick­ets to a last-minute Pix­ies show at the Par­adise, a small club just over the riv­er from our house. They were shoot­ing footage for a DVD, so the room was full of boom & track cam­eras. This is my 4th Pix­ies show, but by far the most inti­mate — we were only 6–7 feet from Kim Deal!

Pres­ley post­ed our pho­tos… here are some teasers:

pixies

Kim Smiles, uploaded by Pres­ley

pixies

Frank and Joey, uploaded by Pres­ley

Most Influential Modern Rock Albums, Part 4

Ok, ok, I know I’m behind on this list. Num­ber 5 will come lat­er this week…

U2, Achtung Baby : For me, Achtung turned the musi­cal world upside-down… the first CD that I owned, which I received as a gift with my first CD play­er, was The Joshua Tree — with Rat­tle and Hum, this was the cul­mi­na­tion of 80’s-era do-good­er U2. Intense­ly spir­i­tu­al, earnest and direct, Joshua Tree cement­ed the band’s pos­i­tive pub­lic image, while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly launch­ing them into the ranks of super­star­dom, caus­ing even Time Mag­a­zine to dub them Rock’s hottest Tick­et.

But, the band was about the re-invent itself. I remem­ber see­ing the first video from Achtung, The Fly, and think­ing what the hell is this?. Gone were the soul­ful tunes and cow­boy hats… instead we heard a jar­ring gui­tar riff, Bono singing in falset­to and walk­ing along the edge of a rooftop, while clever slo­gans flashed across a night­time city land­scape. WATCH MORE TV. EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG. It was an assault on your eyes and ears, and couldn’t have been more dif­fer­ent from the days when Bono sang about Mar­tin Luther King Jr..

Sure, the album has some ter­rif­ic songs — One, Mys­te­ri­ous Ways, and So Cru­el to name a few. But as a high school kid, I was more intrigued by the media cri­tique Bono and the band pre­sent­ed. ZooTV was the first tour that used video as a medi­um for more than pro­vid­ing the peo­ple in the cheap seats with a bet­ter view. Instead, the band played a mul­ti­me­dia mix­ture of clips — any­thing from CNN, to crick­et match­es, to those clever lit­tle slo­gans men­tioned above.

And Bono’s on-stage per­sona, “The Fly”, was a rejec­tion of the do-good­er U2 image of the 80s, and an embrace of the excess and self-grat­i­fi­ca­tion that fans and crit­ics expect of celebri­ties. “Tongue-and-cheek” to be sure, but for all the satire, the music still kicked ass.

Most Influential Modern Rock Albums, Part 3

The Clash, Lon­don Call­ing : When­ev­er I hear the open­ing bars of this album, my pulse quick­ens and my hand reach­es for the vol­ume knob. The range of musi­cal styles the group takes on is absolute­ly amaz­ing— Rock­a­bil­ly in Brand New Cadil­lac, reg­gae in Rudy Can’t Fail, dis­co in Lost in the Super­mar­ket, and even the Phil Spec­tor-ish Wall of Sound in The Card Cheat.

On Call­ing, the band bor­rowed heav­i­ly from the past, but fil­tered and sharp­ened the music through their late-70s, malaise-cloud­ed lens. Even the album cov­er design was an homage to Elvis’s first LP—however, the smil­ing por­trait of the 50s rock­er was replaced by a now icon­ic pho­to of Paul Simonon, smash­ing his bass on stage.

As you lis­ten track by track, Strum­mer and Jones’s vocal har­monies inter­twine like a twin-head­ed monster—completely synced, but so dif­fer­ent in tone. Jones’s Train in Vain sounds a lot like a bounc­ing McCart­ney tune turned sour, while tracks like Lon­don Call­ing and Death or Glo­ry strut Strummer’s lyri­cal wit and cool­ness. This jux­ta­po­si­tion of song-writ­ing per­son­al­i­ty always inter­ests me in the great bands—like Bono & The Edge, and Lennon & McCart­ney, Strum­mer & Jones seem like an odd pair­ing. But per­haps this ten­sion fos­ters an unusu­al cre­ative chem­istry, I don’t know.

I do know that there was a time in the late-70s, not short­ly after I was born, when the world seemed to be a mess. There was Three-mile island, war in the Mid­dle-East, Thatch­er, Rea­gan, and the demise of the polit­i­cal Left. In many ways, it reflects our times… which is why I think this album sounds as fresh and rel­e­vant today as it did 25 years ago.

Most Influential Modern Rock Albums, Part 2

Pix­ies, Surfer Rosa : Hav­ing been in Boston for 9 years now, I’ve lis­tened to and seen a lot of local live music — and none of it seems as good as it must have been in the late 80s. Rosa was the Pix­ies’ first LP, and though the fol­lowup Doolit­tle was more pol­ished, I pre­fer the raw­er debut.

Record­ed in Boston, at Q-Divi­sion by Steve Albi­ni, there is some­thing spe­cial about this record — the way the drums thud, and the mis­matched vocal har­monies of Frank/Charles & Kim, it just seems so inti­mate… like you can sense the space where it was record­ed.

Most Influential Modern Rock Albums, Part 1

I haven’t had much time late­ly to think about post­ing much — in fact, I’m sure my Mac is feel­ing neglegt­ed…

But, one thing I can do while work­ing and dri­ving to work, is lis­ten to music on my iPod. When I read Jason Kottke’s reac­tion to some recent Crit­ics’ picks for the best albums from the last twen­ty years, I start­ed think­ing about my own list.

First, it seems arbi­trary to draw a line at 20 years — I pre­fer to put the seper­a­tion between clas­sic rock, and mod­ern rock, since most of the impor­tant music of the past 20–30 years, (for me), falls into the lat­ter cat­e­go­ry.

For the next 5 days, (week­end exclud­ed), I will post my list for the Most Influ­en­tial Mod­ern Rock Albums, in no par­tic­u­lar order. Here is my first choice:

Blur, Park­life : Though today I more admire the ear­li­er Mod­ern Life is Rub­bish, I can’t deny that Park­life was a trans­for­ma­tive album for me. Released in 1994, when I was still in high school, it came to rep­re­sent every­thing that want­ed to be — clever, artic­u­late, sar­cas­tic, pop-aware, and para­noid.

Drawn large­ly on Mar­tin Amis’ char­ac­ters, espe­cial­ly from the nov­el Lon­don Fields, the album rev­elled in pre-Mil­lenial malaise, and got me to sing along… la la la la.

Pixies Return

Well well well… the Pix­ies are going to play Boston, after­all.

Last year, I saw them at the show in Amherst, and the first show in Low­ell. Now, they’re play­ing just across the riv­er.

Pix­ies relat­ed posts from last year:

UPDATE: Tbone got us font-and-cen­ter, 5th row!

Hopeless Friend

hopeless friend”, posted by nedward

Pres­ley is in nyc for a con­fer­ence, but that didn’t stop me from leav­ing the house last night. I caught Gra­ham Cox­on, for­mer gui­tarist for a lit­tle brit­pop out­fit called Blur.

I love Graham’s new album, Hap­pi­ness in Mag­a­zines, and was delight­ed to find out that he also puts on a hell of a show, for such a shy guy. His vocals espe­cial­ly were quite strong, though he freaked out and stopped in the mid­dle of a song because the light­ing guy put a spot on him…

My first Blur show was in March of ’97, in the Mid­dle East Down­stairs, when I was a fresh­men (yikes) in col­lege. Rivers Cuo­mo was hang­ing out at the bar, Damon soaked me with water from his many bot­tles, and Gra­ham most­ly sulked in the cor­ner, strum­ming vera­cious­ly. That was the best con­cert I have ever seen.

See­ing Gra­ham kind of makes me wish he was still in Blur, and they were still play­ing lit­tle clubs…

Some old posts about Blur and relat­ed projects:

Hot Hot Heat

Hot Hot Heat”, posted by nedward

Pet peeve for the day: How can Axis call itself a night club when it begins shows at 6:45pm and ends them by 9:30pm? Isn’t that just an evening club?

We went to see Hot Hot Heat on mon­day night, but due to the ear­ly show-time, man­aged to miss Louis XIV, and their lady-killer hit anthem, Find­ing out True Love is Blind (iTunes).

As for HHH, they’ve “blos­somed” into full blown rock stars since we last saw them. When singer/keyboardist Steve Bays walked out with a teased up white-boy afro, I decid­ed this would be my last HHH show. We’ll have to see about catch­ing Louis XIV again, some­time.

Dear Leader @ The Paradise

the room”, posted by nedward

Dear Leader start­ed as a side project for x-Sheila Divine singer Aaron Per­ri­no, but now is a fleshed-out band that includes musi­cians from past Boston bands such as Tug­boat Annie, Orbit, and Cheer­leadr…

Pres­ley and I used to be Sheilas junkies, so I’m not sure any Dear Leader show could even come close, but it was a fun night. The open­ing band was Tax­pay­er.

(Also, we ran into Jim Gilbert in the crowd, and he remem­bered both our names… quelle suprise!)