Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

Demaro, a new Jamaican artist by way of NYC, shows he’s ready for the spotlight in his new video for Mi Readi.  Destroyer just put out his gorgeous video for Cue Synthesizer, off his upcoming album Have We Met out 1/31.  Also releasing a video at the end of the month is Son Little, who just dropped this animated video for Never Give Up (and I’m glad he’s not).

Bonus:  I just discovered the new Leif Vollebekk album through a Pitchfork review, and followed that through this excellent video for Blood Brother.  Definitely has a Ray LaMontagne vibe - but Canadian.

YACHT (1/11/20)

Oh so fun!  While this wasn’t a show of their greatest hits (they played their new album in its entirety), it was still an incredibly upbeat and danceable show.  I’ve been listening to their new album and it’s as good as anything they’ve put out.  However they show did end with some of their earlier hits, just enough to end the show in euphoria.  Check out the extensive video below!

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Opening was Juiceboxxx.  A pop/punk/rapper?  I’m not sure how to classify Juiceboxx, other than just pure energy.  Quite an emotive performance that was about approaching the same level as Future Islands at the Beachland Tavern.  I’d see him again just for the spectacle of it all. 

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Damn the Witch Siren from Columbus opened the show.  While there were some technical difficulties starting the show, they recovered well and had a great stage presence.  Lots of energy and audience engagement.  Their sound is definitely POP, but with some unique dynamics to it.  I’ll keep an eye on this band.

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Article: The Number Ones: Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park”

I love that Stereogum just highlighted Donna Summer’s MacArthur Park as part of its series The Number Ones!  I can’t quite remember how I first discovered this song, but it’s been one of my favorite disco / Donna Summer tracks.  The original article only embedded the edited version that is under 4 minutes - but I’m including the nearly 18 minute version here, which I prefer.  It’s this version that has established itself as our official camp tear-down song, with the goal of the strike to be completed before the end of the song.  It’s good to have goals.


"‘MacArthur Park,’ in its original Richard Harris form, peaked at #2. (It’s a 6.) It didn’t fade away after that, either. It stuck around. Waylon Jennings won a Grammy for a 1969 country version of the song. The Four Tops turned it into orchestral soul in 1971. Andy Williams cut a sleepy easy-listening version in 1972. In his 1975 audition for the original Saturday Night Live cast, Andy Kaufman gave a straight-faced spoken-word recitation of the ‘MacArthur Park’ lyrics. Someone, somewhere, was going to turn ‘MacArthur Park’ into a disco song. It was inevitable. We’re lucky we got the Donna Summer version."


"As with the Richard Harris original, Summer recorded ‘MacArthur Park’ with the best LA studio musicians that her producers could round up. Moroder found other ways to put his literal voice into ‘MacArthur Park.’ On the chorus, the backing vocals are Moroder himself, multi-tracked into a chorus. It’s a trick that other producers would use many, many times in the decades ahead, but nobody else was doing stuff like that then. In the four-minute single edit of the song that Moroder put together, we get a swirling, histrionic, string-dominated intro that recalls the original. But then, one minute in, the beat drops, and ‘MacArthur Park turns into a gloriously hard-thumping disco jam. Summer lets out a quick whoop, but she keeps her composure, and she works overtime to keep the song’s strange emotional resonance alive."

(Via The Number Ones: Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park” - Stereogum.)

Friday, January 10, 2020

Tomorrow! YACHT @ Grog Shop

This is going to be an incredible show!  I’ve been posting YACHT videos for years, but have never had the chance to see them live. They rarely come to Cleveland!  I’m particularly intrigued at how they used AI to help create their newest album, which they will be playing in it’s entirety at the show.  I’ve been listening to it end to end and excited to see how they translate this live.  I wholly expect this to be a dance party!  Tickets are only $15, with Juiceboxxx and Damn the Witch Siren opening.  See you there!

YACHT is an acronym for Young Americans Challenging High Technology. They became well-known in 2009 with the release of their song “Psychic City” and released a subsequent on-slaught of bangers with their tunes “I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler”, “Where Does This Disco?”, and “Shangri-La”. - Grog Shop

 “At their best, YACHT gave us Devo's wit, Blondie's grace, and Tom Tom Club's playful energy, all wrapped in a knowing grin and a clever concept.” - Pitchfork

"Evans says the group enjoys a challenge and regularly takes on art projects that are way beyond its skill sets.

‘We fake it to make it and come out of the other end with musical skills,’ she says, adding the band was just nominated for a Grammy for Best Immersive Audio Album. ‘We love to learn. That’s why we took the AI project on. We wanted to learn what artificial intelligence is and how it works and what its implications are for artists and society at large. We then wanted to make something meaningful out of it. It’s not just an educational project for us, but it’s about showing out audience what we learned and educating them about how AI works and what the aesthetic boundaries are.’"

(Via YACHT Comes to the Grog Shop on Jan. 11 in Support of a Terrific New Album | Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog.)

Friday, January 3, 2020

Article: Purged: How a failed economic theory still rules the digital music marketplace


"Many of the participants in the music industry and particularly in the electronic music industry have unknowingly built their careers or at least their aspirations for one on a dead, discredited theory written by a techno-utopian magazine editor with no education in economics. There wasn’t supposed to be this mass of unsold tracks. They were supposed to sell a few copies of each. The shelf was infinite. Less of more.

The unspoken but universally held laws that guided the digital music industry for the last two decades weren’t true. They were never true.

Everyone told you that releasing 52 tracks a year was better than 14, that more tracks meant a higher royalty statement, that you have to ‘get on all platforms’ for some kind of ledger-bound magic to happen and make you rich. Moreover, if you didn’t get rich, the problem wasn’t the system: it was you. It wasn’t the inevitable result of an economic theory based on bullshit. It didn’t fail: you did.

And it turns out it was nothing but a great big fraud."

(Via Purged: How a failed economic theory still rules the digital music marketplace | 5 Magazine.)

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

Remember me talking about enjoying a good montage video, kudos to Orville Peck and his new video for Nothing Fades Like The Light. Brendan Maclean, my favorite queer Australian musician, has his new video out for Goes Without Saying. I couldn’t agree with Toro Y Moi more, with his new video being released for New House. 

Bonus:  I somehow stumbled on this new video for Sam Doores for Let It Roll.  I suspect it was because if follow New West Records YouTube RSS feed, but I guess this is the reason I do.  And i need to say that montage videos are a complicated genre that is often hard to get right - but Sam pulls this off in spades.  I couldn’t be more intrigued by his new self-titled album coming out on March 13th.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Video Day #tzaholiday

Several holiday videos popped up this year that I thought I would share.   Jose Rouse, a looong time TZA fav just put out his version of a Mediterranean X-Mas.  Clean Bandit is making A Christmas Wish with their video.  I hadn’t heard much from  Macklemore lately, and frankly I’ve moved on, but I figured he’d drop a good Christmas video, and he did.

Bonus.  Someone put out a 4K version of Wham!’s Last Christmas video.  I don’t think it was really necessary, but here it is if you want to relive some cheeseball 80’s realness… in 4K!

WHY? (12/19/19)

WHY? has been around for quite awhile now.  They’re an intriguing band with a unique sound - in the direction of Cake, Beck, and Jack Antonoff.  But not unlike last time, my heart just wasn’t into the show.  Gabby’s World opening is what really got me out this night, but unfortunately WHY? didn’t keep me there.

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Gabby’s World was a little more subdued than I was expecting, but considering they’re also part of WHY?’s touring band, I can’t imagine they could be performing with a full setup themselves - or if they even do.  But the songwriting and the harmonies were quite nice.  Check them out below. 

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Monday, December 23, 2019

Article: Why Music Brings Pleasure: Demystified

Makes sense to me

"‘In terms of imaging we have captured from the brain, studies have shown that listening to music activates multiple parts simultaneously, which corresponds to far more parts than any other stimulus produces in humans.’

The fact that music activates so many brain systems at once is why it makes it so sweeping and pleasurable. Music exerts its deepest effect on the emotional nucleus of the brain, the limbic system.

The most amazing thing is that music automatically activates areas of the brain that are essential to feelings of pleasure and reward. So much so that the same pleasure centers of the brain that become active when we listen to our favorite tunes are exactly the same as those that are linked when humans eat chocolate or have … sex!"

(Via Why Music Brings Pleasure: Demystified - MTT - Music Think Tank.)

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Róisín Murphy is BACK again, with this delicious new track (and video) for Narcissus.  Flying Lotus released this stellar video for Black Balloons feat. Denzel Curry.  And speaking of Denzel, he also showed up on the new video (game) collaboration with Glass Animals!

Bonus:  Looking back over my blog, I have posted a LOT of San Cisco videos.  And after watching this one, I know why.  These folks are superb in their pop craft.