Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Ben Gage Trio (11/6/20)

Another rare live performance during COVID - on a rare warm evening in November.  I can’t think of a better place to see live music on a Fall evening, during a pandemic, than the patio at Forest City Brewery.  I can’t think of much better music to listen to than the Ben Gage Trio, who you may remember I recently saw at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  What a fabulous night of music, beer, and friends (outside, at a distance).

Ben Gage Trio  11 6 20

Side Note:  While Ben Gage is an excellent singer-songwriter, incidentally this is now the 2nd Gillian Welch song he’s covered that I’ve recorded!

The Evovlving State of Live Streaming Shows

I’m sure we’ve all seen a streaming performance by this point, right?  Mostly it’s been an artist in front of a camera in their living room (I’m thinking Ben Gibbard here).   There have been a few others that have a been a little more planned/produced as well (I’m thinking like  Robyn’s DJ Set and the Pitchfork Listening Club with Perfume Genius.)  What’s expected with all these performances is that they're all free (though tipping is always encouraged).  Something we come to expect with content on the internet.

These past couple (many) months, I’ve been supporting Bandcamp Fridays, buying artists merch, contributing to Kickstarters, etc. etc.  However, I’ve not yet purchased a ticket for a live streaming show.  It looks like that is about to change.  Here are two upcoming performances, by artists that I respect and enjoy, that are putting together online performances that I’m happy to pay for (and feel like I’m getting my money’s worth).  You should check them both out, as they’re both artists you’ve seen on TZA before.

"The Little Red Barn Show premiers November 12th with two special screenings that include a LIVE Q&A session with Kristian at 20:00 Central European Time and 8:00PM US Central Time. The film will be available beginning November 12th through November 21st

Tickets to view are on a sliding 'pay what you want' pricing scale, beginning at $5.00 USD."

(Via (9) The Tallest Man On Earth: The Little Red Barn Show (Trailer) - YouTube.)


"Lipa is finally taking the stage on November 27 — exactly eight months after Future Nostalgia's release — for a virtual concert. She's taking the 'future' and 'nostalgia' part of her disco-inspired album seriously and is dubbing the event 'Studio 2054,' a clear nod to the legendary New York City disco nightclub Studio 54. 

The virtual concert will feature tracks from the record, as well as the remix album, Club Future Nostalgia, and promises to turn the warehouse location where it'll be filmed into a bonafide disco heaven. ‘Dua will move through custom built sets; surreal tv shows, roller discos, ecstatic raves, trashy rocker hang outs, voguing ballrooms and diva style dressing rooms,' teases the press release.

Tickets for 'Studio 2054' go on sale October 30, with ticket bundles offering options for exclusive pre-show behind the scenes footage as well as After Show Party access — though it's unclear what the 'party' portion will look like."

(Via Dua Lipa Announces "Studio 2054," A Disco-Themed Virtual Concert.)

PS: Before I put this post together, Ezra Furman had her pay-to-play performance at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  Here’s a clip of that performance.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

Sarah Jarosz takes us to her Hometown on her new single, with this new video.  Shilpa Ray recently released this scathingly good song & video for Heteronormative Horseshit Blues. Finally, I don’t know where Small Black got this vintage content for their new video for Tampa, but it’s gold.

Bonus.  alexmaax is one part of MS MR and has a solo project out.  I find his voice, and this video compelling…  as well as his inspiration.  "It’s about trying to shake off the residual damage from a bad relationship – I wrote it a year after a traumatizing breakup, and it came from the frustration that I couldn’t seem to recover, even after all that time."

Friday, November 6, 2020

Top New Release: Róisín Murphy - Róisín Machine

If you search TZA, you’ll see that I’ve only ever posted videos by Róisín Murphy.  I’ve never had the chance to see her perform live!  I won’t get into her bio (check her out on Wikipedia), but I have been following her since the mid 2000’s, and with every album I've become even more infatuated.  Her music (and style) is always a step ahead of others, showing that she’s only improving with age.  This new album just takes it to a new level.  Check out some clips of articles, a video (repeat), and listen to the full album below!

"Over the course of the last 30 years, Róisín Murphy has made enough classics to fill up the Top 40 of a more fabulous world. To paraphrase the one-time announcer of this awful world’s pop countdown, Murphy has kept her couture-shod feet on the ground and kept reaching for the stars—though her idea of a star is more Cosey Fanni Tutti dancing to Sylvester than your average pop idol. The Irish singer-songwriter’s fifth solo album, Róisín Machine, might seem in some ways like the same old song and dance. But it’s done with such impeccable elan that she has turned the old nightlife songbook into a book of revelations."

(Via Róisín Murphy: Róisín Machine Album Review | Pitchfork.)

 "A grimy and glamorous pastiche of self-mythologising disco, nostalgic British club music, post-punk iconography and Murphy’s ever-sharp hooks, Róisín Machine — which was started over a decade ago, after the release of 2007’s Gaga blueprint Overpowered, but was pre-empted by the torch-singer techno of 2015’s Hairless Toys and 2016’s Take Her Up To Monto — is relentless and brilliant, serving as both a document of Murphy’s youth exploring the underground clubs of Manchester and Sheffield and a love letter to the transformative power of a dancefloor.

 Made largely in collaboration with Murphy’s long-time friend and collaborator Richard Barratt, aka DJ Parrot, Róisín Machine feels like the defining document of Murphy’s solo career so far, casting the 47-year-old as a mysterious, magnetic club denizen, the kind of person you might whisper about obsessively over the course of a lifetime without ever meeting. She switches guises constantly, and yet the record is in thrall of her, obsessed with Murphy as both a musician and a mythological figure almost to a fault. Occasionally an underappreciated or overlooked figure, Róisín Machine fits 20-plus years of overdue idol worship into an hour of tight, bone-rattling club music."

(Via Róisín Murphy is still doing it her way | The FADER.)

"What do you think of the disco revival that’s been happening this year, with the new albums from Dua Lipa and Jessie Ware?

‘Lovely, good for them – but I’m back to snatch their wigs! To me, disco can be anything. It is a disco record I’ve made, but my idea of it is very broad. I can easily think of Depeche Mode and Sylvester as disco.’"

(Via Róisín Murphy on the disco revival: “I’m back to snatch Dua Lipa and Jessie Ware’s wigs!”.)

Just some bonus, gay Q&A for ya:

"I’d like to get very gay right off the top. I was wondering if you tend to get more interest from Queer publications like this one, or are you finding you’re talking to more mainstream publications as your career evolves? Do you notice a shift in demographics with each release?

Well, I guess I have different kinds of demographics in different countries. I do have a very strong gay following across the board. But in some places it’s really gay, like in America, for example. When I played there, it was like wall to wall, lads with their tops off in their underwear. Everywhere. Hardcore! I love it, mate.

You know, the thing about the last tour that I did in America – I didn’t do big venues or anything, but it really made me aware of having to be on top of my game with the singing and all that! Róisín Murphy by Adrian Samson

Why? You mean because with the Gays you have all those other divas to compete with?

Well, just being in a completely gay environment, you know, completely mad people hanging out and sweaty bodies everywhere, and they’re loving it. It’s such a beautiful thing and it becomes a full circle for me, because I was always brought up to understand that the music I was into had been created by gay and marginalized cultures.

So, to then be embraced in that same kind of culture, I mean, maybe I’m not mainstream gay culture in America, I’m not sure if I even have the possibility to be, but certainly the, the parties that I’ve played there have been pretty full on!"

(Via OMG, a Q&A with Róisín Murphy (2020) | OMG.BLOG.)

Look Inside the World's Largest Collection of Pop Music: THE ARCHIVE

Fascinating. 🤓

Look Inside the World's Largest Collection of Pop Music: THE ARCHIVE

What do you do with one of the largest record collections in the world? You put the three million items in a building in lower manhattan. That is, until you're thrown out...VNT goes to see the dressing of the dead at the ARChive of Contemporary Music-- and a look at its next iteration, wherever that might be.

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Channel Tres announced his new mixtape (date tbd) with this easy breezy video for Skate Depot. KAYTRANADA & Tinashe kill it - literally - in their new video for The Worst In Me.Mdou Moctar is back (!!) with this new single and video for Chismiten, also announcing a new album sometime next year.

Bonus:  This new single and video from Dua Lipa for Levitating (feat. DaBaby) is pop confection.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Article: The Hidden Costs of Streaming Music

An important article. 

"‘The environmental cost of music is now greater than at any time during recorded music’s previous eras.’ He supports that claim with a chart of his own devising, using data culled from various sources, which suggests that, in 2016, streaming and downloading music generated around a hundred and ninety-four million kilograms of greenhouse-gas emissions—some forty million more than the emissions associated with all music formats in 2000. Given the unprecedented reliance on streaming media during the coronavirus pandemic, the figure for 2020 will probably be even greater.

The ostensibly frictionless nature of online listening has other hidden or overlooked costs. Exploitative regimes of labor enable the production of smartphone and computer components. Conditions at Foxconn factories in China have long been notorious; recent reports suggest that the brutally abused Uighur minority has been pressed into the production of Apple devices. Child laborers are involved in the mining of cobalt, which is used in iPhone batteries. Spotify, the dominant streaming service, needs huge quantities of energy to power its servers. No less problematic are the streaming services’ own exploitative practices, including their notoriously stingy royalty payments to working musicians. Not long ago, Daniel Ek, Spotify’s C.E.O., announced, ‘The artists today that are making it realize that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans.’ In other words, to make a living as a musician, you need to claw desperately for attention at every waking hour."


“Musically, we may need to question our expectations of infinite access and infinite storage,” he writes. Our demand that all of musical history should be available at the touch of a finger has become gluttonous. It may seem a harmless form of consumer desire, but it leaves real scars on the face of the Earth.

Devine holds out hope for a shift in consciousness, similar to the one that has taken place in our relationship with food. When we listen to music, we may ask ourselves: Under what conditions was a particular recording made? How equitable is the process by which it has reached us? Who is being paid? How are they being treated? And—most pressing—how much music do we really need? Perhaps, if we have less of it, it may matter to us more.

(Via The Hidden Costs of Streaming Music | The New Yorker.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

Jamila Woods just released a new song video for SULA hardcover, which was inspired by the late Toni Morrison and her novel Sula.  Sufjan Stevens has finally released a full proper album to much acclaim, and this is a heavy new video from that album.  Kevin Morby continues to hit all the right notes, including in this video for Wander feat. his wife Katie Crutchfield (of the band Waxahatchee).


"Paris-based Mathematic Studio produced a lovely animation for Bob Marley's timeless 'Redemption Song.' Directed by Octave Marsal and Théo de Gueltzl, the work draws heavily on imagery and iconography surrounding Ras Tafari, aka Haile Selassie, as well as the pan-African and diaspora political movements."

(Via Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" gets a beautiful hand-animated music video / Boing Boing.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Disclosure wisely added Channel Tres (who I’ve loved on here before) to their new album and who also stars in the accompanying video for Lavender.  YELLE releases her new video for J’veux un chien, and all I have to say is OTTO!  Petit Biscuit just dropped crisp new pop single and video for Drivin’ Thru The Night.

Bonus:  I’ve always rooted for Jennifer Lopez, and I’m tickled to see her rock it in this new video with Maluma.

Article: Why Disco Is Taking Over Pop, One Feel-Good Banger At A Time

I couldn’t be happier about it...

"Disco originated in the 1970s at a time of economic crisis. The post-World War II economic boom had come to an end and the United States began to endure a cycle of depression that included an oil crisis, a stock market crash, and a recession that caused high unemployment and simultaneously high inflation. At the end of the previous decade, the Civil Rights movement was disrupted by the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Deputy Chairman of Black Panther Party Fred Hampton. Mass shootings and labor strikes abounded. With uncomplicated messages of feeling good (i.e., ‘Good Times’ by Chic, ‘You Should Be Dancing’ by the Bee Gees) and empowerment, like Gloria Gaynor’s perennial ‘I Will Survive,’ hefty funk basslines, eclectic percussion via cowbell and woodblock, and four-on-the-floor rhythms, disco was the music of liberation when marginalized, working people — in particular for queer, Black, Hispanic and Latinx, and Italian-American people — needed it badly.

It’s hard not to see parallels between the disco era and the political and cultural shifts happening right now in America. A public health crisis and subsequent recession — one started just barely 10 years after the last — plus a reinvigorated movement for racial justice, fueled by demands of significant societal restructuring in the real service of long overdue equality, make for a heavy load to bear, especially if you’re unemployed or otherwise struggling.

‘When shit’s going bad, people like to indulge in happier music,’ says Ian Kirkpatrick, the producer of ‘Don’t Start Now,’ and Lipa’s 2018 hit ‘New Rules.’ ‘These songs are so uplifting. This is a way of escaping.’"

(Via Why Disco Is Taking Over Pop, One Feel-Good Banger At A Time.)