Sunday, December 16, 2012

Total Crush: Sin Fang

I've had a little crush on Sin Fang since I saw him fronting Sea Bear back in 2010.  I was already liking his solo stuff… and I'm even enjoying his new Pojke stuff!  But alas, another Sin Fang album is coming on Feb. 19th, called Flowers. Check out the newest track, a video & many more details below…

A great performance from KEXP.

Sindri Már Sigfússon aka Sin Fang and Icelandic collective Seabear's founder and mastermind, has released the first single 'Young Boys' off his third solo album, Flowers, recorded & produced by Alex Somers (Sígur Rós, Jónsi) and set for release on February 19th on Morr Music.

Following his Half Dreams EP this year, Flowers is an album that opens with a lot of collective chanting, a sense of deep rootedness, togetherness, unity, and shared experience: "We were young boys, smoking in the woods, I showed you how," are the first words Sindri Már Sigfússon aka Sin Fang scatters across the less-beaten tracks, only to leapfrog across the lawn and switch on the stage lights for his own take of stadium pop. A song like "What's Wrong With Your Eyes" would indeed be fit for a stadium setting - it's so massive, so outspokenly pop, when the beat meets layered vocals and the piano comes in just at the right moments. "I was thinking a lot about pre-teenage and teenage feelings," he explains. "The exaggerated feelings and dramatic thoughts that most teenagers go through: Love and rejection, the constant ups and downs...I thought Flowers was a good name for that theme as they are used both for sad and happy occasions."

SinFang1 byingibjo3080rgbirgisdottir

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hey Rosetta! goes to Graceland

I'm posting this to spite my roommate, who thinks Graceland is shit.  Pftt.  The cuteness contained in this video doesn't hurt.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Video Tuesday

First off, spend some time with this Isaac Delusion video for Transistors.  Incredibly well done (and a good song).  Next up is one of my recent favorites, Yellow Ostrich with their video for Ghost.  Finally, we have a new video from another recent fav, Friends with Va Fan Gor Du. 

Bonus this week is a fun little video by Django Django from Australia for Life's a Beach.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (12/5/12)

Prompted by some friends to see Grace Potter, I was glad I went.  I'll admit I was initially turned off a bit by the "hot rock chick" look, but the more I checked her out, the more respect I have for her.  I had some pretty high hopes for this show, and the first thing I thought was - Wow, it's been a long time since I've been to a "classic" rock show."  Seriously.  I see a lot of rock and roll, but very few that take me back to Stones-era.  I wish it could have been that good, but it wasn't bad.  She knew how to rock a stage.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (12/5/12)

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (12/5/12)

In other words…

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals create night sweats in a high-energy, high-quality gig (review) |

"It’s too bad Grace Potter is such a shy, retiring thing. If she could just come out of her shell a TINY bit, a sold-out show like the one Wednesday night at the Cleveland House of Blues might be more fun. OK, it’s not even possible to WRITE that with a straight face. Potter and her band – guitarists Scott Tournet and Benny Yurco, bassist Michael Libramento and drummer Matt Burr – are bundles of joyous energy, ripping through almost two dozen songs in a frenetic set that last more than two hours."

(Continued... Grace Potter and the Nocturnals create night sweats in a high-energy, high-quality gig (review) |

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tomorrow: of Montreal @ Beachland Ballroom

I won't be going to see of Montreal tomorrow at the Beachland Ballroom ($18 / 8:30pm), even though I'd probably like it better than the last time I saw them at the House of Blues. However, I do think these guys are pretty spectacular. Check out their new, trippy & NSFW video below.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Perfume Genius @ La Blogotheque

I'm so glad this didn't get lost in my shuffle.  I couldn't imagine a better match for La Blogotheque than Perfume Genius.  Bump this up to HD, go full screen, sit back and soak it in.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Video Tuesday

Going upbeat this week!  Chad Valley's Tell All Your Friends is a slick pop song worth a listen.  Next up is some new Tegan & Sara with a playful video for Closer.  Finally is Tanlines trying to show you they're Not the Same.

This weeks bonus belongs to A.C. Newman and his creepy video for I'm Not Talking.

Tomorrow: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals @ House of Blues

(SOLD OUT) The recent push behind Grace Potter & the Nocturnals music has been so strong that I never really looked into these guys.  I sometimes think that if a band is doing really well, I'll just focus my interest and exploration elsewhere.  I'm glad I got pulled back around to Grace Potter by joining some friends to see her at the House of Blues tomorrow night.  

If you're already somewhat familiar with her, I would highly suggest her new album (The Lion, The Beast, The Beat) over her previous one - though she's got plenty of others.  It seems as if she's true a veteran (already), and one who's been largely independent and paying her dues.  Check out her newest video for Never Go Back.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Eternal Summers (12/1/12)

I'll admit, Eternal Summers haven't been on my short-list of must listen music lately, but the more I listened to their newest album, Correct Behavior, the more I liked them (again).  I got there in time to catch a few songs of Chomp, which includes some of the guys from Cloud Nothings.  Good stuff, as you'd expect.

Chomp (12/1/12)

By this time, I was regretting having already eaten dinner (those dogs looked so good).  I settled for another pint of Laguinitas IPA and settled in for a great Eternal Summers set (and the volume in the venue was manageable!).  They definitely had an alternative 80's throwback sound in their live set, though this wasn't the best clip to capture…

Here's a better song to judge them by:

You Kill by Eternal Summers on Grooveshark

Eternal Summers (12/1/12)

Eternal Summers (12/1/12)

The Stray Birds (11/30/12)

One of the (many) promotional emails I get alerted me to this show and while I'm grateful for the flag, I'm reminded that I need to pay better attention to these shows at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  This is now my second show there and both have been superb (the first was the Zoe Muth show). I can't think of a better way to spend a Fall Friday evening than with The Stray Birds at Happy Days Lodge.  As you can probably tell from the photos below, they're folk/bluegrass.  And while I've always enjoyed this genre, few bands catch me as quickly as these guys have.

While i'll admit that I was first smitten with Maya's Gillian Welch-like vocals, the whole band stepped in with equal parts charm.  I also loved their harmonies, and the intimacy that having only one microphone on stage provides.  In this space, the sound was crystal clear and it just rang through you.  And as you can also see from the pictures, there were a plethora of instruments kept the whole sound fresh.

The Stray Birds (11/29/12)

The Stray Birds (11/29/12)

The Stray Birds (11/29/12)

They have some stunning songs from their newest self-titled album, particularly the first two tracks, Dream in Blue and 25 to Life.  Unfortunately I didn't capture either of these, but My Brother's Hill is quite good.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tomorrow: Eternal Summers @ Happy Dog

Another Happy Dog Show!  I'm a little surprised to see Eternal Summers playing there, but should be fun.  I'll just remember my ear plugs.  :-)  If you haven't heard these guys, they're self-described as "dream punk" and come from Roanoke, VA.  I've grabbed their last couple albums and have been enjoying them.  And besides, I missed them last time.
Opening is Chomp - who I discovered after some investigation is made up from some of the Cloud Nothings crew (fun!).  Listen to (and buy) their new album here.  Summerays is also opening, a local surf-pop band you can listen to here.  Should be a great night of music and dogs.  Check out their new video here:
Eternal summers 071712 download

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tomorrow: The Stray Birds @ Happy Days Lodge (CVNP)

I couldn't imagine a better way to close out the CVNP Heritage Concert Series season than with The Stray Birds.  Check these guys out below and see why.
The Stray Birds, a buzzed-about young acoustic trio will bring their rootsy sound to Cuyahoga Valley National Park on Friday, November 30 when they perform at the season's last concert of the Cuyahoga Valley Heritage Series - Drawing upon the richness of American folk music traditions, the signature power of The Stray Birds sound lies in outstanding songwriting that soars in three-part harmony. Raised on music within a few miles of farmland from each other, The Stray Birds were born of a compelling collaboration between two unique writers and vocalists-- the pure, luxurious voice of Maya de Vitry and Oliver Craven's richness of tone and depth of delivery. Grounding their sound in the unshakeable groove of bassist Charles Muench, The Stray Birds are a trio of captivating chemistry and sensitive musicality. From bustling street corners to silent halls, their performances speak to an uncompromising reverence for songs.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Release: Solange's True

I've been downright giddy about the new Solange track, Losing You, for several weeks now.  I posted it (immediately) on my Video Tuesday (watch it if you haven't!), and yesterday was finally the day her new EP just got released.  I found this cool little Rdio widget where you can preview it.  This is so exciting, that I even posted two little reviews below.  GIDDY! 

Maybe it’s because she’s Beyonce’s sister, or because she’s responsible for a few undervalued pop gems like ‘Sandcastle Disco’ and ‘I Decided,’ or maybe even because her first real single in a few years, ‘Losing You,’ is so damn good, but it feels like Solange has a lot riding on True, her Dev Hynes-produced comeback EP released through Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor-ran Terrible Records.

(Continued... Solange - 'True' EP « Pretty Much Amazing)

"Sure, Solange is the sister of R&B/pop princess Beyoncé — a fact that will probably never be omitted from her CV. But while her musical means (a soaring soprano; wisely chosen collaborators) are similar to the elder Knowles, the ends are significantly different. Sloughing off her two previous commercial-leaning efforts (including 2008′s Cee-Lo Green/Mark Ronson written Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams), Solange enlisted production help from Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes for her new EP, True. The result is a candy-coated, left-of-center R&B playground.

Over seven songs, Solange coolly wields both a material-girl sheen and a recumbent royal swagger. Even when engaging in the vocal gymnastics of ‘Bad Girls,’ she holds her power with a loose fist, avoiding a lapse into American Idol-style histrionics. ‘Look Good With Trouble’ plays with Solange’s impressive restraint, its sense of late-night seduction created via layers of hypnotic looped vocals and minimal beats. The gloves come off for good-girl-gone-bad ‘Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work,’ but even here Solange purrs the titular expletive with a dignified Supremes-style grace. However, her star power glows brightest on the crunchy, of Montreal-style freak-fest ‘Losing You.’ Over a slow groove dotted with squealed vocal samples and light funk-guitar flourishes, Solange proves that she doesn’t have to shout to subvert the mold, or break it completely."

(Continued... Solange, True | eMusic News & Features)

(the album cover - boring as it is - is above… here's just a cool photo from the video)

Solange Losing You Video

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Release: Martha Wainwright - Come Home To Mama

I've been holding onto this post, probably longer than what would make it a "new release". For no good reason really, but this Tiny Desk video threw me over the top.  I've found Martha Wainwright's albums have been slowly drifting off my radar since the first album (S/T).  Her newest release, Come Home to Mama, as brought me right back around, which may be a result of the album's very personal inspiration.  Check out this NPR performance and read a bit more about her album below.


First Listen: Martha Wainwright, 'Come Home To Mama' : NPR

"The word 'confessional' has some unpleasant connotations when the topic is singer-songwriters: It's often used as a benign-sounding stand-in for 'overwrought' or 'over-sharing.' But Martha Wainwright is a confessional singer-songwriter in the best possible way. She writes truthfully, self-effacingly, in ways that accept blame and examine raw emotions that can't be explained away in shorthand. Wainwright may have first penetrated the public consciousness with a heartsick screw-you anthem whose title can't be printed here, but she's spent her entire career trafficking in thorny complexities.

Out Oct. 16, Come Home to Mama is, understandably, largely about motherhood: Since the release of her last studio album, 2008's evocatively titled I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too, Wainwright gave birth to a son and lost her mother, the singer Kate McGarrigle. Loss and rebirth flow through the veins of Come Home to Mama, particularly in its two most affecting songs, 'Proserpina' and 'Everything Wrong.' In 'Proserpina,' Wainwright pays tribute to her mother by singing the last song McGarrigle ever wrote — it's goosebump-inducingly gorgeous — while in 'Everything Wrong,' she humbly examines life as a bumpy continuum, blazing a jagged but ultimately optimistic path across three generations."

(Continued... First Listen: Martha Wainwright, 'Come Home To Mama' : NPR)

Martha wainwright come home to mama

Video Tuesday

It's another mixed-bag, but I kinda like those.  Starting off is my kinda video game video, Hot Chip's Don't Deny Your Heart.  Next up is the earthy Mynabirds with Body of Work.  Next up is a old favorite with a new video (new album?) for Nocturnal Emissions by Shilpa Ray.
 This week's bonus (mostly because it's so tall to be so wide) is Chromatics with Cherry.  More for the song than video.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (11/25/12)

I've been crushing on the new Macklemore & Ryan Lewis album, The Heist, these past couple weeks.  I'm smitten with his brand of conscious, intelligent rap.  He's an amazing lyricist, and props to Ryan Lewis for upping an already great production game.  This Cleveland show (originally scheduled for the Grog Shop!) was one of the last shows to sell out on his entirely sold-out tour, and thankfully so (giving us time to get tix).  Pretty impressive for an independent artist.

As expected, the audience was young and white. Macklemore even raps about this on his 2009 Language of My World album (which is also great).  We were easily two of maybe 10 people in the sold out show who were over 25.  Most were drunk, loud and the girls were scantily clad.  I have never seen so many mini skirts in one place.  Is there a classification for a skirt shorter than a mini skirt - because that's what these would be.  As amazing of a crowd watching experience as this was, this night was really about Macklemore.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (11/25/12)

In grand rap fashion, Macklemore took the stage and instantly engaged the fanatic, sold-out crowd.  I thought I would never see a crowd as excited as Matt & Kim's, but this kept pace.  He ran through his hits, dropping Thrift Shop early.  Macklemore pointed out that at every show, at least one person comes wearing a fur coat, so he just has them pass it up to the front and performs in it.  After the song, he even talked about giving these dead animals a second life - as they're being crowd surfed back to their owner.  Here are some clips, including Thrift Shop.

I was particularly intrigued as to how he would approach his second single off The Heist, Same Love, a song about marriage equality for gays & lesbians.  With this kind of audience, I wouldn't have expected the reception they received (maybe that's my older mentality not being current).  Macklemore even gave the song a long intro, giving props to his home state of Washington for passing it.  The whole experience gave me chills.  Check it out.

I was thrilled with this show.  I'm already ready for what's next from these guys.

Dan Bern (11/24/12)

Thanksgiving is a time for comfort, with going home and visiting family and participating in those familiar feasts.  Musically, this weekend was a coming home as well.  First was Catie Curtis at Nighttown, then on Saturday I went to see Dan Bern at the Beachland Tavern.  I wouldn't be surprised if I started listening to both of these artists on the same week back some 15 years ago.  Seeing them again is comfort indeed.

This was an (extremely) early show for the Beachland on a Saturday night (and a seated show to boot).  Opening was Diana Chittester, who should be right up my alley, but fell pretty flat (like her exposed tummy). Moving on… 

Dan Bern (11/24/12)

My shows with Dan have sometimes been a mixed bag - but this night was one of his best.  With an amazing multi-instrumentalist by his side, Dan wooed the crowd with his witty banter and cool demeanor.  If there's one word that comes to mind about Dan, it's authentic.  This guy is the real deal.  

Dan Bern (11/24/12)

There's something about his stories of wine, women, weed and baseball that make me want to live in his world (well, at least 2 out of the 4).  He's incredibly intelligent and definitely connected to the human reality.  It's incredibly refreshing.  Especially when he can write a song for the OSU win over Michigan for an audience that night (and it be a fun, enjoyable song!).  As Dan puts it, you won't be getting that from Carley Rae Jepsen (I don't even care if I spelled that right).  :-)

He ended the night with a couple tracks performed amongst the audience.  A wonderful treat.  It's hard to not smile ear to ear.

Dan Bern (11/24/12)

Catie Curtis (11/20/12)

I can't think of a better way to start off the Holiday season than a Holiday show by Catie Curtis at Nighttown.  Catie is one of my long-time favorite singer-songwriters, and love when I can catch her live.  Particularly in such a comfortable environment as Nighttown… dinner AND a show - all by 9:30pm!

Despite some lyrical glitches, Catie was as charming as ever.  Let the holidays begin!

Catie Curtis (11/20/12)

Catie Curtis (11/20/12)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Video Tuesday

Some interesting selections this week - to say the least.  Purity Ring put out a pretty sweet video for Lofticries (which matches the sweetness of the song).  The next video by Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra, for Do It With A Rockstar, is NSFW!!  But pretty amazing none-the-less, and directed by Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips). Last is the first video off of Hercules & Love Affair's DJ-Kicks album for Release Me.  I've been totally digging this dj-kicks albums lately, so I can't wait to hear more from this one.
I don't know wtf is happening in this new Mumford & Sons video - but I'll share it anyway - because it's Mumford & Sons.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Jeff Mangum Show Moved

So while I'm not crazy that the Jan. 11th Jeff Mangum show is heading to a bigger venue - I am glad to see how good it's selling.  (It moved from the Ohio City to the main Cleveland Masonic Auditorium.)  But you know what, mentioning this was really just a reason to post a cover of The Avett Brothers doing Neutral Milk Hotel. (swoon)

Avett Brothers Cover Neutral Milk Hotel

"The Avett Brothers have put some moving originals to tape over the years, but there’s something especially endearing to this group when they share new covers. Perhaps it’s the humble reminder of the greats from whom they’ve drawn inspiration or that these clips bleed with reverence while not playing it too safe (or too faithful) to the original, but the result tends to be added appreciation for both sides of the equation. A fine homage, in other words, and their new spin through Neutral Milk Hotel’s ‘In The Aeroplane Over The Sea’ is no different. Seth Avett even conjures Jeff Mangum a bit here, while the theremin part played on violin makes for another nice touch. Check it out above.

Previously: Seth Avett Covers Elliott Smith"

(Continued... Avett Brothers Cover Neutral Milk Hotel)

Matt & Kim / Oberhofer (11/13/12)

Once again, I'm including both bands in the title.  This time it was because Oberhofer really put me over the top to see Matt & Kim at the House of Blues.  With a sold-out crowd to boot.  Oberhofer were spot-on.  And for this show, they really amped things up a bit - because they had to.  Opening for Matt & Kim is a daunting task, but Oberhofer really brought their A-Game.  A+

Oberhofer (11/13/12)

Very few bands can whip a crowd into a frenzy like Matt & Kim.  It really is strange…  I like Matt & Kim well enough, but I have to say I do think their show is a little hokey at times.  Sure they're good people and put on a crazy-fun live show - but somewhere I struggle with authenticity.  Maybe it's just because I don't see how anyone can have that much energy on a tour.  I thought during this show that it would probably be my last Matt & Kim show (if only for putting my money & time to bands that need it), but they're already coming back and opening for Passion Pit - so our relationship may not be over yet.  So… wanna see a crowd whipped into a frenzy?

Matt & Kim (11/13/12)

Check out Scene's post for a less cynical review.  :-)

Concert Review: Matt & Kim at House of Blues | Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog

A Matt & Kim concert is more than just a concert. Last night before a sold out crowd at House of Blues, the duo pulled out all the stops. We’re talking confetti and balloons, sing-a-longs and crowd-surfing. Playing on an elevated platform atop the House of Blue’s stages, singer-keyboardist Matt Johnson and drummer Kim Schifino displayed the kind of exuberance that makes you think they must be on some seriously good drugs. Not that we’re implying they’re not genuine or anything like that"

(Continued... Concert Review: Matt & Kim at House of Blues | Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog)

David Dondero / Selah Sue / Allen Stone (11/11/12)

While I don't typically include openers in the title of "concert reviews" (I use that term very lightly), this show was a bit different.  The reason this show even hit my radar is because of David Dondero - who I feel is one of the best male singer-songwriters out there today, with the ability to craft songs and tell stories like few can.  That and he has an amazing voice…  But as any good music blogger - I checked out the other bands, of which there were 3.  Allen Stone was headlining, with Selah Sue and (some other band) opening.

Not knowing the exact order, we purposely missed the first act, but walked in during David Dondero, who we just then discovered as playing 2nd.  He was sounding great, but knowing what I knew about the headliner, this was not David's typical audience (I'll get to that later).  With a healthy dose of self-deprecation, David sounded great and definitely played the role of a rough-around-the-edges, gritty folk artist. He asked if anyone there knew his music and I cheered, but when he asked for requests (which I had one), I couldn't give it because I missed his opening and wasn't sure if he'd played it (Rothko Chapel for those interested).  Needless to say, I didn't get to capture the best song for video - but it's something.

David Dondero (11/11/12)

Selah Sue was next, and other than being a single person on stage with a guitar - she couldn't have been more different.  A firecracker of a performer, somewhere between Amy Winehouse & Adele.  She had a stunning voice and an infectious personality.  I really want explore her music further.

Selah Sue (11/11/12)

(check out a really fun cover of Missy Elliott's Oops (Oh My) here)

Finally the headliner… Allen Stone, who represented pure juxtaposition for me.  A corny looking white-guy playing the most sweet and soulful R&B.  He felt like pure Motown.  The issue… I didn't really connect with his music.  A great "story" and great sound - but something was missing…  Maybe just a reality that I can't connect with all good music.  But no reason to sway you away from checking him out.

Allen Stone (11/11/12)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Video Tuesday

Uh, whoops.  First up, Das Racist crushes it with Girl.  Crushes it.  Next up is Alt-J's other-worldly Fitzpleasure. Finally a new track (and fun video) by the Octopus Project for Whitby.

Bonus: My Total Crush, Ezra Furman asking "Are you Gonna Break My Heart". (no, I won't)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Madonna (11/10/12)

So it only took 6 years, but I finally fulfilled my commitment to see Madonna live again.  And this time going from last row to 7th, which was quite the treat!  And once again, I was dazzled by the spectacle that is Cirque Du Madonna, AND that she continues pushing forward with new music - covering a lot of ground from her new album (which has some gems on it).  Particularly, the screen and raising floor pillars really made the show dynamic.  I also enjoy Madonna's statements, which in this show included LGBT & the Occupy movements.  You can check out a full review over at, otherwise, see for yourself:

And some photos…

Madonna (11/10/12)

Madonna (11/10/12)

Madonna (11/10/12)

Madonna (11/10/12)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Article: Is Facebook Advertising For Bands Worth It?

Hypebot is back again with some spot-on industry insight.

Is Facebook Advertising For Bands Worth It? - hypebot

"Welcome to the world of advertising, where strength in numbers is the name of the game, and those numbers are always prefixed with a dollar sign. You want to kickstart momentum for your career then yes, select results can be seen by sprinkling some magic money dust on your musical beans. But the truth is, without genuinely generated buzz outside of the lurid lucre of mommy and daddies credit card, you would get more bang for your buck standing outside Best Buy, paying people $10 to listen to your album.

The real result of this newly formed ‘affordable’ advertising, is that we are now all taking less and less notice of the poorly shot promo pic to the right of our news feed. You know the one, declaring that if I ‘like the Foo Fighters’ then I am surely going to like ‘insert derivative band name here’. It’s taking the same nose dive in credibility that myspace did, except this time it is costing bands more than just their street cred."

(Continued... Is Facebook Advertising For Bands Worth It? - hypebot)

Tomorrow: Matt & Kim / Oberhofer @ House of Blues

These are repeat shows for me, but I'm still smitten with Oberhofer - and few can rile up an audience like Matt & Kim.  Who cares if it's at the House of Blues.  OK, I do a little - but still worth going.  I'm mean c'mon… 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Release: Alt-J's An Awesome Wave

I was prepped this "New Release" post a couple weeks ago, but now that they've won the Mercury Prize (and they're sales are up 411% since) I guess I should just post it:  Here's a new album for you.  Check out Alt-J, who's a British band considered in the nu-folk category of music and with references to "the new Radiohead".  Whatever.  They were mentioned for the Mercury Prize.  They were also just in Detroit, but I missed them.  The new album *is* worth a listen however.  I'm posting some reviews below, in include videos from La Blogotheque!

Artworks 000023431565 j3iz03 crop e1337800575473 

Alt-J - An Awesome Wave ~ Album Review | Synth Pop Indie Rock

"‘An Awesome Wave’ is as diverse as it is addictive. A mixture of pop, folk, and R&B. Slinking Indian beats one song ~ then bold island beats on the next. Dark bass-lines smear across much of the album while interesting atmosphere peppers it. All this diversity comes together in one unified piece of work that amazingly doesn’t feel experimental or come across as fake.

Alt-J Besides the obvious forerunner ‘Breezeblocks’, some other notable songs on the album are: ‘Tessellate’, a smooth and seductive song. And in this song Gwil hints at how the band came up with the name Alt-J (∆) as he reveals ‘Triangles are my favorite shape’."

(Continued... Alt-J - An Awesome Wave ~ Album Review | Synth Pop Indie Rock)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Total Crush: Ezra Furman

I really like this blog to focus solely on music, but being as pervasive as music is, politics will creep in…  I had already been planning a "Total Crush" segment to this blog (similar to Guilty Pleasure) and Ezra Furman was going to be my first post - particularly motivated by the video below.   Well, then he posted this post-election blog on Tumblr which just put me over the crush edge.  I think he's an incredibly smart, dynamic, connected individual who I could just fawn over all day.  Oh, and his music is good too.  ;-)

50324abba329d preview 620

Ezra Furman: A Guide for the Perplexed

"I think this election was a crucial step forward in that journey toward the American dream. Obama does not suffer from the terribly persistent Republican delusion that a government that works to improve the lives of its citizenry is somehow un-American. He instead suffers from the hopeful delusion that we could be ‘all in this together.’ As someone who believes in the inescapability of a certain level of delusion, I support our president’s version of madness. It may just be the sort of hopeful madness that can actually get us somewhere real. Wish me luck at my Vienna show tonight. It’s going to be tough to conceal my patriotism and optimism. Actually, I don’t think I’m going try."

(Read the Full Post here… Ezra Furman: A Guide for the Perplexed, It’s morning in Vienna. Interesting things have...)

See him in motion… swoon.

Xavier Rudd (11/4/12)

Seeing Xavier Rudd again was such a treat - and a sort of another "coming home".  His last show at House of Blues (7/24/07) was the first show I ever received a press pass for, and how thrilling it was - despite the embarrassment of my little point & shoot camera that I was using.  Flash forward 5 years, 3 albums, and a much better camera - and I was giddy about this show.

Xavier Rudd (11/4/12)

As expected, there was a hassle at the box office (oh HOB).  Upon walking in, I could tell this wasn't going to be the same as last time.  This time he was solo on stage, a smaller crowd, and I could already see a bunch of drunk Browns fans meandering about (why were they there??).  I was anticipating an acoustic nightmare.

Xavier Rudd (11/4/12)

Total props to Xavier because he was still as connected, sincere and relevant as ever.  His blend of world, folk, drumbeat is equally uplifting and inspiring - despite the drunk Clevelanders yelling at inappropriate times.  With a pared down stage & crowd, I would have much rather seen him perform at the Beachland Ballroom (omg I would LOVE that).  I'm still a die hard Xavier fan and would follow him anywhere.

Indigo Girls (11/1/12)

I didn't make much a'do about this show.  Seeing them is like a coming home…  comfortable, but not really exciting.  Seeing them at Playhouse Square was a treat.  They sounded really good and the audience participation was tops.  As far as new stuff… I'm really drawn to Amy's solo stuff these days, but I bet the Indigo Girls stuff still pays the bills.  I'm fine with that, and I'm more than happy to chip in.

Indigo Girls (11/1/12)

Savoir Adore (10/24/112)

I'm a sucker for good pop music, which is hard to find on the live on the concert circuit - so I'm happy to give any pop band a chance…  This was my approach to Savoir Adore who I really didn't have much prior knowledge of.  I checked out their Our Nature album and liked what I heard…  They really have a lush, atmospheric pop sound about them.  Live, they were pretty good.  It's hard to drum up a bunch of excitement for such a sparse crowd, but I give these guys credit for pushing out an exuberant live show despite.  Their album is worth a listen!

Savoir Adore (10/24/12)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Video Tuesday

Check out some new(isn) stuff!  First up is Yeasayer's Reagan's Skeleton (great song). Next, fun. stuns me again with an uplifting video for Carry On - making me want to do just that.  Finally, my favorite Canadian folkies Jon & Roy have a great song with Somebody Knows.  


Bonus, the xx's Chained.

Monday, November 5, 2012

New Find: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Sure they may have already hit #2 on the Billboard Charts, but I don't really follow those anyway.  I saw a bit of Macklemore back on BET's Backroom freestyle segment and thought he was good.  I also read this piece on The Lefsetz Letter too (on the changing nature of the Music Business, highlighting how Macklemore is doing this independently).  But it really wasn't until this Ellen piece that caught my attention.

But let's step back a bit.  Macklemore has been around for quite a while, but partnering up with Ryan Lewis really set things up for him.  Here's the breakthrough video for Thrift Shop.  Stunning.

This is the video that caught Ellen's attention.

Oh, did I mention he's coming to Cleveland??  <iframe width="560" height="315" src=";hl=en_US" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>  Tickets are almost sold out!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Video Tuesday

 I somehow stumbled across this video for AlunaGeorge's Your Drums, Your Love and I'm so glad I did. Next up, Diamond Rings loses control with his new video for Runaway Love. Finally, Wild Nothing's little piece of Paradise feat. Michelle Williams.


Alicia Keys' Girl on Fire quite the anthem.  Well done.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Marta Pacek (10/22/12)

This was one of most beautiful Fall evenings in recent memory.  I couldn't think of any better want to spend it than listening to live music at The Barking Spider Tavern.  I rounded up some friends and we hit the Marta Pacek show…  All investigations pointed to her being a perfect match for this location/weather.  It looked like I wasn't the only one who thought so, because there were people there than I was expecting.  As we all sat and watched, the gorgeous weather pouring through the open doors behind me, eventually drew me to the outside picnic table.  One by one we discreetly slipped out and had an amazing time.

Marta Pacek (10/22/12)

Marta?  Well, she was OK.  Her voice (at least on this night) wasn't quite worth full attention in a small venue, but it did compliment a gorgeous Fall evening outside the Barking Spider Tavern with great friends.  Probably what was meant to happen anyway.

Nouvelle Vague (10/21/12)

I didn't know much about Nouvelle Vague, except that they were French and could craft a pretty sweet pop song.  Just coming off a work trip and a cold, I wasn't really in the mood for a show on this night, but a friend had a free ticket and I was itching to get out to a show.  I wasn't planning on staying late, but these guys didn't make it hard to leave.  That sounded harsher than it probably should have.  Essentially Nouvelle Vague is definitely interesting to watch, half performance art and half cover band. Not my ideal mix.

Nouvelle Vague (10/21/12)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Video Tuesday-ish

Heartless Bastards take on the Wizard of Oz on Marathon.  I have mentioned how much I love these guys? Next is the fancy-pants  video for Cloud Nothings' Fall In.  Finally it's Lord Huron's Time to Run.

 Bonus, a surprisingly NSFW video for Magic Chords by Sharon Van Etten.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tomorrow: Marta Pacek @ Barking Spider Tavern

So as exciting as the Hey Rosetta! / 1,2,3 show looks tomorrow night at the Beachland Tavern, a few of us will be going to see Marta Pacek at the Barking Spider (8pm).  Having missed the previous Jenn Rawlings & Basho Parks show there last Monday (heard it was GREAT), I don't want to miss another chance for a great show there.  Marta Pacek is Australian with a folksy, singer/songwriter sound.  Check her out:


Tomorrow: Hey Rosetta! & 1,2,3 @ Beachland Tavern

This show is really tempting.  I randomly discovered Pittsburgh's 1,2,3 and have seen them open for Yellow Ostrich at the Beachland (they were also at Ingenuity if you caught them there).  A great sound… I love this song.

So their return pushed me to check out the band they're opening for, Hey Rosetta! which seem to have quite a successful music career (at least in Canada).  They're supposed to have a great live show too.  In other words, for $8/1$10, this show in the Tavern will totally be worth it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Articles: Pandora - Good for Music?

I first read this piece from Pandora on the payment out to artists listened to on Pandora.  Seems nice… until I read the Lefsetz Letter follow up.  What do you think?

Pandora: Pandora and Artist Payments

"It's hard to look at these numbers and not see that internet radio presents an incredible opportunity to build a better future for artists. Not only is it bringing tens of millions of listeners back to music, across hundreds of genres, but it is also enabling musicians to earn a living. It's also hard to look at these numbers, knowing Pandora accounts for just 6.5% of radio listening in the U.S., and not come away thinking something is wrong.

Pandora was founded on the principle of supporting artists and we're proud to pay performance fees. We think artists could and should ultimately earn even more. But all of this revenue is coming from a single company. A predatory licensing fee orchestrated over ten years ago by the RIAA and their lobbyists in Washington has devastated internet radio. Few now deem it worthy of major investment, including most notably, virtually every major broadcaster. After spending years building an audience, the original three largest webcasters (AOL, Yahoo! LaunchCast and MSN) fled the business after the last rate hike 

Pandora avatar gplus

was imposed. This is not a recipe for a sustainable industry. It is a destructive stranglehold that is putting at risk a much larger reward for musicians everywhere."

(Continued... Pandora: Pandora and Artist Payments)

Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » More Pandora

"Tim Westergren is not running a music service, but a religion. He expects his flock to follow him blindly, leaving their minds behind, all with the goal of lining his pockets.

He owns stock worth double digit millions, yet he’s complaining the company’s getting screwed. Who does this resonate with? Certainly not artists or listeners.

And now in this latest blog post he raves about how much obscure artists are making on his service so he can rationalize paying them less. Huh?

What he’s saying is if you let me pay less, the sphere will grow and you’ll make tons more money! Never mind that this is anathema to Pandora’s shareholders. You can only listen to one radio station at one time, whether terrestrial, satellite or Internet, people only have so many hours in a day, where are all these listening hours gonna come from? It’s kind of like the Internet. If I’m surfing all night, I can’t watch television. Hell, I oftentimes can’t even listen to music! Market share is everything, and Tim Westergren seems to be saying here that he’s willing to give up some of his. This is like Lucian Grainge giving away Parlophone if the European Commission would just approve the EMI merger… How duplicitous can you get?"

(Continued... Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » More Pandora)

Video Tuesday-ish

Getting over a cold.  :-(  Diamond Rugs NSFW video for Blue Mountains… great track.  Next up is Pojke (a Sin Fang pseudonym) with a video for She Moves Through the Air.  Finally a captivating video by Panama for It's Not Over.

And the bonus this week is a disturbing video by Grizzly Bear (who's new album is pretty good!).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New Release: Meshell Ndegeocello's Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone

Meshell's last album was so stunning and gorgeous, I was very excited to see what she could do with Nina Simone's work.  She's carried that same smokey & sexy treatment to this album as well.  Check it out! review below…

Meshell ndegeocello dedication to nina simone

Meshell Ndegeocello, Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone

Meshell Ndegeocello paying tribute to the late Nina Simone makes perfect sense. Both battled to establish themselves on their own inconvenient terms: A pair of iconoclastic black female musicians, strong-willed but sensitive, disdainful of genre boundaries, and soulful to the core. It also makes sense that one of the ways Pour Une Âme Souveraine (translated as ‘For A Sovereign Soul’) would honor Simone is by often confounding expectations in its song choices and treatments. The hallowed Leonard Cohen ballad, ‘Suzanne’ becomes a brisk shuffle. With guest artist Toshi Reagon on board, the somber standard, ‘House of the Rising Sun’ is transformed into a blistering rock rave-up. Simone’s own memorable versions were more conventional, but she’d hardly be one to argue the adventure."

(Continued... Meshell Ndegeocello, Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone | eMusic News & Features)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Stream the new Diamond Rings Album

Diamond Rings' Free Dimensional will be out on Oct. 22nd.  Listen to it here first.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tomorrow: Jenn Rawling & Basho Parks @ Barking Spider Tavern

Feels good to be promoting what I bet would be an *amazing* show for the Barking Spider!  It's been way too long since I've been there… and unfortunately I can't make this night either.  Please check go and see Jenn Rawling & Basho Parks tomorrow night at 8pm, and then let me know how it is - because these guys were made for that place.

Jennandbasho pressshot2

In Music We Trust PR - Jenn Rawling & Basho Parks

"Pacific Northwest indie-folk duo Jenn Rawling & Basho Parks will celebrate the release of their debut full-length, Take the Air (Waterbug Records), before setting out on a West and Midwest States spring tour to promote the album nationwide.

Jenn Rawling, songwriter/guitarist and vintage American folk and old-time country singer, joins masterful string player & harmony singer Basho Parks in a partnership of formidable musical talent and palpable sympathy. Rawling's playful, poetic lyrics are enhanced by her sophisticated sense of phrasing and pace. Parks' violin and viola support her message with compelling musical figures that echo and elaborate the meaning of each song. The duo's debut CD, Take the Air, is an emotionally rich recording which unfolds more gifts with each listen. Recorded and co-produced with Skyler Norwood (Blind Pilot, Horse Feathers) at Miracle Lake Studios, Take the Air, features talented Portland musicians William Joersz and Mub Fractal on upright bass, Matt Berger on percussion (Laura Gibson), Skyler Norwood on Wurlitzer, Joel Ricci on horns (March Fourth Marching Band), and Brendan Phillips on banjo. Using both stripped down and lush instrumentation, Take the Air rejuvenates the listener with its delicate subtlety and glowing warmth."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Video Tuesday

This is a Video Tuesday to remember.  First off is this new video for Solange's Losing You.  This was out of left field, and a home run at the same time.  I just can't get enough of this pop gem.  Next up darken things a bit with Perfume Genius's Take Me Home - my favorite track from one of my favorite albums of the past year.  Great video.  Last up is dark as dark gets - and leave that to Crystal Castles.  I should have saved this one for Halloween. 

Our bonus is a track by Pojke, also known as Sin Fan / Sin Fang Bous / Seabear.  If he touches it, I like it.

Tilly & the Wall (10/8/12)

After splitting from Neil Young, we made our way to the Grog Shop to catch most of the Tilly & the Wall show.  I haven't seen these guys since 2008 (impetus for getting my old blog back online), and they were still tons-o-fun.  I remembered classifying the as the love children of ABBA and the Mamas and Papas, which still somewhat held, though they've matured a bit.  Their new album as a darker slant, but the more I listen the more I like.

Tilly & the Wall (10/9/12)

Tilly & the Wall (10/9/12)

Still, I captured some older tracks.  Check them out.

Neil Young (10/8/12)

Got to see Neil Young at the Wolstein Center last night.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to stay for the whole thing because Tilly & the Wall were also performing at the Grog Shop.  Some may say I'm crazy for leaving this show early… and I can appreciate that.  I have mad respect for this man and his music.  It's just these large venues don't resonate with me like a small club show anymore.  I mean c'mon, look at this photo:

Neil Young (10/9/12)

Still thought he sounded great.  Not like some old school artists that I think they just wheel out on stage to make a profit.  Here's a review: 

Neil Young and Crazy Horse rock Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center: Review |

"The Wolstein Center was at near-capacity and the general admission crowd on the floor stood at delirious attention hanging on every ear-splitting note. The place looked like old-hippie heaven. As he proved Monday night, Neil Young contains multitudes. He is a singer/songwriter. He is a rock star. He is a proud Canadian as evidenced by his new song 'Born in Ontario.' He is an artist and trickster who never stops seeking the muse and who continues to find joy doing it. The feeling is contagious. The seven-piece East Los Angeles Latino rockers, Los Lobos, opened the program with a tight and sweat-drenched 40-minute set including hits, 'Will the Wolf Survive?' the blues number 'That Train Don't Stop Here' and the Cajun boogie classic 'Marie, Marie.'"

(Continued... Neil Young and Crazy Horse rock Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center: Review |

Friends (10/7/12)

Since finding out about Friends headlining show at the Beachland Tavern, I've been spending a lot of time with their (first and only) album, Manifest!  It's really pretty amazing, with each song able to stand alone as worthy and enjoyable.  They have this sort of gritty, 60's, Pop vibe, but with the air of Edward Sharpe meets MEN.  Great stuff.  But first…   Me opened.  I feel like I've seen these guys before (and liked them) but won't even bother doing any searching for them (Me? Seriously?).  But maybe that's part of their ethos.  Either way - I like their rock/blues sound and would definitely see them again.  

Me (10/7/12)

Next was The Very Knees.  A bonus for this night, since watching their electric performance opening for Oberhofer.  Once again their dance/rock/rap sound was thoroughly enjoyable (below is my camera's interpretation of them in low light conditions).

The Very Knees (10/7/12)

Finally Friends took the stage, to which a friend commented that they looked like gypsy hipsters.  Please take that as a term of endearment, because I did.  These guys were  a lot of fun.  I often don't hold bands to the quality of their records, but my only complain about this show was that the vocals could have been a lot louder.  But their presence was joyful and so was their music.

Friends (10/7/12)

Tonight!: Big Easy Express Movie

 Should have posted this sooner… you still have 2 hours!

Sunday, October 7, 2012 is Back!

Pardon me while I geek out on you for a second.  As you may or may not know, this blog has gone through 3 iterations.  The first was created using an old program called iBlogger which basically generated a blog and posted it on your iDisk - which served as a personal web host from Apple.  Earlier this year they discontinued MobileMe and hence their iDisk hosting, meaning I lost my first blog ( and my entries from 2005-2008.  Knowing that I would never be able to retain all the deep linking I've created over the years - and that's it's not a high traffic site - I just got it back up and running and put it on Amazon's S3 service (where I pay by data through-put).  I unfortunately also lost some formatting, but having the content back up and on line is exciting (… to me)!


Tomorrow: Tilly & the Wall @ Grog Shop

 So tomorrow night will be a double-header.  Had gotten tickets to see the venerable Neil Young over at CSU, then found out that Tilly & the Wall have a new album and will be at the Grog Shop.  A dilemma, but will try to catch both.  But if you're not already doing something - you should totally check out Tilly & the Wall.  Video and details below.

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First Watch: Tilly And The Wall, 'Defenders' : All Songs Considered Blog : NPR

"Once based in Omaha, Tilly and the Wall's members have since scattered to the four winds: They live in different cities, and their busy lives led to a lengthy hiatus following the 2008 release of O. Still, even after a long absence, the band's music embodies unity, togetherness and empowerment.

Known for employing a tap dancer in lieu of a drummer, the group crafts sunnily clattering dance parties with a bawdy edge and a flair for affirmation. The first single from the band's forthcoming, inaccurately titled Heavy Mood, 'Defenders' revolves around a characteristically raging chorus — 'We're not afraid to live / No, we're not afraid to die' — and persistent reminders to rail against bullies and naysayers. ('No matter what they take, remember who you are.')"

(Continued... First Watch: Tilly And The Wall, 'Defenders' : All Songs Considered Blog : NPR)

Tilly & The Wall Lighten the 'Heavy Mood' on First Album in Four Years | Billboard

"'Heavy Mood' is an all-encompassing title for the four-year period since Tilly & The Wall's last album, 'O.' After the Omaha indie-poppers experience their biggest success to date from 2008 to 2009 -- playing record crowds with a headlining tour, scoring major synchs with single 'Pot Kettle Black' (the films 'Whip It!' and 'Observe And Report' as well as the pilot episode of the CW's '90210') and even an appearance on 'Sesame Street' -- the band took a break to start families, pursue side projects and, in the case of lead singer Kianna Alarid, some serious soul searching.  

The resulting musical reunion is a 10-track collection helmed by producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, The Faint) that adds layers to the dance-punk direction of 'O' on the stomping 'Love Riot' and the party-starting title track, with nods to their tap dance-driven roots on 'Static Expressions' ('We cannot stay this way forever') with passionate anthems to friends and relationships ('All Kinds of Guns,' 'Thicker Than Thieves') and a pair of anthemic calls to arms for the next generation ('Youth,' 'Defenders.')"

(Continued... Tilly & The Wall Lighten the 'Heavy Mood' on First Album in Four Years | Billboard)

Article: The End Of The New Music Industry Transformation

Whatta piece over on Hypebot.  Great summation, this is an excerpt from the near-end.

Ex-TuneCore CEO Jeff Price: The End Of The New Music Industry Transformation - hypebot



Artists no longer need labels to record, manufacture, distribute, or gain access to media outlets.  The traditional music industry based on the concept of 'exploitation' of the artist is being replaced by an industry that serves the artist.  These new service entities provide value at fair prices while being innovative, transparent, accurate and fast.  Due to the fierce competition between these new music companies, it is the artist who now has the power as they get to determine which ones will survive. The culture gatekeepers from labels and media outlets no longer get to decide which artists and music the general population gets to listen to.  Instead, crowd sourcing is the new A&R.  All artists now have a shot. The only thing not changing is the hardest task of all: the creative challenge for the artist to create music that makes a personal and meaningful connection with the listener.

Music fans no longer need labels, retail stores and media outlets to pre-filter what pre-recorded music they get to hear and buy.  Instead, the general population has access to all music, makes it owns decisions as to what is 'good' and can buy individual songs.  In addition, fans no longer need to tether themselves to one device designed solely to play pre-recorded music.  Instead, they can buy a smart phone, tablet, etc that not only makes phone calls, takes pictures, texts and shows movies, but also includes on-demand access to an almost unlimited supply of music via ubiquitous cellular and WiFi networks.  There are now more people engaging and listening to music, and it will be available through all their devices, everywhere, at all times.

Despite these undeniable realities, the traditional labels are still attempting to prolong their control and revenue by operating as if the CD music industry world of 1995 still applied. The labels:

Sue music fans for copyright infringement . Create more onerous agreements between labels and artists requiring them to give up even more of their copyrights, not fewer (the infamous '360 deals') while providing less value. Use antiquated royalty accounting systems and provisions to slow down or reduce royalty payments owed. Stifle innovation under the guise of 'protecting' copyright (As one example, the majors made it a condition that they must own a piece of Spotify in order for Spotify to have access to their music). Killed artist development and long term careers in a mad dash attempt to make money as quickly as possible. Feed the media as much false information as possible (i.e. the entire music industry is dying) in an attempt to discredit, slow down and delegitimize the new emerging industry."

(Continued... Ex-TuneCore CEO Jeff Price: The End Of The New Music Industry Transformation - hypebot)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Neil Young Journeys Documentary Trailer

Seeing Neil Young on Monday night at the Wolstein Center!  Being the legend he is, he even has his own movie now - though I'm sure it's not the first - or the last.  Mark this one off my bucket list.

Tomorrow: Friends @ Beachland Tavern


I was so bummed I missed Friends opening for Neon Indian at the Grog Shop in April.  You can imagine my excitement to see they're coming back to headline a show at the Beachland Tavern tomorrow night ($10)!  I've been listening to Manifest! a lot lately (buy it on Insound) and it's really a great album.  Every track stands out.  Check out two of them, with videos below.  The more I hear 'I'm His Girl' - the more I love it.