Sunday, December 30, 2018

Total Crush: RÜFÜS DU SOL

Reviving my “Total Crush” category, I wanted to share some RÜFÜS DU SOL - a band I’ve been adoring for some time.  I’m so bummed I missed their Detroit performance last year.  😕  Check out their best songs below.

Rufus Portrait Group

Video Day #tzachill

Elizabeth Moss is in yet another video, this time it’s for Brandi Carlile’s Party of One!  Sub Pop just premiered this Big Sky video by Orville Peck - who’s referenced as a “gay country crooner.” Helado Negro is out with a new video for Pais Nublado off his new record This Is How You Smile (out on 3/8!)

Bonus:  I’ve been charmed with CUCO since seeing him at the Grog Shop back in January, and his new video for CR-V is a good reason why.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Robyn’s new video for Honey!!  Janelle Monåe continues the part with her video for Crazy, Classic, Life.  Justice shows us what true Heavy Metal looks like with their new video.

Bonus:  This behind the scenes of Robyn’s Honey is a glimpse into why I’m such a fan.

Article: Apple Music arrives on Amazon’s Echo speakers starting December 17

I’ve heard a lot of fanfare lately about this integration of Apple Music with Amazon's Alexa.  I’ve played around a little with Alexa, but I’ll admit I’m still not entirely comfortable talking to computers.  Still, I see this integration as a positive thing.

I did just purchased an Apple HomePod (currently $100 off at B&H Photo!), but primarily for wireless speaker than for Siri.  Here and there I’ve clumsily asked Siri to shuffle a certain playlist, and that’s generally about as far as I take it.  It’s rare I ask Siri to play a particular artist or song, or trust what’s played is specifically what I’m looking for.  Regardless, this type of control is only going to improve and it’s better to get on board sooner than later - I guess.

Siri vs alexa

"Apple Music subscribers will have a new way to listen to music soon. Amazon announced that Apple Music will be available on Echo devices next month, beginning the week of December 17.

'We are committed to offering great music providers to our customers and since launching the Music Skill API to developers just last month, we’ve expanded the music selection on Alexa to include even more top tier services,' said Amazon Devices Senior Vice President David Limp in the statement. 'We’re thrilled to bring Apple Music—one of the most popular music services in the US—to Echo customers this holiday.' Further Reading Guidemaster: Want an Alexa device? Here’s every Amazon Echo, compared

Once the feature rolls out, users will be able to ask Alexa on Echo devices to play songs, artists, and albums from Apple Music after pairing their account to the Alexa mobile app. Subscribers can also ask Alexa to play curated playlists and radio stations, including Apple's Beats 1 station."

(Via Apple Music arrives on Amazon’s Echo speakers starting December 17 | Ars Technica.)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Video Day #tzachill

Happy Sunday.  Some great videos I’m finally catching up on (after catching up on a slew of concert posts).  Blood Orange uses a day in the life of a skater for his new video, Dagenham Dream. Mandolin Orange, one of my favorite folk acts out today, released this gorgeous video for Golden Embers. Mansionair put out this beautifully hyper-affectionate video for Falling.

Bonus: I’d been sitting on this bonus for awhile now.  Mostly because it just keeps getting bumped by other stuff.  I was surprised to see the Gin Blossoms still putting out music (sorry guys), and while the song’s not bad - the skies in this video are gorgeous!

Twist (12/10/18)

While I was seeing Mari / Jess Connelly / Noodles in the basement, I was stopping upstairs to check out the bands in the other space.  I first caught DC native Kai Orion playing the vacuum.  Seriously.  Well, it was more of a vocal treatment, but I’m always amazed at what musicians can make work.  He was definitely on the avant-garde side, both interesting and engaging.

Kai Orion  12 10 18

Headlining was Twist from Toronto.  An indie rock band that’s pretty solid.  The next stop for these guys was Mahalls on the next night, so we were both basically racing back to Cleveland that next morning.

Twist  12 10 18

Noodles (12/10/18)

My second night in DC, I was able to catch two shows at the amazing Sonbyrd Music House.  I was surprised that 1.) I had never heard of this venue before, and 2.) that they had two stages and two shows happening simultaneously on a Monday night!  The headliner Noodles is was what first caught my attention, but all 3 acts were pretty solid.

Probably my favorite was the opener, Mari.  She had a great band on stage, really a lot of fun with a great personality.  I hope things go well for this DMV native (I just learned that DMV is the nickname for the District, Maryland, Virginia area).

Mari  12 10 18

Next up was Jess Connelly, who’s album I was enjoying.  Seeing her live was a little less exciting, but her DJ kicked ass.

Jess Connelly  12 10 18 

Noodles was the headliner, calling herself out as one of the few Asian-Americans in the music business, and trying to hold it dow for all the “POC’s” out there.   Her DJ skills were good, and loved the song selections.

Noodles  12 10 18

Peter Edelman Jazz Trio (12/9/18)

On my way home from DC9, I walked past Columbia Station and heard some great jazz.  Swung in to catch the end of the first set by the Peter Edelman Jazz Trio.  Excellent sound, with some amazing horn solos!  So glad I stopped.

Peter Edelman Jazz Trio  12 9 18

DRAMA (12/9/18)

Another trip to DC for work, another chance to check out some of the great music venues in the city.  This year I was lucky enough to be able to catch shows on both the Sunday and Monday nights I stayed.  I was happy to be making it back to DC9, remembering how much I liked this place from the Michl / Mack show back in 2017.  This time I was seeing DRAMA, who I surprisingly already had in my music collection!  This duo out of Chicago has some great sounds, who have "been described as soulful electronic combining influences of house music, indie, neo-soul, pop and R&B.” Check out their video below! I hope they book Cleveland in their near future… 

DRAMA  12 9 18

DRAMA  12 9 18

Opening was the locally based Lightmare, "a six-piece soul-punk arrangement out of Washington, D.C making songs about love, death, and revolution, in any order and definitely overlapping.”  I enjoyed their sound, and their integration of poetry into the set was reminiscent of Ani DiFranco.

Lightmare  12 9 18

Lightmare  12 9 18

Article: A farewell to the Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern

Thought I’d post this remembrance from the CWRU Observer.  Lots of shows played at this location, I wish I could have attended more… 

The Van Allen Belt  1 6 17

"‘We’ve had over 775 different bands play here. Some of them have played more than once, so that’s over 1,250 gigs. Add to that over a hundred poetry events, the dozens of science talks that we did with the Institute for the Science of Origins, and the author talks we did with Literary Cleveland and the East Cleveland Public Library,’ said Watterson. ‘I’m proud of the stuff we did.’

He plans to carry over some of the events, such as the regular poetry shows and monthly bluegrass jam to the West Side Happy Dog.

Watterson said University Circle Inc. plans to preserve the tavern. Happy Dog is working with the development corporation to ensure that whoever takes over the space will have access to the venue’s concert stage and its sound system."

(Via A farewell to the Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern – The Observer.)

Death Cab For Cutie (12/4/18)

This was my first show at the Agora after all their renovations have been completed!  It’s so much nicer...  Having seen Death Cab for Cutie at Nautica back in 2016, this show wasn’t a huge priority for me. Especially at such high ticket prices, however a fee free day put me over the edge. I’m guessing others did too, resulting in a sold out crowd!  Still, they sound good playing through all my favorites, which I’ve captured again in the video below. Scene review below.

Death Cab For Cutie  12 4 18

Death Cab For Cutie  12 4 18

"Last night, in front of a tightly-packed sold-out crowd at the Agora, Gibbard made his fans wait for the song. But finally, for the start of the group's encore, he came back out alone with an acoustic guitar and gave everyone what they came to hear. The entire audience sang every word and teared up and held their cell phones high to record and hugged their friends. At one point near the end, Gibbard even had the crowd sing a chorus without him, to which they obliged.

'If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied/And illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs/If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks / Then I'll follow you into the dark.'

Of course, there were plenty of other tunes that people came to hear last night. Playing a nicely-tossed mix of classic and new, the band capitalized on its fresh album Thank You For Today with songs like 'When We Drive' and Gold Rush' while still satisfying fans with the oldies like the super emotional 'Title and Registration' and 'We Laugh Indoors.' Other fan favorites like 'I Will Possess Your Heart' and 'Black Sun' also pulled out huge reactions."

(Via Death Cab For Cutie Brought the Hits and Then Some to a Packed-Out Agora | Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog.)

Rayland Baxter (11/30/18)

Rayland Baxter wasn’t here all that long ago.  Back in July I was actually in line to see Rayland Baxter at the Beachland Tavern, but there was a line around the corner waiting for the doors to open.  I was shocked, hadn’t really heard much from him before.  On the spot we decided to change plans, since there were several options that night.  I was a little bummed, but was really glad to see them back in the area so soon!  Had a great night with friends, and Rayland was completely deserving of that line at the Beachland.  Great songwriter, personality and voice.  I’d probably put him somewhere between Beck and Josh Rouse.

Rayland Baxter  11 30 18

Rayland Baxter  11 30 18

Opening was Bendigo Fletcher, a musician from Louisville, KY.  I quickly became a fan and quickly scooped up his albums.

Bendigo Fletcher  11 30 18

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Rubblebucket (11/28/18)

As the popularity of Rubblebucket has grown, so has their stage performance.  Lots of horns and synchronized dance routines, Rubblebucket delighted once again  at the Beachland Ballroom with their quirky art pop sound.

Rubblebucket  11 28 18

Rubblebucket  11 28 18

Opening was And The Kids.  A solid performance, despite their struggles in finding a bass player (we chatted after their performance).

And The Kids  11 28 18

Friday, December 7, 2018

Video Day #tzaupbeat

It’s Friday yo!  Mark Ronson just released his new video for Nothing Breaks Like A Heart with a generous dose of Miley Cyrus.  MØ released this stylish new video for Blur feat. Foster The People.  Tesla Boy is a new discovery with their equally stylish video for Compromise. 


Bonus:  Dan Deacon was tapped to score a cycling documentary called Time Trial.  Trailer included below

Monday, December 3, 2018

Amy Ray (11/27/18)

What an amazing night for live music in Akron.  While the vitality of new Indigo Girls music has waned (for me), Amy Ray still is as vibrant as ever.  I’m thrilled with every new album, even the country ones.  She stuck to this theme during the show with her massive 7 member band on the stage of EJ Thomas Hall.  And as I expected, they played backwards - where we the audience was seated in the bowels of back stage.  It’s a really nice orientation actually.  After an incredible performance by Chastity Brown (more on that later), Amy and her band took the stage.  She was humble as always as she tried to hush the crowd coming out on stage for some pre-show business. Still, she played a rousing down home collection of songs from her last couple albums.  She’s such a great storyteller, in the key of country but with a punk personality.

Amy Ray  11 27 18

Amy Ray  11 27 18

Opening was Chastity Brown, an incredibly soulful singer/songwriter from Minneapolis, MN.   She really was incredible, take a listen below!

Chastity Brown  11 27 18

Doc Robinson (11/21/18)

November was a pretty light month for concerts, which usually happens around the holidays.  However, it’s also a great time time of year to see some local acts!   Having been several weeks since my last “concert” I jumped when a friend tagged me from a Doc Robinson concert in Columbus, saying they’d be at the Beachland Tavern the next time.  That was the only motivation I needed.  I rounded up some friends and headed over.  However, it was basically a repeat of seeing WHY? (damn friends). 😋  Turns out, Doc Robinson (a Columbus band) was opening for The Floorwalkers (a Columbus band).  Would love to check out them out again sometime, hopefully headlining in the Tavern!

Doc Robinson  11 21 18

(we didn’t end up staying for the Floorwalkers 😬)

WHY? (11/2/18)

WHY? recently came to the Beachland Ballroom.  I’d been loosely listening to their music lately and do generally enjoy it!  This night ended up being more about hanging with friends than giving it a proper review.  Still - I liked what I heard!

WHY  11 2 18

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Digitalism is teasing some new music with their video release for Automation. Roisin Murphy releases another video from a  series of singles, showing a party that I’d *love to be at.  Ellie Goulding, Diplo & Swae Lee video for Close To Me was a refreshing addition to the constant deluge of Diplo collaborations. 

Bonus:  I just happened upon this Sam Fender artist and first really enjoyed the Dead Boys song via this video which I really enjoyed, then discovered the original:

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Tomorrow: Rubblebucket @ Beachland Ballroom

It’s fun looking back and seeing my post from 2011 talking about taking a chance on an unknown band named Rubblebucket.  Then seeing them again in 2016 solidified their spot in my must-see list of touring bands. I’ve loved every album release since.  Now’s your chance - they’ll be at the Beachland Ballroom tomorrow!

65 og

Opening is a somewhat similar alt-pop band from And The Kids.  Should be a nice compliment!

And the kids  1

Monday, November 26, 2018

Tomorrow: Amy Ray @ EJ Thomas Hall

I hate to say it, but Amy has always been my favorite Indigo Girl.  Her songwriting, her politics, her “punk” has always been appreciated.  I was surprised to see her booked at Akron’s EJ Thomas Hall, but hopefully it’ll be the same setup as the Michelle Malone show I saw back there in 2016.  Check out her new video and Scene article below.


"For more than 30 years, the Indigo Girls have been examining differences. ‘What separates me from you,’ asks singer-guitarist Amy Ray in ‘Tried to Be True,’ a track from the group’s 1989 self-titled major label debut. The pair have been longtime advocates, using their songwriting as a platform to explore a variety of topics and shine a light on different perspectives and important commentary.

Holler, the recently released solo album from Ray, finds the veteran artist continuing to dissect the world around her. ‘Sure Feels Good Anyway,’ which leads off the record, grapples with the divide that sometimes exists right outside of the front door for Ray in her hometown of Dahlonega, GA."

(Via Amy Ray Embraces Country and Draws From Her Punk-ish Past for Her New Solo Album | Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog.)

Opening will be Chastity Brown.  A new name for me, but I’m liking everything I’m seeing so far.

Chastity Brown

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Video Day #tzachill

Christine and the Queens continues to charm me, particularly with this video for The Walker.  Mike Edel, who you may remember from my last house concert, has a new video out for Challenger.  I recently posted the video for Baby by Clean Bandit on a #tzaupbeat post, but their acoustic version is worth the repeat!

Bonus:  Dan Bern’s been relatively quiet recently, but has recently dropped 2 videos: Take The Guns Away” and America Without the People.

Article: CDs Are Dead! ...Or Are They?

Cd dvdAs we go into our holiday shopping season, one would think… 

"Although CD sales are far from what they once were, there’s still a healthy demand for what has now become a premium priced product with a large profit margin. According to Billboard, the A Star Is Born soundtrack moved 111,000 CD albums, while Eminem’s Kamikaze sold 68,000, and Greta Van Fleet’s Anthem Of the Peaceful Army sold 47,000 so far."

(Via CDs Are Dead! ...Or Are They? - hypebot.)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Little Dragon goes MMO with their new video for Lover Chanting, preceding their new EP Lover Chanting on 11/9.  Clean Bandit tapped Marina & the Diamonds (!) and Luis Fonsi for their new video for Baby.  Carly Rae Jepsen is finally making her way back after her much lauded 2015 release with the new single and video for Party For One.

Bonus:  Oberhofer hams it up in this retro-tinged video for Dreamt.  I’m hoping this means there’s a new video and tour in the works!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Tourist caught me by surprise by dropping this beautifully subtle video for Apollo.  Going completely the other direction, Charli XCX enlisted Troye Sivan to go back to 1999 in their throwback video laden with references from the era.  Toro Y Moi announced his new album coming out 1/18, alongside this video for Freelance.

Bonus:  Jamila Woods put out an epic video for Giovanni

Twenty One Pilots (10/23/18)

I was surprised the morning of this sold out show that I would be going!  I first caught Twenty One Pilots back in July of 2014 at the inaugural Alternative Press Music Awards, before I even knew anything about this band.  Their performance caught my eye, enough so that I caught them later that year at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica.  Their blend of rock, rap, and pop was intriguing, and their stage performance was electric.  I’m not a fan of large venue shows, so I hadn’t planned on this show at Quicken Loans, but I’m so glad it worked out. What amazes me about this band is how, without traditional main-stream exposure, this band from Columbus, OH is able to garner such a rabid fanbase, fully donned in costume. They put on an electric performance, filling the space properly.  Check out some photos and a video below, with covers by the Beatles and Goo Goo Dolls at the end! More expansive reviews are below.

Twenty One Pilots  10 23 18

Twenty One Pilots  10 23 18

Twenty One Pilots  10 23 18


(more photos here)

"They started last night’s two-hour concert in front of a capacity crowd at the Q in dramatic fashion as singer-multi-instrumentalist Tyler Joseph arrived carrying a torch. Decked out in fatigue pants and a bandana, he looked like he could’ve been a fashion conscious terrorist/mugger as he climbed atop the shell of car that rose from underneath the stage and began singing the jittery opening number, ‘Jumpsuit,’ a single from the band's new album, Trench."

(Via Twenty One Pilots Put on a Spectacle of a Show at the Q | Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog.)

"Ah, flair. And now we get to the real appeal of Twenty One Pilots: There are bands who write good songs. There are bands with good singers. There are bands who fire off exciting pyrotechnics. There are bands with Trans-Siberian Orchestra-worthy light shows. There are bands with lead singers who broadcast charisma like the aura of a sun.

Ain't too many bands, though, that have all that, and Twenty One Pilots is all that . . . and a lot more. Including flair."

(Via Twenty One Pilots soar over a dancing, joyous crowd at Quicken Loans Arena: concert review |

Friday, October 19, 2018

Article: Nomi Ruiz Calls Out Queer Appropriation on New Single

I’ve been a big fan of Nomi Ruiz since her early Jessica 6 album, even seeing her open for Holy Ghost! at the Grog Shop back in 2011! Well, Jessica 6 has a new album out today, The Eliot Sessions, which I’m really looking forward to checking out.  In addition to her music, I also appreciate her speaking out on behalf of the appropriation of queer artists.  Check it (and her) out.

Jessica 6 cr Bailey Robb 2018 billboard 1548

"Mainstream artists profiting off culling inspiration from the underground is 'a tale as old as time,' Nomi Ruiz says. But that doesn't make it acceptable, and when the artists being squeezed like creative sponges — often without their consent — are of marginalized communities, those mainstream artists are complicit or even contributing to that systemic oppression. Today, the New York songwriter calls out one of the most famous of these perpetrators — Madonna — with the premiere of her new single, 'Ridiculous.'

The track is part of a forthcoming EP, The ELIOT Sessions, where she expands on the electronic dance-pop of her last two Jessica 6 full-lengths by circling back to her roots in R&B, hip-hop, and soul. That's where she'd started — solo, back in 2005 — before appearing on multiple tracks on Hercules and Love Affair's first album, before Jessica 6."

(Via Nomi Ruiz Calls Out Queer Appropriation on New Single.)

"Listen to the V Magazine & Gitano NYC present Nomi Ruiz/Jessica 6's Playlist below:"

(Via Jessica 6 is Here to Make You Fucking Groove | V Magazine.)

Tall Heights (10/16/18)

One week after being at Mahall’s for the Sainseneca show, I was back to see Tall Heights there - for the 2nd time!  This time they had a full bill of great artists, each one the would have been worth seeing separately!  It started with Frances Cone from Brooklyn New York, which Noisey accurately described as “"Think Fleetwood Mac meets Dirty Projectors..."

Frances Cone  10 16 18

Next up, the wildly attractive Old Sea Brigade (as confirmed by the entire band of Frances Cone), who’s been described as “gorgeous, meditative songwriting" with a "sense of Southern gothic.”. 

Old Sea Brigade  10 16 18

Finally, Tall Heights was on stage, and the room was filled mostly with young women.  These guys have obviously started to take off, as mentioning during the show, how their last album has just seemed to have been discovered just as they’re releasing a new one.  They stuck to their guns and played a lot of songs off their new album - which I’m really enjoying!  You should check it and them out.

Tall Heights  10 16 18

Tall Heights  10 16 18

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Video Day #tzachill

As always, I’m charmed by Amy Ray - this time by her new song and video for Tonight I’m Paying the Rent.  Calvin Love won me over back in 2015 and I haven’t heard much from him since, until I discovered the video for the single Wildflower (new album out 10/26).  It was a pleasant surprise to run across this video for Domestication from Laura Gibson, as it signals a new album coming Goners coming out on 10/26.

Blood Orange is in full video release mode, and here is the newest for Chewing Gum feat. A$SAP Rocky & Project Pat.

WRUW's Studio-A-Rama 2018

I was only able to catch the last two acts this year, but so glad I made it.  Despite being in a tent outside MOCA, it was still rather frigid!  Both bands bundled up and really warmed up the crowd.  I wasn’t entirely familiar with either Land of Talk or Lucy Dacus, but I’m always down for a female-focused indie rock band!  Both were superb.

Lucy Dacus  10 13 18

Land of Talk  10 13 18

Saintseneca (10/9/18)

I was able to catch Saintseneca at last year’s NEOCycle Music Festival, and have loved all of their work since.  They have this indie rock sound that is all their own, with a quirkiness that I love.  Such a great band, and love that they’re Ohioans!

Saintseneca  10 9 18

Saintseneca  10 9 18

Opening was Trace Mountains from New York.

Trace Mountains  10 9 18

Trace Mountains  10 9 18



Article: Apple CEO Tim Cook says algorithms are 'draining the humanity out of music' in new interview.

This has been my approach with this blog, a human-centered recommendation platform.  I’m probably somebody you know, who is recommending music and giving my own personal take on it.  If you read further in the (quite short) article, it goes into how Spotify is trying to overturn the label model.  I think there’s definitely room for improvement in the label model, but at the same time I don’t want to turn it over to algorithms - especially with their being created by privileged, mostly white, mostly male Silicon Valley armies.

Tim cook 2156 1120

"Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed some thinly-veiled concern regarding his competitors. In a new interview with Fast Company, Cook highlighted the importance of human-curated music services. Though he didn’t call out Spotify by name, Cook did directly highlight the difference between Apple’s human-driven and Spotify’s algorithm-driven curation approaches, even going so far as to say ’We [at Apple] worry about the humanity being drained out of music, about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world instead of the art and craft.’"

(Via Apple CEO Tim Cook says algorithms are 'draining the humanity out of music' in new interview : Dancing Astronaut.)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Video Day #tzaupbeat

HUMANS are coming back with another album and if this video for Breakfast with Liz is any indicator, it should be great!  Seeing the new Rayland Baxter video for Casanova just makes me regret not staying for his show at the Beachland Tavern, which I’m sure would have been as fun. Alessia Cara is as charming as ever in her new video for Trust My Lonely.

Bonus: LCD Soundsystem just put out an epic video (Sissy Spacek!) for oh baby.  Totally worth the watch.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Cautious Clay (9/27/18)

Similar to my serendipitously learning about the Van William show at the last minute, the same thing happened with Cautious Clay.  I’d noticed his catchy name before, but it wasn’t until I saw him on the video with AlunaGeorge that he really registered with me.  Then when looking at the Beachland website for a possible show I could try out the new iPhone camera, his name popped up!  Perfect.  Making it even a little more special was finding out he’s a Cleveland Heights native.  His live show was a little more analog rock than his digital pop stuff online, but he was still great.  His blend of R&B, rock, pop and jazz was really enjoyable.

Cautious Clay  9 27 18

Cautious Clay  9 27 18

Opening was 17 year old Victor! from Chicago.  He was irreverent and playful.  Very refreshing.

Victor  9 27 18

Victor  9 27 18

As for the phone camera - I think it did pretty well!  It’ll probably take me a couple more concerts to really decide if I want to still carry my DSLR to shows!