Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Friday: Erika Wennerstrom @ Beachland Ballroom

If you follow TZA, you’ll know I’m a big fan of Erika Wennerstrom as the front person for Heartless Bastards, seeing them in 20102016.  It’s totally fitting that she put out her own album last year and I’m thrilled she’s swinging by the Beachland Ballroom on Friday!  Check out a video below, as well as Scene’s write up as one their highlighted concerts this weekend!  I have high expectations.

 

 "Erika Wennerstrom/Jivviden/John Kalman

Formed back in 2003, the garage rock band Heartless Bastards emerged from the ashes of the Dayton-based garage rock act Shesus. With a little help from Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, a fan of the band who passed their demo on to the folks at the Fat Possum label, the group inked a record deal within a year or two of forming and toured and recorded relentlessly up until last year. Last year, however, band members decided to take a break. With the Bastards on hiatus, singer-guitarist Erika Wennerstrom started to work on a solo album. That disc, Sweet Unknown, just came out earlier this year, and Wennerstrom comes to town in the wake of its release for the first time. It's another gritty collection of tunes that'll appeal to the same indie rock/garage fans who know and love the Heartless Bastards. (Niesel) 8 p.m., $15. Beachland Ballroom."

(Via 6 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend | Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog.)

Article: Apple is trying to save my hearing after I spent years ruining it

At this point, there are very few new iOS features that excite me.  This one caught me off guard, and I couldn’t be more excited!  I’ve been wearing professional ear plugs for years now (and often try to carry extras for friends), but I’m sure I’ve done plenty of damage in the past.  I’ll be curious to see how well I’m currently judging when I need them once this new OS rolls out!

 

"And really, that's all this feature is about: Highlighting those instances where you could've made a different decision. Those moments matter. Each time you blast music through your headphones for hours, you run the risk of permanently damaging the thousands of fine, hair-like cells that make hearing possible in the first place. No one is saying you should never crank up the proverbial dial and enjoy your media -- overdoing it isn't smart, though, and seeing your listening habits splayed out across a pretty graph makes it easy to understand when you're going overboard."

(Via Apple is trying to save my hearing after I spent years ruining it.)

Monday, June 17, 2019

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib announced their new album Bandana (6/28) by releasing the first single/video for Crime Pays.   Lower Dens did the same with their new video for Young Republicans for their new album The Competition (9/6).  Trevor Jackson put out this *amazingly* good video for In My Crocs (yep, those Crocs). 

Bonus:  The Chemical Brothers are here for the Eve of Destruction

Larchmere Porchfest 2019

It was kind of a bust this year with the rain.  I might have toughed it out longer, but I brought the pup along for the ride.  Still one of my favorite events, and was able to catch Time Cat before it really started coming down.  I’ve seen their name around a lot lately, but was finally glad to catch their raucous (mid-day!) performance on a porch!  This is a fun band, and one I’d definitely like to see again.

Time Cat  6 15 19

Ani DiFranco (6/13/19)

Ani DiFranco came back around, this time coming to the lush Cain Park and this time bringing one of my other favorite folksters, Lucy Wainwright Roche!  PERFECT.  I wish the weather could have been, as it was raining and in the 50’s - but luckily they allowed everyone in lawn to grab seats under the pavilion.

This time around Ani really went back to some of her older songs, probably in line with her new memoir (you can view an excerpt of an article she did with NPR below).  I have yet to read it, but it’s on my short list.  In the meantime, it was great getting to hear some of the songs that are nearly 30 years old! (WOW). 

Ani DiFranco  6 13 19

Ani DiFranco  6 13 19

Lucy Wainwright Roche opened, and she’s quickly becoming someone who I’m regularly seeing live!  Cheerful and charming as always - and one hell of a good songwriter.

Lucy Wainwright Roche  6 13 19

Here’s the NPR article:

"DiFranco poured that rage into her songwriting. As she wrote in her memoir, DiFranco struggled with making music and once it was made, she hated the idea of selling it. She remembers feeling repulsed by the idea of having to sell her tapes.

'I guess people were right in that I was kind of a punk kid. I was anti-everything, I was anti-capitalist,' DiFranco says.

Though she goes through many personal and professional trials in the book, DiFranco says her sheer determination always outweighed her self-doubt. 'Youth is a powerful drug, you know? I was on a mission. So, yeah, I wasn't gonna let anything stop me.'"

(Via Ani DiFranco Talks 'No Walls and the Recurring Dream' Memoir : NPR.)

Friday, June 14, 2019

Article: Metadata is the biggest little problem plaguing the music industry

So. True.

 

"The problem, they said, was metadata. In the music world, metadata most commonly refers to the song credits you see on services like Spotify or Apple Music, but it also includes all the underlying information tied to a released song or album, including titles, songwriter and producer names, the publisher(s), the record label, and more. That information needs to be synchronized across all kinds of industry databases to make sure that when you play a song, the right people are identified and paid. And often, they aren’t.

Metadata sounds like one of the smallest, most boring things in music. But as it turns out, it’s one of the most important, complex, and broken, leaving many musicians unable to get paid for their work. ‘Every second that goes by and it’s not fixed, I’m dripping pennies,’ said the musician, who asked to remain anonymous because of ‘the repercussions of even mentioning that this type of thing happens.’"

(Via Metadata is the biggest little problem plaguing the music industry - The Verge.)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Tomorrow: Helado Negro @ Grog Shop

Helado Negro is coming back to the Grog Shop tomorrow, where he’s *finally* the headliner!   I caught him there opening for Cuco at the Grog Shop (2018).  I first saw him opening for Sylvan Esso at the House of Blues (2017). Both were excellent performances by Helado.  Check out his new video below, along with a couple live performances - and a clip from the Pitchfork review. 

"This Is How You Smile’s finely drawn intimacy can be attributed to Lange’s familial sense of collaboration. A crew of Latinx artists breathes life into the album’s corners: members of the loungey Puerto Rican duo Buscabulla and Providence punk group Downtown Boys appear on backing vocals, as well as Xenia Rubinos and rising Colombian electronic artist Ela Minus. Longtime collaborator Sufjan Stevens adds to the brief ‘November 7,’ transmuting sampled piano into the sounds of a quavering, peaceful grotto, while Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner threads hypnotic electric guitar through the lithe, bounding ‘Seen My Aura.’ Yet none of This Is How You Smile sounds cluttered or overwrought; each appearance is in service of Lange’s cocooning vision, like a cast of supporting characters fleshing out the broader theme of forging closeness with yourself and others within a politically and socially tumultuous time."

(Via Helado Negro: This Is How You Smile Album Review | Pitchfork.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Nelsonville Music Festival 2019

Just like Movement, another year, another Nelsonville - it's become a yearly staple.  The mix of folk and bluegrass, alongside some deep heavy grunge rock, against some major pop/rock acts, while throwing in an R&B soul legend - that’s a festival I want to be at.  Add to that a phenomenal group of “homies” to camp and party with, it’s a little slice of heathen.

For me, the lineup this year was one to discover new artists.  I knew for sure I wanted to see Laura Gibson and Mandolin Orange - two favorites who I have not seen live yet.  I left this festival becoming a fan of The Brother Brothers, Sun June, The Huntress & Holder of Hands, Campdogzz, and more.  Of course I also saw the venerable Wood Brothers and the ever-present Death Cab for Cutie.  I did decide to get on the long road home before being able to catch Mavis Staples the last night.   I’m also proud of the amazing Cleveland contingent there.  Mourning [A] BLKstar woke EVERYONE up with their rousing opening of the Main Stage, just following up from The Katy opening the Porch Stage a little earlier.  

I already can’t wait for next year.

Nelsonville Music Festival 2019

Nelsonville Music Festival 2019

Nelsonville Music Festival 2019

Nelsonville Music Festival 2019

Nelsonville Music Festival 2019

More Photos Here

Movie: Beats

They banned rave culture??  I had no idea… Looks like a fun movie.

"Check out a new trailer for Beats, the upcoming Scottish coming-of-age film executive produced by Steven Soderbergh and directed by Brian Welsh (Black Mirror).

The film takes place in Scotland during the summer of 1994 and tells the story of two friends encountering illegal parties and rave culture for the first time.

Optimo’s JD Twitch has curated a killer soundtrack featuring Plastikman, Phantasia, The Prodigy, Hudson Mohawke, The Golden Filter, LFO, Outlander, Model 500 and more."

(Via Watch a trailer for Scottish coming-of-age rave film, Beats.)

Hessler Street Fair (6/2/19)

Hessler Street Fair celebrated it’s 50th year!!!  The bad news is, it may also be its last.  Sure they say “hiatus” but with the Barking Spider gone, I can’t help but be skeptical.  However, when I arrived on Sunday evening, the weather could - not - have - been - nicer.  It was a celebratory crowd and had some good eats and tunes.  It’s been a good run Hessler Street Fair!!

Hessler Street Fair  6 2 19

Hessler Street Fair  6 2 19

Oh, and speaking of the Barking Spider Tavern, this was also my first stop by the new Dave’s Cosmic Subs.  It’s hard not to be heartbroken.  They were in between bands when I stopped by, so I’ll have to try again when there’s some music playing.

Hessler Street Fair  6 2 19

Jamila Woods (5/28/19)

The same day that I drove home from Movement, Jamila Woods was performing at the House of Blues Cambridge Room (for only $15!).  While I would have happily paid a lot more to see her in a larger venue - this was a moment not to be missed.  I already had seen her perform at the Pitchfork Music Festival back in 2017.  Her new album LEGACY! LEGACY! is incredible.  Rated as “best new music” on P4K, they also said the following: 

"Each track on LEGACY! LEGACY! highlights a legendary artist of color, spanning disciplines, genres, and decades—Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Frida Kahlo, Miles Davis. For Woods, collectively, they become examples of how to unapologetically navigate life as a person of color. Each song’s subject is treated with the same reverence and warmth as Woods’ own ancestors, who are also referenced throughout. While she assumes responsibility for mining sociopolitical issues in her music, she also stands on the shoulders of these figures in search of her own humanity."

(Via Jamila Woods: LEGACY! LEGACY! Album Review | Pitchfork.)

Jamila Woods’ performance was soulful, powerful, and groove-worthy in this intimate setting.  Those of us there were lucky to be there for this experience. I wholly expect her to move on from from smaller venues like this - real soon.

Jamila Woods  5 28 19

Jamila Woods  5 28 19

I arrived a little late, but was able to catch a bit of Nitty Scott.  An artist who is new to me, but one I quickly grew to appreciate.  If she can get Zap Mama on board, on her album, she has me too.

Nitty Scott  5 28 19

Movement 2019

Another year, another great Movement experience.  It’s practically routine at this point, though this time we stayed further inland Detroit at the Westin.  Very nice hotel and a pleasant walk - that is except when a really strong storm blows in and the festival shoos you out into the streets to fend for yourself.  Luckily we ignored their advice and took refuge down into underground stage where the crowds are always joyous during inclement weather.

Highlights for me this round were Disclosure, Golf Clap, Floorplan, Madlib, and of course Carl Craig.  There were also a host of nameless/faceless DJs that I totally got down to as well.  After parties were also amazing, and once again a consideration for going to Detroit that weekend for a completely flipped schedule.

Movement 2019

Movement 2019

Movement 2019

Movement 2019

Movement 2019

Movement 2019

More Photos Here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Hot Chip just put out their new Melody of Love video. Generationals continue to drop new videos off their new album, including this one for I Turned My Back on the Written Word.  Sofi Tukker seems to been killing it lately - this time scoring a collaboration with Bomba Estereo for Playa Grande.

Bonus: Ezra Furman returns with his first single for Clam Down AKA I Should Not Be Alone off his new album Twelve Nudes (due 8/30/19).

Article: It’s cool to spool again as the cassette returns on a wave of nostalgia

I get it that people love nostalgia.  This is kinda fun, whatever...

 

“I find them much more attractive than CDs. Tapes have a lifespan, and unlike digital music, there is decay and death. It’s like a living thing and that appeals to me.”

---

"Cassette culture is thriving in the electronic music, DIY and avant-garde scenes where labels such as Manchester-based Sacred Tapes and Ireland’s Fort Label Fruit are pushing tapes to fans via online music platform Bandcamp. The cheap cost and fast turnaround of manufacturing cassettes is a key part of the appeal for those committed to the cause.

‘Vinyl has got so expensive to manufacture these days, especially if it’s only a seven-inch you’re putting out. You’ll only lose money on a seven-inch release,’ says Tallulah Webb, who runs cassette-only label Sad Club Records. ‘Cassettes are an exciting way to put music out, in the same way that seven-inch singles were exciting for punk. They have always been a crucial part of the DIY scene.’"

(Via It’s cool to spool again as the cassette returns on a wave of nostalgia | Music | The Guardian.)

And speaking of, Björk is reissuing all 9 albums as multicolor cassettes

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Tycho has finally announced his new album (out July 12th) with the release of this video for Pink & Blue.  Rhumba has a new video out where he “'wanted to take on heteronormativity in a brutal way,’  'Normativity' is an anthemic pop track that gets people dancing and singing in unison”  (via Best Fit).  I just discovered this new video for I Was Wrong by Cozmic Cat - a band I’ll have to dig into a little more!

Bonus: Sound of Ceres’ new video’s production threw me off, until I realized it was recorded live on Adult Swim's William Street Swap Shop Show - bizarre, and a great song.

Movie: Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese

This looks great.. 
 

"‘Setting out across a 1975 America exhausted politically, economically and socially, a busload of musicians—assembled by Bob Dylan—hits the road in search of new creative horizons. The resulting tour, the Rolling Thunder Revue, would reveal a Dylan rarely seen: playful, mask-wearing, intense, expansive, rejuvenated,’ Netflix said of the film.

‘Masterfully capturing both an icon and a nation in transition, director Martin Scorsese tells the tale using footage that was abandoned for decades, now gorgeously restored, taking viewers into the heart of a freewheeling, electrifying musical gamble. Inspired by Dylan’s own restless spirit, Scorsese performs some breathtaking sleight of hand, summoning nostalgic fantasists, boxers, magicians, starlets and testifiers of all stripes, and exploding the boundaries of what makes a conventional documentary.’

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story also features some of the tour’s participants, including Joan Baez, Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, Sam Shepard and Allen Ginsberg."

(Via Bob Dylan’s ‘Rolling Thunder Revue’ Trailer: Martin Scorsese’s Doc – Rolling Stone.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Article: 6 Benefits Of Playing House Concerts Over Bar Gigs

I need to keep this article on file when I’m courting my next musician to play in my living room.  Luckily it’s been a pretty easy sell so far!

Corissa Bragg House Concert (6/23/11)

"When musicians set out to dominate the world with their music, they usually envision playing to sold-out stadiums and amphitheaters of screaming fans, not living rooms in front of only a handful of attentive listeners. But believe it or not, for lots of artists, house shows end up being more beneficial and sustainable than ones played at traditional venues, and organizations like Sofa Concerts are trying to connect more artists with even more opportunities to everyone’s benefit.

If you’re an indie touring musician who’s used to a certain type of environment, and you still need some convincing, here are six great reasons why you should play more house shows."

(Via 6 Benefits Of Playing House Concerts Over Bar Gigs - MTT - Music Think Tank.)

Video Day #tzachill

Brandi Carlile puts out an incredibly touching video for The Mother.   FKA Twigs is back with an (expectedly) epic video for Cellphane.  Tyler, the Creator dropped his new IGOR album last week, quickly followed by this expectedly weird video for Earfquake.

Bonus:  Blood Orange finally released his new video (publicly) for Hope feat. Puff Daddy and Tei Shi)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

REVIVE (5/11/19)

Revive was this first “Electronic Music + Art + Awareness” festivals put on by Sphere Presents - and hopefully there will be more.  It was to be "CELEBRATING CLEVELAND’S Industrial PAST + Technological PRESENT + Eco-Minded FUTURE”.  This was a pretty small scale event, and being positioned down at Hart Crane Memorial Park was a treat.  The day started off with full-sun, but ended cold and windy. The Clevelanders attending persisted with dancing and hanging around a fire pit, which actually reminded me of the early Brite Winter days down there.  Sure, there could have been some improvements, like the sound bleed, and maybe a few more food vendors, but I’m thrilled with how this all went down.  Keep it up Sphere - whoever you are.

Revive  5 11 19

Revive  5 11 19

Revive  5 11 19

Revive  5 11 19

Revive  5 11 19

Revive  5 11 19

"Located underneath industrial bridges, REVIVE will feature two stages of techno, house, and drum and bass electronic music. There will also be a Makers & Creators exhibit, Great Lakes Brewing Company beer on tap and a selection of themed cocktails. Sainato's at Rivergate will provide the food, and there will be visual art displays by artist Kevin Jackson."

(Via REVIVE: Electronic Music + Art + Awareness to Take Place at Hart Crane Memorial Park on May 11 | Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog.)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Frank Turner / Shovels & Rope (5/9/19)

This was an odd night.  I had snagged a ticket awhile back because while I’ve seen Shovels & Rope before, I was intrigued to see how they've progressed since seeing them back in 2012.  I also saw their documentary when the Beachland Ballroom hosted a couple films for the Cleveland International Film Festival, back in 2014.  So needless to say, I was looking forward to this show - and figuring out who the Frank Turner guy was.  But then…   TR/ST released a new album and announced a Detroit show (!!!!).  I pivoted and bought a ticket, reserved an AirBnB, and was all set for an awesome night in Detroit.  Then I had to cancel for dog sitting reasons.  I was a little salty missing that show, and felt resigned to this one.  Still, I wanted to give it a  chance.

I’m really rooting for the Agora - I really am, but I think this venue has stepped down to House of Blues status for me.  Corporate, expensive, and not a great concert-going experience.  I couldn’t buy (any) beer for under $11.  I felt really disconnected from the stage and the performance, which was my biggest issue with Shovels & Rope.  As much as I’ve enjoyed this band in the past, they seemed to have just been swallowed up by this large venue.  Meh.

Shovels  Rope  5 9 19

Shovels  Rope  5 9 19

During the course of the night, I overheard a chorus of Frank Turner fanatics talking about how good he is, how he’s performed different live shows, etc.  It was getting me excited.  I had cursored over several of his albums, and while nothing offended me about them, I wasn’t immediately captivated either.  But, he has a long and successful career, so I’m not surprised to see people following him with ferocity.  

He took the stage with a force I don’t normally see, blasting music and energy out to the crowd.  It caught me off guard, and honestly, I never got on track with his show.  I also didn’t want to spend the money on a 2nd beer, so I left early.

Frank Turner  5 9 19