Friday, August 16, 2019

Ryley Walker (8/14/19)

I was finally able to catch Ryley Walker in concert.  He’s been on my list to see live, and while I know I’ve missed him in the past - I was surprised to hear that Mahalls has booked him 4 times before!  Apparently this was his first time sober on stage, and I can’t help but imagine it’s serving him well.  His recorded stuff is pretty varied and expansive, so I was curious to hear how he sounded live. His style of extended and complex guitar based composition is really refreshing and enjoyable, with some vocals throw in occasionally to break things up.  I’ll look forward to his future bookings.

Ryley Walker  8 14 19

Wild Pink, hailing from NYC, opened for Ryley Walker - and while it took a few songs to really get into their set, I did enjoy it.  I’ll keep an eye on them.

Wild Pink  8 14 19

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Article: Finding new music in the algorithm age

Thinking about how people discover new music is fascinating to me.  It’s clear we're on this trajectory towards use of algorithms, but as both a music blogger and a librarian, I relish those non-algorithmic discoveries.  Working at Finders Records in Bowling Green, Ohio was so much fun.  The internet wasn’t nearly as pervasive.  People would physically browse the store alphabetically (albeit with imperfect categories), but we also took a lot of time to present new releases and employee favorites at listening stations and on endcaps.  The best engagement happened through conversations and personal connections.  Over the years I built up trust with folks that when they would walk in the store, I’d hand them an album, and they’d buy it sound-unheard - and would come back and do it again.  

I understand the value of algorithms, but understand we may also lose serendipity and community.  This blog is my little attempt to keep that alive. 

"Personalized recommendations, sponsored playlists, and the dominance of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have changed the experience of music discovery for all of us. Whereas magazines, zines, radio, and something called MTV once offered diverse avenues of exploration for music fans, followed by the heyday of music blogs and music piracy websites like Napster, the algorithm now looms over everyone. There is considerable reason to worry about what that means for up-and-coming artists without major label connections, as well as the landscape of popular music as a whole.

But what are the alternatives? Six people working in and around music told The Outline how they actually find out about new music."

"Honestly, I don’t think Spotify and other music discovery algorithms are the way to go. It’s one thing to try to suggest, based on an algorithm, what a person will listen to next. But there’s nothing like that old school discovery of just going through the stacks and either picking something based on the cover art, or picking something based on a single that you like and then going down that rabbit hole. A lot of relationships I’ve built over the years has come from just being in the record store all the time and seeing and knowing the owners and then them coming back saying, ‘Oh well you like this jazz record, you need to check out this other spiritual jazz record.’ That builds genuine relationships with actual people. It’s difficult to do that with a robot. I see why I see companies are doing that, but I ultimately don’t like it because you take the soul out of discovery music."

(Via Finding new music in the algorithm age | The Outline.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Video Day #tzaupbeat

I’m not sure what’s going on in this video for Metronomy’s Walking in the Dark, but I’m here for it.  REMI has been one of my favorite rappers recently, hailing from Australia, and just released a video for his new single 5 A.M. feat. Whosane (and hopefully putting out a full length album soon!).  Brendan MacLean released this video and remix for Goes Without Saying with Stereogamous - and you can download your fee copy here!

Bonus:  I’ve really been enjoying Computer Magic’s stuff lately, and this Analog Modular Jam 1 just keeps me intrigued.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Pressurefest v2

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I wasn't entirely clear on what PressureLife was - the sponsor of PressureFest.   After a review of their website, after some digging for clear details, I was able to see it’s a Cleveland-based alternative independent magazine.  Well, I need to catch up, because their PressureFest event this past Saturday was awesome!  This was (apparently) it’s second year and they took over the Phantasy entertainment complex (Phantasy Nightclub, Symposium Nightclub, and The Chamber), along with the Five O’Clock Lounge and The Foundry Concert Club.

I believe all local rock bands performed, with notable bands such as Herzog, Royal Beasts, This Moment in Black History, etc headlining.  There were also comedy performances, as well as drag performances throughout the event as well.  $20 got you full access to all venues.  We attended great concerts, heard some great comedy, and saw some amazing drag - and danced!  I couldn’t have asked for a better Cleveland-focused evening.   Bring on PressureFest v3!

Pressurefest v2  8 10 19

Pressurefest v2  8 10 19

Pressurefest v2  8 10 19

Pressurefest v2  8 10 19

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Video Day #tzachill

Blood Orange released his brand video for Benzo - which Stereogum points out that “every Blood Orange video is worth watching” - agreed.  Brittany Howard enlisted Terry Crews for her new video Stay High.  Amy Ray goes into space for her recent single, Holler.

Bonus:  House concert alumni Oliver Hazard just released their new video for Grenadine.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Beach House (8/6/19)

Beach House is one of those bands that I’ve continuously collected their music, but  -ithout ever really listening to it.  This occurred to me until I was preparing for this show and realizing how little I actually knew.  I had forgotten how long they’ve actually been around - and that I had actually seen them back in 2012.  As I had noted back then, their live show is still just OK.  This is one of those bands that I think you have to be already familiar (and in love) with their songs to enjoy the show.  Dusting off my DAKS scale, i’d rank it pretty low. 

As for the photos and video - it was a photographers’ nightmare.  But then they like it that way:

"‘We believe pretty strongly that who we are as individuals has nothing to do with our art,’ says Scally. ‘So we don’t go around and show our personalities on our social media pages. Our physical bodies, or faces, our actions throughout the day, that sort of bending of reality that a lot of people show on social media…we don’t believe that has anything to do with our art.’"

(Via Ahead of Next Week's Show at the Agora, Beach House Guitarist Talks About the Dream-Pop Band's Sound | Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog.)

Beach House  8 6 19

Beach House  8 6 19

Article: As Exclusivity Takes Charge, How Will Music Streaming Change? - hypebot

Exclusivity and consumerism.  Blah.

"How Exclusive Can It Get?

Relative to the history of music, we’re living in an incredibly unique time where all music is, theoretically at least, available at the tap of a finger or a basic voice command. However, as exclusivity takes hold, we’re going to see this shift, with a slight feeling of how music has previously been to consumers, but with a streaming spin.

For example, Spotify has recently bought rights to exclusively stream certain podcasts to further build out their platform’s user base. Then there’s TIDAL who has worked with certain artists to secure timed exclusives, meaning an album release may only be available on TIDAL for a certain period of time before streaming on additional platforms.

No major streaming service so far has been able to offer a compelling proposition for every genre, rather we’re going to see more niche services materialize in demand of a better experience. As these services come to fruition, we’re increasingly seeing a new jazz release be exclusive to a jazz platform first, or a new recording of a classical movement exclusive to one of those platforms."

(Via As Exclusivity Takes Charge, How Will Music Streaming Change? - hypebot.)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Nick Foos (8/3/19)

Family time continued after my niece’s visit, heading back home for my nephew’s graduation party.  While this would have not traditionally made my music blog, we were all treated by a performance by a family friend!  I had caught a short clip of him singing on social media a couple weeks back, and was surprised to even know he was a musician!  After some setup hurdles (note the mic stand!), Nick performed quite a few songs for us - including some of my favorites below!  Nice job Nick!!

Nick Foos  8 3 19

Nick Foos  8 3 19

Holden Laurence (8/1/19)

So I mentioned I’ve been busy right?  Right after shows in Chicago and San Francisco, I then hosted my Niece for her annual visit to Cleveland!  She continues to grow up (too quickly) and I thought this would be a good year to introduce her to the Beachland Tavern!  I double checked the age restrictions, confirming all shows are all ages unless specifically noted.

Technically this was one of the Lighthouse & the Whaler residency shows, though we only stayed for Holden Laurence’s opening set.   I’m not entirely sure she was as charmed by the place as I was - but you have to start them off seeing live music at a young age!   Oh - and Holden was good as always.  :-) 

Beachland Ballroom

Holden Laurence  8 1 19

Nilüfer Yanya (7/30/19)

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about going to Pitchfork is the exposure to new artists.  That’s where I had first heard about Nilüfer Yanya and got to see her perform.  She’s since released a brand new album and I was thrilled to see her coming to the Grog Shop, particularly with an all British bill!  She put on a great set, and I’d highly recommend you check out her new album (embedded below).

Nilüfer Yanya  7 30 19


Opening was Pixx who has her own unique electro/pop sound.

Robyn (7/25/19)

Right after my trip to Chicago for the Pitchfork Music Festival, I was off to San Francisco to visit a friend for their birthday.  Coincidentally, after having already purchased our flights, we were alerted to Robyn playing in SF on the day we landed!  Tickets purchased.

This show was at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, which I thought would be a little bigger - and a little more full.  Still Robyn put on yet another great set - and the audience showed their appreciation.  It’s been a great year for Robyn, and I was glad to have been able to see her 3 times!

Robyn  7 25 19

Robyn  7 25 19

Robyn  7 25 19

The bonus for this concert was that Troye Sivan would be opening!  He played his hits, but actually seemed a little disconnected - or maybe tired from his endless round of touring on his album.  Still, it was fun to hear his songs live.

Troye Sivan  7 25 19

Pitchfork Music Festival 2019

I have attended (almost) every Pitchfork Music Festival since 2007, only missing 2010 - the year Robyn played!  That’s a dozen years and it feels like my run is coming to an end.  This has been such a Summer mainstay for me, but it feels like it’s time to move on and try something new - besides, my favorite place to stay in Boystown is going to be sold and I’ll have to find a new place to stay.  Also symbolic is that this is the year I was able to finally catch Robyn closing the festival!  It feels right.  

This year saw its challenges with heat and weather.  The first day we left early because of the heat, missing out on Mavis Staples (meh), Low, and HAIM (who I hear were really good).  I did catch Sky Ferreira who wasn’t particularly captivating.  Grapetooth was a good time though!  On the second day, I really enjoyed Ric Wilson, Bitchin Bajas, Cate le Bon and Parquet Courts - that is until we were thrown out of the festival because of lightning.  We missed Kurt Vile, Stereolab, Belle & Sebastian and the Isley Brothers (yay!).  Sunday was the best day with a surprisingly enjoyable set by black midi, as well an extended stay over at the blue stage to see Tasha, Ibeyi and Amen Dunes!  I did pop over and catch an *amazingly* fun set by Khruangbin!  The festival ended with back-to-back performances by Charli XCX and Robyn.  I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end this festival - and my attendance at it.

Check out some of the photos & video (including an impromptu dance mob for Robyn!):

Pitchfork Music Festival 2019

Pitchfork Music Festival 2019

Pitchfork Music Festival 2019

Pitchfork Music Festival 2019

"Over the course of its three days, Pitchfork Music Festival 2019 had a good amount of variety. Though fans of heavier music or more experimental electronic artists might’ve been out of luck, the lineup otherwise was a good balance offering up something for everyone, and not just in terms of genre. You had legacy alternative acts like Stereolab and Belle & Sebastian on the same day as the Isley Brothers; you had reliably crowd-pleasing festival acts like HAIM headlining over ascendant songwriters like Soccer Mommy or buzz-y young bands like Black Midi. And then, closing it all out at the end, was the pop one-two of Charli XCX and Robyn.

This was a smart bit of booking. Not only are both those acts somewhat unifying draws that go over particularly well at festivals, but it was also a way to make a kind of statement — these are pop artists with big choruses, but they are still left-of-center. Both Charli XCX and Robyn have either released or been involved in some very famous songs this decade, but neither is exactly a ubiquitous household name. They are pop artists outside the usual mechanisms of the pop world. So, if Pitchfork strives to provide a festival a little to the side of a normal American festival, in many ways Charli and Robyn were the ideal options to close this year’s iteration."

(Via Pitchfork Music Festival 2019 Review: Charli XCX And Robyn - Stereogum.)

To cap off my annual experience, here are my previous years’ posts: 20072008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

But then again - by next year I may be game all over again… to be continued.

Michigan Rattlers (7/16/19)

I’m back from several back-to-back trips and ready to get caught up!  Right before I left, I was able to swing by the House of Blues Cambridge Room to catch Oliver Hazard (TZA House Concert Alums!) coming back to town and opening for the Michigan Rattlers.  It was great to see the crowd really getting into these guys.

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Michigan Rattlers took the stage, but I wasn’t able to stay for much of their set.  They sounded pretty good, but seeing them in a more conducive venue for their sound would be better.

Michigan Rattlers  7 16 19

You can actually catch both of these bands at Oliver Hazard Day back over in Waterville, OH if you’re up for a little road trip!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Video Day #tzaupbeat

The Lower Dens reignited my interest in them with their last Young Republicans video, and it’s still goin’ with this new one for I Drive, talking about the power of choosing your family for queer and trans people.  Along those lines, Ezra Furman is wanting to be your Girlfriend with his new video.  Charli XCX joined up with Christine and the Queens for their pop-licious song Gone.

Bonus:  I’m not sure what to think about this new Alex Ebert manifestation, with his new video for Gold.  He’s had several representations, with of course my favorite being Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.  This time he has a couple of unique songs/videos.  What do you think?