Monday, February 17, 2020

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Hot Chip’s most recent  video for Positive is… fascinating. Declan McKenna caught my attention with his last (but not first) album in 2017, and I’m glad to see him back with this new video for Beautiful Faces.  KAYTRANADA is looking for their 10% in their groovy new video. 

Bonus:  This new Charlie Parr song is a foot-stomper.  I guess I wasn’t expecting Charlie (who I saw and LOVED at Nelsonville) would be the type of artist to put out music videos, but he hit this one out of the park.  The visuals on this are phenomenal.  I hope he comes to Cleveland sometime soon!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Article: How To Like Deep House, For The Uninitiated : NPR


"And again, Chicago and Detroit - you had a lot of African American artists that were making electronic music. And what has made deep house music stand out is that they're not just sitting behind a board and just hitting buttons. A lot of these producers are actual musicians. So deep house brings a sense of virtuosity, a sense of musicianship to a lot of the production."
(Via How To Like Deep House, For The Uninitiated : NPR.)

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Zeitgeist / Buck McDaniel (1/17/20)

I was able to sit in on several of the most recent No Exit / Zeitgeist performances around the city.  They played some amazing pieces by new composers, some of which were able to be present.  Ending the nights, Zeitgeist performed music by Buck McDaniel, but I’ll let Cleveland Classical take it from here… 

"The program closed with Buck McDaniel’s Scherzo in Four Movements, which served as something of a musical farewell to Cleveland as McDaniel moves to New York to further his musical career. In his pre-performance remarks, the composer noted that the classical symphonic scherzo is a kind of musical joke, but not necessarily a funny one. One of the movements lampoons the English Renaissance composer Orlando Gibbons’s setting of the word ‘motion’ as ‘mo-see-on.’

McDaniel’s minimalist writing is highly influenced by the works of Steve Reich, but with far greater harmonic variety and motion. McDaniel also gives a tip of the hat to his composition teacher by reworking part of an Andrew Rindfleisch work with different harmony and development. Zeitgeist gave the Scherzo a joyous, expert performance, enthusiastically received."

(Via No Exit & Zeitgeist at the Bop Stop (Jan. 17) - Cleveland Classical.)

Zeitgeist  Buck McDaniel  1 17 20

Video Day #tzaupbeat

I jump any time I see Empress Of putting out anything new, and this new song & video from Kito & Empress Of for Wild Girl was worth the effort.  Pet Shop Boys surprised me with a FUN new video and song for Monkey Business!  Aussie pop band, Cub Sport, released this album-less single and nipple-icious video for Hearts in Halves.

Bonus:  If you haven’t been keeping up with the new releases by The Weeknd, these songs and videos are POLISHED.

Tōth (1/16/20)

While there wasn’t a lot of must-see shows in January, having both YACHT and then Tōth within a week of each other was a real treat.  You may remember Tōth as one part of Rubblebucket, who I’ve seen and posted about multiple times.  His new album, Practice Magic and Seek Professional Help When Necessary, is superb!  Check out some of his videos while you’re at it.   Live, he was everything I was hoping from this show… 

Tōth  1 16 20

Tōth  1 16 20

Opening, as she did once before for Rubblebucket, was Mal Devisa.   Quite a different vibe from both Tōth and Rubblebucket, but she’s captivating in her simplicity and bass guitar.  ohbtw - you’ll only find her stuff on Bandcamp

Mal Devisa  1 16 20

Opening was our own Holden Laurence, who seems to be having a career rivaling his band, The Modern Electric.

Holden Laurence  1 16 20

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

Demaro, a new Jamaican artist by way of NYC, shows he’s ready for the spotlight in his new video for Mi Readi.  Destroyer just put out his gorgeous video for Cue Synthesizer, off his upcoming album Have We Met out 1/31.  Also releasing a video at the end of the month is Son Little, who just dropped this animated video for Never Give Up (and I’m glad he’s not).

Bonus:  I just discovered the new Leif Vollebekk album through a Pitchfork review, and followed that through this excellent video for Blood Brother.  Definitely has a Ray LaMontagne vibe - but Canadian.

YACHT (1/11/20)

Oh so fun!  While this wasn’t a show of their greatest hits (they played their new album in its entirety), it was still an incredibly upbeat and danceable show.  I’ve been listening to their new album and it’s as good as anything they’ve put out.  However they show did end with some of their earlier hits, just enough to end the show in euphoria.  Check out the extensive video below!

YACHT  1 11 20

YACHT  1 11 20

Opening was Juiceboxxx.  A pop/punk/rapper?  I’m not sure how to classify Juiceboxx, other than just pure energy.  Quite an emotive performance that was about approaching the same level as Future Islands at the Beachland Tavern.  I’d see him again just for the spectacle of it all. 

Juiceboxxx  1 11 20

Damn the Witch Siren from Columbus opened the show.  While there were some technical difficulties starting the show, they recovered well and had a great stage presence.  Lots of energy and audience engagement.  Their sound is definitely POP, but with some unique dynamics to it.  I’ll keep an eye on this band.

Damn the Witch Siren  1 11 20

Monday, January 13, 2020

Article: The Number Ones: Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park”

I love that Stereogum just highlighted Donna Summer’s MacArthur Park as part of its series The Number Ones!  I can’t quite remember how I first discovered this song, but it’s been one of my favorite disco / Donna Summer tracks.  The original article only embedded the edited version that is under 4 minutes - but I’m including the nearly 18 minute version here, which I prefer.  It’s this version that has established itself as our official camp tear-down song, with the goal of the strike to be completed before the end of the song.  It’s good to have goals.


"‘MacArthur Park,’ in its original Richard Harris form, peaked at #2. (It’s a 6.) It didn’t fade away after that, either. It stuck around. Waylon Jennings won a Grammy for a 1969 country version of the song. The Four Tops turned it into orchestral soul in 1971. Andy Williams cut a sleepy easy-listening version in 1972. In his 1975 audition for the original Saturday Night Live cast, Andy Kaufman gave a straight-faced spoken-word recitation of the ‘MacArthur Park’ lyrics. Someone, somewhere, was going to turn ‘MacArthur Park’ into a disco song. It was inevitable. We’re lucky we got the Donna Summer version."


"As with the Richard Harris original, Summer recorded ‘MacArthur Park’ with the best LA studio musicians that her producers could round up. Moroder found other ways to put his literal voice into ‘MacArthur Park.’ On the chorus, the backing vocals are Moroder himself, multi-tracked into a chorus. It’s a trick that other producers would use many, many times in the decades ahead, but nobody else was doing stuff like that then. In the four-minute single edit of the song that Moroder put together, we get a swirling, histrionic, string-dominated intro that recalls the original. But then, one minute in, the beat drops, and ‘MacArthur Park turns into a gloriously hard-thumping disco jam. Summer lets out a quick whoop, but she keeps her composure, and she works overtime to keep the song’s strange emotional resonance alive."

(Via The Number Ones: Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park” - Stereogum.)

Friday, January 10, 2020

Tomorrow! YACHT @ Grog Shop

This is going to be an incredible show!  I’ve been posting YACHT videos for years, but have never had the chance to see them live. They rarely come to Cleveland!  I’m particularly intrigued at how they used AI to help create their newest album, which they will be playing in it’s entirety at the show.  I’ve been listening to it end to end and excited to see how they translate this live.  I wholly expect this to be a dance party!  Tickets are only $15, with Juiceboxxx and Damn the Witch Siren opening.  See you there!

YACHT is an acronym for Young Americans Challenging High Technology. They became well-known in 2009 with the release of their song “Psychic City” and released a subsequent on-slaught of bangers with their tunes “I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler”, “Where Does This Disco?”, and “Shangri-La”. - Grog Shop

 “At their best, YACHT gave us Devo's wit, Blondie's grace, and Tom Tom Club's playful energy, all wrapped in a knowing grin and a clever concept.” - Pitchfork

"Evans says the group enjoys a challenge and regularly takes on art projects that are way beyond its skill sets.

‘We fake it to make it and come out of the other end with musical skills,’ she says, adding the band was just nominated for a Grammy for Best Immersive Audio Album. ‘We love to learn. That’s why we took the AI project on. We wanted to learn what artificial intelligence is and how it works and what its implications are for artists and society at large. We then wanted to make something meaningful out of it. It’s not just an educational project for us, but it’s about showing out audience what we learned and educating them about how AI works and what the aesthetic boundaries are.’"

(Via YACHT Comes to the Grog Shop on Jan. 11 in Support of a Terrific New Album | Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog.)

Friday, January 3, 2020

Article: Purged: How a failed economic theory still rules the digital music marketplace


"Many of the participants in the music industry and particularly in the electronic music industry have unknowingly built their careers or at least their aspirations for one on a dead, discredited theory written by a techno-utopian magazine editor with no education in economics. There wasn’t supposed to be this mass of unsold tracks. They were supposed to sell a few copies of each. The shelf was infinite. Less of more.

The unspoken but universally held laws that guided the digital music industry for the last two decades weren’t true. They were never true.

Everyone told you that releasing 52 tracks a year was better than 14, that more tracks meant a higher royalty statement, that you have to ‘get on all platforms’ for some kind of ledger-bound magic to happen and make you rich. Moreover, if you didn’t get rich, the problem wasn’t the system: it was you. It wasn’t the inevitable result of an economic theory based on bullshit. It didn’t fail: you did.

And it turns out it was nothing but a great big fraud."

(Via Purged: How a failed economic theory still rules the digital music marketplace | 5 Magazine.)

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

Remember me talking about enjoying a good montage video, kudos to Orville Peck and his new video for Nothing Fades Like The Light. Brendan Maclean, my favorite queer Australian musician, has his new video out for Goes Without Saying. I couldn’t agree with Toro Y Moi more, with his new video being released for New House. 

Bonus:  I somehow stumbled on this new video for Sam Doores for Let It Roll.  I suspect it was because if follow New West Records YouTube RSS feed, but I guess this is the reason I do.  And i need to say that montage videos are a complicated genre that is often hard to get right - but Sam pulls this off in spades.  I couldn’t be more intrigued by his new self-titled album coming out on March 13th.