Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Disclosure just released this cheeky fun video for Energy.  Greyson Chance made a name for himself 10 years ago with a cover of Lady Gaga in his school concert, and is continuing on with his new single for Honeysuckle.  Four years since her last album, Foxes is putting out this refreshing new pop single and video for Love Not Loving You.

Bonus: I’ve been a long time fan of Shilpa Ray.  She’s always been a force of nature, with a voice that will shake you to your bone.  This is all present in her new single and video for Manic Dixie Dream Cunt.

The State of Live Music

I really miss going to concerts.  I’ve been waiting with baited breath to see when they’ll return, and i’m beginning to see some signs of life.  In the meantime, there have been a whole host of options for seeing streaming concerts.  They’re everywhere, and difficult to keep up with!  There’s also talk of this being a new normal:

Though the post-streaming music industry has been difficult for professional musicians at nearly all levels, the emergence of Couch Tour as a potentially viable income source might be one of the few positive developments in recent years. For now, it may be the perfect activity for a homebound age, both socially present and physically distant. But long after audiences return to venues, the future of Couch Tour will be something to watch."

(Via The Never-Ending Couch Tour: How Livestreams and Social Media Have Already Transformed Live Music | Pitchfork.)

While most of these performance are just of artists and their instruments in front of a camera, some artists are showing a little more creativity.  One example are the “Personal Concerts” that Joe Pug has been offering.
 
 
Big Head Todd & the Monsters have been doing virtual tours, supporting local communities.
 
 
But virtual concerts just aren’t the same.  I’m sure by now you’ve heard of some of these Drive In concerts happening.  One artist making some noise in the streaming space is also looking at the Drive In model as well.

"Marc Rebillet, the electronic artist and YouTuber also known as 'Loop Daddy,' is embarking on what is being called the first-ever drive-in concert tour, taking place in drive-in movie theatres in the U.S. starting in June.

The shows aim to resemble the classic drive-in movie experience by showcasing short films instead of featuring traditional opening acts, with a portion of proceeds donated to GlobalGiving Coronavirus Relief Fund."

(Via Pollstar | Marc Rebillet's 'Drive-In Concert Tour' To Hit Multiple Cities, Kicking Off In June.)

 
 But, things are starting to transition out of the virtual.  Music Box just started to announce the return of some dinner concerts coming in a couple weeks.
 
 
Whether or not the public is ready to jam out in public with Carlos Jones, or laugh with Veranda L’Ni in person, in the same room, is another story.  We’ll see where this goes next...

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

YELLE was rocking my iPod in the early aughts, and happy to see their back with the laid back Je t’aime encore video and single. Long time TZA favorite, Teddy Thompson finally released a new album this weekend, along with this video for Brand New. AURORA released a delicately beautiful video for Exist For Love.

BONUS: Sea Wolf is another aughts favorite with a new album out, and this great fan collaboration video created in this time of social distancing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Tessa Violet is speaking for all of us in her new single and video for Bored.   You might think two Declan McKennas are better than one in his (their?) new video for The Key to Life on Earth. I caught Boy Harsher back at Now That’s Class just over a year ago and loved their dark, dank synth sound - fully on display in their new video for for Electric. 

Bonus:  I find myself, like many, taken with the rise of DaBaby.  There’s something about him, and his rap style, that I find so satisfying.  While this video may not have usually made my Video Day post, I couldn’t help but also be taken by the sight of a Cleveland Browns jersey in a video!  When was the last time that happened??

Perfume Genius / Streaming (5/15/20)

If you haven’t listened to the new Perfume Genius album, you should. Recently, Pitchfork announced their new Listening Club series with their first live stream happening this past Friday night.  More on that below, but once you got past some awkward live banter and Q&A (I give them credit, it was a first), Perfume Genius took to what I assume was his living room and played a wonderful set.  Almost as wonderful as his cat playing with this mic cord throughout the performance.

"On the first episode of ‘Listening Club,’ special guest Perfume Genius discusses and performs songs from his new album Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, the follow-up to his excellent 2018 album No Shape. The episode will be hosted by Pitchfork’s Editor-in-Chief Puja Patel, Reviews Editor Jeremy Larson, and Senior Editor Jillian Mapes. Set My Heart on Fire is out today via Matador."

(Via Watch Perfume Genius on the Premiere of Pitchfork’s “Listening Club” | Pitchfork.)

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Video Day #tzaupbeat

KAYTRANADA is leaving it all on the dance floor in their new video for Need It feat. Masego.  Charlie XCX finished up her quarantine album, and released this quite satisfying green screen video for claws.  I recently discovered Boniface, and am really loving their 80’s inspired feel of their single and video for It’s A Joke. 

Bonus:  Local synth rock heros, Key to the Mint released their new video for Factory.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

Five years (and seemingly 2 kids) since her last full release, Selah Sue puts out this touching new video for her new single You.  If there’s one thing you can rely on, is that Destroyer knows how to make a visually stunning video, which he’s done for his new single foolssong.  Trampled By Turtles just released a socially distant video for the apropos We All Get Lonely.

Bonus:  Glass Animals just released this amazing video, made in quarantine, for the single Dreamland.  I’d really recommend sticking with the beginning and seeing this video through.  It’s pretty spectacular.

Righteous Babe Radio!

Well this is interesting.  Ani DiFranco is starting up a new online radio format!  As big of a fan as I am, I’m not sure I see myself logging on to never-ending Righteous stream often - but I can imagine popping in here and there!  I’ll let them provide the explanation...

"Righteous babe radio will feature some previously unreleased live ani shows from the archives. Many of these will come straight off the board tapes and have not been edited/mixed at all. They are simply, As Is! These shows will air Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights at 9pm CDT and a new show will be added every week. Some live singles from these shows will be mixed into the daily broadcast too, including new and unreleased songs, so you never know when you’re going to hear something brand new. Before these live shows, at 8pm CDT, to really set the mood, we will feature an hour of music from the many wonderful artists whom I’ve had the privilege of sharing the stage with. We will also be featuring an interview series airing Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Noon and again at 5pm CDT."

(Via Radio – righteousbabe.)

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Zender Agenda Turns 10!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since I started The Zender Agenda.  While that may seem like a long time in the online world, this blog is just a continuation of several others that existed before it.  In honor of this anniversary, allow me a self-indulgent trip down memory lane - a brief documentation of my history.

I originally started Roger’s Music Blog back in 2005!.  This was hosted as part of Apple's .Mac suite of services, and I used this iBlogger tool to publish content. It was so much fun to engage with these new online tools.  While that site has long since perished, I was able to capture the contents and have it still it hosted up over on Amazon!  It wasn’t a smooth transition, and doesn’t necessarily look the same - but it wasn’t much to look at to begin with. You’ll find that I have (embarrassingly) included that first blog post ever, below.

I named my next blog Only Music Left, a melodramatic act was spurred by some major changes in my life.  I don’t remember if the transition to Blogger was by force (.Mac depreciation), or if I was just seduced by the features of a real blog platform (tagging! comments! RSS Feeds!).  Either way, it was short lived, running from 2008-2010.

During this time however, I was asked to write a monthly column for a local online lgbt magazine called Spangle being run by a friend of mine.  He had the brilliant idea of naming the column “The Zender Agenda” and from there on out, it just made sense. (thanks Brian!)

In the full transition to becoming The Zender Agenda, I moved to a new Blogger account and a professional logo!  What a relief, and a wildly fun process to collaborate on (thanks Matt & Sean!). I also created my tag line, getting right to the point: Live Music & New Releases - Cleveland, OH.  It was here that I really began to formalize my content and structure.  I also made an attempt to use the pages feature to highlight my Concert Calendar (my most valuable asset), local Music Venues (never completed), my House Concerts (needs updated), local Record Stores (depreciated), About TZA (another nice little summary), and Submit your content pages.  I also tried this wonky DAKS concept that I never consistently employed, but still kinda stand by!

This is also when I fully engaged FaceBook Pages, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr, SoundCloud, Songkick, Tumblr and even FourSquare (remember that?).  It was great to have a reason to play with all these new online social technologies, and a with purpose to do so.  They’re all still active (except FourSquare and Tumblr), so feel free to go subscribe, follow, etc.!  I even started a Newsletter using Mailchimp!

Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to guest on a couple WRUW shows with friends, DJ a Beachland Brunch, and run a series of AMAZING house concerts.  The House Concerts have been such an fulfilling experience that it deserves to have it’s own anniversary post.  I even have some business cards, stickers and coasters (!). I’ll have those forever because I’m terrible at leaving them places.

The whole point of all this effort is really just a continuation of my formative time working at Finders Records in Bowling Green, OH.  Being a small town kid in love with music and concerts (thanks Kari!), then going to college and being able to work at the "largest independent music retailer in the Midwest" (or something like that) - truly changed my life.  Fun fact: I was the first person to create a website for them, using dial-up!

Being able to experience endless amounts of music, and being able to talk about it extensively with co-workers and customers, really ignited my fire for supporting music (in any form). It all changed after moving to Cleveland in 2000 and transitioning in to a career. I really missed the ability to connect with people about music, but more importantly, connect people with music.

I’ll let my very first blog post take it from here… (remember this is 2005!)

"Only music could drive me to Blog

I’ve never quite understood the point of blogging. It seemed quite self-indulgent and unnecessary, unless you were some amazingly interesting person who was a great writer. I’ve since lowered my standards and have had quite a bit of fun reading some people’s blogs. At the same time I came to this realization that I was gathering so much music information and experiences, and didn't have the means with which to share it. I would constantly read music news, go to see shows, buy lots of CD’s, and then I would try to keep from bombarding my friends with the excitement of my discoveries and from the endless hours of ‘you should hear this.’

One day I was sitting at one of my favorite places on the planet, Barking Spider Tavern , and I heard this woman on the CD player, her voice and music just blew me away. I ran home and listened to her music, bought it from CDBaby.com (great site!) and then signed up on her mailing list (her name is Chris Pureka who I will talk about soon as she'll be coming to the BST). My next thought was asking myself who can I tell?? Realizing that I probably had given all my friends their fill of new music, I thought, why not blog it? Then it all starting coming to me, just how I could incorporate all my interests in music into a website / blog.

This is the first step of a huge website / blog behemoth.

I go to so many shows, many of which are remarkable, and this is the perfect way to document and share the experience. Realizing how boring text is, I decided that I needed a new digital camera that was small enough, with a great zoom, that I could sneak into venues and get decent shots. Enter my new favorite camera! I’m still learning to use it (as you can see from the Lucy picture). I highly recommend this camera. I purchased it at the Apple Store in Legacy Village. You can find out more information about it here .

So in the end, I realize this is completely self-indulgent, but hopefully someone, somewhere will find it informative and/or entertaining.

Posted: Mon - February 7, 2005 at 10:05 PM"

(Via Only music could drive me to Blog.)

So while I may have never become “a huge website / blog behemoth” (thankfully?),  I have consistently enjoyed exploring and blending these worlds of new music and new technology - while expressing some creativity in the process.

It’s not stopping here. We are all experiencing an incredible time of reflection and transition as we are still trying to understand the impacts of this corona virus.  I had already begun strategizing my next move over to WordPress and have been thinking about what the next stage of online engagement and support will look like - and sceptically eyeing all these new online technologies (Stories, SnapChat, TikTok, Twitch, etc.).  However, what I wasn’t considering was a potential massive change to world of live music.  There’s no way to know what it will look like from where we currently stand, but whatever we are about to experience, I’ll be sure to do my part to support it.

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Nick AM is new to me, but his new video, which “contains scenes from protests in Hong Kong, Palestine, Iraq, Chile, America, and more” really caught my attention!  Juls, the Ghanaian-British producer and DJ just released his stunning new video for Soweto Blues featuring Busiswa and Jaz Karis, filmed in the streets of Soweto, one of South Africa's most famed townships.  HUMANS just released their new video for Felony.

btw - The Zender Agenda is 10 years old today!

Bonus:  Christine & The Queens recently released an EP, and alongside it a full 13 min+ video accompaniment. 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Article: Why We Need To Support Cleveland's Grassroots Music Venues

Great article talking about the importance of structurally supporting our independent music venues, like those of our bigger name cultural institutions!

"‘We view this segment of the music business as business rather than as culture, but there are other segments of the arts that are not having to exist as pure for-profit businesses,’ says Watterson. ‘Would the [Cleveland] Orchestra be able to exist without support beyond just ticket sales? Probably not.’

If we truly want to double down on our Rock Hall fame and make Cleveland a music city, we must first realize grassroots music venues such as the Happy Dog occupy a singular place in the city, and should be treated like it."

"Why shouldn’t small clubs get similar assistance? With the vast value they provide to the community, one could even make a convincing case for zeroing their admissions tax rate out altogether.

At the very least, small clubs need an advocate. A night mayor could help them get up to code, navigate tricky tax situations and have a representative at the table. The position could be an intermediary between artists, venues and government, and promote inclusive, homegrown music. ‘I wouldn’t feel so bad about the admissions tax if some of that money went back to paying for a music promoter,’ says Barber.

By recognizing that these clubs play a unique tune, Cleveland can ensure the survival of its institutions, and stake its claim as one of the country’s great music cities."

(Via Why We Need To Support Cleveland's Grassroots Music Venues.)

Robyn / Live at Club DOMO (4/16/19)

There’s been an incredible flurry of musicians streaming performances, all over the internet.  These are showing up on YouTube, FaceBook, Twitch, and even gaming platforms like Fortnite!  They’re also coming at you at any time of day, depending on timezone etc.  There’s no way one can keep up with all these, particularly knowing about them in advance.  With the lack of concerts to write about for this blog, I thought maybe I’d switch to covering these streams. However, with an exponential matrix of artists, times and platforms, I’ve resigned to just enjoy them as our paths cross naturally.

Of course Robyn would be the exception.  Not in that I knew this live stream would be happening. I just happened to get an alert on this particular afternoon that it was happening.  Being only 4pm (EDT), I quickly shifted modes and set up for a dance party (streaming it to my TV!).  Robyn was a set up in a little mirrored corner with lights going and slicked back hair.  She was playing some amazing music and the best part was her performance behind the decks.  Despite a hot mic, she gave it her all in that corner - and for that I love her even more.  

It was so great to reconnect with an artist I love.  I hope you’re able to cross paths out there with yours… 

Robyn  Live at Club DOMO  4 16 19

Robyn  Live at Club DOMO  4 16 19

"Thanks for tuning in to Club DOMO on Friday! 💜😭 I decided to make a playlist with the songs I played in the set. rbn.lnk.to/club-domo-vol1Fa Below is a track list. Four of the songs aren’t in the playlist, but two of them will be soon! Olof Dreijer made a dope remix of 'Monument' that will be out in just a few weeks and Avalon Emerson's beautiful new remix of 'Honey' will too. I was excited to premier them both for you. I also played a Wendy Williams/Between the lines mash up that Kindness made on tour last year for their djsets ;) and 'Purple Music' by Prince.

1. Do your Best - John Maus
2. I wish u heaven - Prince
3. Gradient - Choker
4. Break 4 love - Raze
5. Chez A. - Untitled
6. Basic cut - Kevin Over
7. Honey - Avalon Emerson
8. OAR003-B - Oni Ayhun
9. Always - Erasure
10. Babe we’re gonna love tonight- Lime
11. Purple Music - Prince
12. Monument - Olof Dreijer
13. Hyper seconds - Lone
14. Got her own thing from Sweden - Kindness
15. Move on up (extended version) - Curtis Mayfield
16. Idontknow - Jamie xx"

(Via Facebook.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

Pantha du Prince draws otherworldly inspiration (expectedly) for his new video for Pius in Tacet feat. Jungstötter.  Sondre Lerche just dropped a couple of new songs that cut right to the heart, releasing videos for I Know Something That Will Break Your Heart and Why Would I Let You Go?.

Bonus:  A stunning video… "On the day they were due to perform a headline show at the Barbican, London-based experimental vocal ensemble Shards release 'Inside I'll Sing' with their newly formed Isolation Choir. Stream and download 'Inside I'll Sing': https://IDOL.lnk.to/inside-ill-sing"

Monday, April 20, 2020

Article: Why Do We Even Listen to New Music?

Looking back at history for lessons on why we find it so difficult to listen to new music.

gregory & headphones
"gregory & headphones" by J. McPherskesen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

"Stravinsky, having already thrilled Paris with his ferociously complex Firebird ballet three years earlier, was the bright young thing of symphonic music in Paris, and The Rite was to be something essentially unheard of. Drawing from the Slavic and Lithuanian folk music of his homeland and his viscerally atavistic brain, Stravinsky blackened his score with rhythmic and harmonic tension, stretching phrases to their outer limits and never bothering to resolve them. The harmonies were difficult to name and his rhythms impossible to follow. Leonard Bernstein later described The Rite as ‘the best dissonances anyone ever thought up, and the best asymmetries and polytonalities and polyrhythms and whatever else you care to name.’

...

Many members of the audience could not fathom this new music; their brains—figuratively, but to a certain extent, literally—broke. A brawl ensued, vegetables were thrown, and 40 people were ejected from the theater. It was a fiasco consonant with Stravinsky’s full-bore attack on the received history of classical music, and thus, every delicate sense in the room. ‘One literally could not, throughout the whole performance, hear the sound of music,’ Gertrude Stein recalled in her memoir. The famous Italian opera composer Giacamo Puccini described the performance to the press as ‘sheer cacophony.’ The critic for the daily newspaper Le Figaro noted that it was a piece of ‘laborious and puerile barbarity.’"

(Via Why Do We Even Listen to New Music?.)

EDIT: I’ve been pointed to a more nuanced take of this event.

"Of all the scandals of the history of art, none is so scandalous as the one that took place on the evening of 29 May 1913 in Paris at the premiere of Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring.

The Rite descended into a riot, the story goes. Magnified in the retelling, it has acquired the unquestionable certainty that only legend can have. Everyone simply 'knows' that there was a riot.

But is it possible to separate fact from fiction?"

(Via Did The Rite of Spring really spark a riot? - BBC News.)

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Video Day #COVID19

Charli XCX is home making her new album in isolation, and just dropped this uplifting video sourced from an incredible amount of footage (the editing!).  twenty one pilots are taking the social distancing to heart in their new video for Level of Concern. K.Flay put a call out to her fans for her new Dreamers video: "i asked you guys if you wanted to make a music video together. WE DID IT BABY. thank you to everyone for your creativity and spirit and sweetness!”.

Bonus:  Washed out did the same - with amazing results.

"'I went in thinking if I got 100 clips, I’d have enough to make the video I wanted to make,' he says. '30 minutes in, I had the 100 clips, and a few days in, I had over 1,200 clips - from London, Bali, Okinawa, Ann Arbor, Dubrovnik and a few hundred other places around the world. It was pretty amazing for me to see the vids and pics flood in like they did.'"

Friday, April 10, 2020

Article: The My Generation: An Oral History Of Myspace Music

What an amazing time capsule of an article.  Lots of artists and industry folks talking about their memories of MySpace.  Looking back through all this, it was quite magical.

"Like white belts and orange cans of Sparks, Myspace so thoroughly defined the way the ’00s looked, sounded and felt that it was probably destined to not make it out of the decade alive, even if, technically, a website continues to exist at the www.myspace.com domain. But at Myspace’s height — roughly 2005 through 2008 — the website changed the way artists and fans found each other and how record labels and buzz-seeking blogs found fresh meat. Artists like Panic! At The Disco, Arctic Monkeys, Soulja Boy, Lily Allen, and Colbie Caillat would become pop stars in part because of their presence on the site, whereas artists such as Los Campesinos! or Nicole Atkins would eventually settle into cult careers after navigating through the sudden, unexpected attention the site could often generate."

Also a reminder of this massive cultural heritage loss by the company.

"It came to light that Myspace’s new owners ‘lost’ all of the music it hosted from its inception in 2003 through 2015, reportedly misplacing more than 50 million MP3s from upwards of 14 million artists, in essence completely erasing a significant part of this century’s cultural canon. What’s more, it took the company months to own up to their negligence, writing in a statement that ‘As a result of a server migration project, any photos, videos and audio files you uploaded more than three years ago may no longer be available on or from Myspace. We apologize for the inconvenience.’"

(Via The My Generation: An Oral History Of Myspace Music - Stereogum.)

Video Day #tzachill

Moses Sumney self-directed his beautiful new video for Cut Me. I’m excited to see Sondre Lerche has a new album coming out (Patience, 6/5/20) which was announced alongside this new single and video for You Are Not Who.  Baths just announced a new b-sides (Pop Music / False B-Sides II, out 5/29) with is new fashion-forward video for Mikaela Corridor.

Bonus:  I continue to be intrigued by all the widely varying new stuff coming from Alex Ebert, such as his ability to skate so well in his new video for Stronger (Future Suit Mix)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Article: Music Streaming Subscriptions Grew by Nearly a Third in 2019

After recently asking if the vinyl & CD business can survive this pandemic, it’s curious to see the flip side of the successful streaming market.  

"Spotify still had a solid lead at the end of 2019 with 35 percent of subscriptions. However, its rivals are growing fast. Apple Music's listener base grew 36 percent to give it 19 percent of streaming, while Amazon's share grew by half to hit 15 percent. This put them comfortably ahead of rivals like Tencent (11 percent) and YouTube Music (6 percent). The remaining 14 percent of tended to be split between regional giants like India's Gaana and Russia's Yandex Music."

(Via Music streaming subscriptions grew by nearly a third in 2019 | Engadget.)

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Video Day #tzaupbeat

STRFKR should win best location for their video for Deep Dream.  Channel Tres is a close second with their vintage video for Weedman.  Glass Animals have been dropping a couple singles & videos lately, this new one is for Your Love (Déjà Vu).

Bonus:  I hate to admit that I have a bit of a crush on Finneas, particularly in his new video for Let’s Fall In Love for the Night.

Article: Can the Vinyl & CD Business Survive Coronavirus?


"Until recently, this year was shaping up to be strong: CD sales are down 8.3% compared to the same period last year, a far slower decline than in recent years, and vinyl sales were up 45%, even amid distribution problems. Retailers believed that this year's Record Store Day -- now postponed from April to July -- was going to be the biggest ever, and retailers are still putting in big orders, according to several labels and distributors.
Consumers still want to buy vinyl, even if many of them may not have as much money to spend for a while. 'The absence of vinyl records for several decades wasn't a death sentence for that format,' says a sales rep for a CD manufacturing plant. 'The landscape of who's left and what they do will surely change, but that doesn't mean there won't be other ways to twist a pipeline to get consumers what they want.'"
(Via Can the Vinyl & CD Business Survive Coronavirus? | Billboard.)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

Perfume Genius back (!) announcing his new album Set My Heart on Fire Immediately on 5/15, releasing his self-directed video for Describe, following quickly with On The Floor.   Lido Pimienta is also promoting her new album, Miss Columbia out 4/17, with her new video for Nada. 

Bonus: This gay new track, It’s My Parade, was a bit of a surprise coming from Lisa Loeb who’s been focused on family material for awhile now.  I’ll admit I was a fan back in the beginning, and this sounds like she hasn’t skipped a beat (or a year).

The Get Down (3/20/20)

Last Friday, I participated in a streaming dance party hosted by DJ Tasha Blank.  This is a party that is usually hosted at The Get Down in NYC, and is pretty popular on SoundCloud as well.  A friend pointed me to this now happening via Zoom, so I threw in a couple bucks and signed up!   I’m so glad I did.  Tasha is known for having these moments where she pauses the music and has moments of reflection and liberation, encouraging everyone to just dance it out.  That message couldn’t have been more needed.

Sure it was a little strange dancing by yourself in the living room, especially if you’re also trying to flip through the videos of over 400 people who also attended!  It was fascinating to see the environments that everyone was in - and just about everyone was dancing!  Some shots of what I saw...

 

By the way, the next party is this Friday!  From Tasha’s most recent email:

people of planet earth!
 
We are born to move.
We are built to run around, sweat, scream, hug, get loose, get messy, get outside.

These times are weird AF.
They require quick adaptation to massive change.
They demand deep presence, clear thinking, and huge courage.
 
These times require furious dancing. 

In less than a week, our long-distance dances have become the soul-saving magicsaucethat revives our heads + hearts.

Over 1000 of you have joined us on the virtual dance floor so far — 
and we do it again tomorrow at 6pm EST!

Wherever you're at,
we will dance it out.

Dress up
Wear pajamas
Break out the spandex
Pretend it's 80s night
Turn off your video + get nekkid!
WE DON'T GIVE AF

Just. Come. Dance.

Join us here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Four Tet released this incredible visual for their new single Baby, off their just released new album.  Flume just collaborated with Toro Y Moi on his new song, and released the video for, The Difference.  Bombay Bicycle Club has shown us how they’ve grown up as a band in the *extremely charming* video for Is It Real.

Bonus:  Stumbled on this psychedelic new video from Vlossom, for their single My Friend.  I’m intrigued.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Article: How Fans Can Support Artists And Music-Industry Workers During The Outbreak

More great info on how to support musicians during this difficult time… There are a lot of options on this page, many of which I’m availing myself of, but sticking with the live stream theme… 

Donate to Band Brand Identity and Website Design"Donate to Band Brand Identity and Website Design" by Higher Branding Agency is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

"Tune in and donate to artists' livestreams

For fans who were looking forward to seeing their favorite artists live at now-cancelled shows and festivals, hundreds of those artists are now turning to platforms like Twitch, YouTube and Facebook to livestream their performances virtually. A List Of Live Virtual Concerts To Watch During The Coronavirus Shutdown The Coronavirus Crisis A List Of Live Virtual Concerts To Watch During The Coronavirus Shutdown

While these virtual shows won't be perfect financial substitutes for artists' lost touring income in the short term, the online events provide a similar sense of co-presence and community for both artists and fans. Artists and event organizers also usually include Venmo, PayPal or other payment details on their streams so that viewers can contribute financially. 'This Is Why We Play': Amid Pandemic, Philadelphia Orchestra Livestreams Beethoven The Coronavirus Crisis 'This Is Why We Play': Amid Pandemic, Philadelphia Orchestra Livestreams Beethoven

And while the widespread shutdown of the concert industry has hollowed out the popular event listings of publications like Brooklyn Veganand the New Yorker, those calendars are also quickly pivoting to virtual events as well. Publications including NPR, Pitchfork and Billboard, as well as independent initiatives like Stay At Home Fest, are maintaining their own digital event listings."

(Via How Fans Can Support Artists And Music-Industry Workers During The Outbreak : NPR.)

Friday, March 20, 2020

Article: The Never-Ending Couch Tour: How Livestreams and Social Media Have Already Transformed Live Music

These are some bizarre times we’re in.  I’m not going to recount the details of the outbreak because you can find it all over the internet.  I’m not going to recount my own personal feelings, because I’m lucky enough to be in a better situation than most.  What I will say is that I really miss seeing live music.  It's really heartening is how all these musicians are going online to meet up with their audiences.  Below are a couple screenshots from live shows I experienced from earlier this week.  Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard has been offering up daily performances.  Also on St. Patrick’s Day, I was invited to a watch part for the Dropkick Murphys live concert as well (132K people!).  Participating in these was strangely satisfying and fulfilling.  Pitchfork wrote an article about it, which you can find below.

"In the days since self-quarantine began, the spirit of Couch Tour has virtually gone mainstream, with livestreams coming from John Legend, Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and Neil Young (who has previously streamed shows via his subscription Neil Young Archives site). Nugs has been working on audience-free webcasts live from several cities. Cafe Oto in London and other venues have hosted crowdless shows, and hopefully more will continue to do so.

Though the post-streaming music industry has been difficult for professional musicians at nearly all levels, the emergence of Couch Tour as a potentially viable income source might be one of the few positive developments in recent years. For now, it may be the perfect activity for a homebound age, both socially present and physically distant. But long after audiences return to venues, the future of Couch Tour will be something to watch."

(Via The Never-Ending Couch Tour: How Livestreams and Social Media Have Already Transformed Live Music | Pitchfork.) 

I’m not sure I can get behind this as a long-term business model, but I’m definitely glad we have the ability to stream these shows now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Video Day #tzachill

BROCKHAMPTON have released their playful new video for Sugar.  Khruangbin and Leon Bridges has killed it with their new EP, and again with their new video for Texas Sun.  I was a little suspect of this new Sufjan Stevens with Lowell Brams (his Stepfather), but this song and video are pretty on-point.

Bonus:  Lido Pimienta just released her new video for Nada off her upcoming album Miss Columbia coming out April 17th!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Tomorrow: Caroline Rose @ Beachland Ballroom

I first caught wind of Caroline Rose from the 2018 Nelsonville Festival.  She’s now touring on an excellent new album called Superstar, and will be making a stop by the Beachland Ballroom tomorrow! This should be an excellent show!

She also had a great interview with NPR recently, which I would recommend.

"As the somewhat self-reflective title and story of her album implies, Rose is also interested in poking fun at the idea of fame and stardom. The music video for her single 'Feel The Way I Want' features Rose as the album's main character, prepped and ready for an audition in Los Angeles — only to find out that it's actually scheduled in Hollywood, Fla., not Hollywood, Calif."

(Via Interview: Caroline Rose On 'Superstar,' Tom Waits And Quitting Music : NPR.)

Movie: Max Richter's Sleep

This looks fascinating.  I’ve always quietly fantasized about sleeping at a concert... i’m not really sure why - but maybe this movie will provide some insight.

Bonus:  Max Richter performing Vladimir’s Blues.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Video Day #tzaupbeat

HUMANS just released this amazing (as expected) new video for Noose, hopefully signaling a new album soon!  Pantha du Prince just released his new album, along with this single / video for Pius in Tacet.  Empress Of also announced some new music with a slick new video for Give Me Another Chance. 

Bonus: King Princess has been making a lot of waves lately, recently releasing the video for Ohio (which opens in a bathhouse??).

Ekali (3/6/20)

I’m in Pittsburgh for the Code4Lib conference and arrived early to hang with friends earlier weekend.  I realized that while I’d be missing seeing Bear Hands back in Cleveland, they were actually going to be in Pittsburgh during my visit! Shortly after that realization, I noticed the Ekali show at The Rex Theater.  I really struggled deciding between the two, both having equal capacity for fun or flop.  Being that I would be taking the bus, I decided to let the neighborhoods be the deciding factor. I chose the older, cooler South Side of Pittsburgh - than the corporate environment around Stage AE.

Ekali's recorded album seemed to have a nice blend of traditional dance/pop with some elements of trap music folded in.  I’m not a fan of trap, but I can be pretty open minded to any kind of dance music.  Juelz and William Black opened.  Once they began, it was clear that this was a full-on trap/bass show.  The nuance of trap music is lost on me, and I have a hard time being able to distinguish between the DJs aesthetic. I guess I would summarize the night’s sound as clips of pop songs mixed in with DEEP bass clashes, while throwing in an occasional mosh pit.  This was not an environment (for me) to dance - but it definitely worked for the crowd there.  However, the visuals & lighting were on point!

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William Black  3 6 20

 

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The Brook & The Bluff (3/3/20)

I stumbled upon this show at the Beachland for The Brook & Bluff.  I was free, and an intimate Tuesday night show in the Tavern seemed like a great idea. It was a little disappointing when we discovered they had moved this show into the Ballroom - but only for a minute. The Brook & The Bluff is a Birmingham-born, Nashville-based band who’s sound was a really interesting take on light jam pop.  Very smooth and uplifting, similar to Josh Rouse.  Their “round the microphone” segment, harkening back to their origins as an acoustic street duo, was quite charming.  Thoroughly enjoyed both their album and live show!
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The Brook  The Bluff  3 3 20
This was my second time seeing Doc Robinson opening for someone in the Ballroom.  They’re good, but I’d still like to see them again in a more intimate space.
Doc Robinson  3 3 20

Monday, March 9, 2020

Article: The Place Where Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Got Their Start

I’ve been reading Architectural Afterlife for a long time now.  I have my own skepticism when it comes to ruin-porn, but Johnny Joo does an excellent job in writing up detailed histories of the places he’s shooting.  I was particularly engaged on this post:

 

"Henderson had gone from selling LPs out of the trunk of his car in 1973 to owning 4 record stores in the 90s. He would help aspiring artists not only through mentoring, but helping them record albums or demos. He would also sell their music and promote it within these shops. Henderson has been noted as one of the main driving forces that led to Cleveland becoming one of the top three markets for rap and hip-hop between the 1990s and early 2000s. He has been referred to by many as the ‘kingpin of Cleveland hip-hop.’ Henderson worked with and promoted numerous other artists, including Dre Bone, Big Gank, Mr. Money Loc, Romey Rome, Big Ren and others. abandoned stoney burke dolls rapid creations dre bone abandoned stoney burke dolls rapid creations bone enterprise abandoned stoney burke dolls rapid creations mr money loc abandoned stoney burke dolls rapid creations big gank

Shortly after the release of their first studio album, Bone Thugs had decided to change their name to B.O.N.E. Within the year after the release of this album, they boarded a Greyhound to Los Angeles in hopes to showcase their music to their childhood idol, Eazy-E (Eric Wright) – N.W.A. founder and owner of Ruthless Records. They made calls to Ruthless Records every day, hoping to reach E. After spending nearly 3 months in Los Angeles, they had received a call back from Eazy-E himself, and had the opportunity to rap for him over the phone. Bizzy handed the phone over to Krayzie. After he said his rap, he handed the phone back to Bizzy, who then said his rap, and Eazy-E was blown away. After that, he asked where they were based out of, and upon learning that they were from Cleveland, had mentioned he had a show in Cleveland in just two weeks. Now the group had to make it back from Los Angeles to Cleveland to meet Eazy-E."

(Via The Place Where Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Got Their Start - Architectural Afterlife.)

ps. Check out his new book, and other stuff, here! https://www.oddworldstudio.com/collections

Annie Hart (2/27/20)

It wasn’t until I started digging into Annie Hart’s career, post Au Revoir Simone, that I then realized how long it’s been since they (Au Revoir Simone) released an album (2014!) - and even more shocking that the last album I listened to was from 2008!  So I have some catching up to do there, but these great Annie Hart albums that have come out since.  Annie’s released two, the first one a little electronic / pop, and the more recent one is much more chill - both great.

I was surprised (and thrilled as usual) that she would be performing at Now That’s Class.   This snowy Thursday night didn’t hail a robust crowd, but that didn’t phase Annie who had a great solo show, on a stage that both contrasted & aligned with her ethos. 

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Key to the Mint opened the show with their reliably enjoyable brand of a brooding post-punk music.

Key to the Mint  2 27 20

Brite Winter Festival 2020

Another year, another Brite Winter Festival is in the books.  Once again on the West Bank of the Flats.  We had great weather and it was a really fun time, but as you’d expect with any long-running festival, they are slowly implementing changes.  This year we saw required ticketing, which isn’t that big of a deal.  However, the footprint of the festival was smaller this year, not including the dance floor at Mulberrys.  That space was reserved for an official after party with its own ticket price ($25!).

Being a free festival - I really can’t complain.  I did contribute $10 to get the koozie and pin (I already have too many hats).  While we didn’t hit the after party this year, looking at videos posted of it, I really should have.  Will plan accordingly next year!

As usual (for me), this festival is more about the camaraderie with friends than it is about seeing specific artists.  Some shots from the night. 

Brite Winter Festival 2020

Brite Winter Festival 2020

Brite Winter Festival 2020

Brite Winter Festival 2020

Brite Winter Festival 2020

Brite Winter Festival 2020

Article: The iPod-Modding Community Insists There's Never Been a Better Digital Sound

The enjoyment of listening to music on the go, without interruptions from calls, notifications, or turn directions will be greatly missed. 

"Apple may have discontinued the last of the click-wheel iPods years ago, but Pichi is part of a growing community of tinkerers giving the devices new life. It’s not just for nostalgia (though that’s part of it): iPod modders say they earnestly view the devices, with a few modern tweaks, as a superior way to listen to music. That this elite audio quality is packaged in a device that is also dear to their heart makes it even better. ‘The iPod is a pure device,’ says Sean Kirvin, 28. ‘When using an iPod all you can do is listen to music. On the surface it may seem restrictive, in reality it frees you.’ Photo: Sean Kirvin

The more popular modifications are relatively simple: updates like adding more storage or battery life, or installing firmware that allows for customization of the user interface or downloading games outside of Apple’s ecosystem. Few iPod modders are injecting the music players with wild features or stark new aesthetics.

Pichi said that he’s not that technical or ‘geeky’ but got into iPod modding after his own iPod Classic’s battery died. He couldn’t find anyone to replace it for an affordable cost and felt like he was getting ripped off, so he figured he could do it himself. ‘I got my iPod wide open there looking like busted spaghetti with wires poking up everywhere,’ he said. ‘So I just started messing around with it and changed the battery myself.’

‘I defy you to [find me] a better music playback device.’"

(Via The iPod-Modding Community Insists There's Never Been a Better Digital Sound | OneZero.)

Monday, March 2, 2020

Benefit for Bernie (2/17/20)

I was able to catch 3 of my favorite local bands in one night at the recent Benefit for Bernie concert being held at Mahalls.  While it was a Monday night, you wouldn’t have guessed it by the crowd!  It was bustling with activity - at both stages!   Overall, it was a phenomenal night of music and activism.  Here’s some stuff from Jaite, Muamin Collective, and times10:

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Benefit for Bernie  2 17 20Benefit for Bernie  2 17 20

Video Day #tzachill

I LOVE AUSTRA, and couldn’t be happier to see some new music from her, in the form of this video for Risk It (even if it falls into the #tzachill category).  Adding to the ferver of new music is Basia Bulat, with her new single Already frozen off her upcoming album Are You In Love coming out at the end of March.   Vita and the Woolf are finally back with their fun new low-budget sci-fi video for Operator.

Bonus: Local hero Uno Lady put out an utterly delightful song and video for Venn Deiagram, outlining the best kind of relationship you can have.

Article: Bluetooth Upgrade Will Allow Playback on Multiple Devices at Once

Any and all improvements to Bluetooth will be appreciated! 

"the features include better battery life for devices, higher-quality audio, playback on multiple devices, and several other new capabilities.

As Ars Technica notes, one of the most significant changes to Bluetooth is LE Audio, a standardization of features that had previously been proprietary to Apple and its AirPods. LE Audio will make it possible to stream to individual earbuds, improving stereo quality for listeners, and users will be able to connect to multiple wireless speakers simultaneously.

LE Audio will also enable Bluetooth capabilities in hearing aids, making it easier for those with hearing loss to use their cell phones and watch TV. The tech allows for password-protected audio streams, too. Despite the upgrades, however, devices compatible with the new technology will take a while longer to become available."

(Via Bluetooth Upgrade Will Allow Playback on Multiple Devices at Once | Pitchfork.)

Lower Dens (2/13/20)

The newest Lower Dens album has been on repeat a lot lately.  That only accelerated when I realized I was going to be able to tack this show on to an already fun weekend planned in Pennsylvania!  I can’t believe it, but this was my first time seeing a show at Mr. Smalls Theatre - this one being in the Funhouse.  That space was intimate and great, and what an amazing patio!!  This has me thrilled to see the other venues in the complex!

Back to Lower Dens.  I missed the opener, but seeing Lower Dens in this space was exactly what I was hoping for.  I thought there might have been a heavier reliance on synths and electronics, but appreciated the fully instrumented band, with tech playing a minor role.  Finally get to check these guys off my To See list!

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Lower Dens  2 13 20

Tall Heights (2/11/20)

The deep winter months are a slog, primarily because of the dearth of concerts available to attend December - February.  While there have been a few great ones, I’m often looking for anything.  I was pretty excited to see Whitney at the Beachland Ballroom, but with it being a nearly sold out Ballroom show, I opted for seeing Tall Heights (again) in the Cambridge Room at the House of Blues.  This decision was also made in part because I was curious to see Victoria Canal open.

Victoria is an up-and-coming pop artist out of Los Angeles.  While she has yet to release a full-length album, her recent singles have been quite enjoyable!  She was upfront with the audience about the excitement/nervousness of finally playing in front of people. Getting a glimpse into her authentic feelings like that was refreshing.  I’ll be looking forward to a proper album release.

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As for Tall Heights, I always enjoy their sound.

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