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!

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


Juelz  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!
The Brook  The Bluff  3 3 20
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!

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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