Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Online overkill – week of April 12

April 18, 2009

Good, bad and inspiring, these are some of the items that filled my RSS feed this week. 

Susan Boyle. Wait. You mean unattractive people can sing too? I’m with Jordan Green. The reasons the video is so inspiring and capturing millions of hits on YouTube are kind of sad. 

Ashton Kutcher. Now, if Dude Where’s My Car got all million of his Twitter followers to give money to the poor that would be a good story. 

Tea partying. If you’re disgusted with the sexual innuendo used in the coverage of the tax protests this week raise your hand. 

New Yankee Stadium. Plenty of people weighed in with opinions about the grossly expensive new home for the recession-what-recession Yankees, but Jeff Passan did a bang-up job making me feel sick to my stomach

Torture memos released. The details of the abusive interrogation techniques included in the memos and the right-wing talking point defense of the human rights violations made me sick to my stomach for another reason entirely. 


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An afternoon with Dan Zimmerman

April 17, 2009

Preview and pre-order new Saxon Shore

April 14, 2009

Saxon Shore’s It Doesn’t Matter is now available for pre-order from the band’s Web site – $15 postage paid. If you’d like to preview it before you hand over your credit card number, you can do so at the band’s Myspace page.

Here’s a description of the record from the Philadelphia-based band’s Web site:

We’ve spent the last few months working away on the new Saxon Shore album with producer Dave Fridmann (MGMT, Tapes n Tapes, Clap Your Hands). The album will be running about 55 minutes in length and also includes vocals on one of the tracks courtesy of Caroline. First time we’ve done that. Probably not the last. We are all very happy with the way everything turned out and we’re very excited to share this with everyone. Just figuring out the oh so important timing of it all…

$20,000 rock star vacation

April 14, 2009

Something tells me the 19-year-old who spent $20,000 to hang out with a rock star for a week wasn’t exactly spending money he saved up delivering pizzas or working the register at Target.

I wonder if the reporter even bothered to ask where he got the money. Or better yet, whether it was his mom or dad’s name on the check.

Worst music video ever?

April 12, 2009

Online overkill – week of April 6

April 11, 2009

Good, bad, unnerving and tragic, these are some of the topics that made frequent appearances in my RSS feed this week.

The Palin family circus. File under: stories that should be left to the tabloids and Jerry Springer.

Nick Adenhart. The Angels pitcher and three others were killed by a drunk driver in an accident shortly after the rookie pitched six shutout innings. Utterly senseless and sympathetically commented on in just about every corner of the Web I frequent this week.

Everybody poops trailer. A clever take on the massively popular trailer for a real film adaptation of a popular children’s book. I don’t know about you, but it hasn’t gotten old for me yet.

Billy Bob’s Interview. There’s really only one word to describe this: asshole.

Arrgh. Like I’ve said before: non-Disney pirates really aren’t very cool.

Remembering Royal City

April 10, 2009


Royal City, a wonderful little Canadian band I had the pleasure of seeing play a couple times in Brooklyn many years ago, is coming back.

Well, sort of. Asthmatic Kitty is releasing a self-titled compilation of unreleased material on June 23.

Details are HERE.

A Kiwi pop primer

April 9, 2009

There was something magical going on long before Peter Jackson transformed the rugged wilderness of New Zealand into Middle Earth. In the early 1980s, Dunedin music impresario Roger Shepherd founded Flying Nun Records. The rest is history, although it’s history that is surprisingly little known in the U.S. Perhaps it’s time to change that. Because from the mid ’80s through the early ’90s, Flying Nun Records put out the best music on the planet. And yes, I’m looking at you, Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder.

Andy Whitman

Kath Bloom – Loving Takes This Course

April 6, 2009

Kath BloomLoving Takes This Course 2xCD tribute/compilation
(Chapter Music – April 7, 2009)
By Matthew Ralph

When a link to a downloadable two-disc Kath Bloom tribute/compilation showed up in my e-mail several weeks ago, I almost deleted it. The name didn’t ring any bells and the prospect of listening to two CDs worth of music didn’t seem all that appealing, especially considering how little I was listening to any music at the time.

Fortunately, names like Mark Kozelek, Scout Niblett, Corrina Repp and Devendre Banhart on the track listing made me reconsider discarding the e-mail like most of the others promoting some “hot” new release.

Getting past the unknown factor and my general disinterest with tributes and compilations, I quickly discovered why so many artists, even ones with household names, jumped at the chance to pay tribute to the Connecticut-based singer-songwriter who began releasing limited edition recordings in handmade sleeves in the ’70s.

Kath Bloom’s songs are simple, catchy and low budget affairs, featuring a melancholy croon weaving sad tales of longing over minimal instrumentation. By including her original versions of the songs covered on the first disc, the two-disc collection gives listeners a chance to compare and contrast her original takes with those of the diverse roster of tributers.

“Forget About Him” probably represents the most drastic departure between the two discs. A getting over a guy song packaged in a cheerful, even goofy, campfire sing-a-long in its original format the song is transformed into a soulful Velvet Underground-esque garage band song by freak-folk icon Devendre Bonhart. As distinct as the two versions are, the song demonstrates the strange appeal of a two-disc set with nearly identical track listings.

“Come Here” has similar charm in all three of its incarnations. In the hands of the Marble Sounds, it’s a quirky indie-pop song that blows any originals the band has on its MySpace site out of the water. The Concretes sound like they are covering Fleetwood Mac on their take. Bloom’s version, meanwhile, lacks the  edge or production values of the other two but her voice is as equally strong as the Marble Sounds’ male singer/The Concretes female crooner and her harmonica a match for the subtle plugged in sounds on both covers.

Descriptions of the other 15 songs in the collection would follow a similar format. Bill Callahan, Mark Kozelek, Josephine Foster, Scout Niblett and company all turn in worthy renditions that won’t disappoint their collective fan bases but the one whose name will probably attract the least attention to the project is still the one who shines most. Simply put, Kath Bloom’s criminally underappreciated songs, even when repeated two and three times on a two-disc set, steal the show.

The $1,999 set list

April 3, 2009

A Built to Spill set list hand-written by Dough Martsch himself can be yours for only $1,999 on eBay.

I can write you out the same set list on an identical torn piece of notebook paper with a Sharpee for nothing. Your friends will never know the difference.

(Hat Tip: Paul McAlpin)