announcing the Blackdrop Portraits (two sheds, geographer, botticellis, birdmonster; or, the whale; ian fays, BOAT, special goodbye)

July 31st, 2008

I’m pleased to announce a project that I’ve been keeping under wraps for a little while now: the Blackdrop Portraits. It’s a series of photo portraits of musicians in front of a black backdrop. With a simple background and a single off-camera flash, the faces of these musicians come out.

Caitlin and Johnny of Two Sheds
Caitlin and Johnny of Two Sheds by Adrian Bischoff

mike of geographer
Mike of Geographer by Adrian Bischoff

alexi of the botticellis
Alexi of the Botticellis by Adrian Bischoff

pete of birdmonster
Pete of Birdmonster by Adrian Bischoff

alex of or, the whale
Alex of Or, the Whale by Adrian Bischoff

the ian fays
the Ian Fays by Adrian Bischoff

B*O*A*T
BOAT by Adrian Bischoff

p. david stockhausen of the special goodbye
P. David Stockhausen of the Special Goodbye by Adrian Bischoff

This is just a start. It’s an on-going series.

If you want to see a couple more, you can check out the Blackdrop B-sides. The Blackdrop Portraits series was inspired by my friend godhatesmath.

on sale soon (07.31.08 edition)

July 31st, 2008

Posted every Thursday, On Sale Soon is a weekly series of the tickets going on sale that weekend.

Where to get tickets: The Independent, Great American Music Hall, Slim’s, Fillmore, Warfield, and other Livenation venues. Another Planet booked venues like Greek Theatre @ Berkeley, Palace of Fine Arts, etc. Bimbo’s.

Note: All the Talking Music series shows at the Herbst Theater are evenings in song and conversation. Tickets for those are available here.

On sale now/ Thursday July 31:
9/11 Stephen Merritt @ Herbst

10/19 Bayside, The Matches, Valencia, The Status @ Slim’s

12/17 Will Sheff @ Herbst

1/6 Michael Tilson Thomas
1/28 Neko Case

2/24 John Darnielle

4/27 Laurie Anderson

2/24 Mountain Goats @ Herbst (in conversation and song)

On sale Sunday August 3:
8/16 Aisha Tyler @ The Fillmore
8/21 Steel Pulse @ The Independent

9/3 Jakob Dylan @ The Fillmore
9/4 Matt Hanson, Mike Gibbons, Monsters are Not Myths, Hey! Brontosauros @ Great American
9/6 Witchcraft, TK Webb & the Visions, Graveyard @ Great American
9/9 Amos Lee, Lucy Wainwright Roche @ The Fillmore
9/14 Brooke Fraser @ Slim’s
9/14 Tricky @ The Independent
9/15 Living Legends @ The Fillmore
9/20 Herbie Hancock @ Nob Hill Masonic Center
9/23 Juno Reactor @ The Independent
9/29, 9/30 Burning Spear @ Slim’s

10/4 Deerhoof, Okay, The Happy Hollows @ Great American
10/9 Ron Sexsmith @ Great American
10/10 The Sword @ Slim’s
10/13 Unearth, Protest the Hero, The Acacia Strain, Whitechapel @ Slim’s
10/15 the subdudes @ Great American
10/22 Dar Williams, Shawn Mullins @ Great American
10/24 Honeycut @ Great American
10/26 Tania Libertad @ Great American
10/26 Everlast, The Lordz @ Slim’s

11/1 Umphrey’s McGee @ Slim’s

Double check all information as venues and promoters often change on-sale times and days up until the last minute.

announcing! july 2008 mixtape!

July 30th, 2008

This one’s on time! Holy crap! Unprecedented!

You can download the zip file with the following:
1. mp3s of the songs
2. liner notes (pdf)
3. playlist files (iTunes txt file and an m3u file)

(for the iTunes file, simply import all the songs to your library and then go to File->import and then select the song list (the txt file). you should now have the 2008july playlist in your iTunes with all the songs in the correct order).

If you want to read the liner notes before downloading the whole thing, they’re here. This one’s sort of all over the show, but I feel like it’s a good one. It’s got some oldies and soul and old indie favorites and stuff I just found out about.

Adrian’s July 2008 mixtape (rapidshare link [1])

If you like the artists or songs, I suggest supporting them by buying their music, going to a show, buying merchandise from them or at least telling other people about them.

[1] If you’re having trouble with the rapidshare link, here’s what you do, step-by-step. 1) Click on the link. 2) scroll down and click “FREE” 3) wait till the counter gets to zero 4) enter the letters in their graphic into the box 5) click “download”

my radio show on now, “I Once was Canadian” on KZSU

July 29th, 2008


cred: me

My radio show, “I once was Canadian”, runs from 3-5pm PST on KZSU 90.1FM (or listen online).

Check out my playlist. I’m updating it in more-or-less real time.

okay @ bottom of the hill

July 29th, 2008

I’ve been to the Bottom of the Hill on a weekend, arrived in time for the first band and had the venue be practically empty. That wasn’t the case last night for East Bay band Okay. When I arrived at 9pm, the venue already had a good number of people in it and it just filled up more throughout the set until there was a crowd that would have been respectable for a headliner at the end.

Okay’s a band that’s been around for a few years but I only heard of them a month or so ago when KZSU got in their most recent album, Huggable Dust, out on Absolutely Kosher. It’s caught my ear and perhaps more importantly, I’m intrigued by it. But more on the music a little later.

Okay is Marty Anderson but he was joined on stage by four more: keyboards, drums, bass and a multi-instrumentalist (on glockenspiel, teardrop mandolin[1] and possibly others.) He launched into their first song and the band quickly joined him. Okay’s music is difficult to describe: each song seems to be easy to describe but from song-to-song they can be quite different. There’s straight up folk, freak-folk, orchestral pop. All of them are colored by Marty’s guitar playing whether it’s fingerpicked or strummed and strained vocals.

There are songs that seem simple but are really quite complex and there are songs that seem simple that are actually quite simple. And there are complex, layered songs. On the album, especially, I’ve found the effect of this was that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and the show was similar.

Marty isn’t exactly one for stage presence. He plays well, but the doesn’t banter and he sang most of the show with his eyes closed. There were some really technical and tight parts of the show, but there were some sloppy parts too. If I have one more complaint, it’s that Marty’s too prolific–I know dozen and a half songs on Huggable Dust but I only recognized a few from his set. Overall it was a good set. As it sinks in and as I think about it, it’s growing on me more and more. Other people obviously took to it very quickly: after the band finished they were enthusiastically cheered on to one more song.

Besides the (wonderful) people I already knew were going to be there, I also ran into a couple people:

I stayed for a few songs of Tim Fite, but I wasn’t in the mood for his theatrics that night and with an alarm set for far too early waiting for me at home, I headed out.

[1] I just realized yesterday that there are three pretty common but pretty different styles of mandolins: tear drop (A-style), violin/ f-hole (F-style) and bowl back. Yup, I’m an instrument nerd.

1963′s best songs, a playlist

July 27th, 2008

In the time B.B. (before blog) I did a variety of things to take up inordinate amounts of my free time. One of those things was the KZSU 60th Anniversary Marathon.


KZSU 60th Anniversary logo by David Franusich

At some point in the fall of 2006, we realized that KZSU would turn 60 on January 6th, 2007. We came up with the idea of having a 60 hour marathon with an hour for each year we’d been on the air. Noon to 1pm on January 4th would be 1947 and it would advance till 11pm to midnight on January 6th. We got 30-some alumni DJs back on the air to DJ some of the years they were on. We got newspaper coverage. It was kind of a big to-do.

The year-hours that weren’t covered by alumni were open to current DJs and seeings as I was organizing the affair, I got to pick what years I wanted to do. Basically, I got to pick which were my favorite years of music in the last 60 years. I picked 1963 and 1964.

Let me be very clear about something: There is no better task to give a music nerd than to ask him to prepare a mix of a certain length (say, an hour) of songs from a certain year, especially when it’s one of his favorite years in music. Go ahead and try it. Give yourself three weeks and really get into it. It’s awesome. I still listen to my two playlists quite frequently.

Well, enough chat. Here’s my playlist for 1963:

  • “Jack” Haney & “Nikiter” Amstrong “The Interview (Summit Chanted Meeting)” from The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 3: 1963 [1]
  • The Crystals “Heartbreaker” from Phil Spector: Back To Mono (1958-1969)
  • Little Peggy March “I Will Follow Him” [2]
  • The Morrocco Muzik Makers “Pig Knuckles” from The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 3: 1963
  • Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire” from the Essential
  • The Ronettes “Be My Baby” from Phil Spector: Back To Mono (1958-1969)
  • The Crystals “Then He Kissed Me” from Phil Spector: Back To Mono (1958-1969) [3]
  • The Crystals “Da Doo Ron Ron” from Phil Spector: Back To Mono (1958-1969)
  • L. Hollis & The Mackadoos “Bui Bui” from Eccentric Soul: The Big Mack Label
    L Hollis & the Mackadoos – Bui Bui (mp3)

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  • Sam Cooke “Another Saturday Night” from Portrait of a Legend
  • the Miracles “Mickey’s Monkey” from The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 3: 1963 [4]
    the Miracles – Mickey’s Monkey (mp3)

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  • Martha & the Vandellas “Heat Wave” from The Complete Motown Singles, Vol 3: 1963
  • The Wright Specials “Ninety-Nine and a Half Won’t Do” from The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 3: 1963 [5]
    the Wright Specials – Ninety-Nine and a Half Won’t Do (mp3)

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  • Bob Dylan “Girl from the North Country” from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan [6]
  • Angels, the “My Boyfriend’s Back” from Growin’ Up Too Fast
  • The Kingsmen “Louie Louie”
  • Sam Cooke “Having A Party” from Live At The Harlem Square Club [7]
    Sam Cooke – Having a Party (mp3)

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I ended up picking a bunch of songs that I just loved. There were some hits and some obscure gems.

[1] This is a really odd novelty record. It’s a “break in” track with JFK and Kruschev imitators having a conversation with the hits of the day being spliced in in a “humorous” fashion. For instance:
Fake JFK: What do you think of the bearded one [Castro]?
[music:] He’s a rebel and he’ll never ever be any good
The three minute song has a couple dozen short samples.

[2] Part of the “rules” for the time slots were that we had to play one hit, close to 9.01 (kind of like 90.1 MHz FM, see?) minutes after the our for the DJ-picked “Hit of the Year”. This was my hit, which held the number one spot on the charts for three weeks from April 27 to May 17.

[3] Of the four Spector songs I played, I think this is my favorite. While “Be My Baby” is critically acclaimed and is oft-imitated, I like the guitar riff and castanets under the melodies of this song.

[4] Released before the Miracles were known as Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, when you hear this song you still know who this group is all about.

[5] Buying ridiculous box sets like The Complete Motown Singles is worth it when you can find songs like this one.

[6] I think this is my favorite Dylan song. I’m a big fan of the timeless melody and lyrics that hearken back to old Anglo-American ballads.

[7] This live version is light years better than the studio version. It’s just go so much soul.

the dodos “paint the rust” video podcast on the bay bridged

July 26th, 2008

The Dodos played an excellent show at the Independent a few weeks ago. The Bay Bridged has a video podcast of one of those songs.

song obsession friday! (for the week ending July 25)

July 25th, 2008

Song obsessions are those songs that we listen to on repeat. I noticed that my obsessions are often a week long. I also thought that other people might have similar obsessions. I’ve collected a panel of a few like-minded individuals and gotten their “song obsessions of the week.” Quite often it’s easy to explain why the song is good; it’s much hard to explain why we’re obsessed. Maybe you’ll become obsessed with one of these.

Adrian (me):
KiD CuDi – the Prayer (mp3) (free)

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Gorilla Vs Bear turned me onto this track. Based on duh, this is one of my favorite hip hop tracks in a while. I


Rob:
Steven Delopoulos – 12 West Front Street (mp3) (buy)

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It’s been a while since I’ve been on top of things enough to send one of these in, and so I’ll ease back in with some safely slick S/SW fare from Steven Delopoulos, whose Greek-tinged FM bleat is on my permanent list of voices I’d love to have. Aside from the vox, he plucks a solid
six strings, though that particular talent is often cushed into a pile of production, as on this cut. The “obsession” of this song can mostly be attributed to the fall-off melodic hook at the end of each verse (“ro-o-oad”, etc.,) which gets stuck in my head way too fast, and overall there are enough changes going on underneath the surface of acoustic pop to hold my interest at least for a week.

David (not Dave):
the Blakes – Lint Walk (mp3) (buy)

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Sometimes I feel like I’m just reposting the-best-of-the-best-of KEXP’s finds. Apparently, the key to my heart is 80s vocal stylings and 90s lofi/e6 keyboards. Who knew.

Keith:
Katy Perry – Self Inflicted (mp3) (buy)

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Every once in awhile something seriously foreign to my oh-so-erudite tastes worms its way into my consciousness and takes hold like a deer tick. Such is the case with Katy Perry, who first came to my attention through an aural discretion of the exemplary 80’s power pop hit “Your Love” by The Outfield. For some reason (probably the cleavage) I paid attention, and when the full length came through I was on board. This one’s sloppily written, hideously overproduced and yet has somehow climbed way up my personal top 10.

Update: I managed to have the wrong mp3 for David’s selection earlier. It’s been changed.

local graphic designer small stakes does 20 designs for insound

July 24th, 2008


Jason Munn’s Magnolia Electric Co design available at Insound

You know I love East Bay graphic designer Jason Munn of the Small Stakes. I even recognized his design when a Taipei street vendor ripped it off. Well, Jason’s gone and done twenty designs for twenty of Insound’s favorite bands. They’ll all be available on T-shirts, hoodies and posters.

Insound is called it the Insound 20. I like a bunch of the designs but I think I may have to get the Magnolia Electric Co. design (above). I like that band. In fact, I’m listening to Sojourner–their box set I was pretty floored by–right now.

They’re kind of pricey, but, dang, if they aren’t cool. (To help with the costliness, you can put in the promo code ‘insoundtwenty10′ when you’re checking out to get 10% off.)

on sale soon (07.24.08 edition)

July 24th, 2008

Posted every Thursday, On Sale Soon is a weekly series of the tickets going on sale that weekend.

Where to get tickets: The Independent, Great American Music Hall, Slim’s, Fillmore, Warfield, and other Livenation venues. Another Planet booked venues like Greek Theatre @ Berkeley, Palace of Fine Arts, etc. Bimbo’s.

On sale now/ Thursday July 24:
9/26, 9/27 Silver Jews, Port O’Brien, Beach House , Citay, Little Wings, The Parson Redheads @ Fernwood Resort, Big Sur (Festival in the Forest)

10/16 The Dead C, Six Organs of Admittance @ Great American
10/20 Bayside, The Matches, Valencia, The Status @ Bottom of the Hill

Pre-sale Thursday July 24:
9/7 Lindsey Buckingham @ Mountain Winery

10/5 Robert Plant and Alison Krauss @ Mountain Winery
10/7 Earth, Wind & Fire @ Mountain Winery

On sale Saturday July 26:
10/5 Iron & Wine @ Bimbo’s

On sale Sunday July 27:
8/14 Johnny Nitro & the Doorslammers, Jan Fanucchi with Steve Freund, Heavy Petting Zoo @ Great American
8/14 The Diabolical Biz Markie @ the Independent
8/29 Lee “Scratch” Perry, Heavyweight Dub Champion @ the Independent
8/31 Tristan Prettyman @ Great American

9/3 Estelle @ the Independent
9/11 Kate Voegele @ Great American
9/12 Brass Menazerie, Aphrodesia, DJ Zeljko @ Great American
9/14 Rocket Summer, Phantom Planet, The Secret Handshake, The Morning Light @ The Fillmore
9/21 The Wedding Present, Earlimart @ Great American
9/25 Juliana Hatfield @ Cafe du Nord
9/26, 9/27 Mission of Burma @ the Independent
9/27 Daniel Tosh @ Palace of Fine Arts

10/11 Joan Osborne @ Great American
10/17 Lotus @ Great American
10/21 Justin Nozuka, Gabe Dixon Band @ Great American
10/28 Ane Brun @ Cafe du Nord

11/9 Keller Williams @ the Fillmore

On sale Monday July 28:
9/13 Lindsey Buckingham @ Palace of Fine Arts

Double check all information as venues and promoters often change on-sale times and days up until the last minute.