generic music blog halloween post

October 31st, 2008

[picture of a pumkpin or a haunted house or something]

[some message about halloween, wishing you a happy one, and saying something mildly related to music]

[short playlist of songs about ghosts, haunting, zombies or the like]

[brief closing words]

oh no oh my do something rad for old fans, release EP

October 31st, 2008


Oh No Oh My at the Bottom of the Hill, August 2007

I got an email a couple weeks ago from Daniel of Oh No Oh My (myspace):

It’s been awhile since you’ve last heard from me. If you’re receiving this email, it means that way back in 2005/2006 you bought what was essentially a demo directly from our website…whether it was the $1.50 CD-R, or the pre-order that included artwork (with 4 exclamation points).[…]

Sooo, we’ve been pretty busy since then, but after much procrastination, we decided to record some brand new music for the first time in 3 years. We recorded and mixed it ourselves in my house, just like we did with our original demos, although I think we’re all a bit happier with the overall results. It was mastered by Emily Lazar and Joe LaPorta at the Lodge in New York. It’s called Dmitrij Dmitrij, and it will be available on ITunes and most other digital music stores starting October 21st. We have a limited number of CD’s and 12″ vinyl we’ll be selling exclusively at our shows.

To show our gratitude for supporting us at the very beginning of our musical endeavors, we’re giving you a copy of Dmitrij Dmitrij to download for free.

I did in fact buy the $1.50 pre-order album [1] after first hearing about the band from this gorilla v bear post [2]. I’ve enjoyed their stuff, especially last year’s EP (and that great song “I Have No Sister”). This EP, Dmitrij Dmitrij is no different. It’s a solid offering of quirky pop from this band.

Oh No Oh My – Boy with an Anchor (mp3)

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Dmitrij Dmitrij is available from emusic and Amazon mp3 among other digital stores. The band is currently on tour in Europe. You can find tour dates on their myspace.

[1] And it was obvious that I was getting the email as a fan because it came through to my personal email address, not the blog email address.

[2] It’s not often that I remember the exact post I first hear about a band from.


Oh No Oh My at the Bottom of the Hill, August 2007

song obsession friday! (for the week ending October 31)

October 31st, 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):
Almeda Riddle – Bury Me Beneath the Willow (mp3) (buy)

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Coming home from work today I just felt like hearing this beautiful song by one of the best voices of the American South, Almeda Riddle three or five times. It’s on of my all time favorite songs. It’s just so pretty and melancholy.


Natalie:
Tilly and the Wall – The Freest Man (mp3) (buy)

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I pretty much forgot this song existed until a friend put it on at a party last weekend. And then I remembered that I loved it.

on sale soon (10.30.08 edition)

October 30th, 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, Shoreline, and other Livenation venues, the Warfield. Another Planet booked venues like Greek Theatre @ Berkeley, Palace of Fine Arts, etc. Bimbo’s.

On sale Sunday November 2:
12/11 The Killers @ the Oracle Arena
12/27 Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven @ the Independent
12/30, 12/31 Phil Lesh @ Fillmore

1/2, 1/3 The Wailers @ the Independent
1/13, 1/14, 1/15 Robben Ford @ Great American
1/22 Curumin @ Slim’s
1/25 Amebix @ Great American

2/7 AC/DShe @ Slim’s
2/10 NOFX @ Slim’s
2/11 NOFX @ Great American
2/13 NOFX @ the Fillmore

5/11 Enslaved, Swallow the Sun, Keep of Kalessin @ Slim’s

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

david bazan plays berkeley, releases 7″/ digital single next week

October 29th, 2008


David Bazan at Jovita’s in Austin, SxSW 2008

One of my favorite songwriters and the person I’ve seen live more than any other artist–yes, he’s that good–is David Bazan (myspace). I know it’s in the middle of work/ school for many of you but I can tell you this: if you can make it, I seriously doubt you’ll be disappointed.

11/7 David Bazan @ Lower Sproul Plaza, UC Berkeley, noon, FREE, a/a

It’s Hard to Find a Friend reports that Bazan has a new single coming out next week. The A-side, “American Flags” is streaming at his myspace; it’s dark but also a big poppy. The B-side is “Please, Baby, Please”, a classic Bazan song that I’ve seen him play live a couple times. It’s one of the stronger of the new songs I’ve heard him play–good verses and very catchy chorus.

The single is out digitally next Tuesday, November 4th, also known as election day. Apparently a 7″ is set to follow.

David Bazan – Please, Baby, Please (live at Sasquatch Festival 2008) (mp3, from cameraphonic)

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In other Bazan news, yes he is doing a Christmas 7″ this year and he has a new DVD out of interviews and live performances.

the notwist @ bimbo’s (photos, review)

October 29th, 2008

Last night, six years after getting Neon Golden I finally got to see the Notwist (myspace) live at Bimbo’s. Previous attempts had been foiled by various circumstances.

On the bill were Odd Nosdam and Jel but when I arrived, an hour after the start time, the next band being set up on stage was already the Notwist. After a sample of an old song played and was awkwardly cut off, the band launched into their their latest single, “Boneless”, a catchy tune off of The Devil, You + Me.

I’d heard–mostly from previous tours–that the Notwist were actually not great live. Among other things, I heard that they often went back to their roots and went into extended noisy interludes. For fans that came to them in the Neon Golden era of rich pop melodies mixed with electronic influences might find that off-putting. It seems that in their live show they still do extended instrumental sections of songs, but these are now much more likely to be filled with electronics. Besides a version of “Neon Golden” that was about five minutes too long, I felt these worked really well within their set. While the song selection was fairly limited, almost all of it coming from the last two albums, this fan was just fine with that.

The five Germans rocked out on stage, rhythmically moving back and forth or side-to-side. Martin Gretschmann aka Console, the master of the electronics, controlled all of that, for most of the show, with two wiimotes.

They came back for an encore. From a fan’s perspective, it was nearly perfect. I sort of feel that if they’d stopped after “Consequence” it would have been perfect. After that song, Doseone and Jel of Themselves joined the band on stage to form an incarnation of 13 & God for one song. It was certainly not bad but the previous four songs were among the best cuts in the Notwist catalog.

Encore:

  • Good Lies
  • Chemicals
  • One with the Freaks
  • Consequence
  • [anyone remember what track this was?] (as 13 & God, with Doseone and Jel)

no show today, listen anyway for live in-studio

October 28th, 2008

I just wanted to let you know that my radio show, “I Once was Canadian”, won’t be on today. In it’s place on KZSU from 3-5pm, my fellow DJ Phil Andrews will be doing a special version of his show Palo Alto Pop Overthrow with a live in-studio performance from power pop group the Major Labels. (Performance to start around 4pm.) It should be pretty cool. Listen in.

odds and ends, part 22

October 27th, 2008

Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy champ, has an interesting blog post about Elliott Smith that also includes a fun trivia question:

When I was in high school, I had an Otis [Redding] greatest hits CD that had “Cigarettes and Coffee” on it, which I used to listen to over and over. Great song. But “Cigarettes and Coffee” is not the only Otis Redding hit whose last six letters spell a delicious hot drink. Can you name another?

For the answer head to the Ken Jennings forum or highlight or click the following “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”.

Fun stuff. I should start a weekly trivia column here. For the music NERDS!

Malcolm Gladwell (of Tipping Point fame) wrote an article about late bloomers in art and literature:

Genius, in the popular conception, is inextricably tied up with precocity—doing something truly creative, we’re inclined to think, requires the freshness and exuberance and energy of youth. Orson Welles made his masterpiece, “Citizen Kane,” at twenty-five. Herman Melville wrote a book a year through his late twenties, culminating, at age thirty-two, with “Moby-Dick.” Mozart wrote his breakthrough Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-Flat-Major at the age of twenty-one.

Picasso was the incandescent prodigy. His career as a serious artist began with a masterpiece, “Evocation: The Burial of Casagemas,” produced at age twenty. In short order, he painted many of the greatest works of his career—including “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” at the age of twenty-six. Picasso fit our usual ideas about genius perfectly.

Cézanne didn’t. … A painting done by Picasso in his mid-twenties was worth, [economist David Galenson] found, an average of four times as much as a painting done in his sixties. For Cézanne, the opposite was true. The paintings he created in his mid-sixties were valued fifteen times as highly as the paintings he created as a young man. The freshness, exuberance, and energy of youth did little for Cézanne. He was a late bloomer—and for some reason in our accounting of genius and creativity we have forgotten to make sense of the Cézannes of the world.

I wast trying to think about this in terms of musicians. In classical music terms, examples seem quite easy. Mozart was impossibly precocious. Copland, on the other hand, wrote his best music starting in his late thirties and early forties.

In popular music, finding the precocious is once again easy: the Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Beirut, Stevie Wonder and Simon & Garfunkle all had noteworthy accomplishments in their teens. I’m sure there are many examples from hip hop as well, such as Biggie Smalls.

The late-bloomers, it seems, are harder to pin point in popular music. Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam was 28 when Creek Drank the Cradle came out. That hardly seems to qualify him as a late bloomer. Bob Pollard may be a better example: he was 36 when Guided By Voice’s break out album, Bee Thousand, was released (though their first real outside exposure came a couple years earlier). John Vanderslice is now 41, though he’s been known in growing circles since his late 90s work in mk ultra. Bob Dylan released some acclaimed music later in life, but few would argue that it matches his work as a young man.

Is popular music really a young person’s game? Do you know of any good examples of late-bloomers? It actually seems fairly reasonable that there wouldn’t be: popular music has an image of being something for young people so that would discourage older people attempting at large-scale success, and financially, few would attempt to grow in it once family responsibilities and other later-life financial burdens were apparent.

I liked this video of the “I Saw the Bright Shinies” by the Octopus Project. I’d written about the song before.

mountain goats, kaki king @ the independent

October 25th, 2008

[The Independent had an unannounced, non-posted, no-“pro”-camera policy for this show, so I didn’t get any photos. Check out my Mountain Goats photos from Noise Pop if you wish.]

<rant> The one thing worse than unannounced opening band is a painfully unpleasant unannounced opening jam band. I didn’t catch the band’s name on Thursday night, but walking in to find them playing was an unwelcome surprise. </rant>

The bands that I went to see Thursday night at the Independent were the Mountain Goats (fan site) and Kaki King (myspace).

After the previous band cleared off and her band’s equipment got set up, Kaki King came on stage. After a brief false start, she launched into a guitar part showcasing her well-known talents; this part involving tapping, artificial harmonics and using the guitar body as a percussion instrument. Her band joined her halfway through the song. Her talents kept me fascinated for the first few songs but as the considerable set wore on I found my attention wandering. Her stage banter and crowd interaction was funny, if a bit adversarial.

The Mountain Goats were up after a fair break. With John Darnielle and Jon Wurster in jackets and Peter Hughes in a full suit, the band was different from your average indie band off the bat. But anyone who knows the Mountain Goats shouldn’t expect the average indie band.

What followed was a good set of new songs (including a few paired up with Kaki King from their new split EP, Black Pear Tree and old favorites. Darnielle interjected funny stories and introductions between songs. The band, all professionals and seasoned players, were tight and essentially flawless.

While the show was good, there was still something lacking. The atmosphere wasn’t of a bunch of rabid fans hunkered in a room sharing the experience of one of their favorite bands, like it was at many of those Bottom of the Hill shows (a venue that’s hosted more Mountain Goats shows than any other in the country). It’s not quite fair to blame the atmosphere, largely the product of the audience and venue, on a band. On the other hand, if there’s one person that can put the audience in the palm of his hand and–for lack of better term–control the audience and atmosphere, it’s John Darnielle. In many ways that was the main way this show was lacking. While it still was certainly a good show, still, and one with which a first-time Mountain Goats show-goer was surely not disappointed, it didn’t have that captivating quality that some of their shows have.

Update: Here’s the setlist, courtesy of the Mountain Goats forum.

Love Love Love
How To Embrace A Swamp Creature
Moon Over Goldsboro
Heretic Pride
The House That Dripped Blood
Wizard Buys A Hat
Maybe Sprout Wings (solo)
November Love Song (solo)
Bring Our Curses Home (John & Kaki)
Mosquito Repellent (w/ Kaki)
Suedehead (Morrissey cover, w/ Kaki)
Supergenesis
Sept 15, 1983
Palmcorder Yajna
San Bernardino
In The Craters On The Moon
Lovecraft In Brooklyn
—encore—
See America Right
Baboon
Michael Myers Reslpendent

song obsession friday! (for the week ending October 24)

October 24th, 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):
the Acorn – Darcy (mp3) (buy)

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I first heard this song a couple weeks ago as the Ohbijou cover on their Acorn split 12″ (which you can stream here). Ohbijou played a really nice version of it on Tuesday and I had to hear more of it. First I listened to the stream and then found the Acorn version. I’m obsessed with the song more than either particular version–they’re both really nice–but the Ohbijou version works a little better. The song has some nice juxtaposition of steady tempo and off-tempo musical figures and the bass line gives the song a nice grounding.


Keith:
Joel R.L. Phelps – Wading in the Water (mp3) (buy)

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One of the truly heartbreaking crimes against good music is the seeming retirement of former Silkworm frontman Joel RL Phelps. I’m not at all an autograph seeker but when I witnessed his bracing live show back in the late 90’s I had to get his signature on a recent ep. His embarrassment was exacerbated by the giggly presence of Naomi (of Damon & fame – oh, may I drop a name?) who encouraged him to complete the task for this adoring fan.