links, songs, videos, etc.

June 30th, 2009

Here are a bunch of links and thoughts and things that have come up over the last few days.

Yup, Michael Jackson died. I’ve been pondering whether to post about it. If you want a proper tribute and a truly excellent MJ mix, head to Soul Sides.

I think something that people do realize and what I think is most amazing is that Jackson holds the record for best selling album of all time by a factor of >2X. That is, if the second best selling album ever (Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon and AC/DC Back in Black) sold twice as many records as they ever had, Thriller would still beat them by 20 million units. And with the way that record industry is going, I doubt that record will ever be broken. It had seven top 10 singles on it. You can say what you want about radio payola and major labels force-feeding people music, but I doubt a single record will ever capture so many people’s attention again.

Here’s a nice post with reminiscences by engineers and producers that worked with MJ. It gives a bit more insight into the musician Jackson was.

Ali Akbar Khan also died last week. He was one of the foremost proponents and teachers of classical music of North India. A master of the sarod, Khansahib was recognized, along with Ravi Shankar and Nikhil Banerjee, as having been instrumental in bringing Indian music to the west. The Ali Akbar Khan College of Music was local here in San Rafael and Khansahib lived locally so this is also a great blow to the local music community.

Listen to this beautiful piece that really shows his mastery of the sarod.

Ali Akbar Khan – Tarana in Bhupali (mp3) (buy)

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On a lighter note, The Octopus Project (myspace) have released the first track off of their forthcoming EP, Golden Beds. I have a bit of a think for their rare tracks with vocals and this one works well. (via MBV)
Octopus Project – Wet Gold (mp3)

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Over the weekend I watched Adele‘s (myspace) performance of “Hometown Glory” (a song I wrote about recently) about half a dozen times. It’s gorgeous and her voice is spot on. I can’t find a video of just the performance, but you can find it within this full episode:

Who doesn’t love seeing some pure joy in music? See it when the Gaslight Anthem performs “’59 Sound” with the Boss, one of their most obvious influences. I’m still enamoured with the song (and I know the words better than Springsteen). Brian Fallon, Gaslight’s lead singer, understandably milks this for everything its worth.

Finally, I don’t really get ripping on P4k. I don’t really pay attention to much that they do anymore (except for their news section), but Popsense took a different take: they reviewed every thing Pitchfork did for a day. Their final rating? 6.7. Pretty well done.

8 bands whose live show changed how I listen to their recordings

June 30th, 2009


Andrew Bird, changing the way I hear his music, at the Fillmore, May 2007

Usually, I like a bands’ recordings and then I’ll see them live. Sometimes, though, something about a band’s music won’t click until I see them live. I find the oddest part of this phenomenon not that I’ll like bands live whose recordings didn’t work for me, but that when I go back to listen to the recordings afterwards, I’ll hear them differently often forever.

For example, I’d listened to Mumford & Sons before SxSW and thought they were ‘meh’. I saw them there and really liked their show and now I love listening to their recordings, though they’re the same recordings I thought were ‘meh’ before.

Bands whose live show changed how I listen to their recordings [in chronological order from first show]

  1. Mates of State
    (first seen: October 2001 at the Middle East (upstairs), Cambridge)
  2. the Polyphonic Spree
    (first seen: August 2003 at the Paradise, Boston)
  3. Ted Leo
    (first seen: March 2007 at the Great American, San Francisco)
  4. the Dodos
    (first seen March 2007 at the Cafe du Nord, San Francisco)
  5. Mount Eerie
    (first seen April 2007 at ATA, San Francisco)
  6. Andrew Bird
    (first seen May 2007 at the Fillmore, San Francisco)
  7. Frightened Rabbit
    (first seen: November 2008 at the Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco)
  8. Mumford & Sons
    (first seen: March 2009 at the Flamingo Cantina, Austin)

So which bands changed the way you heard them?

free/ super cheap releases from Joe Pug and Fanfarlo

June 28th, 2009

You should be saying yay.


Joe Pug at KZSU last November

Joe Pug (myspace) whose 2008 release, the Nation of Heat EP, hit me quite hard has released the outtakes from that session as a new EP, In the Meantime and it’s free on his website.

You should check it out because, well, it’s free and Pug makes good music. Pug operates solidly within the framework of “folk” music but he makes brilliant and gorgeous songs within that. The EP includes the track “A Thousand Men”, which Joe did an amazing version of when he came to KZSU. Unfortunately the first bit of that live version of the track was lost in a glitch, but I’ve included a fragment of it that still manages to blow me away anyway.

Joe Pug – A Thousand Men (mp3)

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Joe Pug – A Thousand Men (fragment, live at KZSU) (mp3)

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The blogs have been abuzz with this next bit of info that you’ve probably already seen and you’ve probably seen me talk about Fanfarlo on this blog one or twenty-three times, so I’ll keep this short.

Fanfarlo (myspace) is offering their full-length debut Reservoir, which already plugged, for $1 through July 4. Not only that but that but it include 4 bonus tracks (one of which, the acoustic version of “Drowning Men”, is below) which aren’t even on the import version I bought from them. I’m a sucker for Fanfarlo’s nicely orchestrated, dramatic pop songs and this is a great way to get into them. Get it at their website while you can.

Fanfarlo – Drowning Men (Acoustic Version) (mp3)

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Fanfarlo – I’m a Pilot (mp3)

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Fanfarlo at Central Presbyterian during SxSW 2009

indie rocker wedding present

June 28th, 2009

If you have indie rockers friends that are getting married, here’s an idea: get some hand silk-screened posters and get then signed by the bands. Here are a few I recently gave some friends featuring John Vanderslice Iron & Wine, Damien Jurado, and Magnolia Electric Co.

[click for bigger versions]
john vanderslice signed poster
John Vanderslice w/ the Magik*Magik Orchestra at the Great American

iron & Wine signed poster
Iron & Wine at Asbury Hall by Hero Design

Damien Jurado signed poster
Damien Jurado at Schubas by Crosshair

Magnolia Electric Co signed poster
Magnolia Electric Co at Jackpot Saloon by My Associate Cornelius

song obsession friday! (for the week ending june 26)

June 26th, 2009

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):
Madvillian – Money Folder (Four Tet Remix) (mp3) (buy)

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This start out as a friend’s obsession and ended up on my year-end most-obsessed list for 2007.

I’ll be honest: this wasn’t a full-on obsession this time, but I was listening through some hip hop and needed to hear this a few times before that kick was up. The dark and somewhat-incessant production goes well with the lyrics here.

Keith:
the Cascades – Rhythm of the Rain (mp3) (buy)

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Death Cab for Cutie – Photobooth (mp3) (buy)

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Actually the song running through my head is The Cascades “Rhythm of the Rain” but I don’t have that on mp3 [ed: mp3 added] so this Death Cab for Cutie song will do. There are some similarities, both have a sing-songy vocal style and clip-clopy rhythm (though the Cascades make do with chimes instead of DCfC’s simple Casio beat) and both deal with a relationship gone south. (Actually the word relationship is a bit too harsh – each song provides evidence that there was little to no engagement by the female in the coupling.) Beyond that … um, they’re both crush-worthy?

Rob:
Bruce Cockburn – Soul of a Man (mp3) (buy)

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I’ve recently discovered how much fun it is to play along to Bruce Cockburn songs – something about them is just too inviting. The “Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws” / “Humans” era tunes are the best, but I particularly like the (very unique) percussion on this later song.

Worth noting that this is a cover of a 1930 tune by Blind Willie Johnson.

on sale soon (06.25.09 edition)

June 25th, 2009

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 now/ Thursday June 25:
7/11 Marilyn Manson, Slayer, Killswitch Engage, Bullet For My Valentine, Trivium @ Shoreline Amphitheater

On sale Friday June 26:
7/26 Eric Benet, Mint Condition, Ledisi @ Fox Theater

10/3 Jack Peñate, Miike Snow @ the Bottom of the Hill
10/13, 10/14 the Pogues @ the Warfield

On sale Sunday June 28:
8/2 Deerhoof @ Great American
8/5 Rebelution, Iration, Tribal Seeds @ Great American
8/8 Sunn O))), the Accused @ the Independent
8/12 Barcelona, Meese @ Slim’s
8/16 Method Man, Redman, Ghostface Killah @ Mezzanine
8/19 Crocodiles, Pens, Graffiti Island @ Rickshaw Stop
8/21 Tracy Chapman @ the Fillmore
8/23 the Matches @ the Fillmore

9/11 Flogging Molly, Hepcat @ Fox Theater
9/12 Paolo Nutini @ Fox Theater
9/17 The Psychedelic Furs, Happy Mondays, Amusement Parks on Fire @ the Regency Ballroom (the Grand)
9/19 Meat Puppets, Dead Confederate @ Slim’s
9/23 Rodrigo y Gabriela @ Fox Theater
9/24 John Brown’s Body, The Black Seeds @ Rickshaw Stop
9/25 Chickenfoot, Queensryche, Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam @ the Greek Theater

10/9 Children of Bodom, The Black Dahlia Murder, Austrian Death Machine, Skeletonwitch @ the Regency Ballroom (the Grand)
10/13 Sunny Day Real Estate @ the Fillmore
10/16 Snow Patrol, Plain White T’s @ Fox Theater

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

king sunny ade @ the independent

June 24th, 2009

king sunny ade

Friday night I saw something different at the Independent: King Sunny Ade & His African Beats. From Nigeria, they play Juju music, popular music which is influenced by Yoruba percussion.

In a room drenched in the smell of pot and body odor and with a distinctly different crowd than the average indie show at the Independent, Ade played a two hour-plus set to the appreciative crowd. The band was a big one: Ade on vocals and sometimes guitar, two additional vocalists, seven percussionists, guitar, bass, and keyboards. Everyone in the band seemed thrilled to be there and to be playing.

They played well and the mix sounded good. People danced and sang along–if they could figure out the words. My favorite songs were the more guitar-heavy ones; during some of the percussion-centric ones, with incessant beats and lyrics I didn’t understand, I felt my attention wandering. But it was a fun show nevertheless.

reminder: last radio show 3-6pm today

June 23rd, 2009


cred: me

Just a reminder that my last radio show is this afternoon. I’m on the air on KZSU starting in a at 3pm PST doing my “I once was Canadian” radio show. I’m doing 3 hour of music, stories, special call-ins and more. Listen in from 3-6pm PST.

During either show you can listen online or at 90.1 FM. You can also follow along with my playlist online.

Update Show and playlist from my last show:

KZSU – I once was Canadian 6/23/09 [second hour] (mp3)

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KZSU – I once was Canadian 6/23/09 [second hour] (mp3)

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KZSU – I once was Canadian 6/23/09 [third hour] (mp3)

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  • Low – (That’s How You Sing) Amazing Grace
  • Unwed Sailor – Last Goodbyes [sound bed]
  • Iron & Wine – Waitin’ For A Superman
  • Jose Gonzalez – Hand On Your Heart
  • Crooked Fingers – Solitary Man
  • Cat Power – I Found a Reason
  • the Botticellis – I Feel Betrayed [Live at KZSU]
  • Belle And Sebastian – Sleep the Clock Around
  • Beirut – Scenic World
  • the Dodos – the Ball [Live at KZSU]
  • Candie Payne – By Tomorrow
  • Henry Lumpkin – Don’t Leave Me
  • Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Oh How I’d Miss You
  • The Wright Specials – Ninety-Nine and a Half Won’t Do
  • Sam Cooke – Having A Party
  • Shirley Ann Lee – There’s a Light
  • Ruby Andrews – You Made a Believer Out of Me
  • Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – The Tracks of My Tears
  • P:ano – All of November, Most of of
  • the Morning Benders – Loose Change [Live at KZSU]
  • Wooden Birds – Bad
  • Pinback – Loro
  • John Vanderslice – Up Above the Sea
  • Bon Iver – Skinny Love
  • Mountain Goats – Against Pollution
  • Magnolia Electric Co – Shiloh Temple Bell
  • Fionn Regan – Put A Penny In The Slot
  • Charles Wright and the 103rd St. Rhythm Band – Movin’ On Up/ I Can’t Turn You Loose
  • David Ruffin – Anything You Ask For
  • the Rural Alberta Advantage – Don’t Haunt this Place
  • Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

ipickmynose presents…the rural alberta advantage, okay and half-handed cloud @ bottom of the hill july 9

June 22nd, 2009


poster designed for ipickmynose by Random Found Objects

I’m pleased to announced the next ipickmynose presents bill: Canadians the Rural Alberta Advantage (myspace) with locals Okay and Half-handed Cloud (myspace) at the Bottom of the Hill.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know my love of Rural Alberta Advantage is nothing new. In fact, they released one of my favorite albums of 2008 and I saw them twice at SxSW, including an incredible, breath-taking show at Central Presbyterian. They produce driving, often-raw indie folk about, well, Alberta. Mark my word, they will put on a good show.

the Rural Alberta Advantage – Don’t Haunt this Place (mp3)

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the Rural Alberta Advantage – Sleep All Day (mp3)

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Okay put out a really intriguing album with last year’s Huggable Dust. Broadly folk music, but with some experimental and freak folk elements, it’s a good listen. When I saw them at the Bottom of the Hill last year, I enjoyed their set.

Okay – Natural (mp3)

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Half-handed Cloud is a band I’ve been following for quite a while, since I saw him open for Sufjan years ago. With folk-pop songs for people with ADD, this will be a fun way to start the set.

Half-handed Cloud – Skip the Rope (mp3)

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So mark your calendars and stay tuned for a ticket give-away and more. Here’s all the info in one place:

6/9 the Rural Alberta Advantage, Okay, Half-handed Cloud @ Bottom of the Hill, 9pm, $10, a/a

rural alberta advantage
the RAA by ipickmynose

song obsession friday! (for the week ending june 19)

June 19th, 2009

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 National – Wasp Nest (mp3) (buy)

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Basically the question of the week is why didn’t anyone tell me the Cherry Tree EP was so good? I’ve been listening to the whole thing a lot but the lead off track has been my favorite and most listened to.

Keith:
Heat East – Love Me Tonight (mp3) (buy)

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For the drive down to NJ last weekend I scoured the Billboard Top 40 book of the 70’s looking for hits that I did not recall at all. One such song I came across was Head East’s “Love Me Tonight” – and considering my guilty pleasure meter is high for their power pop meets AOR rock hit “Never Been Any Reason” I decided to do the dl. Despite that previous exposure I was unprepared for what awaited – the most callous one-night-affair style 70’s love song I’ve ever been inflicted with. It’s difficult to paint a lyrical picture so reprehensible that I’m offended by a casual lay-me-and-leave staple. Yet here it is. But – damn it’s catchy!

Natalie:
Iron & Wine – Trapeze Swinger (mp3) (buy)

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This is all Adrian’s fault for putting it on his May mixtape. It’s gorgeous, and even though it’s over 9 minutes long, I keep putting it on repeat because I simply can’t get enough of it.