more blackdrop portraits (wooden birds, oh no! oh my!, rural alberta advantage, great lake swimmers)

July 19th, 2009

It’s time for some more of my blackdrop portrait series.

andrew kenny of the wooden birds
Andrew Kenny of the Wooden Birds (and American Analog Set) by Adrian Bischoff

greg of oh no oh my
Greg Barkley of Oh No! Oh My! by Adrian Bischoff

rural alberta advantage
the Rural Alberta Advantage by Adrian Bischoff

tony of great lake swimmers
Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers by Adrian Bischoff

3rd annual bay area music bloggers go to a ballgame (live blogging)

July 18th, 2009

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Today, a bunch of bay area music bloggers are going to a baseball game for the 3rd year in a row (see the first two).

I’ll be live blogging the game so check back on this page throughout the afternoon for updates.

11:50am At 24th St. BART. 3 minutes till the Fremont train. That’ll get me there.

1:01pm in the seats. They’re doing the starting line up. Chatting it up with the people who are here so far. Good times.

1:12pm Angels get a home run on the fourth pitch, first at bat.

1:47pm just had a ridiculous bbq pork sandwich. We’ve got a good crowd here now. There’s a baseball game happening somewhere but we’re nerding out pretty well.

2:07pm the A’s are really phoning it in here. 7-0 already.

2:26pm we’ve gone hard core into the music nerdery here. Who’s into what bands, what’s wrong with the blogosphere.

2:46pm Wow a couple runs and.it’s a game. This would be a good comeback.

2:54pm and now we’re talking about twitter.

3:03pm Guilty pleasures here: Passion Pit is high among them…. And what you delete from your last.fm library so people people can’t tell you listen to.

3:33pm things have settled down. Not much going on in the game. A’s warming up a pitcher in the bullpen. The prize in the Cracker Jacks is a bit weird and not impressive.

4:10pm Paid attendence of 16500. Pretty sparse attendence here. We finally got some cloud cover. We’ve been baking here up till now. Some talk about blog projects and record labels.

4:25pm bottom of the 9th, 2 outs and 6 runs to make up. Not looking good. Oh Cust just hit a home run so only 5 runs to go. All of us transplants are talking about adopting local teams and how you pick your team in a two team market.

4:30 and the game’s over. A’s lose.

Update: In the end, we had representatives from ipickmynose, Hello Vegetables, Kata Rokkar, Stranger Dance, the Deli SF, New and Used Records, the OCMD, Tough Customer, SFist, Monosyllabic, Ears of the Beholder and Loud Farm. (I think that’s everyone.) Good times indeed.

song obsession friday! (for the week ending july 17)

July 17th, 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):
Riceboy Sleeps – Happiness (mp3) (pre-order)

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Time for me to shut up about this album already, right? Well, I have listened to this album half a dozen or more times in its entirety this week. With this being the lead-off track, I probably listened to it a little bit more. Just gorgeous stuff here.

Keith:
Kleerup – Thank You for Nothing (mp3) (buy)

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I’m highly anticipating the debut Kleerup release which bows stateside on 7/28 – more great Swedish electronic music with stellar guest vocalists galore. This particular tune is a little repetitive but gives you an idea of the glittering prize which awaits your ears.

last six CDs in my car

July 16th, 2009

I sold my car recently. I’ve had the same 6 CDs in the multi-disc player for the past six months or so:

  • Octopus Project Hello, Avalanche
  • The Lightning Bug Situation A Leaf; A Stream
  • Kings of Leon Because of the Times
  • The Dodos Visitor
  • The National Boxer
  • Fionn Regan The End of History

dodos and riceboy sleeps (sigur ros side project) album streams, mp3s

July 16th, 2009


the Dodos at the Independent

There were a couple good albums streaming for free in their entirety. I recommend checking them out.

the Dodos Time to Die
Their third album is being released in physical form in September but the digital release is at the end of July. I’ve listened to it a few times through and it’s good. While there are definitely duds (mostly I’m thinking of “This is a Business”), but there are also songs that show the band continuing to write great songs (e.g. “Troll Nacht” and “Fables”). The Dodos are a great live band that’s also figured out how to put their songs on record in a convincing manner.

the Dodos – Fables (mp3)

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You can pre-order it from insound.

Riceboy Sleeps Riceboy Sleeps
This is a fairly new project Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi and his boyfriend Alex. I was already obsessed with “Boy 1904″ and I loved “Happiness” on the Dark was the Night compilation. I’ve listened to this ambient-but-melodic album five or six times over the last couple days and I’m definitely going to buy it when it comes out.

Jonsi & Alex – Boy 1904 (mp3)

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You can pre-order it from insound.

on sale soon (7.16.09 edition)

July 16th, 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 July 16:
7/30 Cava, Latin Dub Stars, Bayonics @ Bimbo’s

8/20 The Toy Soldiers, Battlehooch @ Slim’s

10/17 MGMT, MSTRKRFT, Girl Talk, Passion Pit @ Treasure Island
10/18 The Flaming Lips, The Decemberists, Beirut, Grizzly Bear, Yo La Tengo @ Treasure Island

On sale Friday July 17:
10/18 Rob Thomas @ Event Center at San Jose State University

On sale Sunday July 19
8/24 Pete Yorn @ The Fillmore
8/28 Opio & Pep Love, Bicasso, Cambo, The Understudies, JB Nimble, Venture Capitalists & Ro Knew Influence @ Slim’s

9/10 The Doobie Brothers @ The Fillmore
9/10 Perpetual Groove @ The Independent
9/17 World, Inferno Friendship Society @ Great American
9/17 Monotonix, Anavan @ The Independent
9/18, 9/19 Citizen Cope @ The Fillmore
9/29, 9/30 Mason Jennings, Crash Kings @ Great American
9/30 SOJA @ Slim’s

10/1 Datarock @ Slim’s
10/8 Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, Mika Miko, T.I.T.S. @ Slim’s
10/15 Moby @ the Warfield
10/16 Ani DiFranco @ Zellerbach Auditorium
10/22 Heart @ the Warfield

11/5 Mat Kearney @ The Fillmore
11/25 Vader, Goatwhore , Decrepit Birth, Warbringer @ the Regency/ Grand

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

My what a box set: Phil Spector: Back to Mono; win a copy!

July 15th, 2009

Phil Spector is more in the news for being a convicted murderer these days than anything else. Before that, people may know him for screwing up Let It Be (at least in the opinion of one knight).

But I wanted to bring some focus back to the genius music he produced and one of my favorite box sets of all time: Phil Spector: Back to Mono. It’s has three discs of Spector singles and the full length Spector Christmas album as the fourth disc. It’s an overview of the Wall of Sound, with its huge drums, layered production and diverse instrumentation. You can also hear that Spector introducing Latin elements into pop songs in a time when that was not yet commonplace.

Of course it has the hits and Phil Spector’s hits are among the best pop songs made: “Be My Baby”, “He’s a Rebel”, “Then He Kissed Me”, and “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” among them. Then there are many other songs you’d recognize, but the real value in the set are the lost gems hidden in here. I love Ben E. King’s “Spanish Harlem”, a light and straight-forward soul ballad with some great orchestrations and fun vocal lines. Lee Curtis’ “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” borders on doo wop and has a driving rhythm and a fantastic chorus. “Uptown” by the Crystals is a Latin-tinged love song with a great pre-chorus->chorus build.

“Heartbreaker”, also by the Crystals, has a harder groove and more swagger than most of Spector’s numbers, putting it closer to a Motown track than most. It also has a classic sax solo in it. Treasures’ “Hold Me Tight” is built upon a percussion line than may be close to “Be My Baby”‘s in how good it is. The vocal melodies are also really catchy. It holds a fairly rare distinction of being a Beatlest cover that is much better than the original.

The Crystals – Heartbreaker (mp3)

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Treasures – Hold Me Tight (mp3)

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This is really a fantastic box set and I recommend it to anyone that’s interested in oldies, girl group or soul music.

While going through some of my stuff, I found an extra, unopened copy of Phil Spector: Back to Mono. I bought this with my own money, but I’ll give it away to one lucky reader. To enter to win the box set, leave a comment with the song on the collection you most look forward to listening to again and again by 11:59pm Sunday July 19. (See here for tracklist.) I’ll pick one winner at random. Be sure to put a valid email address because I’ll need to contact you to get an address to ship it to if you win. This contest is open to residents of US and Canada only.

You can buy it at amazon.

Update: The contest is closed and with the help of random.org, I’ve chosen Will as the winner. Thanks for the entries!

announcing june(ish) 2009 mixtape!

July 13th, 2009

Okay, it’s just preposterous to call this a June mixtape. But I have something planned for July already.

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->library->import playlist and then select the song list (the txt file). you should now have the 2009june in your iTunes with all the songs in the correct order).

Go ahead and check out the playlist (below) or the liner notes.

Adrian’s June 2009 mixtape (mediafire link)

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.

The playlist:

  1. The National Wasp Nest
  2. Octopus Project Wet Gold
  3. Bombadil So Many Ways to Die
  4. Silver Scooter Goodbye
  5. Weezer I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams
  6. Grand Lake Concrete Blonde on Blonde
  7. Leo Kottke The Driving Year of the Nail
  8. Joe Pug A Thousand Men
  9. The Woodlands Until the Day Dims
  10. Two Sheds You (Live at KZSU)
  11. Gillian Welch Look at Me Miss Ohio
  12. Jeff Mangum My Dream Girl Don’t Exist
  13. Oh No! Oh My! I Have No Sister
  14. the Magnetic Fields All the Umbrellas of London
  15. The Album Leaf Over the Pond
  16. Mogwai Cody
  17. Unwed Sailor Ruby’s Wishes
  18. Riceboy Sleeps Boy 1904

rural alberta advantage @ bottom of the hill (photos, review, etc)

July 13th, 2009

For the latest ipickmynose presents show, the Rural Alberta Advantage (myspace) and Half-handed Cloud (myspace) played the Bottom of the Hill last Thursday. Okay was scheduled to be the middle band but had to cancel due to illness.

Half-handed Cloud went on a bit later than the original start time due to the schedule only having two bands instead of three. The growing crowd was getting a bit restless. John Ringhofer played a half a dozen instruments–banjo, omnichord, percussion and trombone among them–sometimes accompanied by pre-recorded instruments on a tape player. He played his quirky, short and cute folk pop songs in a straight-forward but endearing manner. It was a fun set.

The venue was getting pretty full by the time the Rural Alberta Advantage went on. Having just come off their CD release two days prior and very positive review from P4k among many others, the band was obviously basking in the glow of the new attention.

Playing most of Hometowns with a couple new songs thrown in, the band came out and gave it their all. From the audience members around me, I literally heard gasps at the band’s performance, particularly Paul’s intricate and barely-contained drumming. When the RAA hit “Don’t Haunt This Place”, their third or fourth song, I don’t thing there were many at the show who were left unconvinced at the greatness of the band’s live show.

They were very appreciative throughout the show of the crowd and the reception they were receiving. And the audience was receptive–it felt like everyone was leaning forward just to be a little closer to the band.

At the end of the set, the band came out for an encore, of course. Nils led off with a convincing solo rendition of “Eye of the Tiger” that turned into a sing-along. After the song, Nils remarked that he wanted to just keep repeating the chorus because it was so much fun singing with the audience. After another song, they left the stage again, only to be called back for a second, non-obligatory encore. It was a gorgeous version of “Sleep All Day”. All in all it was a fantastic show that I was proud to be involved with.

song obsession friday! (for the week ending July 10)

July 10th, 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):
Jonsi & Alex – Boy 1904 (mp3) (buy)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I loved the Riceboy Sleeps track from the Dark was the Night comp before I knew it was a Sigur Ros side project. When this track surfaced this week, I knew who it was and got it pretty quickly.

I think I have a soft spot for ambient-but-melodic music in general but lately with lots going on, this sort of track is a perfect balm to what’s going on.