Archive for the 'music' Category


KEXP is coming to NYC!

And I am oh-so excited! See this page for more info.


Grrrl Rock

“Girls Rock! The movie” was released yesterday. I’m VERY excited about this movie. Reviews have been so-so, but the trailer moved me to tears. And, of course, Carrie from S-K is involved, so I’ve got to see it.

The movie is basically a documentary following the Rock Camp for Girls in the Northwest. A number of other camps exist around the nation and the website has tons more information.
Advanced tix can be purchased on their website:

I love the trailer, and I’m now inspired to name my daughter Palace. Because any girl of mine needs to be fierce indeed!


Time to PLUG-in

Voting is open for the annual PLUG awards. These awards honor artists in the independent music community, and fans worldwide are eligible to vote. The culminating event is a big show featuring some of the bands in NYC (I’m anxiously awaiting the announcement), and they also do smaller shows across the country. Follow this link to cast your votes! (I particularly appreciate the separate categories of “general” and “obsessive.”)

Relatedly, all of this makes me think of the recent articles from Wired magazine about the music industry. One, written by David Byrne, investigates how the industry is changing with the advancement of the internet and digital technologies. It also looks at the varieties of artist/label contract variations and their limits on creativity — with an important note as to how these limits can be impacted when technology changes. The second article consists of Byrne interviewing Thom Yorke about Radiohead’s legendary (and widely successful?) internet release of their latest album, In Rainbows. Byrne and Yorke discuss the trade-offs of their decision as well as how they were uniquely positioned as a band to make such a drastic move.

Reading these articles, frequenting communities like Hype Machine, listening to KEXP, watching friends’ shows, and obsessing over Pitchfork all has me feeling relatively peachy about the state of independent music. I’ve been mulling over this post for a long time, and trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to say. The bottom line is that I know there are a lot of curmudgeons out there who are lamenting the doom of the music industry and the lackluster performance of some of their favorite artists in 2007. But I think Byrne’s articles, and the quickly growing (and fanatically obsessive) online independent music community is a breath of fresh air. I’ve been exposed to more artists in the past year and a half than ever before, and it has been exhilarating. I occasionally get concerned that I pay too much attention to singles and not enough on the art-form of the album. But one of my (many) new year’s resolutions is to focus more on albums, and I’ve started this year with a little iTunes and emusic shopping (Kate Nash, New Pornographers, Jens Lekman, and St. Vincent — all simply fantastic purchases).

So, thanks, PLUG, and every other online community/website/forum devoted to spreading the gospel that is good independent music. You made me that much more giddy that when unpacking my new stereo I contemplated whether it was even necessary to plug in that FM antenna.


Best of…Music: 2007

It’s been brewing for a while…my music “best of” list for 2007.

The creation of this list is heavily enabled by the plethora of mixes I made for JPR this year. By my count, he received 18 mixes over the last 12 months (and one in 2006). Fueled by hype-machine, KEXP podcasts, KCRW podcasts, Pitchfork, Paste Magazine, and various other musical sources I was able to assemble these mixes and hear about new music.

To begin, if I had to pick ONE band to represent 2007 to me, it would be The National. I completely and utterly fell in love with this band upon hearing them on KEXP and immediately obtained their entire catalog. Seeing them live was the icing on the cake. I can’t say enough good things about this band, and they’ve been written up by a number of more eloquent and knowledgeable music writers: they are the band of the year for Paste magazine, have the #3 album of the year on KEXP, and a Top 20 album of the year on

So, my band of the year is The National and album of the year would have to be Boxer. If you haven’t checked them out, I recommend starting with:

1) 90-mile Water Wall

2) All Dolled Up In Straps

3) Daughters of the Soho Riots

4) Fake Empire

5) Secret Meeting
But, moving on…here’s my attempt at a best of list.


  • Lassoo — The Duke Spirit (from E-Voto EP)
  • Lion’s Mouth — Arthur & Yu (from self-titled album)
  • Bookshop Casanova — The Clientele (from God Save the Clientele)
  • Smokers Outside Hospital Doors — The Editors (from An End Has A Start)
  • The Start of Something — Voxtrot (from self-titled album)
  • Two of Us — Freeheat (from Don’t Worry Be Happy EP)
  • Get Up, Get Out — The Rosebuds (from Night of the Furies)
  • Waiting on the Stairs — Pela (from Anytown Graffiti, also check out Tenement Teeth single)
  • And I Found This Boy — Maia Hirasawa (from Though, I’m Just Me)
  • Love Is Not A Competition But I’m Winning — Kaiser Chiefs (from Yours Truly Angry Mob)
  • Oh Boy — The Concretes (from Hey Trouble, new singer, same great sound)
  • Politics and Cigarettes — The Voom Blooms (from Nine Ships)
  • Can You Tell — Ra Ra Riot
  • Lake Michigan — Rogue Wave (from Asleep at Heaven’s Gate)
  • Plasticities — Andrew Bird (from Armchair Apocrypha, also check out Spare-Ohs)
  • The Opposite of Halleluja — Jens Lekman (from Night Falls Over Kortedala)
  • Someone Great — LCD Soundsystem (from Sound of Silver)
  • Herculean — Good, The Bad & The Queen (from self-titled album)
  • You! Me! Dancing! — Los Campesinos (album to be released in 2008)
  • Wet and Rusty — Menomena (Friend & Foe)
  • Unbilotitled — Babyshambles (from Shotters Nation)
  • Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse — Of Montreal (from Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?)


  • The Reminder — Feist
  • Anytown Graffiti — Pela
  • White Chalk — PJ Harvey
  • Ga Ga Ga… — Spoon
  • Wincing the Night Away — The Shins
  • Fantastic Playroom — New Young Pony Club
  • 23 — Blonde Redhead
  • Saltbreakers — Laura Veirs
  • Cassadaga — Bright Eyes
  • The Con — Tegan and Sara
  • Cease to Begin — Band of Horses
  • In Our Nature — Jose Gonzalez
  • Armchair Apocryhpa — Andrew Bird
  • Baby 81 — Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
  • Is Is — Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Bands/Artists in General:

Pela: Check them out when you want to totally rock out and sing along to an infectiously catchy voice. The songs have a really creative way of building and keeping your foot tapping. For fans of Shout Out Louds, Malajube, and Maps.

Duke Spirit: Totally depressed after the indefinite hiatus of Sleater-Kinney? Well, while no band could possibly take their place, and while Duke Spirit isn’t an all girl band, they embody the spirit with rockin’ female vocals and a generally awesome sound. Their cover of Message to a Pretty is also great and a totally different side of their sound.Duke Spirit in Iceland

The National: What can I say, I simply love them.

TV on the Radio (pleeeeeeease tour soon, pleeease): Now, I know that they didn’t put out anything new this year, but I just can’t help it. This band’s music was a major part of my life during 2007. “Dirty Whirl” is perhaps one of the best songs I’ve ever heard, and hearing it while seated on a sofa with my main squeeze at Soda downing Blue Moons and noshing on perogies made it all the better.

Jose Gonzalez: I first stumbled across Jose Gonzalez when he covered “Heartbeats” by The Knife. His album this year is really great to chill out to and perfect for fans of Damien Rice and Devendra Banhart.

The Aislers Set: I need to learn more/all of their songs. And I know they aren’t technically together anymore, but I really enjoy the Belle and Sebastian meets Au Revoir Simone sound, also the Big Kahuna sounding guitar in “I’ve Been Mistreated” is highly appealing.

Things that were technically before 2007 but I fell in love with them in 2007:

(Yes, technically TV on the Radio and Aislers Set should be here but I thought they were better suited up in the bands section.)

  • Dirty Whirl — TV on the Radio
  • Pieces of the People We Love — The Rapture
  • Heartbeats — The Knife
  • Party — El Perro Del Mar
  • It’s Over — Earl Greyhound
  • Textbook — We Are Scientists
  • Half the Time — Pablo
  • Ballad of the Broken Seas — Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan
  • Trompe-L’oeil — Malajube
  • Robbers and Cowards — Cold War Kids
  • Nature of the Experiment — Tokyo Police Club
  • Hardwire — Metric
  • Cowbell — Tapes ‘n Tapes
  • Sad Sad City — Ghostland Observatory
  • Happy Yet? — BoySkout

My Great Musical Moments of 2007:

1) The Bright Eyes Concert(s): JPR and I got to see two shows in a row when Bright Eyes did 7 nights in NYC. Seeing Janet Weiss play drums again was so wonderful, and she’ll be back in town again with Malkmus, which we’ll hopefully see. Also, his series of guest artists was also pretty exciting. Ben Gibbard performed “405” and “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” during his mini-set. Perhaps the best part of these concerts was at the end of the second show when Conor basically went ape shit. During the encore, and after enough red wine, he attempted to give away his guitar to a person in the front row numerous times. Security kept getting the guitar back and eventually he left the stage while yelling and smashing stuff. It was quite a display of passion, I must say.

2) Another musical moment is actually more of a musical almost-moment. JPR and I were hanging out at Hi-Fi (best jukebox in the city) and we thought for sure we’d spotted the lead singer for TV on the Radio. Seriously, it HAD to be him. But, some quick handywork on the cell phone via Google showed that on the very same evening they were playing a show in the Midwest. Alas, it wasn’t him, but quite an exciting few moments nonetheless.

3) And then…we went to Iceland. While the Airwaves festival was a bit hectic and overrun by noisy and drunken hipsters, we had a few great moments in music. Perhaps the best was one of the side-venue shows where we stopped into a clothing boutique and upstairs the Duke Spirit played a set to a packed room. Seeing a band that up-close was really exciting, and seeing a band I wasn’t that familiar with and falling in love with them instantly was totally awesome. It’s been a while since that happened.

4) After Iceland, our luck continued when JPR scored tickets to the “I’m Not There” tribute concert where various performers played Dylan tunes as part of a charity concert. While the whole affair was a bit ramshackle (see JPR’s splendid review of the evening), The Roots cover of “Master’s of War” was simply out of this world. The opening lyrics being sung to the National Anthem were phenomenal, and the tuba….well, I have quite a weakness for horns and the like in rock songs. Whew.

5) Another great moment in music for 2007 was getting to see Danielle’s awesome band, Hot Box, in NYC. Hopefully they’ll be back in NYC soon, or I can get my arse to Boston to see another live show. Check them out if you haven’t yet.

6) And, of course, getting to see The National perform live was just fantastic.

2007 Musical Regrets (Albums/Bands I really wish I would have gotten into but didn’t and will hopefully do so this year.)

  • Marry Me by St. Vincent
  • Friend Opportunity by Deerhoof
  • Friend by Grizzly Bear
  • Easy Tiger by Ryan Adams
  • Autumn of the Seraphs by Pinback
  • Our Love to Admire by Interpol
  • Because of Time by Kings of Leon
  • We Were Dead… by Modest Mouse
  • Icky Thump by White Stripes
  • The Flying Club Cup by Beirut
  • Sky Blue Sky by Wilco
  • The Sheperd’s Dog by Iron & Wine
  • Person Pitch by Panda Bear (’s #1)
  • In Rainbows by Radiohead (thank you, Danielle, for appropriately berating this omission)

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