Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NPR, DCfC, Sasquatch and Other Strange Letters

In honor of the release of Death Cab for Cutie's Codes and Keys, out today, I thought I'd remind you that NPR is posting live recordings from the Sasquatch Music Festival like it's their job. (Wha?)

That said, here's Death Cab for Cutie, live in concert, courtesy of NPR. Enjoy.

Coldplay: Every Lyric is a Teardrop

Looks like after three years, the Coldplay machine has got its wheels turning again. Today, the band posted a video on their website featuring a few lyrics from their upcoming single "Every Tear Drop is a Waterfall," out June 3.

The fulls lyrics to the song can be found on their site, and yes, the song does contain the lines "As we soar walls, every siren is a symphony and every tear's a waterfall / is a waterfall / oh is a waterfall / oh oh oh is a waterfall / every tear is a waterfall / oh oh oh."

They sure do make it hard to defend them sometimes.

Also, colorful, non-threatening graffiti seems to be the theme this time around. No word on a release date or title for the album.

Damn hoodlums.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Anatomy of a Mashup : Daft Punk

We all like a good mashup, right? Sure. As long as it's not overly long and it's clever. A mysterious (That's a lie. He's an Australian named Cameron Adams.) fellow calling himself The Man in Blue put together a mashup of 23 Daft Punk songs and created a visualizer to show how the songs fit together in the mashup. You can see when a chunk of a song starts and ends, and how loud it gets by watching a series of colorful concentric circles, each representing a song. Intelligent stuff. I present: The Anatomy of a Mashup. Can't even imagine the coding magic behind it.

Speaking of mashups, the wise blog reader will check out Xaphoon Jones's sweet mashup of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" and Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead," aptly titled "The Jackson Pit."

The wise blog reader should stay way from mashups of this variety. Not bad, but there's better stuff out there.

Picked up the tip from Gizmodo.

Streaming: Joseph Arthur's The Graduation Ceremony

Crap. Can't find my keys.

I found Joseph Arthur a few years back, just after graduating from high school. He had a new record out called Let's Just Be and Paste Magazine included a cut from it on one of their sampler CDs. It was "Diamond Ring," one of the first posts I wrote for this blog. Apparently, at the time I didn't think it was anything spectacular. Oh well.

In any case, Arthur surfaced again a few months ago when I came across 2002's "Honey and the Moon." That, my friends, is a fine song, especially for the line "If you weren't real, I would make you up." Satisfying sap. It's just begging to be painted on a picture frame, which is a fitting intersection with two points in life these days. For one, it has come to my attention that NPR is streaming his newest album "The Graduation Ceremony," and it happens that I just graduated from college.

I know. Freaky.

Anyway, I got to listen to the album last night. I think I may need to spin it again, so judgment withheld for now, but it's nice to know Arthur turns up every time I graduate. We'll see what he cooks up next year when I finish my master's.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fol Chen Covers Sufjan

It's a mouthful right? Pitchfork posted this awesome cover of one of Sufjan Stevens's latest tracks, "I Walked," off last fall's The Age of Adz. The band is Fol Chen, Stevens's mysterious Asthmatic Kitty label mates who hail from L.A.

I first found Fol Chen via Paste Sampler CD. They've got a sweet, techy tune called "Cable TV." Check it out. The lead singer's cool, disinterested vocals make the song.

Mumford and Sons Take it Away

Here's a cool video I ran across recently from French music site La Blogotheque. They do a series called Take Away Shows (Concerts à Emporter). The premise is popular bands and artists perform in random places, like in the back of a van or walking down a street. The result is quirky, raw performance videos. Also, the articles that go with them make those three years of French you took in high school totally worth it.

On a mildly related note, if you've been wondering if Mumford and Sons sound fantastic on vinyl, the answer is yes.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Video; Music and Streaming

Two noteworthy items today:

+ This Tuesday, NPR will be live streaming a Fleet Foxes concert from Stubb's Barbecue in Austin, TX. The show starts at 8 p.m. central. This is exciting because despite the fact that TMI can't make it to their show this Friday at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashvegas, at least there will be some amount of Fleet Foxes concert-viewing happening this week.

+ Death Cab for Cutie released the music video for "Home is a Fire" off their forthcoming album Codes and Keys. It's reminiscent of the video for "Little Bribes" in terms of the lyrics being written out in various places, but still cool. Bassist Nick Harmer directs and that dude who made the Obama posters (you know the ones) contributes his stellar design skills. Check it out above.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Notes on Nashvegas

Nashville has always been closely tied to music whether it's stereotypical country or, as the people who live here know, all the other kinds of music that gets played here on an hourly basis.

Rolling Stone
recently anointed dear Nashvegas as the best music scene in the country, which is pretty exciting. I couldn't tell you if it's true or not, but I can definitely go there. Nashville is a great place to live if you love music and part of why that is, is the community here. It's the way people react to each other. It's not just the Ryman Auditorium but the people that go there to see a show.

That said, the funny thing was that for some reason Rolling Stone decided to interview a bunch of musicians who aren't from here– recent transplants like Ke$ha, the drummer from the Black Keys and Jack White's wife, Karen Elson. They might be huge and plugged into the industry in ways that a twenty-one-year-old college student is not, but I think it's always been more about those college kids. That's where the heart comes from.

I know very well these types of articles are hard to write, but I think if they had called the Nashville Scene (our alt weekly) and talked to a writer, or one of the local college newspapers, they would have been better informed and been able to put together a piece that showcased real Nashvillians and their tastes and habits versus famous people and their penchants for expensive denim (and how is that part of the music scene?) Here's my beef:

+ No mention of Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom- I would argue it's one (guess it's actually two spaces, technically) of the best concert spaces in the city. It's really a fantastic place to see a show.

+ In 17 years here, I've never heard a soul call the Ryman "God's own listening room." Mother church of country music? Yes. According to Google, this "listening room" phrase came from Prairie Home Companion's website circa March... 2011.

+ They talked about Grimey's but not the Basement, which is the venue directly below it.... in the basement. I just thought that was weird. The Basement, at least in my mind, is another defining venue for Nashville. Speaking of Grimey's and The Basement, the guy that co-owns both, Mike Grimes, is a figure who shouldn't be left out of the story.

+ Possibly the most confounding part of the whole thing is that they didn't talk at all about any local bands. Not one.

+ Then there was this line: "Daytime booze is a time-honored tradition in Nashville." Um?

Anyway, there were a few other things, but these were the ones that really stuck out. The Nashville music scene is great. You should experience it for yourself.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rites of Spring 2011

A bit late in posting, but here's a quick recap of Vanderbilt's Rites of Spring. Got to cover it again for the Belmont Vision. Here's an extended version of what ran in the paper. If you're interested in sweet photos, check out my friend Ben's site.

Rain boots on Friday and a parka on Saturday. This year’s Rites of Spring at Vanderbilt University was not for the faint of heart, yet folks still came out en mass for the annual end-of-semester musical catharsis. The Vision braved the rain and the cold weather to bring you some notable moments from the festival.


- At 10:30 p.m., the skies open up for one final burst before clearing up for the evening. All acts but the headliners are canceled.

- Piano songstress Sara Bareilles delivers an unexpected cover of Mumford and Sons’s “Little Lion Man.”

- Public Enemy takes the stage. The audience notices Flavor Flav’s distinct lack of clock. Minutes later, he takes off his sweatshirt and all is well with the world.

- The Vision wonders how about the transition from 80s-90s rap to orchestral pop/rock will go.

- The National play a solid set comprised of songs from their 2010 album High Violet and its predecessor Boxer, including “Mistaken for Strangers” and “Blood Buzz Ohio.”

- Starring down a 1:30 a.m. shutdown time, front man Matt Berninger tries to squeeze one more song into The National’s abbreviated set and has his mic cut off three fourths of the way through “Terrible Love.”


- David Mayfield Parade takes Rites to church with a rousing cover of “A Little Talk with Jesus.” Quote of the evening: “Do you want to kick the Devil in the junk?”

- Madi Diaz and her band do Nashville proud by bringing their brand of excellent indie pop to the Alumni Lawn. Songs like “It’s Only a Kiss,” “Johnny” and the effervescent “Let’s Go,” make it one of the best sets of the festival.

- Kim of Matt and Kim convinces a surprising number of guys in the crowd to take off their shirts in 46 degree weather and swing them above their heads. She spends a good chunk of the set riling up the crowd from a top her drum kit. Energetic barely describes the situation.

- After an hour-long wait, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s Alex Ebert looks as messianic as ever fronting his musical collective. “Home” gets a big response.

- The crowd swells and packs in for rapper Kid Cudi. With the temperature bottoming out at 45 degrees, Rites hangs it up for another year.