Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Standard Email

This is a normal Wednesday afternoon email, now.

I want to invite you to check out ...


[insert band information here]

Let me know if you'd like to go.

[insert publicist name and company here]

Cleveland, you would be cool if you had young people who liked music who were my friends. Thankyoubye.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Read It and Weep

Wow. I mean, WOW. I'm loving the comment section on the following article, although I don't know how I feel about someone calling all indie music dull. DOOD, listen to Japandroids. There's a kickdrum and an amp for you, alright.

Check this out, folks.

Sure, I'll Name Drop

Need sleep, but quick post on: my ignorance.

I listen to a lot of music, like, all the time, and I still cannot get to everything I want to spend time with. It's kind of sad. Information overload! Death of privacy! We are in the future!

I never really found time to go through the "pioneers of indie rock." Or whatever. You know, those bands that everyone loves, but I just brush off daily. Pavement? Eh, just noise. Yo La Tengo? Too busy for me. But a friend finally made me a great, fantastic mix of those bands and more. (Yes, I'll name drop - New Order, Slowdive, The Chameleons.) And all I can say is that I'm regretting being an ignorant person. It's like waking up one morning and realizing you've never even tried Cheerios.

I mean, Cheerios are like the basic building blocks of cereals! And Sonic Youth and The Replacements are like the founders of college rock! I vow to repent for my sins and make up for my bad deeds by listening to music that I've missed. (I got the classic rock thing from my dad, and I got the indie rock of today, now I just have to work on the stuff in the middle. Care to help me? What do I NEED to hear?)

The Replacements - Left of the Dial

Drummer - Live Review

In Jancee Dunn’s memoir, But Enough About Me, the Rolling Stone writer gives all kinds of advice on interviewing celebrities. When bands are acting too cool to answer her questions, she usually pays attention to the one member of the band who is often overlooked — the drummer.

Dunn explains: “[H]is other bandmates, particularly the heretofore-mute sunglasses-wearing lead singer, will at first be confused, then annoyed. Finally, their competitive spirit will take over, and they will enthusiastically jockey for attention, offering amusing anecdotes about groupies and telling off-color jokes.”

So what happens when you put together a band with dudes who have all spent time behind the kit? That was an experiment Patrick Carney wanted to try out when his Black Keys bandmate, Dan Auerbach, reserved some time to tour behind his solo album.

Steve Clements of Houseguest and Six Parts Seven, Ghostman & Sandman’s Greg Boyd, and Jon Finley and Jamie Stillman from Party of Helicopters (all local bands, by the way) joined Carney onstage at the Beachland Ballroom Saturday night. And all the guys were ready to march to the beat of a different, um, drummer.

Boyd stuck with percussion duties, while Clements played keys/synths, Stillman took his turn on guitar and Carney kept it steady on the bass. Finley had a blast playing “frontman,” chatting up the audience about his love for Cleveland sports and his positive hopes for (ugh) the next day’s Browns game. The set stopped for five minutes after the first song, after Clements realized he was missing a cable. Stillman filled the silence with his rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.,” while Finley poked fun.

When the music started back up, it was underwhelming. “Good Golly” was as good as it got. Most of the tunes were as forgettable as a Matthew McConaughey flick. For all the supposed drumming cred, you’d expect some sick drum solos or team drumming. Yet the rhythm was as dull as the generic songwriting. If nothing else, it was a nice chance for talented Ohio musicians to team up. And it probably beats a band of “mute sunglasses-wearing” lead singers, right?

Drummer - Feel Good Together

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Heaven Forgotten

I heard a song earlier this year that really caught my attention through its quiet, creeping ability. I listened to it obsessively, and then left it alone until I saw that NPR just recorded a Patrick Watson concert and posted it on its blog.

I always get disappointed when people talk about Patrick Wolf. I get briefly excited, thinking, Oh! maybe that's the Patrick W. guy that I love! But I don't think anyone knows about Patrick Watson. They should.

He reminds me of my friend Adam Torres, the way his voice is so delicate and pensive and the way he picks at his guitar ever-so-sweetly. That said, you should all be fans of Adam Torres. His first (and only, so far) album, Nostra Nova, is one of my favorites ever. More about Adam later.

Listen to Patrick Watson. Just close your eyes, and put on a pair of headphones, and listen deeply. Isn't there a special quality there?

Patrick Watson - Man Like You

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chris Isaak - Wicked Game

There are times when songs chase you. They find a way to hauntingly come into your life, and pursue your brain. Sometimes this is the case with a song that you heard many, many years ago, but you never gave a second thought.

I was listening to the local college station, WJCU, (where I DJed this summer) the other day. A song came on, and I knew I had heard it before, long ago. I had a feeling it was played at a pivotal moment in The Family Man, one of my all time favorite movies. What this movie lacks in creativity and originality, it makes up for in heart. And the way this song is placed in a heartbreaking scene, smack dab in the middle of the movie, it is significant and makes a special mark.

I watched the movie last night, by myself, utterly alone. And as always, I cried. I always cry when I see it. I dare you not to cry.

After the movie was over, I looked up the song, found it, and played it on repeat for the rest of the night. It haunts, and it's so depressingly romantic, and the noodling guitar has this western feel that I don't think would be out of place in a movie like Natural Born Killers, where the plotting murderers travel the country with some kind of sexy, weirdo attitude.

Chris Isaak - Wicked Game

Today, I was picking up a prescription, and SURPRISE, "Wicked Game" played through the quiet speakers of CVS. Reminding me that the song might not be a special, unknown treasure, but that it probably haunts many others as well. It has an odd way of infiltrating the ears, and leaves a special feeling of emptiness.

My dad says it's a sexy song. I guess. All I know is I've probably heard it 25 times in two days, and I'm not even close to sick of it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

St. Vincent - Live Review

If Annie Clark of St. Vincent applied the same philosophy she uses for songwriting to painting, she would be splattering blood and guts on a Monet. Last night’s set at the Beachland Ballroom began with “The Strangers,” the same track that opens her latest record, Actor. Her ethereal voice echoed through the ballroom, and meandering flute and violin set the scene with a calm beauty. But sure enough, Clark covered that beauty with grime, attacking her guitar with a viciousness that felt exhilaratingly wrong, especially when you consider the context.

Daniel Hart warmed the room up with his violin, Evan Smith alternated between flute, keys, and sax, Anthony LeMarca sped things up on the drums, and William Flynn held the show together on bass. All eyes were on Clark (and everyone was taking a million pictures; she’s a knockout), but the solid musicianship of these four backing members is essential.

Clark remarked that last time they were in Cleveland, they played to ten people in the connecting tavern. Since then, Actor has (rightfully) fueled a great deal of success. On “Save Me From What I Want,” the Brooklynite experimented with jazzy, bouncy guitar, and mixed lyrics like “I think I love you, I think I’m mad” with delightfully messy distortion on “Actor Out of Work.”

The crowd was completely silent between cheers and applause. Jaws were dropping. And you could practically hear the sound of 100 men’s hearts beating as Clark crooned “Marry Me,” one of the night’s vocal-centric songs. When she sang the line “Oh John, let’s do what Mary and Joseph did… without the kid,” the crowd erupted into applause, and she politely responded, “Thank you for getting the joke” before finishing the song.

St. Vincent is proof that music probably shouldn’t follow a formula. Sometimes spooky and sweet are best when combined. Sometimes calm waves require grimy dirt to keep things interesting. If this is true, Annie Clark is the queen of juxtaposition.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Swell Season - Strict Joy

What was quite possibly the best music movie of 2008 blew our minds with a great storyline and better tunes. (And, no, we’re not talking about Mamma Mia.) Once transformed the Frames frontman Glen Hansard and little-known Czech singer and pianist Markéta Irglová into a power duo capable of capturing the purest kind of raw emotion. After winning the Oscar for Best Original Song for their striking duet, “Falling Slowly,” they had some big shoes to fill. Both musicians continue to contribute their contrasting styles to the latest album, Strict Joy, with help from five longtime collaborators. The airy vulnerability of Irglová’s performance nicely complements the intense catharsis of Hansard’s ragged wail. While “Fantasy Man” gently glides by with entrancing melodies and lilting violin, “Feeling the Pull” showcases Hansard’s more aggressive side. Sadly, nothing has as much bite as scorchers on the Once soundtrack like, “When Your Mind’s Made Up,” which could make you shake from the visceral passion. Strict Joy tries to make up for this with gorgeous ballads. It’s just a shame it doesn’t have an entrancing movie to accompany the recording process this time around.


I am experiencing music overload.

I discovered Jolie Holland. She has one beauty of a voice. Her concert at Stuart's made me cry for 3 songs straight.

I rediscovered Radiohead's In Rainbows. Perfect for reminiscing about my rapid rate of music consumption in Athens, Ohio that escapes me in Cleveland, Ohio.

I still cannot move past Dan Auerbach. He just gets it.

And Japandroids still make me feel alive.

I will go more in depth later. My life is spiraling past control, and tomorrow will be occupied by swooning over St. Vincent at the Beachland and Wednesday will be occupied by swooning over Langhorne Slim at the Grog. I will continue on nights of 4 hours of sleep, and barely function during the day and live for the night.

I can't stay awake, but I don't remember how to sleep.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Take One for the Team

Sometimes songs get stuck in your head, and you loathe yourself for it. I no longer listen to much radio with music anymore (what a sad condition when all FM signals suck, but NPR, FTW!), so I can't say I have the Black-Eyed Peas in my head or Lady Gaga in my head. Cuz let's face it. That would be an utter lie. I have, however, been hearing a lot of Eddie Vedder in my head lately. (Serious sidenote: "The Fixer" slays me, and don't deny that it has the same effect on you. IT DOES.)

But sometimes, when songs get stuck in your head, you want them to be there. Like, over and over. Sometimes, when a particular song strikes the right chord with me (no pun intended), I keep hitting the back button on my iPod to hear it over and over and over. My count gets all messed up, and I have some kind of infectious disease that causes interdependence to a certain 3 minutes of music.

It happened to me accidentally this summer. The problem this time, though, extends longer than one season. I have found a song that I enjoy so much that it keeps re-appearing in my life. It's like a bad friend that keeps ditching me for cooler friends, but then finds it absolutely necessary to call and redeem his/herself every few weeks - JUST so I don't think he/she/it is a bad person.

OK OK! I forgive you for being a crappy friend, or an infectious song, or.... ughhh I don't know. I've lost sight of what I'm talking about.

One For the Team - Best Supporting Actress

This band comes from Minneapolis, and the lead singer has an awesome blog that found its way into my google reader. They took seemingly simple chords and structures, and then exploded them with a ton of sugar. You will learn all the words by heart because a) they are easy, and b) you feel like you can relate to them, even if they have nothing to do with you. The electric guitar seems to jump out of the song. It's not just ordinary electric guitar; they make it sound like a nice electric guitar. It is offstandish and non-confrontational and quite pretty, instead of implying violence or power or evil male domination. And the innocence of the vocal harmonies has the same effect; one of pure, alluring aptitude.

Summary: download this song, check out this band, and revel in the whole song-stuck-in-your-head-for-months thing. I challenge you to find me a better song right now. Can you?


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Best of the Worst, Gag Me.

"It’s actually probably in the best, most cohesive shape it’s been in in 10 years."

-Sean Ross, radio consultant for Edison Research, commenting on Top 40 radio

Best? Cohesive? Really?

Should those be the descriptors of a format that makes me want to puke up the past 22 years of my life? Should those be the descriptors of a format so bad that even people who listen to it think it's awful? Should those be the descriptors of a format so terrible that it makes me embarrassed to claim that I like listening to music?

Check out this facinating article on Top 40 music.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Left home alone for an entire day, I thought of nothing better than to escape the house on my bicycle. I have to ride through all this suburban traffic muck before I get to a good park with a bike path, so I braved the bad drivers trying to run me over, uneven sidewalks the city can't afford to fix, and unruly cold air that flew right up my sweatpants that I had to cuff to prevent them from snagging on my bike gears.

I listened to Matthew Perryman Jones for the majority of the ride, and his mix of hopeful, beautiful, and expansive songs made the ride quite peaceful. It was like getting a full dose of older U2, with Explosions in the Sky as the opening act. Really, it accompanied my journey through the changing leaves exquisitely well.

As usual, I made an idiot of myself. I rode for an hour before realizing - huh, it might be a good idea to turn back and go home now. I always manage to go downhill on the way there. So, yeah, I was freezing, deathly tired, and riding uphill against the wind home. Sorry MPJ, you do not cut it in dire situations where I need serious motivations to make it home alive. I wanted something cutting, to the bone. Something that I could listen to with a grimace on my face on the long and ridiculously dumb journey home.

THE WRENS. "Faster Gun."

That song could kill a lion and still have enough ammo left to get me home. So, ladies and gents, I made it back alive. And I decided to post my very first MIXTAPE on this here blog.

It is a dedication to the bloody, the wounded, and the violent. Because sometimes you just need a (theoretical) gun or two (or knife, blade, or sword) to get you home.

I present you with: Blood, Gore & Guns.

Find your new favorite mix cd here.

p.s. any suggestions on how to get mediafire to let me allow you to download this as a full album, rather than individual songs? i am open to ideas! and new at this!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Japandroids - Live Review

When you see a group of twenty-somethings walking around together in hoodies and hearing aids, it’s a tip off. They probably spent the night watching Japandroids’ brand of vicious, loud garage rock. Amps bigger than human bodies took up more of the majority of the stage, backing Vancouver’s tightest new rock band.

Though Japandroids only has two members – guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse – it still blew the crowd away with a raw, unrelentless energy. Prowse was the Energizer bunny, and King had no trouble keeping up. The two musicians move like one well-oiled machine, intimately sensitive to each other's every move. With a small nod from King, Prowse picked up his sticks, moving between time signatures with ease.

A seamless transition between “Crazy/Forever” and “Sovereignty” showed the crowd that the pair could bring their debut album, Post-Nothing, to life with the same sense of immediacy as the recording. As King spastically whipped his head around and ripped away on his bright red guitar, it took serious control keep from convulsively jerking your own body back and forth.

The band played a majority of the songs off Post-Nothing, including crowd favorites “Young Hearts Spark Fire” and “Heart Sweats,” a propulsive song about a girl whose “heart is cold as ice… I should know I’ve been to the North Pole.” But King explained a few songs into the set that they were incorporating new songs to keep the show interesting. “Don’t worry,” he assured the crowd, “our lyrics are really fucking easy. You can sing along after 30 seconds.”

Japandroids are smart, despite vapid lyrics and the occasional shallow desire. They combine melodic, movable guitar lines with heavy drums full of cymbals and sudden blasts. The vocals always repeat, not only the same words, but the same notes. Read as: great for shouting along, even if you can't sing. And boy did the crowd shout.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Love, On the Rocks

Listening to Jens Lekman is like taking a placebo for love. You are submerged into this bubbly world where every kiss is remembered like your first and you would "never kiss anyone that doesn't burn [you] like the sun." It's like popping a hit of romantic into your cd player; the notes come out colored like roses.

I don't remember ever listening intently to Jens while being in a happy relationship, and maybe that's how it should be. He serves as a nice replacement for the late night walks you won't be having, the sweet kisses you won't be sharing, and the kind words you'll go without hearing. The music wraps itself around you, wooing you with it's melodic perfection and lyrical odes to love (goshdarnit, even the breakup songs are called "I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You.")

Sitting here with my dog cuddled next to me and and my Jens on my iPod is keeping me perfectly satisfied. Well, almost.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Langhorne Slim, You Control Me

Sean Scolnick always had dreams of moving to New York City to become a famous singer, and he figured a good nickname was the first step. The Langhorne, PA native adopted the name of his hometown to set himself apart from all the other John Smiths at open mic nights in the big city. And the label stuck, even though he now plays and tours with a band. With Malachi DeLorenzo on drums, Jeff Ratner on bass, and the band’s newest addition, David Moore, on keyboard, Langhorne Slim is a full-fledged folk rock band. The four of them are ready to introduce the fierce folk rock of Slim’s latest album to live crowds. Be Set Free is littered with Scolnick’s deeply personal lyrics and usual lush soundscape of intricate finger picking and ass-shaking country jigs. But what he’s really excited about is the big picture. “These guys are really badass players onto themselves, and they bring in their own style. Their parts make the songs our own through each one of us making it individually our own. It becomes a collective thing.”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Preview of What's to Come...

I spoke with Sean Scolnick, i.e. Langhorne Slim, tonight. Podcast will be up in a while...

For now: he recommended a comedy album. I haven't purchased the album, but I checked out the myspace, and this is a MUST-HEAR prank call.

Click here and listen to "Ditchweed." Be prepared to laugh so hard that people come downstairs and ask you what's going on. It just happened to me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ten out of Tenn - Live Review

So I promised I'd give some feedback on this show I saw Friday night. Let's start by stating this fact:

1. I am a NERD. I brought my parents to this concert with me.

Which is justified by this second fact:

2. This music is SO UNIVERSALLY GOOD that I like it, my fifty-something parents like it, and I think my 6-month-old cousin would like it. (Ok, disclaimer: I don't know if my little cousin has good taste in music yet. I hope they fed it Led Zeppelin in the womb or something.)

Back to the show. If you read my preview (the previous post), you will get some background on these people. They are super talented, really down to earth, and - let's face it - I couldn't wipe that stupid grin off my face Friday night. How sweet is it that 10 people can continually rotate instruments and vocals to create a comprehensive performance full of rock, folk, country, electronica, and psychedelia?


a) When we found out that Jedd Hughes has been touring with Keith Urban, and then he ripped into the hardest rock 'n roll guitar solo I've heard in years. That man can shred, and I think it's a redeeming quality that he's not just Keith Urban's bitch. Thank goodness for that.

b) When Kyle Andrews played "Sushi," the most kickass song of the night and my hips couldn't keep from shakin' to the synths. Oh, and the rest of the band kept screaming out "Whooooooo!!" at intervals which made me feel like someone was finishing a marathon or something.

c) When the band came into the audience for an encore, and Joy Williams handed me a tambourine to shake around. I don't know if I'm really a pro percussionist, but I think I did alright. And they sang "Everything's Gonna Be Alright." (Is that Bob Marley's or Al Green's originally? Anyone know?) It was one of those grassroots feeling shows where you are completely and utterly absorbed in the performance and the music. LOVE that.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ten out of Tenn - The Best Nashvillians!

The last time the Ten Out of Tenn tour stopped in Cleveland, it wasn't pretty.

"We came through in the wintertime," says singer-songwriter K.S. Rhoads. "We weren't playing, but we just stopped for the day. One of the water mains broke downtown. We got to the hotel, and they didn't even tell us that there was no water anywhere downtown. The restaurants couldn't serve food because there wasn't any water. It was pretty crazy. So we just sat in the hotel room, got giant bottles of Maker's Mark and big ol' bottles of wine and played Mafia."

If it sounds like a PG-13 version of a family vacation, that's because Ten out of Tenn is just that — a summer camp for musicians, a traveling band, a family of Nashville artists sharing a tour bus and months of their lives.

Read the rest here at the Cleveland Scene.

(p.s. I saw their Cleveland show last night. BLEW MY MIND. More about that later...)

Perfect Description

Daytrotter pins the very essence of Langhorne Slim, back in 2006.

"The band brings themselves to you in a continual state of sousing - with beer, sweat, the kind of body odor that women are still drawn to, cigarette smoke, adulation and a healthy cut of the heavy stuff that's rubbed deep into their fiber. They seem to come from where nights have no expiration and the moon provides the lamplight for mischief and smoldering heart and mind situations."

October 21st cannot come soon enough. I've waited too long to see them.