Tuesday, October 30, 2007

some stuff

This weekend is FunFunFunFest here in town and like just about every other festival weekend in Austin, Texas, there will be lots of free/cheap stuff to do in town even if you don't make it out to the park (Waterloo). There are two good shows at The Mohawk on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday brings a surprise headliner *coughthemurdercitydevilscough* and Sunday is What Made Milwaukee Famous, Celebration, and Cave Singers. Don't know if the saturday show is free or invite or what, but the show on sunday is free. You can also check out The Shout Out Louds at The Parish, or The Smashing Pumpkins at the Backyard, both on friday. Lots and lots to do. Personally, I'll be at the park. Check out all the details on that right here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Old Weezer demos

I used to be a really, really big Weezer fan. I know that's about the furthest thing from cool, but that was sort of the point back then. I, and just about everyone who fits in my age group, grew up listening to The Blue Album and Pinkerton over and over. Nothing they have released since has come anywhere close to those fantastic first two albums, but there was a lot of quality music made by the band back then that never saw the light of day. Most of it eventually leaked to the Internet over time and I, along with a lot of overzealous Weezer fans, drank it all up eagerly. I have a sick amount of old demos, rare live tracks, bsides, and really weird shit like Rivers playing the Star Spangled Banner on a clarinet (I'm totally serious about that too). In the near future Rivers is planning on releasing an album full of some of his old demos that will be entitled Alone. I haven't come across a track listing yet, but there is some amazing stuff that could end up on there (a lot of total shit too), including songs from the legendary Songs From the Black Hole sessions (read about that here). Once again, the cosmos aligned last night and my magical musical experiment hit the nail on the head by reaching the rather large Weezer section on my playlist and I was reminded of just how good some of those old songs are. Here's a demo of a never released song from 1997 called "Lover In the Snow" that I have always been particularly fond of, as well as my favorite of the few previously released Songs From The Black Hole demos "Blast Off".

Rivers Cuomo - Lover In the Snow

Weezer - Blast Off (demo)

Blast Off cuts off rather abruptly at the end, but that's the best that's available.

Saul Williams Pre-order

Saul Williams is possibly the most powerful live performer I have ever seen. He can absolutely overtake an audience. I last saw Saul a few years ago opening for The Mars Volta at an insanely packed outside show at Emo's. It appeared from the chatter amongst the crowd that not many had heard of him before, and most seemed surprised that a single man came out on stage and not a full band. The surprise got rocketed up a bit when it became apparent that Saul was just going to recite some of his poetry, but that surprise quickly faded to awe struck, jaw on the floor amazement as soon as Saul opened his mouth and started firing verbal bullets around the room. He destroyed what was probably the largest gathering of jaded hipsters the city could offer that particular night and after he left the stage, to a riotous applause from an audience that had surely just been won over, the line at the merch stand to buy his poetry book Said the Shotgun to the Head was impressive. Saul has a new album coming out soon called The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust (produced by Trent Reznor) and Saul has decided to take the Radiohead approach and release his album digitally. Saul is improving the process a bit though, as he is offering the downloader their choice of digital formats, all of them completely DRM-free. You have a couple of options when it comes to buying this album. The first is to download it for free, at 192kbps, and the second is to pay a $5 donation which allows you to download at either 320kbps or in FLAC form (which is a lossless format). I'm expecting to see a lot of bands doing this in the near future. I think it's a good system, but it definitely has its limitations. For one, not all record labels are the tools of the devil, and a lot of the better independent ones do actually work really hard to promote their artists and if this system completely catches on it's going to hurt them a lot in the long run as well as limiting the number of records a person can sell. On the other hand, this puts the power right back into the consumers hands in every way. With the drop in price of excellent quality home recording options, almost anyone can make a great sounding record for a fraction of the cost, and this method allows the savings to be passed on to the consumer while allowing the artist to receive 100% of the profits. It's going to be really interesting to see how this works out in the long run. A band like Radiohead can pull this off, because everyone knows who Radiohead is, and it can work for someone like Saul Williams, because his audience is exactly the market that downloads music, reads music blogs, and generally keeps themselves informed about the bands and artists they like anyway. This is a fascinating time to be involved in the music industry, either from the corporate or consumer side of things, and I can't wait to see how this all turns out.

Preorder The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Marissa Nadler - Diamond Heart

Marissa Nadler's music is like water in a very dark room. It's very quiet, but there's a bit of an unsettling aspect to it. There always seems to be something lingering just below the surface with an image nearly distorted enough to make your mind start to turn. I know that sounds sort of ominous, but my intention is to imply mystery. Marissa also has a wonderful, haunting voice that will surely make an impact on you. "Diamond Heart" is the opening track from Marissa's new album Songs III, Bird on the Water and it's a keeper, pretty indicative of the aural experience to follow as well.

Marissa Nadler - Diamond Heart

  • Buy Songs III, Bird on the Water here.

Beirut - Cliquot

Here's my favorite track from Beirut's exceptional new album The Flying Club Cup. Oh, what's that I hear? Is it accordion again? Indeed, it is. Consider me an accordion addict. To me, the greatest thing about the music Beirut put out is that it sounds like a room full of people playing music. That may seem a bit simplistic, but I think it describes the band's sound well. It sounds like an ultra high quality recording of an unforgettable live performance. The future is definitely bright for Zach Condon and his band of gypsies. Creating music this good at such a young age is very impressive.

Beirut - Cliquot

  • From The Flying Club Cup (buy it here)
Beirut recently undertook a collaborative project with the fine folks at La Blogotheque to record a series of their inventive Take-Away Shows that covered every song on their new album. The reaction to these videos was so great that they have decided to compile them all onto a DVD and put it out for sale in the near future. These are a lot of fun. Check the videos out here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Old Rilo B side

My magical musical experiment has netted me another forgotten gem. Back in 2002 Rilo Kiley released "The Execution of All Things" single in the UK and this song, Emotional (Until The Crickets Guide You Back), was one of the two B-sides featured on it. The song was recorded at the same time as the rest of the tracks from the Execution of All Things. It's always been a favorite of mine, and really captures a lot of the things that made Rilo Kiley such a great band back then. Highly recommended.

Rilo Kiley - Emotional (Until The Crickets Guide You Back)

Sea Wolf - Winter Windows

I took a step back the other day and sort of looked at my life from the outside in and I made a startling realization. I listen to a lot of music that features the accordion. It's pretty crazy how this instrument, which was the most ludicrous thing in the world to me as I grew up, has become as commonplace as a tambourine on stage and on record these days. It's definitely present in this new Sea Wolf song. In fact it almost is the song, taking the reins early on and gently fading towards the middle, only to reclaim its throne towards the end. Only time will tell if musical afficianados of the future will look back on these accordion tinged times with a smile or if the accordion will be this era's key-tar.

Sea Wolf - Winter Windows

Check Sea Wolf out on tour with Nada Surf this fall (no austin dates as of yet)

Listen to their Daytrotter session here.

Buy Sea Wolf's new album Leaves in the River here

Monday, October 22, 2007

Some stuff

New Final Fantasy song put up on Final Fantasy's Myspace. The song is called "Hey Dad" and features a guest spot from Zach Condon (Beirut). It is weird and pretty.

Here's Ghostland on Conan. This just doesn't translate to TV. Ghostland's music is decent but it's the whole show that makes them incredible to see and that just isn't present here.

Here's Spoon on SNL. Britt looks like he's done this a time or two before.

And finally, here is that Panda Bear DVD I posted about a long time ago. Some copyright issues came up with the selling of it and so it kind of stalled for a bit, but now it's on youtube. Check it out.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lazy sunday

My musical experiment is into its third day and it's been successful in all the ways I had hoped and, wickedly enough, it's been every bit as annoying as I expected too. I'm currently enjoying a nice set of live and unreleased Jeff Buckley songs that are making this a lovely Sunday evening. One of the things that I figured might happen is that I would occasionally simply not be in the mood for the music that was playing. While that is certainly not the case as I type this, thanks to the Buckley, it was most definitely the case earlier today when the player hit some Jawbreaker that I was not in the mood for at all. I love Jawbreaker, but that shit can be draining and depressing when you are not feeling it. Even though I wasn't feeling Schwartzenbach today I was reminded of how awesome "Sluttering (May 4th)" off of Dear You is. This is exactly the type of rediscovery that I was hoping would take place. I acquire music at such an alarming rate and so often an album or a song goes unnoticed or is simply forgotten over time when it isn't heard enough and this song was exactly that. I used to slap "Sluttering (May 4th) on countless mix tapes but it has been a while. Hopefully I'll come across some more forgotten gems over the course of my experiment.

In other news, I went to the Caribou show at Club Deville on Friday night, here are a few notes and thoughts.

  • Born Ruffians, who opened, were fantastic. I came in having never heard them and left a fan. Great Oh - Oh - Ohs all over the place, I recommend checking them out.
  • Caribou was amazing. They were really tight and had a cool trippy projection show.
  • The PA went out 3 fucking times during their set and was breaking up and cutting in and out during Born Ruffians' set as well. This is beyond unacceptable, Club Deville. If you can charge people $12 a head on a Friday night and pack them in, the least you can do is to provide a decent PA system. I have, literally, had more sophisticated and better sounding PA systems set up in my living room before. I'm not passing judgement yet, as this was the first large show that I've seen there, but with the booking you guys have been doing lately, there needs to be an upgrade. If this happens again, I think a lot of people will leave and not come back.
In summation; Born Ruffians were surprisingly great, Caribou was fantastic (not a surprise), and Club Deville has sound issues that need to be resolved ASAP.

Here are some songs.

Jeff Buckley - Please Send Me Someone To Love (live on WFMU)

Jawbreaker - Sluttering (May 4th)
Born Ruffians - Hummingbird
Born Ruffians Youtube Goodness

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Caribou tomorrow night!

This one will be quick as I've written more about Caribou on here than anything else and I'm sure you get the drift by now. The Caribou show is tomorrow night at Club Deville. Get tickets here. I will see you there. I'll be the tall guy who's having a really good time. Come buy me a beer.

Caribou - She's The One

An experiment of sorts

The other night I was listening to some music (what else is new?) and I caught myself letting out a bored sigh. I have a bad habit of spending 80% of my listening time listening to the last 10 or 15 albums I acquired over and over and eventually getting a bit bored of them, and that was exactly what had happened again. I then thought to myself, I wish I could just throw all of my music into a pile and randomly select something to listen to, and of course within .00005 seconds I slapped myself on the forehead for being such an idiot and simultaneously praised the digital age because, of course, I could very easily do just that by throwing all of my mp3s on a single playlist and hitting random. I've done this time and time again over the years but somehow the idea of it had slipped from my mind. So I did just that and in doing so, I came up with a few somewhat interesting facts about my music collection (at least the digital version) and came up with an idea. The facts are fairly straightforward, I have just shy of 15,000 mp3s on my computer and if I were to play them all back to back without skipping a track or stopping it at any point I could play music nonstop for about 40 days. I'm sure there are people out there who have my collection trumped several times over, but that 40 days thing got me thinking. What would happen if I did just that? What if I started at song one (which happens to be Queens of the Stone Age's "Who'll Be The Next In Line" from a compilation I downloaded some time ago called Stone Age Complication) and let it play all the way through until the last song, in order? Amazingly my computer decided that Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' "The Waiting" would fall into the last slot, sometimes the fates conspire to do some cool shit. I listen to music constantly, so having music playing all the time would be nothing new, but having no control over what is playing would be kind of nuts. Regardless, I've decided to engage in this little experiment, but before I begin I will lay out my ground rules.

1) Once I hit play I can not hit the Stop or Skip button until every song has been played.
1a) The only exceptions to this rule are if the power goes out, my music player software freezes, or I have to restart my computer for some insanely urgent reason.
2) I can never turn the volume on my computer all the way off.
2a) I can turn the volume down, but the music must always be audible.
3) I can listen to whatever music I want on my Ipod or while in the car. (I'm not going to go nuts and disallow myself from listening to new music by only allowing myself to listen to whats currently playing on my computer at the time.)
4) I will not add any new music I acquire between now and the end of this experiment to the playlist. Only the music I have in digital format as of my typing this counts.

So that's it. I'll update my progress periodically here on the site. Should be interesting as I still have loads of music on here that I am not too into anymore and those times will be rough. I should also note that I spend quite a bit (read: way way way too much) of my time sitting in front of my computer, so this is going to be equal parts awesome and terrible. I'm going to use my Audioscrobbler page as a sort of living document of what is playing on my computer whenever I'm at work or anywhere other than in front of my computer. It will also allow me to see exactly where the music stopped if my computer freezes or restarts or whatever. Feel free to follow along with me. Alright, here I go. This should be interesting...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I have internet access at my new place finally thus ending my month long journey through life without the interwow. Needless to say, I am planning on updating this little ol' site quite a bit more frequently now. For the moment however I have one months worth of blog posts to go over, and a months worth of new music to listen to.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In Rainbows

Just like everyone else in the universe, I got my hands on In Rainbows today. My recent lack of a steady internet connection at home has been well documented on the sound of marching feet of late, so it goes without saying that I had to jump through a hoop or two to get my hands on my copy. They were big hoops and I had no trouble jumping through them, but hoops nonetheless. Basically, I showed up early to work, my last bastion of internet connectivity, popped open my email, clicked the link, downloaded the album, transferred it to my usb flash drive, and worked at my desk for 4 hours while periodically glancing over at the aforementioned flash drive and yearning to hear its contents, and then when the clock struck lunch I raced home, transferred the files to my home computer, popped them on my ipod, and gleefully ate a ham sandwich while this fantastic album spiralled between the walls of my head. And fantastic is really the key term here. I've only gotten through it once, but I can say resolutely that it is worth every penny I shelled out for it. Oh how I hope this business model catches on. Get rid of those labels, let people choose how they want their music. I am so interested to see if Radiohead release any figures about the average price people paid, how many downloaded it, etc. Should be very interesting. If you haven't already, head over to www.radiohead.com and get your copy now. "All I Need" is going to wreck you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Some good shows this week

There are a pair of excellent shows going on at The Mohawk this week (what else is new) that I thought I'd let everyone know about. The first one takes place tomorrow (Wednesday) night. Low is headlining the outside stage and I, for one, am particularly excited about this. It's been several years since I have had a chance to catch Alan Sparhawk and co. and in the time that has passed they've put out two wonderful albums (2005's The Great Destroyer and this year's Drums and Guns). Tickets are $13 at frontgate. The second show I am excited about is Friday night on the Mohawk's cozy inside stage and features Denton Texas's uber-prolific and consistently amazing Will Johnson. This one is just $6 (so cheap, how could you not go) and features Micah P. Hinson in the opening slot. I have seen Will Johnson perform in about as many different settings and with as many different bands (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel, The Undertow Orchestra, backing up Patterson Hood, and solo) as any other musician and I have never once been disappointed. Not only have I never been disappointed, every show is phenomenal. I can't recommend this one highly enough.

Wednesday 10.03.07 @ Mohawk ($13)

Friday 10.05.07 @ Mohawk ($6)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Radiohead is cool, etc.

I'm sure everyone has already read about the latest Radiohead LP, In Rainbows, which the band announced this past weekend would be available as a DRM-free digital download starting October 10th. The album will be available in traditional formats at later dates, deluxe vinyl set in December and traditional CD early next year, no word yet on how it will be distributed or whether it will be released on a label. The vinyl edition will run you about $81 USD, which is a bit high, but it has 18 tracks to the albums 10, and when Radiohead says deluxe and charges 80 bucks, I imagine they mean deluxe. The coolest part of this whole thing, aside from making the record labels shake in their fucking boots, is that the digital download of the album is available for whatever price you want to pay. Ideas like this have been thrown around before but never actually implemented by a band of this stature. I am eager to see how this all turns out. In essence all they are doing is leaking their own album, in a guaranteed high quality that they determine, and seeing if/how many people will pay for it when given the chance. Should be interesting.

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