What can Brown do for you?

If you're Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello, the answer comes in the form of moneyhatz. Normally, I try to pretend that the rabid commercialization of bands that I love simply doesn't happen, but the irony of UPS choosing a band called The Postal Service to represent them aurally is just too awesome to ignore.


Out today: CYHSY, Youth Group, Lily Allen

Some Loud ThunderFans who preordered this were allowed early access to the mp3 files, so the most faithful have been sounding off on this record for some time already. As was expected, given the crushing weight of the hype surrounding Brooklyn's Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (even the WSJ is onto these guys), some people love it and some don't. Don't expect anyone calling this the #1 record of 2007 in December, but don't hold it against them.

Alright, StillHonestly, with all the blahblahblogging that's been going on about Ms. Allen for months, I really thought this record was already out. She's already been playing shows in the US and stuff. But apparently the record only came out here today. Listening to Lily Allen makes me want to lift my knees higher and move my arms more when I walk.

Casino Twilight DogsLast year was a fruitful one for Youth Group. They had a tour with Death Cab and songs on The OC (including a sweet "Forever Young" cover, which you can hear here and buy here). Neither of which hurt sales of Skeleton Jar. Some people think Youth Group is emo, but some people think everything is emo.


Idlewild - No Emotion video

What you're looking at here is a decently shot live version of "No Emotion," Idlewild's latest. Of course, an official video has been shot, and it's done and readily available for you to view. Just not on YouTube. Seems Sanctuary would rather keep a tight grip on where you watch the video.


Here's how it works:
1) I hear a song. I wonder if it has a video.
2) I search YouTube.
3) I don't find it. Oh well. Guess there's no video. Guess I'll go watch some nubile teens lipsynch to OK Go songs instead.

These days, it's a waste of money to film a video for a song if you're not going to hand it over to the fans and let them spread the gospel.

The official video is available here. It's funny because it took me a while to get it even though it's totally obvious. They've got no emotion! Get it!? But if you've seen them live, you know that the emotionless performance shots aren't really that much of a stretch (which has always been one of the things I love about them).


The Big Bad Wolf is gonna getcha

Honestly, is there anybody left in the world that doesn't think the RIAA is evil? It would take decades of charitable donations to starving children and subway ads with little tigers drinking out of baby bottles with bows tied on their heads to even begin to regain the public's good will. More lawsuits? That's not gonna get the job done. Especially ones like this.

Satellite radio (and internet radio) have battled every step of the way with these bastards. Because presumably there are nefarious do-badders in the world who would record our station directly, successfully edit out all our station id's and fadeouts and me talking over intros all the time, and cultivate for themselves a massive library of music. For FREE. For SHAME. There are about 1000 easier ways to get this stuff, if breaking the law is your thing.

Basically, XM sells a radio that enables listeners to record songs they like for playback later. You may have done this yourself as a kid. I certainly used to tape top 5 countdowns on my boombox when I was about 13. This kind of activity is PROTECTED BY LAW.

But the Judge Deborah A. Batts, who is allowing this case to proceed, thinks that XM's subscription model changes things:
"It is manifestly apparent that the use of a radio-cassette player to record songs played over free radio does not threaten the market for copyrighted works as does the use of a recorder which stores songs from private radio broadcasts on a subscription-fee basis."


How about TiVo'ing something off HBO then? Am I going to buy Entourage on DVD if I have every episode sitting at home on my DVR? But that's video, and I digress.

The Wikipedia article for the Audio Home Recording Act (yeah, I know I linked to the same thing twice) has an interesting note at the bottom regarding this lawsuit:
The AHRA is important in the recording industry's suit against XM radio for Samsung's Helix and Pioneer Inno XM receivers, which allow users to record blocks of satellite radio and disaggregate individual songs. XM argues that the both devices are "digital audio recording devices" under the AHRA, and thus enjoy an exemption from copyright infringement actions for private, non-commercial copying. While neither the Inno or the Helix include SCMS, neither device allows any transfer of songs off of the device, effectively preventing any copying. The recording industry's complaint makes no mention of the AHRA, and argues that by marketing the devices, XM is using the compulsory statutory license to operate a digital download subscription service. Some commentators believe this is part of a larger attempt to undermine or eliminate the home taping rights guaranteed by the AHRA.

Watch out. The Big Bad Wolf is gonna getcha.

(There's a kinda neat program called Screamer Radio that I've written about before on this blog that will record radio streams for you in a very similar way to the devices in question in this suit.)


Marilyn Manson vs. Bill O'Reilly

I don't play much Marilyn Manson, or listen to him much in my spare time, but ever since he appeared as one of the most intelligent and measured interviewees in Bowling for Columbine, I've held him in high regard for his perspective on his own art, and its influence on others. So when somebody linked me to this video earlier today, I watched it right away. Seems to me he survived O'Reilly famously.


The Decemberists SoHo Apple Store performance

Apple iTunesYou may recall my post in November about The Decemberists' show at the downtown Apple Store here in NYC. If you don't feel like clicking back to be reminded, basically I said that if ever the show were posted to iTunes, the absolute must-have track was the slowed down version of "Song For Myla Goldberg."

Well, the show has now, in all its glory, been posted on iTunes. And the must-have track is still Myla Goldberg. You're welcome.

Out yesterday: The Shins, Rob Crow, David Vandervelde

Wincing the Night AwayThe interesting one to watch here (obviously) is Wincing the Night Away because it leaked months ago and it seems that everyone I know who cares at all has been listening to and enjoying The Shins' latest for quite some time. Will they go out and buy it anyway? Somebody should ask The Decemberists.

Living WellRob Crow wears many hats. One is pictured on the album cover. But others are of a more metaphorical nature. What I'm saying, man, is that he plays music with a lot of people. My favorite is Pinback, but if you want a complete list you can check out his Wikipedia entry and then start feeling really shitty about how many hours there are in the day and how many of them you waste driving to work or something while Rob Crow seems to never even sleep and cranks out record after record. I've been playign "Up" a lot on the air.

Moonstation House BandIt's been relatively quiet on the blog front about David Vandervelde. I say that because while he's getting a bit of ink, it's not nearly as much as he deserves for a record I think people will really sink their teeth into. Expect more of the 2nd and 3rd tier music blogs (I consider myself 8th tier) to pick up the slack and really hammer this guy when they all come to the realization there is more to life than Arcade Fire.


Rage Against The Machine to reunite


...for one show. Check out this LA Times piece confirming the rumors that've been skittering around message boards for weeks already. RATM will be one of the headlining Coachella acts this year. I'm probably still not going to go (I got my RATM fix when they were still a real band), but can we all hold hands and pray that this brings about an end to Audiodreck Audioslave?

Rage Against the Machine Evil Empire The Battle of Los Angeles

The Hold Steady, Northsix, 1/18/07

The Hold Steady, Northsix, 1/18/07
Seriously, why do I even bother with the camera?

If 2006 was a good year for The Hold Steady (and it was), 2007 is shaping up to be even better. A week after Craig Finn and company made their late-night TV debut on Letterman (youtube), and only a few days before embarking on a sold-out UK tour, The Hold Steady descended on Northsix for the most concert-like party I've ever been to.

It didn't hurt that The Hold Steady's first show ever had been on the very same stage 3 years prior. And Northsix's imminent demise (kinda) was certainly lost on no one in the (very full) house either, with numerous thanks from the band throughout the set to a venue that was "always good for a show," even if a band might not be able to draw a full house.

But it was more than all this that made last Thursday night one to remember. It was the palpable energy of a band at its finest, a deserving band finally getting its due. It was a bar band about to go big-time, playing a hometown show to warm up for the impending firestorm of hype that surely awaits across the Atlantic.

They seemed to play everything the crowd wanted to hear. Old stuff from Almost Killed Me (amazon) like opener "Positive Jam" and "Knuckles," and obviously all the new stuff (with the disappointing-but-I'll-get-over-it exception of "Chillout Tent"). And at the end of the second encore they pulled half the crowd onstage (even though the FAQ over at northsix.com strictly forbids such disregard for personal safety) for "Killer Parties."

There a lot of different reasons that I like going to concerts. Sometimes I go to try to discover great new bands (NYC-based Looker opened, now that I'm thinking of it), for example. The Hold Steady at Northsix was a band living up to the hype in a big, sweaty, happy-drunken way. I'll be talking about it for weeks.

BTW, here's a neat remix of "Killer Parties" that they've got posted over at theholdsteady.com:
The Hold Steady - Killer Parties (remix) (mp3, right click to download.)

Almost Killed Me Separation Sunday Boys and Girls in America

A f***ed-to-death pile of burning caca (NSFW?)

"Professor Brothers - Bible History #1"
This has almost nothing to do with music other than the fact that Brad Neely, the magnificent mind behind the video above is also the creator of everyone's favorite song about our nation's first president. But it's funny as hell, and well, that's good enough for me.

Please don't get fired for watching this with your boss listening.

Brad Neely is also the guy who made Wizard People, Dear Readers, the funniest alternate soundtrack for a Harry Potter movie that I've come across in my exhaustive searches for such things. This comes HIGHLY recommended.


You can file this one under WTF as well...

Ever hear of Timbaland? How about Nelly Furtado? How about Janne Suni (aka Tempest)? Hmm...funny that. Because it would appear that poor Mr. Tempest got JACKED.

Please, if you want to get angry, go here (works much better in IE, unfortunately).

I sorta doubt many of you listen to Nelly Furtado, but Timbaland is working with EVERYONE these days. He makes LOTS of MONEY. And, it would appear that, in at least this case, he's a straight-up thief.

There is no justice in this world. None.

Thanks, Joystiq. (Click through to Joystiq for a downloadable mp3 of the original and a much better and less hastily written summary of the story.)


Now I have seen some s#!+ in my day...

If you want to get angry, kindly make your way over to Idolator and read the email exchange between Amplifier magazine (anyone ever heard of it?) and a representative from The Birdman Group.

Holy balls is this industry in dire straits. Reading that made me a little sick to my stomach.


Old Morrissey Interview

morrisseyThere's a really interesting interview with one of rock's most fascinating characters that I found today over at BrooklynVegan. It'll take you a good 3/4 of an hour to get through it, but there simply isn't much Morrissey interview material out there and Dave Fanning, the Irish presenter hosting the interview asks some great questions. Especially of interest: all the talk about The Smiths breakup. Fascinating.

Listen to part 1 and part 2.

Morrissey is heading out on tour again and tickets are selling out in minutes.

(And of course Modest Marr will be hitting the road in full force with the upcoming release of We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank.)

Ringleader Of The Tormentors


David Vandervelde

Stereogum and GVB are already all over this guy, but nowhere in the musicblogging manual does it state that I can't add my voice to the choir. So here goes:

David Vandervelde. The kid definitely has some chops. The word is that he recorded almost every note of these songs by himself, with the same equipment that yielded Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The sound? Well, it's always better to just hear for yourself and the links above have some tunes, as does his myspace page ("Nothin' No" is my favorite). But if you held a gun to my head and asked me to describe it I'd say it sounds like what some of the greats had in mind when they recorded some of the great songs that just don't sound quite fleshed out enough when set side by side with modern recordings. It's throwback, done modern. It's REALLY COOL.

Moonstation House Band

His record, The Moonstation House Band is out Jan 23rd.


Roddy Woomble - My Secret Is My Silence

A history of near-certain disappointment hangs dark and low like a thundercloud over me whenever I approach the solo project of a musician whose band I love (I'm looking at YOU, Weiland) so when I originally heard about Roddy Woomble's solo offering My Secret Is My Silence, I took a pass. I love Idlewild too much, I thought. I can't let this get in the way.

Well, when I got my first taste of Idlewild's forthcoming release Make A New World this weekend, I could contain myself no longer. He still had plenty of good material left for the Idlewild record, I rationalized, maybe this solo thing won't be so bad. Nervously, wincingly, I pushed play.

Few things in this world are more satisfying than being surprised when you expected disappointment. The material on My Secret Is My Silence ranges from good to brilliant, and while I'll agree with Roddy's assessment that the songs "would have never lived with Idlewild," it's doing the songs and oneself a great disservice (as I admit guiltily to having done) to assume that means it's not as good.

The longer I sit here trying to say intelligent things about this record the more frustrated I'm getting, though. This is a systemic problem for me and one that I need to address, but I find it harder and harder to write about records that I love without feeling like I've already said these things about another record. Maybe it's just a matter of coming to terms with being a human Teddy Ruxpin. But I'm going to cry "Uncle" and just say this:

Realizing these songs outside of Idlewild allowed Roddy to explore his folksy side even further than in Idlewild's latest, Warnings / Promises, and clears the path for Idlewild's most rocking record in Make A New World since 100 Broken Windows*. Really, it's a very cinematic record in that, even more than much of Idlewild's very consciously Scottish rock, it SOUNDS Scottish. And not only because of accents or fiddles (though those don't hurt). You'll really have to listen for yourself. It's beautiful.

*All of which are wonderful records. Really, Idlewild's entire catalog is must-have.

(You can pre-order Idlewild's Make A New World here, as well as order Roddy's solo gem.)


The Oohlas - Octopus video

Well, I was down in the dumps before about the whole Arcade Fire thing, but this video picked me right up. The song is pretty fun, and the video is...really fun. This is up there with OK Go in the "let's make our video cheap and fun instead of expensive and artsy-fartsy" category.

Her name is Olivia Stone, which I tell you so that you won't have to do any research before you start doodling "Mr. Olivia Stone" (with hearts over the i's instead of dots) on the memo that just came in from HR about how you should spend less time reading blogs at work.

Well, that sucked

tickets.com is on my shit-list.

If you're in the vicinity of New York City and a beating heart resides inside your chest, you probably know that Arcade Fire tickets went on sale at 9am this morning for their 5 consecutive shows at Judson Memorial Church. As can be expected, there were many more losers than winners. I know only one person personally who got tickets.

Me? I got past the "virtual waiting room" (really just an automatic refresh page that saves neither your place in line, nor your dignity) but then found that, to my dismay, the number verification image wouldn't load. And then, even though I was under the impression that once you've selected tickets for yourself and finally gotten past the verification that you are not a robot your tickets are guaranteed for a certain timeframe, it's not the case. Because when I finally managed to load that image, the tickets that I thought were set aside for me were, in fact, not.

Now, I'm no genius when it comes to the internet, but I have to think that for all the incredible money that I imagine is in ticket retail sites, they should be able to afford a programming staff with some chops. I'm not the only one who's beside myself about this. The comments over at brooklynvegan do wonders to make me feel less alone.

There has to be a better way to do this. Of course, with shows of this magnitude people are always going to be disappointed and there're are always going to be voices crying "foul." But can we request at least not to be jerked around like rag-dolls on the road to disgruntlement*?

As for me, I'm just pointing out a problem. No solutions here. Just because I won the Nobel Prize for Lovemaking doesn't mean I have all the answers.

*It's a word, look it up.


A late holiday present for you

endless mike and the beagle club petes candy store
God, I've been wanting to post this forever. If you've been paying attention you're quite aware of the heaping helpings of praise I'm always sending Endless Mike and The Beagle Club's way. Maybe you've muttered to yourself, consumed by frustration, "shut up and DANCE, Mikey!" not actually desiring me to cut rug, but simply exclaiming the first thing that came into your head immediately following the awareness of a dull ache that can only be eased by a groundbreakingly good track from The Husky Tenor. Well today, for you, I dance.

Endless Mike and The Beagle Club - Mr. Miller's Opus (mp3, right click to download)

This is the last track on The Husky Tenor and what I've found to be the one the people I play the record for latch onto most immediately. Imagine, as you listen, Mike playing an electric piano onstage while his 8-or-so person band mills about the stage, some sitting calmly, some pumping fists, all singing along un-mic'ed. And enjoy.

(Here are the lyrics on purevolume, where you can also stream the entire record.)

(Here is where you can buy it.)

Internet Radio in your car?

Holy crap I want to believe it'll work. Hypebot reports that an in-car hotspot solution will be announced at CES next week. The awesomeness of this cannot be questioned, if it works.

Whether it'll be seamless enough to stream internet radio at 60 mph on the BQE (hah...like anyone ever gets above 20 mph on the BQE...) remains to be seen. And in my opinion, $50 a month is too high for the average this guy to pay for vehicular connectivity. But it's sure a step in a cool direction.

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's - Quiet As A Mouse video

It's really amazing to me that a band with a name as cool as this one (apparently the "Margot" part is a nod to The Royal Tenenbaums, FTW) and that sounds like this band sounds (right in my wheelhouse) can put out a record in early 2006 and I would know nothing about it until very late December. But that's life, I guess. This is the video for the song "Quiet As A Mouse" from the wonderful record The Dust of Retreat.

The Dust of Retreat