Jaymay - MonkeyTown, 9/24/07

Monkey Town bills itself as an "audio-visual venue," which is a fair enough description. The front room is actually a small restaurant/bar (try the burger), and the back room, where the reservation-only shows take place, is basically a 50-seat cube, the 4 walls adorned with giant projection screens upon which slowed down scenes from obscure films and/or relatively inaccessible visual art pieces are shown not only between sets, but straight through performances. Low couches line every wall, behind low tables with full place settings for those in the audience wish to honor their commitment to the $10 minimum with food. In the particular cases of Jaymay and the ukulele-toting Michael Leviton (her supporting act), the stage (or lack thereof) consisted of only a modest chair, a lonely looking boom stand, a few tuning pedals, and a mostly-unused 8 channel mixer, awkwardly clustered together in the center of the room.

There are no spotlights. When the house lights go down and the performer begins to play, they are lit only by the light coming off the projection screens. If it's a dark scene on the screen then it's dark in the room; there's only the music.

Both performers commented on the almost-uncomfortable intimacy of the space. Sitting or standing in the middle of the room, one can clearly see every face in front of them, and is painfully aware of the other half of the audience staring intently at one's back. The intimacy wasn't only unnerving for the performers, however. I wouldn't have dreamed in a million years of pulling my camera out, and nobody else in the audience seemed anxious to do so either. All I could do, all any of us could do, was sit and be wowed by Jaymay's first performance in New York since the spring, and her first performance in weeks since an unfortunate but unsurprising battle with food poisoning.

I don't really feel like I can even say any more about the night. I just wish you could have been there.

And despite the fact that it takes a little getting used to, I must recommend you trek out to Monkey Town sometime soon and see a performance. It's a neat space.

You haven't yet completely missed your chance to catch Jaymay while she's in the States either...she'll be at Rockwood Music Hall on 10/4. She's of course also still opening for Jose Gonzales Friday 9/28 (details).

Previously - Jaymay interview.


No Man's Woman

It's been a good year for fans of covers of Kate Bush songs. First Placebo's not-new-but-new-to-many-OC-viewers cover of "Running Up That Hill" got great billing in a season-opening montage, and now Josh Pyke (one of our very favorites) has made "Wuthering Heights" his own.

The cover will appear on No Man's Woman, a record full of Australian male artists paying tribute to "women in voice." Not the kind of thing I usually gravitate towards, but I'll listen to anything once. Josh Pyke's Kate Bush cover is absolutely worth a listen, and is a nice bonethrow to fans who've worn the 1's and 0's of Memories & Dust down to nubs. Check it out at MySpace.

The Powderfinger/Portishead track is kinda fun, too.

* Bonus: check out this torturously horrible video to remind yourself what the original sounded like:


Epitaph bids adieu to eMusic

I've used this space to praise eMusic CEO David Pakman before, but I can't resist doing it again after reading his recent post to 17dots about the departure of Epitaph (and Anti-, and Hellcat) from the eMusic fold.

Sure, it's a way of blanketing the spark before it becomes a fire and hopefully minimizing the "WTF WHARE'S MAI TOM WAITS!?!" complaint emails, but it's also the kind of measured sensetalk I've come to expect from eMusic's chief executive. Read it for yourself. He's right.

eMusic users are some of the last remaining paying customers in the American music market. And per capita, they spend about 14 times more than the typical iTunes customer. There is money changing hands here.

Of course, labels that leave eMusic do so because they want a steeper cut of the proceeds. I can't speak to the pay structure because I don't know it and I don't really care to find out. But if you're pulling out of this deal because your price negotiations are hitting a wall, you're cutting off your nose to spite your face. You are leaving money on the table. You're willing to take none because you can't get more.

Bottom line: almost nobody buys music anymore. The people that still do can only be found in a few places. Just like the old school music business, distribution is still king. Only now, it's easier. Just make digital copies available every single place people have shown a willingness to pay for them. Because if your music isn't available at their store of choice, willing shoppers become reluctant thieves.

Jaymay coming to NYC...for 2 shows.

The unimpeachably marvelous Jaymay is coming to New York in the near future and will play 2 shows stateside before jetting back to London. If you've seen her or if you haven't, I'd highly advise making a point to get to one of these:
hi! im gonna be in NY for a lil while playin a couple solo shows . . .


MON SEP 24, 2007 - 7:30PM DRS - $10
Monkey Town is a reservations only venue.
Please make reservations here:


127 E 23RD ST - NEW YORK, NY
FRI SEP 28, 2007 - 8:00PM DRS - $20
TIX (Ticketmaster)

Already planning to see Jose Gonzalez on the 28th? Great, show up early. Don't know who we're talking about here? Prepare to be amazed.

Find Jaymay on MySpace, visit her official site, and read the interview she so kindly granted us here at wealsoran.com.


"I've surrounded myself with doctors and deep thinkers"

the hold steady
Not that I can find really good proof of this online (not that I looked very hard) but the impression that I get is that Boston College's "Master Class" lecture series is basically a pretty cool way to get guys like me to think "Hey, I guess a few cool people claim BC as their alma mater," for a split second until I click on to something more thought provoking.

Craig Finn is pretty cool though, and he will be heading to BC on September 25th (2 days after Springsteen's birthday, btw) to discuss how his time at Boston College enabled him to be able to write so eloquently about ill-advised sexual encounters and wanton drug abuse.

[actual details.]

Endless Mike and The Beagle Club apologize for no reason, tease about new material

Mike Miller told me once that one of The Beagle Club's missions was to avoid doing "uncool" things. To try to always see the band, no matter how big or how small, as a fan might see it, and not to ever do anything a fan might perceive to be lame. He reiterates this conviction in a comment below this post, but he did in fact say the exact same thing to me years ago. I mention this because I consider it proof of his integrity: Mike's avoidance of the uncool was then and is now a defining aspect of his character, and I hold him in the highest regard.

A decision has been made to turn over the task of cranking out copies of The Husky Tenor (the contents of which I disected here) to the very-not-uncool Crafty Records. A record yet to be named will be released on the same label sometime in 2008(!!!). You can read Mike's whole post about the deal and the circumstances surrounding it here. While I really respect his unwavering desire to keep his fans informed and feeling good about the band, I'm sorta surprised at the apologetic tone. It's not like Rick Rubin is producing the new record.

Look at Crafty's site. Seriously, look at it. Does that smell like selling out to you?


Hey Radiohead: You can't possibly beat 'em. So join 'em.

So the new Radiohead record is done. What's exciting about this isn't that they used a choir of kids for something probably creepy. Or that the album will almost definitely be fucking awesome. Ok, I guess those two things are kinda exciting too.

But what's really exciting to me is that the band is currently without record label. Their EMI commitment is up. From the Paste article linked above:
"We just had a meeting about that today," said Greenwood on September 7. "We’re very relieved to have finished recording, now we have to decide what we should do with it."

Radiohead completed its six-album contract with EMI with 2003’s Hail to the Thief and is currently unsigned. Can anyone say bidding war?
Well Paste, I'm sure there are plenty of willing bidders. But I'll tell you what would really kick the ass of the music industry. What would and reach more ears and eyes than any record company's marketing team could ever dream to reach.


Thom & Co. don't need the record revenue. They'll make a king's ransom on the tour even if the record is nothing but a 48 minute fart. And they should go even further than Prince did. Distribute it online: torrents and zip files. Give the downloader his choice: mp3, flac, wav, or ogg. And release it now, right after announcing it, like Steve Jobs does.

And sure, still sell a physical disc if you really want to. Plenty of people will pay for the souvenir artwork, which Radiohead has always done right.

Basically, make it available to people the way they're going to get it anyway. If they want to buy it from a record store, encourage that. But if they want to torrent it (and let's face it, they're going to torrent it if they want to), encourage that too.


lovers in love and the others run away, lover is crying 'cause the other won't stay

The video above plays "Kiss Me" from New Found Glory's From the Screen to Your Stereo Part II, because it's all I could find on YouTube. Their MySpace, sadly, doesn't have what I want to share with you either.

The whole record (covers of memorable movie moments, if you haven't figured it out for yourself yet) is a blast for anyone who likes their movies sappy and their punk poppy. Personally, I've been waiting for a pleasure this guilty and pleasurable for some time now. The absolute stand-out is NFG's cover of Lisa Loeb's "Stay," which is a duet with Lisa Loeb herself. Use your cunning w3bskillz to find it, and give it a listen.

Is the fan a distraction?

Got an instant message last night from Brandon Locher, drummer for Elementary Thought Process, contributing member of The Beagle Club, artist, and most relevant to this post, proprietor of My Idea of Fun Records. When Brandon says to check something out, I always do. He's a trustworthy guy.

Siamese Dream - 1 was written and recorded within a strict 24 hour window. As such, it's more of an archived piece of performance art than a proper album. But it's got some really fun alt-pop moments anyway.

I recommend listening to the whole thing in one sitting because that's the best way to listen to anything (look, I don't presume to know you, but something tells me if you've got time to be reading this blog, you've got 15 minutes to listen to the whole thing). But if you've only got a minute or two, at least check out the first track for a taste of how good these guys are, and the fourth one for a song about rainbows and boners.

More on Brandon's stuff when I have the time...