Quips and summaries from experiencing and appreciating music in a city that is as foreign and familiar as they come - New York. So here is to music anywhere and everywhere. Starting from concert one on week one after the move in 2009.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Love Language Indeed

  My pics: Uh Huh! Go Hipster Go!, the rafters of the Bell House, The Love Language in action, the setlist they gave me
Sorry for the delay in writing to everyone, birthday benders do that to a person. I am willing to share one element of my birthday bash - getting to see The Love Language play at the Bell House in Park Slope, Brooklyn on April 24th, 2009! 
I have not been more jazzed to see a band in awhile and they delivered. The Love Language is seven people making some great noise. Think lo-fi everywhere, fuzzy remnants of the sound of the sixties, by their own admittance a little cabaret, an homage to the Walkmen along with every kind of noisemaker and an occasional happy seizure with a tambourine - we know how we at Broken Tambourine love a good tambourine jam session!!
The band hails from Raleigh/Wilmington/Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is fronted by wild man Stuart McLamb along with six other cohorts including two female keyboardists and a very tall, emphatic oft singer that bangs on everything from a guitar to a triangle to sleigh bells.
Good for them, sad for me since I couldn't break the news to everybody: SPIN magazine featured them in their April 2009 issue under the title 'Hot New Band'.
So check them out on www.lala.com or MySpace and keep me in mind when you hear 'Lalita' because that is the only song I played walking around Manhattan for a solid week.
Check out my home video of 'Manteo' below. I will get a better camera/recorder eventually but will never be that person recording the whole show so don't hold your breath, go see the band or at least buy some of their songs!
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just check this out

This posting is not directly related to music per se but in my defense I think a lot of people think the hipster look/revolution/genre is considered by many to be the uniform of indie fans. Not true. Indie is short for independent music meaning do-it-yourself, free from the major record label machine; which we should all support more. Indie music has become exponentially popular in the past five years but remains to be very diverse, I promise.
Anyway, I digress. The whole point is I couldn't help telling everyone about this web site I just found that you can't help but enjoy..............................prepare to giggle...........................................
The pictures are funny, the captions are funny, and the funniest thing is I have seen half these people around town, more or less. I encourage all of you to become rogue photographers and cunning linguists and add to the site. I bet you can't pick which one I posted.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bob Dylan is a Marketing Machine

A few weeks ago I announced that Bob Dylan had released his first single 'Here Lies Nothin'' to several music web sites to create buzz about his upcoming 33rd album, Together Through Life. I found the track on www.rcrdlbl.com. It worked and people were buzzing.
Bob has continued to ride the creative marketing train by thumbing his nose at itunes and giving Amazon his first video for the album to distribute for free. Yes, Bob Dylan makes music videos, well kind of, the video is a montage of cool black and white photos set to the song.
Check out the video on Amazon for free, at least for the next few days:
The Amazon exclusive was first reported by TechCrunch.

Sonya my Kitchell

On Monday, April 20, my oft partner in crime and I took our first trip to Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side to take part in an intimate set with young songstress Sonya Kitchell along with some string-prone friends and one drummer.  Fighting the rain was worth it because this little venue is intimate, fully bricked and fully stocked (see above right).
Sonya's last album came out in September of 2008, This Storm, when she was 19. Also in 2008, she toured with Herbie Hancock which is how some of you may know her. She has also been a Starbucks featured artist, which is how you black eye/red eye/sit at your desk and twitch people may know her. 
So she is 20 but you would not come close to guessing that age when you hear the raw talent that is her voice and the personal and political lyrics she sings. She makes me feel void of talent and ambition, so I drank another glass of wine while she sang, thanks Red Diamond Cabernet.
Sonya will be playing at Rockwood for the next three Tuesdays so go check her out at this really intimate space and you will get to hear some of her new songs played in public for the first time. She is looking to head into the studio sometime this summer.
Side note: I still can't get over how rude it is to launch a flash in a small room where an artist is performing so I apologize for some of my blurry photos. Sonya didn't mind after the show and posed with Garth, her double bass player that also helps her with music arrangement.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What happens when you go to a date concert without a date

If you did such a thing, you would be me at the recent Great Lake Swimmers concert at the Bowery Ballroom. I am not holding it against any of you huggers and swayers or those trying to get past the awkwardness of the first date, I am just saying I was in a feisty mood that Friday night, too feisty for every song to be about love. Actually, I take that back, I am not in agreement of the first date concert. Talk about a flood of things to question and worry about: Do I get a beer and be cool, hard liquor to ease the mood or do I make the mistake of the crap wine that has been opened for days? How close do you get to the stage? If you get too close then it will be too loud to say much of anything to them but maybe that is a good thing if you already think they are a dud, do you stand back by the bar but risk getting glared at and shhhhushed by the lush concert goers? I mean shit, do you sway, just nod your head, keep the beat by slapping your thigh? What if he has bad concert etiquette like pretending to know and sing the lyrics to all the songs or have no reaction whatsoever? Do you simply cringe and try to see pass it off or write him off immediately and already send him to the fate of the butt out buddy hug at the end of the night?
No thank you, no concerts on the first date. Get a few meetings in there before you launch into a group experience with that person. Sushi, Ethiopian, BBQ, any other potentially dangerous idea is better than the first date concert.
Sorry Great Lake Swimmers. You were pretty good and I really liked 'Your Rocky Spine' and the cowboy shirt of you singer-songwriter Tony Dekker. Thanks for bringing some good banjo and harmonica down from Canada; sorry I was so preoccupied judging the audience. One thing I take umbrage to is your opening act - that female singer was so awful and so weird, and NOT in a good/ironic way. Seriously, it was like getting tricked into showing up early to see a solid opening act and instead you see a girl on stage whirling cats around while wearing sequined leggings and a head wrap. It still gives me the chills, the kind you get right before you start throwing up.
"Try to look weird...I think we got it!"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Record Store Day!

  Today is National Record Store Day so go out and support your local record store, if there are any left in your area (which is so upsetting). Check out the web site: www.recordstoreday.com
While I was poking around on the web I came upon another site www.sleeveface.com - there is actually an entire web site dedicated to putting a record cover over your face and taking a picture. The provided this definition on the web site: 'One or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion'.
So everyone go out and enjoy your day, step into a record store and get a little weird with a funny record cover.
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The meaning behind Broken Tambourine

Where did I get the name Broken Tambourine, is that what you asked? Well I shall answer then:
I like the name, that is it. It came to me at 2am and ultimately won over all the other names I had on the list of possibilities:
- Music Liquor
- Frontman School
- Deedeet
- A band apart
It is not meant to have a negative connotation, nothing about music is broken for me. I think more of a great concert where everyone on stage is working their ass off on stage and the passionate percussionist is playing so hard he breaks his tambourine. You say more cowbell, I say more tambourine. 
The second thing I think about is Stevie Nicks, the tambourine is the only thing she can play. Go look her up and see how many pictures of her have a tambourine in them, it is pretty funny.
The picture I use a lot is a picture of a sculpture called "Boy with a Broken Tambourine" by American artist Thomas Crawford in 1854. So there is some history in my selection as well.
For my own entertainment and now hopefully for yours, here is what popped up when I typed in 'tambourine' and then 'broken tambourine' into the Google search bar:
"There is no such thing as a broken tambourine"- in a song by Arcade Fire (I just found this lyric when browsing other blogs, so thanks Andrew)
- Some mom filming her kid who stepped through a tambourine on YouTube
- The singer Eve has a song called Tambourine. One of her profound lyrics: "Shake ur tambourine go n get ur self a pito now (pito is a whistle in Spanish). The ridiculous video can be seen here if you so dare.
- This book
Finally, Wikipedia's explanation of the tambourine. So everyone, keep banging it out until you end up with a broken tambourine.

Friday, April 17, 2009

When you want a chill night out...

Might I recommend going to a place with regular live music and just sitting there and relaxing with your favorite beverage. I think too many people don't do this enough and every time they make the effort they really enjoy the change of pace and experience (at least the 5 people I interviewed said so). Please don't save your music experiences for the blow out arena concert where you spend $60 for tickets that are nowhere near the stage, another $40 on food and beverages because it is always $9 beer night, and get stuck in traffic on your way home. Every town and city I have ever lived in has AT LEAST one place where live music is consistently offered - from completely free to one drink minimum to $8 to see 3 bands. Do it! It does not take more effort than going out to dinner or anything else you do so regularly it bores you.
For you New Yorkers, here are just a few approachable places where you can sit down and hear some great acts play:
The Living Room on the Lower East Side - has two stages and was the place where Norah Jones was 'discovered
Cake Shop on the Lower East Side
Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg
Here is a great web site that lists a lot of great venues with all of the necessary information: www.ohmyrochness.com/venues

How restaurants set the mood for you

Do restaurants really put a lot of work into crafting the perfect dining experience via the mood they set with the music they play or is it a haphazard afterthought - a battle between the bartender and the manager on duty?
I have done some research and here is what I have found out: chain restaurants typically employ the use of XM Radio or a company that programs music and provides a new playlist every month or so (there are several and I refuse to plug them but secretly I think it could be a cool opportunity and am looking into it). This is the same thing that stores in the mall employ and companies use this for hold music. It is typically music from the big record labels, current Top 40, heavy radio station rotation, and/or the classics (cue "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison - which is a song he infamously refuses to play live anymore).
For everyone else it seems to be at the discretion of the owner, chef, manager, or bartender so help us all. Sometimes this can be a good thing - one of the mainstay bartenders I know in D.C. played the Black Keys and White Stripes for an entire night and so we all got drunk in heaven. Sometimes this can be horrible - I recently went to a great French bistro in the West Village for a cosmopolitan brunch and instead got bombarded with techno music blasting above the chatter of the crowd; no one eats eggs to Lady Gaga, trust me.
My favorite story about music and restaurants is taken from a show I randomly caught on the Sundance Channel called Iconoclasts. It is a mini-series where two famous people that happen to be friends interview each other. This episode had Mario Batali and Michael Stipe interviewing each other while they scoot around New York collecting ingredients for a meal Mario was cooking. Michael Stipe said something to Mario that he just beamed at and I loved it too. Michael said something like: "I remember reading a review about Babbo and the guy said it would be a Michelin three star restaurant if it would stop blasting PJ Harvey. You have a love for music Mario and I love how you made a restaurant exactly to your liking and that included music." That scene made me want to head to Babbo immediately.
So for all you fledgling restaurateurs and owner/chefs - take note of what you play in your restaurant; build up your ipod and give the people something to listen to that is going to enhance the handmade gnocchi or bone marrow appetizer on your delicately crafted menu.
For all of you patrons - keep trying to hear over the crowd and take note of what you are listening to; boo the restaurants that play what the radio stations are already pushing down your throat and praise the place that plays LCD Soundsystem and Radiohead back-to-back or even better - live original music!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A lot of new music coming out in April!

April is a big month for new music releases and this year is no exception. Whether you have been pacing in your room waiting for Eminem to tell you how to feel about the world again; thinks that nothing sounds as good as the old stuff so thank GOD Simon and Garfunkel released a new best of album called Live 1969; or can't get enough of the indie craze and have already tracked down most of the new songs but are still excited to support the artist and buy the whole thing (me) - Silversun Pickups, Ida Maria, Pomegranates, Tragically Hip, Jill Sobule, and even Death Cab for Cutie - April and May are the months of music discovery.
On top of the full album releases, everyone else released a single for their upcoming album release in May: Tori Amos, 311, Of Montreal, O.A.R, Paolo Nutini, New York Dolls.
I would also check out these acts, either they have already come out or about to: Bat for Lashes (every Indie magazine has done a profile on this songstress recently), Doves (highly anticipated), PJ Harvey and John Parish, Junior Boys, Royskopp, Camera Obscura, even Booker T. and the MGs are kicking out some new stuff!
My suggestion to you is don't get lazy with your music collection, I am talking a particular person I know that still has the Counting Crows on heavy rotation! There is SO MUCH great music being produced today and it is easier to get than ever. You can buy the web album for less than $1.00 on www.lala.com to play on any computer once you create a free account; you can also buy the MP3 and download the album for about .79 cents there too so eat it iTunes. Also try www.imeem.com, Hype Machine and MySpace to get a taste of the music for free.
My other suggestion would be to NOT read Rolling Stone, Spin, Billboard, or any other major music review until you have gotten a taste of the music and read a bio of the artist on your own. I don't think these guys review the album with an open mind; they use jargon that the average music listener does not want to follow, they are controlled by their word limit, editors, and they likely end up meeting the band they review at one point or another and most of these guys are punch takers not punch throwers, etc.
If you want to know what I will be listening to it will be in order: Silversun Pickups, Pomegranates, the first three tracks of the Eminem album, and Simon and Garfunkel right before I got to bed; then I will listen to everything else across the week because I don't know what I don't know. Enjoy your day!
 Eminem        Simon & Garfunkel   Silversun Pickups
     O.A.R Of Montreal                 311                  Tori Amos         Paolo Nutini

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kids, don't lick microphones

Back on April 1st, I made my debut run to le Poisson Rouge in SoHo to see Sebastien Tellier, a Francophone if I have ever seen one. In the pouring rain the Euro ex-pats dutifully waited in the rain to enter the basement venue and then wait until 12:15am for this wackadoo to come on stage. Damn entertaining though and a nice sized venue. At one point he prefaced a song by saying, "This song is about bisexuality, my bisexuality" and proceeded to play a 10 minute song where he licked the microphone every 30 seconds or so; I am pretty surprised he didn't get electrocuted or at least shocked towards the end.
They LOVE him over in Europe, obviously in France. I am going to be honest though, by midnight I was a bit more into chatting with my friends and the bartender. I remember being told that a rum and diet coke was called a skinny pirate more clearly than any particular song, lyric I like, or encore that Sebastien played. Therefore, I am going to straight up cut and paste the blurb from Wikipedia on the dude so you all can make your own judgement. Enjoy:
Tellier's first album, L'incroyable Vérité (The Incredible Truth), was released in 2001. Tellier went on tour with Air in support of the album and was joined on stage by world-renowned theremin player Pamelia KurstinL'incroyable Vérité is a pop album featuring styles from lo-fi electronica to bizarre cabaret tunes. Its sleeve featured Tellier in full evening dress on the front, while the back of jacket had a shot of him cavorting in a playboy's pool. He instructed listeners only to listen to the album by candle light. The track, "Fantino", was chosen by Sofia Coppola for the soundtrack to her 2003 film Lost in Translation...
His third studio album Sexuality was produced by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk. Tellier's label Record Makers collaborated with retailer American Apparel for an exclusive three month pre-release of the album. Limited edition versions of the Sexuality CD, LP and "Divine" 7" and 12" single was sold in all North American American Apparel stores and on the companies website beginning 22 July 2008. - Wikipedia
Sébastien Tellier at Printemps de Bourges 2008
Sébastien Tellier at Printemps de Bourges 2008

Pleasure overload with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!

Waiting in the cold for over an hour was worth it. Waiting for another 3 hours inside and standing for two of them was also worth it. Because when Karen O came out wearing a turquoise, red, and white kimono with matching make-up, it was all worth it. I JUST attended the Yeah Yeah Yeahs first show of their tour at Santos Party House on 100 Lafayette in NYC. They played Saturday Night Live last night and this show was not widely announced, I heard about through a few blogs and was very weary of my ability to get any tickets. Not only did we get tickets but I was one person back and 3 feet from the stage.
Being able to see this front woman perform so close was just incredible. The band sounded great, they flowed from one song to the next, but everyone kept their eye on her the whole time. She was smiling the whole time, even while she was screaming through 'Down Boy' or playing that love song 'Maps' that you can't help but loving. She let everyone know she was having a blast up there; you singers trying to master the pout take note. Other than a few overeager moshing-prone fans, it was just a great concert experience shared with only 300 people at most; Andy Samberg, Spike Jonze and a cast of characters that likely litter the art, music, and movie scene included. Quick note of caution: the alcohol at Santos is at airport prices, buyer beware.
Brief shout out to the opening act the Fresh Kills. You were in a tough position, not only were you the opening act but you had to play in front of some die hard Yeah Yeah Yeah fans that were REALLY only there to see them. Nice try.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The music on shows - Ode to Friday Night Lights

In honor of the season finale of Friday Night Lights that I just watched twice, I would like to share something: One of my dream jobs would be to determine the music for a show or movie. How cool it would be to set the mood of a scene and help an artist gain exposure? Friday Night Lights is one of my favorite shows of all time and the music that Music Supervisor Liza Richardson puts on that show is just incredible. She gets a lot of support from the band Explosions in the Sky; an Austin band that is so good at the ethereal big moment sound and so fitting for the big Texas sky and cinematography of the show. I found another blog that lists every song from every episode from the 3 seasons, so check these songs out: Friday Night Lights music
Also, if you have not yet gotten into the show, check out this 6 minute montage. How can you not be a fan?! Get in the know
"Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose!"

The kid had a rattail

I went to see a few bands at NYC's Mercury Lounge on the Lower East Side on March 30th. The main act was a much talked band about amongst the nerdy indie music writers called Wavves, which is essentially this kid Nathan Williams from San Diego. His most distinctive feature was his rattail coming out of his no bend hat. I am serious, a rattail. I mean, who didn't have a crush in 5th grade that rocked a rattail but after that awkward stage didn't everyone figure out it was a haircut that was only suited for Germans, whose national hairstyle is the mullet anyway, or maybe the Dutch? I am spending so much time on the rattail because I don't have much else to say about the Wavves. I could have spent my $10 on the NJ Transit to go to a Jersey suburb and eavesdropped on some high school kids banging on instruments they got for Christmas last year and it would have been the same experience. Yeah, it sounded like that, which wasn't even like the recorded stuff. But as always, make your own mind up about them by listening to them on MySpace
On a different note, Vampire Hands out of Minneapolis opened for The rattail and they had a few good songs, largely because they play with two drummers and we all know my weakness for drummers by now. My favorite song of theirs was their opener 'Invisible Stairs'
Hey ladies - the Mercury Lounge is pretty duderific, go see a show and meet some unapproachable indie guys.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The White Lies with a cough

We got a double dose of UK rock at the Bowery on March 27th. After The Friendly Fires shimmied their asses off they made way for the second band, The White Lies. While we went to the basement bar of the Bowery to say hello to Jim Beam, The White Lies were busy changing into all black outfits and placing serious white spotlights on stage. When they came out they immediately reminded me of 'Sprockets' - that old Mike Meyers SNL bit making fun of the weirdness of Germans - it worked for them though. They sound like Joy Division meets The Killers and with a beautiful lead singer that has piercing eyes and sings like he still has that youthful resentment and anger, I can see why the UK really likes them. In fact I think most of the audience were POMS (Property of the Monarchy). I mean they ended the concert with 'Death', their hit single; the Brits love a good self-deprecating statement.
All that said, the lead singer, Harry McVeigh, had a cough and it became pretty apparent within a few songs that the poor guy was not able to hit or hold the notes that the songs required. I don't think their concert did them justice so I would check them out on MySpace and check out their really cool video to 'Farewell to the Fairground'

The Friendly Fires have moves I've never seen before!

I LOVED seeing the Friendly Fires at the Bowery Ballroom on March 27th. The lead singer's (Ed Macfarlane) dance moves were so infectious and just made you want to giggle a little at him but mostly bop around yourself. They win the showmanship award for Q1 2009 for sure. Ed's young Jagger-like moves were well supported by an energetic guitarist that taped his knobs so as not to have his dancing modify his sound - at one point he used a Dustbuster next to his guitar to make a funky sound.
As I am sure you are figuring out, my weakness is drummers, I consider them the working dog of any band, I mean think about Charlie Watts - he is the only one that is carrying the beat on time for The Stones anymore. The Friendly's drummer (Jack Savidge) was great no exception - so fast and emphatic, he worked up a gushing sweat but it was still cute if I dare say so. Unfortunately for all of you they are headed to Europe for the rest of the summer but check them out on MySpace and start by listening to 'Jump in the Pool', 'White Diamonds' and 'Paris'. Keep this UK band on your radar.
The added bonus is I got to interview the lead singer and guitarist after the show. He admitted to liking New York far more on this second trip, probably because they had a much bigger following and only two shows rather than a week of tiny venues. They had stayed out all night after their show the night before and the singer said he was worried about the wailing needed for 'Paris'. He also admitted the crap shoot that jumping into the crowd can be, which he did for their encore song, "I fully expect to get something thrown at my face and/or grabbed inappropriately but fuck it, do it anyway." We got to talking about Australia, where his parents now live, and if any of you ever go to Adelaide, on top of visiting the many vineyards, head to B Sharp Records, one of the last great independent record stores. I am still kicking myself for not going to Union Hall where their drummers was going to DJ before they headed to Boston for a gig. Let me know if any of you happened to be at Union Hall on the 27th, I want to know how Jack did.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Been Singing to Your Ipod in Public Lately?

If so, continue to do it because it is so damn entertaining to everyone else around you and it never ceases to amaze us what song inspired you so much that you would belt it out regardless of how many people can hear you.
Personal mobile music has really revolutionized the mundane tasks and transportation time for our society, especially urban dwellers. Have to go to the grocery? Why don't you rock out to The Killers while you review apples for bruises. Have to take the subway 12 stops to work everyday? Make a playlist that puts you at ease and prepares you for another day of trying not to kill your office mate. I think everyone realizes the impact of these portable music devices, even those of you still rocking a portable CD player - I am just saying you should start singing audibly to the tunes, make it more fun for everyone else. I may shoot you a look of annoyance but really I am giggling on the inside.
If you want to get more profound about the societal impact of portable music, think about this Sci-fi plot concept: a virus that can pass through earphone speakers that renders you brain dead or something more gruesome like sends you on a murderous rampage! No joke, I went one a date with a guy that offered this idea up to me as an excuse for not using earphone speakers at all. He got a buddy hug at the end of the night and no returned phone calls but I did get a good story out of it that I now get to share with you.

A Solid Interview Question...

"Tell me the top 3 songs you wish you had written?" This question never ceases to reveal a lot about a band, their influences and personal taste. If you just ask for their top song they are very likely going to give you some universal answer, probably a Beatles or Bob Dylan song, snore. But the next two songs they list will almost always tell you more about what they really like and who they really want to become. This will come in handy in case you ever interview a band and don't know what to say after you get where they are from, how long they have been together, and the back story to their band name. I got this advice from a music journalist for the BBC so I trust it.

Marketing Idea for You Bands

I attended a recent concert where the band playing had a great marketing tool: They had posters up and flyers on the bar advertising that if you bought their CD and/or LP at the show you would receive a wristband to meet the band and have them sign it after. What a cool incentive for the fans and a good way for the band to make a stronger connection with fans. It may not work for every venue but I think it is a more constructive way to generate revenue and get fans than just standing at the merch tent after the show.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Dashiki Sighting at Terminal 5

Lead singer, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party, a U.K. well-established band, rocked the traditional West African shirt at a recent Terminal 5 show on March 25th. Longtime Brooklyn band Longwave opened up and I will tell you, they seemed a little bitter about it. I guess I would feel conflicted about the gig if I were them too - you have been around for years but make a solid comeback in late 2008 with a new album after a long hiatus and you get to rock a really large crowd right on your turf but instead of claiming victory you get a crowd that just chants 'Bloc Party' at you throughout the entire bloody set. Sorry Longwave. Your songs sounded great, like a Guster + Kings of Leon combo, but I don't think you needed to remind the crowd that you weren't Bloc Party, you sounded a bit too miffed for getting paid to rock.
At 9:40pm the fairly young and packed crowd got what they wanted. Within the first three songs the musicianship of Kele Okereke was clearly on display - singer, lead guitar, and a master of the peddles. There is something about their sound that really could only come from outside of the U.S. but I can't quite express why, so just go see them live. The bonus is that the drummer looks just like John Lennon's son Sean, they had great lighting, and they know how to get a crowd bumping - 2 sets and an encore that ended with Kele doing a full on crowd surf while still singing. They are what I call a cool dude band = I will give any guy credit that say they really like Bloc Party.
Kele made me a happy lass by playing 'Modern Love' and 'Blue Light' from their Silent Alarm album and best of all, they were so good it gave me reason to NOT return to Terminal 5 for a long time, if ever. Sorry for all you good acts that will play there, I just can't make it to that hell hole to see you.
Bloc Party
Thanks to the staff of big blog Brooklyn Vegan for getting there early with a really nice camera and taking this photo. I was getting drunk en route on the Subway with my visiting brother.

Underground Ditties

Did you know the NYC Subway is alive with sound? It is not the drip of some unidentified water source, the screeching of train brakes, the sound of a-holes that get cell phone service underground (seriously Verizon?), or the consistent hum of humanity that I am talking about. I am talking about the sheer volumes of musicians everywhere in these transportation tunnels. The Jimmy Hendrix wannabe at the Delancey Street F stop, the accordion player at Heritage Square, and the full bands that play at Penn Station. It is so cool and I hope I always pause my ipod to check out what they are playing as long as I live in NYC.
The coolest act I have seen by far happened at the W 4th stop of the F train after the Ting Tings show on March 16th. It was two people, one black guy with dreads playing the guitar and one white girl dressed like a gypsy in a pork pie hat playing the washboard with a bell and singing. She was so entertaining to watch, she sang with such expression, think Audrey Tautou's face throughout 'Amelie', and all of their songs were catchy. They made a VERY diverse, late night crowd all stop and listen and even throw dollars, not loose change, their way.
So keep your ears perked, pause your ipod more often, and if you find this duo somewhere in the underground world, give me a holler!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Bob Dylan Track - in advance of the album release

Click HERE to listen to Bob's new track "Here Lies Nothin" 
Bob's new album "Together Through Life" just came out on March 31st. Way to keep kicking it around Bob.
Check out THIS new web site that streams news about music, offers free downloads and artist spotlights.


Phosphorescent + Willie Nelson songs + great musicians all with Kentucky backwoods beards + Matthew Houck believing and emphatically singing every word = the surprise concert to beat in 2009 - Bell House 2/28/2009.  He pretty much sang every song like it was his favorite. He embodied this whole young, hipster, well-educated with their russian lit references, parents that have never grown up or have become the worst kind of grown up, 'I have so many choices so I am going to make none for now' genre that it was just awesome. So keep singing Matthew and come back to Brooklyn soon.
Other bands played before Phosphorescent - Motel, Motel. Check them out on MySPace HERE: Another band played with them but all I wrote down was the lead singer's shirt "Of Shit! Bang Bang" I have been looking for it on a funny T-shirt web site called Bustedtees without any luck. Holler at me if you find the shirt.

Ting Tings, Terminal 5, and the impressive use of pedals

My first trip to Manhattan's Terminal 5 to see a show - BOO! Let me paint a picture for you: think of the movie "Cocktail", remember when Tom Cruise rants that poem about booze in that multi-level club when he has 'made it big' - "The orgasm, The Death Spasm, the Singapore Sling" (click here for the full poem) ? Terminal 5 looks like that but has two horrible levels over the main level/stage, it is always $6 beers in a warm cup night, and the place is filled with the Bud Foxs of this decade or college kids - no offense college kids but you will know what I mean after you graduate, have fun now. The icing on the cake is that an entire side of the first balcony is reserved for a VIP section that is always pretty empty, which is elitist and annoying of them. 
That said, The Ting Tings did a really good job entertaining the masses. Think a little bit of '80s ode, neon colors, demands for more dancing, UK top shop outfits, and a girl singer working her ass off singing, playing the guitar, and working the pedals like they release morphine. I love how pedals are being used not only as a great layer to add to songs but as a performance bit in itself. Bravo Ting Tings although I really wish I had seen you at Lollapalooza last summer and not at that hot shit show. Check out Ting Ting songs for free HERE on lala.com.

Is anyone else looking forward to sunny weather, beer, and watermelon?

Think about it - when have you ever been unhappy while at a place where watermelon and beer are available? It just implies a great sunny day, friends, and a little day drinking. I am so ready for the concerts that come with the warm weather. Across the U.S., start checking out the many festivals and outdoor concert series. I already have tickets to see TV on the Radio and Explosions in the Sky in Central Park. I am VERY partial to Bonnaroo (4 year attendee) but know that Coachella and Rothbury Festival can hold their own.
Run, don't walk to your computer and do some research. Be there. Bring beer and watermelon in a cooler; just don't fight with your girlfriend, it makes you a buzzkill for all eternity.
Listen to some Explosions in the Sky songs while you do it by clicking HERE

Big fan of The Pomegranates

Everyone - go check out The Pomegranates.
I saw them play along with The French Kicks (kudos for having a very tall lead singer, this tall indie girl appreciates the evolution of the species) at The Bell House in Brooklyn on February 21st. Also check out the venue, it will very likely be one of my favorites despite it being blocks and blocks from the Subway - Click HERE
How can you not at least pay attention to a band that comes out wearing jumpsuits, a little bit o' colored face paint on their cheeks, one singer that looks like Elrond's lost son from Lord of the Rings, and a drummer that has a whole new way of dancing while stile drumming? I am also a sucker for bands that switch positions on stage and show their versatility and musicianship.
Their album comes out April 14th. Check out a few of the new songs for mere pennies using digital and mp3 download site www.lala.com. Enjoying good music just got a lot more accessible.

A unique house party in Brooklyn

On February 20th my cousin and some friends attended a birthday party in a great 2 story row house in Clinton Hill. A pretty cool feature of this party - a great string trio that started with famous classical pieces and ended the night putting a Latin flair to the party, adding an accordion and making room for a dance floor. Check this guy out: www.myspace.com/elianobraz