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.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Why I spent $193 Dollars Today...

I will tell all of you, tell you proudly, that today I was 1 of 2 people I know that spent $193 on two prime seats to see the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring supported by a full orchestra at Radio City Music Hall on October 10th - bring your hobbit garb! Howard Shore's original and Academy Award winning score will be conducted by Ludwig Wicki and you know this German is taking the task seriously; he has done this job a few times now which puts me at ease. Side note - Howard Shore was the first band leader of Saturday Night Live - how far this Canadian has come.
Apparently, performing the musical score to a film is very, very difficult and non-stop the entire length of the three hour movie. So the price of my ticket includes getting to see an entire orchestra 'exercise'. I grew up loving the story of the Lord of the Rings series, my dad was a huge fan, and Peter Jackson's films made it even better. I thought the culmination of my love for this series was visiting several of the locations they shot the trilogy in New Zealand but I now say with confidence that this is going to be the coolest AND simultaneously the fucking nerdiest thing I have ever done, spent money on, or admitted to. You can buy tickets secretly and join me on October 10th, a Saturday night, or the Friday before on October 9th at Ticketmaster.
Get even more excited once you have tickets by seeing some of the clips that are on You Tube.
Music placement in TV shows, commercials, and movies has become a very big business in the past few years and has helped to turbo launch the career of many bands/musicians. This nerdy blog is a little shout out to the instrumental music in movies which is pivotal to developing the mood of a scene effectively throughout multiple mediums. I can only imagine how difficult it is to compose music that will help to translate and build emotion, culminate a plot, essentially develop a scene beyond the visual and spoken word. So kudos to you Howard Shore, and to you Ludwig, and let us not forget you Mr. 4th chair tuba player. I will be enjoying your work from the Orchestra Seating area on October 10th; I may or may not be dressed like the chief of the Nazgul. PLEASE do not mess up, I will notice, hold it together the entire time because the music that goes with the sound of Boromir's demise will be pivotal to my and my party's enjoyment.
Good journey until then.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Be the first to listen to the new Wilco album!

This just in from Digital Music News:
*Wilco is now streaming its upcoming album online, a reaction to a recent leak.  Wilco (The Album) is available on-demand on wilcoworld.net, or, as many have already discovered, as a free download across the web.
Click HERE to start your listening bliss!
This album is not due out until June 30, 2009 so you're welcome.
<span class=WILCO
Album Tracks:
1. Wilco (the song)  2. Deeper Down 3. One Wing 4. Bull Black Nova  5. You And I featuring Feist  6. You Never Know   7. Country Disappeared   8. Solitaire   9. I'll Fight   10. Sonny Feeling  11. Everlasting Everything 
My quick thoughts:
I think it is a little pretentious to be a band called Wilco, call your album Wilco, and have your first song called Wilco where the chorus is 'Wilco, Wilco, Wilco, Wilco...'
The song 'You and I' is cute and simple and featuring indie chart topper Feist.
If you have been a fan of Wilco for awhile and really liked their sixth album from 2007 Sky Blue Sky then you will really like this album; though a lot of other bloggers think it is more like their fifth album A Ghost is Born. My favorite is still Yankee Hotel Foxtrot; the song Jesus, etc. is one of my go to songs for every occasion.
Info on Wilco for beginners:
They are an indie rock band with definitive and consistent streaks of alternative country; they are from and still based in Chicago. They formed in 1994, most members of the band came from the band Uncle Tupelo. Jeff Tweedy is the lead singer, songwriter, and unstable star of Wilco. He has cleaned up his act in the past three years and can now be counted on to show up and put on a good show; displaying solid frontman skills while maintaining relative sobriety. Wilco (The Album) is their seventh studio album so it is safe to say they have their sound down, they know their fans, and they are beloved by their record company.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Pomegranates are in season

Let me first apologize Pomegranates. I think you guys are absolutely great; I thought this when I first saw you at The Bell House back in February when you played with your buddies the French Kicks. I see nothing but good things coming your way; which was evident by the scene of label scouts (I can pick those earplug wearing soda sippers out anywhere now but it took some practice!) on May 13th when I last saw you play at the Mercury Lounge (Houston & Essex for the you virtual visitors of NYC or the Upper West Side). So why have I waited 15 days to post my praises? I can only say this - I am an asshole. Sorry, life got in the way - my new nephew says hello though! Here is a short but sweet plug for you guys. Good luck finishing up your tour and thanks again for my 'Poms Not Bombs' shirt.
The Pomegranates is a Cincinnati quartet that  formed in late 2006 and just released their newest album Everybody, Come Outside! on April 14th, 2009; their debut album Everything is Alive came out in May 2008. I first heard them on my beloved online radio station Woxy.com, formerly "97X--Bam!--The Future of Rock & Roll" famously stated by Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.
I think they got it right when they called themselves 'art-pop denizens'. The band consists of:
Joey Cook
vocals + guitar + keys + percussion + bass
Isaac Karns
guitar + bass + sampling + vocals + keys
Joshua Kufeldt
electric guitar + vocals
Jacob Meritt
drums + percussion
Jacob stays steady on the drums and has a style that makes me think he used to play in the house band down in Fraggle Rock. The other three are very active throughout their set, switching instruments, changing stage positions, singing different parts on different songs, picking up a loudspeaker here and a tambourine there. 
They kicked off their set with Sleepover, one of my favorites, then rolled into Coriander, the album's first single. By the time they got to playing the title track Everybody, Come Outside!, everybody was enjoying themselves, including the Pomegranates and that is the way to tell when a band is comfortable in it's own skin and has come into a groove of their own creation. The band explains their new release as "A conceptual album of sorts, weaving an interesting tale of a man who leaves home, only to be abducted by a time traveler... Each of the 11 tracks add to the mystique, as well as reveal a bit more about this unusual tale." Translation: creativity, art, and drugs are in abundance in Cincinnati.
Here is a taste of their sound. Check them out further on MySpace and look for them in the future, you will find them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I want Kate Havnevik to play the soundtrack for all my jubilant moments

Two things happened this past Monday night (5/11/2009)
1. I saw Kate Havnevik play for the second time. She played at The Living Room this time, the approachable Lower East Side music haven where Norah Jones got her start.
2. Just after Kate finished her set I became an aunt for the first time to a healthy baby boy that was born in Boulder.
Now I could elaborate on what a pile of happy mush I was and how I embarrassed myself on the street crying on the phone with my mom or how the bouncer congratulated me on the way out but I will save you from that.
I want to focus on how Kate presented the best kind of music to be playing why a big life moment happened. She has that beautiful, ethereal voice and she sings with such earnest, really connecting with the crowd, that she creates a whole world that you are privileged to go visit. I admit several of her songs are not about the jubilant moments in life but the way she puts together a song - everything from the lyrics, her vocal range, the combination of electronica and live band - Kate makes the point that those heart crushing moments are also beautiful. I think that is the gift that Scandinavians have mastered well; Kate hails from Norway but is half-POM (property of the UK monarchy).
Most music interviews describe her sound as a combination of Kate Bush, Bjork, and Joni Mitchell. They also inform us that music supervisors of TV shows love her; the O.C., West Wing, and especially Grey's Anatomy. The mega hit show (where Katherine Heigl hysterically resuscitated a deer to kick-off the second season) has featured 6 of her songs, put her on the soundtrack, and asked her to write a song specifically for the second season finale. 
What I will tell you is that she is enchanting in between songs. She engages with the audience, tells little jokes and stories that gives you the impression she is completely comfortable talking to anyone anywhere. She knows how to select musicians that compliment her sound wonderfully but what is even more impressive is her use of technology to manipulate her sound, loop her voice, and bring to the table a song that is a full meal though it is really just a bunch of little Kates singing at once.
Kate's next gig is at The Living Room again on May 27th so that gives all you folks in the area plenty of time to check her out on MySpace, buy her CD 'Melankton' and recruit friends that also like being ahead of the musical curve.
Kate's next album is due out in the Fall but her new single 'Halo' just came out on May 2nd!
Photos 1 & 2 by Vicki Dawe
I just want to make it clear how great looking Kate Havnevik is. She has the rare ability to look great while singing her face off and having her face convey real personailty

Sunday, May 10, 2009

WANDERLUST FESTIVAL: Be the first to know about it and the first to attend:

I am happy to announce the launch of a new festival this summer! The web site just went up, tickets go on sale May 12th, it's taking place at the very cool Squaw Valley USA in Lake Tahoe, CA July 24th-July 26th so buckle up.
For those of you hard core music fans that aren't lazy or tubby and can rally for multiple days of shenanigans, this festival is for you! You schedule in yoga classes just like you schedule which band to see, you walk around the concert area at 8,200 feet, skip the gondola and walk back down to the village if you dare and then party all night, getting weird with the likes of Girl Talk and the burlesque troupe Mutaytor.
So check out their flow and read more about it below using their words not mine:
Music by Michael Franti & Spearhead, Spoon, Andrew Bird, Jenny Lewis, Gillian Welch, Broken Social Scene, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Girl Talk and many others. Yoga taught by John Friend, Shiva Rea, Duncan Wong, Sianna Sherman, Elena Brower, Schuyler Grant, Janet Stone, Rusty Wells and more.
The Press Release for Wanderlust:


Wanderlust Festival Lands in Lake Tahoe

Yoga, Music, and Spectacular Views Set This Festival Apart From the Rest

This summer a new happening will redefine the destination festival experience. A boutique, three-day experience, Wanderlust brings together the world’s leading yoga teachers and top-tier rock and roll performers, all in a setting of breathtaking natural beauty. This feast for both the body and the senses takes place July 24-26 at Squaw Valley USA, Lake Tahoe, California.

  Festival-goers can spend their mornings down in the Village at Squaw Valley getting centered in one of many classes led by some of the most notable names in yoga today, including Shiva Rea and John Friend. Wanderlust will include other notable instructors like Annie Carpenter, Christy Nones, Duncan Wong, Elena Brower, Janet Stone, Jason & Jenny (acroyogis), Katchie Ananda, Kenny Graham, Les Leventhal, Rusty Wells, Schuyler Grant, Sianna Sherman, and many others from San Francisco’s Yoga Tree studios.

  Afternoons and evenings are dedicated to musical discovery. Ride the cable car up the mountain and soak in fresh, diverse performances on a stage perched atop the Sierra Nevadas.  It’s a setting like no other, with a line-up to match. Michael Franti & Spearhead, Spoon, Andrew Bird, Jenny Lewis, Broken Social Scene, Gillian Welch, and Girl Talk lead the collection of acts.  Other artists performing at 8,000 feet include Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Rogue Wave, Amanda Palmer, Kaki King, Mates of State, The Honey Brothers, The Mutaytor, The London Souls, Jai Uttal, and more. 

Tickets for the three-day experience go on-sale Tuesday, May 12th at 10am CDT at www.wanderlustfestival.com.  A variety of options are available with prices starting at $124.50 for a weekend music pass and $169.50 for a music and yoga weekend pass. Prices are inclusive of all service fees and credit card charges.  VIP packages are also available and include exclusive access to the High Camp facility, which is a first class spa at 8,200 feet that boasts a swimming pool, local, organic fine dining, a hot tub, tennis courts, yoga on the deck, and breathtaking views of the Sierras below.   The Village at Squaw will also play host to a variety of local food vendors and earth-friendly products accompanied by acoustic performances during the afternoon on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26.  Activities at the Village at Squaw are open to the public and promise plenty of fun for the whole family.   Wanderlust is produced by Velour Music Group, in conjunction with C3 Presents (Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Music Festival) and Starr Hill Presents (Bonnaroo, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival).

WL Poster 72_1.jpg

Friday, May 8, 2009

Why Battle of the Bands are so great

Every aspiring musician or band struggles with finding a fanbase beyond their own family and friends. The onslaught of social media in the past few years has certainly unearthed this roadblock - everything from the all-powerful MySpace to iLike to YouTube, Facebook, personal web sites, and let us not forget the world of blogs. That said, I warn you, don't discount the power of competitions and Battle of the Bands. Might I remind you of a certain cult classic "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" where the Wyld Stallyns win the fourth annual San Dimas Battle of the Bands and quickly become the most successful band on the planet?!
How funny is this photo of the two of them? Le Abstract!
I encourage all you musicians to consistently scan magazines, posters at bars and venues, everywhere really to find these types of competitions. Playing at and especially winning these competitions will give you exposure to new fans, people in the industry, and often the chance to open up for an established band.
For these reasons I am making a shout out to band Icarus Rising. They earned a final four slot in On Tap magazine's Battle of the Bands. The winner opens up for Blues Traveler on June 5th led by the now skinny John Popper.
For those of you in D.C. or Northern Virginia - GO SEE ICARUS RISING PLAY!
When: Saturday, May 9th
First band starts @ 9pm, each of the four bands play for 30 minutes
Where: The Continental
1911 N. Ft. Myer Drive
Arlington, VA
For those of you out of the area, check this band out, buy their CD, become a fan: