What’s my favorite song this week? If I was corny, I’d say “Happy Birthday,” because that’s what tomorrow is. But actually, my favorite song this week is Dizzee Rascal’s “Fix Up, Look Sharp.”
Without further ado…
Sunday nights are the big night for local music on the radio. WFNX’s former New England Product show has relaunched as Boston Accents, airing 8-10PM, and WZLX’s Boston Emissions is still going strong from 10PM-12AM (which sadly falls in the “Mad Men” time slot).
As a former college and community radio DJ, I love keeping tabs on this stuff. That’s why I’m jazzed about the next Rock Shop, which features Boston Accents’ Dave Duncan, Boston Emissions’ Anngelle Wood, WAAF’s Carmelita of Bay State Rock and WMBR’s Tim Kelly of The Hidden Capital. The event is at 7PM on Aug. 23 at the Middle East.
- I arrived back at the office after a four-day weekend and was greeted by Christmas in my mailbox: The new Mike Viola/Kelly Jones EP and the new Cloud Cult album, “Light Chasers,” had arrived! The Viola/Jones effort is sublime, as per usual, and I am beyond pleased to have a recording of their haunting duet of Viola’s classic “A Way to Say Goodbye” (now the third version of the song in my possession). “Light Chasers” is no “Feel Good Ghosts,” but what could be? It’s still a powerful, unabashedly honest rock record.
- One of my favorite bands, Girlyman, has finally released an album consisting solely of tuning songs — the spontaneous nuggets of genius they always come up with during their live shows, usually while someone is tuning a guitar. The live compilation is $15, which may be a bit steep, but consider part of the payment as going toward this awesome promotional video:
- Jens Lekman has a new song out, “The End of the World is Bigger than Love.” It’s typically epic, heartbroken and charming. Lekman also releases a mixtape, “A Summer in 3/4 Time” [.mp3]. Some more background on Chromewaves.
- After much urging and promotion from the likes of Brad and The DP, I snagged the new Versus album. And it is as fun and awesome as those Merge fanboys say it is
- Speaking of Merge, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the new Arcade Fire album. I’m not an Arcade Fire fangirl (true confession: “Neon Bible” is still in the shrinkwrap, though I listen to “Intervention” on iTunes a lot), but I snagged it from Amazon MP3 for $3.99 and was pleasantly surprised. Probably their most accessible (is that a dirty word?) record yet, and very well crafted.
- I finally acquired the best of The Alarm. I recommend you did the same. They are much more than “The Stand.”
- Josh Rouse has releases a new live EP, “El Turista en la Radio,” for free download.
AROUND THE WEB
- On the aforementioned Boston Accents this past Sunday night, I really enjoyed this new song from the Boston Typewriter Orchestra, “The Revolution Will be Typewritten.” It reminded me of the multimedia presentation I did a long time ago for work, when one of the members of the BTO was a Tufts student.
- debcha’s tumblr has become my new favorite repository of fun music-related links. Recent favorites include the music fan flow chart, an artist releasing digital music in totem form and a field guide to transportation metaphors in music.
- Amazon MP3, in its infinite awesomeness, has about a million MP3 albums on sale for $5 through the end of the month. Some recommendations from the Alternative and Indie Rock section (with affiliate links)? The glory that is Mumford & Sons; Black Keys’ “Rubber Factory“; the Dandy Warhols’ “Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia“; the latest albums by Stars, Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem; The DP‘s favorite, Telekinesis; and my friend Andy‘s recommendation, Blue Giant. But the real hidden gem? Marching Band’s “Pop Cycle.” Snag it. Just $5!
- Do you want to win a private puppet show performance by the Pernice Brothers for your very own personal puppet likeness? If you can say that three times fast (and submit an entry), you just might.
- Wesley Stace (a/k/a John Wesley Harding) interviews Rosanne Cash, daughter of Johnny Cash, who recently published her memoir “Composed” (which is on my reading list).
- I love this video of members from Passion Pit and Kid Giantess singing along to Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” on the side of the stage at a giant festival show in Japan. Hey, now Passion Pit can say they toured with Taylor Swift — where else could that happen except Japan?
- Someone created a disturbingly awesome video for Ratatat’s “Drugs” using stock video. Hat tip to the site that curates the one thing more awkward than stock video — Awkward Stock Photos.
- From Paste, 18 bands names inspired by other bands
- SportsGirlKat evaluated the stunning sameness that is the Train repertoire.
IN THE NEWS
- An awesome Facebook post by Hallelujah the Hills the other day: “Dear bands & musicians, do you have recordings of songs without any vocals on them? I’ll make up melody, lyrics, and record vocals on them if you send them to me. If I get enough tracks we’ll put out an album for free online. Send to band AT hallelujahthehills dot com.”
- Fast Company provides some interesting data on “The State of Internet Music on YouTube, Pandora and Facebook.” Thoughts: 1) Fans/followers/friends are important, sure, but what are theydoing for the musicians they are fanning/following/friending? 2) I totally buy YouTube > Apple when it comes to music, because iTunes isn’t a social or a learning platform; it’s purely a purchasing platform. 3) I’ve never gotten into Pandora — I have other recommendation engines that are more human that work for me. I’m sure it’s great for some, but just not me.
- Cassettes are back! Obvs. So glad I still have my 5 disc CD changer with dual cassette deck that I bought in 1999 — the thing is practically a hipster recording studio, nowadays.
- Hello Music is a service that connects musicians with “real industry opportunities.” Not sure how useful it is, since most of the entries read “[Song] by [band] is now in rotation on the Unsigned & DIY station on Yahoo! Radio,” but in this Bandcamp era, it’s nice to see one more option for artists trying to make it on their own steam.
- Rdio, the music streaming service by the creators of Skype, is out of invite-only mode and live to the world. For just $5 a month on your computer ($10 on your smartphone), you can have access to a streaming equivalent of your music collection. Seems like a good option if you want to listen to your own music at work or on the go. However, I own an iPod and listen to KEXP, so, I have no need for Rdio (yet).
- It’s no replacement for the mix CD (and it’s more expensive), but file this under nice-to-know: you can purchase and send an iTunes playlist to a friend, so long as all of the songs are available in the iTunes store.
The Boston Phoenix’s On the Download blog linked to this video from Lollapalooza of Lady Gaga crowdsurfing during some crappy band’s side stage set.
The video itself is pretty uninteresting, as such things go, but one thing caught my attention. Of everyone in the crowd who had their arms outstretched, the majority of them were clutching cellphones and cameras. It depressed me.
Of the crowd shots I’ve seen from stadium and festival concerts over the years — Woodstock ’94 and ’99, other Lollapaloozas, Glastonbury, you name it — what has always impressed me is the sea of people, arms raised in exultation, reaching out to grab the moment. No matter how far they are from the stage, they are always reaching up, reaching out, trying to hold on to ecstasy one note longer.
But here, at Lollapalooza, with Lady Gaga’s barely attired flesh passing just above their heads, so many of those hands clenched devices to record the moment, and so many eyes were trained on the LCD screens of those devices, making sure the moment was in frame, clicking the shutter or hitting record.
But there she is! Lady Gaga! The experience is happening right next to you, right above you. Reach out and touch it — it’s right there.
But your hands and eyes are removed from the experience. You’ll have amazing media later, but is that a memory? Is that sweat on your palm, or a bruise to the temple you’ll be bragging about for days? What are you really holding on to?