We’re back! I got some feedback that people missed the Take Five digests — and I did, too — so I’ve decided to try to alternate feature posts with digest posts. Should make for better digests. Also, welcome to any new readers I picked up when my list of the best songs of 2010 (so far) got featured on the WordPress.com homepage. Thanks, everyone, for reading!
In the News
Amanda Palmer. Not so much a topic of news as a force of nature, really. I’m not in the AFP cult, but I’ve noticed a couple of cool things she’s been up to, and I had to share.
She wrote a really great blog post after Lady Gaga’s shows in Boston, talking about how Gaga can help convince people that being authentic — even if authentic means totally off-your-nut weird — is OK, and can even be a pathway to success.
and then i think….maybe lady gaga can be like a gateway drug to the teenagers of the world…through her they may find a voice, a liberation, a david bowie record.
most importantly, a PERMISSION. i imagine a totally isolated and confused kid in the outskirts of suburban nevada who has never seen life outside of a shopping mall seeing gaga doing her hijinks and thinking:
IF THIS CHICK CAN BE FAMOUS AND ACCEPTED BY THE MAINSTREAM AND DO THIS WEIRD STUFF THEN MAYBE I CAN DO ANYTHING.
this is what the world needs – artists who, no matter what their personal path may be, will inspire other people to reach deeper, try harder, be more authentic.
Speaking of authenticity, Palmer recorded a short EP of Radiohead covers. Performed by her. On a magical ukelele. You can download the digital version for a minimum of $.84, but the limited-edition vinyl already sold out. In fact, she sold $15,000 of merchandise in just three minutes and 4,000 copies of the EP on the day of its release. (Too bad that came a few weeks before Bandcamp instituted revenue sharing.) The EP is actually quite good — definitely worth $.84, and probably a bit more.
- My Gregory Brothers obsession continues unabated. Now, I’m captivated by the works of Michael Gregory, in particular “Just a Little While” and “OMG.” If these little pop gems don’t get trapped in your brain, you may be un-American.
- …Kittens? One of my favorite music blogs, Music for Kids Who Can’t Read Good, compiled a selection of artists whose album covers feature kittens. Yes, kittens. If the kittens aren’t win enough, they also include MP3s from each of the albums.
Find of the Week
- Ah, WERS, you’ve done it again. This time, it was by playing “Grindstone” by Jackie Greene, an bluesy singer-songwriter hailing from California. That led to me acquiring his new album, “Till the Light Comes,” which came out last month.
- So, er, it’s not from this week, but a few weeks ago, I was in JP and eating lunch at City Feed when I found the July copy of Counter the Cultural Compass, a one-page music zine chock full of information about local shows. It looks like it just started up this spring. I’m not sure its distribution reaches as far north of the Charles as I am, but I hope to scrounge up future copies. Good stuff.
- Also, my mixes from the Grinding Tapes mix project finally came in the mail. Yay! I’ve only listened to one so far, an “oldies” mix featuring Kansas, Judy Garland, Stevie Wonder, The Buggles, Peter Gabriel, The Turtle, Soft Cell, and Marvin Gaye, among others. A surefire recipe for awesome. More reviews to come.
Around the Web
- Never thought I’d get pitched via Last.fm, but there you go. That was how I found out about The Sharp Things raising money for their new album via Kickstarter. The Sharp Things produce a great brand of epic, orchestral pop, and judging by their description — “full-on on rawk songs, plaintive heartwrenchers and its signature lush stuff” — this new album should be pretty great.
- I love Girl Talk as much as the next person, but a group I feel deserves some extra love is The Hood Internet. They also crank out some pretty fabulous mashups. Paste recently compiled their take on the top 15 Hood Internet cuts of all-time, but feel free to scour their vast repository of awesome yourself — most, if not all, of it is free to download.
- dysonsound offers a lovely exploration of Jon Brion’s “Her Ghost.”
- A fun interview with pop statesmen Mike Viola and Adam Schlesinger. So sad to miss their shows in NYC and Philly this weekend, but if you’re in those areas, you need to see them perform!
- The sad news is that Twisted Village record store in Harvard Square has closed. The good news is that their basement space will be filled by Armageddon Shop Boston. Glad to see another music shop will fill the void left by Twisted Village’s closure. Related: the 2008 documentary “I Need That Record!”, recently released on DVD, explores the widespread demise of the record shop.
- Could the Cars — my first favorite band — be poised for a reunion? That would be just what I needed!
- Kay Hanley’s new band Palmdale makes its Boston debut on Aug. 16 at TT the Bear’s. Pop delight.
- Pernice to Me — now on video. As puppets!
Well, it looks like Guster is coming out with a new album, “Easy Wonderful,” on Oct. 5. I’ve been a huge fan since college and have loved every one of their albums — except their last one, “Ganging Up on the Sun,” which was downright awful. I would rather listen to howling monkeys run their nails across a chalkboard than listen to the trite, droning mess that is the single from that album, “Satellite.”
Err, yeah. So, new album! Here’s hoping it doesn’t suck. You can download the track “Bad, Bad World” from their website for the cost of an e-mail address. Good news: it shows more signs of life than “Satellite.” Bad news: Ryan Miller still sounds kind of bored. I wonder if they plan on reprising the great experiment of having Brian Rosenworcel write songs. Because on “Keep it Together,” that ruled.