Grab your Trapper Keepers and pencil cases, kids. It’s time for another Take Five digest! There will be a quiz later. Well, not really. Only if you misbehave.
It’s been five years since Hurricane Katrina, but the region is still in need. Here’s your chance to both help out and get some amazing music. The “Dear New Orleans” compilation (available for just $8 (on Amazon MP3, with all proceeds benefiting Sweet Home New Orleans and the Gulf Restoration Network) features 31 exclusive songs from the likes of Laura Veirs, Thao Nguyen, Allison Moorer, Mirah, The Wrens, Steve Earle and much, much more. Most of the songs evoke the spirit of New Orleans, as felt or perceived by the musicians, so it is not just a thrown-together B-side compilation intended to rake up some bucks for a cause. It is a thoughtful, high quality collection of songs. Grab it.
In other news, I finally snagged Marching Band’s new album “Pop Cycle,” and it is true to its name – a delicious cycle of pop that you can ride for hours. I also picked up the new School of Seven Bells, “Disconnect from Desire,” which I like even more than their first album. Very poppy, shimmery and fun.
- My good friend Dave was in town this weekend, and we had a blast. While exploring shows to possibly attend, I came across a great lineup at the Lizard Lounge: Juston Stens (ex-Dr. Dog), with John Shade opening. I’d heard a lot about John Shade from Brad, who raved about him during his residency at the Armory earlier this year. Sure enough, upon downloading his album “All You Love is Need,” I discovered something approaching acoustic pop perfection.
John Shade is performing Sept. 21 at TT the Bear’s, opening for Basia Bulat and the Acorn, another recent infatuation. That’s not a lineup to be missed.Oh, what about this past weekend’s show? We ended up not going to a show at all, though we did partake in karaoke at Joey Mac’s in Cambridge which resulted in two dozen people standing arm in arm singing “Piano Man.” I think that was worth the trade-off.
- If you feel like trekking to the Blue Hills next weekend, the Life is Good folks are putting on a decent music festival. Interestingly, the acts that interest me the most are not the ones with top billing: OK Go, Mavis Staples, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, Will Dailey and (in kids’ music form) They Might Be Giants.
Around the Web
- Yes, I love the Gregory Brothers. This is well documented. And everyone loves the Bed Intruder Song. But what about this cover of the Bed Intruder Song by… a North Carolina college marching band?! YES.
- Music for Kids Who Can’t Read Good, one of my favorite music blogs, released an awesome back-to-school mix, featuring songs from high school-themed movies. Highlights include “Here Comes My Baby” by Cat Stevens (“Rushmore”), “Under the Milky Way” by the Church (“Donnie Darko”) and “American Girl” by Tom Petty (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”).
- Ted Leo has released an awesome, funny new video for “Bottled in Cork.”
- You probably saw the super-slowed down version of Justin Bieber’s “U Smile” that ends up sounding like an amazing Sigur Ros song. But what about the super-slowed down version of Toad the Wet Sprocket’s “Something’s Always Wrong”?
- Juliana Hatfield will write a song all about you for $1,000. TEMPTING.
- Watch Jens Lekman sing lines from “Hedda Gabler” and talk about Drew Barrymore humping his leg for an Australian game show:
- On their most recent album “The Suburbs,” the Arcade Fire employ synchronized artwork and lyrics, as well a variety of clickable easter eggs, to make the digital version of their album a rich, interactive experience. Hooray, finally taking advantage of format! (Thanks, Andrea)
- Another one via Andrea: a reminder to check out Andy Partridge’s blog. You know, Andy Partridge? From XTC? One of the greatest bands ever? Yeah. Go read. (He’s also on Twitter, which is cute.)
- Could you listen to Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds” all the time, every day for a week? I could. And so could this guy. (Thanks, debcha) Sidenote: “Against All Odds” is one of my karaoke standards, which I reprised at the aforementioned karaoke outing on Saturday night. The night before, at yet another karaoke outing, I performed Phil’s “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven,” which has quickly found its way into my repertoire.
- A new one by Brett Domino (again, via debcha) can’t go without mention. This time, a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”
- A thoughtful analysis of the value (or lack thereof) provided by music blogs. (Probably via debcha or Andrea, given my track record of sources and how awesome they are, but who can say?)
In the News
- On Wednesday, Apple introduced Ping, a new music-oriented social network that comes pre-baked into its extensive iTunes network. The stated goal of Ping is to allow users to follow their friends and favorite artists (which begs the question, what’s in it for us?), but of course the ultimate end for Apple is to sell more music. This Mashable post portrays Ping as a Myspace killer, which is an interesting thought. Myspace has been holding onto the music scene like a branch along the rapids that are rushing it out to irrelevance, and by the looks of Ping, it could loosen that grip. Where Myspace fails with design and usability, Apple wins in spades. However, this initial review of Ping indicates that success may not be so easily won. What really interests me is how Ping, assuming it catches on, lines up against the independent spectrum of music media and services. Prefix Mag titled its brief blog post about Ping, “Apple Introduces Ping To Make Blogs Like This One Irrelevant.” Amusing, but accurate? What could this mean for blogs like Prefix Mag, and services like Bandcamp, Soundcloud and Rdio? Will Ping fail because it doesn’t churn up awesome user data like Last.fm, or will it be a killer app because it blends consumption with connection in the most powerful way? The commenters on the aforementioned Prefix Mag post don’t seem to agree with the latter. “I think it’s cool. And besides, it can’t replace my favorite blogs or standardize them. That’s boring,” one wrote. “yeah, it won’t replace content sites. well, not yet anyways,” wrote another. Not yet, indeed. Time to wait and see. In the meantime, here’s a list of what one guy wishes Ping actually was.
- Jeff Tweedy is producing Mavis Staples’ upcoming album, “You Are Not Alone,” due out Sept. 14. Check out their cover of John Fogerty’s “Wrote a Song for Everyone.”
- Weezer may tour to perform the entirety of the Blue AND the much-maligned “Pinkerton” albums. As a HUGE fan of “Pinkerton,” I couldn’t be more pleased to see Rivers Cuomo (potentially) get over himself and embrace his greatest creative work to date. But there’s still a long ways to go before hearing the opening notes to “Across the Sea” on a stage near you…
- A new Passion Pit album, coming this spring to a pair of oversized headphones near you!
Let me tell you a little something about me and the Cars.
The Cars were my first favorite band. I listened to them in the womb. Every Christmas until about 10, I asked for a Cars album I didn’t yet own. I spent sacred hours alone in my mom’s bedroom at the tender age of 6, listening to her 8-track copy of “Candy-O” and doing some odd penguin dance to “Double Life.” My favorite song was “Lust for Kicks,” so by second grade, I was asking my mom what lust meant. In 4th grade, I wrote a fan letter to the Cars, in care of the record label address on the back of one of my Cars tapes; it was returned to sender. In 6th grade, we were all asked to bring music to play at a dance; I brought my Cars greatest hits tape and asked them to play “Drive.”
I love the Cars. That said, I don’t need to see them live. Not without Ben Orr. Not post-Weezer and everything else Ric Ocasek has had a hand in. The Cars were one of the most influential bands in my life and helped stoke a lifelong love of music, but I’d pass on a late-in-life, last-gasp-for-glory tour, and maybe even album. For me, that time has passed. The letter was returned to sender. I’d much prefer to hide out in my mom’s bedroom, put on “Candy-O” and penguin-walk the night away. That’s how I will show my abiding love for the Cars.