September 29, 2008

Merge offers 11 free Portastatic tracks

Merge Records is offering registered members of its online storefront a chance to download 11 additional tracks (a bonus disc, essentially) to accompany its recent Portastatic collection, Some Small History. You can download them as either high-bitrate MP3s or FLAC files. Portastatic frontman Mac McCaughan even includes bonus liner notes for the eleven tracks. And, for all you RVA peeps, there's an Honor Role cover!

Portastatic played twice in Charlottesville in the fall of 2006 — once was Mac opening for M. Ward at Satellite Ballroom with just multi-instrumentalist Margaret White as his "band"; he then came back a month later and headlined the same room with a full ensemble and Jennifer O'Connor opening. Very few people showed up for the second show and I felt pretty awful about it, but Portastatic played an energetic set that far exceeded anyone's expectations for such a dreadful turnout. Mac and Margaret also came by my radio show that afternoon and graciously gave me an interview and played a couple of songs. Mac truly is one of the classiest guys I've met in the biz.

Dig the dig here.

More Portastatic here.

How to Piss Off Every Record Store 101

Guns N' Roses Exclusively Hitting Best Buy Shelves

Giving one store a mega exclusive will cause a couple of different reactions in retail land - some smaller stores will send multiple employees to Best Buy to purchase as many copies of the CD as possible so they in turn can resell them at a slightly higher price at their stores in an effort to offer their customers what they will presumably be looking for. More often though when other artists have made this decision to offer a chain an exclusive many stores will boycott carrying the artist all together because who wants to support a group that one wants to support one retailer. Most certainly if the artist decides to eventually release their record to all stores, many stores will choose to pass on it, again because why would anyone want to accept hand me downs weeks or months after the exclusive hit the less at probably will be at a higher cost. Small retailers, what the industry call regional chains and ma & pa stores curse this kind of behavior from a group, artist, or label because it sends out the message that they don't need those smaller store's support anymore, often the very account that help to break the artist in the first place. And usually these are also the stores who carry the deep catalog by these artists, something the big box stores like Best Buy do not do.

Then again it will be interesting to see if anyone still cares about this record at all. In some ways BB is taking a huge gamble on what could quite possibly be a huge steaming pile o' crap because their store name will be all over it.

"Most executives are aware that Best Buy is landing an exclusive on Chinese Democracy, the long-awaited release from Guns N' Roses. Now, that deal appears ready for official announcement, according to various reports.

On Friday, the New York Times pointed to a release date "as early as" November 25th, while Billboard predicted an appearance "before year's end," both pre-holiday timetables. The parties are reportedly finalizing late-stage negotiation details, which involve Guns representative Front Line Management. The release closely follows a high-profile, pre-release leak of nine tracks by a fan and blogger, a move that resulted in an arrest by the FBI. "

Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio.

Muxtape R.I.P.

"Once white-hot startup Muxtape has officially been buried, thanks to an exhaustive licensing and legal process. In a drawn-out blog on, founder Justin Ouellette spilled the beans on a confusing and complicated clampdown by major labels, one that exposed an uncoordinated and essentially unworkable process.

That process ultimately eliminated a rather innovative concept. Prior to its forced closure, Muxtape allowed users to upload MP3s to create streaming links, essentially a digital mixtape. But quick popularity drew quick attention from major labels, and Ouellette was confronted by a dizzying mix of good cops and bad cops, licensing options and legal hammers. "In the end, Muxtape's legality was moot. I didn't have any money to defend against a lawsuit, just or not, so the major labels had an ax over my head either way," Ouellette described.

That dangling ax is commonplace, though labels approached the matter differently than the RIAA, according to the blog. "I got calls from the marketing departments of big labels whose corporate parents were supposed to be outraged, wanting to know how they get could their latest acts on the home page," Ouellette continued.

The next phase featured licensing discussions, including talks related to specific uses and associated payments. But mid-path, Ouellette was unexpectedly shut down by the RIAA, despite the ongoing negotiations. "I had a panicked exchange of emails with [hosting provider] Amazon [Web Services], trying to explain that I was in the middle of a licensing deal," Ouellette explained, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Ouellette ultimately walked away, and is now considering a different path. The next iteration will be focused on delivering portable and flexible band profiles, according to a top-line sketch."


September 28, 2008

More Air Guitar Toys

Check out the sweet selection of tunes you get to play...two per pick.

"This is a guitar pick-shaped toy called Rock Tamashii (Rock Soul). Once you press a button, the song starts playing. All you need to do is to shake the pick rhythmically as if you were strumming the guitar."

Airguitar Pro

September 26, 2008

Friday Flashcard: I Got Something Better For You

When metal goes from scary to funny in 6 seconds flat. Note to black metal bands - stay away from the witch hat. It is not evil. I repeat. Not evil.

Immortal - Call Of The Wintermoon

September 24, 2008

Abe Vigoda / Skeleton

Artist - Abe Vigoda
Title - Skeleton
Hometown - Chino / L.A.
Label - Post Present Medium
Street Date - Out Now
RIYL - Trinidad pogo party, Health, Animal Collective, No Age, Q and Not U
The Hits - Everything but two or three songs
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale - Strong

First off I think it should be noted that of all the reviews of this record on line, every one places the phrase " tropical punk" in quotes because it is a term the band uses to describe themselves. Shame on Pitchfork for being the only ones to remove the quotes as if to take ownership of it.

Music has been a form of expression and communication for humanity since the beginning of time. The heart and soul of Calypso music was born out of African slaves in Trinidad and Tobago hundreds of years ago when forbidden to communicate with each other, they used up beat joyous music to speak out about everything from life on the island, to political uprising, and attacking their oppressors. As valuable as the messages were, these songs were also an important form of entertainment for the slaves as well. Calypso music blends of Afro-Caribbean styles and in its earliest forms created a bond among a people in a community who otherwise had no voice.

Fast forward generations later and jump to a country that is founded on a melting pot of different cultures that has fused together to form one melted mega sized crayon box from coast to American coast. It probably seemed impossible in the 1800s to imagine a group of non African college students living free from oppression living thousands of miles away from island life tackling traditional jubilant Carnival melodies and rhythms while twisting in a 21st century electrified sonic orgasm yet here it is in the form of Abe Vigoda.

Oddly enough soaking in all of the history rooted in the style of playing found on Skeleton, it is fair to say that at face value, or ear value, they sound like a spin off of Animal Collective. This will undoubtedly work against the band as there is an ever growing number of bands trying on the Afro-Pop costume for size. As over saturated as that sound may be, Abe Vigoda does it better than most and with a technical efficiency that takes Sonic Youth's gluttony of guitars and pits it against a drummer that Zach from Hella would approve of.

On the wrong day Skeleton with all its repetitive rhythms could be migraine inducing but on the right day it will deliver island sunshine channeled through the spirit of a colorful steelpan band celebrating Carnival.

September 23, 2008

mr_hopkinson's computer

What the hell?

"I’m mr_hopkinson’s computer and I like to sing cover versions. I mostly like indie songs from the 80’s & 90’s, but I like some newer ones too. I started off just doing them just to amuse myself but other people seem to like them too, so I’ve been out and about touring this and other countries. It started with a little UK tour with my friends Minotaur Shock and Freeze Puppy, and getting some play on BBC Radio One thanks to Rob Da Bank and Huw Stephens. "

The Perfect Pointless Gift Item for the Music Dork in Your Life

Buy it here. It Looks like tape but it dispenses sticky tape.

September 22, 2008

Not Music Related

But I like TV too.
Pretty neato, right? Oh, what is it?

"Tvbeeboo is a screen accessory, an optical filter which reduce the color's definition of the pictures from television. Apply by suction on the shield'sTV, it transform it to a ambiant light. "
I have a square version of this that suctions to my TV and it is has been a party favorite for years. This item turns any home into swinging 60's bachelor pad in seconds flat. All you do is pick a channel (I prefer the cartoon network as it is usually colorful) and then stick the screen over it. Viola. You have grooviness where once there was none.

Sixtoo / Jackals and Vipers in Envy of Man

Artist: Sixtoo
Title: Jackals and Vipers in Envy of Man
Hometown: Montreal
Label: Ninja Tune
Street Date: Out Now
RIYL: People who don't trust a Pitchfork review
The Hits: I think there is a sweet stoner joke in there somewhere.
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: Strong

I know this record is a year old but F it. It is new to me and I can't believe how off base the PFM review of this record is. I know there have been some great electronic records out there over the past year but this is my favorite, hands down.

I will be lazy and restate what I told my friend who put out this record - this sounds like a Goblin record you can drink 40s to. Yes!

Merge Record Turns 20

Preorders will begin September 8th for SCORE!

Merge Records presents: The First 20 Years, a deluxe subscription-only box set with special artwork and packaging. Quantities will be limited to the number of subscribers who enroll between the September 8th start date and the end of 2008.The first two volumes will kick off a series of 14 custom-curated compilations spanning our catalog, each featuring the curators' handpicked Merge selections as well as original artwork. These compilations and additional content will be delivered only to SCORE! subscribers throughout Merge's 20th anniversary year of 2009.The curators of the first volumes will be Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Phil Morrison, director of Junebug, The Upright Citizens Brigade and numerous music videos. Curators for future volumes will include Amy Poehler, David Byrne, author Jonathan Lethem, artist Marcel Dzama, Momofuku chef David Chang and many more to be announced.Additionally, the entire SCORE! project will benefit specific charitable causes handpicked by the curators.

September 21, 2008

Out with the New In with the Old

Happy first day of Fall.

It would be easy enough to dig up an ancient Fall video to welcome the arrival of the official first day of Autumn but alas I will not.

Thirst released one EP on Ebony Music / Rough Trade in 1987 called Riding the Times. The band featured Martin Bramah (of the Blue Orchids who also featured a Fall member Una) and Karl Burns, both ex patriots of the band the Fall.

Thirst does not mirror the Fall musically to a large degree - in fact they sound like many of the late 80s commercial brooding mid tempo UK pop bands with a touch of the 70s Modern Lovers thrown in.

I don't love this record but I am fond of the title track which you can listen to here. For you Fall collectors this record isn't a super easy find but when you do - it should be affordable- somewhere between $5 and $10.

Mp3 Player Sends Mixed Messages

It is an "MP3 Player built into a standard cassette casing, letting you either use it as a uniquely old school shaped MP3 Player, or with any car cassette or cassette player to play MP3 Music. You will have no problems listening to hours of your favorite songs as this product also has a built in SD Card Slot, saving you flash memory cost as well as letting you quickly change to different songs if you have different SD Cards."

September 19, 2008

Charm City - Not So Much

Hello All,

Sorry for the lack of posts for the past few days. I was in Baltimore for a work related convention where my cold took a turn for the evil and I spent a full day turning my insides out and or sleeping. I headed back home today only to realize my hotel left my luggage on the sidewalk when they returned my car to me and sent me on my way. My bag, still in Baltimore has my laptop, all the awesome records I picked up from the Sound Garden, my toiletry bag, my clothes, my phone charge, you know....all that good stuff. Needless to say I feel like crap and I am praying a friend still in Baltimore can rescue my bag and return it back to me this weekend as the hotel promises they have my bag safe and sound.

Regular posting shall resume next week. Promise.

Happy Weekend,
Lighting's Girl

September 16, 2008

Crisis : Hymns of Faith

A newly acquired used record has me doing a little homework on the band history of Crisis. They were a UK political punk band (think far far far left - big part of the an anti-racism movement) that formed in 77' and disbanded in 1980. Two members went on to form Death in June (Douglas Pierce and Tony Wakeford).

Crisis is an interesting cross of Goth and Post Punk that lands them musically somewhere in the ballpark of Gang of Four, Wire, and The Clash.

I didn't know much about the band besides their connection to DIJ so it was a pleasant surprise to play this EP and discover how brilliant the music is.

I highly recommend seeking their singles and mini-LP out. (And it isn't hard to connect the Death in June's obsession with Nazi Germany looking at some of these song titles)

Hymns of Faith (Mini-LP) (1980)
We Are All Jews and Germans double CD (1997 compilation)
Holocaust Hymns (2005 single CD compilation)
Ends! (2008 live CD of final show in 1980)

"No Town Hall" 7" (1979)
"UK 79"/"White Youth" (1979)
"Alienation" (1981)
"Holocaust U.K." 12" (Compilation of first two singles)

Just Cause

Mazzy Star:

Fade Into You (1993)

Halah (1990)

Before I Sleep (1990)

Lego Record Cover Art

Check out all the different pictures of Lego record art here.

What are you looking at?

Yeah I am posting about opera after a Metallica review. What of it?

I have a friend visiting me from Los Angeles right now and she has been filling me on some pretty interesting modern operas taking place at the Los Angeles Opera as of late.

Film Director David Cronenberg (Scanners, The Fly, Crash) has teamed up with composer Howard Shore (Silence of the Lambs, Lord of the Rings) to bring to the stage a rather avante 2 act version of the movie The Fly - IE the screenplay from the 80's combined with the 50's film version which then also references the original 1957 short story by George Langelaan.

Most of the reviews thus far haven't been terribly kind. It opened in Paris to awful reviews....and the nasty reviews have shadowed it to our continent. "It isn't even good enough to be offensive." "I am at a loss to understand why "The Fly" has turned out so dreary, despite the inclusion of sex, nudity, puppetry and athleticism."

The opera fan sitting on the couch next to me enjoyed the production and besides all the ground breaking aspects of the production our theory is this might be just the kind of shift opera needed to take to keep new generations interested in the art form as the older, more traditional older opera goers are literally dying out.

From the opera's website :

"Plácido Domingo conducts the U.S. premiere of the LA Opera-commissioned opera written by Oscar®-winning composer Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings)based on the original 1957 George Langelaan short story as well as David Cronenberg’s 1986 film, with a libretto by the Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly). This marks not only the operatic debut of the film director, but also the LA Opera debut of the celebrated Academy Award-winning designer Dante Ferretti (The Aviator, Sweeney Todd).

ime magazine described The Fly as "a profound parable on love and loss." In its metamorphosis into an opera, this dark romantic tragedy presents a Kafkaesque meditation on man's uneasy relationship with technology. As the doomed scientist Seth Brundle and his girlfriend Veronica Quaife, Daniel Okulitch and Ruxandra Donose will be making their LA Opera debuts. Gary Lehman plays the part of Veronica's editor and former lover, Stathis Borans. "
This just the begining of more unusual film to stage collaberations and here is a list of some others that have happened already or are coming to a stage in the not so near future.

Sophie's Choice William Styron's novel was adapted for film in 1982, starring Meryl Streep. In 2002 it was made into an opera by Nicholas Maw but it received poor reviews.

Lost Highway David Lynch's 1997 film noir was adapted as an opera by Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth in 2003. The plot focuses on a jazz musician accused of murdering his wife who transforms into another man, escapes, and seduces his wife again. The opera toured Europe and the US.

Dancer in the Dark Lars von Trier's 2000 film, which starred Björk, is being adapted into an opera by the Royal Danish Theatre. It is expected to premiere in 2010-2011.

Brokeback Mountain Charles Wuorinen is adapting Brokeback Mountain for New York City Opera, expected to debut in 2013. The 2005 film, directed by Ang Lee, starred Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as cowboys who fall in love.

And also from the LA Opera site:
Award-winning film directors William Friedkin (The Exorcist) and Woody Allen join forces to create a new cinematic production of Puccini's trio of one-act operas. (running now)

September 13, 2008

Metallica - 'Death Magnetic'

Just because the new Metallica record 'Death Magnetic' isn't bad, does not mean that it is good. It is a common misconception that if something isn't bad, then it must be good. In reality, there is a very large gray area of mediocrity between those two , and this record swims in that place. Sometimes it swims twords the top, sometimes it sinks tword the bottom, but it never quite gets to either place. Admittedly, it is refreshing to hear a metal band playing riffs, and there is some good riffage sprinkled into this record. Too many metal bands now days are overly concerned with being extreme for the sake of being extreme. Modern metal is almost a competition where bands try to out do each other in being the sickest, or the fastest, or the most technical. Metallica is not ever going to be any of those things (they did a Bob Seger cover for christ sakes), so they play classic riffs by default. We all agree that 'St. Anger' was terrible, and that the 'Some kind of monster' movie was as depressing as it was entertaining. 'Death Magnetic' is certainly a step up from that audio stain. This record is listenable, but should that be the benchmark that bands strive for? Listenable? That being said, there are very few bands that release listenable records in their 25th year. That is a respectable feat.

Lars' drumming drags on this record and may be the main reason that it has a hard time generating enthusiasm. James is still a ripping guitarist, but his vocals are played out, and his lyrics still dip into that corny realm that 'Enter Sandman' resided in. In his defense, he is a sober 45 year old millionare, not exactly the ideal candidate for edgy lyrical content.

(Have I gone too far with this pic?)

There is some very good material on this record, it's classic metal that Metallica themselves helped define. It just doesn't ever rise above that bar that Metallica themselves helped to set so high. This record will please current fans of Metallica and will probably gain them some new fans, but it won't turn around those who gave up on them previously. It is simply a case of too little, too late.

(How about now? Too far?)

I recently went to a place in northern New Jersey called Space Farms. It is a strange combination of zoo and museum (zooseum anyone?). Well for many years now they have been home to the largest brown bear in captivity, Goliath. The only catch is, he died in 1991. The mighty beast still resides at Space Farms however, taxidermied in their lobby. Metallica is much like Goliath, you can still visit him, and he is still interesting for a moment, but it's just not the same as when he was alive.

The once mighty Goliath.

In more Metallica related news, this summer the band backed up King Diamond on a ten minute medley of classic Merciful Fate material. Here is the video:

I think this rips! Even though King Diamond looks like a cross between a hobo clown and Bam Margera, and his air guitaring is chillingly embarrassing.

September 11, 2008

Guitar God?

Guitar Praise is a Christian video game knockoff that allows you to - and I quote - "BLAST that solid Christian Rock!" I shit you not. Also - "you'll soon be rockin' with the best while praising the Lord!" Oh goody-goody Saturday night can now be almost as fun as Sunday service. The wireless guitar will allow you to keep on rocking while you stand up, sit down, kneel down, genuflect and receive Holy Communion.

Forgive me Father for I have sinned, I have yanked on my whammy bar inappropriately.

Can you imagine the poor kid that has to tell his new friend that these songs are just as good as Black Sabbath, or The Sword?

Also, I guess they didn't hear Pope Benedict XVI's opinion - "It is possible to modernize holy music, but it should not happen outside the traditional path of Gregorian chants or sacred polyphonic choral music." - Now there is a game that I would like to see.

The Pope may be a closet rocker though, my extensive research has uncovered shocking photographic proof that former Pope John Paul II was indeed a headbanger.

Personally, I am holding out for next big thing : Sousaphone Hero.

Everyone loves a parade!

Friday Flashcard: Name That Metal Band

Brazil has so many metal bands to pick from it is almost unreal, especially of the grind design. This band's name has 10 syllables and comes across more like a potty humored word jumble than anything that makes actual sense.

See the comments section for the name and link to the band.

September 10, 2008


I first became aware of Joe Preston during his time in The Melvins. His thunderous bass playing and unique personality showed through the already heavier than lead sound that The Melvins had. Since that time, Joe has been very active on the bass. Here is a list of bands he has been a member of, which Joe himself put together and he admits may be incomplete.

- Melvins
- High On Fire
- Sunn 0)))
- Earth
- C Average
- Harvey Milk
- Mens Recovery Project

as well as:
Blasphematherion, Concrete, Hillbilly Wizard, Last Empire, Loud Machine, Mancampus, The Need, Rhine Maidens, Snakepit, Spirit Bunny, Superconducter, Sue P. Fox, Thor, Witchypoo, and The Whip.

There is NO equal!

In 1994 Joe began releasing solo music under the name Thrones. In Thrones he plays super heavy, yet very melodic, bass guitar and sings over a collection of drum machines, samplers and sequencers. The music he produces is all his own. Pure Joe.

Although he has been a part of some of the heaviest bands in history, in Thrones he stands alone. He not only stands alone, he plays alone, and often, he rides alone. Joe has been known to tour alone, or sometimes with his cat in the van. He is beholden to no one. This is the sound of human instinct. The first time that I saw Thrones live, the bottoms of my feet were tingling from the floor of the club vibrating. Total power. He is touring the west coast this fall, and I suggest that you get out and witness the power of one man, four strings, and a killer beard.

This is what awaits is your destiny:

The Fakebook Chronicles

This is slightly behind the times but worth sharing:

Paul over at Setting The Woods On Fire posted a set of mp3s of the original versions of songs covered by Yo La Tengo on their fantabulous Fakebook album. This record has a special place in the hearts of many YLT fans, and it has aged surprisingly well. They cover a lot of bases on this record, from the mellow twang-rock of the post-Gram Flying Burrito Brothers to Daniel Johnston's damaged musings (if you haven't seen The Devil and Daniel Johnston documentary, you really should). These songs might not all appeal to every taste, but it serves as a primer to just how vast and truly catholic the tastes of Georgia and Ira are. James wasn't in the band at the time of Fakebook's release, but he brought even more variety to the list of covers — who else would attempt The Dead C and Hot Chocolate?

Some of the songs here were probably pretty hard to track down — I had 7 of them in my collection already, but the others are surely a welcome addition. Check the post out here:

The Fakebook Originals

The Obits sign to Subpop

I love Rick Fork in the most heterosexual of ways...I swear.

Black Flag - My War : Bid Now!

Check out this EBAY post.

Test pressing of Black Flag's My War - starting bid is $6000.00 or buy it now for $9000.00

"Very rare punk rock record, but rarer for the original pen & ink Raymond Pettibon art on the front of the sleeve. "

Love Is All - The Wait Is Over

Taken from their MySpace blog:

Hi! Our new album " A Hundred Things Keep Me up at Night" is now available for pre-ordering over at Insound. If you pre-order you will receive the album and a 7" record with the first single "Wishing Well" and a cover version of Faith no more's "Epic" as a b-side, featuring Faith No More's keyboard player Roddy Bottom playing the piano outro! And also MP3's! Check out the insound page for exact details!

Sonic Youth Takes the Indie Bull By the Horns

Take from Sonic Youths ' Gossip Board and confirmed everywhere minus Pitchfork who is slower than all the blog these days to report breaking news.... Sonic Youth signs to Matador Records.

"After rampant speculation, Matador Records can confirm the label will be releasing a new studio album from Sonic Youth sometime in 2009. Having fulfilled their contractual obligations to the Universal Music Group, Sonic Youth recently reached an agreement with Matador to release the band's 16th album of new material in all worldwide territories, save for Japan. While Sonic Youth's status as one of the more innovative and influential bands of the past 30 years needs little explanation, the group's most recent recordings for Geffen --- 2006's 'Rather Ripped' being their final for the label --- rank amongst the current decade's best. For Matador, the opportunity to work in partnership with a group who've made such an profound impact on our roster/hometown/collective consciousness was one to jump at. Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley will commence recording the new Sonic Youth LP/CD this autumn and we look forward to sharing further details in the very near future."

Amazon Wins the Indie Award of the Week


Indies Get Another Straight Shot at AmazonMP3...

Independent artists now have another method for directly uploading content into AmazonMP3. On Tuesday, Amazon-owned CreateSpace announced that independent artists and labels can direct-port their MP3s into the online store, without any setup fees. That offers a cheaper alternative to TuneCore, though CreateSpace only delivers content into Amazon.
On the physical side, CreateSpace also allows artists to create and position CDs on Amazon, a dual-format play. " customers will be able to discover even more music from independent musicians and labels and be able to enjoy that music on any hardware device or on CD if they prefer," explained Dana LoPiccolo-Giles, cofounder and managing director at CreateSpace.

AmazonMP3 currently carries a catalog fo 6.1 million songs, from both independent and major label sources. Independent artists can upload their content at


This Weeks Indie Chart : Top 20 Sellers in America


And here is the list of top selling "Alternative New Artists Albums - a slightly less scary list:


By my calculations it also looks like digitial music is up over 30% since last year and physical music is down over 15%. No shocker news there.

Nerd Alert: Large Hadron Collider Rap : Update!


Scientists in Geneva, Switzerland tested the HC successfully this morning. Read all about it here. Clearly if I am able to write this - A black hole was NOT created as feared to happen by many skeptics. And yes, I woke up at 6:30 AM to read the news about how this legendary scientific test to understand the universe / test the Big Bang theory went. Today was just a small test so much more exciting news to come in regards to the world's first and largest particle accelerator.

I wasn't kidding. When I say nerd alert, I mean it.


Best noise maker ever. (at a mere 3k cost)

September 9, 2008


Works of art and speakers. Nacsound makes stunning home audio equiptment most of us will never ever be able to afford but looking won't cost you a dime.

More picture of their line can be found here.

September 8, 2008

Tuesday Street Dates

I always wondered why music new releases had a Tuesday street date and now I know thanks to the wonderful world of the Internet.

"Albums are released on Tuesdays because sales figures for albums are released on Mondays. While films are ranked according to weekend sales figures, the billboard charts are determined according to weekly sales. Thus, in order to maximize their sales potential, albums have to be released immediately after the posting of the previous week's sales figures."

The link also has a running commentary from people who have their own two cents to add to the Tuesday release date discussion.

September 7, 2008

The LP -v- the Cassette

In 1986 there were two formats to choose between: the cassette or the LP.

There was only one record store in a 30 mile radius of the town I grew up in so my monthly trip to Crazy Eddies on Rt. 17 in NJ meant an enormous amount to me. I had just discovered my passion for music and without knowing what the genre was called, who else like the same bands, or what these bands represented, this "weird" music made the outsider misfit kid in me feel like, when I listened to these records , that I belonged somewhere. That is a powerful and addictive feeling to a lost teenager and in turn finding and buying these records became a very potent and important ritual in my life.

If I purchased new music on LP it meant I would have a very personal private bedroom experience with the record. I could spend hours not only listening to the record but also reading along to the lyric sheet and pouring over the art and liner notes. At the time it never occurred to me that albums could be collectible, that there were thousands of other kinds of music to explore, no less that there was a world of used records out there waiting to be browsed. I bought music for one reason alone, it comforted me during a time where I didn't understand who I was no less why I felt different from anyone else. Music was an important to me as food or air, maybe more important because it was the one thing in my life as I kid I had some control over. My parents didn't pick out these records for me, I did. These records represented the first hint of my taste as an individual and while I was picking them, they were also shaping me and introducing me to a world outside of the mainstream...a shock to the system for a kid who up until that point didn't know there was an alternative to the mainstream.

The catch however with LPs was the fact that if I purchased it, I would have to wait at least 15 minutes until I got home to play it on the record player in my bedroom and that was only if my Mother who drove me to the store went straight home. Usually we ran errands on the day we drove to Crazy Eddies and there was a good chance we would be in the car for close to an hour before I could break the seal of plastic around the jacket sleeve and introduce the wax platter to my turntable. As a kid 15 minutes felt like 15 days so as you can imagine, there wasn't a feeling of instant gratification when I purchased an LP. It was like giving a starving person who hadn't had food in over a month a Thanksgiving meal and being told that had to wait 15 minutes before they took the first bite. Those minutes with a new record sitting in a paper bag un-played were pure torture.

The solution to this was buying a cassette. I accepted this format to be a lesser one but the instant gratification of being able to play it in the car seconds after I purchased it balanced out the hiss and disappointing palm sized artwork.

My mom was a huge music fan so she was always amazingly enthusiastic to hear whatever I had purchased that trip. Even more incredibly she understood the importance of a new record to me and she sat in silence as I fed a tape into the player. We quietly waited together for sound to spill out of the car speakers and we didn't speak again until the car was in the garage and the engine was off.

The first time a new tape was played in the car we listened to it with the kind of sacred respect one has for a church sermon and I feel blessed that my Mom understood music was like a religion to me. I was never made to feel stupid for my music selections and during the span of time those tapes played her red Chevy I didn't feel like an awkward kid, I felt like a human being connecting to something bigger than me and more importantly something that didn't seem to belong to any age group. Music was this wonderful and alien other that allowed me to flee momentarily from being trapped inside a body of a 15 year old girl.

Tonight a friend and I reminisced about these early years of record addiction and the psychological impact it had on us no less how it helped to define the adults we have become. We both recalled very specific memories of these early records, where we were when played them and the feeling those records gave us. My strongest and earliest memory of listening to a brand new cassette on the drive home from the record store with my Mom involves The Smiths' The Queen is Dead.

I was raised on classical music, The Beatles, show tunes, and top 4o radio so anything outside of that realm was groundbreaking and earth shattering to me. I had approached a record store clerk about a band I accidentally discovered on a late night video program and he (being the first Goth boy I had ever seen or met) seemed delighted that this preppy clueless nubile was drawn to underground music...something at the time I had never heard of no less could pick out of an audio line up. He selected The Smiths tape for me as a starting place and if I liked it, I could come back and he would pick more music for me to check out. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. At the time I was an empty page with zero expectations and it is nearly impossible as an adult to fathom that kind of openness. Once upon a time I was musically vacant and the ground floor of my passion for music had yet to be built. The Smiths, along with groups like The Cure and Depeche Mode were among the first lines in the epic love story that has become my life dedicated to music.

It was a summer night and the windows of the car were open. We drove on the highway for a short time but then the rest of our return to home trip was spent on the quiet dark back roads of Saddle River. In seconds flat of side A unfolding I didn't recognize what I was listening to. It wasn't a kind of music I had ever heard before.

The song begins with a group sing along that is clearly English - not American so to an American East Coast youngster this sounded strange, mysterious, and disconcerting. I had no idea if this was The Smiths and this was what they sounded like (oh the horror!) and waited impatiently hear what happened next.

I knew the song was called "The Queen is Dead" and even then I knew no other song titled like that to compare it to. Cyndi Lauper and Madonna didn't have songs named like this. As the tape was playing and I felt like I had been thrown into the deep end without the skill to swim. I was in uncharted waters and my ears were failing to grasp onto to something I could call familiar to grab onto.

Drums take over the song with a guitar feeding back and then the rest of the song storms in. I sat motionless and in what I can only describe as awe. There was no Morrissey like voice in my life before this moment in time. There had been no lyrical content to match this in my life previous to this record. There was no Johnny Marr, nothing so blatantly dark and was all new to the point of humbling. By the third song I was thriving on the fact that it was all 100% new and fresh to me. I owned this new sound and it was intoxicating to feel sole ownership of something at a point in my life when the world seemed to own me. It wasn't on the radio or at a friend's house or on TV, these groups only existed in my tape and record collection.

In an instant I knew a door had been opened that not only had been closed up until this point in my life but for fuck sake, I had no idea this door existed in the first place. It wasn't just love I felt, it was the sound of a home I was looking to move into and spend the rest of my life in. It doesn't get much bigger than that moment in time for me.

I bring you "The Queen is Dead". The song begins with a clip from the movie The L-Shaped Room - a bit of trivia I only learned tonight as I began writing this piece.

The Dreamers

I can't wait for the weather to get chilly so I can curl up with this record again. This Swedish / UK group makes music appropriate to their band name.

September 4, 2008

Lair of the Minotaur : War Metal Battle Master

A little change of pace from the usual Friday Flashcard of "Name That Metal Band" Instead I give you something way cooler, a Lair of the Minotaur review by Eugene and Frances.

Eugene gives this record one leg twitch and Frances offers up a brief raising of the head to the guitar solo work.

I think this means they aren't too impressed.

September 3, 2008

The Mummers

You are so in for a treat. The Mummers are a UK group that does orchestrated pop with vocals that sound like The Cardigans on Broadway. They have a new record out called Tale to Tell on Big Bass Drum Records and while I haven't looked around for it much on line, I do know Rough Trade (webstore) is all about this band.

The Rapture

So that is what they have been up to.

From their MySpace blog:

Monday, June 09, 2008

"Hey, we’re not dead!

It's been a long time since we've surfaced much of anywhere. A DJ gig here and there maybe, but I guess that's about it. So anyway, here's what's new.We spent the fall and early part of the winter building a new studio. We'll put up pictures soon...You should hear some new things coming out of here over the summer and fall, we will obviously keep you posted. I swear, we are incredibly busy right now.

But, for those of you who were looking we haven't exactly disappeared. We've got a new song out RIGHT NOW in Grand Theft Auto IV. It's called "No Sex For Ben" and you can listen to it here, or go buy it directly here on Amazon or go buy the game and drive around until you hear us. We're getting our copies soon. Yeah, it took a minute.Anyway chickens, just thought we'd reach out to you and say what's up. We'll be back at you with more updates soon, promise.


This Weeks Indie Chart : Top 20 Sellers in America


Yeah But Your Music Still Sounds Like Crap In This Format

"A Different Kind of Album Coming to the iPhone?"

Digital album downloads deliver the music, but the trimmings are usually slim. That has given some advantage to fuller formats like the CD and vinyl, often a draw for more die-hard fans.

Now, that picture could begin to change. On Tuesday, MusicWeek reported that Apple is partnering with Snow Patrol on a new, interactive album format. The more involved download will be presented as an application for the iPhone or iPod touch, one that allows fans to access lyrics, artwork, and other extras. "It will be an interactive element; a digital booklet that will take you into the videos and content," Polydor product manager Liz Goodwin said.
The album, A Hundred Million Suns, is slated to hit iPhones next month, according to the report. Snow Patrol is expected to be the first of several artists to tap into the interactive format."


Bad Ideas Happen to Good Games

"Pumpkins Delivering Guitar Hero Exclusive...

The Smashing Pumpkins are delivering an exclusive single for the upcoming, Guitar Hero World Tour, slated for release this fall. The track will be titled "G.L.O.W." according to game publisher Activision. "This marks the first time a band has recorded a new song exclusively for the franchise which will be released afterwards, giving Guitar Hero fans exclusive access to Smashing Pumpkins music before anyone else," Activision stated.

The song will be packaged as a three-song download pack, alongside "1979" and "The Everlasting Gaze". Additionally, Billy Corgan will appear as an in-game avatar, bringing with him the classic song, "Today," an in-disc cut. The exclusive follows an earlier announcement by Guns N' Roses, which is planning to deliver an exclusive track to Rock Band 2."


September 2, 2008

New Emiliana Torrini Album

For those of you who aren't familiar, Emiliana is an Icelandic / Italian solo artist now living in the U.K who sounds a little like Bjork. She lost me after her debut record but I like the new track posted on MySpace.

Rough Trade Announce New Emiliana Torrini Album :

Rough Trade Records are delighted to announce a stunning new album from the hugely talented Emiliana Torrini. Following on from her critically acclaimed sets 'Love In The Time Of Science' and her first for Rough Trade 'Fisherman's Woman', the forthcoming 'Me And Armini' (released 8th September) sees her working once again with her long time producer/collaborator Dan Carey resulting in what we feel is destined to be one of the albums of 2008. 'Me And Armini' is a hugely ambitious and aspirational pop record with Emiliana's soaring voice centre stage, bolstered by a rich gamut of musical styles. From the summery feel of the title track to the surging, breathless, first single 'Jungle Drum' (released 29th September) and yearning, spine-tingling 'Big Jumps' and much more in between 'Me And Armini' is a truly fantastic album.UPDATE: 'Me And Armini' will be released as a digital single in the US exclusively via iTunes on 19th August, with the album of the same name to follow on 9th September.Listen to the title track 'Me And Armini' on Emiliana's MySpace now!

This is a video for "Dead Things" off the first album.

September 1, 2008

Two for Tuesday

These are two newish records that go together like chocolate and peanut butter if C&P had attitude and could play monster melodies of thunderous proportions on a guitar.

Cheap Time - s/t - In the Red

Jay Reatard - Singles 06-07 - In the Red

Boys from Tennessee seem to really know how to bring it like a freight train filled with the best pop punk garage records from the 70s and 80s.

Cheap Time live: