The Exploding Hearts - brighten up that grey, LA day!

You have to love a group that looks like a Clash cover band and has got that bright, jangly, garage-pop down.

VIDEO: The Exploding Heart - 'Rumours in Town'


Best Albums and Songs of 2009

It was a great year for music, even for us indie kids. So many solid albums and even more stellar songs/singles. On my list, it was a good year for Bradford Cox, repeating his place at the top - this year as Atlas Sound and in 2008 with Deerhunter's 'Microcastle'. What can I say? This dude knows how to put together great tracks while keeping the cohesion necessary for a solid LP.

Soooo, without further ado-

Best Albums of 2009

1. Atlas Sound - Logos

Prior to it's release, Bradford said his second album under the Atlas Sound name would be more poppy and accessible than 'Let the Blind Lead Those...' - he was right. 'Logos' is a beautiful collection of bliss and pop-hooks, peaking with the sparkling 'Walkabout' ft. Noah Lennox. This song actually came about from a meeting between Cox and Lennox, a subsequent discussion about sampling and a Boss SP-303.

2. Flaming Lips - Embryonic

At least we can say that we won't hear any of these songs on a commercial. The Lips have managed to reinvent themselves once more, strongly venturing into an album full of electronic blips and acid-grooves. The blown-out speakers mixed with the simplistic layering of many of the tracks makes 'Embryonic' a true headphone album that is a pleasure to listen to again and again.

3. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion

These boys just keep getting better, eh? I did go on a bit of a rant about A.C. but, always maintained that these guys were genius' and this album definitely reflects that. Lush samples and inter-track, evolving loops provide a treat to active listeners. Coupled with the late quarter release of the 'Fall Be Kind' EP, solid activity has proven to be the best medicine for a group of hearty, soul-brained, sampling conductors.

4. Eels – Hombre Lobo

While the Eels tend to come and go from the radar screen, E certainly will be staying on it through the next release 'End Times' whose news has already started to leak out as the band has offered a free mp3 download from the album and some nice looking pre-orders on their site. 'Hombre Lobo', as with all the Eels releases, has plenty of the lonely man watching his dream girl from afar lyrics but, the songs are all presented with great variety - electronic, garage blues, delicate arpeggios and sharp distortion, as well.

5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It's Blitz

I'll be honest, I'm still not a fan of 'Zero' but, the album as a whole is brilliant. The return to 80's sounding synths was an excellent move. I think the heavy reverbed guitars as their complete sound had grown a bit old. Nick Zinner, the sonic architect gets a MicroKorg popped in front of him and told he needs to not play as much guitar and produces a masterpiece. Not too shabby :)

6. Girls - Album

A late-comer with their release, Girls skyrocketed up people's play lists after getting a nice boost from Pitchfork. While some of the depth of these songs gets lost in the live tracks I've seen, 'Album' delivers with 50's era harmonies and chord jangles fresh from a Kinks-era of pop perfection.

7. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

The early front runner behind the 'Two Weeks' single (even before it was a single), just re-established what we already know about Grizzly Bear - chamber pop is not dead and soft does not mean lacking.

8. Bat for Lashes – Two Suns

A beautiful, musical prodigy who pens all of her own songs, moulds the soundscape and has such an alluring, haunting voice too? I couldn't be happier - anything to flush out that negative female pop-star image that poisons people's brains with Hannah Montana and High School Musical. The darkness of a lot of the songs intrigues me yet, subtle fillers and bright chord rips reveal something new on every listen.

9. Mastodon – Crack the Skye

Ah, nothing like being able to put a metal album in a best of the year list - I cry black tears of joy. Seeming to be more of a prog-metal band, Mastodon's 'Crack the Skye' sounded more like Pink Floyd turning up to 10 on a Mesa Boogie triple-rectifier and eating a bunch of acid. If that doesn't sound appealing, throw away your headphones.

10. Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures

Supergroup is a dangerous word but, if it's composed of Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones, 'supergroup' is no longer the right term - I believe mega-coalition is more like it. Filled with Zeppelin-esque riffs, Grohl's ferocious drumming and just enough of that Desert sound sprinkled throughout, TCV kicked down the door and is still stomping on the panels. The smart and controlled marketing campaign of 'Follow What's Heard' dropped teasers and hints throughout various web pages and got everyone's mouths salivating at the prospect of what was to come - and come I, I mean, it did.

Honorable mention

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains

A new band whose sound is larger than their 3-piece set-up and said they learned how to make a record by listening to Wilco's 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot'. If there is any prerequisite for checking out a new band, following the Jeff Tweedy method is one of them. Early in their career, they've learned how to leave room to explode in songs and seamlessly flow into a different track. Expect big things from these guys, I do.

Spiral Stairs - The Real Feel

As the second guitarist in Pavement, Scott Kannberg held his own. In his first, proper solo release, his song writing is as good as anything Pavement put out and instead of a compilation of quirky b-sides, we get a complete album with strong structure and a nice journey of tracks.

Obits - I Blame You

Sub-Pop has been on a role these days with their signings and Obits was no different. I have a soft-spot in my heart for bands made up of grown-ups and not young kids so, I immediately was spinning this album non-stop. Garage pop with a solid helping of punk riffs and single coiled guitars made their rookie release a fresh listen and excellent palette cleanser when you are not quite sure what to throw on your iPod.

Future of the Left - Travels With Myself and Another

From the ashes of the band McLusky, singer/vocalist Andy "Falco" Falkous and drummer Jack Egglestone may have put together the most deceptive and aggressive dance-rock album of the year.

Best Songs

1. Atlas Sound ft. Noah Lennox - 'Walkabout'

As far as I'm concerned, this song is the pinnacle of all those chill-wave songs but with some bite. I don't really think much else needs to be said about this song except that it truly is pop-perfection and, I refuse to number any of the songs after this because, without the context of the albums it's not fair and well, this track pretty much transcends them all. It wasn't even close.

But, the rest...

Animal Collective – Summertime Clothes
Eels – In My Dreams
Cymbals Eat Guitars – ..And the Hazy Sea
No Age – You're a Target
Spiral Stairs – True Love
Bat for Lashes – Daniel
Thom Yorke – All For The Best
Deerhunter – Disappearing Ink
Mastodon – Oblivion
Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks
Dinosaur Jr. - Over It
Sonic Youth – Sacred Trickster
Sunset Rubdown - You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)
Wilco – Wilco (The Song)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Soft Shock
Girls – Laura
Built to Spill – Aisle 13
Monsters of Folk – Say Please
The Dead Weather – Hang You From the Heavens
Them Crooked Vulture – No One Loves Me (And Neither Do I)
The XX – vcr
The King Khan and BBQ Show – I'll Be Loving You
Arctic Monkeys – Crying Lightning
Future of the Left – Arming Eritrea
Small Black – Despicable Dogs

Best Album Concept

The Mountain Goats and John Vanderslice - Moon Colony Bloodbath EP

All I need to say is that it's about organ harvesting colonies on the moon.

Top 5 Shows I Attended in 2009

1. The Flaming Lips @ The Greek Theatre
2. Them Crooked Vultures @ The Wiltern
3. Sunset Rubdown @ The Troubadour
4. Wilco @ The Wiltern
5. TV on the Radio @ The Ventura Theatre


Show review: Lilys @ Spaceland

It has certainly been a while since Kurt Heasley brought his band out for a live run. But, the pleasant surprise of seeing an ad mid-week that said Lilys were playing that Sunday changed that.

Lilys hit the road for a small cluster of West Coast tour dates and a couple Sundays ago, saw them bring their show to the small and David Lynch-esque Spaceland venue in Silverlake. While the place was virtually empty through the opening bands, there couldn't have been more than 100 people there by the time their set ended.

Kicking things off with 'Squares' and providing peppy and jangly renditions of tracks including (my favorite song) 'Ginger' and 'Nanny in Manhattan', the band looked happy and Kurt was talkative throughout - though sometimes a bit incoherent.

While there were no lush, shoe-gazey offerings of anything from 'In the Presence of Nothing', there was no love lost among the committed - surely, anyone at Spaceland on a Sunday night doesn't just 'happen to be there'.

All in all, the bartender mixed some strong drinks which kicked in at the right time and LA was treated to a rare Lilys appearance, well, since their last time at Spaceland.

VIDEO: Kurt Heasley - 'Ginger' (acoustic)


Johnny Marr: Guitar Mercenary

After catching The Cribs on Letterman and watching the guitar master of Manchester do his thing with his newest band, I realized that Johnny Marr is now officially a mercenary guitarist-for-hire and well, that's awesome.

We have all too often seen great ax men eventually part ways with their main band only to roll out a solo project with a title that is somehow a play on their name, full of rehashed riffs, 'special guests' and knob-polishing, ego-gluttonous soloing.

Not Johnny Marr.

While he did have his stint with The Healers, he easily shrugged off that iteration of his ability and moved on to being a hired gun (of sorts) for Modest Mouse and helping write the phenomenal 'We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank' while putting enough of his own swoon-worthy riffs to let you know he's there but, not envelop the sound. Isaac Brock, frontman for Modest Mouse, has openly stated that Johnny Marr has an open door policy with the band to come and go as he wishes.

The latter provided him with the ability to join The Cribs, a favorite band of his from the UK. An already talented group, Marr fit in seamlessly and has since put his Jaguar to work.

We may never see a Smiths reunion. Morrissey will probably continue to put out the same solo album again and again. But, before long, we may just see another Johnny Marr infused band and I couldn't' be happier.

VIDEO: The Cribs on Letterman


Halloween show review: 400 Blows @ Nomad Gallery

It was a beautiful All Hallows Eve in Echo Park – a crisp and cool night, several Jack Skellingtons walking about and yes, there was even street parking! Nomad Gallery and art compound opened their doors to host a Halloween event which showcased several great costumes (I think zombie Jesus was my favorite), old horror flicks projected on the walls and a great set from LA's own 400 Blows.

The band's following is a hearty mix of off-the-path scene kids, devout metal/punk fans and hardcore tone chasers. Mostly unheard of outside Los Angeles, the band has managed to cruise below the radar even after releasing two stellar albums - 'The Black Rainbow' (2003) and 'Angel's Trumpets and Devil's Trombones' (2005).

Playing their first show in sometime and with a slightly re-tooled lineup (though no ferocity lost), they erupted into 'The Beauty of Internal Darkness'. Lead vocalist, Skot, let it be known that 'this wasn't a reunion' and that 'they never left'. After proceeding to tear through a few new songs, Blows capped their night with the explosive 'Electric Wilderness' which sent the crowd into a beautiful chaos.

It would be a shame if this band didn't gain a larger following but, from what I can see, they don't mind one bit as long as their friends and fans are the same thing.

VIDEO: 400 Blows - 'Electric Wilderness' (live)

MySpace: www.myspace.com/400blows


Show review: Sunset Rubdown @ The Troubadour

On Tuesday night, Sunset Rubdown concluded their North American tour at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. 'This is the last one for a while', said front man Spencer Krug who added, 'all good things must end'.

Suffering from a cold, Krug started the set with just a guitar before being joined by the rest of his band which included the brilliant multi-instrumentalist (though the band has a few) Camilla Wynne Ingr who was just fascinating to watch perform albeit, spurned on by the intrigue of watching her play a xylophone with a vibrator.

The band's set list spanned all of their releases and even offered up a new song. Overall, their live sound was polished and top notch. And, even on songs that featured tandem drummers, nothing was over done and there was plenty of breathing room for all the brilliant fills that fans have become accustomed to while swooning with their headphones on, to ring through.

While nobody hopes that we've seen the last of Sunset Rubdown, at least we have plenty of side projects to keep us entertained :)

_Major thanks to Sean at Speed, Glue and Music for introducing me to this band a few years back. Well done sir.

VIDEO: Sunset Rubdown - Troubadour, 10.27.09


Julian Casablancas - November residency in LA

I hate posting 'news' on here but, the tidbits I do post are for the LA brethren, cool happening, cool happenings :)

That said, Julian Casablancas is doing a November residency at the Downtown Palace Theatre in LA - dates and address below.

November 6 - On Sale 10/23 @ 10am
November 13 - On Sale 10/26 @ 10am
November 20 - On Sale 10/28 @ 10am
November 27 - On Sale 10/30 @ 10am

Downtown Palace Theatre
630 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA

VIDEO: Julian Casablancas - 'Phrazes for the Young' Sampler


coming soon! NOTHING.COM

tee in pic courtesy of Threadless.com

How about a music site to satisfy the most elitist of the elite where basic e-snobbery is done with? The new 'site' can be called nothing.com. It will be no-fi, no-wave and where it's cool to listen to nothing but, even nothing is something so they'll have to be an anti-website which doesn't exist and only thought to be in existence somewhere at sometime but, if you know about it, you are already too mainstream.


Review: Spiral Stairs - 'The Real Feel'

In June, we were all pleasantly surprised by Matador's announcement (on their Matablog) of Scott 'Spiral Stairs' Kannberg's first-official solo-outing 'The Real Feel'. The news was accompanied by a memorable album cover and presumably the lead single, 'Maltese T' with it's Pavement-esque jangle-pop which instantly rooted itself in my mind and my play list with a stellar follow-up single, 'True Love' hitting the net a couple weeks ago.

Last week, I spun the full album for the first time and it is as good as the two singles would lead one to believe. Kannberg has put together a grown-up pop album with a decent amount of alt-country influence including lush slide-fills and banjo riffs too. But, undoubtedly, plenty of his sound contribution in Pavement is present in the LP as well.

On 'Call the Ceasefire', Kannberg sings 'did you realize, that was betrayal'. Perhaps the album may have been during the Pavement era but, the hiatus/break allowed him to polish up and offer a release as good as anything else that you've heard this year and comparable to most of the Pavement albums.

The album bobs and weaves through genres without losing it's focus or the listener's attention but, always comes back to that slight country twang that separates this album from the pack - it's cohesion is in it's diversity. 'Wharf Hand Blues' reminds me of an early-90's, contemporary jazz, Sade type vibe. While 'Subiaco Shuffle' is a foot-stomping, blues jam that could have easily been a Black Crowes b-side.

The album hits stores 10/20/09. If you are in LA, catch him at The Troubadour on 10/19 – he is supporting Bob Mould.

Rating: 8.5/10

Key tracks: 'Maltese T', 'True Love', 'Cold Change'

VIDEO: Pavement at Lollapalooza


Stellar follow-ups and solid debuts

A couple interesting blips popped up on the NME site today that hadn't hit any of the other music blogs-

James Murphy talks 'Sound of Silver' follow-up

Posted from the NME site-

LCD Soundsystem: 'We're making the album of the decade - but it's late'

James Murphy speaks about follow-up to 'Sound Of Silver'

LCD Soundsystem claim their forthcoming album would have been the album of this decade - if it was released in time.

James Murphy is currently working on the follow-up to 2007's 'Sound Of Silver', and joked that if he had got his act together he could have stolen all the plaudits for the last 10 years.

"I'm opening a book on how long it will take after this record's release for people to be saying 'If this was released five months ago, it would have been the album of the decade...'," he told Mojo.

Currently the album - which is being recorded at "a mansion. It sleeps ten and there's an amazing pool and it felt pretty amazing" - is all instrumental, but Murphy intends for it carry a some real messages by the time he's finished.

"I'm working on a song called 'Why Do You Hate Music?'. Everyone seems to hate music right now, even people who make music," he explained. "There's a song called 'Love In LA', which has an Eddy Grant, Sly & Robbie feel.”

He added: "I'm doing what I set out to do on 'Sound Of Silver', which is take more chances."


Jesse Hughes a.k.a. The Devil a.k.a. Boots Electric readies solo debut

Eagles Of Death Metal's Jesse Hughes to release solo album

And Hughes wants to recruit Dr Dre to work on it…

Eagles Of Death Metal singer/guitarist Jesse Hughes is working on a solo album.

The impressively moustachioed frontman told BBC 6music that the album, his first as a solo artist, would be named 'Boots Electric Fabulous Weapon'.

He has been recently going under the nickname 'Boots Electric' after formerly being referred to as 'The Devil'.

Hughes said he had some rather ambitious production wishes for the album. "I'm trying to work with Dr. Dre and my dream job of all time would be to work with [Outkast's] Andre 3000," he said. "But I'll probably end up working with someone at K Mart."

Eagles Of Death Metal played at the Reading And Leeds Festivals last weekend (August 28-30). Watch a video interview with Hughes backstage at the Leeds bash by clicking on the right.


I can't wait for a headlining LCD show. I saw them open up for Arcade Fire at the Hollywood Bowl and have been jonesing ever since.

Last time I saw Jesse was at the Natasha show and he lit everyone up-


Noel Gallagher quits Oasis

Looks like it broke on Rolling Stone - basic statement is:

“It’s with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight..."

Is this really it or another faux-ending?

Here is the Rolling Stone link-



Surprise! Third Man Records L.A. pop-up store

Thanks to the lads and ladettes at La Weekly and he West Coast Sound column for this juicy tidbit.

The Regent Theatre in downtown has been made over into a pop-up store for Mr. Jack White's label/record purchasing hut.

It's a three-day shindig-

Wednesday AUG. 26: 10 am to 8 pm
Thursday AUG. 27: 12 pm to 8 pm
Friday AUG. 28: 12 pm to 8 pm

I'm there :)



In case you are unaware, the Fuck Yeah Fest is still rolling along and this year, they have focused on saving our California state parks.

Thus, FYF Fest Presents: Save Our State Parks:

A great lineup (thus far, more to be added) consisting of Tim and Eric from Adult Swim, No Age, The Thermals, Fucked Up, Dios and many more.

Tickets are only $20 and go toward a great cause - you can even pick them up at participating record stores and bypass the TicketWeb service charges. I'm going tonight to Origami :)

More info on the main site:

See you at the park!


UPDATE: Got my Indie Rock Coloring book!!


Record store crawl yields Vendetta

During an LA record store crawl of Territory Records+BBQ, Origami Vinyl and Vacation Vinyl, I came across a very interesting LP from '68 by a band called Bohemian Vendetta which I bought based on the description alone - "This is one of the best acid-punk LP's ever! Excellent Vox organ/fuzz teen garage psych and the covers are pretty fantastic as well.." - the latter including a brilliant version of The Rolling Stones ' (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'.

I also picked up-

TV On the Radio - Young Liars EP
Neutral Milk Hotel - On Avery Island
400 Blows, 7" - The Sore Thumb
Wilco, 7" - Unlikely Japan

I also got a Vacation tee for my brother :)

*Major thanks to Tony at Territory and Neil at Origami.


No Age - Losing Feeling EP

Listen to the new EP for free at the Sub Pop site-


You can even pre-order the 12" EP for $8.

Go Sub Pop! :)


Them Crooked Vultures

Antiquiet broke news today concerning Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones and Josh Homme's new band/project. They revealed the name to be 'Them Crooked Vultures', a midnight post-Lollapalooza show in Chicago and it looks like the websites are up too (MySpace, Facebook, official).

Since Dave Grohl's comment about the project in 2005, the only updated have come as of late. Any ideas on what this is going to sound like is mere speculation. Although, we tend to know what to expect from Homme and Grohl (together as well a la the great 'Songs for the Deaf' which Grohl drummed on) - let's see hoe JPJ gets involved with Homme's desert sound.

But, we all hope Brody Dalle was right on when she described what she had heard from the trio as '“...pretty fucking amazing. Just beats and sounds like you’ve never heard before.” in an earlier Antiquiet interview.

Official site: http://themcrookedvultures.com/


Farewell to Baatin of Slum Village

photo courtesy of the Examiner

Sad news broke this weekend concerning Slum Village founding member Baatin. He was found dead in Chicago at age 35 - cause of death unknown at this time.

I haven't spun any Slum Village for a while but, one of my first concerts was the Okay Player Tour which featured them as well as other early label stars.


VIDEO - Slum Village - 'Conant Gardens'



Burning Brides is a relentlessly driven rock band whose opened for QOTSA, Melvins and Royal Trux. But, even with a Guitar Hero song, has never received their just accolades. While you can

See them at the small venue The Echo for a small venue price tag.

Burning Brides
Thursday, August 13th @ The Echo

Official site: http://www.burningbrides.com/home.php
The Echo's site: http://www.attheecho.com/

VIDEO: Burning Brides - 'Lovesick'

Troy Van Leeuwen interview - QOTSA news!

In a DunlopTV interview, Troy talks about what got him into guitar playing and also some new Queens of the Stone Age plans including a tour supporting the self-titled re-issue where they play the older tracks-


On the subject of Animal Collective...

Music and social grouping is funny - the thing meant to unite is also a seperator and deflector.

It seems Animal Collective has become one of those bands that can end a friendship. Not because someone doesn't 'get it' (though this may be the cause albeit, not severe enough to split friends) but, because they just don't dig it.

I'll say it - Animal Collective is not the sonic-sculpting power house that along with the disciples (who could convince you Panda Bear, Geologist, Deakin and Avey Tare were at the Last Supper), everyone whose heard 'Summertime Clothes' twice make them out to be. Merriweather Post Pavillion (agreeably their most accessible release) is not a Pet Sounds or Loveless type album though it may sport lush, woozy Beach Boy melodies.

Understand this isn't an attack on AC as a whole or individually. I just think that the avant-garde tag gets thrown around as much as the ill-fated 'indie' label. And, the projected greatness on a band that isn't 'great' kills it.

Nonetheless, Noah Lennox, Brian Weitz, Josh Dibb and David Portner are excellent at what they do. Perfect looping and sampling is a fucking art and these dudes can do it live while dropping the jaws of several Phish fans on a jam-band stage with nary a 'traditional' instrument in sight. In a sense, this band is too gifted not to stray from the sampler more - 'Fireworks' off the Water Curses EP should be evidence enough - particularly the live version.

Animal Collective is a band that at times, I feel guilty for not liking more but as I said, I think that feeling stems from the projections and faux-confidence of (mainly) two-track fans to try and 'fit-in' by not fitting-in to fit-in.

Again, I don't dislike AC. Quite the contrary, I actually have and actively spin the entire discography including Merriweather Post Pavilion which I have listened to several times - a perfect album for the 95+ degree days of an LA summer.

I look forward to this band's future - specifically Mr. Lennox (Panda Bear). His most recent solo offering was 2007's stellar Person Pitch which was sensational and well-deserving of a spot on many reviewers end of year lists. As well, the new Atlas Sound single 'Walkabout' featuring Lennox is a garage-pop tease that only makes me excited for the the Logos release in October and Panda Bear's next album.

VIDEO: Animal Collective - 'Fireworks'


Arctic Monkeys - 'Crying Lightning' (video)

(thanks to Stereogum for the vid)

I think that with the sound of the track and visuals, it's also important to point out that they went into the new album recording process with Josh Homme looking like this-

and emerged from recording with new press photos like, well-

as a QOTSA junkie, stoked for this album :)


LA peeps: Yeah Yeah Yeahs @The Greek - just announced!!

Your favorite Beastie Boys slot-filler just announced a show at the Greek Theatre w/ a 'special guest'.

You're welcome :)

Plus special guest

Thu, September 17 at 8:00 PM

The presale is available from:
Thu, Jul. 23 at 10:00 AM until Fri, Jul. 24 at
10:00 PM, or while supplies last.

Enter Code: ZERO for presale tickets!


@The Getty - 'Saturdays Off the 405'

This summer, the Getty Center in Los Angeles has started a program called 'Saturdays Off the 405'. Basically, they have a couple bands or DJ sets and a cash bar. The museum and grounds are open until 9pm giving you ample time for music and art.

This Saturday, Cut Chemist is the featured performer.

*Parking is free after 5pm and no admission (as always).


Thom Yorke/Atlas Sound+Panda Bear/Monsters of Folk

some great new tracks courtesy of the awesome-duo Stereogum+P4K-

Thom Yorke offers a solid, electro-cover of Miracle Legion's track as his contribution to Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy"

Thom Yorke - "All For The Best"


Dreamy and lo-fi? Bradford Cox and Panda Bear?

Really good.

Atlas Sound ft. Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) - "Walkabout"


Let's not forget the supergroup here :)

I must admit, the track is better than I was expecting - I'm glad. On the first listen, you know who's soloing with his flying V...

Monsters of Folk (Jim James, M. Ward, Conor Oberst) - "Say Please"


Update: Internet radio gets new 'deal'

Well, I'm happy Pandora will still be around for now :)

From BusinessWeek.com-

by Ian Paul

After almost two years of back and forth, there is finally a deal in place that will guarantee the future health of Internet radio. If you haven't heard, Internet radio services like Pandora, Blip.Fm, and Last.fm were in trouble because the royalty fees imposed on them in 2007 were more than double what they were paying previously and threatened to drive Internet radio into extinction. Royalty fees are paid to copyright-holders for the right to broadcast a specific piece of music.

The songwriters, recording companies and performers who own the rights to these recordings feel they should be compensated since many Internet radio stations make money simply by playing music without live hosts, news breaks, and other expenses of traditional radio. This method of broadcasting is also known as "pureplay."

Under the new deal, Internet radio stations will pay about 40 percent less than the 2007 rates, ensuring a fair deal for everyone. Or is it a fair deal? Internet radio is still the hardest hit from royalty fees; satellite radio is next, and of course conventional radio stations have paid minimal royalties for years. So how is this fair?

Let's take a look at the three major radio models we have today:

Traditional Radio

The oldest form of radio out there, traditional radio stations on your AM and FM dials have been playing music with minimal royalty fees for close to a century. Radio stations do have to compensate songwriters for playing their songs, and under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, radio stations have to pay royalties for making their live broadcasts that include music available online.

To make money, these stations charge for advertisements based on their popularity with the listening public. In its heyday, broadcast radio was the only game in town to connect an artist with listeners. As a result, radio stations didn't compensate artists, since it was believed that radio exposure lead to increased album sales for the performers.

That premise has been basically true over the course of radio's history, but now that new forms of radio are developing, traditional radio is on the decline. But still the old business model persists. Now, a movement called musicFIRST is trying to change that model, but their success is still in doubt.

Compounding the problem is the fact that traditional radio's advertising revenue is on the decline, yet these stations still reach as much as 90 percent of Americans on a weekly basis, according to a Stanford study reported by Reuters. So, while traditional radio is as popular as ever, its revenue base is still declining.

Satellite Radio

Using digital signals beamed in from satellites orbiting the planet, satellite radio allows you to take your favorite radio stations with you wherever you go. Satellite radio is a subscription-based service and usually consists of commercial-free specialty stations for every kind of music imaginable.

Unlike traditional radio, satellite stations have to pay royalties that are based on their revenues from subscription services.

Internet Radio

Internet radio has the least advantageous royalty arrangement compared to the other two forms of radio, and has a more complicated formula for shelling out payments. But Internet radio is also a fast-rising star with a lot of potential.

Internet radio usually works by having you select some of your favorite artists, and the radio service then shapes a "station" according to your musical preferences. The Internet radio model gives you a little more choice than conventional radio, and is closer to satellite radio in that regard. However, you typically don't get to flat-out pick your playlists like you do with a RealPlayer subscription.

In my view, you're just as likely to be exposed to new music thanks to Internet Radio as with traditional radio. In fact, you may actually have a greater chance of finding new music online since the potential for hearing new music is practically limitless. Traditional radio stations typically play the current top hits intermixed with the same few hundred songs they've been playing since 1996.

Not So Radical Suggestion

Internet radio says it will survive, and so will satellite radio, while traditional radio is in decline. So where do we go from here? I have to admit, I'm a traditionalist and I'm just not buying the music industry's argument that they need to charge royalties to Internet radio, or any radio for that matter.

I honestly believe that radio in any form exposes an artist to new audiences, and this exposure can lead to increased album sales, concert attendance, and so on. Internet radio is an ideal channel for exposing listeners to new music, since Internet radio is all about finding music that you may not have discovered on your own. It's an innovative setup that owes a lot to early pioneers like Pandora.

But if the music industry pushes for more and more royalties the next time Internet radio agreements are up for review in 2015, it must be careful not to drive this emerging medium out of existence.

Sure, if Internet radio disappears you can always sell albums on your own Website or post videos on YouTube, but even in this fragmented digital age you still need to have those mainstream channels that users gravitate toward. So as Internet radio grows up, it may turn out that artists need Internet radio just as much as Internet radio needs their music.

VIDEO: Ambulance LTD. - 'Primitive (The Way I Treat You)'


Beck's record club, future releases

(photo courtesy of douche on Flickr)

Looks like Pitchfork is going to keep updating with the vids/songs from Beck's record club project so, you can head over to the good folks there for future video/song postings from the man with the devil's haircut.

The third vid went up on Beck's site today, 'Femme Fatale':

Record Club: Velvet Underground & Nico "Femme Fatale" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.


Beck's record club - 'Waiting for My Man'

new vid from Beck's record club project up on his page-


Wilco electrifies The Wiltern in LA

photo courtesy of Mick O kcim, Flickr

The boys of Wilco are currently in the middle of a three night, sold-out run at Los Angeles' historic Wiltern Theatre. I was luckily in attendance for their second show on Tuesday.

Opening with 'Via Chicago' off of 'Summerteeth', the groups extensive set list (see below) spanned their entire catalog. Their third song in saw them break out material from their newest release 'Wilco (The Album)' with 'Wilco (The Song)' (of course, right?).

My personal highlights of the night came with the material from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot which has grown into even more sonic-maturity and Nels' scorching solos throughout Sky Blue Sky's tracks – killer boots and axe-candy as always :)

Jeff Tweedy was pretty talkative throughout the latter part of the set and post a Mr. Cline sonic assault, Tweedy said, 'That was pretty good Nels but, can you play two instruments?'. He gladly obliged with what appeared to be an electric mandolin around his neck and a slide guitar resting comfortably over his lap for 'Deeper Down'.

After two encores, the band closed with a particularly rocking version of 'I'm a Wheel'.

Setlist: Wilco @ The Wiltern, 6/23/09

Via Chicago
Company In My Back
Wilco (The Song)
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
One Wing
A Shot in the Arm
Side With The Seeds
Bull Black Nova
Jesus, Etc.
Impossible Germany
Forget The Flowers
Deeper Down
California Stars (ft. Jonathan Wilson on guitar)
Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (again)
Heavy Metal Drummer
A Magazine Called Sunset
You Never Know

First Encore:

Poor Places
Spiders (Kidsmoke)

Second encore:

The Late Greats
Hate It Here
I'm The Man Who Loves You
I'm A Wheel


The Dead Weather on 'Conan'

Great network television debut - everyone was on their game (despite what Entertainment Weekly thinks). Jack White has a nice touch as a drummer. It's interesting that his setup is similar to Meg White with the flat and somewhat behind him positioning of the skins.

Alison Mosshart sold herself, for sure - in the best way possible. She was very sexy and tough garage-rock chick at the same time (word to Brody Dalle).

The debut LP 'Horehound' is due out 7/14 from Jack White's Third Man label.

Here is the vid-

The Dead Weather - 'Hang You From the Heavens' (live on Conan)

"Where Is My Vote?' - $5 tees!!

Show your support for the citizens of Iran who are trying to be silenced-
'Where Is My Vote?' tee

Eddie Vedder - 'The Times They Are A-Changin'
(Bob Dylan cover)


Beck's 'record club' - first song today!!

Dropped by Beck's site today and was excited to see the first song to come out of his record club was posted. The idea was reported by a few sites but the best article is from the team at Pitchfork.

The idea has him and several friends including the likes of Nigel Goodrich and MGMT, covering full, legendary albums.

First bullet out of the gun - Velvet Underground and Nico.

Way to take it slow :)

'Sunday Morning'

clip courtesy of becksounds


new vinyl pickups - Comets on Fire, Panda Bear

After a trip from LA up to Paso Robles, I hit Salzer's Records in Ventura and Just Play in SB - Salzer's was the winner.

I picked up Comets on Fire's 'Blue Cathedral' and Panda Bear's 'Person Pitch' for good prices.

Thanks to all the great staff at Salzer's. If you haven't been there, it's right off the 101N at Victoria. Upstairs they have a head shop and adult oriented goods along with a nice sticker selection, books, incense and various cool things for your place. Downstairs is all the music (vinyl, cd's) and posters, mags, etc. Going up the staircase, you can view all the tees they have for sale.



All Tomorrow's Parties - The Film!!

Another nice surprise when I signed in to MySpace today, a bulletin announcement from ATP that the 'first proper trailer' for All Tomorrow's Parties - The Film was up on Our True Intent's site. I'm stoked, here it is:

nice :)

Overlooked: Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell

While having to compete with stellar 2008 releases from the likes of My Morning Jacket, Deerhunter and No Age (to name a few), it's easy to see why Tokyo Police Club's first LP 'Elephant Shell' (via the Saddle Creek label) was left out of many end of year lists - even if just an honorable mention.

Sure, these guys are still young and 'exploring the space' but, they have always been a band that you were hearing or reading about, late-buzz or not. The ability to hang around and stay relevant in the indie-rock world (and the minds of it's inhabitants) is essential if only to develop a super-core fan base that sticks for the long haul (Vaselines anyone?).

The first half of the album is melodic and sparkling. Burst-fire drum riffs offer the resemblance of Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti setting the base for lush, pop-laden deliveries, short and collected.

The second half of the album wains and strays from the first-half formula in which the young band flourishes. Soft ballads and faux-stadium anthems dull the party and ultimately set up a few early album re-hashes - too little, too late.

However, with 11 tracks and a total time of under 30 minutes, the ratio is in their favor. 'Graves' is easily the album's best track which received some early exposure on Mtv2's Subterranean as a multiple show resident. Other bright points on the rookie LP are the peppy opener 'Centennial' and the the mid-album dance track 'Tessellate' which also made a Subterranean appearance.

This is an album of two halves - unfortunately, the latter completely forgettable. But, the illuminated areas early in the album do glow bright. Expect great things.

Final rating: 6.7/10 (if the first half of the album was an EP, it would be an 8.)
Key tracks: 'Graves', 'Centennial', 'Tessellate'

VIDEO: Tokyo Police Club - 'Graves'


LCD Soundsystem - new album news, kind of?

thanks to punkguy.com for the image

I always look forward to James Murphy's bloglings but, the ones about new albums are my favorite MySpace surprise :)

Also, some comments about his visit to the Mtv Movie Awards with pal Aziz Ansari from Human Giant:

'making a record'

"making a record is strange. last time i made a record i had a pretty brutal and miserable experience. then i made something that wasn't the record, went back to said record, and had a great experience. it all worked out. this time i'm having a pretty great experience. i like the record more, but have no idea if that means it's better or anything. it's just more fun. the shitty full-days of lying on the floor stuck in my own head about things has been pushed back into hours, or only one hour, here and there. i also get to swim in the morning, and do things like that. which is good. which makes the record better, i think. because now when i'm not actually working on the record, i'm doing something i like and that occupies my mind, rather than sitting in a room with my head in my hands wondering if i still know how to make music.

i was very hungover today, mainly because i drank a lot of drinks with alcohol in them yesterday. i accompanied my tv star friend to the mtv movie awards because it seemed like the most hilariously hollywood thing i could possibly do right then, and wound up at times pretending to be either his publicist or body guard, which was very funny. i also ate a lot of these skewers with a shrimp and a green olive on them. they were good, but not substantial enough really to soak up the shitty free beer that they have at these things.

while at the awards, i learned a few things:

1. will ferrell is very nice in person, and must be exhausted with how much effort he puts in to seeming like a decent, regular guy. i met him very quickly and he was so absurdly nice that i felt like a dick for all the times i was wooden and awkward with strangers at a festival or something.
2. danny mcbride is fucking hilarious. and pretty much like you expect.
3. eminem is a better actor than you think.
4. pr people and "young hollywood" seem like, literally, different species of animal.
5. young, self-satisfied, confident celebrities are weird to be near.
6. the more excited young people are about an actor/actress, the less likely i am to recognize them. there is an inverse relationship formula for volume-of-screaming to person-i-recognize that i'm working on.
7. jason 'mayhem' miller has a very large head. and that's coming from ME.
8. talking for 2 minutes with ben stiller about something totally unrelated to the mtv movie awards while at the mtv movie awards makes people audibly say "who is that talking to stiller??" in total, unselfconscious earshot of the subject (me) while said subject (still me) walks back to the bar area. they'll actually point.
8b. being at an event thrown by a company called "music television" pretty much ensures that you will not be recognized by anyone at all except for the people you show up with, previously know, and danny mcbride.
9. comedians are funny in person, but not the way you think.
10. hollywood likes to stratify, and being the +1 of a tv personality makes you pretty low on the list, but if you've just said hi to will ferrell, and he looked at you in some way that could be interpreted as "familiar"--largely because he's kind, and you blurted something about him using "north american scum" in "stepbrothers"--you can basically walk into any room you want and take beer for the next 5 minutes. it's like getting an invincibility pill in pac-man. you can feel the power start to blink after you cruise out with 4 beers from the 3rd dressing room, so you should probably head back to your friends and share the beers.
11. chris isaacs likes his dog.
12. forest whittaker is disarmingly friendly.
13. i, as a person, am oddly frightened (i'm saying frightened here--not intimidated) by jim carey.

i think like being a largely anonymous dude in a weird band that most people don't know about. it's nice. i wouldn't want to be a movie star. i mean, i feel like i knew that, but it's good to have your feelings validated like that once in a while. because it's easy to sit back and say "i wouldn't want to be a movie star" when it's totally not a salient point... but being there, with everything seeming so easy for them, still didn't make me want any of it. except the free stuff.

today i woke up late, sat around in a horrible state, until i went in the pool and played "goodminton" (which is badminton where the object is to keep the birdie in play as long as possible), ate in n' out burger, and watched several episodes of the BBC show "ashes to ashes", which has amazing music.

tomorrow i'll wake up early, do a little jiu jitsu stuff, swim, shower, get into my making-a-record outfit, eat an avocado and a hard boiled egg, make an amazing coffee, and get to work on a new song. gavin russom (gavin and delia, black leotard front, black meteoric star) is here for a few days, so maybe i can get him to wrangle some synths with me. i have a good feeling about tomorrow, frankly. and i'm also terrified that i'll never make anything good again.

that works.

oh: my tv friend is aziz ansari. thanks, aziz."

For the record, Murphy's blog was in neon green font - sorry if I didn't do the entry justice.

VIDEO: LCD Soundsystem - 'Losing My Edge'


(late) Review - Wavves - self-titled

"With lo-fi at his command, Wavves is your favorite summer album."

Certainly a refreshing listen, Wavves (Nathan Williams) has carved an interesting niche for himself. lo-fi enough for the hipsters, poppy enough for the older indie rock crowd (i.e. old Built to Spill fans and 'Avery Island' devotees) and fuzzed-out enough for the alt-heads.

Having some previous releases on No Age's Dean Spunt's label Post Present Medium, the fellow noise-popper now signed to the Fat Possum label, has put together a collection of tracks varying from an 8-bit, synth-chunk assault in the albums opener 'Rainbow Everywhere', twisted and mangled tribal, sister-track 'Sun Opens My Eyes' and bright, fuzzy, skate-punk anthems of the 'Teenage Daydream' variety like 'Get in the Sun'.

But, before you can get out your SYR bootlegs and washing-machine tees, the albums great layout mixes things up with 'More Fur' which sounds like a one-way conversation with Satan.

After the dark lord signs off, we get another woozy, Beach Boys jam with 'So Bored' and then a trifecta of goth-centric tracks - the highlight being 'Summer Goth 2', an acid-country jam with enough sustain to fill any space left in the EQ.

Final rating: 8.1/10
Key tracks: 'Get in the Sun', 'No Hope Kids', 'So Bored'

VIDEO: Wavves - 'So Bored' (live at Upset the Rhythm, from their YouTube channel)


Denny's + stoned unicorn = greatness.

I found the full version on the Daily Fork site:

Please give us more!! The Grand Slamwich was a step in the right direction :)


Jay Bennett R.I.P.

Wow - shocking headline on Pitchfork's site today - I was absolutely floored.

In spite of the lawsuit or any bad blood between the two sides, the former Wilco multi-instrumentalist was found dead in his home. The cause is still unknown as per the Pitchfork article - tough news to have to break over the holiday weekend.

Jay Bennett was 45.


Review - Wilco (The Album)

image courtesy of David B. Johnson

At this point, how do you accurately review Wilco? An amazing band whose had a stronger stride than any since the amazing story and deserved success of 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot'. Every album including and since then has shown us the sonic mastery that patience produces – Nels Cline also helps :)

Sure, Tweedy's voice gets grittier and richer with every album and just like 'Sky Blue Sky', you wait for an ambient solo to take you to Mars. Glenn Kotche still surprises you even though you now how skilled he is. And, no matter indie-folk, pill-popping blues or mature-rock, Wilco does it better than anyone else.

Wilco (The Album) opens with, you guessed it, 'Wilco (The Song)' – controlled and delicately crashed feedback delivers the sonic punch on this breezy-pop opener. 'Wilco will love you babe', Tweedy sings before returning to the chorus. This track and the album's second half 'Sunny Feeling' are the peppiest songs on their newest album. Not that this is a problem or disadvantage for Jeff and the rest of the band – especially if you've seen the 'Sunken Treasure' DVD.

'Deeper Down' is very Sgt. Pepper-ish sounding with a distinct 60's pop feel. Mr. Cline gets even more comfortable on this track and keeps his promise of a 'more plastic, more sonic' album – things begin to evolve into a mature, prog-pop sound.

On 'One Wing', while disarming and at the same time armed with a quiet start, the lush and delicate riffs shine through what sounds like quiet key strokes. Tweedy's voice holds off Kotche's drum rolls before the full delivery with a galloping change and a Nels solo right into Saturn. While Cline owned 'Sky Blue Sky', this album is Kotche's time to shine.

'Bull Black Nova' and the Feist duet 'You and I' bring the sun out again, thanks in part to an epic solo on the former, in the likes of a Pink Floyd/Rush garage jam.

As the latter part of the album comes and goes with slower and more moody tracks like 'Country Disappeared' and 'Solitaire', Wilco fans are reminded why their favorite albums change between 'A.M.' and 'Being There', 'A Ghost is Born' and 'Summerteeth', etc.

In 'I'll Fight', Wilco brings things back up for a bit before going into 'Sunny Feeling', a bright track with a charming and shimmering cheekiness.

'Everlasting' allows a somber closing and offers bursts of Wilco glory and ambient, effect-ridden hand-waives to finish the album.

See you at The Wiltern!

Final rating: 8.5/10
Key tracks: 'Wilco (The Song)', 'One Wing'

VIDEO - Wilco - 'I'm the Man Who Love You' (live from Lollapalooza '06)


Radiohead back in the studio...

Image courtesy of MSNBC

I'm surprised at myself that I'm not more excited - I guess I've just come to expect the studio report leaks (this one via the BBC) that have come to produce only great things. Here is the story from the BBC - I know the Radiohead board is buzzing too :)

Radiohead in studio
The Oxford band have started work on the follow up to In Rainbows

18 May 2009 - Radiohead have started working on the follow up to their 2007 album In Rainbows.

Bassist Colin Greenwood told 6 Music the Oxford band have been busy in the studio over the last week with producer Nigel Godrich.

"It was very noisy and chaotic and really fun," he said.

"It’s at the stage where we’ve got the big Lego box out and we’ve tipped it out on the floor and we're just looking at all the bits and thinking what’s next?"

"I'm very impressed and grateful for Nigel our producer and his ability to make it all sound vaguely plausible," he added.

Greenwood, who was speaking at the Great Escape music festival in Brighton, where he was helping to launch a new music journal called Loops, gave no indication as to when the Oxford five-piece will be releasing their next record or whether they will be briging it out in a similar format to their last LP.

"It's at the stage where we've got the big Lego box out and we've tipped it on the floor." Colin Greenwood on Radiohead's new album

Last time, Radiohead offered fans the chance to choose how much they were prepared to pay for In Rainbows.

"We were just saying to people how much do you think we're worth?" he added.

"It's like a long term relationship and it was great because it kicked off lots of debate about it."

The band have just finished touring with electro pioneers Kraftwerk in South America which Greenwood described as a "brilliant experience".

"They are one of our musical heroes and it was a real privilege to share a stage with them," he enthused.

"What I like about Kraftwerk is I obviously love the beats but I love their melodies too. They seep into your brain and stay there."

The five-piece are due to headline the Reading and Leeds Festivals this summer for a headline show where they have some unfinished business.

"It was a bit frustrating when we were playing some of our own shows last year because it was light for the first half hour, 40 minutes of the show," Greenwood said.

"So we wanted to do it as it was meant to be seen – darker and louder."

-Jo Youle

VIDEO: Radiohead - Bangers and Mash (Live from the early days of Pitchfork.tv - I love it!)


Revisit a great song: Old 97's - 'Timebomb'

Stumbled upon this performance from KEXP Radio on their respective YouTube channel-

Old 97's - "Timebomb" (Live on KEXP Seattle)


Catching Up: Wilco streams, Dead Weather Tours and coloring The Shins!

(just in case you HAD NOT seen the cover)

First off, Wilco is streaming their new album on their site right now! I'm swooning already - Here you go :)


Jack White's latest band has announced the plans for their upcoming tour and album release. "Horehound" is set for stateside release on July 14th and will hit Europe one da earlier. As for the tour, you can get all the details at their site - The Dead Weather. LA peeps - they are playing The Wiltern.

VIDEO: The Dead Weather - "Hang You From the Heavens"


And, last but certainly NOT least - an indie rock coloring book!!

Pitchfork had this story since the plan first leaked out and they have posted some additional new details on their site. As always, awesome work dudes and ladies.

From the Pitchfork site:

"Last year, we reported on the existence of Miller's Colour It (Red), a book of disarmingly cute kids' puzzles inspired by indie rock hits. It was a benefit for the (Red) organization, which raises money for the AIDS-fighting Global Fund. This summer, Miller will be back with another indie rock kids' book for charity.

The Indie Rock Coloring Book, due July 22 from Chronicle Books, is a collaboration between Miller and the T-shirt company Yellow Bird Project, which partners with bands to design T-shirts and then gives any profits from those shirts to charities chosen by the bands. Similarly, all royalties from The Indie Rock Coloring Book will be split between charities chosen by the bands depicted in its pages.

All of the illustrations in The Indie Rock Coloring Book are brand new. Rilo Kiley's Pierre de Reeder provided the foreword. Artists you will get to color include Bon Iver, the Shins, Broken Social Scene, and MGMT."

Now, go listen to the new Wilco album and smile!


Moon Colony Bloodbath EP

Thanks to Tim (and the rest of the team over at 3 Beads of Sweat), I was able to get my mail-order in and received the vinyl the other day (was hoping for a randomly inserted green vinyl but, to no avail - oh well).

If you are unfamiliar with the whole deal, several outlets and message boards had reported that extra copies of the limited, show-only vinyl (supposedly, an original run of 1000) from the John Vanderslice/John Darnielle 'Gone Primitive' tour may be available through mail order from the (now closed down) 3 Beads of Sweat label.

The best part of this whole release is that the concept of the EP is about an organ-harvesting colony on the moon!

I didn't hesitate to order and the cool staff at 3 Beads gave me info on how and when to order. The album cover came a little banged up but, I can thank the gentle, rock-hands of the USPS for that.

I have many listens ahead and of course, a review in due time, hehe.

VIDEO: The Mountain Goats - "Autoclave"