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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Numbers and Facts About the Music Industry

Ever wonder how much piracy really effects the music industry? (I mean, let's face it, you probably came to this blog because you saw that you could get a free MP3.) Head over to Geekologie and see some real numbers. It's actually pretty interesting.

And can we just pause for a second to look at the Top 10 Digital Songs of 2009:

Lady Gaga Poker Face 9.8
Black Eyed Peas Boom Boom Pow 8.5
Jason Mraz I'm Yours 8.1
Lady Gaga Just Dance 7.7
Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling 7.1
Taylor Swift Love Story 6.5
Beyoncé Single Ladies 6.1
Soulja Boy Tell'Em Kiss Me Thru the Phone 5.7
Kayne West Heartless 5.5
Britney Spears Circus 5.5

Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas worked it. Not to mention that you can insert some Kanye jokes.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

We Got You Covered: Keller & the Keels

(Admittedly) I've been pretty bad with the We Got You Covered segments in the past couple of weeks, but I think an entire album devoted to covers should make up for it.

Thief is Keller Williams' 15th album release (crazy, right?) and the second collaboration with the "out-of-sight" husband and wife duo of Larry and Jenny Keel. Keller and the Keels went into the studio for a few days in December 2009 and crafted a masterful follow-up to their 2006 album Grass. Comprised entirely of unique bluegrass renditions of songs originally written and recorded by a diverse group of musicians such as The Butthole Surfers, Ryan Adams, Amy Winehouse, The Raconteurs, Marcy Playground and many others, Thief is sure to surprise you in the most foot-stomping and knee-slapping way.

Give "Sex and Candy" a listen below:

"Sex and Candy (Marcy Playground)" by Keller & the Keels

Get yourself a copy of Thief and rediscover how, regardless of whether a song is penned by Keller or The Presidents of the United States of America, it somehow becomes its own.

Thief Tracklist::
01 Don't Cuss the Fiddle (Kris Kristofferson)
02 Uncle Disney (Patterson Hood)
03 Rehab (Amy Winehouse)
04 Get It While You Can (Danny Barnes)
05 Cold Roses (Ryan Adams)
06 Mountains of the Moon (Grateful Dead)
07 Teen Angst (Cracker)
08 Wind's On Fire (Yonder Mountain String Band)
09 Switch and the Spur (The Raconteurs)
10 Sex and Candy (Marcy Playground)
11 Pepper (Butthole Surfers)
12 Bath of Fire (Presidents of the United States of America)
13 The Year 2003 Minus 25 (Kris Kristofferson)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Regina Spektor at the White House?

Another how cool is this moment for the week!

Today Regina Spektor will perform at the White House as part of the first ever White House reception in honor of Jewish-American heritage. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be having many different guest — community leaders, prominent Jewish-Americans, Olympians, members of Congress and military veterans — as they celebrate "the range and depth of Jewish-American heritage and its contributions to American culture." What makes Spektor's performance even more amazing is that she is a Jew who moved to America from Soviet Russia over twenty years ago.

Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Rodrigo y Gabriela, the cast of Glee and now Regina Spektor? I guess the White House is a really cool venue! After all, only a couple of days later Jack White, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, and other performers will be at the White House for a concert in honor of Paul McCartney.

I mean really, how cool is that?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down's New Music Video

How cool is this?

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down have a new music video for "Body," directed by Dianna Agron (aka Quinn Fabray from Fox’s “Glee”). (Yes, I'll admit that I am a Gleek.) The music video premiered at Oxfam America’s website and also features a very funny three-minute intro from Dianna and Thao, giving fans some insight into their friendship, Thao’s work with Oxfam, and how the video came to be.

As Thao explains:
Last winter, Dianna contacted me to see about directing her first music video for my band. I so readily agreed, the internet could not deliver my consent fast enough. We met one day on Skype while I was on tour in Europe and Dianna was on set. "Body" (from the band's latest record Know Better Learn Faster) was shot on Valentine's Day on Dianna's bed. Dianna and I offered the exclusive premiere to Oxfam America in hopes of directing traffic to Oxfam's site and encouraging action to support Oxfam's efforts, particularly on behalf of the world's poorest, who are hit hardest by the effects of climate change.
Check out the video below:
I really love the video!

Thao has worked with Oxfam America for more than 3 years and is an ambassador for the Sisters on the Planet Campaign.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Music Tuesday: Beach Fossils

You all know how much I love Tuesdays! Who wouldn't love new music galore (as you can see in Hello May!). This week you should really check out Beach Fossils new self-titled album.

The Brooklyn music scene really has made a splash even in just the past couple of years with bands like Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, Fang Island, Crystal Stilts, and the Morning Benders. The latest Brooklyn-based group to be making waves in the music scene's echo/pop stronghold are Beach Fossils.

Beach Fossils offers warm and inviting melodies that evoke the haunted sounds of another era, music that the band itself describes as "Sun drenched riffs, kaleidoscopic rhythms and hazy lyrics." It all comes together to make the perfect soundtrack to an endless summer afternoon.

Head over to their Myspace page to check out their music!

Beach Fossils Tracklist:
01 Sometimes
02 Youth
03 Vacation
04 Lazy Day
05 Twelve Roses
06 Daydream
07 Golden Age
08 Window View
09 The Horse
10 Wide Awake
11 Gathering

Monday, May 24, 2010

Horse Feathers

I love driving around during summer and finding that perfect summer song. And for right now, the song that I can't seem to stop playing when driving on warm summer nights is Horse Feathers' "Thistled Spring." It's wonderfully textured and I love how violinist Nathan Crockett, cellist Catherine Odell, and multi-instrumentalist Sam Cooper inertwine throughout the music. Plus I love Ringle's fragile sounding voice!

Download "Thistled Spring," below:

"Thistled Spring" by Horse Feathers

It's simple piano melody truly makes it a great summer song!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Playlist: Bonnaroo 2010

Can't go to Bonnarro this year either?

Spin is nice enough to be giving away a Bonnaroo 2010 sampler with bands like The National, Manchester Orchestra, Kings of Leon, Local Natives, Blitzen Trapper, Phoenix, and Mumford & Sons, among others.

Here's the link so you can get the music. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Music Tuesday: Janelle Monáe

Ah there's new Janelle Monáe!

It's Tuesday, and you know what that means: new music comes out today! (Feel free to check out the new releases for the entire month of May in Hello May!) And you should definitely check out Janelle Monáe's new album The Archandroid.

This is what should be blasting all over Top 40 radio - let's face it, it's catchy and would do well on the pop charts, but at the same time it could certainly (and does) appeal to more than just a Top 40 crowd. It's pop, indie, soul, funk, and alternative packaged wonderfully together. And I just can't get enough of her voice!

Check out her new music video below for "Tightrope" below:

It's already stuck in my head!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Top 10: Awful Band Names

No one ever said it was easy. Not only does the name have to be original, but it also has to try to convey what kind of music you play and, better yet, intrigue people who have never heard of you to pick up your CD. That being said, just because it’s a difficult process doesn’t mean that anything goes.

So yesterday I was trying to figure out which album to feature as the CD you should check out for New Music Tuesday. And let me tell you, all I could think of was why would you name a band "Holy Fuck?"

Now keep in mind I like their music, and I have no problems with profanity (in music, TV, anything really), but why Holy Fuck? Automatically, you can't really advertise any of your stuff on the radio, TV, magazines, etc. because of profanity, let alone get your music played in a bunch of different situations. I mean I guess they could say "Holy Eff," but what's the point really?

The true problem is that a band can have good music, and then people just can't get past the bad band name. Both parties lose. It really got me thinking about bad band names.

As such, here's my Top 10 List of Really Awful Band Names:

MGMT itself isn't a bad band name, but here's the problem with it: hipsters. Hipsters get snooty and can ruin anything. Today some people pronounce MGMT as em-gee-em-tee and some people say "management" (think MSTRKRFT - they were just missing the vowels). And then every once in a while you get that jerk who goes, "Um NO ACTUALLY, they USED to be called Management but now they're called Em Gee Em Tee because the old name conflicted with another band's name, so there! I knew them way back then, BEFORE they were cool." It makes me sad on the inside.

09 The The
You're listening to this and a friend goes, "What is this?" Your response? "The The." Their response - "The what" (They assume that you have a stutter.) You'd be playing who's on first for at least 20 minutes. Plus there's just no imagination really.

08 Holy Fuck
As already stated, it's just a bad idea to have a swear in your name, and I honestly think it limits you in too many ways.

07 You Say Party! We Say Die!
Only made worse by the fact that the drummer for this band did in fact just die. Too soon to make a bad joke? Yeah, too soon.

06 Say Hi To Your Mom
This takes your mom jokes to a whole new level of embarrassing. How many times do you think someone said "No, you say hi to YOUR mom?" Recently the band has changed their name to simply Say Hi, but we will forever know their mistake. It's a shame, especially since they're in my top artists at It's actually good music!

05 Natalie Portman's Shaved Head
Listen, I can appreciate Natalie Portman just as anyone else (and to be honest she's one of the few people who can actually pull off a shaved head), but no. If you’re not a fan of bright colors and are prone to epileptic seizures I also recommend avoiding the Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head’s MySpace page. You're forewarned - Myspace page not safe for those susceptible to seizures.

04 !!!
You're probably wondering how to say this band's name. In the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy, the clicks in the Bushmen's native language were represented with exclamation marks in the subtitles. The band thought that was cool, apparently, and named themselves three clicks. And that's all it is. !!! can be said by clicking your tongue three time or by simply saying chk-chk-chk (aka chick chick chick). See, I just confused you even more...

03 Butthole Surfers
It sounds like some four year old's attempt at raw toilet humor, which doesn't please anyone who isn't, well, a four year old. You say, "Hey Dad! Can I have $50 to go see a cool band?" He asks, "What concert are you going to go see?" At that point you can forget getting the money, let alone the approval to go to the show. Even your parents will judge you (and who can blame them, really?)

02 Shitdisco
Last year when I was bored during finals and needed a study break I came across this music video. I actually really enjoyed both the video and the music, and then I found out the band name and kind of stopped listening. Imagine if that comes up on iTunes shuffle and someone really likes the song. "Who is this? I like it!" *beat* "Shitdisco..."

01 Test Icicles
Do I even need to describe why this is an awful band name (or an amazing one, if you're a 12 year old boy)? The band even came up with some excuse that their name was really about cavemen testing icicles so they wouldn't fall through and die. Whatever, no one is buying that. They clearly just named their band after balls, and that has to be worse than any nonsense words, pop culture references, misspellings, and references to poop that somehow end up in a a band name.

And there you have it, but those are just my two cents. Whatever, I'm naming my band Sonic Death Monkey.

Feel free to leave more awful band names in the comments section!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Music Tuesday: Sleigh Bells

It's Tuesday, so do you know what that means? Why, it's New Music Tuesday! And today was yet another hard decision. Feel free to head over to Hello May! to see all the albums that were released today.

But the album you should give a spin today is Treats by Sleigh Bells.

Made up of guitarist Derek Miller and singer Alexis Krauss, the duo make urgent, grungy, dance pop.

The album itself is quick (the entire minute count is only 32:05), but I loved every second of it. With thumping drums, crazy guitar licks, and Alexis Krauss’ vocals, I didn't want anything else in the world. Thank you, because this is what noise rock is supposed to sound like.

Treats is just a whole lot of fun to listen to. It will certainly be the soundtrack to my summer, windows-down, music going on the car stereo.

And once again, thanks to NPR, you can stream Treats in it's entirety here.

And don't worry, your speakers will be ok, they just sound like they might implode...

Treats Tracklist:
01 Tell ‘Em
02 Kids
03 Riot Rhythm
04 Infinity Guitars
05 Run the Heart
06 Rachel
07 Rill Rill
08 Crown On the Ground
09 Straight A’s
10 A/B Machines
11 Treats

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Quasi's Music Video for Repulsion

Oh I like I like I like!

Check out Quasi's music video for "Repulsion" below:

Hell, I'll even give you the mp3 with the deal!

"Repulsion" by Quasi

Enjoy the wonderfully fuzzy guitar!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Music Tuesday: Broken Social Scene and the New Pornographers

This New Music Tuesday left me with a lot to choose from. (Seriously, check out Hello May! There are a lot of albums coming out this month from a lot of amazing bands and artists).

And when it came down to it, I still couldn't choose only one. So, Canada, I thank you. Today, the two albums you really need to check out are Forgiveness Rock Record by Broken Social Scene and Together by the New Pornographers. Neither band is new to the music scene by any means, and as any music lover knows, they certainly know how to make fantastic albums!

For one thing, both bands have noteworthy lineups. Depending on the album, Broken Social Scene can have as few as six and as many as nineteen members. For Forgiveness Rock Record, the group is on the "smaller" size, still boasting 7 members: Kevin Drew (KC Accidental), Brendan Canning (By Divine Right, Blurtonia, Valley of the Giants, hHead), Charles Spearin (The Happiness Project, Do Make Say Think), Andrew Whiteman (Apostle of Hustle, Bourbon Tabernacle Choir), Justin Peroff (Junior Blue), Lisa Lobsinger (Reverie Sound Revue), and Sam Goldberg. Past members make appearances on the album as well. This will be the fourth studio album for the band, who has also released Feel Good Lost (2001), You Forgot It in People (2002), and Broken Social Scene (2005).

And if it weren't enough that they're making beautiful music, they're giving it away for free! Head over to Broken Social Scene's Myspace to Download "World Sick"

On the other hand you have the New Pornographers. The band has released four albums to date: Mass Romantic (2000), Electric Version (2003), Twin Cinema (2005), and Challengers (2007). And the band has an amazing lineup with lead vocals from A.C. Newman (besides solo work, also of Superconductor and Zumpano), Dan Bejar (Destroyer, Swan Lake, and Hello, Blue Roses) and Neko Case (besides her solo work, also of Maow, The Corn Sisters, and Cub). Other members of the band also include Kathryn Calder (Immaculate Machine), John Collins (The Evaporators), Kurt Dahle (Limblifter, Age of Electricz), Todd Fancey (solo artist as Fancey, Limblifter, and Blaine Thurier). And if that weren't enough, the album also features guest appearances by musicians such as Zach Condon (Beirut), Annie Clark (also known as St. Vincent), Will Sheff (Okkervil River), and the horn players from Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. Clearly the New Pornographers aren't holding anything back!

So stream them online (Broken Social Scene here, New Pornographers here) at NPR, then go out, buy them, and support good music!

Check out the tracklistings for both albums after the jump!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hello May!

Once again, not the most punctual of months, but here it is!. And as always, here's to another great month of music!

Note: Unless noted, the release dates are all for the U.S.

May 4th
Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
Justin Currie - Great War
Deftones - Diamond Eyes
The Fall - Your Future Our Clutter
Free Energy - Stuck On Nothing
Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
Hold Steady - Heaven Is Whenever
Greg Laswell - Take A Bow
Minus the Bear - Omni
New Pornographers - Together
New Young Pony Club - The Optimist
Lisa Papineau - Red Trees
Mike Patton - Mondo Cane
Josh Ritter - Runs the World
Walter Schreifels - An Open Letter To The Scene
The Shondes - My Dear One
Tonic - Tonic
Wake Up Lucid - Look Alive People

May 11th
Crash Test Dummies - Oooh La La!
Dead Weather - Sea Of Cowards
Stephen Egerton - The Seven Degrees Of Stephen Egerton
Jessica Harp (of the Wreckers) - A Woman Needs
Holy F*** - The Latin
Indian Jewelry - Totaled
Kaskade - Dynasty
Keane - Night Train
Male Bonding - Nothing Hurts
The National - High Violet
Phosphorescent - Here's To Taking It Easy
Sleigh Bells - Treats
Stereophonics - Keep Calm And Carry On
Thee Oh Sees - Warm Slime
UNKLE - Where Did the Night Fall
Woods - At Echo Lake

May 18th
Audio Bullys - Higher Than The Eiffel
Band Of Horses - Infinite Arms
The Black Keys - Brothers
Club 8 - The People's Record
The Depreciation Guild - Spirit Youth
Macy Gray - The Sellout
John Hughes - Reset The Warehouse
LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
Jamie Lidell - Compass
Janelle Monae - The Archandroid
Not An Airplane - Things And People
The Poison Control Center - Sad Sour Future
Tracy Thorn [of Everything But The Girl] - Love And Its Opposite
Woven Bones - In And Out And Back Again

May 25th
Beach Fossils - Beach Fossils
Andy Bell [Erasure] - Non-Stop
D.M. Stith - Heavy Ghost: Appendices
Far - At Night We Live
Leela James - My Soul
Marina And The Diamonds - The Family Jewels
Stone Temple Pilots - Stone Temple Pilots
Tomorrows Bad Seeds - Sacred For Sale
Widespread Panic - Dirty Side Down
Keller Williams - Thief