Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
There have been plenty of Umphrey's McGee references on my blog and if you know me personally, I'm not shy about pledging my allegiance to the jam/prog-rockers.
After seeing them at a couple festivals over the summer, I was able to see them twice recently in the forum where they really shine: the club setting. First, at Higher Ground, in Burlington, Vt. on Nov. 13, and then at Northern Lights, in Clifton Park, NY, on the 17th.
They definitely brought their A-game and even welcomed Mike Gordon, of Phish, to sit in at Higher Ground. The sit-in was a 'gift' for their full-time bassist Ryan "Pony Boy" Stasik on his birthday. Here is a link to a review I wrote of the show at Northern Lights: LINK . Here is a link to the soundboard you can purchase and download for $9.95. It has remained on the "Top 5 Downloads" since the show and that probably won't change until New Year's. I also have it if you want a copy. I highly recommend.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Arcade Fire, The Funeral
Supposedly, this is all Spike Jonze listened to when writing the screenplay for "Where The Wild Things Are." I bought the album unaware of any of its connections with the film until I heard "Wake Up" and recognized it as the song on the commercial trailer. I had heard other singles from the band, including Intervention and Keep the Car Running, and waited way too long to buy The Funeral.
I was surprised to find out there are like 12 band members in Arcade Fire playing guitars, whistling, banging pots and pans and what have you; yet, it is surprisingly well-orchestrated its complexity only adds to the sound.
Go get this album if you don't already own it.
Monday, October 19, 2009
They were praised for their inventive marketing of their recent sutdio album, Mantis, which was released this year. Prior to its release date, fans could unlock Web-exclusive material by pre-ordering the album. In addition, the album itself acts as a key to unlock more Web-exclusive content still being released. It just makes being a fan fun.
Well, UM has taken it to another level again with its S2 series, or "Stew-art." S2s are like VIP pre-parties where a select group of fans get to meet the band and then literally partake in a sonic stew, whose recipe is decided by text messages that appear on a big screen like tweets that are visible to the band, who then alter the sound in reaction to the word or phrase presented.
Check out the video of the inaugural S2 on their blog, The Floor.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
In the meantime, a "highlights from moe.down 10" list I compiled and photos I shot dropped on Hidden Track earlier this week.
My first festival review was a learning experience to say the least.
I have done some freelance work for Hidden Track before as well. Check out my review of an Umphrey's McGee show at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, Mass.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
By Shanna Farrell, contributor
A beautiful fusion of indie rock, lo-fi, folk, and jam -- Woods has got it going on. Their newest album, Songs of Shame, was released in April and has quickly become one of my favorite records of the year. While I love me some indie-rock, lo-fi, and folk (has anyone seen the Newport Folk Festival line-up this year? Check it out here), it takes me a lot to tolerate, let alone like a band that does any “jamming” at all. But Woods is a different story. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’m in love with their sound. It’s something both familiar and new.
While I think the album as a whole is wonderful, there are three songs I want to highlight (two of which you can listen to here).
The first of the bunch is “The Number,” a stripped down song. It’s regretful and somber. It’s melodic chorus is “You’ll pass that number/ Waiting for the summer/ So that you cannot rest/ Curious perfections/ There’s haunting life lessons/ So that you cannot rest”. There is a definite beauty in its subtleties.
Next is “Military Madness,” originally by Graham Nash. This song is just as powerful now as it was then, and Woods brings a new flavor to the tune.
The third track I want to mention is called “September with Pete.” It’s completely instrumental and [for lack of a better term] jammy. The drums and guitar are most prominent, and together they create a kind of rhythmic euphoria. The song may go on slightly longer than I would like (it clocks in at 9:40) given my previously mentioned aversion for jam-rock, but I can get help moving to this song.
The band is currently on tour. If you’re in Boston on Aug. 6, I’ll see you at Great Scott for their show!
And if you’re interested in reading more, here’s a review that Pitchfork did of Songs of Shame.
Shanna Farrell is a friend that will be contributing to my blog regularly. She earned her undergraduate degree in music from Northeastern University in Boston and afterward moved to LA, where she worked in production. She currently lives in New York City where she attends grad school at NYU.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I discovered a cool new nonprofit dedicated to the "printmaking arts." Iskra Print Collective, based in Burlington, VT., is a forum for print makers to display and sell their work.
They held a workshop recently that I missed out on, but I will have to stop in the gallery next time I'm in Burlington. They have a list of prints for tons of bands in alphabetical order, including art for Gov't Mule, Trey Anastasio, Umphrey's McGee, Neko Case, MMJ and Band of Horses, to name a few.
One day, one day ...
Chromeo art making yet another appearance on cas:ev! Artist: Michael Dabbs.
Great source of inspiration as I'm in the process of creating a concert poster for local band Capital Zen.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Very nice, Wal-Mart ... in theory, at least. (Get ready for my thoughts on Wal-Mart)
In short, I feel that Wal-Mart has watered down the American way of life and eroded downtowns that once served as the glue in a community.
I am exicited at the concept being tossed around of government-subsidized Smart Stores. Smart Stores will be in every neighborhood and will be a one-stop shop for eco-friendly produce and clothing, as well as a place you can go to get preventive health care (screenings, herbal medicine, yoga, ect.). They will serve as year-round farmers' markets, will sell locally made products, and will reward a sustainable lifestyle by offering discounts to those who buy eco-freindly and use public transportation or ride bikes instead of driving.
Rather than make everyone drive to the outskirts of town like Wal-Mart, Smart Stores will be walking distance for smart consumers. How about Wal-Mart takes the whole "responsible" thing a step further and puts a big ticker on the exterior of their stores that calculates how much carbon consumers released by travelling an average of, oh, 10 miles to their super centers.
In all fairness, Wal-Mart creates jobs (low-wage jobs), but it's also closed many, many small shops that can't compete with its prices.
So, don't be fooled, Wal-Mart is simply covering its ass with the whole eco rating move.
Bottom line, even though Wal-Mart's prices are a little cheaper, go to your local corner store and locally owned grocery centers for your foods as much as possible.
And now ... Wilco lyrics:
"I would like to salute/The ashes of American flags/And all the fallen leaves/Filling up shopping bags."
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Every once in awhile, there comes along an artist or band that incites a physical reaction. It’s an overwhelming feeling that makes me want to cry, smile, sigh, be alone and hold someone’s hand all at once. It speaks directly to my heart and leaves me changed.
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson is not that artist. He is, however, reminiscent of someone who is, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.
MBAR, for short, is an exceptionally talented musician in his own right. He is a troubadour using his guitar, his voice and his lyrics to shed some light on what it’s like to be living in his skin.
His sound has been described as a “man on the edge of a breakdown” and he sings with an amount of vulnerability that can only be authentic. You can hear in his voice that his life has been anything but rainbows and butterflies. For those familiar with Bon Iver, MBAR has the same sense of introspection and soulfulness, but as Carrie Brownstein put it, “doesn’t veer into the heavens as much."
His self-titled album Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, was released a year ago, in June 2008. It garnered attention by music blogs such as Pitchfork and Stereogum right around the time of its release, but not much since. I first heard about him on NPR’s “All Songs Considered” podcast a couple months ago (apparently late to the game), bought the record and have been listening to it non-stop since.
The first track, called “Buriedfed” is about MBAR attending his own funeral, albeit still being alive. The song begins with just him and his guitar. It builds throughout, using instrumental and vocal layering. It’s boozy and sober, shaky and strong, all at once. The second track is called “The Debtor” and is at once rhythmic and pretty. It opens with piano and drums, adding other instruments along the way. It culminates at the chorus with the lyrics “I’m not sure that I wanna stay alive/it’s so expensive/it’s cheap to die”. The melody and tone of the instrumentation is juxtaposition with the troubling lyrics. My favorite song from the album is called “My Good Luck”, the sixth track. It is guitar driven and melodic. The lyrics grab you from the first line “Coming over after work/because I’m that kind of jerk”. It’s a higher energy song, and I find myself drawn to this track. You can listen to the album in its entirety over at Lala.
You can also check out this article written last year by Gothamist:
I hope you enjoy this artist and the album as much as I do.
Shanna Farrell is an old friend that will be contributing to my blog regularly. She earned her undergraduate degree in music from Northeastern University in Boston and afterward moved to LA, where she worked in production. She currently lives in New York City where she attends grad school at NYU.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Orlo is a nonprofit organization using the creative arts to explore environmental issues."
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Anywho, a while back I highlighted the work of Jim Pollock, Phish's poster guru. He does great work, but is just one artist that happens to be in the spotlight. There are many awesome poster artists out there.
I stumbled onto a great blog called "The Poster District" that sheds light on the world of poster art. Check this blog out, it's legit.
A poster to promote wind energy, by the famous Shepard Fairey (You've seen his work before ... think Obama. Here is a link to his project, OBEY). You could buy it, but it's SOLD OUT like everything else he creates.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
If summer won’t come to us, I’m going to try to draw it out with more summer music. This week, I’ve got two great summer songs. They both have a fun, light, dancey beat and have a good chance of getting stuck in your head. They might even help those hot, oppressive drives to the beach go by faster (That is, if the Northeast gives us any nice days this summer!).
So, with Fourth of July approaching, I present “Psychic City” by Yacht and “15-20” by The Phenomenal Hand Clap Band.
Hear "Psychic City," by Yacht, here
Hear "15-20," by The Phenomenal Hand Clap Band, here
Yacht is a two piece band, Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans*, from Portland, Oregon. They put on an infectious live show, dancing around stage in a quirky manner (I had the good fortune to see them open for Vampire Weekend last year in LA). They’ve released the single “Psychic City” just in time the summer.
* Fun fact: they also date!
Here is what they have to say about themselves in their mission statement, courtesy of their Web site:
"YACHT is a Band, Belief System, and Business conducted by Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans of Marfa, Texas and Portland, Oregon, USA. All people are welcome to become members of YACHT.
Accordingly, YACHT is and always will be what YACHT is when YACHT is standing before you.
YACHT was formed in 2002 as Y.A.C.H.T., "Young Americans Challenging High Technology." The current incarnation began gestating in 2008, and at this point bears no resemblance, except biologically, to the previous versions. The YACHT of 2009 is the true form of YACHT.
The 2009 form of YACHT is highly indebted to the Mystery Lights of the Far West Texas desert, where most of the new YACHT album, SEE MYSTERY LIGHTS, was written and recorded.
Strictly speaking, YACHT does "perform music." YACHT provides inspiring Teachings of constantly changing elements: PowerPoint presentations, immersive audio, live audience audits, and shamanistic video environments. The YACHT Performance is expressly designed to provide groups of people with catharsis and purification.
YACHT is about group consciousness. YACHT is about the individual man or woman. If you believe these assertions to be contradictory, consider the Triangle: it is both a collection of points and a shape.
The Triangle is also a concept map between three points. But it is not merely a concept.
Secondary interpretation of YACHT and the Triangle is not forbidden, but strongly frowned upon. YACHT is always available for consultation at the source (please e-mail email@example.com), so misinterpretations are unnecessary and will always be corrected. A general policy of openness and light has been instated.
YACHT believes that to all people have a right to Free thought, Free expression, to write their own opinions freely and to counter, utter, and write upon the opinions of others. There is a difference between Free as in "Free Lunch" and Free as in "Liberated." YACHT believes that music and the Internet will become both in time.
YACHT IS NOT A CULT.
No additional information will be divulged for the time."
The second track is from The Phenomenal Hand Clap Band. They are from Brooklyn and Lower Manhanttan, NY and have a varying line-up, which sometimes includes members of TV on the Radio. Their overall sound is eclectic, citing soul, indie, electronic, rock, and psychedilia influences. Their album, Phenomenal Hand Clap Band, was just released this week. If you’re aching for more, check out their blog.
This band worth watching…
Shanna Farrell is an old friend that will be contributing to my blog regularly. She got her undergraduate degree in music from Northeastern University in Boston and afterward moved to LA, where she worked in production. She currently lives in New York City where she attends grad school at NYU. More impressive than her resume is her knack for mining the music scene for great new music.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Days after Jack White (The White Stripes, Raconteurs, Dead Weather) and Jimmy Page ripped games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero as being an "undesirable way for people to be exposed to music," (read here), I have found a ray of light in the coporate sellout we call Rock Band. The animator for the Gorillaz music videos (remember Feel Good Inc.?), who I've long admired, created a sick cinematic for the Beatles edition of Rock Band.
Hey, at least Rock Band is thinking in the right direction by giving the band of all bands their own game. I would love to hear John Lennon's thoughts ... but, hopefully kids get the message - and some exercise.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I love being turned on to new music. So, in an effort to further expand my own awareness of what I'm missing in the ever-changing music scene, I have called in a reliever (excuse my baseball mentality).
I introduce to you, Shanna Farrell. Shanna and I are high school buddies who have always shared a love of music. We kept in touch over the years, despite distances, and recently reunited for a night on the town. As expected, conversation turned to music and I asked her if she would contribute to my blog - and she obliged.
She got her undergraduate degree in music from Northeastern University in Boston and afterward moved to LA, where she worked in production. She currently lives in New York City (right on Shanna, back on the East Coast!) where she attends grad school at NYU. More impressive than her resume is her knack for mining the music scene for great new music.
Enough with the talk - let's get right to it. Without further ado, I give you Shanna's weekly (or whatever) column:
Summa, Summa, Summa Summertime!
Despite the spotty weather we’ve been having here in the Northeast, it’s summertime. And what every summer needs is a good band or two to have a fling with. My summer obsessions? Passion Pit and Crocodiles, the bands that I’ll be blasting at barbeques and late night dance parties.
While Passion Pit has been receiving some major exposure as of late, they still have that perfect summer beat. I first heard about them through NPR’s “All Songs Considered” podcast during their SXSW preview show back in March. They grabbed my attention, and I went out and bought their album as soon as it was released. Hailing from Cambridge, Massachusetts, they broke out with their song “Sleepyhead” this winter.
Now, everywhere I look, there are articles featuring them. They formed in 2007 and feature Michael Angelakos on lead vocals and the keyboard, Ian Hultquist on the keyboard, Ayad Al Adhamy on the synth/samples duty, Jeff Apruzzese on bass, and Nate Donmoyer on live drums. The group is considered electronic, is super danceable, and has been described as “brief, sporadic, and explosive.”
Check out my favorite song, “Moth’s Wings," from their album Manners:
If that’s not enough, listen to “The Reeling:”
Or hell, go buy the whole album! And then read their blog:
My next summer fixation is Crocodiles, a band from San Diego. They are considered to be part of the Southern California “noise-pop” movement (see: No Age, Wavves). They have a darker, distorted sound, but make you (or at least me) want to sing along to “Neon Jesus” and “I Want to Kill” off their newly released Summer of Hate album.
I saw them perform in New York City a couple months back, and despite my aversion to their donning of sunglasses inside and at night, they brought the house down. They played to a sold-out crown before their album even hit stores. If that’s not an indication of how great their songs are, I don’t know what is. Crocodiles consists of the duo Brandon Welchez on vocals and programming and Charles Rowell on guitar and synth.
There is also a pretty rad interview that Stereogum did with them in the “Quit Your Day Job” section. Check it out here
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Many more concerts and fishing trips to come.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I will try to embed playlists like I did this week; otherwise, it will be my thoughts and links/photos.
Week One highlights UK punk/rock act The Kooks. The Kooks have been blowing up the scene both in America and overseas. They invoke thoughts of vintage UK punk acts like the Clash, Kinks, The Smiths and I'm sure they spent a lot of time listening to the Rolling Stones, The Ramones and Velvet Underground. Here is a link to their site:THE KOOKS.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
My brother Ted and his college band mate Tommy Giamichael, used the night to rekindle their days playing in Potsdam. They played a first set that included Lenny, by SRV, Friend of the Devil, He's Gone, Hey Hey and original tunes. My brother and I began the second set with The Allman Brothers' In Memory of Elizabeth Reed and went into In The Kitchen, Beautifully Broken and others. Then all three of us played well past midnight, touching on tunes like This Must Be The Place by the Talking Heads, Willin' by Little Feat and Don't Go Changin' On Me, a Ray Charles ballad.
All said, it was a fun night and I look forward to doing it again.