Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Beatles get animated?

That's right, Rock Band: Beatles Edition video game debut (September 2009) has lazy kids everywhere doing finger exercises in preparation for what will be hours of retina-melting finger tapping and general mind decay.

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.

Screenshot ...

Check out the cinematic here

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

Genius loves company (hehe)

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.

About Shanna:

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.”

Passion Pit

Check out my favorite song, “Moth’s Wings," from their album Manners:

If that’s not enough, listen to “The Reeling:”

Or, “Sleepyhead:”

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.

Head to their Myspace to check out their music: Crocodiles

There is also a pretty rad interview that Stereogum did with them in the “Quit Your Day Job” section. Check it out here

*Disclaimer: Crocodiles is probably an acquired taste. If you like noise-pop, chances are you will like them. If not, just defer to Passion Pit.

Wacom portaits

Still at it with the Wacom pad ... Here are a couple self portraits:

Fun, fun -- and so. damn. frustrating.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


My summer is off to a solid start. Since Memorial Day I have been going non-stop, and, being my car needs brake work, things have slowed down a bit. I might as well take a minute or two to offer snapshot of the past few weeks (for my own good), which brought me from the Adirondacks for some fishing at a friends remote camp, to the Catskills for a weekend party at Mountain Jam at Hunter Mountain and many places in between. It's no doubt I have a deep appreciation for my corner of the world, but there are bigger mountains out there.

Many more concerts and fishing trips to come.


Sitting by the dock of Owl Pond in Speculator, N.Y.

The view from my tent at Mountain Jam

Some mountain biking at West Mountain - for a story actually.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Casual Listening: Greyspoke

So here's my second installment of Casual Listening; a weekly or bi-weekly (or more!) thread where I will present some bands/artists that are under the radar or perhaps under appreciated.

Last week I introduced UK rock band, The Kooks. When I first heard them it was like a breath of fresh air. I feel they offer today's rock some much-needed punkishness and good-old flick-your-cigarette grit. But that is for you to decide.

I'm doing a 360 in presenting this week's artist so bear with me. The band is Greyspoke, a jam band via the saturated Burlington, Vt., bar circuit.

Greyspoke (photo courtesy of the band's MySpace page)

I saw Greyspoke once, at a small bar across from the Saratoga Race Course in 2007. I chatted with the lead guitarist, Rob, over drinks following the show and gained a respect for the band as I learned that they work very hard day in and day out to refine their sound and stand apart from their jammer counterparts. Not to mention, a lot of my friends that attended Postdam in Upstate New York know them as the "band next door," the guys that played all the house parties; so I figure I will give them a shout.

Yes, I suppose they would be classified as a jam band; but the modern type: modeled after the Grateful Dead, rather than Phish, mixed with a splash of funk and Americana. From what I understand, the lead singer's dad is a member of the festival staple Grateful Dead tribute (for lack of a better word) band Dark Star Orchestra, which performs GD set lists song-for-song (I've also had the chance to see DSO and it was great). That said, it's evident they take plenty away from the Dead's music, and I've heard them do covers of some very difficult electric Dead songs, but what impresses me is that they have created their own sound while still retaining some of the qualities that made the Dead great.

Here is their bio from their MySpace page:

"In their sixth year as a band, Greyspoke is gaining notoriety in the live music community with a blend of hard rock, funk, jazz and an occasional tangent of psychedelia. These longtime friends have taken the stage at venues, parties, and festivals, from New England to Ohio, upstate New York, NYC, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and up and down Vermont, where all four of the band’s original members grew up and started to write and jam together. This spring they will release their first live album, a compilation of tracks recorded at their fall Nectar's residency. The band is currently finishing up their first studio album, which is due out come late summer/early fall."

I look forward to getting my hands on a copy of their live release. In the meantime, keep on the look out for these up-and-comers.

Good luck guys!

(Notice the new Casual Listening logo! subject to change)