Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Print Craft from Visual Inclination on Vimeo.

Print fever Pt. II

Hope you all had a healthy and happy holiday filled with food, friends and family. Yes, Santa was good to me this year (apparently three speeding tickets doesn't put me on the naughty list). My favorite gift under the tree:

Patagonia Daily Grind bag:
I'ma get my carry on ...

Need to refuel the inspiration tank? Check out part II of For Print Only's best print design projects of 2010. Delicious!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Print fever

Under Consideration's For Print Only blog unvieled its Best Print Projects of 2010 list today. There's some really crisp work by designers that are maximizing the impact print design can have. Will 2011 be the year of paper?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Grace Potter Fall Tour Poster

Awesome silkscreen poster promoting Grace Potter's fall tour.


Being the band is from Vermont, they asked a Vermont designer to create it. Definitely has a Green-Mountain feel to it. Read more about it here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bike City

There is a "bike city" developing in South Carolina? Read here.

Ahh, imagine: A city with happy people strolling around on their bicycles, baskets full of groceries, no exhaust or road rage ... well, maybe some occasional road rage.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Paper, paper, paper

I just got a new job as marketing coordinator at Finch Paper LLC., an integrated paper mill in Glens Falls, NY, that makes high-quality, uncoated white paper.

In my first two weeks I have been overloading my brain with information about the paper business and the technology involved -- and adjusting to the leap from newspaper journalism into the marketing world. My job involves a lot of writing for and editing our website and blogs, as well as promotional materials, spec sheets, and any other text-heavy projects in the works.

One of the things I love about the new job is that graphic designers are an important demographic that we work with on a daily basis, trumped only by the merchants and commercial printers that buy our paper by the ton. Therefore, I am surrounded by great print design each day, fueling what is becoming a print addiction.

Now, before I started this job, I was always one who would say "save a tree, send an email." Well, our head forester at Finch Paper, one of the most respected in his field, has totally changed my perspective. He contends that cutting down trees is not only OK, but that sustainable forestry is needed to ensure the long-term health of forests. It's a really interesting topic that you can read more about here. (Shameless plug: All of Finch's papers are Sustainable Forestry Initiative and FSC-certified).

If you're a designer, it's likely that you or someone you know has used Finch Paper for a print campaign in the past. It's an affordable option to bigger paper companies and -- because it's an integrated mill and more agile in that respect -- it can ensure great customer service. But I I won't use my blog to promote Finch too much, I guess there's just something really satisfying about promoting print for a living. It's tangible, personal and renewable.

So check out Finch Paper's blog, In The House. It highlights design projects printed on Finch Paper and other innovations in the design world. While you're at it, check out For Print Only (FPO), a great blog that highlights the best printed projects out there. A true inspiration for designers and proof that print is far from "dead".

"I used to write letters, I used to sign my name ... I hope that something pure can last." -- Arcade Fire

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Avi Buffalo - What's In It For?

Really getting into Avi Buffalo lately. In the comments for the video, pepijnn7 is spot on when he/she says "this is where MGMT meets The Shins."



I'm also excited to hear that the lead vocalists from Dawes, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit have formed the band Middle Brother and will release an album in March. These are all solid bands I would recommend checking out and I can imagine their collaboration will be pure magic. I sure hope they play near my neck of the woods.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Band of Horses The Funeral Austin City Limits 2010

I you're like me, you'll be sitting in front of a TV on Jan. 15 to watch Band of Horses perform their Austin City Limits set on PBS. Word has it they perform material from all three of their albums, including the most recent release, Infinite Arms.

This number, performed at Austin City Limits fest this summer, is off their first album, Everything All The Time.

No One's Gonna Love You (Paul Epworth Mix) - Clean

Gotta love Cee Lo Green, especially when he covers Band of Horses' "No One's Gonna Love You" on his new album.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Update on my story in Powder ski mag

I was contacted by the rad dudes at Powder Magazine in sunny San Clemente, CA. Turns out my story got bumped up an issue and will be published in January rather than February!! The title, as I understand, will be called "'Dack To The Future" and will be located in the Fall Line department of the mag.

I'm so psyched about this, you don't even know!

It features some interesting info about the history of skiing in New York's Adirondack Park and also features some never-before published photos from the 1930s.

Keep an eye out for it on newsstands in January.

-J

New Bright Eyes album

Bright Eyes, featuring Conor Oberst of the Mystic Valley Band and Monsters of Folk, will be releasing the band's seventh studio album, "The People's Key," on Feb. 15. The full track listing was posted on Conner Oberst's site.

Full track list for The People’s Key:

1 Firewall
2 Shell Games
3 Jejune Stars
4 Approximated Sunlight
5 Haile Selassie
6 A Machine Spiritual (In The People’s Key)
7 Triple Spiral
8 Beginner’s Mind
9 Ladder Song
10 One For You, One For Me

It's one that should be really good, however Oberst is not exactly predictable. I will link to any pre-released tracks in coming months. In the meantime, here's a couple cool videos:


Friday, November 26, 2010

Sketches

A logo concept I created using pencil/colored pencil (lost Illustrator until I get a new Mac) for Umphrey's McGee logo design contest. To see the rather surprising winner, click here.


"Vinyl Girl"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

[REVIEW] Allman Brothers Band Nov. 15 @ Palace Theater, Albany, NY

It was strictly business on Monday night when the Allman Brothers Band took to the ornate confines of the Palace Theater in Albany -- as intimate a venue as an ABB show will get.

After recovering from a liver transplant earlier in the year, a healthy Greg Allman was at the helm and Warren and Derek were back to their epic guitar battles, trading solos on Allmans' classics like Statesboro Blues, Dreams, Trouble No More, Nobody Left To Run With Anymore, Hot 'Lanta and Southbound (encore).

The peaks of the night, however, came when they laid into the blues numbers. As is customary with Allmans shows these days, the boys payed homage to their blues heritage. With scenes of blues legends flashing on the screen behind them, the boys scorched their way through covers of Freddie King's Woman Across The River, Robert Johnson's Come Into My Kitchen, and the highlight of the night, a soaring version of Elmore James' oft-covered The Sky Is Crying.

The veteran jammers displayed their mastery at its highest level, all while steering the energy higher and higher and never letting it come down.

Sure, I'm a little disappointed we didn't get Clapton's Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad? But most wishes came true Monday night.

Monday, November 15, 2010

TRON: LEGACY - Daft Punk's "Derezzed"

In case you haven't seen the trailer for Disney's Tron: Legacy trailer featuring Daft Punk's new song "Derezzed," here it is:


Tron: Legacy, a sequel to the 1982 classic, hits theaters Dec. 17. Looks pretty hot ...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean

It's not Fleet Foxes, but Sub Pop alums and one of my favs, Iron and Wine, are set to release a new album on Black Friday.

Here's some ambiance to get keep you warm until then ...

Courtesy of THC's MySpace page

The Tim Herron Corporation, who a wrote about a few posts back, has released a new album, Talkabout, recently. It's full of good vibes that will help you get through these soggy November days.

Fleet Foxes New Album

Just an open call to Fleet Foxes to please release a new album soon. How long must I wait? That goes for you too, Justin Vernon ...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Powder to the people


My junior year of college, I was assigned a 10-page paper that required I choose a long-running magazine and research everything from its target market to its editorial-to-advertising ratio.

Without hesitation, I chose Powder Magazine, a.k.a. "The Skier's Magazine."


I first was drawn to its stunning photographs and crisp layout. The great writing soon grew on me and became the style I would strive for in my own writing -- conversational, descriptive and evocative.

In my research I discovered the magazine published its first issue in 1975. Knowing the average life span for a magazine is about five years, I found that pretty impressive. What's more impressive is that, while skiing has changed greatly since 1975, Powder has stayed true to its core identity. Powder Editor Derek Taylor writes: "In short, we don’t harp on what makes us different, but rather portray the beauty—through compelling written and visual stories—of the passion we all share."

To say I'm stoked that I will have a story published in the February issue would be an understatement. I'm more honored than anything.

The story is about the rich history of skiing in the Adirondacks and how two resorts are bridging that past with the present.

If you love skiing, photography or great writing in general, I would highly recommend subscribing to Powder. Plus, you could read my story!

Before I wrap this up, I have to give a shout out to Powder Associate Editor Mike Rogge, a buddy of mine without whom this might not have been possible (or at least not as fun).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Paper is timeless

I love the idea of saving trees by going digital. However, when it comes to producing eye-popping designs and images, good old fashioned paper is still the medium of choice for most design firms.

I recently read an interesting article about Moleskine. The Italian notebook/date book company recently launched a new line of notebooks that will make you rethink the role of print today.

According to the article, "The company’s masterstroke was capitalizing on the link between the notebooks and icons such as Picasso, Van Gogh, and Hemingway, who used similar-looking ones long before the brand existed. The lineage strained credibility (“It’s an exaggeration,” one of the company’s founders told The New York Times in 2006), but it was genius."

Check out this video. If you're like me, you can't wait to get your hands on one ...



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A minimalist band in rustic Old Forge

While attending a wedding at an Adirondack great camp in the beautifully rustic and wild Old Forge this past weekend, I happened upon a great band playing in a bar in town. The bar was Slickers and the band that blew the roof off the place was Syracuse's Tim Herron Corporation.

Most of the year this bar would probably be serving pints to just the locals, but it just so happened the weekend we were in town coincided with the Moose River Fest -- an annual kayaking festival that was made all-the-more happening due to the rain-swollen rivers.

Looking to extend the evening after the wedding, a group of us hit up Slickers, which was a short walk from our hotel. As we approached we could hear the place was jumping and inside, people literally were jumping -- up and down, in unison -- to Tim Herron Corp. His blend of jam band/Americana was just what you would want to hear in that rustic setting. Herron, a moose of a man, fronts the band as the name might imply. His voice is reminiscent of Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers minus the southern accent, yet his delivery is like that of Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. As a whole, the band's stripped-down sound can be compared to The Band and their songs just as catchy.

We heard only the last few songs of his set; one a more country sounding tune that featured Herron's twangy and fuzzy Telecaster overdrive. After being beckoned back on stage by the saturated 20-to-30-somethings, Herron and company returned with Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song." An odd choice I thought -- my dad sang that song to me when I was a kid -- but it was executed in a way that just made you feel good. One more number and they were forced to pack it in, sending the weary river-goers paddling back to their hotels.

Check out Tim Herron Corporation on MySpace. Word has it they are releasing their second album very soon.

P.S. One of their songs, "Tipp Hill Love Story," can only refer to Tipperary Hill in Syracuse, a place where I visited many times while my brother attended LeMoyne College. Kind of cool when you can relate to the song in a personal way ...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Good TV


These are the days I wish I had a 42" flat screen, or at least standard cable. On top of what is proving to be some dramatic playoff baseball on TBS (better to mute the commentators and listen to the radio), the Bruce Springsteen documentary, "The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town," will air on HBO tonight at 9 p.m.

If October baseball and the Boss is not enough entertainment for you, fire up the Gorillaz live Letterman webcast on CBS.com, also at 8 p.m. ET.

Today's baseball lineup:
Texas (C. Wilson) vs. Tampa Bay (Sheilds) at 2: 30/ Yanks (Pettitte) vs. Twins (Pavano) at 6 p.m./Braves (D. Lowe) vs. Giants (Lincecum) at 9:30 p.m.

Enjoy

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gorillaz live webcast Thursday




The Gorillaz will be taking their acclaimed live act to the Ed Sullivan Theater on Thursday. Tune in to CBS.com tomorrow at 8 p.m. to check it out live.

New Umphrey's McGee tunes

Jam prog-rockers Umphrey's McGee announced they will be offering downloads of new songs that fans can either purchase individually as they debut or in a bundle. UM, known for their web-savvy, non-traditional methods of releasing new material, has offered up the first new tune, "Wellwishers," for free. Download it from the widget below. They debuted the song live at the Knitting Factory in Reno, NV, on Oct. 2. It's a catchy tune that builds into a bright refrain. Parts remind me of U2/Peter Gabriel. I think its Jake's Edge-like guitar work, but that's just my opinion. Enjoy.








Thursday, September 23, 2010

180 South - Official Movie Trailer 2010 [HD]

180 Degrees South


I've had some time on my hands recently to scour Netflix and catch up on some documentaries I have been meaning to see. Among them are Scorsese's Dylan documentary, "No Direction Home," the new Doors documentary, "When You're Strange," as well as "It Might Get Loud," an homage to the electric guitar featuring Jack White, Jimmy Page, and The Edge.

However, I find myself writing this post after watching "180 Degrees South," a documentary outside the musical genre that chronicles climber/surfer/adventurer Jeff Johnson's land and sea trek to Patagonia, following in the footsteps of legendary climber (and Patagonia outdoor company founder) Yvon Chouinard's epic 1968 trek to summit rare peak, Cerro Corcovado.

For all you outdoors enthusiasts, it's a must-see, as the film offers great climbing and surfing footage set in arguably the most breathtaking backdrops on earth. However, adventure aside, the film really hammers home the underlying message of conservation and the human race's duty to preserve wildlands and ecosystems.

For, As Johnson discovers in his travels, Chile's wild rivers are being dammed up and its coast being marred by pulp mills. In turn, the fisheries, which served as the lifeblood to generations of Chileans, are deteriorating.

What makes the film so captivating is not only the scenery and the genuine characters, but the great soundtrack that accompanies the film. It includes original music by Mason Jennings, James Mercer, Ugly Casanova and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, as well as songs by Vetiver, M. Ward, Jack Johnson, Andrew Bird, and a rendition of Woody Guthrie's "Remember The Mountain Bed," performed by Wilco and Billy Bragg which I had never heard, but is my new favorite song.

It looks like I have a new favorite documentary as well.

________

A couple of the grassroots organizations promoted in the film worth checking out:

Conservacion Patagonia (preserving Patagonia's wildlands) and Sin Represas! (Patagonia without dams).

Buy the soundtrack here!

"If you love a place, you have a duty to protect it. And to love a place, you must know it first." - Jeff Johnson, 180 Degrees South

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Springsteen box set, documentary due out in November

When I was born in 1984, there were only a few artists carrying the Rock-n-Roll torch. One of them being Guns 'n Roses; the other being Jersey-born, working class hero Bruce Springsteen, whose songs about everyday life, teenage angst and romance won him generations of adoring fans -- myself included.

On Nov. 16, a special Bruce Springsteen box set will hit stores featuring a reissue of his 1978 record, Darkness On The Edge of Town, which, at the time, was being compared with Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone and Hendrix's Are You Experienced? and includes such classics as "Badlands," "Streets Of Fire," and "The Promised Land." But the thing that's got everyone talking is the documentary included in the box set, "The Promise: The Making of Darkness On The Edge of Town" (check out the trailer here). It is being billed as a raw look at Springsteen and the E-Street band as they harness the creative energy that reportedly produced enough material for four albums, but was eventually chiseled into the 10 songs that were released.

The box set also includes 21 outtakes (some of which Springsteen returned to the studio to finish), a three-hour 1978 concert filmed at Summit Arena in Houston, and an intimate performance of the E-Street band performing Darkness in its entirety to an empty Paramount Theater in Ashbury Park, New Jersey, last year.

I'm hoping the box set, documentary and all the attention being paid to Springsteen will introduce him to a new generation of fans. But, for the rest of us, he's always been there.

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Dr. Dog tracks!

This, on Dr. Dog's site this morning:

"We recorded 4 songs this summer at our friend Brian McTear’s studio in Philadelphia and we’re real happy with how they came out. We of course just released an album a few months back and we’re not feeling particularly anxious to ask you for more money, so we’re just gonna give the songs up for FREE."

They will release the songs on a continual basis. Check out Dr. Dog's Facebook page (where you will be redirected to a sharing application) to download the songs as they become available.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mavis Staples + Jeff Tweedy - "You Are Not Alone" Acoustic

Chromeo, "Business Casual"


Hot off the success of their 2007 release "Fancy Footwork" -- which has been rocking dance floors, house parties and my car CD player for the past three years -- Montreal-based elctro-funk duo Chromeo have announced their new album "Business Casual" will be released Sept. 14.

Chromeo fans got a sneak peak of the new album when the singles "Don't Turn The Lights On" and "Night By Night" were released a few months back. The songs featured all the cheesy (in a good way) lyrics, heavy beats, 80's guitar riffs and vocoder you would expect from Chromeo. After a first listen of the album, it's apparent that Chromeo has stuck to the game plan, dishing out tight, danceable beats that feel oh so good. However, the duo puts on their serious face (relatively speaking) for a couple tracks ("When The Night Falls," "Don't Walk Away"). Word has it they have been taking song writing notes from Daryl Hall (of Hall and Oates), with whom they performed this summer.

You can listen to "Business Casual" in its entirety, or individual tracks from the album, on NPR's First Listen until its Sept. 14 release. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to slip on my pastel suit and Italian leather shoes and blast it like it's 1984.

(Also notable on NPR.org is Robert Plant's new album "Band of Joy," coming off his Grammy-winning collaboration with Alison Kraus. The album spans many genres and eloquently features Plant's durable vocals along with some great guitar work. In addition, listen to Mavis Staples' new album, "You Are Not Alone," produced by Wilco's Jeff-Tweedy. They collaborated on many of the soul-full Gospel inspired songs, including the title track. Check out the video here. Also featured is Of Montreal's new album.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Kings of Leon

Courtesy Image

A new song/video from Kings of Leon was posted on Stereogum today, check it out here. The song "Radioactive," is a cut from KoL's upcoming album Come Around Sundown, due out Oct. 19. The song features a gritty, driving beat with some choppy guitar riffs like the old-school KoL. Check out the video and let me know what you think.

- J

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Nine Pound Hammer

Some talented young players tackling a difficult, and old, tune. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review: Arcade Fire @ MSG | Aug. 4/5

By Shanna Farrell
cas:ev contributor

The Talking Heads. Modest Mouse. Arcade Fire. These are three of my favorite bands. These are the only three bands I would not mind watching play a practically identical show two nights in a row. Last week, at Madison Square Garden, I got to experience this with Arcade Fire.

Did I start off on the wrong foot? Let me back up. I caught the Arcade Fire train after it had pulled out of the station. I only really got into them about two years ago (I went on a little musical hiatus awhile back and refused to listen to anything new). Many of my friends have seen them live before this current tour, but I hadn’t. When I found out they were touring in support of The Suburbs, I was ecstatic. Though I am not a huge fan of stadium shows, I bought my ticket for their first night at MSG during a pre-sale. Those tickets sold out quickly, and the band decided to add a second date that would be broadcast live. As I mentioned, I ended up in attendance for both of these shows.

Both nights began with Owen Pallet, formerly of Arcade Fire, playing a captivating set on his violin. I grew up playing the violin and worked at a high-end fine instrument auction house (price some good violins on eBay to get an idea), but I hadn't heard anything like this, especially live. He was humble, humorous and engaging. After Pallet, Spoon took the stage. This was my first time seeing Spoon live, and they put on a solid show both nights. I don’t have much more to say about Spoon …

After Spoon’s set was over, crew members crawled all over the stage preparing for Arcade Fire’s production. A floor-to-ceiling screen was revealed directly behind the stage. In front of this screen, another projection screen was in place, resembling the size and shape that of a football scoreboard. A double riser was erected as an elevated platform for two drum kits, a drum machine, a piano, and a keyboard. This was one of the most elaborate scenes I have witnessed.

As the lights lowered, a low rumble began and the crowd exploded in cheers and applause. Led by Regine Chassagne, the members of Arcade Fire took the stage. The nine performers opened their set with “Ready to Start”, appropriately. The room was on fire and the band was on. Chassagne won my “Rock Star of the Night” award for her energy and her musical chops. She bounced around the stage from instrument to instrument, never missing a beat. Much to the rest of the band’s credit, most of them also switched instruments throughtout the show. The two drum kits were used frequently and were electrifying. During “Rebellion”, the keyboardist grabbed a snare drum, took to the front of the stage, and started beating in time. He broke his stick but kept thumping the snare with the flat of his palm. Also during “Rebellion”, I knew that I had to be at their second show.

The first night, Win Butler stayed put on the stage. He spoke little, but when he did, he was met with full support. He mentioned Partners in Health, a medical organization founded by Paul Farmer who has clinic in real Haiti. (Sidenote: This organization really is incredible. I read one of Paul Farmer’s books a year ago and it was fantastic.) He also managed to make the entire crowd “boo," and me laugh. He pointed out his favorite place in the general admission pit, citing that this was the spot were Kareem Abdul Jabar blocked a shot that caused the Houston Rockets to win the playoffs against The Knicks. Needless to say, New Yorkers were none too pleased to hear this shoutout, but I thought it was funny. I was also impressed by the “boos” he received. They played for three hours and ended with a three song encore, “Tunnels”, “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, and “Wake Up”. It was one of the best shows I have been privy to.

I managed to “wrangle” a ticket and had high hopes for the second night. I wanted them to play “Neon Bible” and “Lenin”, but was in for a surprise- they played the very same songs as the night before save one. And in the same order. The camera was on them and they were working hard. It became clear that the first night was practice and the show didn’t have the same ease and effortlessness the previous show had. There was a camera rig floating over the general admission pit and technical difficulties, resulting in “Mountains Beyond Mountains” to be cut off and then played from the top. At one point, Butler jumped to the seated side of the stage and precariously walked on a handrail. He also walked through the crowd once and fell into the pit while playing his guitar several times. At the very end, confetti rained down on the crowd. While there were hundreds of people packed into MSG, it was not sold out, as the night before had been. Though it was a great show, I left feeling slightly disappointed. I wanted something that they did not give me. Just because the production value was higher during round two, it was not necessarily better.

All that said, those two nights provided some of the best music I have heard in a really long time. Arcade Fire is a band for the ages folks, and if you get a chance to see them live, take it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

PHOSPHORESCENT

Courtesy of Phosphorescent's MySpace page


"Can I Sleep In Your Arms" by PHOSPHORESCENT

I discovered the Brooklyn-based band Phosphorescent recently and have since been returning to their MySpace page whenever I get the chance. Largely influenced by country singer songwriters like Willie Nelson (their second album is a collection of Willie Nelson covers named To Willie), lead singer Matthew Houck sings in highs and lows that cull up old Blue Eyes himself, and will carry you right away like a pedal-steel breeze.

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Eddie Vedder track, "Better Days" on Eat Pray Love Soundtrack


New Eddie Vedder track, "Better Days" to be on Eat Pray Love Soundtrack

I saw "Eat, Pray, Love" in theaters last night. It was entirely too long but provided some savory views of exotic foods and locales. Perhaps the best part of the movie was the soundtrack, featuring some really chill Brazilian music, Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" and "Harvest Moon," as well as a new Eddie Vedder cut that he purportedly wrote for the film.

It's a great tune with some nice Indian flavor too it, enjoy.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Review: My Morning Jacket @ Essex Junction, Friday, Aug. 20

"From the depths of Lake Champlain, to the shores of fair Vermont, we sang ye these songs." Courtesy of mymorningjacket.com


In the words of Jim James, a.k.a. Yim Yames, (queue spooky Twilight Zone voice): "All signs point to Essex Junction."
It was an epic late-summer affair at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction, Vt. last night.
For all intents and purposes, your standard county fairgrounds, the stage was set behind the large dirt track, grandstands and expo barns on the Midway Lawn, where the magic went down.
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals were a late add as opener. However, despite feeling good about getting an early start to our trip, we got stuck in a major traffic jam just short of the Vermont border for more than two hours and missed it completely. It was a one-car crash that resulted in only injuries, but backed up the busy thoroughfare into Vermont for more than three histeria-inducing hours! We turned around an hour into the gridlock, found an alternate route and, by the grace of God, made it to the fairgrounds just in time to have a beer before MMJ came on.
After driving 2 plus hours through rolling farmland and the scents it provided, we came over the crest of a hill and saw the lights of Essex Junction. It was a welcome site.
We arrived to find a crowd of about 1,500 friendly, flannel-clad 20-somethings moseying about the beer tent and lawn. Puffs of sweet smoke rose into the cool, crisp night, illuminated by a bright, three-quarters moon.
And did they ever come on.
My recollection of the set list is spotty. In my haste to make sure I heard the opener, I left my camera and note pad in the car. Thanks to a "Strict No Re-Entry Policy," I was left to my memory, which was of little use when I was so at the mercy of what I was seeing in front of me.
The space-cadet glow of the stage with the moon over head, mountains all around and Jim James advising the light guy to "Dim the lights, Marcus. ... Make it dark in here."
When they weren't crafting a spacey ambiance jam, they played their echo-induced rock with thunderous pulse, all exclaimed by Jim James' exalting howl.
Thankfully, I have some help with the set list thanks to a photo the band released on their site that shows the set list pinned on the wall near a ferris wheel (haha). But, I'm quite sure they strayed from the list. Unless I was on another planet (possible), they skipped over "Honest Man" "Easy Morning Rebel" and "Highly Suspicious." In their place were some extended jams, great segues, and amicable banter from James.
"It could be the 1950's, it could be the 1960's, it could be the year 3000 -- but it's right now."
Those words, the sights, the sounds, the smells ... This experience will stick with me for a very long time. Nothing short of magical.

Set list (prelim.)

Rollin Back>
Way He Sings
Anytime
Mahgeetah
It Beats 4 U
Circuital
Golden
Wonderful
Honest Man
I'm Amazed
Carried Away
Dondante
Smokin' From Shootin>
Run Thru
If You Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 2
End of Lay Low

Encores:
Wordless Chorus (Jim James wearing cape)
Off The Record
I'm Amazed
Steam Engine
One Big Holiday

I'm hoping a recording and more photos surface from this magical show. If they do, I will post them here.

- Cheers




From Luke's phone. Without it, I would still be driving in circles. Thanks Luke!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Review: Gov't Mule Honor Garcia, Lennon at Electric Central Park Gig -- RollingStone.com

Review: Gov't Mule Honor Garcia, Lennon at Electric Central Park Gig -- RollingStone.com

When it comes to rock acts today, Gov't Mule is no doubt one of the best.

Rising (harmoniously) out of the shadow of the Allman Brothers as a side project, the original Mule trio of Warren Haynes, Allen Woody and Matt Abts laid the groundwork for a blues rock sound that influenced many of today's best rock acts.

Love him or hate him, Warren Haynes is one of most respected musicians of our time. He tours relentlessly with Mule and the Allman Brothers, spent time on the road with The Dead, and fills his calendar with charity gigs and collaborations with other musicians.

Warren and company constantly pay respect to the legendary bands that influenced them and it is hard to find a show where they aren't covering Zeppelin, Floyd, Grateful Dead or The Beatles. Better yet, they revisit their songs with a passion that summons these great spirits (in the words of David Fricke).

Enjoy Fricke's review, it gave me goosebumps.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New My Morning Jacket: "Circuital" LIVE

This video of MMJ performing their new tune "Circuital" has surfaced on the wicky wide web via You Ain't No Picasso site, which is always scooping MMJ news.

I will be heading out to Essex Junction Friday to see My Morning Jacket at the Midway Lawn at Champlain Valley Expo. According to their site, it is a fundraising event for the Combat Paper Project.

Will definitely produce something for my blog so stay posted.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Allman Bros. return this fall!

With a lot of help from road warrior Warren Haynes and young gun Derek Trucks, The Allman Brothers Band have done a great job of keeping their sound fresh for a new generation of fans. However, for the past decade, Gregg Allman's health has dictated the Allman Brothers' touring schedule. Updates on the band's site keep fans like me informed on his stints in and out of the hospital.
I knew the recent hiatus was due to his health, but I've learned that he had a liver transplant, pulled through it well, and the band will be returning to the road in November with a three-night stint at the Orpheum Theater in Boston.

I've had the priveledge of seeing the Allmans more than any other band -- even way back when the Ramblin' Man himself, Dickey Betts, was still in the band -- and I look forward to the opportunity to see them again soon. Stay well Gregg.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monarch chair

I bought this new backpacking chair the other day and thought I would post a little review in case anyone out there was thinking about buying it.

It's called the Monarch chair, made by ALITE. It's pros: super lightweight, packs down to "burrito" size, it's cool looking, and balancing on the two legs can be fun. The cons: It's smaller than it looks in photos, it's not cheap (mine had a $59 price tag on it), and, balancing on two legs can suck (especially after a few drinks).

I bought it as an alternative to the mountain chair that Cane Creek popularized years ago and is now duplicated by EMS and Thermarest. They are both very low-profile, but the Monarch chair gets you off the ground, which can be handy if it's wet.

After getting a chance to use it at a concert last night, John Mayer at SPAC (masterful playing and good backing band almost made up for the awkward banter), I can say I am happy but not totally satisfied with the chair. I would still recommend the Thermarest chair as an alternative in its class. I figure for the avid camper, the Thermarest is more versatile. It can be used as added support along with a sleeping pad or can be used as a pillow, and can also be a back saver when spending long periods of time in a canoe. I don't think the Monarch chair would do well in a canoe.

So there you have it. Hope that helps make your decision easier.

Cheers!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Avalanche Pass

Some pics from a recent hike into Avalanche Pass from the famed Adirondack Loj in Keene Valley.
I haven't been to many national parks, but the one in my corner of the world ain't bad.
I would say I am an outdoors-ey person. I don't have to hike every high peak in a 100-mile radius to feel content being outside. It's just about getting away from the hustle and bustle and heading into the mountains to wet a line or go for a day hike.
It really is a different world out there; beyond the bright lights and off the grid. Rules and laws that we abide by every day don't apply. Spend any length of time outdoors and you learn that it has its own, primitive constitution and survival depends on a lot more than iPhones and mocha lattes.
There is a delicate balance in the wilderness that is far more advanced than the latest smart phone. In fact, it's perfect - and it doesn't need batteries to function!
This delicate balance is easily disturbed, as we have learned, by oil spills and other manmade disasters (not getting into global warming and CFCs here). This is the reality that we, the human race, has to live with and often ignore.
Now, I'm not a conservationist or an ambassador of the wild. I don't always walk the walk, but I do respect the outdoors and would like to see it preserved. What does this mean? I would say less development, more reclamation of old properties, an end to processed foods and mono-crop planting, and a return to slow food and neighborhood markets that sell local goods and services.
All this being said, you might notice more outdoor-related posts on cas:ev relating to conservation, notable environmental issues in the Adirondacks and beyond, and some links to outdoor gear (who doesn't love outdoor gear?).
I'll start by directing you to an outdoor company out of Steamboat Springs I learned of recently. Big Agnes makes handmade equipment that I've heard great things about. Check out the site here.

-J

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Morning Jacket in the studio/Newport Folk

Rolling Stone reports that My Morning Jacket is back in Nashville recording their follow-up to 2008's Evil Urges!
They have performed some of their new material live the past year, including "Friends Again."
I have been living on the John Prine tribute album Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows that MMJ contributed to. John Prine welcomed James as well as other contributors to that album on stage with him for his set at the Newport Folk Festival last week. Listen to it here (Thanks to NPR.org!)
Yim Yames also performed an intimate solo set (with some help from Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore) Listen to that set, in full, here.

The Yim Yames Newport Folk Fest set list:

His Masters
Wonderful
Look At You
Tonight I Want To Celebrate With You
Bermuda Highway
Summer Never Ends (John Callahan, to whom James dedicated the show to)
It Beats 4 U
Wonderful Man
Bring Me Li'l Water Sylvie (Leadbelly)
Morning Of My Life (Bee Gees)
Golden
Where To Begin
Smokin’ From Shootin' (with Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore)
Gideon

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Now I'm Ready To Start


Tonight's Arcade Fire show at Madison Square Garden will be webcast on YouTube at 10 p.m. HERE.

The show is the second in a two-night stand. Last night, the band touched heavily on their brand new release Suburbs and also played songs from their first two records, Neon Bible (2007) and Funeral (2004).

Last night's set list (courtesy of BrooklynVegan.com):

1. Ready to Start
2. Neighborhood #2 (Laïka)
3. No Cars Go
4. Haïti
5. Half Light II (No Celebration)
6. Rococo
7. The Suburbs
8. The Suburbs (Continued)
9. Crown of Love
10. Intervention
11. We Used to Wait
12. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
13. Rebellion (Lies)
14. Month of May
15. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
Encore:
16. Keep the Car Running
17. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
18. Wake Up

Unreal!!!

My friend and regular cas:ev contributer Shanna Farrell was at the show. She is trying to 'wrangle up' a ticket for tonight as well. Please join me in wishing her luck.

She is working on an account of her experience and will be posted here as soon as I recieve it. From the sounds of it, it was the show of the century.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jameson & The Sordid Seeds

Jameson & The Sordid Seeds, led by frontman Brent Jameson.

Normally, I'm the one reaching out to bands. But recently, a publicist from the Whitefish, Montana-based band, Jameson & the Sordid Seeds, reached out to me and turned me on to J&SS's brand of reggae/blues.

He mentioned their song "Brotherman" was featured on a recent Relix Magazine compilation CD packaged with the magazine. Years ago, a Relix compilation introduced me to some bands that would come to be favorites of mine. So I thought I would spread the love by introducing you to J&SS.

Now, there are a lot of bands who find their niche 'Americanizing' Bob Marley's Kingston vibes. Some achieve this sound better than others. From Sublime to Disptatch to OAR, to some newcomers like John Brown's Body and Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad and many others.

When I heard J&SS, those bands came to mind, but tried to pick up the subtle ways J&SS stood apart. I found a definite strength in front man Brent Jameson's vocals. According to J&SS's MySpace page, Jameson "put his struggles with addiction behind him several years ago and began pursuing music with a newfound vigor." You can definately hear the truth and passion in songs like "For Your Love." In others, his voice blends in with the steel drum, horns and keys to form a soothing mix that I could only compare to singer Mike Mattison of the Derek Trucks Band.

Don't want the summer to fade away? Check out Jameson & The Sordid Seeds. They will put you right where you want to be.

-J

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wacom portraits

With the recent addition of the M. Ward portrait, I think you could call it a series.



More to come ...

Monday, July 26, 2010

She's so heavy

Check out this blog post about an art/music event that went down at an ornate old church in Albany this past weekend.

A friend of mine was involved. Check out his new design firm Freshrr here. It's a really beautifully designed website and identity. I asked him what font he used for the logo and he said it is called Elephant. I am definitely taking notes.

Mmm Elephant font. Logo is partially cut-off here, but click on the image to check out the site.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Orlo

How can a magazine cover bring me so much joy?

I discovered the Portland-based nonprofit Orlo in a roundabout way. I saw its award-winning design for its in-house publication The Bear Deluxe Magazine in Print Magazine's design annual a couple years back. I was instantly attracted to its earthy appearance and its mission to be an "innovative voice in the ongoing cultural dialogue about the environment through provocative outreach, education and media productions."

Currently, Orlo’s focus is publishing The Bear Deluxe Magazine, facilitating visual art at the Orlo Exhibition Space and elsewhere and providing leadership in the field of environmental art.

Become a friend of Orlo and for 35 bucks you also get a subscription to Bear Deluxe, which is alone worth the price, but also get in touch with some really progressive stuff happening in sustainable living.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Love Affair with M. Ward

By Shanna Farrell
cas: ev contributor

She & Him released their first record, appropriately titled Volume One while I was living in California. A big fan of Zooey Deschanel (read: my girl crush), I didn’t want to be disappointed, as many actor-turned-musicians have failed to gain my appreciation. However, this duo had the opposite effect on me- I was intrigued by their nostalgic, light, folk-pop sound. Though, as I said, I like Ms. Dechanel a little too much. I don’t think she could have pulled this album (or their most recent release, Volume Two) off without the musical stylings of Matt Ward, or M. Ward, the stage name he prefers.

Later on, after I had left California to pursue graduate school, I walked into my apartment and my roommate was playing Ward’s Post-War. I had never heard this album before, but I was drawn to it instantly. I immediately acquired this album and started researching past solo music projects Ward had been a part of, as well as his soon-to-be released album Hold Time. It was after this research that I realized he was in large part why I like She & Him so much (honestly, it’s not because of their deep and meaningful lyrics). I liked the movie “The Go-Getter”, in which Ward has a guitar-playing cameo and is heavily featured on the soundtrack.*

I bought Hold Time the day it was released last year and it’s proven to have staying power, as it continues to be in my regular rotation. Ward Wisely chose several covers on this record, including “Rave On” by Buddy Holly, “Oh Lonesome Me” by Don Gibson, and “Outro (I’m a Fool to Want You)” by Frank Sinatra. Three of the tracks feature guest vocals by Deschanel, Jason Lytle, and Lucinda Williams, respectively. I even enjoy the cover art.

Last week, I had the good fortune to see She & Him perform live at a crowded (but air conditioned) New York venue. While Deschanel was having problems with her Wurlitzer, Ward made up for it with his guitar playing. Though I always appreciate someone with good guitar chops, I am usually more interested in the drummer/ings (an instrument I picked up in college), I was blown away by Ward. He’s just so good! So talented! So easy to watch and fall in love with!*

True to the stories I’ve heard or read, Ward opted out of the spotlight, literally and figuratively. He didn’t say much during the show, but when he did the crowd showered him with applause and admiration. Personally, I got a special treat when the first song the band played during the encore was my favorite Ward song, “Magic Trick”, from Post-War. A review of the show can be found here.

I guess my point is that I love M. Ward, and you should too. Or at least check him out.

*M. Ward had signed onto the film before it had a budget or had been casted. Also, it’s how Ward and Deschanel met.

*Deschanel’s voice is actually also way better live. She belted out a cover of Nina Simone’s “You Put a Spell on Me” during the group’s final encore song. She kept getting interrupted by applause. It was really incredible.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lewis & Clark


In the spirit of Fourth of July and summer in general, I ask you to offer up a caption for the above photo of daring explorers (and prospectors) Lewis and Clark, who mapped out the great land we live in (and may or may not have marked the end of Native American settlements along the way).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Drive-By Squidbillies


After Widespread Panic recently appeared on Squidbillies on Adult Swim, I knew it would only be a matter of time before the Drive-By Truckers made an appearance.

I'm not sure what it is about their music that says deranged, deformed talking squids that live in hickville USA, but I dig it. I also dig Squidbillies and the brilliant background art done by Ben Prisk.

The episode will run on Sunday, July 18. Check out the Facebook page dedicated to it here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Casual Listening: Pillowhead

Outside, it looked like just another nice house in a picturesque housing development called "The Pines."

I got out of my car; camera, pen and notepad in hand, and walked toward the door.

It was a nice summer day and I was following a of a bear of man, a drummer with self-proclaimed "big hands" named Matt .. or Mateo, I'm not sure he or I knows which.

Once through the door I was met by a surreal scene. In place of furniture in the living room, it was full of mic stands and cables. Various music gear was strewn about the house; on the kitchen table, in the den and so on, all leading to the ultimate gearhead paradise, a DIY recording studio in the basement.

I was on assignment doing a profile on a local band, alt/rock act Pillowhead.

They just got finished recording their second self-produced EP "The Bad Sleep Well" that they recorded in the basement (and in other rooms) of Matt's house, where he and childhood buddy, Pillowhead lead singer Paul, "spent a lot of time" growing up.

"Paul lived here for three years, so we're basically brothers," Matt said.

Paul and Matt played in a bunch of garage bands growing up. One, Horse In A Box, lasted five years and did fairly well before goin their seperate ways.

Matt attended Emerson College to study film and he and Paul stopped talking for a time. Meanwhile, Paul played with a regionally successful band The Loyalty and Matt moved to L.A. to join friends from film school and record as a session drummer in Hollywood.

But he returned after a year to join a band in Saratoga Springs. He later left that band and probably won't talk about it if you asked him.

In the meantime, The Loyalty had run its course and split up. Paul and Matt reconnected and formed Pillowhead.


Pillowhead are, from left, bass/keys/guitar Colin Miner, lead singer Paul Hake, lead guitarist Jared Piper, and drummer Matt (or Mateo) Vosganian.

As is only natural, my first instinct when I recieved an e-mail from Matt was to check out their MySpace.

I discovered a band that was obviously talented and although young (the oldest member, lead singer Paul, is 24), were very mature as musicians.

But, I'll be honest, I didn't spend much time listening at first. I went through a very brief emo/punk/alt-rock phase: Jimmy Eats World, Yellow Card, Less Than Jake, and a harder edge band called Senses Fail. But, I had the naive preconception that once you've heard one emo/alt rock, you've heard them all.

But after meeting Matt and Paul and seeing how down-to-earth and driven they were as musicians (and learned they loved Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket), I returned to the MySpace page and discovered more complex themes, both musically and lyrically than I'd heard before. Not to mention, a tight cover of The Postal Service's "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight."

They are giving their music away, literally, on their MySpace page, so you'd be ill-advised not to check it out.

Don't let their outside appearance fool you.

-J

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hopscotch, not just a cardiovascular game for kids

By Shanna Farrell
cas:ev contributor

Though I’ve been to a recent Lollapalooza and had a great time, I’m not a huge fan of big music festivals. I find them stressful, hot, and anxiety inducing. With that being said, there is a new festival this year that is making me jump with excitement.

Hopscotch, set in Downtown Raleigh, N.C., happens on September 9 through 11. It is the first year for the festival. Not only is it in early fall (allowing the summer heat and humidity to burn off a bit), it mimics SXSW’s use of multiple venues downtown. It boasts 120 bands and tickets at all venues are just $85 (VIP tickets are $120, but completely sold out).

The line-up features nationally known acts, as well as local up-and-comers. Here’s an added bonus- Public Enemy is headlining! Fortunately, I have family whom live in the area and I will be in attendance. Bands that never disappoint that are playing the festival include Broken Social Scene, No Age, Panda Bear and Atlas Sounds. Also scheduled to perform are Akron/Family, Best Coast, Harvey Milk, The Love Language, Bowerbirds, The Rosebuds, and Woods.
You can check out a full roster here.

Who booked this festival?? Ten points for you, my friend!

Hopscotch’s website has one of the best festival maps I have seen. With nine venues and two outdoor City Plaza shows are all in walking distance from one another, but there are bus routes along the way.

Hopscotch is put on by the area’s Independent Weekly . They are partnering with The Raleigh City Museum, who will be offering a free cultural series throughout that week. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from the festival will go to the Women’s Center of Wake County.

While I in no way, shape, or form am wishing the summer away, I am sincerely cannot wait for this festival.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Phish @ SPAC

I wrote a review of Phish's Saturday night show at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for Hidden Track blog.

I saw Phish for the first time ever last summer at SPAC, but still ventured to write a review. The show rocked, my review ... not so much.

Oh well, I'm improving.

Setlist:

Set 1: Tweezer Reprise[1], Chalk Dust Torture, Funky Bitch, Runaway Jim, Ya Mar, Sample in a Jar, Axilla > Fluffhead, Bathtub Gin, Suzy Greenberg

Set 2: Rock and Roll -> Free, Backwards Down the Number Line, Halfway to the Moon[2] > Prince Caspian > Joy, David Bowie, Show of Life

Encore: The Squirming Coil, Character Zero > Tweezer Reprise

[1] First Tweezer Reprise opener since 11/9/95 (482 shows).
[2] Debut.

This gig featured the first Tweezer Reprise opener since 11/9/95 (482 shows) and the debut of Halfway to the Moon.

Read my reveiw here.

Dr. Dog update

Dr. Dog plays Rev Hall in Februrary

Of all the bands at Mountain Jam this year, Dr. Dog was one I was really looking forward to. I cozied right up to stage 2 while Grace Potter and the Nocturnals were playing the main stage. It was early afternoon on Friday, I had a few pops, and I was ready to rock with the Dog. Unfortunately (for me), Toots and the Mayhals took the stage. I was utterly confused.

I later learned Dr. Dog had to cancel their performance because one of the band member's in Dr. Dog, rhythym guitarist/psychic explorer Frank McElroy, was sick or in the hospital (I heard he was having open heart surgery, but someone might have confused him with Simone Felice of the Felice Brothers, who is now fully recovered and rocking).

The band released the following message in regards to Mountain Jam:

Hey Folks,
We’re writing with some unfortunate news. The story ends with us saying that we will not be playing our scheduled show at Mountain Jam this afternoon. Zach spent most of yesterday in the hospital with a medical issue. We had hoped that he’d begin feeling better as the day went by and that didn’t end up happening. The good news is that Zach is going to be just fine… we’re just not quite sure how long it will take until he can play a show again.


Later in the week, Frank addressed the issue himself, writing:

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all your kind words, I’m making some progress. I have simple viral infection and I’ve had to just sweat it away here at home. It’s been pretty exciting. I think I’ll be feeling well enough to make it to Bonarroo, and I’m very much looking forward to playing and feeling normal again.

Thanks again to everyone who called or wrote, I really appreciate it.

Love, Zach

I heard they rocked at Bonnaroo. The setlist (courtesy of the milk carton):

Stranger, I Only Wear Blue,The Old Days, Jackie Wants a Black Eye, Army of Ancients, Mirror, Mirror, The Ark, Unbearable Why, MyFriend, Station, Shadow People, Fate,, The Breeze, Where’d All the Time Go, Hang On, Later, The Way the Lazy Do, The Rabbit, The Bat, and the Reindeer.

Dr. Dog will spend the rest of the summer playing music festivals, some out west (High Sierra, Pickathon), and will make some stops on the east coast (the inagural? Life's Good Festival on Sept. 11 in Canton, Mass. and a free show on Governor's Island in NYC on Aug. 15).

Welcome back Frank!

-J

John Prine tribute out today!


Maybe you're like me, and haven't heard of John Prine until recently.

If that's the case, then you're just in time. Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine is slated for release today.

It is a John Prine tribute album featuring an all-star list of neo folksters (and cas:ev favs) such as Bon Iver, My Morning Jacket, Conner Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, The Avett Brothers, Drive By Truckers, Deer Tick, and Old Crow Medicine Show, tackling Prine's classic storytellers.

Prine, 64, is an American song writer whose songs have "found a home in the repertoire of musical luminaries such as Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash and George Strait."

Not bad, partner (feat. voice-over by Sam Elliot).

NPR writes:

"One of America's best storytellers, Chicago-based songwriter John Prine was discovered by Kris Kristofferson. Prine's self-titled debut still stands as one of the best singer-songwriter albums of all time, but he hasn't stayed in the public eye, instead sticking around the margins of cult fame. For a new generation of fans, that's likely to change, thanks in part to a new tribute album titled Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine."

Quick, hear Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows on NPR's First Listen before it's too late!

The best part: You can buy the MP3 album for $3.99 on Amazon!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thoughts on the new Twilight soundtrack


By Shanna Farrell
cas:ev contributor

What do the Black Keys, Vampire Weekend, Band of Horses, and Beck have in common? The same thing that Thom Yorke, Lykke Li, and Bon Iver had in common- they are all on The Twilight Saga soundtracks.

The upcoming release of “Eclipse” is the third movie in the series. You can find the track list HERE , which includes another round of indie heavy-hitters and up-and-comers. Some of my favorites, including the aforementioned Black Keys, Vampire Weekend (sorry John, but I’m a fan), Bats for Lashes, and Battles are on the soundtrack. Seeing this roster affected me in the same way seeing the “New Moon” line-up did- my heart broke a little. Battles, what are you doing? Fanfarlo, why? How much are you all getting paid for this? (I could not find out this information, though I tried.)

I’m not the only one who feels this way. In a recent interview, Vampire Weekend discussed the backlash they have been getting from fans about their decision to write and record an original track for the movie. Though Vampire Weekend is usually on the receiving end of criticism and are a truly polarizing band, even their biggest fans have been voicing their resentment. And it’s not just fans of Vampire Weekend that are upset , it's many indie music lovers.

This forced me to examine what I am bothered. This has proven to be a good question, one I can’t quite put my finger on. These bands are probably getting big paychecks (which are a good thing) and are definitely getting more exposure (which could also be positive). Music is their livelihood and why start a band and sign to a label is you don’t want to be heard? Perhaps this is what is at the core of my discontentedness. I don’t want these bands to compromise their integrity, “sell out” for a paycheck, or become overexposed to the point of exhaustion. This may be a quick judgment and a mistake on my part. I don’t personally know the people that comprise these bands, so how should I know what “selling out” entails for them? Another reason is that, as indie bands, I feel somewhat privileged for being in the know and connected to their music, loving them when the mainstream isn’t aware of their existence. I understand this comes off as elite, but I don’t want to lose that, as I think might happen when “Eclipse” is released.

In the end, I might need to revise my opinions and reverse my cynicism. The “Eclipse” soundtrack, or any other mainstream choice, could be a favorable decision for my beloved indie bands. Youngsters (or adults) may learn and come to love these bands because of the soundtrack, cultivating a love for music they never knew existed within them. After all, this is how it began for me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

R.I.P. soldier

War is hit so close home today that I felt the ground shake as I drank my morning coffee ...

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.”

– Dwight D. Eisenhower

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Phantogram do Daytrotter

Johnnie Cluney's Daytrotter illustration of Phantogram

Upstate New York's own street beat/psych pop duo Phantogram, from Saratoga Springs, recorded a Daytrotter session at the Horseshack studio in Rock Island, Illinois, recently. The session includes one unreleased song. Listen to it here.

Mr. Daytrotter writes (so wistfully):

"Phantogram takes a tact of exploring all of these genuine and bleeding human conditions while pairing them with these rainy and steely, programmed and synthesized sounds to make a significant metamorphosis of what happens when it can't be helped what's being felt."

Read Shanna Farrell's post about Phantogram here.

Phantogram got their start with Upstate New York's independent record label, Sub-Bombin, prior to signing with Barsuk Records. Other artists on Sub Bombin include Rawhead, Firefighter Font and Oddy Gato, to name a few.