Monday, May 31, 2010

Rev Hall dropping the curtain

After a lot of speculation, it's official: One of my favorite venues/brew pubs within driving distance, Revolution Hall, in Troy, is suspending music indefinitely, announced owners Brown's Brewing Co.

Their goal, according to a recent news story: "is to redevelop Revolution Hall into a multiuse space capable of hosting concerts, private events like meetings of Brown’s Brewing’s 400-member Mug Club and, yes, banquets."

Busch ...

It was known for bringing some of the best jam bands and indie rock to the area, but I liked it for the atmosphere. Whether you were raging on the hardwood floor or chilling in the balcony, you always had a good time at Rev Hall. Did I mention $2 Pork Slap Ale on tap? How about all the Brown's microbrew on tap (including Raspberry, yummm)?

Some of the shows I've seen there:

My first Umphrey's McGee show, my first Yonder Mountain String Band show on a sweltering summer night, my first Tea Leaf Green with old friends, and most recently, my first Dr. Dog show with someone very special .

Who knows what Rev Hall will become, but, to the Rev Hall I knew: You will be missed, friend, thanks for the memories!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Phantogram and other summer listens

Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel together make up Phantogram
from Upstate New York's very own Saratoga Springs

By Shanna Farrell, cas:ev contibutor

Coinciding with my efforts to consume in a local and sustainable manner, I recently stumbled upon a band from Saratoga Springs. While I was taking a break from finals preparation this month, I was browsing the “Brooklyn Vegan” blog. A photo of a two-piece duo appeared accompanied by a caption quoting the two that read, “When you go out at night in a place like Saratoga Springs, people just want to hear ‘Freebird’ covers, Journey covers, at the bar all night.” That’s not something you read on a music site everyday.

The band Phantogram, comprised of Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel, have an ambient sound. Which makes sense, considering they have recently opened for indie sensations Beach House and The xx. Phantogram’s official website is their MySpace page, which plays four of their songs. I listened, I liked it, and I bought their full length on iTunes.

And while I really like their music, I also really like that they seem proud of where they are from. (However, in interviews, they sometimes come off as if they are backhanding Upstate a bit, though they acknowledge this. In a recent twitter post, Carter said they often get misrepresented in the press.) The two went to high school in Saratoga Springs together and reconnected after college when they bonded over their inclination towards Motown, indie-rock, and ‘60’s French pop (see: Serge Gainsbourg). Their sound is a mix of all these genres, though also present is a heavy electronic influence.

They’ve sold out shows in New York, play at Northern Lights (!), are currently on tour with The Antlers, and will be appearing at some major music festivals this summer, such as Sasquatch. They’ve also been getting a lot of play at the Wine Bar in Brooklyn that I work at … These two may be my new “hometown” heroes. Bold statement? You be the judge.

Also worthy of checking out are new albums by She & Him (Volume 2), The Black Keys (Brothers), Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings (I Learned the Hard Way), Broken Social Scene (Forgiveness Rock Record) and the August 2 release of The Arcade Fire (The Suburbs).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Arcade Fire

Cool designs abound with Arcade Fire. They never cease to amaze.
Reminds me of an early-60's Hollywood flick.

Canadian collective Arcade Fire released two new songs of their upcoming and third release The Suburbs. As expected, the songs, "Suburbs" and "Month of May," are real toe-tappers. They maintain their familiar sound, offering up rich, synth-driven beats layered with Bruce-Springstein-esque guitar leads and the airey harmonies from husband-wife duo of Win Butler and RĂ©gine Chassagne.

Their debut, Funeral, and followup, Neon Bible, were rock solid records. After hearing these two songs, I dont' think Suburbs will fall far from the tree. This is a band with a plan.

I wonder what's up with the neighborhoods/suburbs themes that keep popping up in their songs? Almost as if they are looking at a snapshot of everyday life in a typical city and putting a score to it. Food for thought ...

Stream "Suburbs" and "Month of May" here.

Check out a previous post I wrote about Funeral here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


One of my favs, Widespread Panic, were featured on Squidbillies season opener last week. The episode title was "The Need For Weed." Description: "The discovery of Lil's secret drug operation brings widespread panic to Dougal County."

I'm a fan of the Adult Swim program Squidbillies. I never thought I would get into Adult Swim cartoons, but found myself watching Aqua Teen Hungerforce and Metalocalypse on Adult Swim when I had insomnia (everybody does it, it's cool). The shows begin to grow on you and you begin to respect the twisted minds behind them.

There are many reasons to like Squidbillies, but the real beauty in it is the background design, done by Ben Prisk.

Check out his blog here

It's very unique and original and, in all its obtuse glory, fits the show so well.

Another reason is that the show featured Widespread Panic in its season premiere last week. Widespread just came out with a new album, Dirty Side Down. It has some new, Jeff Beck-esque guitar work from Jimmy Herring that fits their southern fried jam pretty well.

Stream the Squidbillies episode featuring Widespread on Adult Swim's site.

What I found on the inter web

At least one day a week I find myself linking my way from site to site discovering new music, artists, designers, ect.

Here is some of what caught my eye/ear this today:

Arik Roper's album artwork for Honest Strings: a Tribute to the Life and Work of Jack Rose.

Illustrator Arik Roper

Other than his apparent obsession with skulls and skeletors, I love his style.

Matt & Kim

I might be a little late hopping on the Matt & Kim train, but better late than never. It's some feel good music that is edgy enough that I can dig it ... in moderation.

This Raconteurs video, "Old Enough" (featuring Rick Skaggs and Ashley Monroe) is really good.

I've also come to a conclusion that, after giving them multiple chances and despite raving reviews of their new album, I can't get into Beach House. Just too sleepy for me, but you be the judge. I guess I just need those classic guitar riffs to make me happy. And happy I am, because I got my new guitar yesterday and spent a gorgeous afternoon breaking it in sitting on a rocky point in a remote bay on Lake George ; )

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hit + Run

I can't stand corny graphic tees.
I don't care what name's on the tag.
I would rather create my own designs than let someone else express themselves on my body.
Before my computer crashed and I had to erase/install MAC OS X, I had a dozen or so designs ready to take to a printer friend of mine for screenprinting.
I had a few backed up, some I published here, but I'm taking a fresh approach from here on out. I also want to learn how to screenprint and silkscreen images onto T-shirts and other medium myself, and have made it a goal of mine to learn before summer's over. So if anyone knows of any screen printing/silkscreening demos/classes, please let me know.

Anyone who loves silkscreening and screen printing must check this site out. Did I say there's exceptions to what graphic tees I would buy?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Combat Paper Project

Stolen Youth by Drew Cameron & Drew Matott, 2009 Pulp printing on Combat Paper

On Aug. 20, My Morning Jacket will play the Midway Valley Lawn at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction, Vt.

Coming off stops at arenas in support of Tom Petty, it seemed a little strange that they would play what is essentially a county fair.

But it looks like they're doing it for a good cause; to raise awareness for the Combat Paper Project. I decided to do some research and find out what Combat Paper was all about. Turns out, it's a charity based in Burlington, Vt., that helps war veterans reconcile their past by turning their combat uniforms into paper, then into cathartic artwork.

They explain the process as follows:

The uniforms are cut up, beat and formed into sheets of paper. Veterans use the transformative process of papermaking to reclaim their uniform as art and begin to embrace their experiences as a soldier in war.

Pretty forward thinking idea I would say. I think many lives will be changed in the process.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A good review to you, Sir

Rolling Stone gave Infinite Arms 3.5 stars in a recent review.

Here is what they had to say:

"On 2007's Cease to Begin, Band of Horses became more of a one-horse town, with frontman Ben Bridwell carrying the load in the wake of partner Mat Brooke's exit. He sounds less lonely on the group's third set, which adds singer-songwriter Tyler Ramsey as a full member, and sees multi-instrumentalist Ryan Monroe growing as a songwriter. Suddenly, the band has blossomed into something more like the Band, with rich harmonies — even when Bridwell just multitracks his own voice — and fuller arrangements. You can also hear some Fleet Foxes, a soft-rock shift that may bum out older fans. But for tuneful chilling out, it's like a fine old couch."

P.S. I really like what Rolling Stone has done with their website/logo. They basically made their Rock Daily blog their home page, keeping music news and viral bits out front, with all the same great material -- like album reviews, politics and culture -- at close hand. I guess when you're Rolling Stone, you're just good like that.

The Black Keys

I've been really digging Black Keys' sixth album, Brothers. I'll admit that I was getting them confused with another clap-your-hands indie band and am pleasantly surprised to find they are quite the opposite, with an at times psychedelic, at times gritty, blues/rock sound. Also a nice touch of indie in there as well.

Listen to Brothers on NPR's 'First Listen'

If you like Black Keys, check out Blues and Lasers, out of Burlington, Vt. They are just getting their start and open for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals in Portland, Maine, later this month. Like GP&N, Blues and Lasers revisits early '60s psychedelic/blues.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On The Radar: My Morning Jacket

04/24/2010 Jazz & Heritage Festival - New Orleans, LA (photo by Jessica Morgan)

My Morning Jacket added some stops to the tail end of their summer schedule, including many in the Northeast. I'll be hitting up the show at the Midway Lawn/Champlain Valley Expo ... "Vermont's Premier Special Events Venue," in Essex Junction, Vt.

Finally going to get the chance to see a band that's been an endless source of inspiration.

Infinite Arms out everywhere!

More Christopher Wilson photography featured on Band of Horses website and album cover. All this nature photography and nature imagery in the new songs ... I think BoH is trying to tell us something.
Infinite Arms is a step back to simplicity.

Band of Horses new record Infinite Arms was released today, Tuesday, May 18, in the U.S. and is available everywhere (don't take my word for it).

Washington Post blogger Allison Stewart blasted the album and the band for their lack of ambition on what was to be their major label breakout. Stewart said it was supposed to be their 'Big Moment.' As in, it was supposed to garner the band considerable recognition as, she writes, Evil Urges did for My Morning Jacket. A fair enough comparison, but I still think Stewart was on glue when she wrote this review.

Take the following line, for example:

"It's the rarest of rock-and-roll animals, a major label debut that doesn't sell out enough."

Doesn't sell out enough? I'm not sure what you're listening to Allison, but I'm not looking for 12 songs with a 'U2 meets Coldplay' sound that is all the rage these days. Especially out of a band like BoH, who are defining folk-rock today. Kings of Leon already sold out with Only by the Night. I just heard it from Vampire Weekend with "Giving Up The Gun," a song that just doesn't fit on the forgettable Contra. "Compliments" was actually a little too close for comfort, but the other songs on Infinite Arms are further proof of this band's songwriting prowess and fall in line with the brilliance that was Everything All The Time. So let's just count our stars that albums like Infinite Arms keep coming.

Give the album a second listen, Allison. This time, step away from your computer, turn off your smart phone, play Infinite Arms on your iPod, and go outdoors. This album will speak to you, I guarantee.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lala shutting down : (

I'm enjoying the last days of the Apple-owned music streaming site, Lala, which will be shutting down May 31.

Word has it Lala couldn't compete with Google's music streaming capability.

As you can see, I embed songs from Lala and have been for a while now. It was super user-friendly and offered cheaper downloads than iTunes (.89 cents rather than .99).

Apparently it's not the first time Apple has left vested users high and dry.

I love my Mac, but in a business sense, Apple is like the little brat in your Kindergarten class that won't share his flourescent Crayons. Urgghg, just give me the fat, flourescent orange one!! I've never seen anything like it and it's way cooler than my boring box of conservative colors! Do they even allow those crazy colors in Catholic school??

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's Rolling Stones Week!

I am looking into sources here, but I'm pretty sure this week is legit Rolling Stones Week. It all comes in anticipation of the band's reissue of 1972's Exile on Main Street, set for release next week (double check that).

Artists will be covering Stones tunes on Jimmy Fallon (including the always sultry Taj Mahal, who I saw in Albany exactly a week ago. He covered "Shine A Light"), Larry King will be interviewing Mick Jagger, and, in short, the Stones are all over the effing place.

Don't believe me? Check out their site (it's pretty sweet).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Farm Aid

Did you know that just one company, Monsanto, controls more than 90% of the soybeans grown in the United States? And that they also control more than 80% of U.S. corn?

This extreme concentration of power is not unique to corn and soy. And it's a big problem - not just for family farmers struggling to compete. Standing between you and the family farmer are a handful of corporations who control our entire food system from seed to plate.

Corporate concentration has many forms: factory farms, the dairy crisis, genetically engineered food - anything that puts the control of our food into the hands of a few companies and forces farmers out of business and off the land.

Speak out now! Tell the government that you trust family farmers with your food!

The issue of corporate concentration in agriculture is finally getting attention - starting today with the first in a series of public workshops held by the Department of Justice and the US Department of Agriculture.

Farm Aid needs you to let Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack know that corporate concentration in agriculture is devastating for family farmers, bad for our health, and wrong for consumers like you and me!

This is an historic opportunity for farmers who have been marginalized by agribusiness giants. But it's just as important for all of us who eat (and who want to know who is controlling our food!). This is your chance to join family farmers in telling the government what is wrong with corporate concentration. The government needs to hear from people like you, people who trust the farmers who grow our food - not corporations facing anti-trust investigation.

Please, take a moment right now to tell Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack how corporate control has created a food system that lines the pockets of a handful of companies while bankrupting family farmers and leaving the rest of us hungry for change.

Thanks so much for taking action today. We'll keep you updated on how things are going with the workshops and let you know more you can do in the coming weeks and months.

Hilde Steffey
Program Director, Farm Aid

Stream the new Band of Horses album

About a week before its slated release, Band of Horses fans can stream BoH's highly anticipated new album Infinite Arms, in full, on the band's website.

The North/South Carolina-based rock band previously released singles off the album, including Compliments, Laredo, Factory and NW Apt.

As mentioned in a previous post, I am curious about the marketing strategy here. MGMT allowed a stream of their new album a month or more before its release, but they admitted that was because it was leaked. On the other hand, Dr. Dog's April release, Shame, Shame, was streaming on NPR a couple weeks before its release, but that seemed to be more to give the rather under-the-radar band some exposure.


While you're chewing it over, listen to Infinite Arms here.

Band of Horse's last album, Cease to Begin, with its simplicity and intimacy, hasn't been far from arms reach since I was introduced to it more than a year ago. So, I don't know about you, but my Wednesday just got a lot better.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I got pulled over (while surfing the web)

I thought I'd publish this comment from my April 26 post in regards new Band of Horses material. I researched Web Sheriff and discovered it is a London, UK-based service that specializes in the protection of on-line rights against infringements and abuse.

Web Sheriff's clients include record labels, music publishers, pop stars, film companies, film stars, celebrities, sports personalities, theatre producers, book publishers, video companies, games companies, national newspapers and the media generally. Check out the Web Sheriff website here if you are so inclined, otherwise, check out what happend when I got pulled over (I was let go with a warning ...).


On behalf of Columbia Records and Band of Horses, many thanks for plugging "Infinite Arms" on your site (street date 17th May UK & Europe / 18th May North America) ... .. thanks, also, on behalf of the artist and labels for not posting any pirate links to unreleased (studio) material and, if you / your readers want good quality, non-pirated, preview tracks, then a full length version of "Factory" is available for fans and bloggers to link to / post / host etc on the band’s site at ... .. for further details of the new album, pre-orders, on-line promotions, videos and 2010 shows, check-out the official site, as well as the band’s MySpace at ... .. and keep an eye on these official sources for details of further news, preview material and on-line promotions.

Also and as a goodwill gesture to fans and bloggers, an exclusive widget for the video of “Compliments”, as well as a preview stream of “Laredo” are currently available via the band’s official website ... .. these are for embedding and hyper-linking ONLY / for streaming by fans directly off the band’s site, so please reciprocate this goodwill gesture by NOT ripping and re-posting the audio files.

Thanks again for your plug.



Does this make me a Web outlaw? Yee-haw.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A casual theory on pre-releases

I've been thinking more about how bands like MGMT, Dr. Dog and Band of Horses have been giving fans more than just a taste of new material, often offering up many new songs off an upcoming release for stream or download, or allowing fans to stream the album in full.

My theory on this is multifaceted:

It seems to me that these bands can do little to prevent new material from being pirated; so, to a record exec sitting in an office somewhere, rather trying to cover things up, why not use the web to your advantage and take the chance a song(s) will go viral.

Rather than just selling EPs on iTunes, throw it to the dogs and cross your fingers that it becomes the top hit on every music blog in the 'sphere. Package it with a video slide show or a full-blown, psycho-mind f***er music video like MGMT did and, suddenly, you've harnessed the power of the web and maybe even cut your losses.

Of course, despite how much is pre-released, the question still remains: How many people purchase your album when it's released.

Thoughts, comments? Like my photo illustration 'Kings of the Blogosphere?'

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

MMJ bust out!!

It is rumored that My Morning Jacket is recording new songs for its sixth album and the proof is in the pudding, as they busted out a new one, "Friends Again," during their current tour with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (MMJ lead singer Jim James collaborated with them for a recent LP).

It's a pretty kick ass rock song. Bright and loose with a vintage melody to it that immediately reminded me of "D'yer Maker" (or Jamaica) by Led Zeppelin for reasons probably beyond the obvious.

Here "Friends Again" here

MMJ are slated to play Sasquatch Festival at the end of May, and Mile High Festival (Colorado) in August, before playing in support of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in late August (not when Petty rolls into SPAC, however. We get CSN instead ... I've already got tickets).