Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Last Call for's 50 $5 MP3 Album Downloads for September

(Meant to post this much earlier, but forgot. But if you're on the U.S. West Coast [or an earlier time zone], you can still get in on these deals.)
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The end of the month means that time is running out for the September edition of's 50 MP3 albums for $5 each.

New-ish releases include Bible Belt,the acclaimed album by pop-folk singer Diane Birch, the self-titled debut by country-rock band Gloriana,and the album by rockers Billy Boy on Poison.

As usual, there are classics by bands such as the Rolling Stones (Black and Blue), Soul Asylum (Grave Dancers Union), Shawn Colvin (Steady On), the Cowboy Junkies (The Caution Horses), The Frames (The Cost),Lou Reed's self-titled album, Steely Dan (Gaucho), and Beatles covers on the "I Am Sam" soundtrack.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bruce Springsteen at Giants Stadium: Must-Know Info on Parking, Transit, Policies, and More

A few days ago I posted some information on getting to the Bruce Springsteen concerts at Giants Stadium. Now Springsteen has gone one better and put a detailed information sheet on what to know about attending his Giants Stadium shows on his Web site, Titled "GOING TO THE BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E STREET BAND SHOWS AT GIANTS STADIUM? HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW," the document is available in both PDF and Word formats.

The info sheet covers everything from parking location and cost to tailgating policy, tips for traveling by bus or train, items prohibited from the Stadium, and much more. It's great that Springsteen's people put all this together in one place to save fans from scrounging around trying to find it in various places. You'll definitely want to read it before you head out to the concerts.

Here's a quick look at some of the pertinent info from the document:

• Dates are September 30, October 2-3, 8-9, 2009
• Parking lots open at 1 PM for all 5 shows
• General Admission line is at gate B
• Stadium gates open at 6:00 PM
• Show time is 7:30 PM
* Patrons with tickets located in lower tier (100’s) mezzanine (200’s) and
upper tier (300’s) may enter through gates A, C or D.
* All patrons with General Admission (GA) field tickets may only enter through gate B.

And, at each date he'll be playing an entire album in full (as well as material from additional albums), according to Brooklyn Vegan. Here is the schedule they have their Web site:
Sept. 30 - playing 'Born To Run'

Oct. 2 - playing 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'

Oct. 3 - playing 'Born In The USA'

Oct. 8 - playing 'Born To Run'

Oct. 9 - playing 'Born In The USA'

Monday, September 28, 2009

Free Music: Downloads and/or Streaming from Japandroids, Yo La Tengo, Lou Barlow, Yorn & Johansson

Looking for some free tunes to listen to? Here are some fine recent choices I've come across...

Yo La Tengo is the latest band to have a live concert recorded and offered free as a podcast from NPR Music. You can read a brief story about the band and download or stream the Yo La Tengo concert here. It clocks in at nearly two hours, so YLT fans will find plenty to like.

NPR Music also has a (briefer) live set of music from Canada's Japandroids, for download or streaming. The frenetic two-piece band from Vancouver recorded a 20-minute set at Seattle's KEXP radio. You can download individual songs or the entire set.

The new albums by the Avett Brothers and Lou Barlow (of Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr.) are now available for free streaming on the site's "First Listen" series. Tomorrow the site will begin streaming Rosanne Cash's new album, "The List." Each album is offered for streaming for a limited time; check the link above for dates.

NJ native Pete Yorn, one of my favorite singer-songwriters of the last few years, has come out with his album of duets with Scarlett Johansson (yes, the actress) called Break Up. You can find a story on the Yorn-Johansson album here, and stream three songs from it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Seeing Bruce Springsteen at Giants Stadium? Plan Ahead for Getting There

If you're going to one (or more) of Bruce Springsteen's run of farewell shows at NJ's Giants Stadium Sept. 30th to Oct. 9th, you'll want to plan ahead and allow extra travel time. New Jersey Transit now offers train service to Giants Stadium, a long-awaited option for visitors, but are some kinks to be worked out. Namely, how to get 80,000 people onto trains efficiently without unduly long waits.

(The recent arrest of a man who was allegedly wanted to carry out terrorist attacks on sites in the New York area, including sports stadiums, means that security measures might well be more strict at events like this. So you may face longer delays on screening to get into Giants Stadium... another reason to allow more time.)

The U2 concerts this week at the Stadium have seen long waits for the trains, so provide a good idea of what you can expect if you're taking the train to the Springsteen shows. (I'll be taking the train to and from next Friday's show, so I took notice.)

Among other things, the article mentions that a NJ Transit spokesman recommends buying your return trip ticket before entering the concert... this will save you from having to stand in line after the concert. For more information, check out NJ Transit's Web page for the Meadowlands train to Giants Stadium, including parking details, directions, timetables and maps, and more.

If you're driving to Giants Stadium, make sure you check in with one of the NYC news radio stations, WCBS (880 AM, and WINS (1010 AM, for traffic updates, alternate routes, accidents, acts of God, and other delays.

And speaking of Bruce Springsteen concerts at Giants Stadium, a couple of extra shows were added, and with the large capacity of the stadium, you can probably still get tickets. Check the Web page here for Bruce Springsteen Giants Stadium tickets.

Here are the dates. (Showtimes for each day are listed as 7:30 pm, but the show actually starts later, around 8 pm.)
Wed., September 30
Fri., October 2
Sat., October 3
Thu., October 8
Fri., October 9

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

F*cked Up Wins 2009 Polaris Prize

Toronto punk band F*cked Up won the Polaris Music Prize last night in a ceremony held in its hometown. Each of the 10 nominees performed live and then the winner was announced late in the evening, with the critically acclaimed rockers with the radio-unfriendly name chosen to receive the $20,000 prize for its album "The Chemistry of Common Life."

As has become a Polaris tradition, the winner of the prize was less known than some other nominees on the short list. The Polaris Prize was modeled after England's Mercury Prize, with the intention of honoring the album with the best artistic merit regardless of sales or other commercial factors.

You can hear music from F*cked Up and the other nominees at the CBC Radio 3 Web site, Their podcast with highlights from last night's award ceremony is now available; you can listen to it on the Web site or download it there or from iTunes and other podcast programs. Besides the awards ceremony, CBC Radio 3 has also done podcasts dedicated to the short list artists and those on the original, longer list.

Congrats to F*cked Up!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Canada's 2009 Polaris Prize to Be Awarded Monday

The Polaris Prize to honor the best in Canadian music will be awarded Monday night, Sept. 21st in a live ceremony. The Polaris was created a few years ago to recognize the album with the highest level of artistic merit regardless of commercial success, and gives a $20,000 cash prize. Who will win? You can find out by watching the Polaris Prize ceremony live at the CBC Web site,, starting at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Here is the shortlist of Polaris nominees, one of whom will walk away with the big prize:

* Artist: Elliott BROOD - Album: Mountain Meadows

* Artist: Fucked Up - Album: The Chemistry Of Common Life

* Artist: Great Lake Swimmers - Album: Lost Channels

* Artist: Hey Rosetta! - Album: Into Your Lungs (and around your heart and on through your blood)

* Artist: K'NAAN - Album: Troubadour

* Artist: Malajube - Album: Labyrinthes

* Artist: Metric - Album: Fantasies

* Artist: Joel Plaskett - Album: Three

* Artist: Chad VanGaalen - Album: Soft Airplane

* Artist: Patrick Watson - Album: Wooden Arms

You can also see the long list of Polaris Prize nominees to see who didn't make the final cut. Some pretty good albums were left out, including Leonard Cohen's live album and releases by Land of Talk, Japandroids, The Stills, and Martha Wainwright.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tour News: Pavement Reunion Dates, Yo La Tengo Tour, Extra U2 NJ Tickets On Sale

Random details on some notable tours for which tickets are now on sale:

The much-discussed possible Pavement reunion is a reality, but you'll have to wait a year to see them. So far they have scheduled four dates, all for next September 21st-24th at New York's Central Park Summerstage. The first three dates are already sold out; the fourth is set to go on sale on Sept. 25th (though the earlier ones were, too, but apparently sold out during the presale period). No presale tickets were available for the fourth show, but the show was not listed at sold out You can check the Pavement Summerstage tickets Web page to see if any further details (or shows) are added.

Hoboken's own Yo La Tengo is on an extensive Fall tour. Only one New York date so far (Sept. 25th at Roseland), but since their next scheduled gig isn't until Oct. 2nd in Montreal, additional NYC shows will likely be added. The Roseland show, which is all ages, features a great line up of special guests: The Black Lips, Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co., and The Joshua White and Gary Panter’s Light Show. See all the Yo La Tengo tour dates here.

U2 is coming to Giants Stadium in the NJ Meadowlands Sept. 23rd and 24th, and some additional tickets have been released. I got an email from the Meadowlands with news of this, and while there were no seats in the $55 range, there were $250 tickets available in Section 109, on the side of the stage. You can buy U2 concert tickets for Giants Stadium (and other venues) here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

L.A.'s KCRW Launches a New Streaming Music Channel

KCRW has long been regarded one of the nation's most innovative radio stations, and like many other stations it has made its programming available online. (I've been listening to KCRW online at various times since those painful times long ago when I tried to stay connected to its stream on a dial-up connection.) But the station has now made it easier than ever to hear their distinctive mix of music with a new music streaming channel called Eclectic 24.

KCRW has programs covering many musical styles, from alternative rock to R&B, house, electronica, Latin pop, and urban, and catching a particular show at the time it was broadcast live from the West Coast was a problem. KCRW Eclectic 24 solves that dilemma by putting into one continuous stream a selection of music from the entire range of its music programs, from its collection of accomplished DJs.

You can listen to Eclectic 24 online at The station has a number of features users have come to expect from streaming music sites. You can:
* listen on the home page, on a pop-out player, or with iTunes and other podcast players
* find brief biographical information on the artists, plus links to their Web sites and online stores where you can purchase their music
* listen to other KCRW programming, including live sessions

And a grid of album covers on the right-hand side of the page shows recently played songs. Just move your mouse over an image to see the song and artist name; clicking on an image gives more details and a link to a full tracklist of songs played.

KCRW's DJs are a talented bunch (many work as music directors for TV or film) and they have a wide range of tastes and styles. Eclectic 24 brings their collective song-picking talents into one stream, making it a great choice for music fans who like all kinds of music.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Free Music: Jay-Z Concert on Fuse, Amazon Music Downloads, Streaming Albums

Who couldn't use some free music in today's economic climate? Here are a few choice recommendations:

* Jay-Z Concert at Madison Square Garden: The hip-hop mogul knocked it out of the park (the Garden, actually) on Friday night, 9/11, in a concert broadcast on Fuse TV that featured a bevy of guest stars and, fittingly for the date, benefits the New York Police & Fire Widows' & Children's Fund. Fuse is airing the concert again today, 9/13, at 5 p.m. Eastern, and maybe again in the future. Check Fuse's Jay-Z page for broadcast info and exclusive Jay-Z interviews and videos.

* free MP3 song downloads: I'm a big fan of's $5 MP3 albums and free singles, but it wasn't until the other day that I realized that they have a whole huge list of free singles. The list includes everything from The Donnas to Apples in Stereo to Booker T., Jerry Lee Lewis, and even some classical pieces. You can find (and sample) the free MP3 song downloadshere.

* NPR Music free streaming albums: Hear some of today's most-anticipated album releases before they come out with NPR Music "First Listen" series. There are always at least of couple of albums being featured for free streaming; each stays up for a given time that may range from a week to a month. Right now (until 9/15) you can listen to the first CD of the Big Star box set, "Keep an Eye on the Sky"; upcoming are the new albums by the Avett Brothers and Rosanne Cash.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Music News: Apple Announcement, Beatles Rock Band, and Beatles CDs Remastered

It turns out that 9/09/09 is a big day in the world of music: The long-awaited Beatles Rock Band game comes out today, Beatles remastered CDs are now on sale, and Apple is holding its usual early September announcement, with speculation on products ranging from new iPods (probable, since prices of current iPods have dropped) to the launch of an Apple tablet computer (not so likely) to the very-long-awaited appearance of the Beatles on iTunes (coming, but not yet).

Mac Observer will blog Apple's "Rock and Roll" event live at 1 p.m. today (you can also follow the news live on other sites such as The Apple Blog). The online Apple Store is down, as is the case before new product announcements. Some of the wags on Mac Observer dig through the rumors and anti-rumors regarding today's Apple presentation. lists a range of options for The Beatles Rock Band game, from software for Xbox 360, Playstation, and Nintendo Wii to limited-edition bundles, controllers, and other add-ons.

You can buy the Beatles remastered CDs here. And if you're a real completist or just need to bring your Beatles collection up to speed in a hurry, you can buy The Beatles Stereo Box Set for $180. A mono box set is available for $230.