Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve 2011 - Bars & Music in NYC and Hoboken - Last-Minute Planning

Avoid the crowd and mess of Times Square on New Year's Eve - go see some live music!

I've written before about live music events happening on New Year's Eve in the New York area in previous posts, but now I'm going to provide a couple of links to websites where you can find all manner of parties, etc. for tonight. Some will have live music, some will have DJs or recorded music, and, well, some will have no music at all. But I'd throw them all out there for those who are still looking at the last minute for something to do to ring in 2011.

The MurphGuide 2011 New Year's Eve guide lists what it says are 181 parties, etc. for tonight. MurphGuide has been covering the New York bar scene for years, and their handy guide lets you browse or search nightspots by neighborhood and type, as well as giving an alphabetical listing.

I previously mentioned the great shows going on at Maxwell's tonight, but for folks looking for other New Year's Eve 2011 events in Hoboken, head to the guide.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Live Music in NYC & Environs for New Year's Eve - Who's Playing?

Patti Smith & band continue their annual run of New Year's Eve shows  in NYC this year. Shown here is their New Year's Eve 2007 show at Bowery Ballroom. Photo: Kimberly Smith

For me, seeing live music is the best way to ring in the new year. And all things considered, you can get more entertainment bang for your buck with a concert than with a pricey cocktail party or other New Year's Eve option.

Here's a look at some of the live music shows, large and small, taking place in New York City and the nearby area on Friday, December 31st. (Note: Tickets may not be available for all events at the time you're reading this; make sure to check the venue's website for details.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Big Week at Maxwell's: Mike Doughty, Detroit Cobras & Fleshtones, & The English Beat Roll into Hoboken

The Detroit Cobras (shown here in Santa Fe in 2008) play a New Year's Eve show at Maxwell's. Photo: Steve Terrell.
The old year is ending with a bang, and the one's beginning the same way, at Maxwell's in Hoboken. The club has two shows on New Year's Eve, with Mike Doughty (formerly of Soul Coughing) performing at 7:30 ($25) and then a year-spanning garage-rock show with Detroit Cobras and The Fleshtones starting at 10:30 p.m. ($20 advance; $25 day of show). According to the Maxwell's website, tickets are still available for both shows.

Maxwell's starts off 2011 with The English Beat on New Year's Day (tickets are $20, and still available).  And the great shows keep coming in January: Dean Wareham (of Galaxie 500 and Luna) plays Galaxie 500 on Jan. 13th; Evan Dando & Juliana Hatfield play on Jan. 20th; Mission of Burma performs on the 28th; and one of my favorites, The Muffs, plays on Jan. 29th.

I haven't even mentioned that fact that the Guided by Voices reunion tour is coming to Maxwell's on Dec. 30th (because tickets seem to be sold out, at least on Ticketfly). But the show isn't listed as sold out, so tickets may be available at Other Music or Tunes (in Hoboken). Or, if you go to the club on the day of the show there might be folks looking to unload extra tickets that they can't use.

GbV sold out a couple of shows in NYC in short order, so a chance to see them at the intimate confines of Maxwell's would be a treat indeed.

Friday, December 24, 2010

New Music Podcasts: Favorite Cover Tunes, Elvis Costello Live, Gospel Christmas Tunes, & More

Check out the free music podcasts below for holiday and non-holiday music for your Christmas travels. Photo: SteveStrummer 

Since lots of folks are traveling around Christmastime, how about some downloading some music podcasts to listen to to occupy the time? Here are a bunch of them, enough (we hope) to drown about the all loud cellphone conversations of the people around you at the airport or on the train. And the more raucus holiday arguments at the dinner table.

* Over at Coverville, you'll find a stocking full of recent podcasts. First off, there are the first two parts of the podcast's annual countdown show of listeners' 40 favorite cover tunes. Included is recent NBC "Sing-Off" contestant On the Rocks performing their a cappella rendition of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance."

Also on Coverville is the two-part tribute to the Talking Heads, performed by the podcast's listeners. As you'd expect, the quality and styles vary widely, but Coverville clearly has some very talented listeners.

And finally, Coverville offers its Christmas Cover Show 2010, with new versions of not-your-average holiday tunes, including remakes of "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses and "Last Christmas" by Wham.

* The CBC Radio 3 podcast presents Home for the Holidays, a show in which listeners from all over the world make long-distance requests of their favorite songs by Canadian artists to send out to their loved ones.

* If your taste in Christmas music runs to the sacred side, download the podcast of the annual Christmas Eve Gospel Music program on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show. It includes tunes like Mahalia Jackson singing "Silent Night" and the Swan Silvertones doing "Great Day in December."

Also, the Lopate show today rebroadcast (and reposted the podcast of) a live set by Elvis Costello and band at WNYC from back in November. He plays tunes from his latest album, produced by T-Bone Burnett, which shows the country/bluegrass side of the British rocker.

KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic has a new in-studio live set with Jamie Lidell, the British producer who, the station says, can be found "sliding into neo-soul songs as easily as he slices through spacey folk-blues." For some reason recent MBE podcasts don't show up on their webpage, bou can download the podcast through iTunes (and probably other podcast download programs as well).

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 "Sing-Off" Winner Crowned in Finale

Alabama's Committed is the 2010 "Sing-Off" winner.

I'm a few days late in posting this, but the 2010 "Sing-Off" winner was finally crowned Monday night. Amid nearly two hours of highlights, montages, and guest performances by stars like Neil Diamond and Sheryl Crow, the show did get down to business.

The four finalists were reduced to two, and then the winner (chosen by viewer votes) was announced: the six-man Alabama group Committed, who beat out southern rockers Street Corner Symphony to take the "Sing-Off" title. (The Backbeats and Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town were the first two groups to be eliminated in the live finale, broadcast on NBC from 8 to 10 p.m.)

(Read Entertainment Weekly's take on the "Sing-Off" finale and its grades for the performances.)

The young men of Committed got together singing in church, and according to an article in, they had never performed secular music before "The Sing-Off." I couldn't even find a website for them. (Read Zap2It's interview with Committed.) Well, Committed will be performing a lot of non-church music now: by winning the competition they've earned $100,000 and a Sony recording contract.

Congrats to Committed, and to all the competitors in this year's edition of "The Sing-Off." It'll be fun to see where Committed goes from here and what kind of songs they choose to record.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Prince Takes Manhattan (and New Jersey) to Kick Off East Coast Tour

Prince emerges from his glyph-shaped stage at the Izod Center Friday.
For a 52-year-old performer who hasn't been touring much lately and has had hip problems, Prince sure hasn't missed a beat so far on his" Welcome 2 America" tour. I got to see him twice last week, on Friday at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ and the next night at Madison Square Garden. Both were very entertaining, high-energy shows with plenty of great tunes and a lot of funk.

The multitalented Prince displayed a wide assortment of musical styles, dance moves, and costumes while performing on a stage shaped like the glyph/symbol that he used to call himself. The Purple One ripped through songs from throughout his career, with a heavy emphasis on the hits.

On Friday, Prince started off his own set with an extended version of "Let's Go Crazy," then followed that up with three of his other best-known tunes: "Delirious," "1999," and "Little Red Corvette." Though the setlists for Friday and Saturday were similar, there were some differences: no "Little Red Corvette" on Saturday, though the MSG show did include couple of my Prince favs: "U Got the Look" and "Raspberry Beret," as well as "Nothing Compares 2 U."

I had hoped to here "When Doves Cry" at at least one of the shows, but it was not to be.

Prince making his guitar wail at the Izod Center.
"So many hits," Prince said during both shows, as if to recognize that there wasn't enough time in any one show to play them all. So in some cases he played medleys that combined two or more songs, similar to his Super Bowl halftime performance a few years back. It was good to hear so many tunes, but having some of them shortened and squeezed into medleys wasn't always satisfying.

Prince's protege Sheila E. was a guest at the Friday and Saturday shows. She came on stage and performed an energetic version of her hit "The Glamorous Life," to the delight of the fans, most of whom knew the words. She looked great and still had her chops on the drums, and she played along on a couple more songs with Prince and the band.

Prince as seen on an Izod Center video screen.
During both shows Prince had audience members come on stage to dance, but at the Madison Square Garden show the guests weren't just any fans. Prince called out a number of A-listers to join him on stage: Jamie Foxx, Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Sheppard, and even professor/philosopher/author Cornell West.

Prince was in fine form, as was his band (New Power Generation, from what I've read) and his three female backup singers, Elisa Dease, Liv Warfield and Shelby J. All told, Prince played for nearly two hours, which included several encores. (This included a few brief sessions of downtime for Prince to change costumes.) And yes, he did briefly play that gold-plated Stratocaster than he will later auction off for charity.

Prince's own sets were preceded by those of several veteran performers as opening acts (and sometimes performing with Prince). Cassandra Wilson opened the show on Friday night, followed by a set by legendary soul and funk saxophonist Maceo Parker. I missed Saturday's opening act by Sinbad, but caught the tail end of the set by the other opener, Larry Graham of Graham Central Station.

Prince plays Madison Square Garden again on December 29th and on January 18th. You can check for tickets at the Garden's official Prince ticket page here, or try StubHub if the shows are sold out. (There were several hundred tickets for both the Dec. 17th and 18th shows on StubHub, some listed for below face value.)

Prince hasn't toured the East Coast for six years, so if you've ever liked him music, my advice would be to get to one of his shows. They are fun and funky, and you'll definitely get your money's worth.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Legendary Singer Jerry Lawson Heads to "Sing-Off" Finale

The self-titled album by Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town.
If you've been watching the NBC show "The Sing-Off," you've probably been impressed with the soulful singing of Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town. And you may have recognized the voice of main soloist Jerry Lawson and thought, "Where have I heard that voice before?"

After a bit of checking, I found out: Jerry Lawson was for 40 years the lead singer of the legendary a cappella group The Persuasions. At one point he moved on to sing jazz, soul, and other forms of music with instrumental accompaniment, and thought he had retired from a cappella singing... but then met up with the men who would become the members of Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town. On December 15th they reached the final round of "The Sing-Off," with the chance to win the contest on Monday.

Sadly, Oregon's On the Rocks was eliminated on Wednesday's show, but the four remaining groups on the program are all quite talented, not to mention entertaining. You can view episodes of the show online, and vote for the "Sing-Off" winner here.

You can buy the Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town self-titled album here, and learn all about Lawson's musical endeavors at his official website. These are guys with a lot of professional experience singing, and it shows.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Prince Plays the Meadowlands Friday, the Garden Saturday

Prince is associated with the color purple, but he'll be playing this custom-made, gold-plated Stratocaster at his NYC/NJ shows.
Prince has begun his multi-night stand of concerts in the New York area, and it sounds like a great event judging by the New York Times' review of one of his shows at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Prince will play at IZOD again on Friday night the 17th, then at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (where I'll be in attendance, way up in the nosebleed section).  He'll come back to the Garden on December 29th and January 18th.

Tickets are still available for the Prince shows on Friday and Saturday on StubHub, and possibly at the box office as well.

Prince apparently wanted to do something special for his first New York-area concerts in six years, so he's auctioning off for charity a one-of-a-kind, all-gold-plated Stratocaster that he'll be playing at the shows (see photo above). If you're looking for that special gift for the musician who has everything, this might be just the thing. (Read more about Prince's gold-plated Strat at the L.A. Times.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Music Notes: 2011 Rock Hall of Fame Inductees; Hank Williams' Daughter Speaks; The Sing-Off Continues

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its 2010 inductees. They are: the Alice Cooper Band, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Darlene Love, Tom Waits, Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman, Specialty Records founder Art Rupe, and Leon Russell.

Speaking of musical history, Jett Williams, daughter of Hank Williams, was interviewed recently on WNYC. She discussed her decades-long struggle to confirm her father's identity and the upcoming 16-disc boxed set that includes dozens of Hank Williams radio appearances, as well as conversations and other content.

The set, which comes housed in a box that looks like an old-style cathedral radio, is called Hank Williams: The Complete Mother's Best Recordings.

I haven't been following NBC's a cappella singing contest "The Sing-Off" as closely this year as last (my family knew someone in the competition last year), but have caught some of the performances online. The show continues tonight, and one of the groups remaining is Oregon's On the Rocks. The other night On the Rocks performed a nice version of the catchy Mr. Mister 1980s hit, "Kyrie," which OTR recorded on its album "Full Coverage." (You can see the entire "Sing-Off" episode in which the song appears here.)

"The Sing-Off" airs on Mondays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern, and you can also view episodes online (for a limited time).

Monday, December 13, 2010

What's the Best Music of 2010? Some Early Opinions from Radio

The end of the year is always a time for looking back at the best albums, artists, etc. of the last 12 months, and here are some best-of lists that have already come out.

The DJs at L.A. radio station KCRW have each picked their top 10 albums of 2010, and the choices are the eclectic mix you'd expect from that station. Indie rock favorites like Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, Band of Horses, and The National are all on the list, as well as less mainstream acts as Frazey Ford, UNKLE, The Fall, and !!! (Chk Chik Chick).

Of course, there's a lot of good music coming out of KCRW's backyard, so the station's DJs offer a review of the best L.A. bands of 2010. They range from veteran Latino group Ozomatli to surf-rock newcomers The Best Coast to the retro-soul sounds of Fitz and the Tantrums.

The members of NPR's All Songs Considered review the year in music in their latest podcast.
a discussion, and also review their top 50 releases of the year. The list includes albums by Arcade Fire, Jonsi (of Sigur Ros), singer Janelle Monae, The Black Keys, and more.

In their following podcast, the All Songs staff took a look at the albums they missed in 2010. Most of the artists I hadn't heard of, except for Dean & Britta (formerly of Luna).

The year's end is also time for the Bucky Awards, when CBC Radio 3 recognizes in top vote-getters from its listeners in categories including Most Canadian Song, Lifetime Achievement, and Sexiest Canadian Artists, as well as some more traditional awards. Among other awards, Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" won for best song, while Sarah Harmer's song "Captive" took the Bucky for best vocals.

The nearly two-hour-long Bucky Awards podcast features songs from the nominees and winners. (You'll find just the list of Bucky Awards winners here at the Canadian indie blog

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Free Music Podcasts: Tokyo Police Club and Avi Buffalo Live; Beatles, Decemberists, & Sinead O'Connor Cover Tunes

This week's slate of music podcast downloads includes a variety of musical styles, including live sets from two bands at different stages of their careers.

* Veteran Canadian rockers Tokyo Police Club perform a live set at the Halifax Pop Explosion in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and...

* the just-out-of-high-school members of Avi Buffalo plays in the KCRW studios for Morning Becomes Eclectic. The set is available for streaming or podcast download.

* Buke and Gass, a duo that play a baritone ukelele and a bass-guitar hybrid, perform a brief live set in NPR's offices.

* The Coverville podcast has several enjoyable episodes in the last couple of weeks, featuring covers of tunes by The Beatles, Sinead O'Connor, and The Decemberists, as well as the annual Coverville Countdown Hall of Fame podcast.

In the next post, I'll take a look at some of the end-of-year podcasts that review some of the best (and overlooked) music of 2010. And I'll review the winners of the Bucky Awards, CBC Radio 3's honors for the best in Canadian indie music.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Free Album Streaming: New Music by Graham Parker, Diane Birch, Deadmau5, & More

Here is the latest in my semi-regular listing of new albums (mostly) that are available for free streaming online. In particular, has some tasty albums including the latest releases (though they aren't necessarily brand-new anymore) by Broken Social Scene, Local Natives, and Superchunk.

See the respective websites for a full listing of album previews being offered. The date that streaming ends is given, when known.

KCRW Album Preview: 
"December Songs" by a cappella group Sonos (streaming until Jan. 4, 2011)
"Suave Patria" by Mexican Institute of Sound (until Dec. 28th)

NPR First Listen:
"We'll Never Stop Living This Way" by various artists: collection from the label Ghostly International, with songs ranging from rock to ambient to electronica by Mobius Band, Gold Panda, School of Seven Bells, and many others (until Dec. 14)'s Listening Party has albums including:
"Dark Night of the Soul" by Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse
"Root for Ruin" by Les Savy Fav
"Gorilla Manor" by Local Natives
"Lucky Shiner" by Gold Panda
"Sigh No More" by Mumford and Sons
"The Budos Band III" by the Budos Band
"Infinite Arms" by Band of Horses
"Forgiveness Rock Record" by Broken Social Scene
"Tourist History" by Two Door Cinema Club
"Majesty Shredding" by Superchunk
"Teen Dream" by Beach House

AOL Music Listening Party has album previews including: 
"Dharohar Project" EP by Laura Marling & Mumford and Sons
"4x4=12" by Deadmau5
"The Velveteen Age" by Diane Birch with the Phenomenal Handclap Band
"Wonders of the Younger" by Plain White T's
"Live at the FTC" by Graham Parker and the Figgs
"An Open Letter to Thelonius" by Ellis Marsalis
"The Minnesota Beatles Project by various artists (Beatles covers by artists including Soul Asylum, the Meat Puppets, Mason Jennings, and Corey Chisel)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Allman Brothers Band Returns to the Beacon for Eight Shows

The Allman Brothers Band playing at the Beacon Theatre in March 2009.

Many Allman Brothers fans such as myself had an extra reason to feel thankful last week, because it was announced that the long-running band would be returning to the Beacon Theatre in March 2011 for its usual long run of shows.

Here are the specifics, from an e-mail I got from the Allman Brothers Band mailing list:

"In just a little over 3 months, the Allman Brothers Band will be back where they belong, at the Beacon Theatre in NYC. The specific dates are March 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18 and 19. That’s what we call March Gladness!! Whoo hoo!

Tickets for all 8 shows go on sale tomorrow, December 4, at 11:00 A.M. via TicketMaster."

Allman Brothers Band tickets at the Beacon Theatre always sell fast, even with this many shows, so be ready to go online at 11 a.m. Saturday morning.

Like many other fans, I was scratching my head last Spring when the Allmans were bumped from the Beacon, where they have done a number of shows each March for many years, to make room for a Cirque de Soleil show called "Banana Schpeel." The Allmans were moved way uptown to the United Palace Theatre, but the sound and ambience weren't the same.

So it's great to hear that the Brothers will be heading back to their home in New York, the Beacon.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Michelle Branch Formally Releases Her First Album, "Broken Bracelet"

I've been a fan of pop singer-songwriter Michelle Branch since she burst on the scene with her 2001 album "The Spirit Room," which went double-platinum and spawned three big pop hits. That recording came out when Branch was all of 17 years old.

Branch, who is now 27 and married to her bass player Teddy Landau (with whom she has a daughter), has now released an album that will delight her longtime fans and may gain her some new ones: "Broken Bracelet," an album she recorded when she was 14 years old. As she explains in a note on her website, this was an indie recording that she sold at shows, and it ultimately got her a record deal. Included on the album are demo versions of tunes that were on "The Spirit Room," including "Goodbye to You" and "If She Only Knew."

I've heard a few songs from "Broken Bracelet" over the years, and it's amazing to think that these catchy, appealing pop tunes were written by someone so young. You can buy "Broken Bracelet" at, iTunes, eMusic, and at Branch's online store.

Also in the note on her website, Branch says that she has shelved her album "Everything Comes and Goes," which she says she has been working on since 2007. (She did put out a six-song, country-flavored EP by that name several months ago.) Branch says that "I have recently started a new album from scratch and I couldn’t be more excited."

Branch also says that next Thursday, December 9th she will be holding a live online chat in which she'll answer questions and play songs. The Michelle Branch online chat will take place at 8:00 pm Eastern time; she says her website will have more details later.

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Throwing Muses Song "Bluff/Blurry" Posted Online

Kristin Hersh and Throwing Muses have been recording new tracks lately that you can stream and download. Photo:  Seattlequest.

Throwing Muses founder Kristin Hersh announced today through her Twitter account that a new song by the band has been posted online. You can stream the new Throwing Muses song "Bluff/Blurry" here, and also at the Throwing Muses website, where you can download the song and make a contribution to pay for the download. You can also stream and download other recent Throwing Muses songs.

Hersh has been recording new material with the band over the last couple of months, at least. This is good news for fans of the influential band, which had broken up a number of years ago because of a lack of funds to keep going as a band. (Speaking of which, Kristin Hersh gives an interesting interview here in which she talks about record labels, getting funding from fans, and related issues.)

It's kind of amazing that Kristin Hersh has found time to record with the Muses, considering all the other irons she has in the fire: she recently came out with a memoir, "Rat Girl," and has been making appearances to promote it, in addition to her solo recordings and performances. She also came out with a recent album, "Crooked," which was released as a book.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Free Music: Mellow Music Podcasts for Thanksgiving Weekend

Sixteen-year-old Canadian singer Nikki Yanofsky is featured in a live concert podcast from CBC Radio 2. Photo: Florian Kragulj

Since many of us here in the U.S. (including me) are still recovering from Thanksgiving dinner and are in a groggy turkey coma, here's a selection of mellow music podcasts for free download, much of it recorded live in concert. And interestingly, much of it is from Canada (where they celebrate Thanksgiving in October).

The Acoustic Long Island podcast has three new episodes in the last month with live performances by singer-songwriter Kat Mulvaney and the folk-blues duo Nini and Ben.

The Canada Live podcast from CBC Radio 2 has several good recent podcasts with singer-songwriters from up north:
* the Great Canadian Song Quest 2010 concert;
* the Rootstock concert featuring Sarah Slean, Joel Plaskett, Steven Page, Hawksley Workman, and others; and
* a concert from 16-year-old singing phenom Nikki Yanofsky, who wowed viewers around the world with her rendition of "O Canada" during the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics earlier this year.

I'd never heard of the Canadian singer-songwriter Al Tuck, but apparently he's one of those individuals who is much-loved by his fellow musicians but is underappreciated by the masses. CBC Radio 3 devoted a recent podcast to Al Tuck, with songs by Tuck himself and covers of his tunes by a variety of Canadian artists, who also talk about what he has meant to them and their music.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MP3 Specials Today Only: $1.99 for New Albums by Gorillaz, John Legend, KT Tunstall, More

The new album by John Legend & The Roots is one of the MP3 albums you can get for $1.99 on Tuesday, Nov. 23rd only.

I know it seems like I'm writing about's MP3 albums every week, but they are having some great Black Friday deals this week. Here's the story: every day this week they're offering five different MP3 albums for $3.99 each. And most of these are new albums.

For Tuesday, however, the five albums are only $1.99 each. Four are new albums (the latest from John Legend & the Roots, KT Tunstall, Gorillaz, and Belle & Sebastian) and one classic album, "Chronicle: 20 Greatest Hits" by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Check the Amazon Black Friday MP3 albums sale page each day this week for the latest deals.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"LennoNYC," Film on John Lennon in New York, Premieres Tonight on PBS

"LennoNYC," the documentary about John Lennon's life in New York that I wrote about last month, finally gets its premiere on PBS TV tonight. It will air at 9 p.m. in New York.

You can learn more about "LennoNYC" and see a video preview at its page at the PBS website. The movie has gotten very positive notices from a number of reviewers, including the New York Post.

"LennoNYC" features concert footage and home movies of Lennon that have never been seen before, audio outtakes from the recording sessions for the album "Double Fantasy," exclusive interviews with Yoko Ono, and much more.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Great Music Cheap: MP3 Albums for $5 (and Less) from

Radiohead's "The Bends" is one of's $5 MP3 albums for November. is offering its usual slate of 100 or so $5 MP3 albums this month, but I noticed that they also have a big selection of MP3 albums for prices ranging from $3.99 to 4.99.

Like the $5 album selection, this lower-price collection spans all genres and includes new releases as well as older albums. Unlike the $5 MP3 albums, there isn't any apparent period of time that the prices are good for, so you might want to snap these up in case they're only available for a short time. $5 MP3 albumsfor November:
  • Funeral by Arcade Fire
  • Fantasies by Metric
  • Closer: The Best of Sarah McLachlan by Sarah McLachlan
  • Be My Thrill by The Weepies
  • The Bends by Radiohead
  • The Story by Brandi Carlile
  • Dark Night of the Soul by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse
  • The Best of Warren Zevon by Warren Zevon
  • Eye to the Telescope by KT Tunstall
  • On the Beach by Neil Young
  • The Other Side Of Zero by Elizabeth & the Catapult
  • Suzanne Vega Close-Up, Vol 1, Love Songs by Suzanne Vega
  • Swim by Caribou
  • Genius of Live by Tom Tom Club (featuring more than 10 remixes of "Genius of Love")
  • and, as you'd expect for this time of year, a number of pop Christmas albums, including ones from Bob Dylan and Bette Midler $3.99 to $4.99 MP3 albums:
  • Lungs by Florence + the Machine
  • Holy Roller Novocaine by Kings of Leon
  • Acoustic by Lights
  • Pete Yorn by Pete Yorn
  • Strobe by Deadmau5
  • Happy Sad by Tim Buckley
  • The Velvet Underground & Nico by The Velvet Underground
  • Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty
  • Rainwater Cassette Exchange by Deerhunter
  • It's Blitz and Yeah Yeah Yeahs by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Maya by MI.A.
  • The Union by Elton John & Leon Russell
  • Recovery by Eminem
  • The Place We Ran From by Tired Pony

Friday, November 19, 2010

Free Music: KCRW Live Streaming Sets from School of Seven Bells, Pete Yorn, Best Coast, & More

KCRW's great in-studio performance program Morning Becomes Eclectic has a new podcast up of a live set with School of Seven Bells, the project that features Benjamin Curtis of Secret Machines with the twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza.

I first heard of them in their previous visit to Morning Becomes Eclectic, but while the music in that performance was more electronic and dance-oriented, this latest appearance has a more stripped-down, acoustic sound. The band plays tunes from its latest album, "Disconnect from Desire," which came out this summer. You can download the School of Seven Bells live set here, or through iTunes.

School of Seven Bells will be playing live in New York at the Zero Film Festival in Brooklyn on Sat., Nov. 20th and at Terminal 5 on Thurs., Dec. 2nd (supporting The Walkmen).

Other recent MBE performances that you can stream (but not download) include: Pete Yorn (from Nov. 19th), Best Coast, Clinic, and KT Tunstall.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bruce Springsteen Performs "The Promise" (and "Whip My Hair," on Jimmy Fallon) VIDEO

Bruce Springsteen's "The Promise"came out yesterday, consisting of tracks recorded during the sessions for his "Darkness on the Edge of Town" album, including the epic title song (video above).

You can get buy this new material in several different ways, depending on how much content you want. For die-hard fans, there's "The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story" (3 CD/3 DVD), featuring the "Darkness" and "Promise" albums and lots of extra material, including studio and concert footage. Among the video content is a complete concert from the "Darkness" tour and the documentary "The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town," which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Or you can buy the two-CD set of "The Promise"which features previously unreleased songs like the title track (video above), different versions of tunes like "Racing in the Streets" and an earlier version of "Candy's Room" (here called "Candy's Boy"), and Springsteen versions of songs like "Fire," "Because the Night," "Rendezvous," and "Talk to Me" (a hit for Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes).

You can hear an interview with Springsteen about "Darkness" (conducted by his friend, actor Ed Norton) here, which was included in "The Promise" documentary and broadcast on public radio Tuesday.

Springsteen was the guest on Jimmy Fallon last night, and besides performing his own songs he did a funny, folk-balld version of the tween pop hit "Whip My Hair" by Willow Smith (daughter of actor Will Smith), along with "Neil Young" (Jimmy Fallon).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Update: The Beatles Finally Hit iTunes

UPDATED 10 a.m.: Yes, The Beatles have finally come to iTunes. The above image appears on the iTunes landing page, and the band takes up the top section of the iTunes Store.
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The Beatles catalog is finally coming to iTunes for real, if the strongest rumors to date are to be believed.

In a story that was reported first by The Wall Street Journal Monday, Apple's iTunes announcement scheduled for Tuesday seems clear to the the long-awaited, often-premature addition of music by The Beatles to the iTunes catalog.

The story has been reported in the New York Times and Billboard as well, with different sources pointing to clues in Apple's invitation to the iTunes announcement (seen above on the landing page of the iTunes Store), including the invite's wording and design.

Could the Beatles/iTunes speculation be wrong? Billboard has an article offering seven possible developments Apple could spring on us at the iTunes announcement, from streaming music to longer music samples and Ping/Facebook integration.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Free Download: New Girl Talk Album, "All Day"

Gregg Gillis, the mashup DJ known as Girl Talk, has once again released a new album for free on the Internet. The full album "All Day" is available free from the website of his record label, Illegal Art.

Girl Talk announced the news on Twitter early Monday morning:

You can download the entire album as one file or as individual songs, although he says that the album is "intended to be listened to as a whole."

I saw Girl Talk live at the All Points West Festival a few years ago and it was quite a show. What kind of act a guy with a couple of laptop computers put on? Girl Talk's set featured a few dozen people on stage dancing (some recruited from the audience), helpers firing toilet paper into the crowd with bazooka-like guns, and many huge balloons bouncing on top of the crowd. It was the perfect compliment to Girl Talk's infectious, beat-heavy musical mashup.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hear Daniel Lanois Play Guest DJ (& Listen to Black Dub Album Online)

Daniel Lanois has been an in-demand producer for many years, and what's amazing is the wide range of genres and styles in which he's proficient. His most recent projects include albums like "Le Noise," the raw new effort from Neil Young, and the album by the new band Black Dub (which features Trixie Whitley, daughter of the late Chris Whitley). (Listen to the Black Dub album free online). But Lanois has also been involved in many of U2's albums and has also worked with Peter Gabriel and folk-pop-country legend Emmylou Harris.

Daniel Lanois recently played guest DJ for NPR Music, and you can listen online or download the podcast. Among his choices: Sly and the Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix, and his frequent collaborator Brian Eno.

You can view a four-song live set by Black Dub performing in the NPR offices above (also available as an audio-only podcast through iTunes).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

150 Free Albums from Samplers from Sub Pop, Merge, and Yep Rock; EPs; & Much More announced the other day on Twitter that it's now offering 150 MP3 albums for free download. Naturally there are some obscure ethnic albums among the batch and artists you've never heard of, but there are a number good offerings as well.

There are samplers from record labels, full albums and EPs from respected artists, and more, including a lot of music for the upcoming holiday season. Here's a selection of free albums from that I found particularly of interest:
* "Saddle Creek Records Sampler, 2008-2009" - various artists including Land of Talk, Tokyo Police Club, and Sebastien Grainger (there's also a March 2010 Saddle Creek sampler with Rural Alberta Advantage, The Mynabirds, Land of Talk, and more)
* "Robots Vs. Indie Queens" EP (three songs) - by Dan Mangan
* "Americana Music Awards Sampler" - with tunes by the Avett Brothers, Buddy and Julie Miller, John Hiatt, Delbert McClinton, and more
* "Digital Bang: The 2010 Sub Pop Sampler" - with songs by Wolf Parade, Dum Dum Girls, Beach House, Avi Buffalo, Blitzen Trapper, and more
* "Merge Records 2010 Digital Sampler" - with tracks by Spoon, Shout Out Louds, Superchunk, She & Him, and Caribou
* "Songs From Hotel Carolina 2010" - I downloaded this collection of singer-songwriter tunes a few months ago when it was available free, and have really enjoyed it. I'd definitely recommending downloading it.
* samplers from CMJ, Merge Records, Yep Rock, and more
* and full albums, EPs, and songs by artists including Bruce Springsteen, Ike Reilly, Ziggy Marley, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Jeff Beck, and more

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Live This Week: Sarah Harmer, Kristin Hersh, The Posies, Roky Erickson, Care Bears on Fire & More

Every week is a good week for live music in the New York area, but this one has something that piques my interest almost every night. Here's the rundown on my selected list of gigs:

Wed., Nov. 10: Sarah Harmer and Hey Rosetta!, Gramercy Theatre, 8 p.m. - You may remember Harmer from her breakout hit "Basement Apartment" back in the 1990s, but she's put out a lot of great folk-pop-rock music since then. She's at the Gramercy to support her latest album, "Oh Little Fire."

Fri., Nov. 12: Roky Erickson, The Above, and The Happen-Ins, Maxwell's, 9:30 p.m. - Erickson is a legendary pioneer of psychdelic rock, best known for his work with 13th Floor Elevators. He disappeared for years due to mental illness, but has made a comeback in recent years.

Fri., Nov. 12: Kristin Hersh, 92nd Street Y Tribeca, 8 p.m. - Known as the leader of Throwing Muses and 50 Foot Wave and for her extensive solo work, Hersh will play music at this gig as well as read from her recently released memoir, "Rat Girl."She's been one of my all-time favorites since the 1980s.

Sat., Nov. 13: Brendan Benson, The Posies, and Aqueduct, Highline Ballroom, 6:30 p.m. - Many people may know Brendan Benson, who is a member of Jack White's project The Raconteurs, but older rock & roll fans will jump at the chance to see The Posies. This band, led by Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, has been crafting great pop music for more than two decades. Amazingly, this show is not yet sold out (as of Wednesday afternoon). (Check for Posies/brendan Benson tickets here.)

Sat., Nov. 13: Richard Barone, Maxwell's, 7:30 p.m. - The former leader of Hoboken's own The Bongos returns to the club where it all began for them. Barone has a number of solo albums under his belt; his latest album is "Glow."

Sun., Nov. 14: Care Bears on Fire, Jack Skuller, and Indian Rebound, Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2, 2 p.m. - The Brooklyn teen pop-punk trio plays a record release party to celebrate its new EP, "Girls Like it Loud." I missed them at the recent Hoboken Arts & Music Festival, but look forward to catching them at Rockwood.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Free Album Streaming: New Stereolab, K.C. Accidental, Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughn

I'm not familiar with many of the new albums that are now available for free streaming, but there are a couple that I'm pretty interested in hearing. One is the new album by Stereolab, the British band that for more than a decade has been making synthesizer-based rock using old-fashioned keyboards. The other album is "Captured Anthems" by a band called K.C. Accidental. You may not know that name, but you've probably heard of the band that they became: Broken Social Scene.

KCRW Album Preview: 
"Not Music" by Stereolab (streaming until Nov. 21)'s Listening Party:
"In Session" by Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughn
"Captured Anthems" by K.C. Accidental
"Live in New York" by Dave Matthews Band
"WHWH" by The Concretes
"An Introduction to Syd Barrett" by Syd Barrett
"The Memory Machine" by Julia Stone

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"I Know I've Been Changed" by Aaron Neville
"Radio Down!" by The Aquabats