Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Podcast Episodes: "Best of" Shows from Frank Black, Coverville

Podcast episodes that are compilations of previous shows are easy for the hosts to put together, but that doesn't mean they're not good. There are two tasty recap episodes this week from two of my favorite podcasts, The Frank Black.net Podcast and Coverville.

The FrankBlack.net Podcast calls its latest podcast "Reunited" (marking the first time co-hosts Dean and Brian have both been on a show together), and aside from using excerpts of the cheesy Peaches & Herb single of the same name, it's a solid episode musically. Borrowing a term from TV, they call it a "clip show," but really it's a best-of of tunes from the podcast's third season.

"Reunited" features a wide range of Frank Black projects from the last year, ranging from a tune from "The Golem" to "Vapors" from the "Lovesick" EP and "My Name is Gary" from the "Space Babes vs. the Monster" DVD.

The FrankBlack.net Podcast says it will begin its fourth season in October.

Brian Ibbott's long-running and prolific Coverville podcast calls its 700th episode "An Introduction to Coverville," and it features some of the favorite tunes from the show. Among those you'll hear: "Tainted Love" by Gloria Jones, "Both Sides Now" by Jason Falkner, and Jonathan Coulton's popular version of "Baby Got Back," as well as covers of a couple of Amy Winehouse tunes and a William Shatner tune for good measure.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cheap Albums: Over 1,000 Amazon.com $5 Albums; Polyvinyl Records Garage Sale

If you love music, and love saving money buying it just as much, here are a couple of sales you'll like.

* Polyvinyl Record Co. is having its annual music garage sale, during which you can pick up some great deals on CDs, vinyl, etc. In case you're not familiar with them, Polyvinyl is home to artists including Japandroids, Architecture in Helsinki, Mates of State, Asobi Seksu, Loney Dear, Of Montreal, Rainer Maria, and Joan of Arc.

* Amazon.com usually has 100 $5 MP3 albums each month, but in August it has been offering more than 1,000 $5 albums, in all genres. A sampling:
  • More Miles Than Money by Alejandro Escovedo
  • The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga
  • Quiet Storm by Peabo Bryson
  • Homosapien by Pete Shelley
  • Live at the House Of Blues [Explicit] by Tupac Shakur
  • 11:11 eleven eleven by Regina Spektor
  • This Is Our Music by Ornette Coleman
  • If I Had a Hammer by The Blind Boys Of Alabama
  • The Rough Guide to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
  • Masters Of The Burial by Amy Millan
  • Reverse Migration by Au Revoir Simone
  • I Dreamed A Dream by Susan Boyle
  • OK Computer by Radiohead
  • Dizzy Up The Girl by Goo Goo Dolls
  • The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill
  • Stankonia [Explicit] by Outkast
  • Eye To The Telescope by KT Tunstall
  • Trouble by Ray Lamontagne
  • If You're Feeling Sinister by Belle & Sebastian
  • One Cell In The Sea by A Fine Frenzy
  • Sparkle And Fade by Everclear
  • The List by Rosanne Cash
  • Black Cadillac by Rosanne Cash
  • Alright, Still [Explicit] by Lily Allen
  • Under A Blood Red Sky by U2
  • Rubber Factory by The Black Keys
  • Life'll Kill Ya by Warren Zevon
  • Singles Going Steady by The Buzzcocks
  • Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons
  • Greatest Hits 1985-1995 by Heart
  • Feats Don't Fail Me Now by Little Feat
  • Another Country by Tift Merritt
  • Conditions by The Temper Trap
  • Dinosaur by Dinosaur Jr.
  • Talking To You, Talking To Me (Amazon Exclusive Version) by The Watson Twins
  • I Will Be by Dum Dum Girls
  • Burning Spear Live by Burning Spear
  • X & Y by Coldplay
  • Indestructible by Disturbed
  • Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits by Janis Joplin
  • Fool For The City by Foghat
  • Here's to Shutting Up by Superchunk
  • Hyacinths and Thistles by The 6THS
  • From a Compound Eye by Robert Pollard
  • King Me by Visqueen
  • Nolita by Keren Ann
  • Get The Knack by The Knack
  • With Blasphemy So Heartfelt by Jessica Lea Mayfield
  • The Five Ghosts by Stars
  • Kensington Heights by The Constantines
  • Beat The Devil's Tattoo by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
  • Hunting My Dress [+Digital Booklet] by Jesca Hoop

Saturday, August 28, 2010

NYC Free Shows Sunday: Jelly Show with Delorean & "Special Guests"; Charlie Parker Jazz Festival with Jimmy Scott,

The free summer festival season is, sadly, coming to an end, but there are a couple of good ones Sunday, August 29th:

* The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival with Jimmy Scott, Vijay Iyer, The Cookers and Catherine Russell - 3 p.m., SummerStage - 
Tompkins Square Park
(The Wall Street Journal did a nice article the other day on Jimmy Scott)

* "Special Guests Headliner," Delorean, Dominique Young Unique - [couldn't find time] East River State Park, Brooklyn
(This once-cancelled final Jelly "Pool Party" concert at East River State Park is back on, though I couldn't find a start time. And I have no idea who the "special guests headliner" is, though it should be a good one, considering the level of talent the series has attracted in the past.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Free J&R MusicFest & Tech Expo This Weekend - Live Music from Eli "Paperboy" Reed & More

The free 2010 J&R MusicFest & Tech Expo takes place this weekend at City Hall Park, near the music/computer/electronics retailer's complex on Park Row in lower Manhattan. The live music takes place on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 27th and 28th, but the Tech Expo goes on through Sunday.

There are special discounts and deals throughout the weekend on CDs, DVDs, audio equipment, and much more.

The Tech Expo began Thursday with demonstrations of new audio equipment and other tech gizmos, but the music starts Friday, August 27th at 5 p.m. Here's the schedule:

Friday, Aug. 27th
Performances start at 5:00 p.m. / Hosted By DJ Parler
* 4Troops
* J Cole
* Marsha Ambrosius
* Alexis Jordan

Saturday, Aug. 28th
Performances start at noon
* Marcus Johnson
* Eli "Paperboy" Reed
* Leela James
* Ayanna Irish

The Tech Expo continues through Sunday.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Music News: Bruce Springsteen Doc Premieres Soon, Top 25 Fall Albums, New Thermals Video, Yo Gabba Gabba Releases New Album

Left:  "The Promise: The Making of 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'" has its premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival. 

OK, here's a hodge-podge of music news items that really don't have much in common except, well, they're about music.

* The much-anticipated Bruce Springsteen documentary will premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival"The Promise: The Making of 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'" takes the viewer behind the scenes into Springsteen's creative process creating his classic late-'70s album, the follow-up to the monster success "Born to Run." The first screening will be September 14th.

* Spin magazine has done a story on the "25 Fall Albums That Matter Most." Among the chosen ones: Weezer, Interpol, Matt & Kim, Kings of Leon, Kid Cudi, and Chromeo.

* Portland, Oregon's The Thermals are releasing its new album "Personal Life" in a couple of weeks, and here you can see the video for the song "I Don't Believe You." It features fellow northwest musician Carrie Brownstein, a guitarist of the much-loved band (and fellow Kill Rock Stars label mate) Sleater-Kinney.

Also, two of the three members of The Thermals made Magnet Magazine a mixtape of their perfect summer songs.

* The Nick Jr. TV series "Yo Gabba Gabba!" will release its second compilation album of music from the show, called Music Is Awesome! Volume 2, on August 31st. The CD will feature Yo Gabba Gabba! original tunes as well as songs from bands who've been on the show, such as Weezer, MGMT, and The Apples in Stereo. The album includes music from the show's first three seasons.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Jenny & Johnny, Chief, Ra Ra Riot, Ray LaMontagne, Brian Wilson, and More

It's been a long time, but I wanted to get back in the habit of alerting readers to free album streaming available online. Below are some new albums by big names as well as some less well-known artists, including a few I'm not familiar with. I'm curious to hear Brian Wilson doing George Gershwin, and to check out the new album by "Jenny and Johnny," the new project from Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis. 

Spinner.com's Listening Party currently features about 20 albums including:

* "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin" by Brian Wilson
* "God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise" by Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs
* "'The Switch' Soundtrack" with songs by Sunrider, Nu Shooz, and the Eels
* "Root for Ruin" by Les Savy Fav
* "Foundling" by David Gray
* "The Longest EP" by NOFX
* "No Better than This" by John Mellencamp
* "The Final Frontier" by Iron Maiden
* "Modern Rituals" by Chief
* "Chamber Music" by Esperanza Spalding

AOL Music free album previews, which have some overlap with Spinner: 
* "
Beneath it All" by Hey Monday
* "Fight the Frequency" by American Hi-Fi
* "The Trouble With" by Filter
* "Live at the Treehouse" by Joe Firstman
* "Dying for a Living" by Red Line Chemistry

NPR First Listen:
* "The Orchard" by Ra Ra Riot (streaming until August 24)
* "Music Redeems" by The Marsalis Family (streaming until August 24)
* "I'm Having Fun Now" by Jenny & Johnny (Jenny Lewis & Jonathan Rice) (streaming until August 31)
* "Familial" by Philip Selway (Radiohead's drummer) (streaming until August 31)
* "All is Falling" by James Blackshaw (streaming until August 31)
* "God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise" by Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs (streaming until Sept. 7)
* "Tin Can Trust" by Los Lobos (has been streaming since late July; not sure how long it will be available)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Scott Pilgrim's Secret Weapon: Killer Music from Beck & Others

When I saw a screening of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" the week before last at a preview screening, I had no idea what to expect. Having never heard of the graphic novel on which the movie is based, all I knew about the film was a brief glance at the poster showing Michael Cera playing an electric guitar.

It turns out that I really enjoyed "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," on several levels. It was funny and original, and had many sweet moments involving Cera (Scott Pilgrim) and his love interests. The story involves Pilgrim, the bass player in the garage-rock band Sex Bob-Omb, and his obsessive pursuit of a woman he sees in passing. The woman, Ramona, has a tangled past history of lovers that gives Scott Pilgrim a lot more than he bargained for.

One of the unexpected pleasures of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" was the role that music played throughout. Since Pilgrim is in a band you'd expect music to be a major element, and I noted that for a struggling rock band, Pilgrim's outfit made some pretty catchy tunes.

There's a good reason why: I noticed in the closing credits that the movie featured songs by Frank Black (of the Pixies), and many songs were written by Beck. But some other indie rock heavy-hitters were brought in to write or perform music, particularly the Canadian bands Metric and Broken Social Scene (one of whose songs runs just three seconds).

It's a fun movie, and the songs really are an integral part of it. I may listen to the soundtrack album and see if the tunes hold up on their own, apart from their use in the movie.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Deerhunter, Real Estate Give a Rocking Wrap-Up to Hudson's RiverRocks

Another summer concert series came to an end Thursday night with Deerhunter and Real Estate performing the last RiverRocks concert at Hudson River Park on Pier 54. It was a great pairing of bands, and the weather even cooperated for the most part, with light rain falling only toward the end of Deerhunter's set.

Above: New Jersey's Real Estate.

The concert drew a good crowd. Although most fans were there to see Deerhunter, Real Estate got a nice reception from the audience. They are apparently from Bergen County in the Garden State; they asked if anyone was there from (I'm guessing) their respective towns, which included Mahwah and Midland Park.

Above: Deerhunter closing the RiverRocks concert series.

Deerhunter hit the stage around 8:30 and played for a little over an hour and 10 minutes (I think... I left during the long, instrumental ambient tune the band was playing as its final encore, and it was still going on after I crossed West St. and headed east on 14th St.)

Deerhunter mentioned that Real Estate would be on tour with them this Fall. Deerhunter only lists a few shows on their schedule, coming up in the next few days. Real Estate plays only a few dates through early September, then has no dates schedules until their tour with Deerhunter the second half of October (which opens on October 15th in New York at Webster Hall).

Fri., August 13 - Royale Nightclub, Boston, Mass.
Sat., August 14 - Pearl Street, Northampton, Mass.
Sun., August 15 - Flying W Airport and Pool, Medford, NJ

Mon., Sept. 6 - Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Free Concerts in NYC: Public Enemy, Deerhunter, Dr. Dog, Neon Indian, The Wedding Present, More

The summer concert season in New York is starting to wind down, but there are still a number of good shows coming up in the next few weeks. Here are a few highlights from this week (check websites for details on capacity, etc,; some venues have limited space):

Thursday, August 12
* Deerhunter with Real Estate, Hudson River Park's RiverRocks, Pier 54, Hudson River (entrance at 14th St.), 8 p.m. (doors open at 6)

* White Rabbits with Hospitality - "Dual drummers and a honky tonk calypso rhythm section bang out jarring sonics"- SummerStage, East River Park, 7 p.m.

Friday, August 13
* The Wedding Present, legendary U.K. band, with Brooklyn's Savoir Adore, Seaport Music Festival, Pier 17, South Street Seaport, 6 p.m.

Saturday, August 14
* Neon Indian with Prefuse 73, DOM and Nite Jewel - the Beach at Governors Island, 8 p.m. (doors open at 6)

* Chief, Frankie & The Outs, MINKS, Total Slacker - Jelly Presents at Rock Yard, 2 p.m.

* Bachata Fest (Latin American music): Andy Andy, Luis Miguel de la Amargue, Kiko Rodriguez, and Alexandra - SummerStage, Central Park, 3 p.m.

Sunday, August 15
* Public Enemy, Blitz The Ambassador, & DJ Kool Herc - SummerStage, Central Park, 3 p.m.

* Dr. Dog with Eli "Paperboy" Reed & The True Loves and Chief - the Beach at Governors Island - 8 p.m. (doors open at 6)

* !!! (chik chik chik), Lee Fields, Strange Boys, Future Islands - Jelly Pool Parties, East River State Park, doors open 2 p.m.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Arcade Fire Rocks MSG - Watch Webcast Highlights

OK, this will be my last post on Arcade Fire, their new album "The Suburbs," and their current tour... for a while, anyway. Last Thursday's concert at Madison Square Garden was great, and the nine (or 10?) band members on stage had no problem creating sound big enough to fill the cavernous arena.

Of course, being at the show meant that I missed their live webcast of it, directed by Terry Gilliam, Monty Python member and director of films including "Brazil," "Time Bandits," "The Fisher King," and "12 Monkeys." You can see some of the Arcade Fire webcast highlights at their YouTube page, including Arcade Fire favorites "Wake Up" and "Keep the Car Running" and tunes from "The Suburbs" including "Ready to Start," "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)," and "Rococo."

Speaking of Terry Gilliam, he did a video with Arcade Fire before the webcast (below) in which he talks about directing the program. (The video also reveals the band members to be robots whom Gilliam controls with a large computer-game console.)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Metric Headlines Free Brooklyn Concert Thursday

Metric played a sold-out show at Manhattan's Terminal 5 a few months back, but on Thursday, August 5th they'll be crossing the East River to headline a free concert in Brooklyn.

The outdoor show, the latest in the annual Celebrate Brooklyn series, has Emily Haines and band leading a trio of female (or female-fronted) acts. Also appearing on the bill are
Holly Miranda and Joan as Police Woman.

Gates open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7. Find out more details about the free Metric concert at Celebrate Brooklyn at show's the event page. (Although the show is free, a $3 donation is requested.)

Unfortunately I won't be able to make it to the free Metric concert, but the good news is that it's because I have tickets to see Arcade Fire at Madison Square Garden Thursday. That show, which also features Spoon on the bill, now has Canadian singer, composer, and violinist Owen Pallett as the the opening act, so it will be quite an evening for Canadian musicians in New York.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Get Arcade Fire's New "The Suburbs" MP3 Download for Just $3.99 - Tuesday Only!

I'd planned on buying "The Suburbs" on CD so I could check out the artwork, credits, etc., but I may reconsider that since finding out that Amazon. com has made the new Arcade Fire album its "deal of the day" for Tuesday, August 3rd (the album's release date). For this day only, you can get the album for just $3.99 (U.S. customers only, I'm pretty sure).

Amazon.com has featured Arcade Fire's first two albums in the last couple of months as part of its regular "100 MP3 albums for $5" deal, so I took advantage of those deals. If I buy "The Suburbs" today, I will have gotten all three Arcade Fire albums for $14.00. No album artwork, credits, band photos, etc., but you can't beat the price.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Listen to Arcade Fire's New Album "The Suburbs" Free Online

Arcade Fire's eagerly awaited new album "The Suburbs" drops tomorrow, and you can stream the entire album FREE online below via NPR Music. The band is on the road with shows in Philadelphia and New York this week (two dates at Madison Square Garden, Wednesday and Thursday). Spoon is also on the bill, so is Owen Pallett, the Canadian singer/composer/violinist/Arcade Fire collaborator who won the inaugural Polaris Prize in 2006 (under his former identity, Final Fantasy).

The Thursday, August 5th Arcade Fire show will be webcast live, in a production directed by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame. (Tickets are still available for the August 5th Arcade Fire concert, though the August 4th show is sold out.)

Music stores around North America are having Arcade Fire listening parties with food and drink, giveaways, and more; to find out about these and other events follow the Merge Records Twitter account.