Sunday, October 31, 2010

Great Music Cheap: Last Call for Amazon's $5 MP3 Albums for Oct. (Plus a FREE Halloween Music Mix)

Today is the last day to scarf up $5 MP3 albumsfrom for October. Since I bought a number of CDs this month, I'm going to have to restrain myself in getting some of these Amazon $5 specials. Too bad, since there are some classic titles and some new favorites.

(One album that I will be buying: through the end of today, Amazon is offering one of my favorite albums of 2010,"The Five Ghosts" by Canadian band Stars, for only $3.99.)

Among the $5 MP3 albums from Amazonfor October:

"The Five Ghosts" by Stars
"Myth Takes" by !!! (Chk Chik Chick)
"Thief" by Destroyer (Dan Behar from The New Pornographers)
"Momento" by Bebel Gilberto
"Isolation Drills" by Guided By Voices
"Tossing Seeds (Singles 89-91)" by Superchunk
"Who Is This America?" by Antibalas
"Fidelity!" by Chrissie & The Fairground Boys JP (Chrissie Hynde's latest project)
"Passing Strange" - Original Cast Recording
"Rio" by Aterciopelados
"The Suburbs" by Arcade Fire
"Dookie" by Green Day
"The Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance
"Transference" by Spoon
"Under The Blacklight" by Rilo Kiley
"See You On The Moon" by Tift Merritt
"Exile In Guyville" by Liz Phair
"Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!" by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
"Shaking The Tree - 16 Golden Greats (Remastered)" by Peter Gabriel

On a totally different subject, today is Halloween and if you're looking for some free music to stream for a party, or to get yourself in a spooky mood, check out the 2009 Creative Commons Halloween Mix from the Free Music Archive. It has a selection of interesting folk, industrial, and rock music; it's not your typical "Monster Mash" selection of familiar Halloween cliches.

There's a 2010 mix too, but it seems to have less music and more noise, sound effects, etc.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Prince to Perform First NYC Shows in Six Years - Tickets on Sale Sat.

Prince has been making catchy pop tunes for several decades now, but he doesn't tour very often. And I've heard that he hasn't toured on the East Coast since 2004.

But Prince is rectifying that in December with five shows in the New York area, two at Madison Square Garden and three at the Izod Center, across the river in East Rutherford, NJ (where the Nets and Devils used to play).

Prince is calling this his "Welcome 2 America" tour, which is to support his latest album "20Ten," which came out over the summer. Tickets for all five New York area Prince shows go on sales Saturday, October 30th at 10 a.m.

On Saturday you can buy Prince tickets for the New York area concerts:

* IZOD Center, Dec. 14
* IZOD Center, Dec. 15
* IZOD Center, Dec. 17
* Madison Square Garden, Dec. 18
* Madison Square Garden, Dec. 29

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Japandroids End Their Long Tour with a Rousing Maxwell's Show

Brian King (left) and David Prowse of Japandroids at Maxwell's Wednesday night.
During Wednesday night's show at Maxwell's in Hoboken, Brian King of Japandroids announced that this was their first ever show in New Jersey. As it turns out, he and bandmate Dave Prowse couldn't have chosen a more appropriate place for their first concert in the Garden State, which also happened to be the last date on their lengthy tour.

After more than a year and around 250 gigs, Japandroids wrapped things up with sore voices but energy to spare at the club that for more than 30 years has hosted a who's who of up-and-coming artists. R.E.M. played there in 1981 (back when Michael Stipe still had hair), and since then the Maxwell's stage has hosted performers ranging from Beck to The Fall to Throwing Muses, The Donnas, and Sleater-Kinney.

I had heard lots of good things about Japandroids over the last year and a half, but had never seen them live until last night, having missed three previous shows for a variety of reason. The show had all the sound and fury I expected, and though Japandroids have gotten enough acclaim and great press to have developed swelled heads, Brian King sounded remarkably modest onstage, several times thanking the crowd for coming out for a mid-week show.

By the time Japandroids tour again, their popularity may preclude them playing a venue as small as Maxwell's (which holds about 200); they've already played much larger venues in New York. But it was great to see them in such an intimate space.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Live Music Tonight: Japandroids Wrap Up Their Tour at Maxwell's; Oberhofer Opens

Japandroids, Canada's dynamic duo of garage rock, bring their glorious lo-fi racket to Hoboken with a gig at Maxwell's. Brooklyn-based Oberhofer opens the show, which begins at 9 p.m. This is the last stop on the Japandroids' 250-show tour, says.

You can listen to 20 Japandroids songs at the CBC Radio 3 website to get a taste of the band. Brian King (guitar and vocals) and David Prowse (drums and vocals) formed the group in 2006 and have released a number of EPs and 7" singles since then. And they've done a lot of touring—supposedly 250 dates since mid-2009 (the tour was supposed to start earlier, but was delayed when King needed emergency surgery for a perforated ulcer).

I first heard of Oberhofer last month when their WNYC radio featured them in their "gig alert" series and offered a free download of their song "OOooOOooOO." The group, led by 19-year-old Tacoma, Washington native Brad Oberhofer, was among those that CMJ Showcase Director Matt McDonald suggested checking out.

As of this afternoon, tickets were still available for the show.

Japandroids with Oberhofer
Maxwell's, 1039 Washington Street, Hoboken
Doors: 8 p.m.; show: 9 p.m.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Music News: Screaming Females Interview, More on Corin Tucker, LimeWire Shutdown Ordered, Sony Pulls Plug on Cassette Walkman

"Castle Talk," the new Screaming Females album.
Some random notes on music and technology from all over:

* New Brunswick, NJ's Screaming Females were featured on public radio the other day. There was an interview with singer Marissa Paternoster, who talked about her own musical roots and the thriving underground music scene in New Brunswick. You can stream a couple of Screaming Females songs at the link. I have just missed seeing the band a few times now, most recently Saturday when they played a CMJ showcase with Corin Tucker.

* Speaking of Tucker, I've written a couple of times about the former Sleater-Kinney member and her new band. You can read more about Corin Tucker and her work in a couple of recent articles, one in the Village Voice and another in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Among other things, you'll learn about the songs she wrote for the "Twilight" movies (that didn't get used).

* A U.S. federal judge ordered the shutdown of the LimeWire file-sharing service Tuesday, granting the request made by the music industry. The judge said that LimeWire engaged in a "massive scale of infringement" and that record companies have suffered "irreparable harm." One article points out that it's not clear if LimeWire is required to just stop distributing new software, or disable software currently in use.

* Sony has announced it will stop selling the Walkman portable cassette player in Japan in June. Folks in the U.S. can will still be able to buy the iconic music player, though; Sony says it will keep manufacturing the units in China for the U.S. and other markets.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekend Recap: Corin Tucker Steps Out at Maxwell's; Muse Puts on a Rock Show at The Rock

This weekend I saw concerts by two very different acts in two settings that couldn't be further apart. But both shows were very enjoyable: The Corin Tucker Band at Maxwell's in Hoboken and Muse at Newark's Prudential Center (a.k.a. The Rock).

Tucker, part of the much-loved past (and probably future) trio Sleater-Kinney, is on her first tour with her own band and a new album, emerging after taking several years off to raise her children. She headlined an early CMJ showcase at Maxwell's, playing tunes from TCTB's new album "1,000 Years." It was a high-energy set, often capturing the power of S-K.

Corin Tucker and Sara Lund of The Corin Tucker Band at Maxwell's on Saturday. 
If you're a fan of Sleater-Kinney or Tucker, you'll want to catch The Corin Tucker Band at Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday, Oct. 26th. Opening are Darren Hanlon and Hungry Ghost, which features Sara Lund, the drummer in TCTB.

The British trio Muse played Newark Sunday night and put on an old-fashioned rock show spectacle, complete with lasers, individual stages that moved up and down, and giant confetti-filled "eyeball" balloons bouncing through the crowd.

From its opening song, Muse made it clear that Prudential Center fans were in for a rock spectacle.
Although Muse is a huge international success I hadn't heard many songs by them; I went to the show partly to check them out and partly to see the opener, Metric, one of my favorite bands of recent years. (Metric played only half an hour, but it was well worth showing up early to see them.)

Matthew Bellamy takes a turn at the piano.

Muse during its finale at the Prudential Center Sunday.
Special effects aside, Muse put on a very enjoyable show. They play catchy rockers that are often reminiscent of Radiohead, mixing elements of alt rock with prog rock and other genres. I've heard that Jimi Hendrix was an influence on guitarist and singer Matthew Bellamy, and at one point he even played  "The Star-Spangled Banner" solo on his guitar. Muse played songs from its latest album "The Resistance" as well as previous works.

Although most live music I see these days is in clubs or small- to medium-sized venues, it's fun to see an old-style extravagant arena-rock show, and Muse certainly delivered.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday: WFMU Record Fair, Muse & Metric, Angus & Julia Stone, More

The CMJ Music Marathon is over for another year, but there are still plenty of musical events in NYC and environs. The WFMU Record Fair runs through 7 p.m. Sunday, with tons of vinyl, CDs, videos, books, posters, traders, performances, and more. There are still some live events to come for Sunday... see the WFMU Record Fair live broadcasts page for details.

Some highlights from concerts going on tonight:
* British rockers Muse play the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, with Canadian band Metric, one of my favorites, opening.

* Angus & Julia Stone play at Maxwell's in Hoboken; Gareth Dunlop opens.

* legendary singer-songwriter/producer Nick Lowe plays at the Bell House in Brooklyn. Lowe's longtime keyboardist Geraint Watkins opens with his own set.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday: Highlights for the CMJ Music Marathon's Busy Final Night

Above: John Paul Pitts and the rest of Surfer Blood play a CMJ showcase at Bowery Ballroom Saturday night. Photo: Nishkid64

The CMJ Music Marathon has come down to its final day (and very long night); here are some highlights of shows taking place late this afternoon and tonight. (In non-CMJ musical events, Muse plays Nassau Coliseum, with Metric opening.)

For details on the performers and venues, check the official CMJ music schedule for today or the Oh My Rockness schedule.

* Surfer Blood, Neon Indian, DOM, Wild Nothing, Lower Dens, Lia Ices, Lord Huron, Fake Problems, Braids, Ma Mentor, The Static Jacks - Bowery Ballroom, 5 p.m.

* Maddy Wyatt, Care Bears on Fire, Moss, Gary Lucas & Gods and Monsters, Quintus - Bowery Poetry Club, 6 p.m.

* Me First & the Gimme Gimmes, None More Black, Teenage Bottlerocket, Smoke or Fire, Dead To Me, The Flatliners, Cobra Skulls - Music Hall of Williamsburg, 6:30 p.m.

* School of Seven Bells, Asobi Seksu, Cults, Big Freedia, French Horn Rebellion, Bikini, Royal Bangs, Superhumanoids, Dominique Young Unique, The Chain Gang of 1974, The Good Natured, Delicate Steve - Santos House Party, 7 p.m.

* The Corin Tucker Band, Screaming Females, Hungry Ghost - Maxwell's, Hoboken, 7:30 p.m.

* Xeno & Oaklander, Braids, Gobble Gobble, Buke and Gass, L'Atra, Acrylics, The Tony Castles - Cameo Gallery, 8 p.m.

* First Aid Kit, The Loom - Joe's Pub, 11:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Canadian Bands a Big Presence 2010 CMJ Music Fest

As a big fan of Canadian indie music, I'm glad to see a big turnout of bands from up north at events like this week's CMJ Music Festival. Brooklyn Vegan said it all in its headline yesterday: "Canadian invasion @ CMJ 2010." Invasion may be a strong word, but the always-notable Canadian presence at the jam-packed five-day New York City festival may be stronger than ever. (The CMJ Music Fest began Oct. 19th and ends on the 23rd.)

The largest assembly of Canadian talent in one place at once will be the M for Montreal CMJ showcase at Arlene's Grocery on the Lower East Side on Thursday, Oct. 21st. Here's the lineup:

7 p.m.: The Luyas
8 p.m.: Uncle Bad Touch
9 p.m.: PS I Love You
10 p.m.: Random Recipe
11 p.m.: Red Mass
12 a.m.: The Pack A.D
1 a.m.: Radio Radio

Besides the M for Montreal showcase, there are plenty of other gigs featuring Canadian acts at the CMJ Festival. The Brooklyn Vegan article notes many of them (including Woodhands playing Friday night and Two Hours Traffic on Saturday). And Dan Mangan plays the Mercury Lounge at 7 p.m.

Speaking of Thursday, there are plenty of other interesting acts playing that day, and night. Among the many, many performers on Thursday's CMJ schedule:
1:30 p.m.: Walter Parks at Gallery Bar
7:30 p.m.: Oberhofer at Public Assembly
8 p.m.: Eisley at Gramercy Theatre
8 p.m.: John Vanderslice at Mercury Lounge
8:30 p.m.: Susan Cowsill Band at Maxwell's, Hoboken

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

2010 CMJ Music Marathon is Underway

The annual festival of musical overload known as the CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival is underway in NYC and environs. The festival, which began Tuesday and runs through Saturday, Oct. 23rd, will feature performances more than 1,200 bands in that time, as well as movies, workshops, panels, etc.

You can check the CMJ Music Marathon schedule here, but a warning: it's huge and daunting, with gigs beginning in the morning and going late into the night (and next morning). The New York Times has a humorous flow chart of what to see at CMJ, which nonetheless has some useful information.

Paste Magazine has an A-to-Z guide to CMJ, choosing one favorite act from each letter of the alphabet. It may not yield the best group of bands to see, but it does narrow down the choices.

Among the acts playing CMJ on Wednesday: Kelsey, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Rich Aucoin, The Fleshtones, Sharon Etten, Sonya Kitchell, Willie Nile, and Bear Hands.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Kings of Leon, Liz Phair, Shakira, Bryan Ferry, Buddy Guy, More

This is a great week for free streaming of new and upcoming albums, with CDs by a number of veteran heavy hitters including Kings of Leon, Liz Phair, Shakira, Badly Drawn Boy, Bryan Ferry, Buddy Guy, and Rod Stewart, as well as a couple of remastered reissues from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. A few lesser-known favorite bands of mine are also featured, including California's Gram Rabbit and Girl in a Coma.

Dates that albums are available for streaming are given, when known.

NPR First Listen:
"Olympia" by Bryan Ferry (until Oct. 26)
"Acoustic Sessions" by The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl) (until Oct. 26)

KCRW Album Preview:
"Miracles and Metaphors" by Gram Rabbit (until Nov. 6)
"Light and Gold" by Eric Whitacre (until Nov. 9)
"Some Place Simple" by Martina Topley Bird (until Nov. 9)

AOL Music and Listening Party:
"Come Around" by Kings of Leon
"Funstyle" by Liz Phair
"Adventures in Coverland" by Girl in a Coma
"It's What I'm Thinking" by Badly Drawn Boy
"Living Proof" by Buddy Guy
"Fly Me to the Moon: The Great American Songbook Volume V" by Rod Stewart
"Sale el Sol" by Shakira

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Late Night Sunday: Live Concert Videocast of Jonsi from Sigur Ros

If you're near a computer tonight, you can watch a live video webcast of a concert by the singer Jónsi (lead vocalist from the Icelandic band Sigur Rós) at 9 p.m. Pacific time (12 a.m. Eastern) from Los Angeles.

Jónsi (the nickname for Jón Thór Birgisson) came out with "Go," his first solo album, earlier this year. Sunday night Jónsi will perform at the Wiltern in L.A. Above is "Animal Arithmetic," the second single from "Go."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Happy 50th Birthday to Bob Mould

A Twitter message from Wall Street Journal rock critic Jim Fusilli on Saturday noted that Oct. 16th is the 50th birthday of Bob Mould. Although he's best known as the leader of the hard-rocking 1980s Minneapolis trio Husker Du, Mould has been making a lot of good music since that group's demise with bands including Sugar and his current group, called simply the Bob Mould Band.

Above is an example of the fast and furious sound of Husker Du doing "Makes No Sense at All" (with "Love Is All Around," the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore show, at the end. Below is the Bob Mould Band performing "A Good Idea," from Mould's 2007 live DVD "Circle of Friends."

Bob Mould has two New York shows coming up, Nov. 4th and 5th at City Winery. (See all Mould tour dates here.)

Happy birthday, Bob Mould, and here's to many more years of rocking.

Friday, October 15, 2010

NPR Launches 24/7 Music Channel

NPR Music, which already offers a number of podcasts and live streaming concerts, has just launched a new 24-hour-a-day music stream called All Songs 24/7. Of course, NPR Music isn't a radio station and so doesn't have continuous programming to simulcast, so what it's doing is streaming "a non-stop mix of every song ever played during the 10 years of All Songs Considered," their regular program devoted to new music releases (and sometimes reissues).

Looking at the list of recently played songs, it seems there can be pretty jolting shifts from one tune to the next—Arcade Fire to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Jonsi, for example. Maybe these are the tunes they originally had permission to stream through All Songs Considered, and decided to make some further use of them, or were able to acquire the rights at a good price.

I'm not sure if this is the permanent format (or lack of format) for All Songs 24/7, or whether NPR is just putting up this mishmash of tunes to get started. Since NPR Music already has a lot of good music offerings, perhaps this is a way for them to try to make NPR Music an online music destination.

UPDATE: NPR's announcement of All Songs 24/7 indicates that the format may indeed evolve over time:
"As far as the stream goes, it might change. Maybe we’ll fill it with holiday songs, or maybe the best music of 2010 as we near the end of the year. Maybe we’ll put a concert in the stream every night or have a week where there are nothing but full concerts to hear."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Music Notes: Live Deerhunter Webcast Tonight, Pete Yorn on Leno, Imperial Stars Stop L.A. Traffic

* Just found out that a Deerhunter show will be webcast live by NPR Music tonight, Oct. 12th. The show is set to begin at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

* Pete Yorn will be on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Tuesday, Oct. 12th. And he's got a new video out, for his song "Sans Fear" (above).

* The Orange County hip-hop band Imperial Stars stopped traffic on an L.A. freeway this morning, and got arrested for it. The band played songs on a truck that was parked to block most of the 101 freeway in Hollywood. The stunt was apparently a promotional effort for the Imperial Stars song "Traffic Jam 101."

* Heard about this cool video on Twitter called "The Johnny Cash Project": a "global collective art project" that provides assembles countless user-created images for a visual backdrop for Cash's song "Ain't No Grave." And the creators encourage viewers to add their own contributions. It's hard to describe; check it out for yourself.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Suzanne Vega: "People & Places" Out Tuesday; Get It for $3.99 Today

Singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega's latest project is re-recording a number of her songs from throughout her career and releasing them in themed albums. The first album in the series she's calling "Close-Up" was "Love Songs"; the second, "People and Places," comes out tomorrow. is having a special day-early sale on the MP3 edition of "Close-Up, Vol 2: People and Places (Deluxe Edition)," offering it for only $3.99 for Monday, Oct. 12th only. [UPDATE: The price is still good on Tuesday, Oct. 12th.] (This offer may be good only in the U.S.) This edition has several extra bonus tunes, including a Spanish-language version of "Luka."

As you'd expect, New York is the place that shows up most frequently on the (as in "Tom's Diner" and "New York is a Woman"); and the people include the title characters from her songs "Luka," "Priscilla," and "The Queen and the Soldier."

Suzanne Vega performed a live set at Borders book store headquarters last week; you can view song from the session at the link. Playing with Vega are her longtime collaborators bassist Mike Visceglia and guitarist Gerry Leonard.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Kim Richey Touring to Support New Album, "Wreck Your Wheels"

You may not have heard of Kim Richey, but there's a good chance you've heard some of her songs. Her songs have been covered by artists from Trisha Yearwood to Brooks & Dunn to Maura O'Connell, so her tunes have sold a lot of copies and gotten plenty of radio airplay.

And her songs have appeared in movies and TV shows including "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer," "Dawson's Creek," and "Angel."

But the Ohio native has put out only six albums of her own since 1995, so it's always a treat when a new one comes out - and when she goes on tour to play her songs, new and old. Richey is on tour now to support her new album, "Wreck Your Wheels," and she'll be playing at Joe's Pub in New York on Monday, Oct. 11th. Here's the video of the title song.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Free Music Downloads: Live Sets by Sonic Youth, Tom Tom Club, More; Cover Versions of Janis Joplin and John Lennon Songs

Some good free music podcasts have been put online recently, including a number of live shows. Here's the rundown:

NPR Music has several new live concerts up:
* a full-length show The Tallest Man on Earth, the stage name of Swedish singer Kristian Matsson. 
* several sets from bands at All Tomorrow's Parties, including Sonic Youth, Explosions in the Sky, Girls, and Kurt Vile.
* a short live set by Tom Tom Club, who scored a big hit in the 1980s with "Genius of Love." The band, which included Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of the Talking Heads, did a 16-minute acoustic set in the radio network's office. 

The Coverville podcast has two new episodes dedicated to great artists who died too young: one featuring Janis Joplin cover tunes, and the third edition of its John Lennnon cover songs podcast.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Free Music: Download 10-Song Austin City Limits Festival Sampler

The Austin City Limits Festival starts tomorrow and runs through this weekend, and is offering a free 10-song sampler from artists playing the big shindig at Zilker Park. The ACL Festival will bring more than 130 artists to Austin for the weekend, including the Eagles, Muse, M.I.A., and Phish.

You can read Spin's article on the 10 must-hear artists from the 2010 ACL Festival here. Their free ACL sampler, called Lone Star Solid State, contains the following tracks:

1. Girls, "Lust for Life"
2. The Gaslight Anthem, "The Spirit of Jazz"
3. Lissie, "In Sleep (Live)"
4. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, "40 Day Dream"
5. Pete Yorn, "Rock Crowd"
6. First Aid Kit, "Hard Believer"
7. Bear In Heaven, "Wholehearted Mess"
8. Matt & Kim, "Cameras"
9. Beach House, "Norway"
10. Deadmau5, "A City in Florida"

Note: To get the sampler, you'll need to supply your e-mail address, then click on a link they send you.

If you're going to the festival or just want to follow what's happening there, you can follow the ACL Festival Twitter account.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from KT Tunstall, Belle & Sebastian, Fran Healy of Keane

KT Tunstall's new "Tiger Suit" is one of many CDs now available for free online preview.

There's another big crop of good new albums available for free online streaming. KCRW's in particular has a Scottish theme, with three artists from that country: KT Tunstall, Belle and Sebastian, and Fran Healy.'s Listening Party currently features more than 15 albums including:
* "Live, Volume 3" by the Avett Brothers
* "Power to the People, The Hits (Best of)" by John Lennon
* "Parenthood: Soundtrack" by various artists including Bob Dylan, Amos Lee, Avett Brothers, Eels, Josh Ritter, the Swell Season
* "Live at Sasquatch" by The Temper Trap
* "Bubblegum" by Clinic

AOL Music has about 15 free album previews, which have some overlap with Spinner:
* "The Other Side of Down" by David Archuleta
* "Scream - Tour Edition" by Ozzy Osbourne
* "Fight or Flight" by Emily Osment
* "Glow" by Donavon Frankenreiter
* "Gilled Cheesus (Season Two, Episode Three) by Glee Cast

NPR First Listen: (both streaming until Oct. 12)
* "Swanlights" by Antony And The Johnsons
* "The Age Of Adz" by Sufjan Stevens

KCRW Album Preview:
* "Tiger Suit" by KT Tunstall (streaming until Oct. 26)
* "Wreckorder" by Fran Healy of Keane (until Oct. 12)
* "Write About Love" by Belle and Sebastian (until Oct. 26)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

For John Lennon's 70th Birthday, Concerts, Album Releases, and More

Watch the full episode. See more American Masters.
Above: A free screening of the film "LENNONYC" will be held in Central Park this Saturday, which would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday.

John Lennon would have turned 70 years old on Oct. 9th, and there's no shortage of events coming up to celebrate his birthday (some of which have already taken place). Among them:

* Yoko Ono and her "We Are Plastic Ono Band" held two Lennon tribute concerts in Los Angeles this past weekend. Spin magazine said, "the 77-year-old nodded to her own history, engaged in ear-splitting excursions into the avant-garde and brought the house down with duets with Iggy Pop (the first night) and Lady Gaga (the second)." You'll find more about the concerts, and photos, in their article (link above).

Remastered versions of Lennon's solo albums were released Oct. 5th, as was a "Signature Box," an 11-CD set that includes all of his solo albums plus two CDs of rarities and a commemorative book.

* The film "LENNONYC," which looks at the musician's years in New York, in the 1970s, will be screened at Central Park Summerstage on Saturday at 7 p.m. (doors open 6 p.m.) PBS will air the movie on Nov. 22nd.

* Another movie, "Nowhere Boy," focusing on Lennon's early life in Liverpool, will be released on Oct. 8th.

* The 30th annual John Lennon Tribute concert will be held Friday, Nov. 12th at the Beacon Theatre. This year's lineup features heavy hitters such as Jackson Browne, Patti Smith, Cyndi Lauper, Aimee Mann, Keb' Mo', Joan Osborne, Martin Sexton, Shelby Lynne, Taj Mahal, Meshell Ndegeocello, Alejandro Escovedo, The Kennedys, Rich Pagano of the Fab Faux, and more.

* If you've got the money to shell out for a good cause, City Winery is having a John Lennon 70th birthday party on Saturday, Oct. 9th featuring Kimya Dawson, Anais Mitchell Freedy Johnston, Jesse Malin, The Chapin Sisters, Lisa Bouchelle, The Kennedys, and Tony Scherr. Tickets are $95 and benefit two charities that provide food for the poor.

And what will Yoko Ono be doing on Lennon's birthday? Reportedly she'll be in Iceland, where she will light what's called the Imagine Peace Tower memorial situated on an island near Reykjavik.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Hoboken Festival: Good Tunes, & Good Weather (for a Change)

From reports I've heard, the music was great at yesterday's Fall edition of the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival. And the weather was beautiful too, aside from occasional wind gusts that blew over exhibitors' stuff. No rain, at least.

Above: Hoboken's own The Fave gets the crowd moving with their guitar-driven rock.

I only managed to watch a couple of sets (and hear parts of others in passing), but liked what I heard. Hoboken's own The Fave had the crowd rocking, and I came across an unexpected pleasure on the second stage: a sultry young singer named Emily Turonis, who was accompanied by a standup bass player and a guitarist. Though she was singing in the afternoon at a street festival, her voice made me feel as if I was in a smoky nightclub.

(The Cliffview Pilot has a recap of a number of the Festival's performances, including Richard Barone, and photos.)

Above: Emily Turonis singing standards at the Sixth Street stage.

I missed the 12 Noon set by Care Bears on Fire, but the band told me they've got some upcoming dates in New York, including one at the CMJ Music Festival.

Above: Care Bears on Fire sign posters and CDs after their set, accompanied by a rather large bag of popcorn.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Streaming Live Now: Matador at 21 Festival

I'm coming to this kind of late, but Matador Records is having a live stream of its "Matador at 21" concert in Las Vegas all weekend. It's been going on since last night, but there's still plenty of music to catch.

Here's the "Matador at 21" live stream schedule. Note: All times are PST.

Girls: 4:40pm – 5:20pm
Come: 5:45pm – 6:25pm
Perfume Genius: 7:55pm – 8:15pm
Cat Power: 8:15pm – 8:55pm
Superchunk: 9:20pm – 10:00pm
Spoon: 10:25pm – 11:15pm
Belle & Sebastian: 11:45pm – 1:00am
(The entire night’s stream will then repeat the next morning)

Shearwater: 6:30pm – 7:10pm
Ted Leo + The Pharmacists: 7:35pm – 8:15pm
New Pornographers: 8:40pm – 9:25pm
Liz Phair 9:50pm – 10:10pm
Guided By Voices: 11:30pm – 1:00am
(The entire night’s stream will then repeat the next morning)

Friday, October 01, 2010

Free Streaming: New Album from Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker

Above: The Corin Tucker band, left to right: Corin Tucker, Seth Lorinczi, and 
Sara Lund

For a while in the late 1990s my favorite band was Sleater-Kinney, the Portland, Oregon power pop punk trio that made more high-energy rock and roll noise than you'd think was possible from three young ladies.

The band didn't so much break up in 2006 as go on one of those "indefinite hiatus" breaks we often hear about in rock. While it's premature to talk of a Sleater-Kinney reunion, the good news is that singer and guitarist Corin Tucker is back with her first solo album since the S-K days.

You can stream the album, "1,000 Years" by the Corin Tucker Band, for free below courtesy of NPR Music until its release date on Oct. 5th.

Many of the tunes are more mellow than Sleater-Kinney songs, but there are definitely some rockers on the album. And Tucker's voicethat voice!is still there, singing softly one moment and shrieking the next.

New can find Corin Tucker Band tour dates from their webpage at the Kill Rock Stars website (they're on the road starting Oct. 7th). There you can also get a free MP3 of their song "Doubt" and find bios of the band (another trio). Fans in the New York area: the band plays at Maxwell's in Hoboken on Oct. 23rd and at New York's Bowery Ballroom on the 26th.

Now what about that possible Sleater-Kinney reunion? The NPR article accompanying their post of the Corin Tucker Band online stream says: "A reunion seems more or less inevitable... and in preparation, all three members are re-acclimating themselves to the spotlight."

In a recent Paste Magazine interview Tucker says that she hopes there will be a Sleater-Kinney reunion and thinks it will happen, and Brownstein echoed those feelings in Paste last Spring.

So what have the members of Sleater-Kinney been up to on hiatus? Tucker has been raising two kids, Carrie Brownstein has been working on a TV comedy series about Portland, Oregon for IFC and blogging for NPR, and drummer Janet Weiss is still performing in her duo Quasi, and also working with The Jicks (the latest band of Stephen Malkmus).

Here's a video of Sleater-Kinney performing "Jumpers," from their most recent album "The Woods," on David Letterman: