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.
- - - - - - -
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

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Tonight: Land of Talk, Suuns, & Little Scream at Bowery Ballroom

I've been wanting to see Montreal indie rockers Land of Talk for a few years now, but missed them a couple of times. And then came singer/guitarist Elizabeth Powell's encounter with throat polyps, which caused the band to cancel its 2009 tour.

But now Land of Talk is back and sounding as good as ever, and with a new album "Cloak and Cipher" that came out in late August. Land of Talk plays Bowery Ballroom Saturday night on a bill with Suuns and Little Scream.

Suuns, also from Montreal, used to be called Zeroes but changed their name because of legal reasons. They made a big splash at last month's CMJ festival, and the NY Daily News said their music is "repetitious, distorted and sometimes as lumbering as a zombie trying to walk. But it's also got momentum, thrills and mystery to burn." The New York Times called Suuns "drone scholars."

Tickets ($15) are still available at the link above at the door. Doors at 8 p.m.; show scheduled to start 9 p.m.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Live Tonight: Bob Mould & Lenny Kaye at City Winery

If you're in New York tonight and want some rock & roll to shake off the rainy weather, you might want to check out former Husker Du member Bob Mould at City Winery. also on the bill is Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith band member and much more) at City Winery. Tickets are still available, according to the website, and range from $30 to $40.

As I noted a couple of weeks ago, Bob Mould is at City Winery again tomorrow night, with Marshall Crenshaw (seems like that show is sold out or close to it).

City Winery is a nice, intimate venue that recalls bygone spaces like The Bottom Line. And as its name suggests, they make and serve a wide range of wines.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

New Music Podcasts: Basia Bulat Live, Tom Petty & Nick Cave Covers, Nick Lowe Live Set

There are some notable new episodes of music podcasts out now; here are a few things worth checking out:

* CBC Radio 3 has a live set with folky singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Basia Bulat

* Nick Lowe performs a brief live set (13-minute) in the intimate confines of the NPR Music offices (you can view the video online, or download the audio-only podcast)

* The Coverville podcast shines the spotlight on recent birthday boy Tom Petty (60 years old!) and on Nick Cave, with covers of (and sometimes by) each artist

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Free Album Streaming: Bruce Springsteen's "The Promise," Cee Lo Green, Matt & Kim, & More

Here is a sampling of some of the new and reissued albums currently available for free streaming online. Some of the albums I'm especially interested in hearing: "The Promise," the collection of tunes Bruce Springsteen recorded during the sessions for "Darkness on the Edge of Town;" the tribute album to the great (and highly influential) Brazilian band Os Mutantes; and the self-titled album by Black Dub, produced by legendary producer Daniel Lanois.

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: 
"Black Dub" by Black Dub (streaming until Nov. 23)

NPR First Listen:
"The Promise: The Lost Sessions, Darkness on the Edge of Town" by Bruce Springsteen (streaming until Nov. 16)
"The Lady Killer" by Cee Lo Green (until Nov. 9)
"El Justiciero, Cha, Cha, Cha" (A Tribute to Os Mutantes) by various artists (until Nov. 9)'s Listening Party:
Band on the Run (Reissue)" by Paul McCartney & Wings
"Sidewalks" by Matt & Kim
"Now and Then" by Smokey Robinson
"An Introduction to... Elliott Smith" by Elliott Smtih
"Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters" by Ray Charles
"Fire Works" by the Sainte Catherines

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"Cardiology" by Good Charlotte
"Living Alone EP" by Teddy Geiger
"Dreams" by Neil Diamond