Monday, January 31, 2011

Free Music: Live Streaming Concerts by Best Coast & Wavves, The Decemberists, Sarah Harmer

Sarah Harmer (show here at the last year's Vancouver International Folk Music Festival) has a recent free concert available for download from CBC 2. Photo: Penguinstorm
A few recent live concerts are now available for streaming (and download, in a couple of cases). One is by the acclaimed new surf-rock revival group Best Coast, another is by The Decemberists, and the third is by longtime Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer, who's long been a favorite of mine. (By the way, if you like Best Coast, the MP3 version their album "Crazy for You" is only $5 at for the rest of Jan. 31st (you've got until 3 a.m. Eastern time on Feb. 1st).

* Best Coast and Wavves live from the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Available for streaming and download.

* The Decemberists live in their hometown of Portland, Oregon earlier this month. Audio and video streaming.

* Sarah Harmer live from Massey Hall in Toronto. Available for download and streaming (song by song or entire concert)

* as a bonus, here are twin singer-songwriters The Watson Twins doing a three-song live mini-set for (including a cover of Sade's "Sweetest Taboo"). Streaming or download.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from The Boxer Rebellion, Deerhoof, The Go! Team, & More

Video for The Boxer Rebellion's "Step Out of the Car." It's from their new album "The Cold Still," which is available for free streaming.

The new year got off to a slow start in terms of new albums available for free streaming, but things have definitely picked up recently. Right now there are new CDs for streaming from Deerhoof, John Vanderslice, The Boxer Rebellion, Amos Lee, and the infectious dance-pop of The Go! Team.

KCRW Album Preview: 
"Rolling Blackouts" by The Go! Team (streaming until Feb. 22)
"Bella" by Teddy Thompson (streaming from Jan. 31 to March 1)
"The Cold Still" by The Boxer Rebellion (streaming from Jan. 31 to March 1)'s Listening Party:
"Deerhoof vs. Evil" by Deerhoof
"There are Rules" by The Get Up Kids
"White Wilderness" by John Vanderslice
"Low Country Blues" by Gregg Allman
"Kiss Each Other Clean" by Iron and Wine

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"Mission Bell" by Amos Lee
"Some Kind of Cure" by David Berkeley

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Free Music Podcasts: Live Folk-Pop from Antje Duvekot, Coeur de Pirate, Basia Bulat

Canadian singer-songwriter Basia Bulat brings her autoharp, and her band, to the NPR studios. Photo: John Benson

If you're looking for some good singer-songwriter music to listen to, here are a few recent episodes of free podcasts featuring live sets that are worth checking out. All three are female, and all work in the folk-pop genre, but with very different backgrounds and styles.

* Antje Duvekot performs a live set at Acoustic Long Island. The German-born, Boston-based Duvekot is a captivating acoustic singer-songwriter I only heard of a couple of months ago, but she won the Kerrville Folk Festival "Best New Folk Award" one year and has gotten lots of acclaim from some well-known folk artists. Hear Antje Duvekot in a 38-minute performance.

* The Francophone singer who goes by the name Coeur de Pirate is another relatively recent group to me. I've heard a few songs by her now and then on the CBC Radio 3 podcast; now here's a one-hour CBC 2 concert to get a food feel for her. Coeur de Pirate has a sweet sound that's a pleasure to listen to, even if you don't understand the French lyrics. Download the Coeur de Pirate live set here.

* Another artist I discovered through CBC Radio 3, Basia Bulat brought the autoharp back into pop music with her catchy single "In the Night" a few years back. You can hear her play that song and three others in a 15-minute set in the NPR offices (watch the Basia Bulat video here, or stream or download the audio).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Great Music Cheap: 1,000 MP3 Albums for $5 from

The Broken Bells' self-titled album is one of 1,000 MP3 albums on sale for $5 through January. is having another album download blowout in January, offering 1,000 MP3 albums for $5 eachtill the end of the month.

As usual, they span many genres but emphasize rock and pop, and there are new releases as well as older ones. See the 1,000 MP3 albums for $5 eachhome page for categories such as alternative and indie rock, pop, classic rock, greatest-hits collections, classical, country, dance and electronica, folk, soundtracks, and more.

You can also browse the selection of some of the best albums of 2010 for $5 each, including the latest albums by Broken Bells, Band of Horses, MGMT, Local Natives, Best Coast, Weezer, Land of Talk, Liz Phair, and Jesca Hoop.

It's a great selection of albums, and it's easy on the budget (as long as you don't buy too many, that is).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Music Notes: Spotify Signs with Sony; New R.E.M. Single Released; Lineups Out for Coachella, Bonnaroo, SXSW, & Jazz Fest

* R.E.M. on Tuesday released "Mine Smell Like Honey" (video with lyrics above), the first single from its forthcoming album "Collapse Into Now" (which drops March 8th). You can also preorder a deluxe version of the new R.E.M. album here, which includes a video and three bonus tracks (live-in-studio versions of “Discoverer,” “Oh My Heart,” and “Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter").

* The music subscription service Spotify has signed a deal with Sony for U.S. distribution, All Things D writes. Spotify, which is now operating in Europe, will have similar terms stateside that it has across the pond: "A certain number of hours per month of free streaming music, with the ability to pay for an ad-free version, or a more popular one that lets users listen on mobile devices like Apple’s iPhone."

* The Spring festival season is warming up, and a number of big events have recently announced who'll be playing. See the SXSW Music lineup (March 16th - 20th), Coachella lineup (April 15th -17th), Bonnaroo lineup (June 9th -12th: not officially released, but here's a photo of the poster), and Jazz Fest (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (April 29th - May 8th)

And, what would the week be without some dismal news from the record business:
* Digital music sales are slowing, the industry's trade group says. Revenues were up 6% for 2010 according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, but in 2009 they were up 12% from the year before, and up 25% in 2008.

* Warner Music is keeping busy. The firm, one of the big four music companies, is looking to buy Britain's EMI, but has also hired Goldman Sachs to seek out potential suitors to buy it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Watch Broken Social Scene LIVE Webcast from NYC Tonight (NOW)

Broken Social Scene (shown here playing Central Park in Sept.)  is webcasting its Terminal 5 show tonight.

Whoops, I meant to mention this earlier, but Broken Social Scene is webcasting its Tuesday night show from New York's Terminal 5 on YouTube starting at 9 p.m. (yes, it's been on for a few minutes).

Songs played so far include "7/4 Shoreline" and "Fire Eyed Boy."

If you miss it live, visit the website above because it says that highlights and the complete show are "coming soon." This sounds similar to the Arcade Fire webcast from Madison Square Garden last year.

Broken Social Scene is touring the southern U.S. in February in support of its latest album, "Forgiveness Rock Record."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Gang of Four and Wanda Jackson

Gang of Four's first new album in over 15 years is available for free streaming.

There are only a couple of new albums streaming that I came across this week, but they're from two time-honored, well-established artists. The first is Gang of Four, the punk/rock/funk group that formed in the mid-1970s. It apparently hasn't made an album of all-new material since 1995, but it's back with "Content."

As it did 30 years ago, Gang of Four tackles issues such as unbridled capitalism and government oppression in catchy tunes. As their website says in talking about the new album, "The record is called Content, in recognition of the way every creative form has been reduced to just that: content, the obligatory filling for the advertising sandwich." In the case of Gang of Four, it's a pretty tasty sandwich.

Wanda Jackson, the "queen of rockabilly" who's been singing and playing guitar since the 1950s, is back with a new album of cover songs, "The Party Ain't Over," that shows she's not ready to stop rocking just yet. And the album is produced by Jack White of the White Stripes, who a few years ago worked with another female legend, Loretta Lynn, on her album "Van Lear Rose."

Oh, and Wanda Jackson will be appearing this week in the Jan. 20th performance of Broadway's "Million Dollar Quartet," about the legendary 1956 recording session featuring Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley.

KCRW Album Preview: 
"Content" by Gang of Four (streaming until Feb. 15)
(Note: You can get a free download of "You'll Never Pay for the Farm" from "Content" by signing up for the band's mailing list at the Gang of Four website.)

NPR First Listen:
"The Party Ain't Over" by Wanda Jackson (streaming until Jan. 25)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Prince Adds 4th Garden Show; Tickets on Sale Sat., Jan 15th

Prince at NJ's Izod Center last month.

Prince is bringing his "Welcome 2 America" show to Madison Square Garden one more time, on Monday, Feb. 7th. Tickets go on sale here Saturday, Jan. 15th at 10 a.m.

Prince played two shows at New Jersey's Izod Center and two at the Garden, and has another Garden appearance on Jan. 18th (said to be sold out).

His "Welcome 2 America" concerts have been getting wide acclaim (including from this reviewer). The shows feature a selection of hits and lesser-known songs from throughout his career, and Prince has been including opening acts who have been inspirations to or influences on him, including Cassandra Wilson, Maceo Parker, and Larry Graham of Graham Central Station, as well as the comedian Sinbad.

It's a fun, funky show, and you never know when Prince will tour again. So if you're interested in seeing him in concert, get your tickets when they go on sale Saturday.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Cake, Gregg Allman, British Sea Power, Iron & Wine

There are some great new albums coming out that are being offered for free streaming, including "Low Country Blues" by Gregg Allman. On this new disc, Allman presents his take on some blues classics, a project that's right up his alley. He's touring to support this new album, but get your tickets while you can: his New York show has already sold out (I'm hope he adds at least one more date).

Here's are some of the new albums available now for free streaming:

NPR First Listen:
"Low Country Blues" by Gregg Allman (streaming until Jan. 18)
"Dye It Blonde" by Smith Westerns (until Jan. 18)
"Kiss Each Other Clean" by Iron & Wine - podcast download and streaming of live performance of the entire album, from WNYC's Listening Party:
"Showroom of Compassion" by Cake
"Outside" by Tapes 'n Tapes
"Valhalla Dancehall" by British Sea Power

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"Californication Season 4 - Music From the Showtime Series" by various artists including Eagles of Death Metal, Better Than Ezra, Cracker, Warren Zevon, Soundtrack of Our Lives, and more

Friday, January 07, 2011

Allman Brothers Add 5 Final Beacon Shows; Tickets On Sale Saturday

The Allman Brothers Band (shown here at the United Palace Theater last year) return to the Beacon for 13 shows in March.

If you missed out on getting tickets to see the Allman Brothers Band during its March run at the Beacon Theatre, you've got a second chance: the group has added five more shows.

Allman Brothers tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 8th for these additional shows: March 21st, 22nd, 24th, 25th, and 26th. This brings the total number of the band's 2011 Beacon shows to 13. Tickets for all the Allman Brothers Beacon shows are available here; you may be able to still find some tickets for some of the previously announced dates as well.

As usual, you can expect some special guest to join the band onstage.

While the Allman Brothers haven't had a new album in some time, leader Gregg Allman is coming out with a new effort, "Low Country Blues," on Jan. 18th. His website has a number of "Low Country Blues" pre-sale offers, including vinyl and some offers that feature an immediate download of extra tracks.

Gregg Allman will appear on the David Letterman show on Jan. 14th, and he has a number of tour dates scheduled. In the New York area, he'll be in Kingston, New York on Jan. 8th; Red Bank, NJ on Jan. 11th; and NYC's Bowery Ballroom on Jan. 18th (that last one is sold out, but I wouldn't be surprised if another show is added). See all the Gregg Allman tour dates here.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from The Decemberists, Abigail Washburn, Wire

"The King is Dead," the new album by The Decemberists (shown here in Vienna in 2007), is streaming until Jan. 18). Photo: negotiable_me

The new year is starting off slow for album streaming, with KCRW not offering any new CDs in the last few weeks, and album previews for Spinner and AOL Music consisting mostly of Christmas music. But there are a few choices available now:

NPR First Listen:
"The King is Dead" by The Decemberists (featuring Gillian Welch and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck) (streaming until Jan. 18)
"Red Barked Tree" by Wire (until Jan. 12)
"City of Refuge" by Abigail Washburn (until Jan. 11)

Also, NPR Music has an 18-minute live set of Abigail Washburn performing in NPR's offices.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Year's Treats: Top 25 of 2010 Mashup; Girl Talk's "All Day" Annotated

Thought I'd start the new year off with a couple of fun mashup videos. The one above is the latest in DJ Earworm's medley of Billboard's top 25 songs of the year. I came across this one in an article on by Rachel Sklar; you can find the list of all the songs at the article. Included are songs by Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Eminem.

Girl Talk's latest album, "All Day," features numerous song samples... but what are they and when does each sample appear? The website Mashup Breakdown allows you to listen to "All Day" while a graph underneath each song shows what songs are being sampled and when. It's more fun that just looking at a list of the samples, since you can see all the songs being sampled as you're hearing them.

Happy New Year!