Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Live in NYC Thursday: Dum Dum Girls in Brooklyn, GoGirls Music Fest in E. Village

Fans of female-powered rock will be interested in two shows on Thursday night that will be starting December off with a bang, on both sides of the East River.

One of my new favorite bands, the Dum Dum Girls, are back from a brief European swing and will play Brooklyn Bowl in a show starting at 8 p.m. Brooklyn's Dive and Xray Eyeballs open the gig. Doors are at 6 p.m.; admission is just $10. Brooklyn Bowl is at 61 Wythe Ave. in Williamsburg between N. 11th and 12th Streets (directions).

If you miss this show, the DDGs will be returning to Brooklyn Bowl for another show on Dec. 17th. (UPDATE: It doesn't say this on their tour page, but the Dec. 17th show is not a DDG show; rather, the band will be spinning a DJ set during the Stylofone reunion show. They will be playing a solo acoustic show with Crocodiles on Dec. 22nd at Glasslands.)

More than a half-dozen female indie rockers play the GoGirls Music Fest Thursday.

Across from Williamsburg in Manhattan, a line-up of women indie rockers will play at the GoGirls Music Fest at Otto’s Shrunken Head (538 E. 14th St.). On the bill: ReW, Lachi & Meridian Gold, Inky Glass, Melissa Clark, Luciar, Rachel Lee Walsh, and Tiik (from the band G.U.T.S.). You can hear songs from the GoGirls Music Fest here (my favorite is the poppy "Bug Out" by Lachi & Meridian Gold).

The show is a benefit for the Red Thread Movement, which is dedicated to fighting sex trafficking in Nepal. The show is set for 7 p.m. and admission is only $5.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Young Antiques, The Roots, Gorillaz, & More

This is kind of a slow week for online album streaming, perhaps due to fewer album releases during the holiday season (except for the usual flood of box sets and special re-releases intended for gift giving). Still, there are a few offerings: new albums by Young Antiques and Me Vs. Myself; the latest from The Roots; a new archival set by legendary singer-songwriter John Prine, featuring live and studio recordings; a singles collection by Gorillaz; and a four-song "Appalachian Christmas" set from jazz/classical/bluegrass violinist and composer Mark O'Connor.

Young Antiques performing "What I Can't See" from their new album, which you can preview this week on AOL Music.

NPR Music has an eclectic handful of new albums for preview, from the metal band Cormorant; the Polish musician Jacaszek, who combines classical, jazz, and electronica; and the new Broadway cast recording of Stephen Sondheim's "Follies."'s Listening Party:
"The Singing Mailman Delivers" by John Prine
"The Singles Collection: 2001-2011" by Gorillaz
"Live at the Armory" by Chadwick Stokes & Friends (ex of Hermit Thrush and Dispatch)
"Paper Butterfly" EP by Shana Halligan

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"Where I Am... Where I Want to Be" by Me Vs. Myself
"Appalachian Christmas" EP by Mark O'Connor 
"Out of Place" by Ourlives
"A Man, Not a Biography" by Young Antiques

NPR First Listen:
"undun" by The Roots
"Dwellings" by Cormorant
"Glimmer" by Jacaszek
"Follies (New Broadway Cast Recording)" by Follies Cast

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Music Notes: Fugazi Releasing Live Archive, Last Call for Amazon's Nov. $5 MP3 Albums, & More

* Fugazi live archive set to launch: Fugazi fans, your wait is almost over. the Washington, D.C. band that has been on hiatus for eight years has been working on making its archive of 800 live shows available for sale, and the recordings are set to start being released on Dec. 1st.
According to the Fugazi website, "Over time each of these recordings will be made available to download for a small fee and will be presented beside available photos, flyers and general show info."

If you already have a Dischord account, you may be able to access the Fugazi Live Series in beta before Dec. 1st.

Fugazi's last album, "The Argument,"was released in 2001.

Fugazi performing "Turnover" live in 1991.

*'s $5 MP3 album sale:'s $5 MP3 albums for Novemberexpires in a few days; here are some of the titles you can find on sale for the rest of the month:

"A Very She & Him Christmas" by She & Him
"Fallen" by Evanescence
"Thickfreakness" by The Black Keys
"The Best Of Joss Stone 2003 - 2009" by Joss Stone
"Lights" (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version) [+Digital Booklet] by Ellie Goulding
"Wild Flag" by Wild Flag
"The Bends" by Radiohead
"Ten Years Gone The Best Of Everclear 1994-2004" by Everclear
"Seeds We Sow (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version)" by Lindsey Buckingham
"Skying" by The Horrors
"Jeff Bridges" (Amazon Exclusive Version) by Jeff Bridges
"Panic of Girls" by Blondie
"The Knot" by Wye Oak

* Music industry heading for positive year?: The music industry could have its first rise in sales since 2004 if holiday sales are strong, says Billboard. The publication says that heading into Black Friday "year-to-date U.S. album sales were up 3.2%," and it's hoped that the trend will continue with strong late-year releases including "Take Care" by Drake, "Under the Mistletoe" by Justin Bieber, and new albums by Coldplay, Florence and the Machine, Tony Bennett, Jay-Z and Kanye West, and Taylor Swift.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cheap Music: Black Friday Sales; Signature Sounds Sale

With Thanksgiving hot on our heels, that means the season of holiday music sales and Black Friday deals is near. Here are a couple of places to find good music at good prices, whether you're shopping for gifts for family and friends or, um, buying stuff for yourself.
Bruce Springsteen's "The Promise" 3 CD/3 Blu-ray set will be just $58.99 for a few hours on Thanksgiving Day. is having Black Friday music dealsthat started yesterday and continue through Monday, Nov. 28th.

If you're a fan of Amazon's lightning deals and other time-limited sales, you'll like the setup of their Black Friday music sale. Several items are put on sale for a two- or four-hour window, then they go up to their regular price.

For example, here are the Black Friday specials for Wednesday, Nov. 23rd:

5 a.m. - 9 a.m. PST:
Various Artists: "Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology" - $55.99
Amos Lee: "Mission Bell" - $5.99

9 a.m. - 1 p.m. PST:
Pearl Jam: "Live at the Gorge 05/06" - $18.99
Tony Bennett: "Duets II" - $6.99

1 p.m. - 5 p.m. PST:
Queen: "Queen 40 Limited Edition Collector's Box Set" - $32.99
Mumford & Sons: "Sigh No More" - $4.99

5 p.m. - 9 p.m. PST:
Various Artists: "The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Concerts" (4CD) - $25.99
Eddie Vedder: "Ukulele Songs" - $4.99

Some of the highlights of Thanksgiving Day offerings:
5 a.m. - 9 a.m. PST: U2: "Joshua Tree" (Remastered/Expanded Super Deluxe Edition, 2CD/DVD) - $22.99
9 a.m. - 1 p.m. PST: Bruce Springsteen: "The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story" (3 CD/3 DVD) - $58.99

This Massachusetts-based label features a great stable of singer-songwriters and Americana musicians, and their annual sale at this time each year lets you buy any CD for $9.99 or less. (You also get a free 11-track sampler with each order than includes a physical CD.)

I somehow missed this sale until I got an e-mail from the label today, so unfortunately the one-week-only sale ends tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 23rd, at Midnight Eastern time.

Signature Sounds artists include Eilen Jewell, Josh Ritter, Crooked Still, Kris Delmhorst, Patty Larkin, Chris Smither, Lori McKenna, Winterpills, Richard Shindell, and Louise Taylor. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Free Album Streaming: Rhett Miller Live, Calexico's "Selections," Soundtrack to Michael Jackson's "Immortal," & More

New albums from Rhett Miller (formerly of the Old 97s) and Calexico highlight this week's free streaming albums. The Miller album is "The Interpreter," a live recording from Largo, the famed L.A.'s club. Calexico's new album on preview is a live one too, titled "Selections From Road Atlas 1998-2011." As the name indicates, it's a collection of tracks from the "Road Atlas" box set, which features all of Calexicos self-released tour albums on vinyl (it also includes MP3 versions of the music).

Preview Calexico's live collection this week at Spinner below.

Also of note this week is "Immortal" by the late Michael Jackson, the soundtrack of the Cirque du Soleil tour of the same name. The album is billed as "Michael Jackson's greatest recordings remained for Cirque du Soleil," and includes remakes and mash-ups of his tunes. You can see a video about the making of the album below.

And there's a tribute album to Linda McCartney featuring Beatles and Paul McCartney songs performed by country and pop artists including Ricky Skaggs, Shedaisy, Kenny Loggins, and Timothy B. Schmidt (who's been in Poco and the Eagles). I'm not sure of the connection between Linda McCartney and country music, but the collection (which is said to have received the blessing of Sir Paul) is to raise money for the Women and Cancer Fund, created in the memory of Linda (who died of breast cancer in 1998).

(My usual note: there are more albums available for streaming than just the ones listed below, and some of them are up for longer than one week.)'s Listening Party:
"Selections From Road Atlas 1998-2011" by Calexico
"The Interpreter (Live at Largo)" by Rhett Miller
"Immortal" by Michael Jackson

Other albums from Spinner this week include "Better Days" by Fonda, "Wildfire" by Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun, and "Grimm Reality" by Dimlite.

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"Let Us In Nashville - A Tribute to Linda McCartney" by Various Artists
"Stream of Conscience" (EP) by 2/3 Goat (yes, that's "two-thirds goat")

Also on AOL Music: "No Kings" by Doomtree, "Streetlight Lullabies" by Toh Kay, "Break the Spell" by Daughtry," and "Your Name All Over It" (EP) by Knockout Kid.

What new releases are you looking forward to this week or in the coming weeks?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Los Campesinos! at Williamsburg (Photos)

Los Campesinos! wrapped their two-night stand in New York with a raucous show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg Thursday night. Playing before a crowd that moshed even during the quieter songs, the band of seven musicians who met as students at Cardiff University in Wales played tunes from their several albums. Naturally there was an emphasis on songs from their latest album, "Hello Sadness," which was released this week.

It's too late for me to write anything nearing a coherent review, so I'll just supply a few photos from tonight's show. You can listen to Los Campesinos! songs at their Soundcloud page.

The band has a few more upcoming concerts listed on it schedule (below); keep up with all Los Campesinos! tour dates here.

Fri., Nov. 18th - Union Transfer, Philadelphia
Sat., Nov.19th - The Black Cat, Washington, D.C.
Thu., Nov. 24th - Unit Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Thu., March 22nd 2012 - Electric Ballroom, Camden Town, London, U.K.

Brooklyn's own Dinosaur Feathers, the night's opener.

Los Campesinos!

Gareth, Ellen, and Kim.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Music Notes: iTunes Match Goes Live; Google Music Store Coming Wed.

Apple's iMatch cloud service went live this week; look for Google's music store Wednesday.

Cloud-based music services take another step forward this week with advances from both iTunes and Google.

Apple's iTunes went live with its iMatch service, which for $24.99 a year will sync your music library of songs, movies, and other media not purchased from iTunes, placing a high-quality version of songs you own on the company's servers. (If Apple doesn't have a copy of a song, you can simply upload it.) Note: you must have iOS5 and iTunes 10.5.1 to use iMatch.

As Apple notes:

"...iTunes determines which songs in your collection are available in the iTunes Store. Any music with a match is automatically added to iCloud for you to listen to anytime, on any device. Since there are more than 20 million songs in the iTunes Store, chances are, your music is already in iCloud. And for the few songs that aren't, iTunes has to upload only what it can't match. Which is much faster than starting from scratch. Once your music is in iCloud, you can stream and store it to any of your devices. Even better, all the music iTunes matches plays back from iCloud at 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality—even if your original copy was of lower quality."

With the other music cloud services, Amazon Cloud Drive/Cloud Player and Google Music Beta, you have to upload songs yourself to the services if you want them to be part of your play-anywhere library.

Google's options may change, because on Nov. 17th the company is set to launch the Google Music Store. It's been working hard behind the scenes to get the major music labels on board so it can legally sell and store music from their artists.

Google is said to have recently reached a licensing deal with Sony, giving it access to most of the big music companies (Universal and EMI [which Universal bought last week], in addition to Sony). Google has not yet inked a deal with Warner Music Group. Google has also reached agreement with Merlin Network, which represents 18,000 musicians on independent labels such as Merge and those of the Beggars Group, according to the L.A. Times.

Google's service will be like that of Amazon and iTunes, CNBC says, and will work with Google Music Beta. But it says Google something the others don't offer: "customers will be able to share songs they've purchased with friends, using Google+. Those friends can listen to a song a few times before they must buy it themselves."

I'll be watching for Google's announcement on Wednesday to see how these and other predictions pan out. Of particular interest to me is that Google will supposedly have access to all that indie music.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Free Album Streaming: Kate Bush, Slash, & Betty Wright; John Lennon Tribute Concert; & More

Slash's new live album features Myles Kennedy (also seen in "Back from Cali," above).

There aren't a lot of big names among the musicians with free album streaming this week, but a couple of the well-known artists that are available for listening are returning to the stores after long waits.

Kate Bush, the eclectic British singer with the amazing vocal range, is back with her first album of all-new material since 2005. And longtime soul singer, producer, and vocal coach Betty Wright returns with her first album in 10 years, and she's backed by today's go-to house band, The Roots. (Hear an NPR interview with Betty Wright from Nov. 13th here.)

Unlike those two singers, Guns 'n Roses guitarist Slash hasn't been absent from the recording scene for a long time; he debut self-titled album came out just last year. But he has come out with his first live solo album, and it features a few familiar tunes from his old band along with originals.

There's a notable compilation out this month, too. 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death, and a new live album captures the 30th annual concert held in his memory. You'll hear Lennon tunes performed by artists including Alejandro Escovedo, Patti Smith, Bettye LaVette, Aimee Mann, Shelby Lynne, Martin Sexton, Joan Osborne, and many more.

And for Frank Sinatra fans, there's "Sinatra: Best of the Best," said to be the first-ever collection from The Voice that combines hits from his Reprise and Capitol releases, from 1953 to 1980.

KCRW Album Preview: 
"50 Words For Snow" by Kate Bush (streaming through Nov. 22)
(Also streaming at NPR Music)

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"Made in Stoke 24/7/11" by Slash
"30th Annual John Lennon Tribute" by Various Artists
"Betty Wright: The Movie" by Betty Wright and the Roots
"Best of the Best" by Frank Sinatra

AOL Music also has a number of albums that sound interesting by artists I'm not familiar with: "Circus Girl" by Sherrie Austin; "18 and Alive" by Chelsea Lee; "The Gilded Cage" by Electric Sun; and "Pretty Old Soul" by Lizzie Huffman.

In addition, Spinner features a number of albums this week that I'm looking forward to hearing, even though I don't know the artists. Among them: "Freeclouds" by Carter Tanton; "Prosopopoeia" by The Color Bars; "All Your Heroes Become Villains" by Ed Hale and the Transcendence; "Breaking Hearts" by Rah Rah; and "Will Work for Free" by Toy Bombs.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Concerts On Sale: Wild Flag, Jeff Mangum, Glen Campbell, Jane Birkin, & More

Glen Campbell received an all-star tribute at the CMA Awards last night, and you can see him live when his farewell tour comes to New York.

Whatever your taste in popular music, there's something you're bound to like in terms of concerts coming to the New York area in the next few weeks (and months). A lot of these shows go on sale tomorrow and tickets are sure to sell quickly, so you might want to note the on-sale times for the best selection.

Wild Flag plays at Webster Hall, April 1st, 2012, and no, it's not an April Fool's joke. The immensely popular all-female rock band is returning to NYC, and in a bigger venue, after three smash shows last month. On sale: Friday, Nov. 11th, 12 Noon.

Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel returns to the area after two recent sold-out shows at the Loews Theatre in Jersey City. He'll do two concerts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Fri., Jan. 20th and Sat. the 21st. On sale: Nov. 11th, 10 a.m.

Nada Surf is touring again and will be at Webster Hall on April 7th (their Jan. 24th show is sold out). Coincidentally, Jan. 24 is the day their latest album, "The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy," comes out. (You can download a song from the album, "When I Was Young," at their website.) On sale date for the April 7th show: Nov. 11th, 12 Noon.

New Jersey native Sharon Van Etten will play two NYC shows, at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Feb. 24th and Bowery Ballroom on the 25th. Shearwater opens on both dates. On sale: Nov. 11th, 12 Noon.

Country/pop legend Glen Campbell, who has Alzheimer's disease, is making his farewell concert tour, and it stops at Town Hall on Sat., Jan. 7th. Campbell received a moving tribute at the CMA Awards last night, and tickets for "Glen Campbell: The Goodbye Tour" go on sale Nov. 11th at 11 a.m. You can download the title song from his new (and final) album, "Ghost On the Canvas," at Glen Campbell's website.)

Another legend, British singer Jane Birkin, is touring again, singing the songs of her late husband Serge Gainsbourg. The worldwide tour, described as "Serge Gainsbourg and Jane via Japan," stops at Town Hall on Sun., Dec. 11th, and tickets are on sale now. (See Jane Birkin's recounting of the reasons for the tour here. It isn't quite clear to me, except that she's touring with a group of Japanese musicians and it's somehow related to helping that country heal from the earthquake and tsunami of earlier this year.)

Tickets for many other shows went on sale today; check venue websites or Bowery Presents for the shows they promote, including those at Bowery Ballroom, Terminal 5, Mercury Lounge, the Wellmont Theatre, etc.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from The Bees, Los Campesinos!, & Jonathan Coulton; R.E.M.'s New Anthology; & More

The latest album by The Bees (a.k.a. A Band of Bees) is one of the new releases streaming this week.
I'm not familiar with many of the new albums that are available for online streaming this week, but there is one 800-pound gorilla in the batch: R.E.M.'s two-disc, sprawling career retrospective with the equally sprawling title, "Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982 - 2011."It sounds pretty much like a greatest-hits album with some non-hit album tracks, along with three new songs recorded after the release of the band's last album, "Collapse Into Now."

As NPR's Tom Moon notes in his commentary at the KCRW website, "the narrative of 'Part Lies' leans a bit too heavily on R.E.M.'s latter-day attempts to rock.... If the goal is to savor R.E.M.'s spectacular creative peaks and fierce experiments, know that, as [Michael] Stipe himself said, you can't get there from here. Part Lies only tells part of the story—the truth lies within the original albums."

Also streaming this week is the latest from the Welsh seven-piece band Los Campesinos!, who have two shows next week in New York (Bowery Ballroom on Nov. 16th; Music Hall of Williamsburg the next night)... the "new" album from the British group A Band of Bees (known simply as The Bees everywhere but the U.S.), which came out in 2010 but is just being released stateside Nov. 7th... and the latest collection from singer-songwriter (and former computer programmer) Jonathan Coulton, which features humor-laced tunes like "Je Suis Rick Springfield" and an ode to "rockin' 'The Stache.'"

Folk fans will be happy to see the pioneering singer-songwriter Judy Collins returning with a new album, "Bohemian," which includes cover tunes and original compositions.

KCRW Album Preview: 
"Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011" by R.E.M. (streaming until Nov. 15th)
"Hello Sadness" by Los Campesinos! (streaming until Nov. 15th)
(both also streaming at NPR First Listen)'s Listening Party:
"Every Step's a Yes" by The Bees (A Band of Bees)
"Young Statues" by Young Statues
"Bear" by Bear & Moose
"Mannequin Men" by Mannequin Men

AOL Music Listening Party: 
"Every Waking Moment" by The Dear & Departed
"Bohemian" by Judy Collins
"Never Out of Time" by Camille Bloom
"Porcelain" by Edward Rogers
"Artificial Heart" by Jonathan Coulton

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Free Concert Podcast Downloads: Wild Flag, St. Vincent, Olivia Tremor Control, & More

If you like listening to recordings of your favorite artists playing live, there's a big batch of free concerts that's been made available online recently (yes, I've fallen behind on my semi-regular postings of these shows). Many can be downloaded as podcasts as well as streamed online; I've noted the ones that only offer streaming.

Stream or download a concert by St. Vincent below. Photo: Flickr user Moses.

The NPR Music podcasts (*) can be downloaded through iTunes, or from the links below.
CBC Radio 2's "Canada Live" podcast offers downloads of live sets from Dan Mangan, Oh Susanna, Jason Collett (of Broken Social Scene), and more.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Free Album Streaming: New Music from Florence & the Machine, Laura Veirs, Meshell Ndegeocello, & More

"What the Water Gave Me" from the new Florence and the Machine album

The new Florence and the Machine album heads the list of interesting new albums available for streaming this week. Called "Ceremonials,"the album is streaming at MySpace Music, a source that I hadn't really thought of for playing full albums. Although MySpace has been shedding users, it does offer some good album streams, so from now on I'm making it one of the sources that I check weekly.

Also streaming this week are a children's album from Laura Veirs, an EP of outtakes from the "King is Dead" sessions by Veirs's sometime collaborators The Decemberists, and a new album by bassist and singer Meshell Ndegeocello. And if you missed last week's NPR preview of the new Girl in a Coma album,it's up on Spinner this week.

For those interested in classic rock and pop, there's a 40th-anniversary edition of Jethro Tull's "Aqualung"and the official release of "Smile" by the Beach Boys—the 1967 album that had never fully seen the light of day until now.

There's also the first album by filmmaker David Lynch ("Eraserhead," "Blue Velvet") and, for fans of jazzy vocals, "Brainchildren," the new albumby singer and trombonist Elizabeth Dotson-Westphalen, who performs under the name Elizabeth.

MySpace Music:
"Ceremonials" (Deluxe Edition) by Florence and the Machine

NPR First Listen:
"Tumble Bee" by Laura Veirs
"Crazy Clown Time" by David Lynch
"Weather" by Meshell Ndegeocello's Listening Party:
"Long Live the King" EP by The Decemberists
"SMiLE" by The Beach Boys
"Nightlife" by Phantogram
"Aqualung" 40th Anniversary by Jethro Tull
"Exits And All The Rest" by Girl in a Coma