Friday, October 31, 2008

Ryan Adams and The Cardinals - Cardinology


Just Ugh.

It's sad. The last two EPs, "Follow the Lights" and "Easy Tiger" were such masterpieces. They were both worthy successors to "Heartbreaker", "Gold", and "Jacksonville City Nights."

But this... Each song trips into the other. The first single, "Fix It" is self indulgent and an ugly song. The opener, "Born Into a Light" is a miserable piece of writing and sounds.

The album doesn't get pleasant until "Crossed Out Name." Adams is at his best when he's vulnerable, when he's trying to reach across and connect with you. When he doesn't achieve that element, the song fails miserably.

I'm a Ryan Adams fan. Just a disappointed one right now.

We Get Letters

I'm stealing a feature from my other crappy blog called "We Get Letters." This is where I post letters and emails I get from people I know. If I ran a newspaper, I would have this instead of letters to the editor.

Anyway, this letter is from my boy Jeff M., the Human 808 machine. He used to be part of The Alphabetical Order, but now he just holds it down solo, David Byrne Style.

Jeff gets to go to concerts on the weekdays. And he went to one last night
I saw Jaguar Love last night at Black Cat and they were amazing!! Maybe not your thing, but check out the track "Humans Evolve Into Skyscrapers" on eMusic. It's got this Timbaland-ish beat, with the 16th note hi-hats and syncopated kick/snare (is every producer doing this these days? I feel like Timb started it).
But it also has loud start/stop guitars, actual singing mixed with screaming. It's like everything I want music to be.

2008 has shaped up to be a killer year for music. I mean, look at No Kids: orchestral pop with more percussion than a high school band class plus r&b beats and a singer that can deliver on that promise. Jaguar Love, No Kids -- they're not afraid, and that's what I love about them.
So there you have it. Jeff, The Thrilla in an Arlington Villa, recommending Jaguar Love.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Interview with No Kids' Nick Krgovich

Things have been ridiculously hectic (and painful) here on my end. I twisted my knee, my kid had a low grade asthma attack (which prevented me from going to see No Kids.. Sorry Jeff!!!), and I've been handling some extracurricular activities at work.

So I've had a rather full plate lately. It kinda sucks.

But we've had this interview sitting in the hopper for awhile. and I wanted to get it up.

So without further adieu, here's The Shimmy Shake interview with No Kids' Nick Krgovich.

I think you'll find the interview to shed a lot of light on how he and the band went on developing the incredible sound that is 'Come Into My House.'

The Shimmy Shake: I'm going to be honest, this is without a doubt one of my most favorite albums of the year. I love it, my friends love it, my sister loves it, and these people come from all various points on the musical spectrum. And the music is sonically different from what you were making with P:ano (though I can see the relation). How'd you all go about making Come Into My House?

Nick Krgovich: I like the idea of tying records together with some sort of theme, like "no reverb" or "songs about stuffy, dissatisfied people living in New England" or "awkwardly funky dance pop". Come Into My House is really just an attempt at putting a whole bunch of disparate elements in the same setting, and trying to make it work. I was really interested in trying to marry my infatuation with late 80's/early 90's dance pop, with the melodrama of Douglas Sirk films, and the stillness of Alex Katz paintings and "This Side Of Paradise" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. You know, super "collar up" vibes. I thought attempting to make an autumnal R'N'B record was a good idea for some reason.

SS: I've read in other interviews about your influences, and of course listened to the album, and you can tell that r&b and hip hop had some role in the sound. What were you listening to when writing the songs and recording? How did it become such a defining sound of the album?

NK: It really boils down to Amerie in a lot of ways. I heard "1 Thing" back in 2005 and I just thought it was the most thrilling thing to listen to. I still feel that it is the pop achievement of the decade. Ever since then I've just been taking certain aspects of R'N'B and top-40 music really seriously and it started to inform the way the songs for Come Into My House were being written. I also, got really interested in singing, and writing fairly melismatic melodies, where the notes and the lyrics just become this blur. Like "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey. I started to get really fascinated by how there are these super weird top ten singles, where the lyrics are almost indistinguishable, yet you totally feel everything about them. It seems to antagonize the idea of what a pop song is considered to be. No more, "Yummy yummy yummy, I've got love in my tummy", now it's these long rambling lines about crying, throwing plates and Bobby Womack on the radio. I find it all really exciting and weird.

SS: I caught you on the first one at the Black Cat Backstage opening up for Dirty Projectors, and now you're opening up for Mirah. That's been pretty much touring non-stop. How's that affecting the band, and your energy in shows?

NK: Well, I wouldn't say we've been touring non-stop but we are certainly playing more often than we did as P:ANO. I think there's much to be learned from playing music in front of people, especially night after night. On our tours we generally play the same set, because I feel that each show can be wildly different even though we are playing the same material. I was just reading "Catching The Big Fish" by David Lynch, and he was going on about the "circle" between an audience watching a film and the film itself. Just how different it can be from screening to screening depending on the energy in the theatre. With P:ANO I used to be really hung up on always trying something, then moving on. The songs didn't seem to have long lives at all. I don't really feel that way now.

SS: One thing I was amazed with at the show was the ability to not so much recreate the sound on the record, but to sort of fill it out with just the three of you. What have you found to be successful in your shows in getting that really complex layered sound from the album?

NK: Luckily the arrangements of the songs on Come Into My House were constructed with a pronounced emphasis on interlocking rhythmic and melodic ideas. So, we basically decided to just focus on those as way to represent the songs live. We've ended up relying heavily on this kids keyboard from the early 90's called the Yamaha PSR-75. It's like "well, a brass section plays that on the record, but I guess we could use #57 BRASS ENSEMBLE on the keyboard instead." I think it all comes down to representing the melodic ideas, rather than worry about the instrument that will be playing it.

SS: What are you listening to now? What can't you get enough of?

NK: I really love this record called "Mountain Rock" by Dear Nora and Katy Davidson's other group Lloyd & Michael. I listen to those albums constantly. I really love Bernard Herrmann's score for "Psycho", I think that is pretty much perfect music. I love Judy at Carnegie Hall. "A Walk Across The Rooftops" by the Blue Nile. I think the new Erykah Badu is really weird and great. I could go on and on. There was a time recently when I was listening to "Stronger Than Pride" by Sade every day.

SS: One of the many cool things about the album is the feeling of the American Upper Northeast you recreate. Now that you've seen New England, what do you think?

NK: I'd been through New England before, but only briefly. I was on tour with my friend Rose in the fall of 2006 and we were listening to these R'N'B mixes I made in the van, while we were driving from NYC to Boston. We stopped for lunch in Mystic, CT and I was just like "I want to make an R'N'B album that is the aural equivalent of this feeling right now." Like porch swings, and tall ships and the movie Mystic Pizza. I also think it's important when you fall in love with an idea just to go with it no matter how arbitrary it seems. I really do love New England in the fall though, I love the idea of romanticizing something that does not need to be romanticized because it is so inherently wonderful and dreamy.

SS: You are also signed with Tomlab, a fairly prominent indie label, but a foreign one nonetheless. Do you find that having a foreign label limits your exposure here in the States?

NK: Well, Tomlab do have a North American office. I don't know, I don't really think about it. I think Tomlab are great and they put out really terrific records. We really can't say enough good things about them.

SS: I haven't bought a physical CD in forever, though I do purchase all my music legally online. But I remember going to record stores and meeting bands and how that was an incredible part of the music experience for me. What's your take on the state of digital music?

NK: I think the best thing about CDs becoming an outmoded format is that there has been a renewed interest in vinyl. I think having an album on your iPod and an LP on your shelf is pretty ideal. At the same time I find how overwhelmingly accessible music is these days to be kind of troubling. It's giving people this endless knowledge of all sorts of music that kind of adds up to nothing. I feel that having 90 billion songs on your iPod does nothing to foster thoughtful listening because there is always something to move on to. I sort of liked it when I had to listen to "Laughing Stock" by Talk Talk all the time, 'cause it was the only Talk Talk album I had. Now it's like at the click of a button you can have their whole discography, and then what?

SS: You've kind of caught the best and worst of our politics during your spring and fall tour. What are your thoughts on the election?

NK: That is probably a question for my bandmate Justin.

SS: For me, it's always interesting to see who other bands associate with, who they like playing with. Vancouver has a pretty solid music scene, but are there bands or artists you would call "friends", people you enjoy playing with?

NK: Strangely enough, even though we've been playing shows since last March, we just played our first Vancouver show on Labour Day. It was odd knowing that we've played a place like Oslo twice but not our hometown. There is certainly a scene happening in Vancouver, I think they call it the New Weird Noise Punk or something. They have shows in former meat packing plants and things like that. No Kids really don't have anything to do with it. We certainly have a kinship with all of the groups we've toured with this year: Dirty Projectors, Mount Eerie and now Mirah and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. We've also played with other Tomlab groups like Why? and Thee Oh Sees and Skeletons. We're really thankful that we've been able to meet such supportive, wonderful people over the last while.

Get "Come Into My House"

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Tomlab
Get from eMusic

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Great Music Makes a Show

I just finished watching this week's episode of Entourage, and the music as always was top notch.

To close out the show, first they played A Tribe Called Quest's "Check The Rhime" which was probably one of the few first rap songs I learned by heart (that and The Humpty Dance). Then, right on the heels of that song, they closed out the show with Fake Plastic Trees.

Hollywood, if your reading (and you aren't) keep hiring good music supervisors.

A Tribe Called Quest - Check The Rhime

Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees

Chakachas - Jungle Fever


I have one of the best sisters in the world. It's cool cos we didn't grow up together or live in the same house at all (our parents married after I left the house for school), so we don't have a lot of that crazy baggage you normally get (see: her and my brother). We're more like really good friends than anything else.

I wonder if I can do that with my kid and the next one.

Anyways, I made a mix for my lovely little sis back in April when she came for a visit, and I put some No Kids on it.

She loves it. So I asked her to write a little something here about it, and she promptly obliged.
Why do I like the No Kids album so much?

It makes me move. What's better than that? It truly is infectious. Not to mention that I've never heard anything quite like it. I'm not sure I have a good reason for digging the album so much. Do I need one?
How sublime.

It makes me move.

Do you need a better reason to go out and get this album? I don't think so.

Muchos gracias to my most favorite sisterin the whole world, Alex D.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Glee Clubs And Lettered Pullovers

"To steal away with you again
to go to Mystic, Connecticut
to watch the drawbridge go up and the tall ships come in."
No Kids - Old Iron Gate

Fall was in full effect in Chocolate City.

Light bit of frost on the cars. A nice cool nip for my run this morning. Leaves beginning to drop, swirling around.

And again, I found myself drawn to "Come Into My House."

Aside from creating perfect pop bliss, No Kids have done an excellent job of capturing that essence of fall. It's like they bottled up a whole season and crammed it into 41 minutes.

All day long, I found myself whistling and humming "Old Iron Gate." I was drumming on the walls, getting all into the break down in the middle of the song, with the horns and stuff. I'm sure I drove my coworkers mad.

I probably drive them insane on most days anyway.

No Kids - 'Old Iron Gate'

Get "Come Into My House"

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Tomlab
Get from eMusic

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Featured Band - No Kids

The next band I'm going to feature has put out what could possibly be my favorite album of the year.

No Kids, a trio from Vancouver, play this sort of R&B tinged melodic indie pop about autumnal trips through New England on their debut album "Come Into My House."

I got the album back in February and was instantly in love with the sound. I then saw them in April opening for the Dirty Projectors and was just floored by the ability to recreate that full sound with just three people.

The album reminds me of N.E.R.D.'s "In Search Of..." but sans the crazy sex, violence, and well, more crazy sex.

We've got an interview with singer/keyboardist Nick Krgovich. We've got some great links. We'll be heading out to see them at the Black Cat this Saturday (opening up for Mirah) And because I'm super technically smart, I've even found a way to post music.

No Kids - "The Beaches All Closed"

Get "Come Into My House"

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Tomlab
Get from eMusic

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Okkervil River - The Stand Ins

People I know and respect have been bugging me to listen to Okkervil River for the longest time.

And I have consistently resisted. For no good reason.

These are people who have exceptional taste in music, and have turned me on to numerous other great bands. One is my child's godfather.

That's right. I would trust this man to raise my children if God forbid anything happened to me. But I put him off on a music recommendation.

So I picked up (downloaded?) their newest album, The Stand Ins, about a month ago. And it's good. Really really good.

The lyrics are sharp and witty (who knew a song about a porn star could be so good?). The music is kind of alt country light. It's sort of where Bright Eyes would slot if he weren't so earnest. It's just a fun album.

I should listen to people more

Get Now - "Lost Coastlines", "Singer Songwriter", "Pop Lies"


We're wrapping up our first feature on The Shimmy Shake, and I think it was pretty solid first out the gate effort.

What I'm looking for right now is feedback. What worked. What didn't work. What would you like to see in the future. I haven't done anything resembling journamalisming in quite awhile.

Would you like to have posted songs? Contests? Better interview questions?

Let's have at it in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jem - Down to Earth

I'm sure I don't have to recap the Wu-Tang Financial sketch from the Chappele Show oh so many years ago. But it brings me to a larger point.

Wouldn't everything be just a little better if the RZA produced it?

The drums would be a little more crisp. The background noise would be a little more sparse. The samples would be a little more... Saturday morning kung fu esque?

I'm listening to Jem's 'Down to Earth,' and it sounds like something the RZA would've produced, but didn't have time to. It's got those spare drums, those crazy 70's horns.

But it doesn't feel quite finished.

So it's kind of fuzzy around the edges. It hops from vaguely Latin-flavored dance music to old gospel samples to weird spoken word. The music fills the space when it doesn't have to, and when it doesn't, you wonder why not.

It's a pleasant enough album. Something you could put on an evening dinner party playlist, in between the Dido and the Thievery Corporation. It's music for people of a certain age and socioeconomic status (mid 30s, own Subarus, two kids, occasionnally smoke a little weed, like Obama, prefer Ron Paul).

Get Now - "I Want You To...", "Keep On Walking"

Upcoming Next Week

The Shimmy Shake will be doing a new band next week, one that I think (and hope) you'll really like.

I've already done the interview witht he lead singer, and it was really amazing. They've put out what is easily my favorite album this year. So hopefully I'll be able to put up a few clips and share the love.

But we're still on Ra Ra Riot for this week. If you haven't checked out the YouTube clip I posted yesterday, please take a look. I put it up at just after 5 am on Tuesday morning, and this morning when I left for work it had over 1,300 views!

Just to compare, the video of my son punching another kid at his preschool's holiday program hasn't garnered anywhere near that much. And it's been up over a year. And my kid is fucking adorable.

So check it out, and while you're at it, check out the DCist review of the Ra Ra Riot show at The Black Cat. They did a pretty good job of summing up my feelings about the show.
ps - if you have a suggestion for a band I should feature, or your with a band and would like to be featured, leave a comment or drop me an email [shimmyshakeblog AT the mail company run by Google]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ra Ra Riot on Letterman Last Night

Ra Ra Riot performed on Letterman last night, singing one of my favorite songs from the album, "Can You Tell."

Here's the clip, cos the Shimmy Shake is always bringing you the hot freshness. Or something. Whatever the kids are saying nowadays.

Big ups to Evan D and Nate E for sending along the embed code.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ra Ra Riot at The Black Cat, Live On Your Computer

Went to see Ra Ra Riot at The Black Cat last night, and when we get there, we're treated with the above sign. That's always pretty awesome. You can check out the stream here at All Songs Considered.

I'm always amazed at how I'm often the oldest person in the room at these kind of things. On the way in, a mother was bringing in a small band of teenagers, each brandishing their Sharpie X's on their left hands. But no matter, I was there to hear good music!

The concert was originally scheduled for the Black Cat's Backstage, but I guess NPR must've given them a tote bag or something, cos they moved it upstairs. And for good reason.

It was packed. And that was just for the opening band. The Morning Benders started things off very nicely, a decent group of chaps from Berkley. The cover of Joy Division's Ceremony was rockin, and the rest of their songs were pretty solid. And he had some really great crowd interaction. That's always a plus

Next up was Walter Meego, and I'm not sure where to slot them. I wasn't really blown away, but it was good and danceable. Lots of people were dancing. And loads more people showed up. It was getting pretty packed by then, and there's always the concert jackass who decides that he can somehow scooch his way to the front of the stage.

Anyway, closing it out was Ra Ra Riot, and they definitely lived up to the hype. As you can tell from the stream, it was full of energy. The strings were really amazing live, very rich and very deep. The song "Winter 05" which is just the cello, violin and drummer was probably one of the highlights for me.

All in all, a good show. If they pass through your town, I'd recommend going to see them.

Muchas gracias to Adam R. for joining me at the show last night.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

DRM is for suckas

You've probably noticed that for the last two posts, I've posted several options on where to buy music online.

I'm not pointing anyone to iTunes because of the DRM stuff. But what I'll try to do is direct you to the label, Amazon, and eMusic. Those are all DRM free, and great ways to get music online.

So go buy some music and support some bands!

Interview with Mathieu Santos of Ra Ra Riot

Here it is, the apex of our week featuring Ra Ra Riot.

I had the opportunity to send them a few questions, and bassist Mathieu Santos was kind of enough to answer them for me.

Here they are, totally unedited.

Shimmy Shake: The album, The Rhumb Line, is truly fantastic. Tell me a little bit
about the process of getting all that together and what it was like recording it.

Mathieu Santos: Thank you! The album is basically a recorded history of our first couple of years as a band – some of the songs were conceived at our first ever practice, and some of them came together while we were in the studio. Recording was an absolutely amazing process. We worked with Ryan Hadlock at his beautiful studio in rural Washington state, just north of Seattle, where we also lived during the sessions. The studio is actually an old, refurbished horse barn, so there are a lot of high, vaulted ceilings and loft spaces and things like that. We did a lot of cooking and relaxing – it was just an incredibly positive and relaxed vibe, and we’re all really happy with how the album came out.

SS: The buzz surrounding your shows is intense. Every review I've read says a Ra Ra Riot show is just incredible. What do you do to ensure you have a great show every night? What's key?

MS: The key to having a good show is to have insufferably large amounts of down-time throughout the day, so by the time you get to the stage, you can hardly control how happy and excited you are to finally get to do what you want to be doing.

SS: This tour is going all over the place, and again, gotten great reviews at every stop. What have been some of the highlights? Low points? How do you keep it going everyday?

MS: There have been a ton of highlights on this tour! Most recently, we stopped by one of the white-sanded beaches in Pensacola on a day off, which was really exciting for us lot of Nor’easterners who are more accustomed to rocks and boring old TAN sand. We always try to get out and explore a little bit of wherever we are, which helps to diffuse the boredom that can set in at times. Lowlights, as usual, revolve around having our van broken into/damaged/ticketed/towed, but we’re slowly getting used to that kind of stuff.

SS: A friend pointed me to the 'Oh La' remix that you all donated to How'd you get involved in that? Any other events planned for Obama before the election?

MS: We’ve known Jack [Dolgen of Maricopa], the site’s creator, for a while – we opened for his band, Sam Champion, at our first ever show, which took place in our manager’s basement! (Our manager was arrested later this night for disturbing the peace.) I think Jack contacted us about getting involved, and we had just recorded some new arrangements for We were particularly happy with how Oh, La came out, and were even more excited to share it with him. As far as other pre-election events go, we plan on continuing to boo loudly at the television whenever we see images of John McCain, and, conversely, high-fiving and doing Arsenio Hall-style arm pumps whenever we see Obama.

SS: Even though you have been getting good solid press, you're still an independent band (albeit an independent band on a major independent label). How do you go about getting your music heard? What's worked and what hasn't?

MS: We’ve toured pretty relentlessly during the past two and a half years, and we’ve always found that to be the most effective and direct way to build a solid, dedicated fan base. It’s really nice to see the size of crowds in each city build over time.

SS: One of my favorite songs on the album is Can You Tell. The character in the song is apologetic at first, but still plays rather coy in the song. I'd like to know what went into that song.

MS: Wes is asleep right now, and so this will have to remain a mystery for the time being.

SS: Another favorite is the Kate Bush cover of 'Suspended in Gaffa." Is she an influence? What other bands are influences for you?

MS: We are all huge Kate Bush fans, thanks to Wes, who first got us to cover Hounds Of Love when we first formed. There was a week last summer during which we were obsessed with Suspended In Gaffa, and during a lull in a practice one day, we started playing it for fun. At first we never intended to perform it live or to share it with anyone, and lo and behold, it eventually made its way onto the album. Other common influences among the six of us include The Beatles, The Police, Talking Heads, U2 – things like that.

SS: What are you currently listening to? What can't you get enough of?

MS: Personally, as far as new music goes, I’m really excited about the new White Denim and Walkmen albums, and I’ve been listening to a lot of The Virgins since touring with them earlier this year. Also, I just completed my U2 collection on this tour! I got the re-mastered 1977-1984 box set, with all the bonus b-side discs, and it is absolutely incredible.

SS: I haven't bought a physical CD in forever, though I do purchase all my music legally online. But I remember going to record stores and meeting bands and how that was an incredible part of the music experience for me. What's your take on the state of digital music?

MS: Digital music is definitely more convenient in a lot of ways, and that’s far and away its greatest strength. However, I can’t imagine not owning physical copies of my favorite albums, and I can’t help thinking that digital music has, in a lot of ways, de-mystified the idea of owning music. Lately we’ve been trying to fit in a lot of in-store performances at independent record retailers*, and it’s great to see the large, enthusiastic turnouts at these stores.

*The stores we’ve played at on this tour are: Soundgarden in Baltimore, Maryland; The Record Exchange in Boise, Idaho; Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas; and Cactus Music in Houston, Texas. If you’re ever near any of these areas, please visit them!

SS: Where do you put the cello when on tour? Do you strap it to the top of the van?

MS: Unfortunately we’ve never had to do this – though sometimes it gets its own seat when we fly to places (and, since the seat is paid for, it actually DOES get served snacks and a meal).

SS: I have no more questions. Anything you want to add?

OBAMA ’08!

Get Ra Ra Riot's album "The Rhumb Line" DRM-free from these sites

Buy from Barsuk

Buy from Amazon

Download from eMusic

Friday, October 10, 2008


I can't figure out how to do a 'Read More' post in Blogger. When we get that sorted out, we'll post the interview (which is already written!!!)

Rosebuds - Life Like

I'm not sure when The Rosebuds had time to record a new album, since I'm pretty sure they've been on a never ending tour to support 2006's 'Night of the Furies.'

Anyway, they dropped 'Life Like' earlier this week, and it's nothing if not consistent. From the beginning, you can tell Furies is a close cousin, but you can hear those acoustic, non electronic echoes of 'Birds Make Good Neighbors.'

Don't get me wrong. it's an incredibly lush album, and the songs while dark themed, are still very accessible. It is what you've come to expect from The Rosebuds, and having those expectation satisfied is always very rewarding.

It's a good album, a worthy followup to Furies, if not necessarily a successor.

Get Now - "Border Guards", "Nice Fox", "Concordia Military Club"

Buy from Merge

Buy from Amazon

Download from eMusic

Thursday, October 9, 2008


So yeah, this blog is devoted to indie rock, and blah blah blah.

But damnit this is my blog.

And Lil Wayne is kinda indie rock. I mean, he does drop like a billion mixtape eps every year.

And The Roots and ?uestlove are about as indie as you get on mainstream hiphop.

So yeah. Check out this live version of Lil Wayne's 'A Milli' with /uestlove doing the chorus (and playing the drums!!!! WHAT???!!)

Get Now - The Roots ft. Lil Wayne, 'A Milli, Live in Miami 10/8/08'

Open Letter

Dear certain indie bands,

Just cos you make a lot of noise, doesn't make you Radiohead.

Radiohead makes lots of noise, but they do it well.

They also made The Bends, which makes Kida A totally forgivable.

The DP


I read a great interview with Ra Ra Riot from a few days ago at Captain Melody's Music Reviews.

My interview is with Mathieu Santos as well. he did a great job of answering the questions I sent over.


We've got the interview questions back from Ra Ra Riot, and they're good. I'm very pleased they took a little time out from what must be an insane touring schedule to answer them.

I'll post them later on tonight after I run them through my patented media filter, but I wanted to tease it up a bit first.

A few days ago I linked to an amazing version of the song 'Oh La' that the band had contributed to the project. I asked them about it and this is what I got back
We’ve known Jack [Dolgen of Maricopa], the site’s creator, for a while – we opened for his band, Sam Champion, at our first ever show, which took place in our manager’s basement! (Our manager was arrested later this night for disturbing the peace.) I think Jack contacted us about getting involved, and we had just recorded some new arrangements for We were particularly happy with how Oh, La came out, and were even more excited to share it with him.

There's more to come from the interview, but just wanted to drop a little bit from it, CBS Katie Couric style!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Blogs I should be reading

Always on the lookout for more information.

If you can think of any music blogs I should be reading, drop them off in the comments. If they're your's, even better.

Cheaper elsewhere

I'm beginning to notice that it's much cheaper to go to shows outside the DC area. I keep reading a lot of articles, and it's just much much cheaper.

Anwyays, there's a good article on some background on Ra Ra Riot at the Kitsap (Wash.) Sun. I didn't cover that in my interview questions mostly because I'm totally lame as a journalist (take that six years of journalism school!). I might be able to do some follow up questions, so leave a comment if there's something you want to ask.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ra Ra Riot Donates a Song for the Cause

I'm going to try and keep politics out of this blog as much as possible, but our first featured band, Ra Ra Riot, has donated a a remix of their song "Oh La" to .

According to's website started with one song and a desire for change. It has grown into a movement of musicians and artists creating an ever-expanding catalogue of free, exclusive songs, each with its own individual art, meant to inspire participation and donations for the Obama Campaign. These are unreleased tracks and demos, only available here and now, so plug in your headphones and make a difference!
I think you'll really like this song. It's a bit more sparse than the original, with a crazy little piano tinkling over it, and a driving drumbeat.

One of the elements I really dig about this band is the really intrepid and full frontal use of the strings in the music. Their not afraid to feature them way up front, and the album benefits from that risk. This song really highlights the violin playing.

Check it out. I think you'll be pleased.

h/t to the incredible Shelby Miller for pointing me to this!

Monday, October 6, 2008

First Featured Band - Ra Ra Riot

A few weeks ago, a coworker of mine said, "Hey, you should check out Ra Ra Riot."

Am I ever glad I did.

This five-piece band from upstate New York has gotten some incredibly deserved press over the past year for its energetic live shows and solid music chops.

The debut album, "The Rhumb Line," dropped back in August, again to great critical acclaim. It's got a great sensibility about it, with smart lyrics and a really interesting sound (courtesy of the cello and violin).

Over the next week I'll be bringing you more about Ra Ra Riot. If you've got some questions, send them in and we'll see what we can do.

For now though, why don't you head over to their label and pick up their album?

Nothing back

I sent emails out to bands, but have heard nothing back. Will send another email out today, and then if we don't hear anything, I'll move forward with the first feature.

Blogging is hard work! Gorsh!

Totally not true. Two bands did write back. Two very fucking awesome bands.


You know what the world needs?

More songs about meth.

Picked up Tennessee Pusher from Old Crow Medicine Show. Something about fall makes me really dig the countrier side of alt-country.

This album is good. If you like OCMS, you'll like this album.

Get Now - "Alabama High Fast", "Tennessee Pusher"

Friday, October 3, 2008

Gorgeous Behavior

A few days ago, I picked up Marching Band's debut album Spark Large on rec from Shelby over at Shifted Sound.

Man this album is good. Last year it was Moonbabies (still gets played at least once a week). And now this.

Very melodic. Upbeat. really easy to get into.

As the weather gets cooler, take this on a walk. It's good.

Get Now - "Gorgeous Behavior," and "Makeup Artist"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Starting it off

When it comes to the bands/artists It's kind of like a Christmas wish list at this point.

I've narrowed it down to three that I'm going to send an email out to. My job blocks the MyFace pages, so I'm going to do that when I get home.

Right before I watch the Palin-Biden deathmatch.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Zak is My Co-Pilot

Zak Champagne, long time friend and the former impresario behind A Better Offer, is going to be working with me to get this thing off the ground.

Kind of like a "Jesus is my Co-Pilot" except he's not Jesus. And this isn't an airplane or some steamboat on the Mississippi (Gosh, I hope not. I'd be way confused).

Anyways, I've been thinking more and more about how I want to run this thing, and I'm probably just gonna steal Zak's idea of profiling a band every two or so weeks. The posts will be pretty frequent and random, but we'll give a little Sunday Times Magazine treatment to just one band/artist.

Now to pick which band. I'm going to send some emails tonight.

First one out the gate

I'm going to be upfront.

I'm starting this blog in order to meet and interview bands.

Not to get free merch, or tickets to shows, or hangout backstage (though that would be very awesome).

I listen to a lot of good music, and I live in an area where a lot of bands come through. And I'm sure bands are always looking for more exposure.

So what do I hope to do with this little site?

I want to share with whomever reads this blog what I think are good trends in music (it'll probably lean heavily to the indie rock/pop side, but my tastes run the map. But mostly independent artists).And I hope to set up a little rapport with some bands so that I can find out little bit more about their music and process, and in turn maybe open them up to a few more listeners.

We'll see how it goes. I've got another blog to run.