Monday, September 21, 2009

Miniature Tigers cover...."Mama Mia" ?!

I didn't know anything about Miniature Tigers when I walked into Jammin' Java on Friday night. I went to see fun.. (The band uses lower case and puts a period at the end of its name, guaranteed to drive copy editors everywhere crazy.)

I will get to fun., too, but right now, I just want to share a quick video of the Mini-Tigers doing the final song of their set, an Abba cover. Good times!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Takin' It To The Stores

I said I was going to finish the taxes today (my extension runs out next month), but yesterday was such a long day, with Post deadlines, errands and a community Board meeting (I’m the secretary, god help them and/or me), so I decided to use today to get caught up on emails and such.
For a change of pace, I plugged in the iPod and let the shuffle go wild, catching up on all sorts of things I had downloaded but never paid attention it. And, with my laptop right here, too, as I found tracks I didn’t care for, I could start cleaning up the iTunes clutter, too.
Which, in turn, inspired me to knock off a few more albums in the O/CD tally, specifically music that was sent to me for review but ultimately got put in the giveaway bag to take to the CD trade-in store.

Here’s what I dumped and (sometimes) why

It’s not always that I don’t like an album, or the band. Some things are fine while I’m listening to them, but I just know I won’t be revisiting them. And I need the space! For example:
The SAW DOCTORS - Live at the Melody Tent (Shamtown Records)
I’ve written about this band, seen them live and really enjoyed them. They do Irish folk-rock with a real kick, Springsteen-ian anthems to small-town life and large characters. Like many live albums, this one’s enjoyable as a one-time listen (kept me company on a long drive) but the songs that I liked best are ones that I will return to in their studio form, as these guys play to the crowd – as well they should- which is great when you’re in the crowd, but not so good for the listener after the fact.
The SAW DOCTORS - Clare Island to Cape Cod (Shamtown DVD)
For those considering making a live and/or documentary long-form, this is a great example of how to do both. A nice mix of off-stage conversations, interviews and general goofing off, plus footage from a raucous show at the Melody Tent in Cape Cod. Made with care and money and style. A lovely introduction to the uninitiated (though the accents are so thick at time, subtitles might have helped!) and a great souvenir for the longtime fan. And now that I've seen it once, I can pass it on.

Yep, there’s stuff I just don’t dig:
VIVA VOCE - Rose City (Barsuk)
I saw them open for The Shins last year and was unimpressed. Wrote about their show at the IOTA earlier this year – primarily ‘cause I wanted to spotlight opening act, Cut Off Your Hands – and, though I liked this album marginally better than the last one, it still didn’t stick.
The DUKE and the KING – Nothing Gold Can Stay (Ramseur)
The Duke is Simone Felice of the Felice Brothers and the King is Robert Chicken Burke, who’s worked with George Clinton, so I thought it might be good. But then again, it was touted as “country soul” and that’s not my bag.
PAT DINIZIO – Sings Buddy Holly (KOCH)
Although I could sing a number of Smithereens songs from memory – a sign of their hookiness – I can’t say I enjoy them. And the idea of frontman Dininzio rerecording Buddy Holly songs begs the question, why? Does he think he can improve upon them? I listened and there was just one track – “Listen to Me” - that I put on my iPod because Bobby Vee sings on it, and my sister used to listen to him as a teenager. Otherwise, nahhhh….

Of these, I’ll simply say, I’m just not that into them:
The BAND Of HEATHENS - S/T (BOH Records)
GRUPO FANTASMA - Sonidos Gold (Aire Sol Records)

Confession: I didn’t listen, I just got desperate to clear away space.
DANA FALCONBERRY – Oh Skies of Grey (00:02:59)
A time when the cover was so unappealing, I didn’t get past it.
DROWNING POOL – Loudest Common Denominator (Eleven Seven Music)
A live CD recorded at the San Diego House of Blues, described in press notes as “loud, raw and in your face.” Thanks, I’ll pass.

YTD O/CD Tally:270

Tomorrow, if I’m a good little blogger, I’ll post some pics from tonight’s Rhett Miller show.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Remember the O/CD Tally?

With all the zip files coming my way these days, the long-neglected O/CD Tally gets harder to keep track of. Until I unzip those digital files and put them into iTunes, they barely register. And with hard drive space on my (admittedly crowded) computer at a premium, I don’t always take advantage of the offers to grab new music. So, publicity people, keep sending those old skool discs!

But anyway, here are a few new albums that I’ve downloaded/unzipped and kept…

This first batch is associated with my Digital Music column so you can check ‘em out there, too.
ANDREW BELLE – All Those Pretty Lights
He’s become one of my favorite new artists and the EP is a free download, as is a new track from his upcoming full-length. Go therenow!
AWESOME NEW REPUBLIC – Rational Geographic, Vol. 1
AWESOME NEW REPUBLIC – Rational Geographic, Vol. 2
Again, the music is available as a free download (do you sense a theme?), but I must admit that I haven’t found the songs to have staying power. Had the group pegged to a kind of Tears for Fears vibe, but the lyrics don’t hold up all that well.
NEW TALES TO TELL – Various Artists
A tribute to Love and Rockets. As usual, a mixed bag, but there’s a few good ‘uns.

AS TALL AS LIONS – You Can’t Take It With You
If you still haven’t subscribed to my (free!) examiner column (nudge, nudge),here’s what you missed. For the first few days, the link for the free single download actually took you to a page with a zip file of the whole album. I told the label rep that the story was up and that the link went to the whole CD, but he didn’t ask me to take it down; said he’d send another link. So, for a few days, early adapters got a bonus!

And here are some promos…
WILLIE NELSON – American Classic
This was sent from the PR dept. I don’t need to say much more than this - Willie sings some old standards, like “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Fly Me to the Moon,” in his understated, well-arranged Willie way. You know what that means – easy listening in its true, best sense.
MATT and KIM – Grand
“Daylight” is a great tune and the album as a whole has a happy, summertime vibe. And the press pic is so cute!

I bought some digital albums, too:
BILLIE HOLIDAY – The Complete offered this package – all 35 tracks - for a mere $2.99, so how could I resist?
COLDPLAY – Viva La Vida: Prospekt’s March Edition
Another special. Yeah, I already have the CD, but not with all the extra tracks. Yeah, I’m a sucker.
Bought this with my emusic account, in that near-the-end-of-the-month Use It or Lose It mode (if I don’t use my 30 downloads, there’s no rollover). New stuff that’s loosely connected to the Sigur Ros team. Have to remember to sync it up for nice bedtime listening
CAMERA OBSCURA – My Maudlin Career
Another emusic grab. Heard/like them on KCRW, saw them on the Craig Fergusen show and it sealed the deal.

And so, the long-delayed YTD O/CD Tally: 261

And finally, the latest Washington Post previews, posted at the end of August.
In the Arlington/Alexandria Extra section – Living Colour at the Birchmere.
For the Fairfax Extra - Wolf’s Blues Jam at Bangkok Blues