Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Concert Picks for the Week of March 28th

A quick hello and an update on my latest...
Here's this week's list of concert picks, as presented on Citystream DC.  The site also put up a nice photo and my bio on its contributors page. Trouble is, they misspelled my last name! (It's usually the first one that gets mangled.)

And just to add a little more, here's a quick peek at some of the new music I picked up earlier this month when I was up in Toronto, which is, BTW, a fabulous city. I was there to visit College Girl and see her performance in a UofT production of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" (it's a mother's dream to see her daughter in a corset and ripped tights while she does the pelvic thrust). The show was great fun, she was terrific and it just happened to be Canadian Music Week. The PR person I contacted via email was kind enough to give me credentials for the two days I would be there, so I had lots of fun checking out the music scene. On the Saturday, I walked around the Royal York hotel and checked out the exhibition booths, gathering a few freebies...

PREACHERS SON - Love Life & Limb (self-released)
A pretty impressive package - full jewel case and insert booklet with artsy design, although I’m not sure I want to know what that fleshy, bloodied thing is in the photo under the disc tray. Gavin Friday appears on one track (“Lipstick”) and the overall look of the male/female duo is The Ravenettes gone Goth.

18 tracks by 18 different artists in a full jewel case with a cheesy, generic art cover. Despite going through the CMW program a few times, and reading about over 100 bands who'd be playing in the city during the fest, I can’t recall seeing any of these names before, which would mean not a single one of them played the festival!? Doesn’t bode well.

Oops. I generally avoided picking up the freebies that were obviously metal or super-hard rock, since it’s a style I generally don’t enjoy. Looking at this one - in a simple clear plastic sleeve - more closely, I see that the band’s logo is the initials (are?) R.E.D. dripping blood. Probably not gonna be my bag, baby.

Another general rule I had was not to grab CD-Rs that had no markings other than a name in sharpie, thinking it’s a sign that the act hasn’t put enough effort into what they're doing. But this one was being distributed in the cushy international lounge, so I felt it might be an exception.

MUSIC FROM IRELAND: SXSW 2011/CMW 2011 - Various Artists
The front cover lists SXSW in the title, the back cover cites CMW. Hey, at least the Canadian fest gets some billing. The only reason I even heard about CMW in the week before I visited was a casual mention in an email with a band's itinerary that included a Toronto date. Meanwhile, every other music related missive I got was SxSW this and SxSW that. The Canadian fest was definitely way smaller, but that made it so much more mellow and easy to navigate.  Anyhoo, in this two CD package, the first lists artists heading to Austin (hey, there’s James Vincent McMorrow, whom I met at Jammin Java when he opened for Bell X1), the second is split between CMW players and a bunch listed as “Indie.”

JENAVIVE - Demo (self-released)
A cardboard case with a photo, it says “Demo” as the title of the four track disc.

O/CD Tally: 43
(if I ever get around to actually counting all the digital downloads, thus number may amount to something)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day with the Pogues and a flash mob

Top o' the evening to ya. Me grandmother was a Gillis. And, while I did not wear green nor drink a beer today (I need not play to stereotype), I hope you had a most wonderful day.

In one bit of Irish celebration, I posted a new story to, with a photo gallery from last week's 9:30 Club concert by the Pogues.
  And here's another bit of Celtic fun, a flash mob of Irish dancers.

Drink responsibly. Get home safely!

Monday, March 07, 2011

evolution of a musical love affair - Elbow is the band I adore.

It started with a Facebook posting from my friend, Nate, a musician who lives in Chicago (I’d give credit to his lovely bands but, since he’s about to pass me a leaked album advance, I’ll keep it at that).
Nate wrote:
Just listened to the new elbow record 3 times in a row at the coffee shop while trying to read a book... I've read 14 pages in 3 hours and stared out the window for the remainder. Either this record is brilliant or ive just had some sort of stroke.
Upon reading that, I immediately added a comment:
I adore that band. Jealous you got to hear it in its entirety. Arriving this week, yes? Guy Garvey... Be mine.
Some background:
Elbow is a British (Manchester-based) band, featuring a supremely talented singer-songwriter (the aforementioned Guy Garvey) that I was turned onto by a guy who works at my local CD trade-in store. Based on the stuff that I give away and purchase/trade for in return, he suggested a 2002-dated album called “Asleep in the Back,” by said Elbow. He was right; I thought it was great. Over the past few years, hubby and I have seen the band a few times and about two years ago – at Sixth and I Synagogue – promoting the wonderful CD,  “The Seldom Seen Kid,” they gave one of the best live concerts we’ve ever been to together.
So, the prospect of a new Elbow album is, indeed, exciting. The new album, “Build a Rocket Boys!” gets a physical release in the United States on April 12, but a digital version will be available tomorrow (March 8) to coincide with the March 7 UK release.
I was delighted to hear a song from the album on Internet stream from KCRW, the hip Los Angeles NPR station. (I was on the phone with my husband when it came on, courtesy of KCRW's Internet stream and he immediately said, "I'll hang up so you can listen." That's how much we love 'em!)
When I got a press email from a publicist who’s working the new album, I tried to score an advance of the music, but she balked. (“Thank you so much for the lovely words - the love that has been pouring in has been next to none. This band is truly loved!” she wrote back to my gushing comments. But no music.) So, a few hours after leaving the comment on Nate’s wall, I got an email from him that started with a link to a zip file…[redacted] and then said:
not sure how you fee about piracy, somali or otherwise.... but do with this link what you will.     alls i know is the first track alone is worth it.
To which I replied:
(sound of Marianne screaming with joy!)
it's not piracy.
I will buy the CD when it's out and see the show and throw myself at Guy and do all other forms of fangirl worship.
burning a copy immediately to share with Terry.
thanks so much!
(how'd you get it?)
Nate’s explanation:
i have many dear nerd friends that are able to troll the internets for things like this.... and even if it's just to hear something like this a few days early it's completely worth it.  what an amazing record!      
i'm a late comer to the elbow party after just finding out about them last year. but i can't remember the last band i heard that i was able to go back and love everything they've done. so this is a pretty exciting record for me and i can't wait to see them live...
See? This is not about pirating music. This is that rare joy that the music-obsessed share when a band makes music that means something very personal to them and the anticipation of new material is delicious temptation.
And so, last night and tonight, hubby and I immersed ourselves in the new album. And yeah, it made a helluva first impression. And I trust it will grow to reveal itself even more over time.

Here is a taste for you of the extraordinary Elbow, recorded live:

Tuesday, March 01, 2011