Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Favorite Music Mags

Good Music are essential for the music lover. Blogs(like mine) are fine and dandy, but a true music mag is great for the plane or a lazy Sunday afternoon. I love the internet just as much as the next guy, but there is still something so comforting about physically owning items like magazines, books and actual cds or vinyl.
I don't often pick up the mainstream staples Rolling Stone or Spin. I find that British mags tend to be better than ones stateside as well. Anyway, here are my pics for favorite music culture reading!

Q Magazine is always good. It is a magazine that always has multiple interesting articles of current musicians as well as past faves. They usually have really interesting lists as well like "top 25 craziest moments in rock". The whole back quarter of the magazine is music reviews on pretty much anything and everything that has come out as of late. This one magazine will keep you up to date on most everything in current popular music.

Venuszine has been a favorite of mine for years. The mag focuses on the music, art and culture of women. Since I tend to lean toward female musicians mostly, its a perfect magazine for me. They feature female artists that not many other mags will put on their cover. If you like chicks that rock, this is the one for you.

Paste is a more recent discovery for me. It is always a thin volume, but always packs in good info and great articles. I just picked up the new issue(above) and i'm excited to read about what Santigold(previously Santogold) has been up to.

Under the Radar is definitely for the indie set. Jenny Lewis has been on the cover a few times as has Bat for Lashes. This is a good mag to discover up and coming artists or get to know your favorite indie acts that may not get as much press as the bigger bands.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Patti Smith PBS documentary

Patti will be the subject of a Doc debuting on PBS on December 30th. The documentary consists of 11 years of footage shot by fashion photographer Steven Sebring. It will be on the program P.O.V(point of view) and will be titled Patti Smith:Dream of Life.
The film made its true debut at Sundance last year. Smith will celebrate this release with 3 music performances at New York's Bowery Ballroom on Dec 29, 30, 31.
I am excited to see this "behind the scenes" look at her life the past 10 years. Patti is a true icon of punk, poetry and performance. This will be a rare opportunity to see footage of her great performances as well as intimate look of her life off stage.
This is a must see for any music lover!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

One of my favorite Christmas Albums

Seeing that it is Xmas Eve, I thought I would post a suggestion for one of my favorite Christmas albums. Truthfully, my favorite Christmas music is from a Charlie Brown Christmas , but I thought I would post something a little more contemporary.
Aimee Mann is such a talented artist. From her days with Til' Tuesday to the Magnolia Soundtrack to my personal favorite album of her's The Forgotten Arm, she never dissapoints. Her Christmas album is just as enjoyable as any of her normal material. It has a wonderful combination of original Christmas songs and old standards. It is worth it for the cover of The Grinch that Stole Christmas alone(its amazing!)
Here is a sampling of the full album(Taken from youtube-superegorecords):

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Runaways Trailer

The Runaways trailer has hit the net. A music biopic of the 70's punk girl group with Joan Jett at the lead. This one stars Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewert as Joan Jett. This will either be a guilty pleasure kind of fun or just plain suck. Either way, I'm going to see it.

Here is the trailer:

Tori Amos Little Earthquakes track by track

The first time I hear Tori Amos I was annoyed. It sounded whiny and boring. That was 1992 when her real debut Little Earthquakes was released. I think that I really was annoyed with my friend that used to play Tori Amos. She played her over and over and over all while being extremely annoying herself. A couple years later, I have it another chance and fell in love with her lyrics and quiet beauty. I still think it is her best album.
Rolling Stone online just published a great interview with Tori. In the article she comments on all the tracks and tells some backstory. It is a short album dissection. Its rare to hear an artist speak about a full album in this way. If your a fan, check it out. Here is the link:

Heavy Metal parking Lot

So tonight I watched a really short documentary called Heavy Metal Parking Lot. It is a low budget doc from 1986 recorded in the parking lot of a Judas Priest concert. Pretty much a showcase for great white trash, burn out 80's fun! It is the 80's I remember growing up in Flint, MI.
check out this clip

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Have you heard of Blanche?

Blanche is my favorite Detroit band! They are one of the best Alt Country bands around. Its been awhile since their last album Little Amber Bottles and I can't wait till they decide to record again. I have had the pleasure of meeting Dan and Tracee(the married couple that lead the group) and they are sweet as apple pie. I think Wikapedia explains them best:

Blanche is an American alternative country band from Detroit, Michigan. Their music is based inAmericana, early country and folk blues with a touch of haunting Southern Gothic stylings andgarage rock mentality. Blanche is known for wearing vintage fashion of the early- to mid-20th Century.

The band consists of:

Here is one of their great videos:

Sound Opinions, The only radio rock and roll talk show

If you have not heard of Sound Opinions on National Public Radio, then it is time you did. Sound Opinions is a radio talk show on NPR out of Chicago. Its hosts are Jim DeRogatis and Gregg Kot. Both are well respected music critics for Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times. It is a weekly hour long show that does music reviews, music news and in studio performances. I am usually on the side of Greg Kot. Greg seems to like more forward thinking, imaginative music while Jim is more of an old school rocker, enjoying progressive rock, etc. They have had so many amazing guests including: Neko Case, Tori Amos, Trent Reznor, Grizzly Bear, She and Him, Nick Cave, Death Cab for Cutie, Yoko Ono, Wilco...and the list goes on and on. Occasionally they will even do classic album dissections. My favorite so far was when they talked about the making of Prince's masterpiece Purple Rain with guests Wendy and Lisa. You can find their podcast on Itunes. You can also view their website here:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Portishead new single

Anyone that is a Portishead fan knows, they hardly ever release anything. They have only released 3 full length albums in the last 15 years. Their last album Third was more experimental than the previous two. It had influences ranging from early german techno to John Carpenter soundtracks. It was pretty amazing. Well, we now have a new single by our favorite trip hop trio. It also benefits a charity. You will need to create a log in and buy the single for 99cents with your credit card, but it is WELL worth it. It might be my favorite Portishead track in years. It has a great driving beat and Beth's vocals are fantastic. Take the time, download it and enjoy, you wont regret it.
Here is an article from on it:

Here is the info for the download from
Click here to buy the track (it's just 99 cents), and visit Amnesty's UK site to watch the song's simple but elegant video.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Erykah Badu, more info on the album

Erykah Badu had a couple listening parties for her new album due out Feb 23. It is titled New Amerykah pt 2: The Return of the Ankh. This album is a return to her Baduism roots. It is said to be a less political and more emotional album. I think it will be nice to hear some more straight forward soul music from Ms. Badu.

Erykah recently paid tribute to one of her predecessors, Chaka Khan. Here is Erykah opening up the tribute with others such as Angie stone.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Its going to be a Dolly and Kenny Christmas!

I was walking through Ann Arbor the other day and happend by one of my favorite music stores, Encore records. Encore has a huge selection of used vinyl, etc. Well, there in the window was the xmas album I always needed but never knew it. I love me some Dolly and Kenny and its going to be a Dolly and Kenny kind of Christmas in my house!

In case your wondering what it sounds like.....

Fever Ray, favorite live show for 2009

I go to quite a few live shows. Seeing and hearing the live show to the albums I admire is one of my favorite past times. I had read many reviews of the Fever Ray live show. Music journalists spoke so highly of it that I drove from Detroit to Chicago to experience it. I am so glad I did. The picture is a shot I took at the show in Chicago. When Karin did the song Triangle Walks, one of her band mates came out to the edge of the stage and made the sign of a triangle with his hands. Seconds later, dozens of people put up triangles of their own. I had never seen anything so cultish and crazy at a show. I was blown away!

Here is a live video of the show taken from youtube user Breyzipp.

Kate Bush, one of my favorites

Kate Bush has been a favorite of mine since the early 90's when she released The Red Shoes. My good friend Steven really helped me to explore her best music in the 80's. Hounds of Love is by far one of her biggest hits and one of my favorites. It was recently covered by The Futureheads. Nothing beats the original though. Here is the video:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

She and Him announce new album

She and Him announce their new album to be released on March 23 titled Vol.2
I guess that is a good title since the first was titled Vol.1
M.Ward and Zooey plan to tour with the album in 2010. Since I missed the first tour, I am going to make sure I see them the second time around. Looks like the album continues with some pop-country tunes and features indie darlings Tilly and The Wall on guest vocals. Should be fun! Here is full track lising:
Volume Two:

01 Thieves
02 In the Sun [ft. Tilly and the Wall]
03 Don't Look Back
04 Ridin' in My Car (NRBQ cover)
05 Lingering Still
06 Me and You
07 Gonna Get Along Without You Now (Skeeter Davis cover)
08 Home
09 I'm Gonna Make It Better
10 Sing
11 Over It Over Again
12 Brand New Shoes
13 If You Can't Sleep

Monday, December 7, 2009

Neko Case news

Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm huge fan of alt-country songstress Neko Case. Neko is doing two fun appearances on cable this month.

Neko as the Guest Programmer on Turner Classic Movies:
Tuesday December 8th:

Neko on Elvis Costello's show on Sundance channel:


Neko joined Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Ron Sexsmith andJesse Winchester for a 'guitar pull' -- a swapping of songs and stories -- which includes an incredibly unique arrangement of Neko's song Prison Girls by Elvis and Steve Nieve. Spectacle: Elvis Costello with Sheryl Crow, Neko Case, Ron Sexsmith and Jesse Winchester will air on the Sundance Channel onWednesday, December 16. Go to Spectacle for more information.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Anticipated Albums for 2010

Yep, I'm already thinking of 2010. I'm one of those nerds that stalks release dates and even puts them in my iphone to remind myself.
Here are some albums I'm really looking forward to next year.

Released 01/26

I think this is really going to be an interesting music partnership. First Charlotte partnered with Air for her last great album 5:55, now Beck. Who's next?

Released 02/01

Midlakes last album The Trials of Van Occupanther was a great album with flavors of an all male Fleetwood Mac singing in a cabin in the woods.


Erykah rarely disappoints and this new album New Amerykah Pt 2: Return of the Ankh will be no exception. I have heard that the Pt 1 was more experimental and this one was going to be more straight forward(which I am craving). I heard there is also another album in the works titled "Lowdown Loretta Brown" and is supposed to sound like classic, blues, etc.


GoldFrapp is always interesting. I don't know that they are always great, but they are always good. I think their first album is still the best, but I have really enjoyed their more electro sounds. After the last psychedelic trip they took us on, this one I hear is a return to dance music. We shall see! The first single Rocket is out on March 8th.


If you have not looked at lately, you should. The band has been posting teaser videos for months. Some are pretty funny and some are actual bits of music. Either way, its fun to see them in the studio.


I loved, loved, loved the first album. I think I actually played it our for myself a little bit. M.Ward is so talented and Zooey is just the cutest thing ever. I can' t wait to hear what they cook up for Vol. 2. Hopefully more country/girl group/am radio sounds.


I have read that Chan Marshall is returning to her guitar and piano and doing an album of original work and putting away the covers for a bit. This one is going to be like the old stuff and less about her blues band. I think we are all wanting a return to form for Catpower.

Runners up and other Favorite albums of 2009

Here are some other pics for albums I really enjoyed this year. Give these a listen if don't own them already!


Antony is a truly original voice in independent music. If you have not heard of this artist, you owe it to yourself to take a listen. Then.....give it time and listen some more.


Lungs is the fresh air I needed for a female pop album. Great voice, great lyrics, and great music. So much smarter than any of the crappy pop princesses in the US. This UK artist makes Lady Gaga look like the new Britney Spears.


The first track will grab you and not let go. Great beats, amazing falsetto vocals and just plain pretty fun. They are doing a US tour in Jan/Feb, all small venues. I'm looking forward to seeing this band live.


A band out of South London. Male and female sharing vocals make you feel like you are eavesdropping in on a intimate conversation. Mellow goodness.

Top Pics of 2009!!!

I know we have a few weeks left till the end of the year, but I have made my decisions for my favorite albums of 2009. Let me clarify, I do not dare to say these albums are what critics thought were the "best" etc. I think their were many, many great albums this year, these are the top 3 that I cannot stop playing over and over.


This album really took me by surprise. Karin Dreijer Andersson is a person I am WAY late on getting to know. She is better known for her electric-dance collaboration with her brother, The Knife. I had heard of The Knife, but let it slip by me. I read many reviews of the Fever Ray album, listened to it on Itunes and didn't get it at first. I finally read so many reviews, I gave in to the hype and purchased it on Itunes. Since then, I have also purchased it on vinyl, and special edition cd. I have went back into The Knife's catalog and picked up two of their albums. I am shamelessly obsessed with Karin. I have not a clue how she slipped by me, but....back to the album. Fever Ray is a multi-media 4 part project: Music, video, live show and album art work. The music on its own is a hypnotic, creepy world of electronic beats, drums and Karin's voice. Highlights of the album are the more upbeat When I Grow Up, Seven and Triangle Walks. Overall the song that haunts me the most is the apocalyptic Keep The Streets Empty For Me. The videos for this album are some of the best I've seen in years. Many people blogged or talked about the video for When I Grow UP(which is fantastic) but it is the video for the album opener If I Had A Heart that truly shows the true mood of the album. The video was directed by the same person that directed the live show that had a short tour in the US this summer. The live show was by far one of, if not THE best live show in a small venue that I had ever seen. Its use of fog, lasers and glowing vintage looking lamps on stage, let us feel as if we were tribal followers to a high priestess. If you have not seen Fever Ray live, please look it up on In November a special edition of the album was released with a live version of the album. Even if you already own this album, it is worth re buying to get the live album and DVD with all the videos. This album is truly by top pic for 2009.


Two Suns is an amazing follow up to Natasha Khan's last album Fur and Gold. Natasha has taken the best parts of Fur and Gold and expanded on it to create a much more upbeat(in terms of tempo) album. This was a much anticipated album this year and it does not disappoint. Highlights include the infectious dance track Daniel, tribal Sleep Alone and the beautiful Travelling Woman. This is an album that tells us the story of an inner struggle of personality between the true Natasha and her darker side Pearl. Natasha is the earthy, genuine, soft side to Pearl's chaotic, devious, seedier turn. Many journalists focused on the split personality of the "characters" which I think really cheapened the symbolism. I believe Natasha needed to name this side in order to face it and face it down she does. The album has an ark from Natasha/Pearl in New York City and then traveling to the desert and the shore and eventual death of Pearl, to leave Natasha as one again. To truly understand the album, seeing the documentary on the making of it called Two +Two is a must. The doc and many remixes, live tracks, etc have been included in the special edition that came out in the fall. If you are a fan of Bat for Lashes, it is well worth getting again.


I discovered Neko with her last album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. Since then I have went back and purchased nearly every album she has put out. This album builds on her catalog with another inspiring group of songs. You could call Neko a singer/songwriter, but she is much more. I feel many singer/songwriters create albums of a collection of songs that may or may not connect to one another in theme. Neko clearly has an inspiration or muse when she is writing albums. The muse for Middle Cyclone is nature. The albums opening is one of my favorite tracks of the year, This Tornado Loves You. It is the tale of a sad tornado that falls in love and is determined to create destruction till the object of his affection gives in to his love. It might be the best metaphorical use of lyrics I have heard in years. The songs continue with stories of how dangerous animals have the right to be(People Go A Lot of Nerve), humans own animal instincts(I'm An Animal) and more songs with twisters(Middle Cyclone). The album was recorded partially in a barn in Vermont. Many of natures voices unexpectedly show up in the recording such as baby birds chirping and crickets humming. It is these surprises that truly bring the recording to a higher level. Neko is a crafty lady and this is no exception. I guarantee this album will be riding high on many critics "best of" lists for 2009.