Friday, April 18, 2008

Zune Arts

If you haven't already done so, do yourself a favor and check out the Zune Arts site. I own and love my iPod, and Apple has historically done a much better job on the marketing end. That ain't the case here. Zune Arts brings together artists of various media to create short films. Previous films include the animation studio of PandaPanther set the score of The Black Angels' "Masks," and What Made Milwaukee Famous' "Hopelist" against the vision of the Chicago collection Vitamin. The latest pairing features Chromeo's "Fancy Footwork," puppet maker Adam Parker Smith, and the design studio of Three Legged Legs. The site has also launched a behind-the-scenes podcast series showing the creativity and collaboration required to bring the films to life.


We had an unexpected wakeup call around 4:30 this morning.

Uncle Tupelo - New Madrid (mp3)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Couple Of New Ones

These two couldn't be more different. First, some sugary pop goodness courtesy of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, followed by the return the psychedelic rock of The Black Angels.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - Think I Wanna Die (mp3)

Website | MySpace

The Black Angels - Doves (mp3)

Website | MySpace

Celebrate Record Store Day Saturday April 19th

Record stores across the nation will be joined by artists and fans to celebrate a dying phenomenon, the record store. There is just something so bland and uninspiring about perusing the racks of Wal-Mart/Target/Best Buy to find new or loved music. Growing up, I spent countless hours browsing my local record store collections, talking to other music fans, and picking the brains of the clerks. The argument used to be indie vs corporate stores. Now it is just keeping any record store alive. This weekend, take a visit to you local store. Enjoy some live music and support these stores. Visit the Record Store Day site for more information and to see what your favorite artists have to say in support. Find a store near you.

My local store, Grimey's, will be hosting a full day of music, giveaways, and special prices. The festivities will be held rain or shine; performance schedule as follows:

12:00 - Tim O'Brien
1:00 - Wild Sweet Orange
2:00 - Drakkar Sauna
3:00 - Ben Sollee
4:00 - Mike Farris & Roseland Rhythm Revue
5:00 - Dan Wilson
6:00 - Old Ceremony
7:00 - Space Capone

DJs will be spinning between sets. Plus they will be giving away stuff all day including music, tickets to see Lou Reed at the Ryman, and a Baby Taylor Guitar.

Wild Sweet Orange - Wrestle With God
Dan Wilson - Easy Silence

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Exciting Jane's Addiction News

It is official, Eric Avery is finally ready to make Jane's Addiction whole again (if only for one night). The band has reunited on several occasions, including the recording of 2003's Strays, with different artists filling in on bass. Avery has declined to take part until now. The occasion is the upcoming NME Music Awards (the first to take place in the U.S.) during which the band will be presented the NME Godlike Genius award for their lifetime contributions (not sure if Navarro's stint hosting Rock Star will be included -though I offer no apologies for loving the show). The relationships of the four groundbreaking band mates have been on-and-0ff throughout the years, with each working collaboratively, solo, as well as in other capacities with other bands. You would seriously need a complicated organizational chart or ven diagram to explain it all. Avery had this to say of his decision.

"I have always considered reunions to be a way to make a quick buck, and it sells short my own experience of it the first time around," Avery said in a statement. "The reason I started to even consider this is because it's honoring the past instead of trying to recreate it."
The ceremony will be held on April 23 at the Goldenvoice El Rey Theater in L.A. (very appropriate indeed). NME will be offering a live stream of the awards via MySpace.

NME | NME Awards | NME MySpace

Now if I may interject my own commentary. Jane's is a truly special band in so many ways. Personally, they marked a significant transition in my music tastes. In the mid 80's I was something of a Metalneck. I had made the gradual progression from the Bon Jovi's and Cinderella's to the Metallica's and Megadeth's over the previous few years. I played in a band that consisted of bad metal covers and even worse original metal songs.

I credit Jane's Addiction with opening a new awareness and curiosity in me. I will never forget watching MTV and seeing the video for "Mountain Song" one night in the fall of 1988 as I was in my freshman year of high school. It completely blew me away. It was heavy, but it also had this "alternative" vibe, and the video was artsy (for the time). The following weekend I approached a wall of cassettes, my eyes darting back and forth between the "Heavy Metal" and "Alternative" sections in my local Camelot, trying to decide where this band would be found (it was in the "Alternative" section). I stood there for a while trying to decide whether I wanted to jump; this was no easy decision since I would not be able to buy another tape until the following weekend. I probably even put it back and picked it back up several times before finally deciding to plunk down my weekly allowance on Nothing's Shocking.

The album's opening track, "Up the Beach," starts with a repeated bass line as it builds into a soaring track with minimal lyrics. "Here we go... Home" sings Perry Ferrell. I had no idea at the time how true those words would resonate with me. But here I sit some 20 years later (Christ that's a long time) writing about it. I could write a thesis about the rest of the record, the duality of their follow-up, Ritual de lo Habitual, and the ultimate demise of the band as well as the creation and contributions of Lollapalooza until its sad decline and welcomed euthanasia. Instead, I'll leave it at this, Jane's Addiction beautifully combined the anger of punk, the aggression of metal, the technical prowess of art/prog rock and the sensitivity of the day's alternative acts. They also wrote great songs and managed to open at least one mind, though I suspect there are many more.

1% (Jane's Addiction)
I Would For You (Jane's Addiction)
Ocean Size (Nothing's Shocking)
Mountain Song (Nothing's Shocking)
Three Days (Ritual de lo Habitual)
Then She Did (Nothing's Shocking)

Monday, April 14, 2008

This is Music At Its Finest