Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ticket Giveaway! | Dear New Orleans - A Benefit Concert, Monday (10/4) at the Black Cat

To celebrate the 10th anniversary Future of Music Policy Summit (taking place at Georgetown University from Oct 3-5), The Future of Music Coalition (FMC) and Air Traffic Control (ATC) have just announced an all-star benefit concert on October 4th at the Black Cat.

‘Dear New Orleans - A Benefit Concert’ showcases several of the artists who contributed to the critically-acclaimed compilation, Dear New Orleans. The concert will feature one-of-a-kind collaborations between Damian Kulash of OK Go, Hank Shocklee from Public Enemy, Jonny 5 of Flobots and the Wonderlicks, Jenny Toomey & Franklin Bruno, to name a few.

The benefit album was produced by ATC to mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina and the floods. Since Hurricane Katrina, a diverse group of musicians have headed to the cradle of American music to participate in a series of artist-activist retreats produced by FMC and ATC and to learn firsthand about efforts to rebuild and sustain this vital city and its music communities. Proceeds from the album and concert benefit nonprofits working to support the region's unique musical and cultural traditions, and to restore and protect crucial environment and community resources.

'Dear New Orleans,' the album, can be downloaded here.

TVD is pleased to be offering one pair of tickets to the benefit concert to the reader who strikes the right note to this question: What does New Orleans mean to you?

Spill it in the comments to this post—with a contact email address!—and we'll choose one winner this Friday, 10/1.

Tickets to the benefit are $20. There are also a limited number of VIP ticket options. Full details here.

Remember, we've teamed up with ReadysetDC for all of our ticket giveaways so you can enter to win either here at TVD or at ReadysetDC.

TVD Takeover | The Posies

Right. That's not the actual Gary & the Hornets 45 that Ken gets into below. But pretty sweet looking, hm? (Courtesy of So Many Records, So Little Time.)

It's day #2 of The Posies Vinyl District Takeover...

Fuck iTunes.
I paid the most I have ever paid, via an ad in Goldmine, for one single. TWO SONGS. $40. I didn’t use the internet, I mailed a fucking check and got the thing. Why? Because I’d played a cover of a song called ‘Patty Girl’ by an Ohio group called Gary & the Hornets with Alex Chilton, who had heard about the song from Teenage Fanclub, who had heard about the song from Calvin Johnson. And I had to hear the original.

The story was too good: Gary & the Hornets were three kids—age 9, 11, & 12—who had a record deal and did these amazing, beat group-era songs, maybe just a little too sweet for the consciousness-bending preamble to the Summer of Love, so they didn’t have too long to enjoy the spotlight before looking quaint. ‘Patty Girl’ is not on iTunes. The band never released any album that I can find, so there’s no CD reissue. Basically, except for this 45 and some youtube videos, this music is extinct. And what a crime! Two and half minutes of chimey, glorious 60's pop, with a chorus that defies the laws of gravity in terms of melody—it was shocking to hear Alex pick off the high notes with such ease—we played it the last time that Alex and I played together, in Brooklyn last year.

So, now, iTunes saving grace: As a kid, I dutifully picked up Robert Plant’s solo music after the demise of Led Zeppelin, and was somewhat nonplussed by the mellow, unfocused and puzzling ‘Big Log’ 45 that I surely got at a drugstore or something. But, as one did, I flipped it over and found another enigmatic title—'Far Post', a non-album B side and a far more interesting piece of music. The recording sounded so deluxe back in the day and now I can hear it’s possibly a really well recorded live take; just one guitar, bass, drums, piano and voice.

The song is fast, but dreamy too—it seems to be about the tug between regret and letting go over a lost love—or something. It’s pretty haunting, and was a good soundtrack for the intangibles of fog and mist and early sunsets that were part of life in Bellingham c. 1982. Blazing piano solo, stereo chorus/modulating slapback delay on everything, awesome. And you know what? It’s on iTunes. A B-side. I bought it recently, and was happy not to have to dig thru my storage space 9,000 miles from my home to look for it.

Just a thought here: we were all told when we signed our record deals in the late 80's that due to the excessive packaging costs of the CD vs. the LP, that our royalty rate for CD's would be significantly lower than for LPs. And guess what? The LP's were a fraction of sales shortly thereafter. Duped. I think an LP is roughly twice as expensive to make and package as a CD now.

Along comes iTunes and offers even LOWER rates for selling something that DOESN’T EVEN EXIST. It’s not like there’s a factory banging out all those files. You upload your master, and you’re allowed to make a copy and store that somewhere. It’s like charging more for a bunch of photo copies than for a book. So, now, that I reach the end of this paragraph, I’m mad again and can say fuck you, iTunes.

TVD's Sunday Hangover | Virgin Festival at Merriweather Post Recap

Virgin Festival
at Merriweather is what I imagine my heaven to be like. The day was a dusty journey through an indie wonderland with all of my favorite artists at every destination. Scattered between the three music stages was a psychedelic array all of the delightful things in life: a giant ferris wheel, fire-works, karma bars (with booze and delicious food), random teepees with (!!!) free massages inside, giant beds for randomly napping, dj tents spinning tunes ranging from Billy Jean to Aloe Baac. UMM. HEAVEN. I happily stumbled across old friends, danced with current friends and made a few new friends.

For me, the day started at the Dance Forest where I unfortunately missed hometown DJ, Will Eastman, but made it in time to catch Pitchfork favorite, Neon Indian. Likely you know the ‘chill-wave’ pioneers by now (first LP, Psychic Chasms, was released just this time last year), but if not then perhaps you recognize them from their recent Apple appearance. 22 year-old Alan Palomo is the virtuoso behind the electronic sound, expertly crafting sound that immediately shifts your mindframe into some sort of 70’s sci-fi digital existence. His music is like a video game on acid.

“Deadbeat Summer” was easily the most popular track of the set, and fell between both new and old tunes including “Local Joke”, “Mind, Drips”, “Don’t Sleep” and a very-crucial version of “Should Have Taken Acid With You” (soooo good). Transitions between songs were frequently filled with Palomo’s own experimental-sound melding; where he was able to show off his innate musical palate by turning noise into paralyzing sound. With the set starting at 3:45 and the festival buzz just kicking in for most, this was a perfect way to leap into the euphoric afternoon and the procession of amazing sets to follow.

Although Yeasayer overlapped directly with NI, I heard several reports that the Baltimore based indie-band definitely did not disappoint. Other local favorite’s, Thievery Corporation, took the West Stage afterward giving me a brief second to chill-out to the familiar and tranquil beats, soaking-up the zen before trying to jump from stage to stage in the next few hours.

If you are a fan of Pavement then you already know that this set was inexplicably great. Cult legends in the the indie-music genre, and just recently starting to play shows again after a 10-year hiatus. Pavement’s under-attended show on the main pavilion stage seemed to echo their niche in the popular music scene of the 90’s; underappreciated but ultimately proving to be good news for those fans that are lucky enough to love them. Stephen Malkmus’ unmistakable voice undoubtedly gave all of use indie-nerds a bit of a… umm…. well, you know.

Although the main-stage generally houses the ‘headliners,’ it seemed that many of the festival-goers flocked to the West Stage for bands such as Ludacris and M.I.A. This, in turn, allowed the VIP ticket-holders a chance to get to see Pavement and LCD Soundsystem surprisingly up-close and personal. VIP tickets were clearly the way to go for those of us who were interested in these acts (thank you indie gods!) and I was able to sit only a couple rows back in the center of the seated pavilion with an AMAZING view and very minimal elbow jabs.

Trying to get remotely close to the West Stage for M.I.A. would have been nearly impossible without staking a spot far before the dissident diva took the mic. If you were one of those dedicated to the mission, you got a chance to see MIA in all her badass glory, dark wild hair flowing, rockin gold shades and eventually shedding a gold jacket to reveal a metallic mini-dress. With vibrant dancers adorning the stage and a sea of devoted fans, MIA has clearly become a superstar.

The night ended perfectly with LCD Soundsystem’s mind-blowing performance. As a huge LCD fan and never having had a chance to catch the band in real-life, I was completely captivated by the live show and despite my near exhaustion, danced recklessly for the entire hour-long set. Starting with “Dance Yrself Clean,” James Murphy, dressed simply in a flannel and jeans, unassumingly screamed all of his electro-classics to the elated crowd. Backed by Hot Chip bassist Al Doyle (!!!) and the rest of his dynamic team, Murphy effortlessly delivered hit after hit until finally ending with an encore of “Losing My Edge” and “Home” (love). Murphy had the pavilion bursting with an uncommon energy, reminding us all what it is that we love about music.

All in all, the Virgin Free Fest this year was exceptional, and the day couldn't have proved to be more perfect. Much love to Richard Branson, the virgin founder and philanthropist, for putting on this Free Festival to help fight youth homelessness. And thanks to all of the artists, and definitely the I.M.P. staff at Merriweather who were all really awesome.

Big shoutout to my sister CARA for providing these fine pics.

TVD's Twitter Music Monday

(Originally posted on 8/11/10)

This is truly world-stopping news: One’s taste in music is linked to one’s personality. It is a fact of science, according to Professor Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University, who undertook a large study examining the relationship between taste in music and personality traits.

BBC News reported on this study here, and you should read the article if only for the description of heavy metal fans as “quite delicate things,” who are neither “suicidally depressed” nor “a danger to themselves and society in general.” Phew!

The article also presents a handy rubric of musical tastes and their corresponding personality traits. I thought it might be fun to look through some #musicmonday tweets and find ones that exemplify these important findings.

First up: Indie. According to the study, people who listen to indie have low self esteem, an abundance of creativity, do not work hard, and are not gentle. (Excuse me, I have to go throw my Vampire Weekend albums into a bonfire now.)

What luck! The first indie #musicmonday message I’ve come across is by Twitter user @party_sloth. Sloth! This is too easy. Partying is often a pretty creative activity, especially if, like mine, your parties involve a lot of Pictionary. And partying is certainly never gentle. @party_sloth tweets that he is “addicted to Menomena – Mines right now.” Addiction is generally contra-indicative of self-confidence, so there you have it. With one tweet and one user name, we see the truth behind Professor North’s study.

Let’s move on to “chart pop” next. Twitter user @bellavalentine2 wants her followers to listen to Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie,” and adds that “Boys should never, NEVER hit girls.” (No snark: Endorsed. Maybe not the song, I haven’t heard it because I am not, apparently, a “chart pop.”)

The music/personality study says that chart pops have high self esteem, are not creative, are hardworking, outgoing, gentle, and not at ease. Based exclusively on one tweet and a username, I’d say we have conclusive proof that all chart pops are as the study describes. Bellavalentine clearly thinks she’s hot stuff, or she wouldn’t call herself “Bellavalentine,” no? And the “2” at the end indicates someone else had that username first, so there’s your lack of creativity. Her tweet suggests that she is working hard to push her gentle message, and is doing so in an outgoing way. And she’s tweeting about something she doesn’t like in the world, so she’s clearly not at ease. Professor North has done it again!

I think one more tweet from one more genre should provide conclusive evidence that North’s findings are correct. How about the “gentle creatures” listening to rock/heavy metal? (I’d do opera, but not many Twitter folk are #musicmonday-ing the Magic Flute, believe it or not.) Rockers, according to the study, are characterized more by what they don’t have than by what they do: low self-esteem, not hard-working, and not outgoing are hallmarks of the heavy metal type. But they are also creative, gentle, and at ease. They’re manatees, basically, is what this study is saying.

Twitter user @BLOODTREES certainly seems to fit the type! First of all, his username is in all caps, which suggests a low-self esteem need to assert himself. BLOODTREES recommends “Putrid Blood (Thrash Metal from Serbia) http://youtu.be/5hAzO5DzQ9s #metalmonday #musicmonday #metal.” I appreciate the extra hashtags—I would never have guessed that Putrid Blood was in any way a metal song without them. She’s tweeting instead of working, so she must have a poor work ethic, and Twitter is inherently not an outgoing activity. The pieces are certainly falling into place. She’s listening to music from Serbia, which is definitely creative, unless of course she is from Serbia. Blood is associated with menstruation, and menstruation is a feminine, and therefore gentle, trait, so the repeated use of the word “blood” seems to indicate a gentle spirit. As for at ease: Her username has the word “trees,” which reminds me of hammocks, and everyone knows that lying in a hammock is a great way to feel at ease.

Thus proved! Hooray science!

Role #mmodel: @EricGM, describing my Thursday and Friday: “Bouncing Souls ‘Anchors Aweigh’ and ‘Ghosts on the Boardwalk.’ Gaslight Anthem ‘American Slang.’ #musicmonday,” If you’re nice, I’ll tell you about my Gaslight Anthem concert experience.

My #musicmonday pick: Sometimes I’m a manatee and listen to metal. Today: Sin Dios’s Alerta Antifascista. (h/t to the brilliant, profane No Gods No Vegetables for this band and, honestly, any metal I find my manatee brain enjoying.)

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