kimya Dawson; Deserving of Recognition

The music world is upside down and inside out. The soundtrack for the movie Juno featuring seven tracks by a little-known DIY songstress, is at the top of the Billboard charts. Through subliminal exposure, Kimya Dawson’s recordings are featured predominately on the soundtrack. Kimya Dawson is in a unique position.

She has been creating great music for years with her first band, The Moldy Peaches, her solo projects on K Records, and a new side projec
t, Antsy Pants released on Plan-it x Records.

About seven year
s ago, I remembered a family car trip listening to the Moldy Peaches. We are an open-minded lot, and we sang along to “Whose Got The Crack” from the Moldy peaches 2001 release with giddy delight. Not to worry, anyone listening to the Juno soundtrack is not savvy enough to find this little-known gem, and what would they think of it?

Kimya Dawso
n is well-known in DIY circles. It is great to see a talented, hardworking musician songwriter like Kimya gain deserving recognition. She has given and shared with her fans and other musicians and will not take her success lightly. She will bring others along.

It is out of the ordinary when DIY culture meets the mainstream. When music artists, directors, screenwriters, and filmmakers on the fringe meet the mainstream culture. What happens? People like the movie and the soundtrack. Exposure is an interesting concept!

Non-commercial entities are now being positioned next to commercial properties. The Placement for Indie bands on commercials, TV placement in dramas and movies.

Listeners who think they hear all the latest in Indie music by tuning into college radio or hearing a playlist from KCRW would not have been familiar with Kimya Dawson’s music. To know about Kimya and the many musicians she tours and collaborates with, you must be a proactive music listener, familiar with the DIY culture, a Web board surfer, and a house show participant.

Web boards like Plan-it X, Absolute Punk.net, and Punk News.org support local DIY scenes all over the country. Word-of-mouth mixed tapes and house shows, doing it DIY style in full. This does not mean just booking and arranging shows. It is about communities where music is the focus, and everything else revolves around it.

Music is about sharing. If your only sharing with a chosen few, that is OK, but reaching the broader culture is a more interesting scenario.

Kimya Dawson MySpace


Fun Sound of Contagious Delight

Drink up Buttercup does something few bands know how to do. They put on a great show. Headlining at the Cake Shop only makes it better. Their insanely zany acrobatic stage antics mixed with a full-bodied sound of harmonic delight, produced an atmosphere of sensory overdrive.

The garbage can and auxiliary percussion were banged and harmonies fully intact. Involuntary operatic passages and rough bawdy instrumentation all came into play. What emerged is a band worthy of praise.

The crowd was deep in the dank basement of the Cake Shop, comprised of new and recent converts. After the show one newbie on vacation from Dublin, enthusiastically rattled off a list of influences that she felt comprise their sound. She sited, The Beatles (Sgt Pepper), Beach Boys (circa Pet Sounds), The Kinks and punk influence The Clash. It was nice to hear a fresh point of view and one that was so acute.

Drink Up Buttercup’s sound is an experimental melding of the best of various styles. Unbridled and openly, unchecked.

I derive pleasure from content driven songs and music that enhances lyrics. It is very unusual for me to LOVE a band like Drink Up Buttercup. I don’t give a shit about their lyrics. “Sosey and Dosey”, who are they, who cares. They played that song with a one two beat adding the crashing drunken keyboard. The sound broadly grew when the harmonies reached an explosive volume, singing / he held her mittens in his HAND......Every song in their set was delivered with that kind of gusto and bravado.

Accompanying them on stage for their last song “Gods and Gentleman” was the ramshackle audience orchestra, beating any form of percussion they could find. That was the clincher. The crowd craved more and Drink Up abandoned their mics and delivered an acoustic rendition of “The Lovers Play Dead” in the middle of the venue. With their shakers in hand, they included us in their energetic music circle of warmth.

For me, the only downer of the night is when a very beautiful young woman asked me quite sweetly, if I was one of the band members mother. Damn, I might be old but life is short, seeing Drink Up Buttercup is worth my time and yours.

: Trtl soup
Trtl soup combine cool geeky tech mixed with a DIY low-fi attitude that is refreshing. Bass, guitar and drums are interspersed with an audio system of spliced sound frequencies. The bands occasional ranting vocals, stood out in a funny way / girls go to college to gain more knowledge / boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider /. United with the light moments is a socio political edginess and sound assemblages that reflect our subliminal communal consciousness. Interesting Group!

Flickr Set Drink Up
Flickr Set Trtl soup


Obsession Collection: Noteworthy Music News and Dates

Langhorne Slim Has Found a Home!! Langhorne Slim has signed with Kemado Records. The much anticipated self-titled album their fans have been waiting for will be released on April 29th.

Visit their myspace page to listen
to two great new tracks.

"Rebel Side of Heaven" and "Diamonds and Gold"

Langhorne Slim myspace Page

Photo credit : the great Crackerfarm

Drink Up B
uttercup @ the Cake Shop 1/19/08 Saturday night. You know what I'll be doing!! If you can't catch them tomorrow, they are doing a residency at Piano's during February, on Tuesdays!
Philadelphia Weekly
Drink up Buttercup myspace

t AKA Damien Derose Coffee Shop Series: Starting on January 29th with a creative acoustic lineup at the Cake Shop: Chris Archibald of the band Illinois doing a
solo stint, Peasant, and Ben Thornewill of Jukebox the Ghost.
I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be.

Peasant's myspace for a complete schedule.

Illinois myspace
Jukebox the Ghost myspace

Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned
 the new Release
The Thing About Time
Looking forward to seeing them again!!

Nice words from My Old Kentucky Blog

myspace site


Sasha Frere-Jones: Full Exposure, Article Rant

MySpace is today’s lifeline and reality for bands and musicians to gain exposure. To put it down is irresponsible, even in the context of an article about the sudden rise of the young British singer Kate Nash. Sasha Frere-Jones's article in the New Yorker, 
“Full Exposure, Making it on MySpace,” presents the perils of early MySpace exposure. While he cites specific pitfalls like adolescent blogging entries and massive hits before gaining experience, he devalues the necessity of MySpace as a tool for others.

I think full exposure occurs when hungry predatory labels are willing to promote artists before they have ever performed live. They are exploiting a situation and are blinded by dollar signs. The Kate Nash phenomenon would not have happened so fast without label intervention.

Sasha Frere-Jones states that Nash deserves a shot at stardom because of the strength of the song “Foundation” on her album Made of Bricks. This assertion contradicts the premise of his article.

The UK is unique, and Mr. Frere-Jones underplays the power of geographic location. In the UK, the airwaves are free and without the domination of the Clear Channel. Their radio system can facilitate the major label promotion of a quirky, commercially viable talent like Kate Nash. That is what makes her sudden Web-to-chart success possible. The hype machine can be generated at mock speed. This does not happen in the US, where the radio playlists are in every category but new music.

MySpace is the preferred vehicle for band exposure and plays an important role, especially in the States. Many bands that get recognition eventually have to do it the hard way, self-promotion via MySpace. That includes constant updating, posting tour dates, sharing pictures from the road, and communicating with fans.

A band's website is a dinosaur
. It is stale compared to the fluidity and interactive nature of MySpace. I say fuck the Website. Bands generally write on their Website; please visit our MySpace page for updates.

Until there is another vehicle with more unique features tailored to music, MySpace is here to stay. MySpace is a band's history; like email history, it is filled with information that would be difficult to replace. I’m not saying that MySpace doesn’t have its problems; it can be a royal pain in the ass. Ever been "phished"?


Drink Up Buttercup

A little treat for all my readers: A video clip of Drink Up Buttercup! They have had quite a year and the New Year looks very bright. They have recently worked with Bill Moriarty the recording engineer for Dr. Dog and Man Man, and have shared some of the new tracks on their myspace site. Their site will make you dizzy or smile! Seeing them live is an experience! The show dates in NY and Philly are listed on their site.


Music Blogger, Year End Thoughts

Viva! The Blog
Years ago it took an eternity for any publication to write about a band or write a live review. There is a place for those magazine relics, but for current up to date coverage the online community is the destination. Bloggers are now a very relevant part of the mix giving exposure to varying genres that are neglected by the mainstream press. Google has taken note and is offering new ways to find Blog content. There are music Blogs that have established a level of trust and a point of view. Matt and Mike at Ear Farm come to mind as one of the standouts. Ear Farm is honest, personable, informative and very entertaining. So Viva the Blog!

Romance of the
DIY Movement

Another thought I've been pondering is the romance of the DIY movement. Doing music for the love of it. I think that all musicians agree that music will be apart of their lives no matter what happens to their future plans. The romance is perpetrated by the young and kept alive in houses, garages and alternative venues all across the country.

Talented and spirited bands embrace the ethic of non-commercialism. I understand this is a point of view but here is where I part company.
Things start to sour, when they get older and have to find viable financial alternatives to live. Someone at twenty-one has different concerns then at twenty-seven. As many of their peers graduate from college, they find themselves financially lost. There is nothing wrong with music being a life long endeavor, without monetary compensation. If music is a career choice, money should be an important factor.

Commercialism, Strange Bedfellows

It is a sad state of affairs when bands have to choose strange bedfellows like commercials and TV spots to gain exposure. I welcome it but it does leave me with a bad taste. I realize it now is a staple in exposing new music. I also understand the reasoning behind using new music for such spots. The music is good and has had no radio play.

I work with young people whose musical taste is driven by pop culture and whose only exposure to music is what they hear on the radio or TV commercials. So it was quite interesting when I played the Feist tune, "Mushaboom" from her 2004 release Let It Die and watched their ears suddenly stand at attention. The voice recognition was powerful. Last year I played it with very different results. So exposure obviously works. Unfortunately, they are not open to new things they have never heard.

A Declaration of Independence

Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned forwarded the Declaration of independence via a myspace bulletin. It is from a site called 001 Collective. It is a very impassioned document, one I feel was written with the utmost sincerity. My only complaint is their assumption that creating and performing and doing what you love is not work. I beg to differ. Bands work hard! Their life on the road is grueling and the tenuous nature of the music business is stressful as well. Yes they are doing what they love but at a cost. Many have other jobs they do between gigs. That is called dedication and hard work.

The 001 Collective premise of offering music for free will ultimately be good for some bands. The concept is one that is being explored by bands like
Beat Radio and labels like Team Love. This is a collective concept with one person being the arbiter of whose music is included. I guess the success of this collective all depends on his taste in music. I wish them luck.


Wish List Rant: Independant Music

  • I wish bands and musicians, old and new, who have monetary success or a large fan base, would share the stage and help musicians/bands who are not as fortunate. Two great examples; are David Bowie and Bright Eyes.
  • I wish that Bookers would be bolder and create eclectic and diverse lineups that are not genre specific but sound great together.
  • I wish more Bloggers would take a chance and try not to present the same buzzed-about playlist.
  • I wish that audiences would commit to listening.
  • I wish that there were better venues for solo acoustic performers.
  • I wish that more people that get music for free would find it in their hearts and reach into their pockets and support the music they enjoy. Go to a show, buy a tee shirt, and pay for a recording. Support the music you love, or it will not survive
  • I wish that a wider audience could hear great music. (That’s a pipe dream). It could change the culture in a good way.


Hop Along Queen Ansleis/ Great Cover Song

This is just too good! I had to share it! It's easy to spread around, so press the envelope and make someone happy!


Bright Eyes; Radio City Music Hall

Our seats were good, yet too far for pictures, orchestra, Isle D, double A (only one is reflective of my bra size). This was my eighteenth time seeing Bright Eyes live; I was not disappointed.

Opening acts are always a treat at a Bright Eyes show / The Felice Brothers

I can think of a few other bands that welcome and support new, emerging, or underrated talent the way Bright Eyes does. They welcome these rogue originals with open arms.

The Felice Brothers expressed that playing Radio City was quite a bump up from performing in the subway. They thanked Bright Eyes for the experience and gave a very sweet shout-out to their grandmother in the audience, who was excited to see her grandsons play at the same venue as Frank Sinatra.

The Felice Brothers is a quartet of three brothers and a friend from Catskills, NY. They tell narrative tales blending Americana with a rusty homegrown sound. Produced by a blend of acoustic guitar, drums, bass, accordion, and piano. They played ten songs with three strong and distinct vocalists sharing the lead while the remaining members sang rough harmonies.

Despite the expansive stage in an overwhelmingly large venue, they connected with the audience and created a down-home and intimate staging peppered with theatrics. During “The Ballad of Lou the Welterweight,” James Felice, the accordionist, put a hat over his heart in tribute to the fallen boxer. When he introduced a song about hardship and depression, his s
oulful deep vocals were memorable. They ended their set with “Frankie’s Gun,” accompanied by Nate Walcott of Bright Eyes on trumpet. A very fitting ending with a full chorus singing, / bang bang bang went Frankie’s gun/ he shot me down.

Thurston Moore's Personal Vision Realized

In came Thurston Moore and his band of aural angels, playing songs from his new solo release Trees Outside The Academy. Staring at the two acoustic guitars, bass, violin, and drums, my eyes betrayed my ears. This acoustic band of deception laid down intricate compositions, replete with constant pulsating drums by Steve Shelley, bass rhythms, double guitar leads (Thurston Moore and Chris Brokaw), and darting violin treatments throughout. Samara Lubelski on violin played a haunting low register, rarely segueing into melody.

The scaffolding of instrumentation created a collaboration of the highest order. Every song had this never-ending
quality, not like a jam but more like an organic improvisation within the song structure. The last song, “Trees Outside the Academy,” closed this impressive set and highlighted the accomplished musicianship. I closed my eyes and hoped this class act would never end.

Bright Ey
This Bright
Eyes show had no agenda. This was not a promotional tour but the last night stand of a year-long tour. And stand they did. They played a wide variety of the Bright Eyes catalog with added new arrangements. The collaborative nature of an ever-changing cast of players, with the anchoring of Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott, creates a fresh approach. I appreciate seeing live shows that don’t mimic exactly what is on the recording and Bright Eyes delivers.

At Radio City, the music was loud, but it was grand. Although Conor works very hard at phrasing and pronunciation, not all of the words were audible. The added restraint of coordinating with a vocalist can be tricky, and Bright Eyes did not sacrifice the live feel of the music for the lyrics. While I would have loved to hear every word from Conor, I didn’t feel deprived.

Starting with “Another Traveling Song” from I’m Wide Awake Its Morning Conor came out and took command of the stage. Having seen him over the years terrified, it is wonderful to witness the confidence, maturity, and ease with which he can now perform.

I just about flipped to hear “Song to Pass the Time” from Fevers and Mirrors. I have heard many versions of that song. The twangy flavor of the original song was changed considerably with the addition of the trumpet. “Lua” stood out with James Felice on accordion and Nate Walcott
on flugelhorn, adding depth and distance to the sad tale. “Poison Oak” was moving. “True Blue” was infused with a strong pedal steel guitar and sung with conviction, / I don’t know much about you / but I like you because you’re true blue /.

Only one complaint I could have done without the Tom Petty cover. It was fun, rollicking, and exciting, but I would have been happier with an original. The stage festivities grew as The Felice Brothers joined in and the Radio City night lights strobe across the ceiling. The audience rose from their seats to join the celebration.

Bright Eyes ended the four-song encore with a new political power song of intensity and anger about the war and the future of many wars to come. / Nothing left but the cockroaches / in a movie with no sound /. As always, Bright Eyes has words that move, stating truisms like no other, employing all of us to take a hard look in the mirror. I left smiling but felt pangs of guilt thinking about the state of the world as I walked down Isle D.


Hop Along Queen Ansleis

I recently saw an acoustic set by Hop Along Queen Ansleis at the 92nd Street Y. She was one of the performers at a free high school guitar day workshop and performance series coordinated by Guitarist and composer Benjamin Verdery, the Y's Guitar Institute artistic director.

I've seen her many times, but after seeing her that day, I was thrilled with the new direction of her singing, phrasing, and song structure. Without losing her originality, she has matured in her writing and delivery.

If You Make It

To all my readers, enjoy this Pink Couch Session of Hop Along Queen Ansleis.
David Garwacke, creator of a wonderful new site called If You Make It, films the Pink Couch Sessions. If you stay tuned, he will upload Hop Along on the Pink Couch, performing her arrangement of Billy Idol's song "Dancing with Myself". This is an amazing cover!!

This site is true to its intentions, and Dave has been doing a great job sharing the talents of many independent bands and acoustic performers. If You Make It is on my radar.