Archive for April, 2009

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Music venues with good food

April 30, 2009

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A recent article in Gourmet, “Eight Great Rock Venues With Great Food,” combines two of my obsessions, food and live music (three if you count travel) The article is written by Mia Clarke, guitarist of Electrelane (who are now on indefinite hiatus), and is gleaned from her years of touring with the band. Cambridge’s own Middle East made the cut for its fare, as did the Bite Cafe at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. Nothing made the list from Seattle, sadly (although the Triple Door got a shout-out in the comments). While not on Clarke’s list, the reputation of Stubbs Bar-B-Q in Austin has reached the barbecue-deprived north, and I’m looking forward to checking it out this summer (SXSWers, any feedback?). I’d also add Toronto’s Sneaky Dee’s for its Mexican fare; it frequently appears in the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels, and his band, Sex Bob-omb plays there (inevitably, the performance is interrupted by a homicidal robot, which Scott fights off with his bass guitar).

Check out the list, and then tell us what you think it’s missing. Where do you go in your ‘hood for good food and good music?

MP3: Electrelane – To The East [buy]

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Upcoming: The ‘Nac Proudly Presents!

April 29, 2009

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Boston has been blessed with more great shows than usual recently, as this town’s hard-working and -playing music bloggers have been lining up bands to play for our mutual enjoyment. And the big gun is coming out this week – Bradley’s Almanac is hosting a night of bands at TT the Bear’s this Friday, May 1st. Headliners are Minneapolis’ Now, Now Every Children, and they’ll be supported by Boston’s The Hush Now and You Can Be A Wesley, as well as Vermont’s Let’s Whisper. If you haven’t yet, you should go to the ‘Nac and read Brad’s description – it makes me want to get on a plane and fly to Boston for the festivities (admittedly, I already need to buy him a drink and thank him for recording the John Darnielle show). He’s posted MP3s from each of the bands, but I’m using this as an excuse to remind you that The Hush Now‘s entire album is available for free download, so you should check it out before you go.

MP3: The Hush Now – Traditions [download]

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Upcoming: Condo Fucks play WMBR benefit

April 28, 2009

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In celebration of Jon Bernhardt’s quarter-century of DJing, he’s convinced the artists that he’s played the most to do a pair of benefit shows. Bernhardt holds down the Friday morning slot at WMBR, one of my three favourite radio stations. Condo Fucks (a permutation of Yo La Tengo, his second-most-played artist), The Bevis Frond (most-played artist), and Sleepyhead play at TT the Bear’s on Sunday, June 21st. Versus and Rebecca Gates (formerly of The Spinanes) play Church on Saturday, June 27th. Full details on the show are here, and tickets are on sale now. All net proceeds benefit WMBR.

MP3: Condo Fucks – This is Where I Belong (Kinks cover) [buy]

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Music and tech news roundup

April 27, 2009

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Catching up on the miscellany of music and tech happenings around the Interwebs…

‘Pirates’ are the biggest music buyers. A new study out of a business school in Norway suggests that people who downloaded music off P2P services bought ten times more music legally (downloads and CDs) than their non-P2P-using counterparts. This corroborates a 2006 Canadian study that found the same thing. Needless to say, record companies are disputing the findings. [via Ars Technica]

New turntable outputs MP3s directly to USB. Vinyl-lovers, rejoice! Denon’s new DP-200USB turntable (pictured) outputs MP3s directly to a USB thumbdrive, and the included software analyses the first 15 seconds of each song to match against the Gracenote database and automatically get the metadata. [via Cool Hunting]

How to find music on Twitter: If you’re a dedicated Twitter user and music lover, Wired has a terrific roundup of all the different music services that interface with the microblogging service. But I think the single best piece of advice is this, “[O]nce you find a like-minded fan on the network, you can follow their feed.”

Help build better music recommenders by rating playlists! Luke Barrington, a researcher at UCSD, is soliciting the help of people like you to evaluate playlists generating by a variety of means (like artist similarity vs tag similarity). You’re presented with a ‘seed song’ and two short playlists which¬† you can listen to, and then you can decide which one fits the initial song better. It’s fun and you get help scientists out. Take the survey here. [via Music Machinery]

22 000 words of EULA to put an iTunes song on your iPhone. I saw this in a tweet by Cory Doctorow (“Informed consent my ass.”), and did a bit of digging. Jason Schultz is the director of the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley, and was at the Federal Trade Commission’s conference on DRM in Seattle last week. A deputy director of the FTC warned the industry that they need to stop hiding restrictions in the unreadable fine print of end-user licensing agreements.

MP3: AC Newman – Take On Me (A-Ha cover)

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Watch: Matt and Kim, “Lessons Learned”

April 23, 2009

Okay, this is a terrific video – funny and compelling, and it goes perfectly with the song. NSFW if pixelated nudity is problematic.

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Online music services and payola

April 23, 2009

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Book editors Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, who are involved in educating would-be authors about scammers who who would defraud them by posing as reputable publishers (rather than as the vanity presses they are), frequently quote Yog’s Law: Money should always flow towards the author. The music industry variant seems to have historically been, “Money flows towards the artists, but not if we can help it.”

But that’s no longer true, it seems. Recently, two streaming music services instituted pay-for-play schemes: $30 on Jango, and $200 on last.fm, buys you 1000 plays of your music, slotted between songs by the established artists of your choice. There’s a great overview article here.

I’m all for doing things differently in the brave new world of online distribution for artists, and part of that is thinking of new ways to get your music out to listeners who might like it. But I am fundamentally wary of any business model that puts the best interests of the company (in this case, making money from selling music slots) in opposition to the the best interests of the user (hearing music they like), rather than aligned with them. Maybe I’ve just been hanging around with Paul Lamere too much, but it seems like a more sustainable model would be to get the music recommendation part right first, and try to monetize it afterwards.

I’d be interested in knowing what others think about this. Please share your thoughts!

MP3: M.I.A. – Paper Planes (DFA remix) [buy]

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LEGO Rock Band!

April 22, 2009

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LEGO Rock Band! Warner Interactive announced today that they were teaming with LEGO, game developers Harmonix and TT Games, and MTV Games to create a LEGO version of Rock Band. It’s intended to be more younger-kid-friendly than the original, with songs like “Kung Fu Fighting” and Blur’s “Song 2.” And, of course, you also get to customize your minifig avatars, as well as those of your “band and entourage, including roadie, manager, and crew.” (“Mommy, what’s a groupie?”)

The game is scheduled for release in time for the 2009 holidays. You can check out the press release for more info.

MP3: The White Stripes – Fell in Love With a Girl [check out the video]

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