Archive for December, 2008

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Concert notes: Ted Leo

December 8, 2008

[embedded YouTube video; if you can’t view it, click here]

[TT the Bear’s, Cambridge, MA; Saturday, December 6, 2008]

I really love Ted Leo. So it was terrific to seem him do a solo gig at the tiny TT the Bear’s in Cambridge, MA (capacity: about 300), even if it was utterly jammed. The setlist focused on his earlier albums and a succession of wonderful covers, including Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” as a set closer. He also reprised his cover of “Fisherman’s Blues” by the Waterboys; you can hear his version during this NPR interview, and the original is below. The Cambridge gig is the start of the tour, and the rest of the dates are here.

MP3: The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues [amazon]

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Threesome: Back in Boston, briefly

December 5, 2008

boston-tiltshift

Regular readers know that zed equals zee temporarily relocated its headquarters from Boston to Seattle this summer. Well, debcha is back in Boston for the week, and here are some songs commemorating her adopted hometown. First up is a terrific live version of “The Ice of Boston” by the late, lamented Dismemberment Plan. Next up is the Dropkick Murphys doing “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” with lyrics by Woody Guthrie. It’s off their 2005 album The Warrior’s Code, but you may have heard it on the soundtrack to The Departed. Finally, the Dresden Dolls‘ unassumingly titled “The Jeep Song,” from their self-titled first album, is a hilarious and painful tale of a black-Jeep-driving lost love on the streets of Boston.

MP3: Dismemberment Plan – Ice of Boston (live)

MP3: Dropkick Murphys – I’m Shipping Up to Boston [amazon]

MP3: The Dresden Dolls – The Jeep Song [amazon]

Image: Flying Into Boston 005 – Tilt Shift by Flickr user tostie14, reposted here under its Creative Commons license.

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Video: Kermit the Frog, “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down”

December 4, 2008

[embedded YouTube link; if you can’t view it, click here]

This one’s for Scott. Make sure you watch through the end for a surprise.

EDIT: YouTube pulled the video at EMI’s request; you can see the video here. Thanks to Scott for pointing this out in the comments.

[via Brooklyn Vegan]

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Neophile: The Waking Eyes

December 4, 2008


[embedded YouTube video; if you can’t watch it, click here]

Some music from above the 49th parallel as a soundtrack to the currently-unfolding constitutional crisis. The video is of Winnipeg-based The Waking Eyes—paying homage to their fellow Manitobans The Weakerthans—busking for charity in front of the El Mo in Toronto, ON, filmed earlier this year. The band just released their second album, Holding On To Whatever It Is, along with a 3-CD set of B-sides and rarities (outtakes?), which probably explains why the album itself is a tightly-focused slice of 70s garage rock that makes for fun listening.

The Waking Eyes: website myspace

MP3: The Waking Eyes – All Empires Fall

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Music and advertising

December 3, 2008

appleipod

Here on z=z, we’ve written previously about the alliance of independent music and advertising. Bethany Klein, now a lecturer at the University of Leeds, wrote the book on it, literally –  her book As Heard on TV: Popular Music in Advertising, is scheduled for release in April 2009. It’s based on the research in her dissertation, and a paper that was just published in Media, Culture and Society, “The New Radio: Media Licensing as a Response to Industry Woe,” gives us a taste of her work.

As the title suggests, she suggests that the rise of music licensing (providing soundtracks for commercials and TV shows) is one way in which the music industry is hoping to hedge against the widely-feared, quite hypothetical revenue loss due to filesharing. Klein paints a portrait of cultural mores in transition: licensing one’s music for advertising has gone from being construed as ‘selling out’ to being widely considered a good way to get exposure. She suggests that this change in perception is a consequence of the deregulation and consolidation of commercial radio, and the subsequent loss of diversity in playlists. As Joe Pernice says, ‘It’s almost like commercial and television placement are the new radio.’ But as with commercial radio, Klein argues, the commercial imperative of corporations and TV shows is fundamentally at odds with artistic goals (even if music supervisors present themselves as saviours of independent music). And as licensing becomes increasingly accepted as a way for new bands to get exposure, it’s going to start looking a lot more like radio, with minimal licensing fees paid to the artist or even a pay-to-play model. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, MTV is leading the way, and Klein describes their astonishingly sleazy policy: if you submit a video to be considered for airplay, they reserve the right to strip the visuals and use the music as a soundtrack to its shows, without even paying a synchronization fee.

There’s a lengthy interview with Klein at policy website Miller-McCune, which also has a sidebar on ten famous (or infamous) uses of songs in advertisements. Klein’s paper is behind a paywall, but you can read the first page here and you might be able to ask a friendly neighbourhood academic for a copy of the PDF if you’re interested.

MP3: Iggy Pop – Lust for Life

[via Boing Boing]

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Listen local: The Cripples

December 2, 2008

cripples

Nothing is forgotten on the Internet. A friend of mine turned me on to Seattle-based synth-punk band, The Cripples, that were around a few years ago when he lived here. As far as I can tell, they are defunct-ish (the most recent update on either their homepage or Myspace page seems to be 2005), and I can’t really find any evidence that they’re doing shows. And while I think the picture above is of them (I ganked it from their site, after all), it does seem little short on synths for a synth-punk group.

None of this changes the fact that they sound really cool, like the Buzzcocks, only with keyboards. And it begs the question – why aren’t there more synth-punk bands? But if anyone in the area knows if The Cripples are still doing gigs, or if the principals have moved on to other bands, feel free to share it in the comments.

MP3: The Cripples – Contraception

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Six degrees of cover versions

December 1, 2008

covertrekbanner

This is a pretty fun site for cover fiends like us. Cover Trek is kind of like ‘six degrees of Kevin Bacon’ for music. You can enter the names of two bands, and it’ll try to find a pathway between them via cover songs. For example, Metallica and Kate Bush are connected in four steps, stepping through covers by Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Pat Boone (who covered Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”). It’s definitely still in beta, as I discovered it couldn’t get me from China Drum to Metallica, even though China Drum covered Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights.” And I don’t believe that it includes live covers, like this highly improbably Belle and Sebastian cover of Irish hard-rockers Thin Lizzy. But it’s still a fun site to go and mess around with, and I’m sure the creators will appreciate feedback.

MP3: Belle and Sebastian – The Boys Are Back in Town (live)