Archive for January, 2009

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“Why are Germans so mad about techno?”

January 21, 2009

[embedded YouTube link: if you can’t watch it, click here]

Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster, has a show called The Truth About Germany, and on this four-minute segment, they consider the question: “Why are Germans so mad about [techno]?” The clip is  pretty fun to watch, although I think there might be some people in Detroit who would take issue with the assertion “Germans invented techno.”  There’s a brief interview with Sven Väth, but mostly it’s pretty high on the self-mockery scale (not a trait that is stereotypically associated with Germans), including bits like “let’s get some Germans to hum their favourite techno tunes!” and “let’s see how creative techno dancers can be with their light sticks!”

[via Passion (the enemy of love)]

MP3: Ellen Allien and Apparat – Turbo Dreams (original mix) [buy]

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Listen local: The Crocodile Cafe returns!

January 20, 2009

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Word on the street (well, actually, in the coffee shop) is that the Seattle’s famed Crocodile Cafe, which closed abruptly nearly a year ago, is on track to re-open. While the Croc is still pretty mum and the website is still under construction, The Ting Tings are scheduled to play on April 12th. zed equals zee didn’t relocate to Seattle until after it closed, so I am really looking forward to checking it out.

(thanks to Peter for the tip!)

MP3: The Ting Tings – Great DJ

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Listen local: Hey Marseilles

January 19, 2009

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Hey Marseilles nearly made me miss a flight. I saw them at the Three Imaginary Girls holiday party, and they were so good that I decided to catch their headlining show at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard last week, even though I had a 4:45 am wake-up call for a 5:15 am cab to the airport the next morning. Unfortunately, the late night meant that I slept through my alarm and only woke up when the cabdriver called my landline.

It was totally worth it, though. The Tractor show started with a procession by the band through the crowd, and I do mean ‘procession’ – with seven members, the band is quite a crowd themselves. Matt Bishop’s appealing voice is backed by viola, cello, trumpet and accordion, in addition to the more conventional rock instruments. They sound like a rather less fey version of The Decemberists – more grounded and earthy.

myspace website

MP3: Hey Marseilles – Rio

Image: Hey Marseilles by Flickr user Tyson L, reposted here with permission.

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Canadian music for Obama

January 16, 2009

49-banner Like pretty much the rest of the world, Canadians are excited about the new US president, and apparently they get to convey this excitement by collectively making a mixtape.  CBC Radio 2 is soliciting votes for a 49-song playlist, to showcase Canadian music for President-Elect Barack Obama. You can go here and vote for your favourite Canadian song in one of four categories: rock, classical, French-language, and jazz. While they’re calling it ‘Obama’s Mixtape,’ it’s really more in honour of the inauguration. But who knows – Obama has confirmed that his first foreign trip, as is traditional for US presidents, will be to Canada (his predecessor broke with tradition and went to Mexico instead – big surprise there), so maybe they’ll present him with  a shiny new red-and-brushed-aluminum iPod preloaded with CanCon. Or something.

As would be expected, Wonkette has a snarky take on it: “This thoughtful gift shall represent the very essence of Canada, distilled into 49 beautiful songs about being polite, speaking passable French, and having depressoid sex under a pile of blankets 10 months of every year.”

If you want to get in on it, hurry – voting closes at 8 pm EST on Friday, January 16th. I don’t think you actually have to be Canadian to vote (I did fine with my IP address 100 miles south of the border), but it probably helps to have some familiarity with the songs. Vote.

(thanks, Tim!)

MP3: The Weakerthans – One Great City!

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Freezepop on NPR, and weekend posts

January 16, 2009

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Over the course of last weekend, Justin at Anti-Gravity Bunny complained about music blogs not posting on weekends, and my friend Matt at Sub Ubi teasingly gloated that he  scooped me about z=z fave Freezepop being on NPR (and Matt alludes to why).

If you’re actually interested in my non-z=z activities and why I don’t post on weekends, you can always follow me on Twitter or try my Flickr photostream.

MP3: Freezepop – Pop Music is Not a Crime (buy)

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Neko Case puts the ‘good’ in ‘good publicity’

January 15, 2009

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Okay, how could any blogger with a heart (or pets) resist this? In support of her new album, Middle Cyclone (out March 3 on Anti-), Neko Case has released a free MP3 single. So far so ordinary. But get this – for every blog that posts the MP3, she and her label will donate $5 to animal welfare charity Best Friends Animal Society. If you’re not a blogger, but you still want to get involved, they’ll make a $1 donation for every user who adds the track to their iLike profile. Full details here. And the song’s pretty good too!

MP3: Neko Case – People Got A Lotta Nerve

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Indie bands and OC creator’s new web serial

January 14, 2009

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The creator of The OC, Josh Schwartz, has a new project, Rockville, which is a web-based serial centered around a music club, presented in four-minute chunks. Unsurprisingly, given the setting and Schwartz’s history of launching new bands with The OC, he’s announced that he plans to showcase indie bands in each webisode, if ‘showcase’ is the right word for ’15 second cameo.’ More interesting, however, is what he plans to do with the rest of the footage – Schwartz plans to put the full live performances online, with possible plans to release a DVD. Here at z=z, we’ve spent a bunch of time thinking about music in advertising and in TV shows, so it’ll be interesting to see how well it works in this mostly untried medium.

Reuters

MP3: The Futureheads – Decent Days and Nights (featured on OC Mix 4; more Futureheads)