Other Stuff You Might Like: Wolfgang’s Concert Vault

I’ve never forgotten my first experience with buying music for myself.  There was something magical about being able to pick anything I wanted, and then bring it home to enjoy over and over again.  But after a while, as it does for many, my obsession with a number of bands had begun to run out of things to feed it.  The radio gave no new songs, and the record store had long since been cleaned out.  Dark days, indeed.

Enter bootlegs.  For those of us who had a great local record store with a side section, a well-connected friend, or even knew an avid enthusiast of tape-trading websites, nothing was more special than your first listen to something that only a select few could ever hear again.  Want to hear that 1978 Winterland Ballroom gig where the Sex Pistols broke up?  (You shouldn’t, it’s awful, but let’s just say…)  You’d better know someone.  Bootlegs revealed a world of mystery and splendor, and showed a band as it really is/was… not just how the studio wanted you to think of them.

Nowadays, this is old hat.  We have any number of online video/audio services, and the ability to record something is in almost every pocket.  Heck, I’ve even done it myself.  The experience has definitely changed for new bands and today’s fans.  But if you want that good, old stuff, then you still have to be able to find it.

This is where Wolfgang’s Concert Vault comes in.  The site has thousands of performances from the ’50s to today.  There are interviews with artists, the ability to make customized playlists (and save them), and even some nifty background information about shows and artists.  I first found the site through its iPhone app, and I’ve loved spending time digging through the archives.  You do have to sign up for a free account (make sure to set those communication preferences), but it’s well worth a look.

After the jump, you can find some great free samples:

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Happening: South by Southwest 2010

Oh, sure.  I could go to South by Southwest.  Have my mind blown by an onslaught of bleeding-edge web development, films, music, and awesome people.  I could, but then I’d have to give up the charms of Northern England in March.  I’d have to leave exciting York (“Hey, there’s a Minster!  And, erm… it’s big!  Did you know that Constantine became Emperor of Rome while in York?”).  I’d have to give up my ascetic life, and my beloved dissertation.  Yeah, right.

Actually, there’s a bit of a funny story about the Minster.  In the Nineteenth Century, a young man named Jonathan Martin tried to burn the thing to the ground.  It seems that God told him to do it.  Oddly enough, that’s my name.  Hm.  Dear future employers: Please be thorough in your Googling of my name, and move beyond the words “Jonathan Martin,” “York,” and “Arsonist.”  Thanks.

But for some of you, this year’s SXSW is a perfectly pleasant alternative to day jobs and real life.  Sort of a Pleasure Island for hipsters.  Well, if you, like me, want to experience some of this excitement vicariously – and, more importantly, from the safety of your own, rain-drenched houses – then I’ve got you covered!  Let’s start with music.  An awesome, enterprising fellow has gathered up tracks from all of the artists playing this year’s SXSW.  They’re all public domain, and you can find the formidable five gigs of torrents here.  Definitely something to keep you busy for the duration of the festival!  In addition, NPR is giving away 11 tracks via iTunes.  You can get the code, and the details, here.  There’s tracks from Spoon, The Walkmen, and more!

As for video, I’d suggest hitting the SXSW page over on YouTube.  You can get film trailers, musical performances, talks, and stuff from previous years.

And that’s pretty much all.  In all seriousness, I’m so immensely jealous of the folks that are in Austin, and the ones that are on the way.

Have a great time…jerks.  😉

Other Stuff You Might Like: Luxury Wafers

Whilst doing a bit of research on YouTube for an upcoming post, I came across a Lissie video from LuxuryWafersVideo (posted below).  It was a great, studio rendition of “Wedding Bells,” and I was instantly intrigued.  Upon further investigation, it turns out that Luxury Wafers is chock full of amazing studio sessions by artists from Lissie to J Tillman (Fleet Foxes) and Tiny Vipers.  It’s a really great bunch of artists – all produced in a slick, yet immediately accessible and intimate style.  They offer the following about their site:

Luxury Wafers is the passion child of Landry and Peter Malick, raised with the help of an amazing network of dedicated, creative folks who also dig fine indie music.

Peter produces, engineers, mixes, writes and plays music. Hardly moderate, total immersion is his way. Long sleepless nights cozied up to his radio began for Peter in grade school. It wasn’t long before he pumped over to sketchier neighborhoods on his bike to discover the juiciest of records. Peter avidly listens to new indie music from his favorite blogs and podcasts. His professional experience goes way back to his first signing on the Vanguard label in 1968 when he was just 16. Peter engineers and mixes the Luxury Wafers sessions.

Nurtured from birth by a big, black, baby grand piano, Landry has also had a life-long love affair with music. When she was about seven, she received an 8-track with some tapes to play in it, the most rousing of which was the William Tell Overture. As fate would have it, her room was soon after remodeled and the drywall guys forever changed her life by leaving behind a mysterious copy of Led Zeppelin’s IV. Since then, she’s delighted in exploring most genres, ever connected to the core of music as she’s traipsed through life and various professional incarnations. She lives in LA with Peter, where she coordinates Luxury Wafers, helps to manage their music business, writes, cooks, teaches yoga and edits this blog. Landry books the Luxury Wafers sessions. She also photographs and shoots and edits video for the sessions.

Peter and Landry owned and operated Chessvolt Recording Studios from 1/2006 until 10/2009, when LAUSD grabbed it by eminent domain to build a new elementary school. They currently work from their home studio and at Kingsize Soundlabs Studio C (where much of the gear has found a home) as well as at various studios around LA, including Scott Gilman’s Eagle Rock Hobby Shop.

Together, the pair brings friendly ears, techie lust and artistic vision to Luxury Wafers.

The site is full of beautiful videos, free music downloads, and great information.  I strongly encourage you to head on over and check it out!  You can see some of my favorite videos after the cut:

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In Concert: Au Revoir Simone

One day, this site may run out of Au Revoir Simone photos and stories.  It could happen.  But that day will not be today, my friends!  From Central Music Portugal comes the following twelve-track Au Revoir Simone concert.  It’s the perfect way to fight off the Winter gloom… so, grab a mug of cocoa, and enjoy!

Other Stuff You Might Like: Black Cab Sessions

When I was much younger, I used to enjoy riding around in my car and playing (performing) music with my friends.  I think this might be something that many people in high school bands go through, and it certainly was great fun.  Since then, I’ve loved finding clips of people playing in their bedrooms, basements, cars, etc.  Small club shows are great, but there’s nothing quite like the immediacy of performing in a strange place (parties count, too, I’d imagine).  So, it’s a great pleasure to stumble across Black Cab Sessions.  The site’s motto is “One Song. One Take. One Cab,” and that’s exactly what you’ll get.  From Bon Iver to Dawn Landes to Fleet Foxes, the site features great musicians riding around and improvising around their songs.  Go have a look!

You can see one of my favorite clips after the cut:

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