Now Playing: March 18th, 2010

Sometimes, it’s important to refuel.  I have some albums that I slip on every day, and they fit like my favorite pair of jeans.  I will never, ever get tired of hearing R.E.M.’s Life’s Rich Pageant, or Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins.  That’s just how it is.  I don’t necessarily look for them every day, but they always find their way back to me.  Of course, which albums stick around the house for a while is really up to the season.  Sun Kil Moon works better in Fall and Winter, and The B-52’s are a Summer band.  That’s life.

But for all of this, it’s important to keep bringing in the new.  Music affords us one of the few, endless adventures in life.  There are so many bands – doing so very many things – that there will never be time for it all.  You like Indie Rock, do you?  Well, there are thousands of bands you have never heard of.  No matter how hip.  There’s someone, at this moment, doing something in a garage that’s going to be your next favorite song.  Shouldn’t everything be like that?  It’s awesome, and it’s the reason I’m here on this here website.

So, in this quasi-weekly installment, I’m going to share with you some of the amazing things that have come to me… well, since the last time I wrote this thing.  As this is the first time, let’s stick with March.  Some of this will be new, and some old, but hopefully it will all be awesome.  Let’s get started… if you’ll just follow me:

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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.  😉

First Listen: She & Him – Volume Two

It’s been a scary, busy month of dissertation drafting (due any day now!), and so I’ve been a bit remiss in updating this site.  Ok, fine, entirely remiss.  And this isn’t really so much of a post, as it is a postcard… But one of the things that makes it all more bearable is the new She & Him album Volume Two.   We’ve had a quick look at it on this site before, and you can still visit that post for a free download of “In the Sun.”  But for now, and until its release on March 23rd, you can hear the whole thing courtesy of NPR.  And of course, after the cut.  Enjoy!

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Friday Night Videos – Heading for the ’90s!

This week, in lieu of a proper post, I’m taking you on a journey through the ’90s.  These videos are more of an ongoing discussion about the history of music videos that I really ought to write down, or turn into a conference paper, or something.  But until then, you’ll just have to talk to me here.

I’ve left out some pretty obvious choices (NIN, Madonna, Michael Jackson, etc.) and gone with a “first things that come to mind” list of ’90s videos.  As with my other site, I’m all about seeing where all of this stuff fits together – and now you get to play, too!

So, click here, play all, and enjoy!  They’re probably not all winners, but they’ll definitely stay lodged in your brain. (You’re welcome.)  Next week, we’ll have a smaller, more focused list.  If you’ve got requests for our version of Friday Night Videos, then throw them in the comments section.  Might be fun for someone to challenge me with a theme!

As always, you can see some of the outtakes after the cut…

Continue reading “Friday Night Videos – Heading for the ’90s!”

Preview: She & Him – Volume Two

She & Him stopped by the BBC’s Radio 6 for an interview and performance of two songs – “Thieves” and “Gonna Get Along Without You Now” – from Volume Two (Out Mar. 23rd on Merge).  You can hear the BBC session by going here and skipping ahead to 1 hour, 41 minutes.  For some more details on the record,  you can visit Stereogum.

From the sound of things, fans of the first record (which, it seems, is just about everyone) will love what’s in store for them.  For those of you in a rush, visit Stereogum to hear “Thieves” right now.  You can find “In the Sun” below for your listening and downloading pleasure…