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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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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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…

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Friday Night Videos – Revenge of the ’80s

So, this afternoon I had the pleasure of giving my girlfriend a tour of the ’80s via YouTube.  We went through white screens, bizarre experiments in contrast, several videos that were twice as long as the song they contained (I’m looking at you, Ms. Lauper), and more leotards than I really feel comfortable discussing.  One curious result: Because she’s from Luxembourg, my girlfriend is actually more familiar with “deep cuts” from Falco’s catalog than she is with Duran Duran or The Cure.  The things we learn, eh?  (And no, no buck teeth on her.)

Anyway, I’ve always found it fascinating to look back at the years after music videos first came into being – and now, with Youtube, I can waste countless hours doing it!  There’s so much experimentation – music videos with plots, really stupid plots, humor, sequels, space age effects, white screens, tour footage, high concept art, the Robert Palmer Girls… it’s all there.  And it’s great to see just how far everything goes before becoming more rigid and formulaic in the 90s.  Of course, it’s also amazingly embarrassing to sit through a lot of this stuff – but perhaps that’s part of the fun.  In thinking about all this, I was reminded of the now-defunct Friday Night Videos.

Now, we had MTV from the beginning.  Cable has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  But for some reason, my father and I would be up late to watch reruns of Friday Night Videos (usually after a lengthy session of Night Stalker on my Intellivision).  From that time, I think The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” and Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” are the two most memorable video-watching experiences for me.  So, whilst giving a tour from the Buggles through to Guns n’ Roses, I thought it might be fun to share with you some of the “gems” that turned up.  You know, have our own little Friday Night Videos revival…

Of course, some of them weren’t embeddable, and you’ll have to visit my playlist to see everything.  Just leave your irony-filter set to on, and click here.  Press play all, and you’re good to go!  And if you can think of anything I should’ve put on the list… let me know!  I’m sure this won’t be the last time…

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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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