Other Stuff You Might Like: They Shoot Music – Don’t They

In the vein of other sites we’ve mentioned – Luxury Wafers, Daytrotter, and Black Cab SessionsThey Shoot Music – Don’t They is a Viennese site dedicated to bringing high-quality, impromptu performances by new and established artists to the masses.  Their mission, as they describe it, is a pretty simple one:

Why are you doing this?

1) We all feel strongly connected to sub culture in one way or another and we enjoy being productive.
2) We all agree with the fact that Vienna is a great town but also lacks fresh representation platforms when it comes to music scenes and media projects.  So we will tag the urban space of Vienna with soundscapes from indie artists and document that on our website. The combination of act and location is also meant as a guide for people who want to know more about relevant subcultural spots in Vienna.

The site features a wide-range of artists (see some after the cut), who are all chosen through a simple mechanism: “We have no strict guidelines for that [choosing]. If we like an artist we contact him or her. If the artist likes the idea of working with us we seal the deal and schedule a session.” The site features videos in Flash.  However, if you sign-up for a free account, you can view things in higher-quality divx.  And I highly recommend you do.  You can also visit them on Twitter and Last.fm.  But for now, let’s look at some of their excellent handiwork around Vienna:

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Other Stuff You Might Like: NPR Music

Chances are, you’ve already met NPR Music on your travels.  From their excellent programs like All Songs Considered to their wonderful First Listen series, NPR Music is an amazing repository of live, archived, and upcoming music. You can find weeks’ worth of live concerts, in-studio recordings, music previews, and more.   And best of all, it’s free.  At least, to listen.  You all know the deal: Public Radio is funded by listeners like you, and, in today’s corporate-dominated environment, independent music is an even more precious commodity than it used to be.

Of course, I’m not here to tell you what to spend your money on… oh, wait, that’s exactly what I’m here for.  But I’ll tell you what: I think that NPR Music is quite possibly the most important music program in the industry.  Yeah, there, I said it.  Without it, I would have never met Joanna Newsom, The Mountain Goats, or even Vic Chesnutt.  So, for me, it’s special.  I’d like to show you around some of my favorite bits of the site, and invite you to head on over and become a part of all the wonderful things they do.  Follow me!

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Other Stuff You Might Like: Live Performances from KEXP

It’s easy, sometimes, to think of radio as a dead medium.  The sort of thing that can get you through a visit to the dentist, or an elevator ride, but not much else.  In a post-Buggles world, what good can radio really bring us?  Well, of course, there’s rather a lot of good to be had out there.  I’ve looked at, and featured, NPR’s excellent All Songs Considered on this site before.  But there’s so much more to be found in local stations across America (and the globe) – perhaps none so striking as Seattle’s KEXP.  The site features an enormous amount of live, in-studio recordings and interviews, as well as news and video (they’ve even got a nifty iPhone app).  As someone who lost faith in radio during the ClearChannel consolidation years, I find it very reassuring to know that stations like this have managed to survive.

You really should take some time to rummage around their site.  After the cut, I’ll highlight some of my favorite live recordings, and give you a few tips from their upcoming performances list.  Hint: Jónsi tomorrow!

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A Good Cause: The Voice Project

One of the amazing things about music is its ability to bridge gaps and unite people for a common, peaceful purpose.  All too often, when confronted with the great injustices of the world, we find ourselves thinking: “Hey, I’m just one person.  What can I do?”

Well, the Voice Project believes that one voice can make a real difference.  Here’s a bit about the mission:

A peace movement is an incredible thing, people coming together, mobilizing like an army, and in this case armed not with guns but with songs and something more powerful than than any bullet; compassion, the strength of human will, and determination.

For over two decades war has ravaged Northern Uganda. It is Africa’s longest running conflict and it has spread to Southern Sudan and Eastern Congo. Joseph Kony’s LRA has made abducting children and forcing them to fight his chief weapon of war, even making them kill their friends and family members. Many abductees and former soldiers escape but hide in the bush, afraid to return home because of reprisals for the atrocities they were forced to commit.

The women of Northern Uganda – widows, rape survivors, and former abductees have been banding together in groups to support each other and those orphaned by the war and diseases so prevalent in the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps. And they are singing songs. The lyrics let the former soldiers know that they are forgiven and that they should come home. The songs are passed by radio and word of mouth out into the bush, as far as the Sudan and DR Congo. And it’s working. Former LRA are returning and for the first time 24 years the region has a chance at real peace.

The Voice Project is an attempt to support these incredible women and the peace movement in Uganda, and an effort to see how far a voice can carry. And although we are a non-profit, we don’t see what we do as charity, but rather a partnership and an exchange of value. The strength, the message, and the art of these women and their peace movement can benefit the world, and in return we can help spread their message as well as help provide them with basic necessities and the tools to sustain their efforts and themselves. We have two main goals, to AMPLIFY the message in their songs in order to support the peace movement, and to assist them in their efforts to EMPOWER themselves economically in order to better their lives, create real social change, and to sustain peace. Please join us and be a link in this incredible chain that the women have started, help spread the word or donate to the cause.

Music and word of mouth, it can end wars, it can change the world. These incredible women have shown us that. Pass it on.

They’ve worked hard to further efforts to rehabilitate child soldiers, and to bring vocational training to these war-torn parts of Africa.  They’ve also assembled musicians who have raised their voices in support of this cause.  Why not check them out at twitter and facebook, and on their own site, and then follow me for a couple of great videos:

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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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