Monthly Archives: October 2009

Blogger of the Week: Ecoutez

Ecoutez is dedicated to bringing their most beloved genres, dancehall, UK underground, and American indie to their readers. While they say that they hate their blog name, BTR thinks it’s quite brilliant and catchy. Or, we could just be Francophiles. In this very special segment, Alex talks about dubstep, dancehall, some of Ecoutez‘s favorite musicians at the moment, and more. Tune in to hear great tracks from artists like The Very Best, Major Lazer, Mavado, Serani, and Amanda Blank. Listen here right now!

00:00 DJ Mimi (Warm Heart of Africa (feat. Ezra Koenig) – The Very Best)
01:24 When It’s Cold – Serani
04:13 Ecoutez on Ecoutez
05:56 Haikuesque (When She Laughs) – Bibio
09:10 Ecoutez on dancehall
10:13 Neva Believe U – Mavado
14:03 Ecoutez on dubstep
15:04 Flying – The Bug
18:22 Ecoutez on M.I.A.
19:10 Rain Dance (feat. M.I.A.) – The Very Best
23:30 Ecoutez on regular features
25:32 Pon De Floor – Major Lazer
29:04 Summertime Clothes – Animal Collective
33:34 Ecoutez on The xx
34:41 Islands – The xx
37:20 DJ – Amanda Blank
40:11 Ecoutez on SALEM
41:00 Whenusleep – SALEM
43:24 Ecoutez on future plans
44:06 A New Error – Moderat
50:07 Ecoutez outro
50:30 Shelter – The xx
54:57 DJ Mimi (Warm Heart of Africa (feat. Ezra Koenig) – The Very Best)
55:41 Bicycle – Memory Tapes

-Mimi Kim

The Loom Live @ The BTR CMJ Day Party

The Loom
Live @ The BTR CMJ Party
Trash Bar – Brooklyn, New York
October 23, 2009

LISTEN LIVE ON BTR!!

00:00 Intro – DJ Wynn
00:50 With Legs – The Loom
04:15 The Middle Distance – The Loom
09:43 For All My Friends In Spring, For All My Friends In Fall – The Loom
13:27 In Your Doldrums – The Loom
17:19 Give Up The Ghost – The Loom
22:48 The Loom sees Tom Cruise in the audience
23:14 A Song Of Faint Praise – The Loom
26:59 For The Hooves That Gallop, And The Heels That March – The Loom
32:22 Helen Marie – The Loom

The Business Side of CMJ

Every year at CMJ industry “experts” and “leaders” sit on panels designed to talk about the cutting edge of what’s going on in the music biz. From how to do-it-yourself for bands to changing laws in music publishing, each year the panels seem to cover a wide range of topics. They vary from one CMJ to the next, but in some senses, it’s always the same panels over and over again with slight changes depending on current Internet trends and music laws.

Last year the prevailing topic seemed to be social media. How MySpace and Facebook are a band’s best friends. How blogs are a much more interactive way to do A&R. The fear that LaLa and LastFM are doing a lot of industry people’s jobs for them. Basically, the Internet sent the music industry into complete disarray over the past ten years, not just from illegal downloading, but also from the way ideas about music are disseminated, and the industry was attempting to put the pieces together in this “totally new landscape.”

This year, the conversation shifted. It seems like everyone has become used to the idea of the Internet’s role in the business. Maybe the increasingly desperate times over the past year have made people realize they need to dig in and make whatever they can work. For instance, I heard an argument at one panel between Rich Bengloff and Jeff Price about whether or not music sales are actually down. According to Price, Sound Exchange doesn’t correctly report all of the statistics, and record sales are actually alive and well, especially on his website, TuneCore. At one panel I even heard someone say, “MySpace is totally irrelevant.” A huge turn around from last year. Much in the way the industry seems to have settled into the Internet, so have consumers. With so much to choose from and literally “unlimited shelfspace,” you’re better off having your band Tweeted about by a gate-keeping blog than getting a lot of MySpace hits. The conversation was much less about how the Internet had changed everything and how to utilize that change, but rather what’s going to come next from the ‘Net, and how we can all make money off of it.

One strong theme continuing from last year was the question of what is going to happen to record labels. There were so many panels dedicated to answering that question, in one way or another. There are panels about how to start your own band’s label, panels about how to start your own 360 company, panels about music licensing firms as labels, panels about management firms as labels. At some point, it seems that all we’re really talking about here is how the internet has managed to allow everyone to become a record label.

One of the most interesting points made about this topic, one different from what I heard last year, was during the “management as labels” panel on Wednesday.  While everyone agreed that a good manager is probably more important than a label these days (simply because a manager is with you for the long term, and will actually help develop you as an artist- an act that most labels no longer perform), not everyone agreed on management’s eventual transformation into the labels themselves.  One panelist pointed out that managers and label heads ultimately have two conflicting goals.  Labels want to make money selling records no matter what.  Managers want to make money from an artist’s long career.  It makes sense that no matter how far down the Internet may break barriers, these two goals will frequently be at odds, necessitating both types of businesses.

The most interesting panel I attended was supposed to be about mobile media.  How can artists use mobile devices to promote themselves?  It turned into a panel about music licensing laws, which was pretty interesting in and of itself.  The reason for this sudden shift in topic encapsulates many of the changes being hashed over during all of the panels.  Smart phones, much like the Internet, have created an entirely new way to for consumers to experience music and an entirely new way for money to be made from that music.  The music industry is all about technologies.  The player piano initially threw music publishers into a fury because it meant that they were no longer going to make money off of sheet music, so the government (with a strong lobby from the powerful publishers) created mechanical royalties.  The same thing happened with records and cds, and the same thing will happen again with the Internet and mobile devices.

The point is, there’s nothing inherent or singularly correct in the way the music business makes money now.  Everything up to this point has been rather arbitrary, and based on technology.  You don’t think of the player piano as high-tech, but it truly is a piece of technology.  What we meant by “label” and “management firm” was arbitrary to begin with.  Soon, everything will be deconstructed and the field will be wide open.  The panels reflected this idea most overall.  The mood at CMJ was serious because the economy is bad, but even more than last year, the Internet and the music biz seemed to give the panelists hope for the future.

– Madalyn Baldanzi

Jumbling Towers Live at the BTR CMJ Day Party!

Jumbling Towers
Live @ BTR’s CMJ Party
Trash Bar – Brooklyn, New York
Oct 23, 2009

00:00 Intro – DJ Latola
01:24 We Could Live West – Jumbling Towers
03:59 Black Courage – Jumbling Towers
07:01 Pure Jew – Jumbling Towers
11:13 Gilberta – Jumbling Towers
14:48 He’s A Cop Now – Jumbling Towers
18:12 Beggars – Jumbling Towers
21:38 That’s Some Boredom – Jumbling Towers
24:13 Cowards – Jumbling Towers

 

Jumbling Towers LIVE
19 Dec 2009      Off Broadway     St. Louis, MO

Jumbling Towers website
www.jumblingtowers.com

November Adds

Via Tania

Moon Sweet Moon

Via Tania is the project of Australian born singer and instrumentalist Tania Bowers. At a young age, she played in  a vowel-free, noise pop outfit with her sister called SPDFGH, and opened for bands like The Breeders and Bikini Kill. She eventually worked on a solo effort and self-released an EP under the moniker Sunday.

Fast forward a few years to Chicago, Illinois where she began to piece together songs for her debut as Via Tania. The first album, Under A Different Sky, was released in 2004. Bowers’ sophomore release, Moon Sweet Moon, began to take shape in Australia. While still in Australia, Tania randomly met Craig Ross, a music producer from Texas. Ross  had worked with artists such as Emmylou Harris and Daniel Johnston. The two hit it off and began to work with each other. She traveled between the United States, Europe and Australia to complete the album.

The eleven song set starts out with “The Beginning,” a song that focuses on Bowers’ vocals. Her voice is light and airy, and it has a very enchanting feel. The second song “Wonder Stranger” opens up with bells and light percussion. It sounds like the intro to a horror film. You can picture a baby carriage rocking in a dark bedroom while a cold wind blows the curtains about the window. Continuing on through the album, “How Come” is another track that stands out. With its minimal guitar parts, it is Via Tania’s own ballad track. She sings a love song, “How come you love me like you are holding on to something, to someone?”

The album may be a bit hard to swallow at first; the songs don’t flow like typical pop songs. They aren’t easy for the listener to ingest right away. In other words, none of the tunes will leave you humming the melody after one listen. The tracks have many subtleties, and that is the true beauty of Moon Sweet Moon. Bowers’ voice is the most dynamic part of many of the songs. The minimal instrumental parts are light to the ear. The arrangements are brilliantly proportioned throughout the album. As with any good record, I always wonder what the artist can do live. So, if you can, check out Via Tania! I’m sure these recordings will make for a beautiful show.

Live:

Nov 10 2009 at Bordello Bar in Los Angeles, CA
Nov 11 2009 at Bootleg in Los Angeles, CA


Headlights

Remixes

Sometimes a remix (or a remix album) can be more fun than the actual songs/album itself. At other times, remixes can ruin the beauty of the original song. Headlights latest album, Remixes, defies both of these stereotypes. I actually think of it as a bonus disc! The tracks are from three of their albums; Kill Them With Kindness, Some Racing Some Stopping and their latest effort, Wildlife.

Headlights hail from Champaign, Illinois and formed in 2004. The group consists of Erin Fein, Seth Fein, Brett Sanderson and Tristan Wraight. The Fein’s and Sanderson had been playing music together since 1996, in bands such as Absinthe Blind and Orphans.

The album boasts remixes from The Album Leaf, Cale Parks and Son Lux, to name a few. After giving the album a few listens, I immediately fell in love with the Casiotone For The Painfully Alone’s remix of “So Much For The Afternoon.” Uzi & Ari remix “Towers,” which recalls sounds of “The Postal Service.” Jason Caddell of The Disemberment Plan fame produced “On April 2.” I wasn’t sure what to expect from this song, but it pleases with its abundance of electro-pop goodness. Headlights’ own Brett Sanderson remixes “Tokyo,” giving the tune a more mystical/spiritual feel.

Although it would be a dream to see Remixes performed live, I don’t think that will be happening any time soon. Still, their original songs make for a great show as well, so go see them!

Live:

Oct 28 2009 at Will’s Pub in Orlando, FL
Oct 29 2009 at Bottletree in Birmingham, AL
Oct 30 2009 at Hi Tone in Memphis, TN
Oct 31 2009 at The Iron Post in Urbana, IL



Grooms

Rejoicer

We here at BTR have been fans of “Grooms” since they were known as the Muggabears. Personally, I never thought Muggabears was a bad band name. It always reminded me of gummy bears, which is is odd, but definitely an enjoyable treat, much like the group itself. My favorite Muggabears tune was “Dead Kid Kicks.” I could hum that in my head for days.

But on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 the band issued a statement via their Myspace blog:

Hello Everybody,

We were Muggabears, now we’re Grooms. Is it a verb? Is it a noun? Not telling.

We’ve also put up a new song off our new album. The album is called Rejoicer. And the song is called Dreamsucker. We hope you like it.

If you don’t know about Grooms, they are a Brooklyn trio that have been around for about five years now. They just released their latest album, Rejoicer, on Death By Audio Records. Rejoicer is filled with lots of reverb. Lots and lots of reverb… In between all of the fuzzy goodness, I couldn’t help but recall the influence of Dinosaur Jr. It’s almost as if the DJ boys had some hipster kids and they made this new album. The first three track are the real standouts for me, but with each listen, the tunes grow on you. I am very fond of singer Travis Johnson’s voice. It has a slight uneasiness to me that is very attractive. He sounds as if he is experiencing both pain and pleasure when he sings, something that is quite difficult to pull off. Rejoicer boasts ten moody tracks that will be a surefire hit with all their Brooklyn peers.

Live:

Nov 5 2009 at Larry’s in Danbury, CT
Nov 8 2009 at AS 220 in Providence, RI
Nov 15 2009 at Contemporary Space 13 in Cincinnati, OH
Nov 16 2009 at Bishop Bar in Bloomington, OH

Link to this article:
http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1189

– Lottie Leymarie

Live at Old School Studios: Darwin and the Dinosaur

LIVE @ OLD SCHOOL STUDIOS with MR JASON – Saturday 24th October 2009  Listen here on BTR!

DARWIN AND THE DINOSAUR – Evolution. Discuss. Erm, OK, I’ll try. Has punk-pop evolved over the years? Well, today, YOU, yes YOU, can be the judge, cos we have 3 piece poppy, punky slightly techy Norwich band Darwin And The Dinosaur to be your audio stimulation.
Hey, Whaddaya Say, Let’s Radio!

00:43    Mr Jason’s Intro
01:42    A Song – Darwin And The Dinosaur – Live @ Old School Studios
05:16    Loaf – Darwin And The Dinosaur – Live @ Old School Studios
08:36    Bookends – Darwin And The Dinosaur – Live @ Old School Studios
11:08    New One – Darwin And The Dinosaur – Live @ Old School Studios
15:24    Short Circuit – Darwin And The Dinosaur – Live @ Old School Studios
20:18    Darwin And The Dinosaur – Live @ Old School Studios
24:02    And Hope To Die – Darwin And The Dinosaur – Live @ Old School Studios
28:03    Mustard – Darwin And The Dinosaur – Live @ Old School Studios
33:04    Darwin And The Dinosaur – Live @ Old School Studios
36:50    Mr Jason’s Outro
38:30    Outro Music

BAND MEMBERS
Alan    bass & vocals
Alex    guitar
Joe    drums

DARWIN AND THE DINOSAUR gigs
25th Oct 2009      The Next Big Thing 2009 Semi Final @ The B2     Norwich UK
31st Oct 2009     FREE (If In Fancy Dress. £1 If Not ) HALLOWEEN GIG @ The Marquee     Norwich UK
19th Feb 2010     In An Emergency Dial showcase w/ Science vs Romance, Fiorentina     Norwich UK

The band played together, in the same room, without the aid of a safety net (or headphones), and the set was mixed & recorded live to stereo analogue tape, just as nature intended, at Old School Studios v4.0 in Norwich, UK – http://www.oldschoolstudios.co.uk

Artist of the Week: Tyondai Braxton

Central Market, Tyondai Braxton’s solo debut for Warp Records, is a horse of a different color.

Comprised of seven songs (though ‘suites’ or ‘movements’ seems more apropos) the album is incredibly animated in sound, much like the zippy scores heard on Tom & Jerry and Looney Tunes, though far more eclectic. Braxton recorded Central Market with the aid of  New York’s Wordless Music Orchestra, and though it’s only about 42 minutes in length, it seems more like a full hour. There is just too much going on.

Each listen seems to yield illustrations of a new layer, like one of those sketch books clothing designers use. You know, the kind where each sheet has one set of details on it, stacked over many others with their own set of specific details, and all over the same root image? They used one in Iron Man, to show how Tony Stark came up with the schematics for his first suit.

Central Market
is like that, making it one of those rare albums that will never get old.  Hearing the classically comedic ‘boing’ sound effect in a genre-bending flume ride like “The Duck and the Butcher” is wild, as is the beautifully intricate guitar work that follows. Also the kazoo, not typically an instrument blessed with the spotlight, is given the keys to the car on Central Market, and who would have thought the little party favor that looks like a pipe could sound so playful and serious at the same time?

Bumping the record at a house party and expecting cartoon-ish antics, however, might be a stretch. Though it’s an audiophile’s dream come true, Central Market, which came out on September 15th, will fly over the heads of most people. This is trailblazing, bushwhacking work, and as such, it’s hard to imagine folk putting forth the significant listening effort required. As amazing as the epic 10 minute “Platinum Rows” is, it takes a few listens to grasp, and when albums like The Yolks or Free Energy are lying about, it’s easy to be lazy.

And that’s no insult to those bands. Tyondai is simply on another level of learned music, just like his legendary father Anthony Braxton. But while Dad works with flutes, clarinets and contrabass saxophones, the son prefers the full ensemble sound of his ‘orchestrated loops,’ and so much vocal manipulation that the end product is impossible to peg as coming from a living throat.

In other words, Tyondai isn’t writing songs so much as he is composing music, and that is ace. It’s been a great year for it so far, with Sufjan Stevens dropping The BQE and his collaboration with Osso for Run Rabbit Run (though I think Central Market is far more evolutionary).

There are no tour dates yet, which is unfortunate, but we can always hope. Performing a monument like Central Market would be a massive undertaking; a true once-in-a-lifetime experience, and one worth buying a plane ticket to see. Until that happens though, soak up Central Market all week on BTR, and don’t forget, there is a new Battles record to look forward to in 2010. We might not be able to hear Central Market performed any time soon, but another tour from Battles seems likely, and perhaps Tyondai will drop a solo song or two.

Link to this article:
http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=artist.php?id=250

– Matt Lehtola