Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Willie

Birthdays are special days indeed. It's always nice to celebrate another year in the lives of those we cherish. It's come to my attention that today is the birthday of everyone's favorite Red-Headed Stranger: Mr. Willie Nelson.

I'm sure many of you are going to be having special celebrations in honor of Willie and his...extracurriculars. But let's all take a moment and tip our hats to the man, on this, his 76th birthday, because he's one of the baddest boys around, always has been and always will be. Heck, I'm probably gonna throw on some Stardust when I get home this evening.

And speaking of birthdays...there's only one month and fifteen days until yours truly hits a major milestone. Vinyl definitely makes getting older a little easier.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Singles Club: Phoenix's 1901 (Alan Wilkis Remix)

Just received word from LET favorite Alan Wilkis that he's putting the finishing touches on his upcoming EP, Pink and Purple. We should see the fruits of Mr. Wilkis' labor in late May. I'm told we can expect to hear six new tracks, plus a few remixes. Will it be an homage to 80s preppies? I suppose we shall just have to wait and find out then.

It would appear the good Alan is in quite the remixing mood these days, as he provided us with his take on Phoenix's 1901. If this is what he's doing with other people's stuff, I can't wait to hear what he's got coming for himself. Late May is sounding better and better all the time.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Video Vixens: Auto-Tune the News

Good Lord and Butter, it's been some time since we did an official Video Vixens 'round these parts. Well, let me see if I can make it right by you today with this absolutely stunning bit of musical funnery from Auto-Tune the News.

Whatever your thoughts on the digital processing of a singer's voice, brothers Michael and Andrew Gregory make me want Katie Couric in all new ways I never thought possible.

mp3: Pirates. Drugs. Gay Marriage.

Funniest damn thing I've seen all day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day! And Now, Some Free Music

It's time once again to give Mama Earth a big thank you, and to do mass amounts of reducing, reusing, and recycling. It was/is a beautiful day here in Richmond, which makes for a nice celebratory backdrop for Earth Day.

Why not get a hold of some free music while paying homage to our Earth Mother? Sounds good, right? The good, good folks at WFMU (in collaboration with other good, good folks) put together a little internet library of free tuneage that you, yes you, can download gratis. If you haven't already taken a peek, click yourself right on over to the Free Music Archive and get your download on. It's the Beta version, so expect some growing pains and changes as the WFMUers grow and improve.

Happy Earth Day, friends.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Time to Give

Well, I've professed my love and admiration for the fine folks over at the Mark Sandman Music Project before, and I'm about to do it again.

2009 marks the 10 year anniversary since the incomparable Mr. Sandman's passing, and the folks at the Music Project have teamed up with the cats at Hi-N-Dry records to do some special things to show the world that Mark's dream of providing musical opportunities to kids lives on.

Starting on July 3 (the date of Mark's final concert in Palestrina, Italy), a number of artists will post their renditions of Sandman compositions at the Hi-N-Dry website to stream and/or download. Additionally, selections of Mark's solo spoken word performances and "deep archive tracks" will be available. The series will culminate in September with a concert in Mark Sandman Sq. in Central Square, Cambridge, on or around Mark's birthday. The concert will feature a rare performance by Orchestra Morphine, a silent auction, and more.

All proceeds, of course, benefit the foundation.

Donations can be made by check to:

The Mark Sandman Music Project
191 Highland Ave, B-7 Somerville, MA 02143

or at

mp3: Why Can't It Be Like The Old Days (spoken word, live at the 40 Watt, March 22, 1999)

Monday, April 20, 2009

LP Lust: Easter Bunny Edition

When I was younger, Easter was definitely up there in my list of favorite holidays. I loved getting gussied up in some seriously cute dresses for Easter Sunday service, and even moreso I loved hunting for easter baskets, left around the house for me by none other than the Easter Bunny (otherwise known as Mom). These days, Easter has slipped out of my faves (though I do still look forward to Cadbury Creme Egg season, and we all know how much fun Peeps can be). But that didn't stop me spending a little cash money in honor of those bunny-filled days of yore. Shocking, I know.

Here's what made its way into my easter basket this year:

*Brooklyn Bridge - Brooklyn Bridge
*Prince & the Revolution - Purple Rain
*Willie & Leon - One for the Road
*Lew Davis & His Orchestra - The Kissin' Cousins Sing
*10cc - Greatest Hits 1972-1978
*Cat Stevens - Teaser & the Firecat
*Ray Charles - Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music
*Waylon Jennings - Ladies Love Outlaws
*Bobby Bare - Sings Lullabies, Legends, and Lies
*Quincy Jones - I Heard That!
*Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon
*Spencer Davis & Peter Jameson - It's Been So Long
*John Barry - Conducts His Greatest Movie Hits
*Soft Cell - Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reznor Named King of All Things Social Media

Sometimes I worry that I write far too much about Trent Reznor, but, damnation, the guy is so far ahead of the game when it comes to the current state of the music industry, I can't help myself.

We've told you about numerous free albums, samplers and tracks he's posted for free on his site. If you haven't seen it, the guy's a Twitter freak, too.

Well, all that apparently was child's play, as the sumbitch now has officially launched his own iPhone app (Android and Blackberry ports allegedly are in the works). Now, I'm still playing with the thing myself, but it could be the most genius thing I've ever seen, wis-à-vis a band marketing itself through Web 2.0 outlets. Not only does this thing allow access to a boatload of music and videos, but it also has the vaunted "Nearby" feature, essentially a GPS/Twitter mixture that allows users to post their current thoughts and locations, ostensibly allowing like-minded NIN fans to get together to do whatever like-minded NIN fans do. I imagine it involves wearing a lot of black, but I digress.

If you've got an iPhone, I strongly suggest checking this thing out, regardless of your feelings on NIN, as this should be the future of what bands start doing in the future. Assuming that is the case, me likey. Me likey a LOT.

To get your iPhone app, click here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Say It Ain't So!: Gravity Lounge Closed!

Well file this under seriously shitty news on a gross, seriously icky day. Charlottesville has lost another music venue, the deceased this time being the Gravity Lounge. Evidently back rent is a big reason for the shuttering of the space.

Sure, paying rent is pretty darn important. I don't think anyone could argue that. But even more important is the fact that this is just the latest in a disturbingly growing list of venue closures in the greater Richmond/Charlottesville area.
First it was the loss of the excellent Satellite Ballroom, a great Charlottesville event space that was closed to make way for another drugstore. Next went Toad's Place here in Richmond (which, frankly, was thanks to some super crap owners/management. Interest in/knowledge of the music industry should probably be a prerequisite for owning a venue.). Toad's was followed to the grave by the Czar, which for all intents and purposes had seemed to be picking up steam and collecting a steady stream of gigs featuring local and touring bands. Long-time Richmonders also knew it as the former Nancy Raygun, which closed a couple years back. And now, Charlottesville has lost another venue: the Gravity Lounge. I'd only been there once, to see Birdmonster and Birdlips, but I really dug the place. It had a great, cozy atmosphere, and any place with tons of books around is definitely alright with me. Gravity Lounge, you will be missed.

It's not just the owners of these venues that lose when their places are forced to close, my friends. All of us are losers. It's bad for the city and bad for the music scene as a whole. I can't stress enough how important it is to have multiple venues in cities in order to keep local music scenes striving. We all know times are tough, but please do get out to your local venues whenever you can.

And for us Richmonders, head out to Gallery5 on the 25th, for their 4th Anniversary Benefit show. G5 is too good a space to even consider losing, so let's all do what we can to keep it around.

Fight the good fight, my friends.

LP Lust: Welcome Home Edition

Restraint. It's an interesting word, isn't it? Some synonyms for restraint include supression and confinement, neither of those being words I am particularly fond of. Especially when applied to my record-buying habits.

Some people have drugs, I have vinyl.

I also have a clear lack of restraint when it comes to supressing my urge to add to my collection. So, in honor of my return to Richmond from SXSW, I decided to loosen the (already lax) reigns on my spending and procure a multitude of albums from a couple of my favorite suppliers. Just as a welcome home to myself.

Here's what happened the first time:

*Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

*Donovan - Donovan

*Tony Cole - If the Music Stops

*Rod Stewart - Gasoline Alley

*Orpheus - Joyful

*The Ray Charles Singers - Slices of Life

*Big Ben Banjo Band - Happy Banjos Play the Beatles

*Herman's Hermits - Herman's Hermits

*Grace Jones - Warm Leatherette

*Donovan - Slow Down World

*Robert Palmer - Secrets

*Electric Light Orchestra - El Dorada: A Symphony by the Electric Light Orchestra

*David Frye - I Am the President

And here's what happened the second time:

*Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark - Architecture & Morality

*U2 - The Unforgettable Fire

*George Jones - I Am What I Am

*Chris Isaak - Silvertone

*Glen Campbell - Burning Bridges

*Charley Pride - Sweet Country

*Various - Great Country & Western Stars

As you can see, both trips were very fruitful...

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm Quitting My Job to Become a BJMhead

Ok, so, not really. But after the pair of Brian Jonestown Massacre shows I went to this past weekend/week, the idea of leaving work behind and following them around the planet on tour seems like a pretty darned good one. Anton Newcombe is my pied piper...

My enlightenment began the evening of Saturday, April 4th, at the Trocadero in Philly. My friend and I did our drinking beforehand, so as to not get stuck in the drinking pen (pardon me, bar area) the Troc utilizes to keep their alcohol in check. Whatever. Lame venue policies are not important. What was/is important is that I was on pins and needles to finally see the Brian Jonestown Massacre for the first time ever. From our vantagepoint at the side of the stage under the balcony overhang, we had a great view of everyone (save for Anton, most of the time). So when certain people (Matt Holllywood and Joel Gion) strolled and sauntered onstage, I had the perfect view, and subsequently nearly fainted from the sheer bliss of it all. It was, without question, the best show I've been to this year (excluding SXSW, of course). With the return of so many original(ish) members to the lineup, the songs sounded as they were meant to sound: thorougly beautiful. And really, I can't think of any other contemporary band that can pull off having four, sometimes five (count 'em: Anton, Matt, Frankie, and Ricky, with Rob splitting time between keys and guitar) guitarists and not sound like overindulgent assholes, or like a jumbled mess. I had been prepared to see just about anything at the Troc that night, but I hadn't quite been ready for how good the band was going to be. If you were to close your eyes and imagine the most perfect Jonestown gig ever, you might think of the Philly show. Anton's days of freaking out seem to be a distant memory; he even complimented the crowd on how "handsome" we all were. "Anemone," "Who?", "Got My Eye on You", "Not If You Were the Last Dandy on Earth", "Oh Lord", and "Servo" were all part of the extensive set. And hearing nearly a third of my favorite BJM album, Take It From the Man!, was glorious. I think I was smiling for the entire two hours I was at the show. Everyone there, band included, seemed to be having a great time. It was nigh on perfect, friends. So perfect, that I decided to scrap my plans to see Neko Case here in Richmond on the following Monday, and instead hit the 95 trail and see the BJM at the lovely 9:30 Club.

The show on Monday, April 6th, was just as perfect. The crowd was, astonishingly, even more raucous than in Philly. And I for one didn't expect the place to be as packed as it was, though it certainly made me happy to see all those smiling faces. The setlist featured many similar songs to the Philly show, though in a far different order. I had a wonderful vantage point for the show, up on the balcony to the right of the stage. I could see everyone well, including Anton, this time. They awed me once more, and I wondered to myself how it was possible for one single band to be so freakishly talented. Song after song after song, every single note was perfect. I also got a kick out of the band's collective blatant disregard for the no-smoking in DC thing, as band member after band member lit up and puffed away. Seeing Joel doing his thing with the tambourine and a drooping ciggy made my night complete. And then, after just over two and a half hours later, it was over. But it was sublime, friends. Sublime. And by the way, add Matt Hollywood to my list of crushes...

We've all seen "Dig!" by now. We're all aware of how shambolic this band used to be, how it teetered on the brink of implosion (not to mention greatness) every other day. But we've also seen how fucking transcendant this band can be when they're together. For my money, they're one of the best live bands out there, and one of a very exclusive list of bands that would induce me to drive all the way to Philly and back in a 24-hour span. And in a perfect world, I'd quit my job and follow them around like one of those wacky Phish fans. Just minus all the patchouli.

DC Set:
1. Whoever You Are
2. Vacuum Boots
3. B.S.A.
4. Nevertheless
5. When Jokers Attack
6. Sailor
7. Who?
8. Got My Eye on You
9. Servo
10. Yeah Yeah
11. That Girl Suicide
12. Wasted
13. Hide And Seek
14. Wisdom
15. Not If You Were the Last Dandy on Earth
16. A New Low in Getting High
17. Anenome
18. Nailing Honey to the Bee
19. Here It Comes
20. Prefab Ambulation
21. Telegram
22. Serious Matters
23. Oh Lord
24. Satellite
25. Swallowtail

And as a special treat, a little Brian Jonestown Massacre for you, live and in person. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Zut Alors!: 2009 NIN|JA Tour

Before I get into anything else, I'd like to say for the record that the upcoming Nine Inch Nails/Jane's Addiction tour has possibly the coolest name of all times. I mean, seriously, they're calling it NINJA 2009. Seeing as the third act on the bill is Street Sweeper, I'd probably have called it NINJAS, but who am I to question the marketing gods?

To whet everyone's appetite for the impending festivities, the boys decided to give the fans a little sampler goodness. All you need to do is sign-up at the NINJA site, but we've got a couple of treats here for you if you're just too damn lazy to go that extra step yourself. You'd be a fool not to check it out if you're fans of any of the bands, however, as there are tons of things to watch and listen to there.

I'm not sure if I'm happier with the fact that Reznor produced some previously non-studio faves from JA or that Trent's stuff simply is as good as it is, but it's a dilema I don't mind having.

Regretfully for area readers, the NINJA tour is coming to the Nissan Pavillion, inarguably the worst venue in the southeastern US, if not on the entire East Coast. I'd say in the world, but that clearly would be hyperbole, even if it is true. Remember what happened the last time we had a major act at NP? Seriously, I've never been to one show there where it took LESS than two hours to get out of that parking lot. One road to and from the final stretch of road in and out of the place?

I'm not sure who to blame for booking the place, as it clearly does enough business to justify its own existense. However, it's a slap in the face to fans who want nothing more than to have a good time at an easily accessible venue.

Sadly, I will not be attending the sure-to-be fiasco waiting to happen that is the Nissan Pavillion. If any of our loyal readers attend, however, pick me up an XL NINJA tee shirt, would you, please? I just can't get enough of that namey goodness.

mp3: Chip Away by Jane's Addiction

mp3: Not So Pretty Now by Nine Inch Nails

mp3: Clap for the Killers by Street Sweeper

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

We Have a Winner!

We like to think we're a little generous here at LET. So we teamed up with the fabulous folks at Light In the Attic to offer you the chance to win a copy of Serge Gainsbourg's seminal/legendary/necessary album Histoire de Melody Nelson. We'd like to give much thanks to everyone who entered our little Serge Gainsbourg contest. But the contest has been closed, and a name drawn out of a hat (yep, we're super fancy around here, eh?). Here's our winner, and the name of their favorite French song (which impressed us!)...

*Melissa K., from Richmond ("Comment Te Dire Adieu" by Francoise Hardy)

A hearty congratulations to Melissa, and we'll be in touch. Enjoy your brand-spanking new Serge album!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April 1st Fun

I'm sure there are dozens of examples out there, so feel free to post links to others in the comments section, but here are some of our favorite musician-specific April Fools for 09:

Mike Doughty, who has something fun ever year, sent out this email:

"Greetings from Portugal, where Scrap and I are currently touring! I'd like to fill you in on a new online venture I've launched.

Inspired by my study of ancient South and Central American cultures, I've started up a new website, -- a social network where people take up the avatar of a Mayan person, god, or city.

Check it out, especially if you're a Mesoamerican culture + mythology buff (as I'm sure most of you are). Members can contact me personally on at my screen name, Huehuetenango2727

(Please note that MayanSpace is a limited-time-only project; the site will only be active through the fall of 2012. So sign up now so you don't miss

Não acredite que tudo que você leu,
Mike Doughty"

And then LET favorite Nine Inch Nails (more from them later this week) decided to offer up this
free goodie. Nothing foolish about that.