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Indie Rock Education: Built To Spill
Vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Doug Martsch formed Indie Rock band Built To Spill in Boise, Idaho in 1993. After the band's debut, the original rhythm section was replaced with permanent members bassist Brett Nelson and drummer Andy Capps. Built To Spill's second LP received good press, and Martsch signed to Warner Brothers in '95. The band has released four albums between '97 and 2006, all highly acclaimed.
(Image courtesy of Getty Images)
Blog Digest: Les Savy Fav want your video, Thurston Moore wants your ticket purchases and other news from around the world in Blog
Ourstage.com: Another Site Doing the Job of the Record Industry
For those of you that think these Internets are the future of the music biz, there's a new site launching August 13 that you may want to notice: Ourstage.com. Ourstage is a video/music community/competition site that invites unsigned bands and video-makers to post their art online once there, site visitors are invited to judge this content with aims of sorting the wheat from the chaff (or some such "discovering the good stuff" metaphor).
The site is up right now in beta version, so if you feel like serving the (former) role of the recording industry, head on over and start judging. The winners you choose may end up on stages at CMJ, SXSW, Bonnaroo, or just stuffing their pockets with thousands of dollars of cash money.
Oh, and I guess if you are a music or video maker, you might want to head on over and figure out how to get involved. Seven lucky bands are already on their way to compete in the Starbucks Music Makers Competition. Because these days, Starbucks doesn't only make venti non-fat extra-dry cappucinos, they also make musicians' careers. And so does Ourstage. Or so they (and maybe you, young rocker) hope.
Alt Rock Education: Profile of Blur
Blur was one of the most popular Britpop bands of the mid-'90s. They released their debut in 1991, beginning a streak of seven UK Top 20 albums, with their last five full-lengths all hitting #1 in England. In the US, Blur are cult favorites, only entering the Billboard Top 200 on their last four CDs and never reaching the Top 40...
Learn everything you need to know about this essential alt rock band:
(Image courtesy of Blur)
Album Review: John Vanderslice's Emerald City
Thank G-d I'm on the Barsuk Records mailing list for they have done it again.
Done what? You ask. Well, I say, sent me another contender for the Bets Album of the Year.
Then buy it, and tell me it's not great.
(Image courtesy of John Vanderslice & Barsuk Records)
Shoegaze is back, Guardian says
If you're a loyal reader of this site (which I'm sure you are), then you remember when, a little while back, Michael Keefe profiled the genre of Shoegaze and argued, persuasively (if quietly) that the genre indie rock defined by "processed, swirling guitars" was currently reemerging with a number of contemporary bands.
Because the Guardian is obviously a loyal reader of this site: they just ran an article about the reemergence of Shoegaze as a popular contemporary indie style
See, there was a bit of backlash in the UK when Shoegaze was first popular and the Brits seem a little bemused to see the genre back on the rise (from the Guardian article):
The term is the first problem: it began life as it remains a derogatory word coined by Food Records boss Andy Ross in 1990, co-opted by the NME to describe bands like Slowdive, Chapterhouse and Moose, who would stare at their pedals through their curtains of hair rather than engage with their fans when they played live.
Personally, I'm excited and hope the trend sticks. My Bloody Valentine have always been one of my favorite bands sure, their tunes aren't good for any mood (OK, nor for many moods) but there is a strange and compelling beauty to their sound. And since they only left us with two full albums, I'll gladly take a handful of contemporary copy-cats in their stead.
What do you think? (Leave irate/supportive comments below.)
Indie Rock Education: A Profile of Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Canadian Post-Rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor formed in Montreal, Quebec in 1994. The nine-piece ensemble combines Indie Rock with Chamber Music to create their dark and dramatic instrumental material. Although the line-up of GY!BE has shifted over the years, they are generally comprised of electric guitar and bass, drums, and strings.
Even though they have an awkwardly punctuated name (or maybe because they have an awkwardly punctuated name), you should learn more about this progressive rock band by reading Michael Keefe's intelligent musings/articulate biographical document:
(Image (c) Godspeed You! Black Emperor)
Seether Alert: New Album, More Tour Dates on Horizon
Fans of Seether rejoice: a little bird (named "press release") told me that the band is in the studio recording a follow-up to their last LP, Karma & Effect. It's got a title, this new project, as well: Finding Beauty in Negative Space. (Unnecessary editorial aside: does one italicize album titles for albums that don't exist yet?). It's due to be released October 23rd of this year, 2007.
Things I didn't know about Seether but just learned and thought you, too, dear reader, might find interesting:
Oh, and also, some tour dates:
Indie Rock Education: What is Post-Rock?
Rising as a genre in the '90s, Post-Rock is a form of Indie Rock, often instrumental, that emphasizes dynamics and mood. Although primarily performed on traditional Rock instruments, Post-Rock's sound often mimics the dramatic build-ups of Classical music.
Learn everything you need to know about Post-Rock to sound smart and parties...oh, and to become a fan of this experimental and emotionally stirring genre in Michael Keefe's new profile of Post-Rock:
(Image (c) Mogwai)
Devendra Banhart Sets Fall Tour Dates
The tour will be North American and will include a few of Banhart's friends: Noah Georgeson (9/1-7), Rio En Medio (9/10-16), Matteah Baim (9/18-10/1), Jana Hunter (10/4-7) and Hecuba (10/9-13). The dates and locations are as follows:
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