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From Joey Rubin,
Your Guide to Alternative Music.
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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)

Sunday August 26, 2007 | permalink | comments (0)

Blog Digest: Les Savy Fav want your video, Thurston Moore wants your ticket purchases and other news from around the world in Blog

  • Over at Stereogum, we learn that Les Savy Fav wants you to make their new video. Why can't they make it? Because it's more fun if you make it. For you, that is. Really. Make it.
  • As the title of this post may indicate, Sonic Youth-er Thurston Moore is touring. He'd like you to attend. Please do. Brooklyn Vegan has the details — like the tour dates and stuff.
  • I can't figure out how to link to individual posts over at Fluxblog, so I won't. But if you go there and scan down, you may find some information on Junior, Senior's last live show offerings. Like, um, a live show review. If you want to call it that.
  • Everything they do over at Daytrotter is great. Even the occasional mediocre band they solicit puts on a good show for them. And what do they go and do every single time? Offer it to us, the Internet cheapskate, for free. That's no cost, folks. Gratis. So go to it. Download these songs by Jana Hunter. (Not that Hunter is mediocre. I didn't imply that, did I? If so — didn't mean to).
  • The Marathon Pack-men are collecting mid-year favorite tracks, and offering them up to you, cheap-o. So if you are curious as to their tastes, or interested in expanding your own, proceed forth to that link. You may be sorry, but if you aren't, that would be good.
  • This Aint No Picasso gets all giddy about Beck. Here. And here. Because, you know, this guy is some new unheard of artist and we better start spreading the word or else. (This is a tough industry for that little guy, aint it?)
Friday August 17, 2007 | permalink | comments (2) 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 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.

Friday August 10, 2007 | permalink | comments (2)

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)

Tuesday August 7, 2007 | permalink | comments (0)

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.

First it was Menomena, then it was Aqueduct. Not it is John Vanderslice and his sixth solo album Emerald City.

Then buy it, and tell me it's not great.

(Image courtesy of John Vanderslice & Barsuk Records)

Friday August 3, 2007 | permalink | comments (0)

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.)

Saturday July 28, 2007 | permalink | comments (2)

Indie Rock Education: A Profile of Godspeed You! Black Emperor

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)

Tuesday July 24, 2007 | permalink | comments (0)

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:

  • Seether is from South Africa but now lives in L.A.
  • Seether has released two full-length albums, both are certified Gold. One of them was certified Gold twice. (Additional trivia: two Gold's doesn't always equal a Platinum — go figure.)
  • The band averages 275 live performances a year. (That may be more often than I blog.)

Oh, and also, some tour dates:

  • 9/8: Hutchinson, KS @ Kansas State Fair
  • 9/9: Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
  • 9/11: Toledo, OH @ Headliners
  • 9/18: Pittsburgh, PA @ Post Gazette Pavilion
  • 9/19: Binghampton, NY @ Broome County Arena
  • 9/21: Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion
  • 9/22: Hershey, PA @ Hershey Park Stadium
  • 9/25: Roanoke, VA @ Roanoke Civic Center
  • 9/26: Raleigh, NC @ Walnut Creek Amph
  • 9/28: Charlotte, NC @ Verizon Wireless Amph
  • 9/29: Huntsville, AL @ Big Spring Jam
  • 10/2: Bloomington, IL @ US Cellular Coliseum
  • 10/3: Green Bay, WI @ Resch Center
  • 10/5: Fargo, ND @ Fargodome
  • 10/07: Duluth, MN @ Duluth Entertainment CC
  • 10/9: Waterloo, IA @ McElroy Auditorium
  • 10/11: Grand Rapids, MI @ DeltaPlex
  • 10/12: Saginaw, MI @ Dow Events Center
  • 10/26: Asbury Park, NJ @ Convention Hall
  • 10/27: Utica, NY @ Utica Auditorium
  • 10/28: Portland, ME @ Cumberland County CC
  • 10/30: Buffalo, NY @ Argi Center & Hamburg FG
  • 10/31: Ft. Wayne, IN @ Allen County War Mem. Col.
  • 11/2: Huntington, WV @ The Big Sandy Superstore Arena
  • 11/3: Greenville, SC @ Littlejohn Coliseum
  • 11/4: Chattanooga, TN @ UTC Mckenzie Arena
  • 11/6: Tupelo, MS @ Bancorp South Center
  • 11/7: Baton Rouge, LA @ Baton Rouge Civic Center
  • 11/9: Oklahoma City, OK @ Cox Center
  • 11/10: Belton, TX @ Bell County Expo Center
  • 11/11: Dallas, TX @ Nokia Live
  • 11/13: Houston, TX @ Reliant Center
  • 11/14: Biloxi, MS @ Mississippi Coast Coliseum
Saturday July 21, 2007 | permalink | comments (0)

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)

Thursday July 19, 2007 | permalink | comments (0)

Devendra Banhart Sets Fall Tour Dates

Word on the street is Devendra Banhart, New Folk singer-songwriter extraordinaire, has set a slew of fall tour dates to support his new album, due out September 25.

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:

  • 9/1: Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
  • 9/2: Seattle, WA @ Bumbershoot
  • 9/4: Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
  • 9/6: Santa Cruz, CA @ Rio Theater
  • 9/7: Berkeley, CA @ Zellerbach Hall
  • 9/10: Denver, CO @ Ogden Theater
  • 9/12: Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium
  • 9/13: Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall Theater
  • 9/15 Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
  • 9/16: Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater
  • 9/18: Chicago, IL @ Portage Theater
  • 9/19: Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theater
  • 9/21: Toronto, Canada @ Danforth Music Hall
  • 9/22: Montreal, Canada @ Theatre National
  • 9/23: Burlington, VT @ Davis Center Grand Ballroom
  • 9/25: Boston, MA @ Roxy Ballroom
  • 9/27: New York City, NY @ Grand Ballroom
  • 9/29: Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of Living Arts
  • 10/1: Washington DC @ Sixth and I Historic Synagogue
  • 10/4: Nashville, TN @ City Hall
  • 10/6: Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
  • 10/7: Austin, TX @ La Zona Rosa
  • 10/9: Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
  • 10/10: Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theater
  • 10/12: Phoenix, AZ @ Marquee Theater
  • 10/13: Los Angeles, CA @ Orpheum
Saturday July 14, 2007 | permalink | comments (0)

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