Monolith Music Festival Adds Acts

If you hadn’t heard already, WOXY.com is sponsoring (along with some other, less important sponsors) the inaugural Monolith Music Festival at Red Rocks Ampitheatre outside Denver on the weekend of September 14-15. While the initial lineup was good, but not great, they’ve been adding a number of new bands and I am now seriously thinking about a trip out west.

The highlights (to me, at least):

The Flaming Lips
The Decemberists
Spoon
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Art Brut
The Broken West
Forget Cassettes
Mason Proper
De Novo Dahl
Minus Story
Ra Ra Riot

You can find a day-by-day schedule of bands here. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, June 2nd at 12pm Eastern via Ticketmaster. Single day tickets are $42.50, a two-day pass is $79.70, and a VIP Gold Pass is $175. Oh, and there are only 9,000 tickets available, so this sucker is going to sell out. Fast.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Thursday 31 May 2007 at 7:09 am

The Future of Music

Two very interesting pieces of news today that might (or might not) have a pretty big impact on the way we listen to music in the future.

First, CBS Corp. is buying Last.fm for $280 million. As a founder of a new Web 2.0 startup, this is pretty heartening news. As a music fan, though, I’m not sure how much of an impact this will have on my life. Last.fm is an interesting concept, but I tend to use it (when I use it at all) solely for its indexing function – i.e., the tool that records what you listen to and keeps a record of the number of times you listened to a particular song or band. It’s a pretty cool feature, and you can also use it to have Last.fm match you with other people with similar music taste.

That said, I’ve used Last.fm’s streaming music service exactly once, and wasn’t that impressed. My recollection is that you don’t have any real choice in what you hear, and instead their player plays random songs from bands you’ve listened to or other “similar” bands. This is similar to Pandora’s streams, and doesn’t interest me. I can put my iTunes on Shuffle and do the same thing. Or I can listen to WOXY.com and hear a lot of the same music, plus new music from new artists, with a knowledgeable, down-to-earth DJ. I know what I’ll choose.

The second piece of news is that LaLa.com (WOXY’s parent company) will be launching its own music streams. Why is this interesting? Because apparently LaLa will allow you to choose what you listen to, including individual songs or entire albums. While the streams won’t be of particularly high quality, they’ll be FREE, and give you the freedom to listen to what you want to. Then, if you like what you hear, you can use LaLa to buy the physical (and soon, the digital) copy of the album at a discounted rate. Now this is something I can get behind.

I’m no expert in this market, but it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that the bulk of the music listening audience wants choice in what they hear, an easy way to hear what the songs they want, and they don’t want to spend a lot of money. While my own sense is that the future of the music industry lies with micro-payments and/or individual-based licensing, I like LaLa’s model more than just about anything else out there right now.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Wednesday 30 May 2007 at 10:02 am

New Bob Pollard

I clearly don’t get over to Bob Pollard’s website enough, because if I did, I would have realized before now that Bob had another album under the Takeovers name coming out on June 12th. Not that anyone should be surprised by the fact that that most prolific songwriter in the recorded history of time has a new album, but still.

You may or may not recall that The Takeovers are actually Bob and former Guided by Voices bassist Chris Slusarenko. They’re joined on the new album, entitled Bad Football, by none other than Stephen Malkmus, Tad Doyle (of Tad), Dan Peters (of Mudhoney) and John Moen (of the Decemberists).

“Father’s Favorite Temperature” (strongly recommended)

Two more tracks are available here, and you can order the album here.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Tuesday 29 May 2007 at 9:27 pm

Ryan Adams Summer Tour

The first dates of Ryan’s summer tour in support of his new album Easy Tiger are out:

June
18 Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
19 Chicago, IL – The Black Orchid
20 Detroit, MI – Gem Theater
22 Toronto, ON – Enwave Theater
24 Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
28 Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore
29 Boston, MA – Somerville Theater

I don’t know much about most of these venues, but I find it pretty cool that he’s playing The Fillmore, i.e. TLA, in Philly. From what I recall, TLA only holds about 800 people. Does that mean we’ll get either an Irving show or, perchance to dream, two nights at the Bowery? (Or maybe a show at the still-mythical 1000 person capacity Music Hall of Williamsburg?)

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Tuesday 29 May 2007 at 2:11 pm

Who Is Cody Gillette?

I have no idea, but I’m absolutely loving the two songs (demos?) on his MySpace page. “Russian Inn” is flat out stunning. Extremely highly recommended.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Monday 28 May 2007 at 10:27 pm

Whigs News and Videos

I guess I would have discovered this if I’d managed to catch The Whigs at South By Southwest like I wanted to, but apparently bassist/keyboardist Hank Sullivant left the band at the end of last year and has been replaced – at least temporarily – by Sam Gunn of the band Iron Hero. (Via Wikipedia.) That’s too bad, as I found Hank to be a pretty damn good bassist with a ton of energy.

Nonetheless, from what I can tell from these videos of the band from SXSW (from Rolling Stone), their live show doesn’t seem to have lost a step:

“Technology”

“Violet Furs”

“Nothing is Easy”

“Half the World Away”

If you’re going to Bonnaroo next week, be sure to check them out!

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Monday 28 May 2007 at 9:58 pm

The National @ Bowery Ballroom [5/28/07]

Tonight was the first night of The National’s sold out 5-night stand at Bowery Ballroom here in New York, and it was spectacular. There were no surprise guests, and the setlist stuck primarily to Boxer and Alligator, with the exception of “Murder Me Rachael” (and one more?), but the band was in incredible form and sounded great. And, in what is becoming a really impressive tradition, the crowd was respectful during the quiet parts and an overall pleasure to be a part of, much like last year’s show at Webster Hall. Why can’t every crowd be like this??

Some pics:



For those going the next few nights, take note that the opener went on right around 9, and The National went on just a couple minutes after 10pm (and played until about 11:35pm or so). I don’t have tickets for any of the other Bowery shows, but I am seeing them in their “old” hometown of Cincinnati in a couple weeks. Can’t wait.

And, as for the openers, The Broken West, I’m sorry if you missed them. I’ve seen them live about 7 times now, and this was by and far the best set I’ve seen from them. I may need to catch them on Thursday at Maxwell’s with The Comas.


Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Monday 28 May 2007 at 9:25 pm

The Figgs @ Jen and Dave’s House, NJ [5/26/07]

The Figgs, “Jumping Again” (from 2006’s Follow Jean Through the Sea) [BUY]

So I’ve decided what I want to do when I grow up. I want to own a house with a decent-sized living room (or basement, or whatever) and throw a series of house concerts.

Last night we were lucky enough to catch The Figgs – one of the best live bands around – at the home of a very nice couple named Jen and Dave just outside of Philadelphia. Jen and Dave have been doing this for years, hosting musicians such as Graham Parker, John Wesley Harding, The Silos and more. It’s not a fancy setup, with about 50 folding chairs set up in a living room and a small setup of food and soda in the kitchen. But it was a lot of fun, and an opportunity to see a great band in a fascinating new environment. If you’re in the area, check out Jen and Dave’s website for info on their coming shows, and those of their friends.

As for the Figgs, they were, as usual, fantastic.


Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Sunday 27 May 2007 at 7:03 am

The Greatest Bird of All Time

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Friday 25 May 2007 at 6:02 pm

The Thanks We Get

As a “thank you” to their fans for making Sky Blue Sky the #4 album in America last week (and #7 in Norway, #9 in Canada, and top 40 in Sweden, Germany, Spain, Ireland and the UK), Wilco has released the studio version of their song “The Thanks I Get”. The song has been a live staple for the past few years, and the band even played in on their Tonight Show appearance last year. I was surprised it didn’t make it onto SBS, but the band has explained that the song was actually written for use by Solomon Burke on his forthcoming album. Either way, I’m glad to finally have a studio version from Wilco.

Wilco, “The Thanks I Get”

Edited to add: Well, links to this site from both Brooklyn Vegan and New York Magazine (thanks, guys!) did a bit of a number on my bandwidth. I think I’ve fixed it now, but if you have a problem downloading the song, your best bet is to click on the song title (not the play button) and then hit Refresh on your browser. The play button still isn’t working for some reason, though…

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Friday 25 May 2007 at 3:24 pm

Baby, You Got a Stew Goin’!

Don’t think I’ve ever posted this before. The dearly departed basis for the name of this blog.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Thursday 24 May 2007 at 5:01 pm

Phil Butchers His Own Song

I’ve been feeling guilty for the last few months that I didn’t buy tickets for the Genesis reunion tour. More than any other band, Genesis was the band I grew up hearing at home (thanks Dad!), and in many ways was the reason I became as big of a music fan as I am today. When the band announced that they’d be reuniting for a string of shows in Europe and the U.S. this year, I had every intention of going. Then two things hit me: (1) tickets are ridiculously expensive; and (2) the shows are in the fall, at a time when I have no idea where I’ll be living. (New York? DC? Chicago? San Francisco?) So I reluctantly opted not to buy tickets for any of the shows.

Holy hell am I glad I didn’t get a ticket. Here’s a clip of the band performing “Turn It On Again” on the VH1 Rock Honors show that’s airing tonight (I think).

Phil completely and utterly destroys this song. His vocals are lazy. It’s like he’s been singing adult contemporary crap for so long that he’s completely forgotten how to sing in a way that isn’t pandering to the listener. Seriously, take a listen to the original below. Granted, Phil was close to 30 years younger, but his vocals are so much more alive and urgent. Phil was still in the stage where he was trying to justify himself as a singer (let alone the replacement for Peter Gabriel), and he really threw himself into his performances. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way he lost this, and we’re left with the bland, sputtering spectacle that he’s giving us today. Sad.

“Turn It On Again” (from Duke) [BUY]

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Thursday 24 May 2007 at 1:57 pm

Two New Ryan Adams Songs!

Before you get your hopes up too high, I just discovered these are only “partial” MP3s, both running about 2 minutes and then fading out. Still, though, they’re worth checking out.

“Two”
Everybody Knows”

Both songs are from Ryan’s new album entitled Easy Tiger, which comes out on Lost Highway on June 26th. The pre-release buzz is pretty good so far, with people calling it his most-realized album to date. We’ll see if that’s true or whether it’s just PR-bull. If these songs are indicative of the album as a whole, though, I’m pretty hopeful.

Just a note, though — I normally am not a fan of posting “teaser” MP3s. I think they’re a waste of time. Sure, I can tell from these two-minute snippets that I like the general feel of both songs, but I have no idea if their full versions are 3 or 4 minute, concise songs, or if they turn into 16-minute Dead-lite jams. And, frankly, that’s important to know before dropping money on the album. I think it’s a much smarter, fan-friendly practice to release one full MP3 to blogs, websites, etc. ahead of an album. If people like it, presumably the fact that they already “own” one song won’t keep them from buying the album. Plus, it builds goodwill, showing that artists trust their fans. Wilco trusts their fans, and that just scored them 87,000 units sold in their first week and a string of sold-out dates this summer. The model works, folks. Stop burying your head in the sand and pretending you can avoid the realities of the Internet.

(That said, I’m posting these snippets anyway because Ryan’s one of my favorite musicians, and I’m excited for the album.)

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Thursday 24 May 2007 at 11:54 am

New Okkervil River

Not sure how I missed this earlier… oh, yeah I am — I don’t read Pitchfork much anymore. Well, it turns out they debuted the lead track from Okkervil River’s new album, Stage Names, more than two months before its August release.

My quick thoughts after one listen? Pretty good. Not sure I like the production (sorry, Jim Eno), though – Will’s voice is a little too clean and 80’s-sounding to me.

Okkervil River, “Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe”

Definitely need to let this one settle a bit, though. Can’t wait to hear the album.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Wednesday 23 May 2007 at 10:05 pm

The Most Important Movie Ever Made

This ain’t it, but it looks like it should be a gory mess-o-fun nonetheless.

I won’t be satisfied unless there’s at least 14 beheadings.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Wednesday 23 May 2007 at 5:05 pm

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