White Denim – Shake, Shake, Shake

Austin-based White Denim seriously rock.  They have a stripped down Stooges/White Stripes vibe that just feels really good.  They’ve been releasing new videos to their forthcoming LP, Exposion, due out November 3. Until then, you can check out their EP, Let’s Talk About It, available on eMusic and RCDLBL.

Shake, Shake, Shake video:

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New Chad VanGaalen Video – Molten Light

I was pleased to find a new video circulating today from Chad VanGaalen.  I wrote last week about his new album he has out, Soft Airplane.  He’s a wonderful and interesting artist, notoriously very reclusive and apparently obsessed with death and other morbid topics.  He illustrated this video himself.  Giving us all maybe a bit too much insight into the ways of his twisted mind.

Here’s a track from Soft Airplane, ‘Willow‘.

Here’s the video for ‘Molten Light’:

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Ra Ra Riot – Ghost Under Rocks Video

I fell in love with Ra Ra Riot at SXSW this year.  They are infectious live performers in a very Arcade Fire, Baroque Pop (eww, I can’t believe I just used that term) sort of way.  Their debut album, The Rhumb Line, just released last week.  I just downloaded it today.  If their album is as good as their live performance, I’m sure they will be on my Album of the Week list shortly. Until then, enjoy a taste of their sound with their new video, Ghost Under Rocks.

Oh, and make sure to catch them live at The Rickshaw Stop September 24.  It’s on my calendar.

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Sugar Man

I’m convinced children are hard wired with an innate survival instinct to charm you to tears just as your about to completely lose your mind with their relentless whining, battles of will and tests of patience. Such was the case this morning when the following conversation ensued:

Judah: “I need to go outside, Momma, in my bare feet and pick some flowers for my blankie.  Roses.”  

Me: “Really? OK, just make sure you don’t prick yourself on the thorns.”   

Judah: “Thorns? Oh. I’ll just leave them for the bumblebees then.”

OK, heart melting. All transgressions forgotten. You’re good for the next week or so, then you better come up with something else sweet and irresistible to get me through the next rough patch. I’m sure you will, Sugar Man.

Featured track:  Rodriguez, Sugar Man

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Trailblazing for Radiohead

I took a bunch of photos with my puny little digital camera at the Outside Lands Festival yesterday in Golden Gate Park, but this one captured the essence of the evening for me.  Throngs of humanity trampling barriers and blazing trail through Eucalyptus groves to get to Radiohead.  Anxiety got the best of the crowd during Beck as thousands of people realized they had to haul ass across the park to get a seat for Radiohead. And no one had the patience to be herded through the narrow walkways set up by festival organizers.  

We all got there in the end, but it was a squash.  Much more so than the All Points West show in New York two weeks ago.  But that in part was due to the festival capacity.  There were reportedly 60,000 people at Outside Lands vs. 30,000 at All Points West.  Even with the bigger crowds, however, Outside Lands was a much better organized event.  I didn’t feel like I missed half of the festival waiting in lines.  And not having to consume alcohol in a designated Beer Garden was a plus. 

The technical difficulties we experienced during Radiohead was quite a let down.  The sound cut out twice for substantial periods during the performance. But once the crowd settled down and people stopped shoving to get to their destination, we all had a fantastic time.  I’ve always had great Radiohead experiences.  And while this performance wouldn’t rank to the top of my Radiohead show list, it certainly didn’t disappoint.  They are always exceptional to see live.  Each performance is just a different degree of greatness.

To see the full Radiohead set list, go to 58Hours, a great Radiohead concert database.  My highlight for the evening? Paranoid Android.

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iTunes Rumored to Launch Subscription Model – Finally!

I read today on the ListeningPost about rumors that iTunes is planning to launch an unlimited music subscription service in late October with the release of iTunes 7.8.  It’s reported the annual subscription fee will be $130/year (or $100 for MobileMe subscribers) and will give users the ability to download to nearly half of all the songs in the iTunes store in a 256-Kbps format.  The other half apparently will require a new deal with copyright holders.

It sounds like the model will operate similar to Rhapsody.  Subscription songs would be playable in iTunes and would be transportable and playable on certain devices – namely the iPod and iPhone.  According to the tipster, when you log on to iTunes, you will get the option to ‘Buy’ (purchase and keep) or ‘Get’ your music (download and Play throughout iTunes Unlimited Subscription).

Hooray for Apple for taking a step in the right direction. I’ve long been a proponent of the subscription-based music model and a huge fan of services like Rhapsody.  It just makes sense.  And with the emergence of even more technologies like Topspin, we will see more and more artist going direct to fans with subscription-based offers.

Now if only Apple would budge on their DRM policy and move to pure MP3s.

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Michael Phelps Has Horrid Taste in Music

Just when I thought swimming God Michael Phelps could do no wrong, I found this ‘Celebrity Playlist’ on Rhapsody that made me gag.  So what does the Adonis listen to pre-race to get fired up?  Twista, Usher, Outkast, Eminem and GUnit.  Blech. Sorry Michael, I tend to judge a man by the music he keeps and you just fell into the abyss on my cool quotient.  But hey, with a body like that, I can forgive and forget.

Go ahead, stream Michael’s playlist on Rhapsody – if you dare.

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Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours

ArtistCut Copy
Album: In Ghost Colours
File Under: Electropop
Recommended if You Like: New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Ladytron, LCD Soundsystem
Featured Tracks: Lights & Music

I just bought tickets for Cut Copy’s show at the Mezzanine in San Francisco on October 5 and realized that I haven’t featured this in my Album of the Week series yet.  For shame!  This album has been in heavy rotation in our household since it’s release in April this year and has to be one of the most fun albums of 2008.  

While it doesn’t fall into my usual genre, I can’t seem to get enough of their 80′s New Order, Pet Shop Boys sound.  And neither can Judah.  The track Lights & Music has secured top spot on his own personal Rhapsody playlist and inspired robot dance moves that made waves among hipster blogs like Hipster Runoff earlier this summer. Showing everyone it’s hip to dance with your pants off.

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Countdown to Outside Lands!

Whoo hoo!  Two more days to Outside Lands and Radiohead.  Here’s a mix I compiled of the bands I’m looking forward to seeing on Friday.  If I can cram it all in. Enjoy!  If you want the MP3 file, you’ll need to sign up for the OCMD Mixtape newsletter.

  1. Carney – Testify
  2. Howlin’ Rain – Dancer at the End of Time
  3. Black Mountain – Angels
  4. The Black Keys – Psychotic Girl
  5. Cold War Kids – Something is Not Right with Me
  6. The Benevento Russo Duo – Best Reason to Buy the Sun
  7. Manu Chao – Welcome to Tijuana
  8. Beck – Gamma Ray
  9. Radiohead – Bodysnatchers

Pandora Ready to Pull the Plug

I read a disturbing article today in the Washington Post that Oakland-based Internet radio giant, Pandora, is struggling on the verge of collapse due to exorbitant royalty fees.  This came as shocking news to me.  How can the leading Internet music site, with over 1 million listeners a day and nearly 40,000 new subscribers arriving daily, be failing?

Turns out some federal panel last year, called the Copyright Royalty Board, ordered a doubling of the per-song performance royalty that Web radio stations pay to performers and record companies.  What do traditional radio stations pay for royalties? Nothing, thanks to their corporate parents and lobbying power. Satellite radio stations? About 1.6 cents per listener per hour.  But Pandora and other Internet radio stations will have to pay 2.91 cents under this new ruling.  This year, 70% of Pandora’s revenue will be eaten up by royalty fees – threatening to drive them out of business along with many other Internet radio stations like it.

Is no one outraged by this? Have we all become so complacent in our expectations of free and easy digital music distribution that we’ve stopped paying attention to this issue?  Because clearly the fight is not over. And maybe it will take a giant like Pandora to fall before people start feeling the pain and actually caring. 

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