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June 25, 2006

Largehearted List - June 25, 2006

Here are the eleven music blog posts I found most interesting this past week (in alphabetical order by blog title):

Ashcan Rantings defined "empirically good music."

I started hearing the nuances of different musical inspiration and the difference between Jack White and Brendan Benson. Now I can’t go running without The Raconteurs in my iPod. There's something about the chords, the drums (drummers are sexy, by the way), the way the music is put together…it’s just empirically good.

Bradley's Almanac shared David Bazan's recent Cambridge solo show.

There's a lot I dig about the guy: Aside from the obvious (his knack for catchy melody, his way with words, and that voice), I admire his ability to channel the darker aspects of humanity in his songs, his willingness to not only sing frankly about his faith but to question it (for which he has this agnostic's respect), his politics, and his refreshing honesty, both within his lyrics and his conversation. He's not afraid to wear more than just his heart on his sleeve.

Can You See the Sunset from the Southside profiled singer-songwriter Spider.

Full of great nu-folk songs that fans of Devendra and Sam Beam would enjoy, the album also manages to have a dreamy, atmospheric quality that just seems to pull you (the listener) in.

Chromewaves reviews the new Dirty on Purpose album.

Surprisingly and gratifyingly, Hallelujah Sirens sounds as good as anyone could have hoped, the boy-girl harmonies that were such a treat on Sleep Late aren't missed nearly as much I'd expected. For the most part the remaining three singers, each with distinctive voices, pick up the slack either in harmony or lead. And in the few points where a female voice is really called for, guest Jaymay ably steps in to help. Anne Brewster, whose former band Sea Ray were similarly much-beloved shoegazing Brooklynites, also guests on cello.

Good Hodgkins captured the spirit of Cincinnati's Desdemona Festival with reviews and photos.

The thing that struck me the most about Day Two was the fact that everyone — the fans, the staff, the musicians — knew exactly what it was they were supposed to be doing. It went from an atmosphere where everyone seemed like they were understandably feeling their way around to that of a festival in its second or third year — probably a good sign given the number of people that showed up on Saturday and the number that will show up today to see bands like The Walkmen, The Fiery Furnaces, and Rogue Wave.

Hero Hill interviews Chris from the Silversun Pickups.

How much has the internet helped you guys?

C: Oh man. A LOT. I don’t actually know how bands did it before. The blogging age is incredible. Like Trip Wire charts what people are talking about it and people actually read it and pay attention to it. It’s totally pushed us farther.

Marathonpacks had guest blogger Chilly Jay Chill review Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid's Exchange Sessions, Volume I, and offered a Free Jazz Primer as well.

Free Jazz spans 50 years and numerous countries and includes music that’s so delicate it’s practically ambient as well as tunes with a funk beat strong enough to shake the dance floor. Not to mention the pieces that showcase echoes of melodic folk music, Indian rhythms, minimalist repetitions, gutbucket blues, Hendrixian squalls, orchestral grandeur, big band exotica, electronic beats, proto-punk swagger, and much more. It’s an entire continent of sound represented by tens of thousands of albums and approaches. Once you start digging, you’ll be amazed by the sheer variety and vitality of the genre. There’s something for just about every taste – all you need is a slightly open mind.

Said the Gramophone's Said the Guests feature is always insighful, and last week's installment with Beirut's Zach Condon was particularly great.

This song is Gypsy music at its most delirious and drunken best. Watching me listen to this song is like watching a hyperactive four-year-old without his Ritalin. Pure excitement.

Shake Your Fist had guestblogger David Harrell weigh in on the state of online music distribution and its effect on music fans.

I'm certainly not complaining about having more music to choose from, but at some point, something has to give--you can't listen to EVERYTHING, even within a fairly narrow genre of music. At this point, I'm starting to think of the whole thing in Darwinian terms, that it's a struggle among an ever-expanding number of artists, all competing for the same resources. No, not the dollars of the music buyer (though that is part of the equation). The ultimate limiting factor is time, the available listening hours of music fans.

*sixeyes interviewed singer-songwriter Kyle Andrews.

*SIX: I'm not going to ask your influences, but I will ask... what inspires you?

KYLE: I love enthusiasm, I get inspired watching or listening to any band that has passion for what they are doing. I rarely can sit through another artist's show, with out suddenly wishing I was at home writing a new song, or that I was playing my own show. You see something great and you want to be contributing.

WFMU's Beware of the Blog continued its series on Chicago No-wave with a profile of the Scissor Girls.

As the other ladies grinded away on stage, the elfish singer/bass player was frantically running to join them, donned in a red vintage dress and a ghoulish mask.. When she plugged in and pounded out heavy wooden spidery bass lines and started singing in a harsh declamation- I realized I had found my new favorite band.


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