Thursday, July 7, 2011


Here's a great article from the, that plays out the twilight of Frank Sinatra's career in some detail.

They end up making a valid point about how all artists age - they either try to get with the times (and loose some of there base following in the process), or they stick with their classic sound (and see there followers slowly grow old and die, or become disinterested).

Give it a read.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Interview with Peter Eldridge

Had a great time doing an interview with singer/songwriter Peter Eldridge (of the New York Voices) today.  Keep an eye out for it on in the coming days.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wye Oak Covers Danzig

Wye Oak covers Danzig

Yes, we're well aware that you voted for this year's Undercover to include only bands that hadn't played last year. But if you look at the numbers carefully, you'll see that lots of people (47%) were okay with returning acts, particularly if they were one of the top vote-getters from last year. But really the reason we wanted to invite Baltimore duo Wye Oak back into the round room is that they're awesome. Their new album is called Civilian, and it's an early-ish contender for best of the year in at least one book around here. And oh man, Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack (along with Callers' Don "Donzig" Godwin on tenor horn) didn't disappoint. They tackled Danzig's "Mother" with exactly the amount of seriousness it deserves. Jenn even wore a special black hoodie and allowed herself to be temporarily tattooed in an homage to the former Misfits frontman. This song was chosen for Undercover by way of reader suggestion: About six of you thought it would be a good one, and you were right. (Oh, by the way, Wye Oak will be the only repeat performer from last year. Respect.)

Great cover by a super cool/talented band.  The AV Club is great, if you haven't checked it out yet.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Helming the Overwhelmed

As we embark on this endeavor, I am often discouraged by the scope of what we're trying to accomplish.

Our goal is to intelligently write about music, but beyond that simple but challenging goal, we are trying to broadly write intelligently about Quality; and not only identify and categorize Quality, but explain and derive its source.  Too add to our struggles, we aim to derive its source in ourselfs and each other.  While all the time being intelligent.  As if that alone wasn't challenging enough.

Our contributors are looking to me for guidance.  As Editor, my task is to not only determine the content that we produce, but more importantly, ensure that we are speaking to our goal(s) with every entry.  I assume this will become more manageable with time, but most likely only because time will have passed and will therefore seem easier with time.  And perhaps after time, more goals will arise, or the current goals will strengthen.  Like designing the website, hopefully the more pieces assembled the easier it will be to place them.

But as for now, all we can do is keep plugging ahead.  I take solace in our goal(s) and continue to pursue their promise.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Some Thoughts on Quality

Full disclosure - these ideas are mostly pulled from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.

Quality:  Goodness, worth, excellence 

Quality is undefinable.  But we know it when we see it.

A world without Quality would be much different than the one we see around us.  No art, music, flavor...

Quality is just what you like?  Instead: Quality is what you like.

Quality is the wedge between Classic and Romantic, Technological and Humanistic, thinking.

"People disagreed about Quality because some just used their immediate emotions whereas others applied their overall knowledge" 
Perhaps it is a combination.

Quality lies outside of mind or matter - it is a third stream.

Something else I've been thinking about lately comes from the Natural History Museum in NY:




They are the goals of all art.  And maybe more, all humanity.

I've been working on reducing language down to only most fundamental.

Friday, April 15, 2011

All Tiny Creatures - Harbors

As I casually listened to some new music this fine Friday morning, I stumbled upon an album with spectacular artwork:

As soon as I hit play I started to feel this familiarity wash over me.  I had heard this before - yet I hadn't.  I began to have this conversation in my head: "Do I like this?" "I think I just might."  But why, why did I like it.  Of all the albums I've recently acquired, this was the one I felt most comfortable approving of.

So I started to do some research.  Why did I like this music?  It's been a topic I've been obsessed with for weeks.  Not, why is this music good?  But, why do I like it?  The internet told me why - one of the singers on this album is... wait for it...  Bon Iver frontman, Justin Vernon.  Big surprise.  All Tiny Creatures is a band from Madison, WI, (basically the same band that made Volcano Choir, Unmap), featuring probably one of my favorite singers.

So duh.  I felt a little stupid for not knowing about this album before I heard it.  Something most music conscious listeners would probably commiserate with.  As music people we're supposed to know when good stuff is coming out - especially from bands we know and like.  

And maybe that's a misnomer.  How should I know before hand that I'm going to like something?  When good people are involved, should they make good music?  We've seen this theory disproved many times.  Great musicians sometimes make horrible music.  Mistakes are made - risks are taken.  Outside forces control certain aspects at times that take away from the musical process.

In today's Digital Media, Internet Distribution ecosystem, musicians can create music fast and send it out even faster.  This can certainly reduce those outside influences (as the record industry is almost non-existant in internet distribution), but it can also encourage musical risk, which unchecked, can be a bad thing.  If a musician cannot edit themselves effectively, they need a great producer there to take up that responsibility.

This all being said, I had a big revelation today.  Not only was I unaware of All Tiny Creatures, but I ended up going back and listening to Unmap.  It sounds great - more so that I remember before (honestly, I hadn't really listened to it much).  But why do I think it's good now?  Because I know Bon Iver is in it?  Yeah, maybe.  Dumb.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Set List Circa 2007

Here's a blast from the past.  Looking back all the way to 2007, and the Charlie Christenson Quartet.  This set featured Linda Oh (bass), Roy Assaf (piano), and Jaska Lukkarinen (drums).

Set List 2/2/2007 

Charlie Christenson Group
  1. 500 Miles High 
  2. New Years 
  3. I’ve Never Been in Love Before 
  4. For All We Know 
  5. Seven Steps to Heaven 
  6. Always Knew 
  7. I’m Old Fashioned (Linda to start) 
  8. Atlanta 
  1. Milestones 
  2. Poinsettia 
  3. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most 
  4. Eagles Goth 
  5. No More Blues 
  6. Blower’s Daughter 
  7. Bye Bye Blackbird 
  8. Blame it on My Youth (Roy Duo) 
  9. I Love You 
  10. Old Plans on the Shelf 
Songs to be added in : Stella by Starlight, The Way You Look Tonight