music blog
  • Forgotten Gem: "Dream All Day" - The Posies

    Hat tip to Brian Scott Gross, publicist extraordinaire, for having this one pop up on his Twitter feed, which brought it back to my attention.

    The Posies are my third favorite Big Star-influenced band (the first two should be painfully obvious to anyone who knows me, but feel free to ask/guess by emailing me at

    Because everyone in the 90s were lumped into the grunge thing, their sweet melodies were amped up, their hair was lengthened and they were turned into the visual you see above.  Thankfully it doesn't take anything away from the underlying awesomeness of the song.  This is what power pop is, was and still should be. 


  • Thing I Found In My Inbox: How Do You Say Shoegaze in French?

    When I was in high school I LOATHED Pink Floyd.  Completely and utterly hated them.   I hated their fans, I hated the pretention, I hated the length of the songs.  It was stoner music for boring people and it was definitely not for my Clash/Replacements/REM loving self who thrived on succinct edgy songs that got stuck in your head and had something to say (yes, even "Gary's Got A Boner" meant more to me than "Comfortably Numb" could ever reach).

    Now, it's not that I suddenly love the band, and I certainly think Roger Waters needs to shut up about Israel but somewhere along the way, probably around the time I discovered The Beta Band, I developed an affinity for spacy, ethereal rock music.  In my heart I truly hope this comes from Television and Spaceman 3, but in my brain, I'm pretty sure there has to be some Pink Floyd that has crept into this music that draws me in.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to start reaching for a copy of the Wall any time soon, or doing that whole Dark Side/Wizard of Oz nonesense that was hot about 15 years ago, but hey, it's time to give credit where credit is due, even if i don't want to believe it.

    That brings me to today's latest "Thing I Found In My Inbox."  They're  called Wall of Death (damn...a Wall reference), they're French, have a name that suggests something closer to grindcore, and they make wonderful, shoe-gazy, bass driven ethereal pop.  Think Fujiya and Miyagi but tighter with a bit of Tame Impala in there.   The Innovative Leisure released "Loveland" is full of these lovely interplanetary moon jams that lift and fall like a child's naptime breath.  It's out on March 4th.  You should get it, or stream it or read it in smoke signals; however you get your music these days. 

    It's worth noting and hoping that there's the possibility that they could be named after a Richard and Linda Thompson song, and they definitely sound a LOT like Spirtualized, but credit where it's due. Now what the hell is a Division Bell?



    On the plane to and from vacation, I put a bunch of random music on my Iphone and hit play.  Here are the random thoughts that came to mind

    Bob Dylan's "Hurricane" is indisputable genius. With a completely unnecessary harmonica solo.

    Brian Fallon from Gaslight Anthem's songs hit truer acoustic and reveal he may be a better pure songwriter than his idol Bruce.

    And Jason Isbell may be a better evoker of emotion than either of them.

    The latest Queens of the Stone Age has so much more Bowie and T.Rex than other releases but makes you realize the influence in all of them

     Pulp's "Common People" is the best lyrical achievement of Brit Pop. And possibly the best rock song of the genre as well

    Squeeze were the first AAA artist. NPR would be all over them today.

    B-side compilations, live records and box sets should never be released without an artist's permission or after they've passed.

    I miss Death From Above 1979, which reminds me how deprived the world is by the absence of an arena-sized tour with them and The Bronx.

    Anyone know who The Smith Westerns pissed off? They make taut, sophisticated rock records & are much better than most of their ilk.

    It's pretty amazing how often Portugal The Man's ambitions succeed without rendering them indulgent and pretentious

    There should be a compulsory sample license rate ONLY with the permission of the original work creator and a shared copyright

    I wonder if people sing along less at concerts because if the sheer volume of music out there to memorize.

    Since the industry is constantly honoring The Beatles & music is in a pop moment, can we start honoring The Stones & bring rock back?

    Feel free to share your own. 

  • If I Were An Indie Musician/Band, I'd...: Five Random Bits of Advice (Because People Like Lists)

    1. every single live show you get offered that won't bankrupt you, or cause you physical and emotional pain. You'll become a better player, get better stage presence and win new fans at every show.

    2.  ...accept every license that comes your way and don't worry too much about that initial fee.  Music supervisors will remember when you were starting out and try to reward you with bigger licenses as they come. Plus, the reason why supes come to indie bands is BECAUSE you're cheap and easy (insert inappropriate sexual moral joke here). 

    3. ...Write, write, write.  If you aren't playing live, aren't working your day job, or doing other things to survive you should be writing at any and all moments. Malcolm Gladwell's theory is based on a real proven concept; the more hours you spend doing something, the better you're going to be at it.  This also applies to #1.  If you aren't getting better, then, well, there's no shame in being an electrician.  Someone's gotta keep the lights on.

    4. ...spend time after every show talking to every single person who comes up to your merch area. They'll remember that and you'll help create a memory.  When I was a young pup still in college, any little indie band that had a record out created awe in my eyes.  When they talked to me at the local rock club (usually Bogie's in Albany), no matter how small they were, if they were from out of town, I felt like I was talking to someone who made it.  Also, it's a good way to get a place to crash for the night.  Vans are not comfortable. 

    5. ...avoid getting a manager until I couldn't do it all by myself.  Maybe this is an LA thing because its an industry town, but every start-up group I come across seems to think they need a manager.  You only need a manager if there are so many things happening that you can't manage it all yourself. There are exceptions to this rule, for example, if that manager happens to be one of the Bruces at Red Light or Scooter Braun, someone with a spectacular track record. Until that happens, doing it yourself is not only financially smarter, but you'll learn a lot more about the business and avoid those all too often horror stories of signing the wrong deal, or having your music used in a Michelle Bachmann campaign ad. 

  • New & Approved: Recent Music Worth Your Eartime

    The last few posts have made me feel like a dinosaur telling kids to get off my lawn, so today's post I'm going to highlight a few new artists that I've heard that perked up my ears. That's all the hype you're getting, so just push play and enjoy. 

    TWEENS - "Be Mean:

    From my friends at French Kiss Records , home of the criminally under-legendary Les Savy Fav, Local Natives and original home of Passion Pit comes these guys. Like Neko Case fronting Husker Du.  Refreshing and catchy (refratchy!  (tm) Sound Canyon 2014) , and energetic, unlike a lot of the indie pseudo-R&B I've railed against lately

    DROWNERS  - "Luv, Hold Me Down" 

    Another fine one from the French Kiss folks.  Not sure if the name is a Suede reference, but they've got that same sort of meloncholy school boy vocal thing going on.  I feel like there hasn't been an exciting Brit-pop act in a while, other than Savages, so these guys and their moody crunch are a welcome return to the genre. 

    COURTNEY BARNETT - "Avant Gardener" 

    Where's the Portlandia of Australia? I feel like this would feel right at home in The City of Roses (look it up, that's the nickname) with a cup of Stumptown's Holler Mountain and a copy of Tiny House Magazine.  It's a slacker "Fuck + Run" era Liz Phair meets a less slack Pavement.


    CLOUD NOTHINGS - "I'm Not Part Of Me"

    The breakout "Stay Useless", from their last record is one of my favorite true indie rock songs from the last few years.  I heard it at my pet store the other day and it sounded as good amongst the kibble as it did in a sweaty room at SXSW.  This is their new single.  It features crisper, concise production, but the same trash-pop mentality; excited and relieved that they aren't falling into the "too cool for properly produced vocals" trap that too many succumb to these days. 


  • These Are A Few Of My Favorite Synchs

    Since a large part of my life for the past 12 years has been music supervision, today's post I'm going to focus on music uses that I thought were particularly moving or effective. It's not about the quality or the coolness of the song, it's about how well it conveyed the emotion intended. (NOTE: No Scorcese Rolling Stones uses are mentioned.  Too obvious, even if they are some of the best in movie history).


    Dancing On My Own - Robyn:

    Fairly obvious one here. Lots of chatter about the current writing on the show, or the tendency for gratitous uncomfortable nudity, but when the show was finding it's legs, first season, this song set the tone perfectly for the just born calf-like independence that the main characters were experiencing. 


    Public Image - Public Image, Ltd.

    The song kicks in at about 1:10 of the clip above. The movie starts, you meet the main character talking calmly and confidently about his mission statement, and then BOOM, the song comes in and blows you through the back wall of the theatre.  Fantastic use that made me feel adrenalized down to my bones.

     21 JUMP STREET (The Original Series)

    Monkey Man - The Rolling Stones

    I remember watching this show as a kid, and because they would always announce whose music was used in the upcoming episode in the post-cold open credits, i'd tune in just to see if my favorite bands made the cut.  One episode they used almost entire Green-period REM, which 15 year old me flipped out over.  Weirdly, this show also introduced me to the Beat Farmers, and possibly my love of, which at the time was VERY un-Long Island, even for a WDRE listener.

    This use is essentially a riff on Basketball Diaries and you have to put up with Richard Grieco's hair, BUT, it's pretty much the best non-Scorcese use of a Stones song I had ever seen.  It doesn't quite hold up, simply because the dress and direction screams mid-80s, butm back in the early days of HS, this use melted my brain.  Unfortunately, it's not on the re-release of this series due to cost.  Maybe they'll bring it back for 22 Jump Street.


    Five Dollar Foot Long Song - Jimmy Hared (Tonefarmer)

    Jingles are a lost art. Ask any 80s kid to sing about Band-Aids, Mon Chee Chee stuffed animals, or Coke and you know exactly the jingle.  That's why this Subway jingle may be the single most effective piece of advertising of the last 10 years.  How much are the subs? 5 bucks.  How big are they? A Foot long. Where do you get them? Subway. Can you get the song out of your head? Hell no.  


    These are the first ones that jump to mind. I'm sure there are tons more, but those will have to wait for Volumes II-III and beyond