February 28th, 2009

Rollo & Grady // Best Albums of 2009

Rollo & Grady // Best Albums of 2009
William Elliott Whitmore

We were tired of looking at NPR’s list, so here are our picks. Let us hear your picks.

Top 10 Albums of 2009
1.) Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid (Buy)
2.) William Elliott Whitmore – Animals In The Dark (Buy)
3.) Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (Pre-Order)
4.) Pete Doherty – Grace / Wastelands (Pre-Order)
5.) Laura Gibson – Beasts Of Seasons (Buy)
6.) Heartless Bastards – The Mountain (Buy)
7.) Alela Diane – To Be Still (Buy)
8.) J. Tillman – Vacilando Territory Blues (Buy)
9.) M. Ward – Hold Time (Buy)
10.) Andrew Bird – Noble Beast (Buy)

Rollo & Grady // Best Albums of 2009
Pete Doherty

MP3: Heartless Bastards – Early In the Morning
MP3: William Elliott Whitmore – Let the Rain Come In
MP3: Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
MP3: J. Tillman – Master’s House

February 27th, 2009

NPR // Best Albums of 2009…..So Far

NPR // Best Albums of 2009.....So Far
M. Ward

I like the M. Ward, Andrew Bird and Laura Gibson albums. U2’s album????? Thoughts?

NPR Top 10 Albums:
1. The Antlers: Hospice
2. The Decemberists: The Hazards of Love
3. Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion
4. Laura Gibson: Beasts of Seasons
5. M. Ward: Hold Time
6. Jason Lytle: Yours Truly, The Commuter
7. Andrew Bird: Noble Beast
8. Dan Deacon: Bromst
9. U2: No Line on the Horizon
10. Mirah: Aspera

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February 27th, 2009

Bat For Lashes To Play The El Rey Theatre – June 16th

Bat For Lashes To Play The El Rey Theatre   June 16th

Bat For Lashes (Natasha Khan) have announced their West Coast tour dates in support of
their upcoming album ‘Two Suns’, due out April 7th.

From BFL’s MySpace page:

“Two Suns sees Natasha exploring her creative personas and the world around her in a very different way. Envisioning herself as two separate yet ultimately attached beings, we discover her inner character Pearl, the destructive blonde femme fatale that represents one extreme of her personality.”

Tour Dates:
June 10th @ The Crocodile, Seattle
June 11th @ Doug Fir Lounge, Portland
June 13th @ Great American Music Hall, San Francisco
June 16th @ El Rey Theatre

Pre-Order ‘Two Suns’ (Click Here)


Bat for Lashes – Fur and Gold (iTunes)

February 27th, 2009

NME // The Libertines To Reform In 2010

NME // The Libertines To Reform In 2010

According to NME.com.

“Pete Doherty has said that The Libertines will reform in 2010 – while former band-mate Carl Barat has claimed that the pair are still The Libertines anyway.” (Continue Reading the Interview @ NME.com -Click Here)

February 27th, 2009

Rollo & Grady Interview // Steve Knopper

Rollo & Grady Interview // Steve Knopper

Steve Knopper’s writing career started at age 13 when he wrote a piece for his high school paper about his fellow students’ taste in music. Since then, Knopper has written or edited several books and been featured in countless publications across the country, eventually becoming a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine. He also served as the on-air tech correspondent for Fox News Chicago and appeared as an expert source on several other TV and radio shows. Knopper’s most recent book “Appetite for Self Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age,” recounts the epic story of the precipitous rise and fall of the recording industry over the past three decades.

I recently caught up with Steve to discuss his new book, current industry news and some of the past and present players in the music business.

Rollo & Grady Interview // Steve Knopper

R&G: Can you give me a synopsis of “Appetite for Self-Destruction?”

Steve: It is a narrative that begins with the adoption of the CD in the early ‘80s and tells the story of digital music in the record industry. It has the whole arc from the CD boom of the ‘80s and ‘90s, when everybody was replacing their record collections, all the way up to Napster, iTunes, the crash, the shrinking of the major record labels in recent years and, finally, a chapter on the future.

R&G: You interviewed over 230 people. Who were the most fascinating interviews?

Steve: Off the top of my head, one really fascinating guy that many people have reacted positively to is James T. Russell. He is the physicist who in the ‘60s first patented the technology that lead to the CD, the digital, optical and mechanical aspects of it. He did not invent the CD, but he was the one who discovered it and was later found in court to be the primary owner of the royalties. Unfortunately, by the early ‘90s when the courts made that decision, his lab, which owned the patents, had long since sold them to two or three other people and they were the ones that ended up profiting. Russell never saw a dime from them. He was definitely a fascinating guy.

R&G: Who on the digital side did you find interesting?

Steve: Al Smith was a senior vice president at Sony. He was an old-school guy who had a reputation from the Napster era of completely stonewalling all new technology. They weren’t so much his decisions, but more the way Tommy Mottola, Don Ienner and Michele Anthony ran the label. I wound up doing three or four different interviews with him. He was a really funny, intense, bigger-than-life, bemused kind of character, one of those old-school, humorous record guys that would just go, ‘Ay ay ay ay’ and yell at people. A lot of people talked about him, and I really enjoyed hearing the stories. I was nervous about using them, but I called him back and said, ‘You know Al, people are saying this, this and this, that you did all these things.’ He’d say, ‘Yeah, I guess that’s pretty much true.’ He was great.

R&G: When you were doing your research for the Napster and iTunes chapters of the book, I imagine a lot of people who are still with the labels wouldn’t go on record.

Steve: Yeah, absolutely. There were a lot of people who wouldn’t talk to me. There were some key figures from the Napster and iTunes era that I really would love to have talked to, like Alain Levy, David Munns and some of the current people from Universal like Zach Horowitz. Even though I interviewed some of them over the years at Rolling Stone and was able to quote them from those interviews, for the purposes of this book, I wasn’t able to get a lot of people like that.
Rollo & Grady Interview // Steve Knopper

February 26th, 2009

Do512.com/ Insider’s Guide To SXSW

Do512.com/ Insiders Guide To SXSW

Rollo & Grady are fortunate enough to be included in Do512.com’s SXSW music section. The Austin based online guide that simplifies the chaos of the best music festival in the world. Even if you are not attending the event the site features great articles and information on all of the participating bands (Click here). Love these guys.

Do512.com/ Insiders Guide To SXSW

* The biggest list of free parties on the web, including RSVP-only events.

* Pick official showcases, screenings, and panels listed by hour so you don’t miss a thing.

* Browse through the most comprehensive list of official and unofficial SXSW events on the web, with over 4500 showcases, films, panels, and parties all ranked by popularity.

* Browse recommendations from bloggers and music media, with audio, video, and reviews for over 2500 bands.

* Build a schedule by simply clicking on the artists you like or navigating events by hour.

* Share your schedule with friends by embedding your schedule widget on your blog or Myspace/Facebook page.

* Access your schedule anywhere on your mobile phone or PDA.

* Register to receive Do512’s Top 10 Parties of the Day emails during SXSW week.

* Follow Do512 on Twitter (Twitter.com/Do512) for up-to-the-minute festival updates.

About Do512: Do512 is “What to Do in Austin”, an events and entertainment guide founded over beers by long-time Austinites and festival-goers, Scott Owens and Jimmy Stewart. Scott and Jimmy decided Austin needed a better way to check out bands and find out about the best events, parties, and drink specials in town. Do512 has grown exponentially since its launch in October 2006, and is now the #1 preferred entertainment guide for 60,000 Austinites a month.

Austin’s Finest SXSW Bands:

MP3: Pink Nasty – Away Message
MP3: The Black Angels – Deer-Ree-Shee
MP3: Ume – Hurricane
MP3: Black Joe Lewis – If There’s a Will
MP3: Shearwater – Room for Mistakes
MP3: White Denim – I Can Tell

February 25th, 2009

Union of Knives // We Are All Doing Drugs

Union of Knives // We Are All Doing Drugs
Union of Knives is back with a new track “We Are All Doing Drugs.” The Scottish band received considerable praise for their debut album, Violence & Birdsong. The group is currently putting the finishing touches on a new album with the help of NIN collaborator Atticus Ross.

MP3: Union of Knives – Opposite Direction
MP3: Union of Knives – We Are All Doing Drugs

Union of Knives – Violence & Birdsong (iTunes)

February 24th, 2009

Apple, EMI unveil iTunes Pass

Apple, EMI unveil iTunes Pass
From USA Today:
“Apple has just launched a new service called Pass for its popular iTunes music store. It’s like a season pass for a favorite artist, in this case the electro band Depeche Mode. Fans who pay $18.99 for this first iTunes Pass immediately get two Depeche Mode singles, Wrong and the “Black Light Odyssey Dub Remix” of the new track Oh Well.

Then, on April 21, they’ll receive Depeche Mode’s new album called Sounds of the Universe. Between now and when the pass expires in 15 weeks, fans will also receive videos, remixes and other content, some of it exclusive. All the material is automatically downloaded (in the DRM-free iTunes Plus format) into iTunes. Subscribers receive an email letting you know it’s there.

It’s worth noting that the press release announcing iTunes Pass came from EMI Music, not Apple. Before thinking this is Apple’s entree into the music subscription business, which is something Steve Jobs has pooh-poohed in the past, note that iTunes Pass is quite different.

Under an all-you-can eat music subscription plan at a place such as Rhapsody, you have access to the material only as long as you keep paying a fee. With iTunes Pass, you own the content that has been downloaded, even after the pass expires.

It’s a safe bet Apple will soon extend iTunes Pass to other performers. In the release, Apple Vice President Eddy Cue says, “iTunes Pass is a great way for artists to give exclusive music and video, on their own schedule, directly to their fans. iTunes customers are going to love getting additional content directly from their favorite artists right when they make it available.”

But Apple isn’t saying who those artists are, much less when the material will be available.

Apple also announced the public beta of Safari 4, which is available today for both Windows PCs and Macs. It incorporates a “Top Sites” visual preview feature, as well as the clever Cover Flow feature (for flipping through your Web history and bookmarks) that is familiar to Mac and iTunes users.

I just started testing the new Safari, and it looks positive at first glance. I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve spent more time with it.”

February 24th, 2009

Los Angeles Shows – February 24th – 28th

Los Angeles Shows   February 24th   28th
Dead Confederate

Tuesday the 24th:
Modest Mouse @ The Palladium
Kinky @ The Music Box at The Fonda

Wednesday the 25th:
Ben Taylor @ The Troubadour
Dead Confederate @ Spaceland

Thursday the 26th:
Big Head Todd & The Monsters @ HOB Sunset

Friday the 27th:
Dead Prez @ The Key Club
Mike Watt @ Spaceland

Saturday the 28th:
The Morning Benders @ The Troubadour

MP3: Kinky – Mirando De Lado (KCRW)
MP3: Dead Confederate – Goner
MP3: The Morning Benders – Lovefool (Cardigans Cover)

February 23rd, 2009

New Album Releases For Tuesday (2/24/2009)

New Album Releases For Tuesday (2/24/2009)
Laura Gibson

I’m in love with Laura Gibson’s new album Beasts of Seasons. I enjoy it more and more with each listen. The Black Lips continue to roll with 200 Million Thousand. I don’t know much about Laura Barrett, but I’m digging her.

War Child Heroes benefit album contain 15 exclusive tracks from music’s most heralded legends (See Below). WCH works with children affected by war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, who have been hit hardest by the joint forces of poverty, conflict and social exclusion. Support the cause.

Some of WCH’s notable songs: Elbow’s cover of U2’s Running To Stand Still is fantastic. TV On The Radio – Heroes (David Bowie), Beck – Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob Dylan) and Peaches – Search And Destroy (Iggy Pop) to name a few.

New Releases – February 24th:
Black Lips – 200 Million Thousand (Buy)
Clem Snide – Hungry Bird (Buy)
Gentleman Reg – Jet Black (Buy)
Laura Barrett – Victory Garden (Buy)
Laura Gibson – Beasts of Seasons (Buy)
School of Seven Bells – Aplinisms (Vinyl Version) (Buy)
Pan-American – White Bird Release (Buy)
Various Artists – War Child presents Heroes (Buy)

New Album Releases For Tuesday (2/24/2009)
The Black Lips

Tour Dates:
Laura Gibson @ Spaceland on March 3rd (Buy Tix)
Clem Snide @ Spaceland on April 7th (Buy Tix)
The Black Lips @ The El Rey Theater on May 1st (Buy Tix)
School of Seven Bells @ The Troubadour on May 29th (More Info)
**The Black Lips and Laura Gibson are playing shows @ SXSW in March.

New Album Releases For Tuesday (2/24/2009)

MP3: Laura Gibson – Spirited
MP3: Laura Gibson – Come By Storm
MP3: Black Lips – Cold Hands [Live]
MP3: Clem Snide – Nick Drake Tape [Live]
MP3: Gentleman Reg – Give Me the Chance to Fall
MP3: Laura Barrett – Bluebird
MP3: Laura Barrett – Deception Island Optimists Club
MP3: Pan American – Hey Volk
MP3: School of Seven Bells – Face to Face On High Places

February 23rd, 2009

King Khan & The Shrines Announce Los Angeles Shows

King Khan & The Shrines Announce Los Angeles Shows

King Khan & The Shrines
just announced their April and May tour dates. They will be playing two shows @ the Echo in May.

Los Angeles Shows:
May 29th @ The Echo
May 30th @ The Echo
Full Tour Schedule (Click Here)


MP3: King Khan and The Shrines – Sweet Tooth

King Khan & The Shrines – What Is?!” (iTunes)
The King Khan & BBQ Show – The King Khan & BBQ Show (iTunes)

February 23rd, 2009

Rollo & Grady Interview :: Dave Kusek

Rollo & Grady Interview :: Dave Kusek

David Kusek has been shaping “the future of music” for the last 25 years. As Vice President of Berklee Media he oversees some of the school’s most forward-thinking projects, including berkleemusic.com, berkleeshares.com, and berkleepress.com. These projects represent Berklee’s continuing education, global education outreach and publishing initiatives, respectively. Kusek also runs Digital Cowboys, a consulting group that advises most of the majors in the music business.

At age 19, Kusek co-invented electronic drums at Synare. In 1980 he founded the first music software company, Passport Designs, making it possible for musicians to record and produce their music at home. His work with A&M Records in 1993 enabled the link between audio CDs and computers, reshaping the music industry as we know it. Kusek also co-developed the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), which makes electronic music accessible to millions of people. Dave is currently working on a project called the Music Power Network, which is intended to be an interactive toolkit for musicians, writers, and people starting businesses, hoping to capitalize on all the changing elements and realities of the music industry.

I recently talked with Dave about the book he co-authored with Gerd Leonhard, “The Future of Music,” the industry and whether he thinks music will soon become like water.

Rollo & Grady Interview :: Dave Kusek

R&G: What was the reason behind writing “The Future of Music?”

Dave: Gerd [Leonhard; co-author] and I became friends at Berklee. He did a few projects with the music business department, which is how we got to know each other. We started talking and found that we had a lot of common ideas about what was happening in the music business. I ran Berklee Press, so I had a way to publish the book. We just started putting ideas down on paper. There wasn’t as much blog action then as there is today. It was probably 2002 or 2003 when we really started to write the book, so we figured, ‘Okay, we’ll publish it in book form.’ Our motivation was, ‘How can we help people understand what we think is going to happen?’ Both Gerd and I had done lots of panels and music shows – South by Southwest, all the digital music ones, Billboard and many gigs like that. We thought, ‘How can we pick some of these ideas and package them in a form that would be digestible and widely available to people at a reasonable price point?’ That was the genesis of it all. Honestly, it all happened so quickly that I kind of wish we could do it all over again. It was fun. It was a very condensed period of time. There were a lot of things that obviously were changing and happening, and there were a lot of things that weren’t so obvious. For example, I don’t think there was an iPod when we first wrote the book. That happened during the publishing and editing process. There was no iTunes music store, no MP3 blogs to speak of and no Amazon.com selling downloads. eMusic might have been there. It was all so early. Everything was happening so rapidly. We just tried to gather up as much as we could that was obvious and make some stabs as to what might happen.

R&G: Can you discuss the process of writing the book?

Dave: I learned a lot from Gerd during the process. I was more on the ground with the musicians. My whole career has been helping musicians and artists create their art, take their art to market and most recently teaching them about it. Gerd was more in the consulting end of things, talking to the likes of Nokia, Apple and Sony. I learned a lot about what was going on in the corporate world that I hadn’t been exposed to. I think we pushed each other because I would often argue that, ‘Man, we’ve got to talk to the artists and writers and managers, not to your consulting clients, because most of these people aren’t going to understand what the hell you’re talking about.’

R&G: “Music Like Water” the David Bowie quote meaning music becoming a utility. Do you still believe in that?

Dave: I think it’s inevitable. Music has always been free. It started off as a live performance. You’d go to a party, to a friend’s house, to a show, to the theatre or an event and music would be there. You’d be dancing and laughing and happy and singing. There was no idea of a business other than maybe the performers wanting to get paid. Throughout the technological phase of the last seventy or eighty years, there was always a free form of music, such as radio. The single most influential technological phenomenon in music was radio. It brought music to everybody, and it was free. Now we have gone through this pre-packaged, packaged phase of music, with vinyl, cassettes and CDs. That was a way for labels to control distribution and squeeze profits out of people wanting copies of the stuff they heard on radio. But once that leapt into the Internet, music became free again.

R&G: By free, do you mean file-sharing and uploading CDs onto your computer hard drives?

Dave: Both. People have been trading files for years. It started out on Usenet, which predated Napster. You remember Apple’s “Rip, Mix, Burn” campaign? It was really all about enabling the digitalization of music and unlocking it from the plastic that it was bound to. I don’t see it as a big deal that music is free again and in a higher quality format that is randomly accessible to the file-sharing networks or the services that we have now, some of which are “legitimate” and some aren’t. It’s not a very big deal to me. It just seems normal. The utility idea already exists on your TV. I have Comcast service here on the East Coast. We have Music Choice, which is essentially digital radio on your TV. There are 30 or 50 channels of music that are programmed and streamed to my house constantly that I pay for on my cable bill every month. I’ve been doing that for fifteen years. I have no choice about it. I just do it. It comes with HBO and the basic cable service. So there already is a music utility that millions of consumers in the U.S. have paid for many years. Why can’t that service just get a little bit better? If you add a random access mechanism where I can select what I listen to at a finer level than just picking the channel that Music Choice gives me, the service becomes better. I think it’s inevitable. I don’t understand what all the teeth gnashing is about. That’s a personal opinion.
Rollo & Grady Interview :: Dave Kusek

February 22nd, 2009

Rollo & Grady // Discover Covers – Volume #28

Rollo & Grady // Discover Covers   Volume #28

Tour Dates:
M. Ward – March 4th @ The Music Box at the Fonda (Sold Out)
Mogwai – May 16th @ the Orpheum Theatre (More Info)
Band of Horses – April 15th @ The Catalyst in Santa Cruz (Buy Tix)
Band of Horses – April 17th @ The Fox Theater in Oakland (Buy Tix)
Band of Horses – April 18th @ Coachella Festival in Indio (Buy Tix)

February 21st, 2009

‘TechCrunch is full of shit’ – Last.fm

‘TechCrunch is full of shit’   Last.fm
Richard Jones responds to Techcrunch’s allegation that Last.fm released user listening data to the RIAA.

From P2Pnet news “Hi from Last.fm, I’m one of the founders (and the original founder of audioscrobbler, the music tracking plugin).

“I’m not going to write much right now because i’m rather pissed off this article was published, except to say that this is utter nonsense and totally untrue.

“As far as I can tell, the author of this article got a ‘tip’ from *one* person and decided to make a story out of it. Techcrunch is full of shit, film at 11.”

So says RJ (Richard Jones) in a comment post to Erick Schonfeld’s TechCrunch story which flatly states »»» (Continue Reading)