I had to be out on the road last night. It was a bit off putting. A Friday night and hardly any cars to be seen. Seems everyone was gathering round the hearth while I was out slowly cutting my way through snow covered streets.
I scrolled through my iPod (at a red light of course) and chose the classic Nancy & Lee by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood. It seemed a perfect choice, the eerie summer feel Hazlewood creates juxtaposed with quiet snow covered streets. It's my Saturday Classic pick.
As the snow falls on this Friday morning what better way to escape then through music which conjures up notions of sun, sea and sand. Part two of my surf vacation soundtrack and the music pick of the day is Beach House.
The band is from Baltimore, the same place Animal Collective got their start. The town seems to be a bit of a hot spot for electronic music with Dan Deacon also from the area.
The band consists of two members, boy and girl, a common configuration these days. The sound is dreamy electronic pop. Think Mazzy Star, a similar sounding '90's band. This is their third album and the most uptempo outing yet.
First an addendum to yesterday's pick. I swung by Bent Crayon after work and picked up the 3 LP vinyl version of the new Newsom release. It comes in a LP box (flashback to something like George Harrison's All Things Must Pass)with beautiful photo shots on the sleeves and a nice booklet with lyrics. $26.99.
A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days in a small surfer town on the west coast of Puerto Rico called Rincon. Between my rides on the waves I chilled on the beach listening to music. Of course.
Often I would try and choose music that fit the surroundings. I've got two of them for picks of the day.
Today's pick is a band from Florida called Surfer Blood and their album Astro Coast. It's one of those releases that hits the right spot on first listen. Catchy, indie pop that's really hard to dislike. And I love the cover, though a bit unnerving when you are reminded of it on a board a couple of hundred feet off shore.
I'm starting a new feature simply called Radio Hannibal's Music Pick Of The Day. It's an easy way for you to discover good new music that I think you should hear.
This inaugural selection, Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me will probably end up near the top of many critics year end lists for 2010. Yes, it's that good and is the buzz of the indie scene right now. Warning: she's an acquired taste. Some will definitely find it off putting while others will see real beauty in her unique style.
The 3 album set was just released yesterday and clocks in at about two hours. The vinyl version is an elaborate box set. I'll be picking mine up today.
Today is Fat Tuesday, the last day of Mardi Gras. For the past eight years or so I have a tradition that gets me as close to New Orleans as I can in this internet age. You can do it too.
First, I tune in to WWOZ, the New Orleans public radio station that specializes in traditional jazz and blues. It's one of the best public stations in the country and even more so on Fat Tuesday. They'll be playing all of the traditional Mardi Gras music all day long.
Next I head to NOLA, the official New Orleans website where you can access a number of webcams including the parade cam and Bourbo cam located, yes, on Bourbon St. This cam is over the doorway of The Cat's Meow bar in the heart of the French Quarter. In years past the cam has gone mobile on this day. Sponsored by Capt. Morgan's Spiced Rum, the camera is right on Bourbon St. with a microphoned host who interviews the crazy revelers all day long.
There you have it. You'll see, it's almost like being there.
Once upon a time, when there was no internet and the only radio stations who played adventurous new music were far and few between, we relied on music critics to expose us to music. Often I would buy music on the strength of a review, having never heard a note.
Sadly the role of the music critic has diminished. This happened for various reasons. Shortened attention spans in a fast paced age led to publications like the now defunct, Blender and their two paragraph reviews. Hey look, we have 35 reviews in this issue. Rolling Stone soon followed suit. Gone were the days of rambling, yet extremely entertaining and enlightening reviews by the like of Lester Bangs or the theses of Robert Christgau (the man responsible for starting the Village Voice Pazz and Jop Poll discussed in my previous entry).
The slow demise of the printed media is also responsible. Decreased ad revenue leads to fewer pages in a magazine and less room for reviews.
Music criticism has moved online. There's countless bloggers weighing in on artists. (Personally, I try not to review. I don't see myself a critic so much as a promoter.) One online site towers over all the rest these days. It is the Chicago based Pitchfork.
I'm a member of a few music based message boards on the internet. It's a great way to be involved in a community that shares your interests. I've got plenty of friends but not too many share my music fanaticism. These message boards are full of like-minded music freaks. It feels like home.
So last week a thread on one of these boards began to ask why there was such a similarity between what Pitchfork called the best music of 2009 and the poll results in the Pazz And Jop survey. Soon writers and even the editor of Pitchfork began weighing in on the topic, making for interesting reading. Here's the story with links from The Daily Swarm.