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Archives for 05/27/2007 - 06/02/2007

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Coin-Operated Boy

posted by on June 2 at 1:20 PM


This week’s Best Song Ever (This Week) is “Coin-Operated Boy” by the Dresden Dolls.

I’ve never actually heard the original studio recording of this song, or much of anything else Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione have recorded for that matter—all I have on my hard drive is a live performance of the song with an audibly giddy audience hanging on Ms. Palmer’s every word. While the crowd breaks into tittering at the obvious punch line of “I can even fuck him in the ass,” it’s another line a few moments later where Palmer can’t keep herself from laughing as she sings, “He may not be real, or experienced with girls

While at a cursory glance it is just a quaint, queer song about a girl’s deviant fantasy, the song is also barbed with a certain despair and fear of intimacy, and on some level I think it reminds me of all the old crushes I’d have on my sister’s older girlfriends before I knew anything about anything. The music and the lyrics alternate between the whimsical and wistful as Ms. Palmer sings of both the qualitative attributes of her imaginary toy as well as the lovelily aching, dejected loneliness that could actually lead her to wish for such a thing. The song is pure fun, but still relies on the listener’s own moments of weakness for its strength. As such, “Coin-Operated Boy” is the best Best Song Ever (This Week), ever (yet).

the Dresden Dolls - Coin-Operated Boy

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Score (supplemental)

posted by on June 1 at 4:04 PM

In The Score this week, I tout Bartok’s lone opera, Bluebeard’s Castle. I went last night and enjoyed the lyrical power of mezzo-soprano Sally Burgess and bass-baritone Charles Robert Austin. The Symphony played with superb ferocity, though they sometimes overpowered the singers. When mouths move, voices should be heard.

I suspect the Monolith-like rotating stands that line the stage and house the Chihuly sculptures make it hard for Schwarz & Co. to hear. It was a moving concert nonetheless; catch Saturday’s performance if you can.

György Ligeti

My only wish for the Seattle Symphony’s Central Europe Music Festival: Bridging the 48th Parallel? More bold orchestral music.

One of the great composers of orchestral music in the 20th century, György Ligeti (depicted above), is not represented (though Joshua Roman reprises Ligeti’s Cello Sonata this coming Saturday afternoon). I was hoping for Lontano or Ligeti’s big hit from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, the implacably eerie Atmosphères. Nor do any of the fiercer moderns such as Ana-Maria Avram, Iancu Dumitrescu, or Violeta Dinescu appear.

I’ll remedy that this Sunday on Flotation Device with music by Ligeti, Avram, Dumitrescu, and much more. Any requests for Zoltán Pongrácz?

Catch the on-line stream or tune in to KBCS 91.3 FM from 10 pm to midnight.

Chop Suey Cuts Ties With Poster Giant

posted by on June 1 at 3:45 PM

Chop Suey booker Colin Johnson has ended his club’s long-standing business relationship with divisive local company Poster Giant. (For background on Poster Giant and the “poster wars” see here, here, here, here, and here). If an outside promoter “wants to go with Poster Giant I’m not gonna tell them they can’t,” Johnson says. “Anybody who does any show here can go with whoever they want. But when it comes to the in-house production shows we do, we’re not going to work with them.”

According to Johnson, the falling out began when Poster Giant was unable to adequately poster for an outside promoter’s Chop Suey show on two weeks’ notice. Poster Giant’s Doug Cox told Johnson that the company needs for 4-5 weeks lead time for a proper poster campaign, and that Johnson should tell his outside promoters as much. When another outside promoter approached Johnson with a poster only a week and a half before their event, Johnson told them that wouldn’t be enough time for Poster Giant, and the promoter decided to go with Poster Midget instead.

“[Cox] called me up with an ultimatum,” says Johnson. “He basically said, ‘I’m tired of seeing the Chop Suey name on posters that I don’t put out. You’re either with me or you’re not with me.’

Johnson says Cox then threatened to “specifically target any Chop Suey show that [Poster Giant] doesn’t put up” if he didn’t “start getting those customers back.” (Poster Giant has a reputation for targeting the competition. They’ve denied it.)

“We’re not going to go with somebody who’s trying to use scare tactics to retain our business,” Johnson says. “Somebody needs to stand up to it, and that’s what we did.”

“We’ve been around five years,” Johnson adds. “We’ve been working with them since the beginning. I’ve always tried to push Poster Giant to meeting with other poster distributors and kind of coming to a place where they can all stay out of each others’ way and still accomplish what they want to accomplish. But what they do tactically, for their clients, is they go to a pole and, regardless of what’s on there, they’ll take over the entire space. There’s no respect for anybody else’s work, it’s just bottom-line. There’s an ongoing war; it’s Poster Giant versus everybody else.”

“I wouldn’t say that we’ve severed ties [with Chop Suey],” says Poster Giant’s Doug Cox. “I mean, we’re still friends or whatever. I don’t know that they’re going to be using our services in the future or not. That’s up to Chop Suey. We’ll wait and see what happens.”

American Idol @ Breaks and Freaks?

posted by on June 1 at 2:41 PM

From Neumos:

Rumour has it that Blake Lewis will be in Seattle this Saturday for the Breaks and Freaks show with Big Bud and AriSawkaDoria this Saturday for their CD Release party, which just happens to be at Neumos

Blake is featured on 3 songs of the new KJ Sawka CD and AriSawkaDoria was just his backup band when he played to thousands of folks in Westlake and Bothell a couple of weeks back.

Could be pretty cool IF he was to get onstage…


Exactly which part is horse?

posted by on June 1 at 2:30 PM

So I missed Partman Parthorse last night. I was at Tara Thomas’ art show at the Anne Bonney and got out a little late. (A word about LaTara’s show: Go see now. Girl has spent her life pasting together amazing scrapbook collages that bend your mind and twist your funnybone. It was great to see a bunch of “art patrons” just sitting on couches, paging through scrapbooks in rapt attention).

For some inexplicable reason PMPH went on first and their set was cut short due to some sort of altercation, so by the time I arrived the Coconut Coolouts were setting up. The Coolouts started their first song with their bassist taking a pratfall over his amp and trying to recover while the dick-end of his banana suit kept getting caught in cords and straps, turning the situation into a Jerry Lewis skit. It was wholly unintentional, but I think they should start all their shows like this from now on. They did their usual good-time party bop and left everyone smiling.

Next, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head busted out with some aerobic electro-pop. The matching white outfits, sweatbands and exercise routine schtick was a bit tired, but the youngsters rose above these self-imposed limitations and fully committed themselves to their steez, especially their singer/robot-dancer/gutarist. Give them a little time and hopefully they will be able to transcend the Anna Oxygen-meets-the Fitness-lite corner they seem to have painted themselves into.

I didn’t see No-Fi Soul Rebellion.

The Columbia City Theater is a beautiful, smallish old vaudeville theater, and it’ll be nice to see more shows happening there. There are some kinks to work out in the sound (they didn’t seem prepared to run electronic instruments through the board) and it’s in an area that’s not the most convenient location for a lot of people to get to, but it’s great to see an all-ages venue that also serves alcohol and seems to have reconciled the two pretty well.

This Week’s Setlist

posted by on June 1 at 1:51 PM

We took last week off, but Setlist is back this week and Ari and I have highlighted some of the lovely local bands playing this weekend’s Georgetown Music Fest. We’ve got some Skullbot, Open Choir Fire, Hungry Pines, the Lonely Forest, Phobophobe, and more. You can also hear this week’s Band of the Week, White Nights.

Wanna listen? Yes. You do. Click here, and it’ll stream onto your computer without needing to install or download anything. How perfect is that?

Hey look, it’s Phobophobe!


Presenting…the Christian Ramones!

posted by on June 1 at 1:43 PM

Joey Ramone (a Jew) is rolling in his grave.
“Gabba Gabba Pray!”

“New York’s Alright… If You Like Tuberculosis”

posted by on June 1 at 11:38 AM

Today’s history lesson:

It was Halloween night, 1981. John Belushi was making a cameo appearance on Saturday Night Live, and to mark the occasion he had the honor of selecting the evening’s musical guest. He chose Fear.

To liven up the performance, SNL wanted to bring in some dancers. They called Ian MacKaye for the hookup. New York hardcore and punk kids showed up, as did a bunch of D.C.’s crew. To get into the show you had to say the password, “Ian MacKaye.”

When Fear went on, anarchy ensued—moshing, circle pitting, stage-diving—all the kids allegedly caused many thousands of dollars in damages to the show’s set, including the destruction of one of the video cameras (although MacKaye says it was just a little plastic piece that got broken). Afterward, they were all locked in a room; SNL wanted to sue.


The best part, if you listen closely at the end… that “Fuck New York” you hear is supposedly hollered by none other than a teenage Ian MacKaye. He tells the whole story in this 2001 Nardwuar interview.

(BTW, is this a mark for the “pro sax” column?)

Thoth & the Loin Cloth

posted by on June 1 at 11:27 AM

This is Thoth.

He performs in New York’s Central Park. Operatic vocals to violin. A tribal dance freak with his own language.

I would like to bring him to Seattle’s Reservoir Park for a month long residency. Thoth is just the type of thing our park needs.

If you have 60 seconds, I urge you to watch the video. His falsetto is amazing. There are other videos, where he’s just in the loin cloth, but this one best exemplifies his talents in less time.

His brochure says:

I am prayforming my soloperas. It is part vocalizing, puzzle, aerobics routine, monologue, language deconstruction, alchemy, theater, healing ritual, sacred dance, all accompanied by solo violin and complex percussive rhythms.

It is my own language; I am creating it. It is the language of the Festad. However one must look beyond language and words to discover meaning.

I am a divine messenger using a violin.

Eat This Album

posted by on June 1 at 11:09 AM


Yesterday afternoon we received the new Club D’Elf album from Kufala Recordings, an authorized live recording label out of L.A. The brown paper digipak came wrapped in this clear “plastic” shrink wrap. The shredded sticker you see there states “THIS BAGGIE IS BIODEGRADABLE/NON-TOXIC/NON-PLASTIC.” Pretty rad, but just to be sure, I took a bite out of the bottom left corner there. It had the withering plasticky consistency of a Fruit Roll-up and tasted a little papery. I didn’t swallow it but I guess I could’ve.

This Poster Makes My Scalp Tingle

posted by on June 1 at 11:05 AM


Rolling, “a documentary-style journey through the Los Angeles party scene,” plays tonight at 8:15 pm at the Rendezvous Theater as part of SIFF. Don’t forget the Vicks.

New Rentals EP

posted by on June 1 at 9:44 AM


The Rentals are set to release their first new recordings in over eight years on August 14th with the Last Little Life EP. No date yet for their long-awaited full-length. As previously reported, the Rentals will be returning to Seattle on August 4th at Neumo’s.

“Coming off the overwhelming excitement of the last tour our group was filled with so many new songs and creative energy that we soon realized it may take a little while to bring it all together into a cohesive album, so, that’s when we decided to release some of our first home recordings and share a few of these ideas with everyone,“ says The Rentals frontman Matt Sharp.

The Last Little Life EP stays true to the band’s trademark infectious and catchy pop songs while also branching out into new musical territory. The three new songs “Last Romantic Day”, “Little Bit Of You In Everything”, “Life Without A Brain” were mixed by the producer / engineer Joe Chiccarelli (The Shins, White Stripes). The four songs cycle concludes with a new arrangement of their classic “Sweetness And Tenderness” (mixed by Rich Hauser).

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Inspiration Sneakin’ Through the Back Door

posted by on May 31 at 5:50 PM


Friday, May 25 - NYC

Being involved so heavily in music, most DJs, MCs, and producers often get used to the presence of longtime idols and predecessors. On this night the Lifesavas definitely still had that enthusiastic awe for Don Blackman, a soul artist who would share the stage with them for “Long Letter.” The song samples Blackman’s “Since You’ve Been Away So Long” from his self-titled album that was never released by Arista/GRP. At the end of the song he gave pounds to Vurs, Jumbo, and Shines, showing his clear appreciation for their respect of his musical contributions.

Later that night I myself couldn’t help but turn into a fan when Pete Rock hit the stage to DJ. He produced the unofficial hiphop anthem “T.R.O.Y.” along with countless other classic albums and songs. Seeing such an inspiration sneak through the back door just feet away reminded me why I love music so much.

Judging from the amount of Japanese cats in the crowd taking pictures, I wasn’t the only one in awe of the hiphop legend. Pete rocked it decently off strictly vinyl, added another dimension by getting on the mic like all NYC DJs do, and kept people movin’.

Just for Context

posted by on May 31 at 5:32 PM

Here’s Hepcat doing “Bobby and Joe” from their awesome 1995 album Scientific:

Man I love that shit—soulful, bouncy, perfect for summertime. Hepcat peddles that nostalgia that Eric was talking about a week or so ago, but when the source material is as good as old-school ska is, you can’t go wrong. Hepcat manage to be raw and slick at the same time and very much pay homage to the original Kingston sound.

Trying to Hate

posted by on May 31 at 5:12 PM


There are many reasons to hate on the Aggrolites: They’re five guys playing rootsy ska on a punk label, they’re from L.A., they have better tattoos than you. Problem with that line of reasoning is that the music’s actually good.

Following in the skanking footsteps of Hepcat, L.A.’s other third wave/first wave revival ska band—and the genuine article—the Aggrolites began as two separate reggae bands that came together in ‘02 to back ska originator Derrick Morgan. They’ve since played with other some real-deal reggae greats, including Joseph Hill and Prince Buster. They’ve released three albums with a soulful, organ-heavy, Kingston-circa-‘65 sound that’s pretty authentic.

Their last two records were on Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong’s ska/punk label Hellcat Records, including their new one, Reggae Hit L.A., which comes out next Tuesday. I’m trying to hate but having a hard time. I’d love to get Stephen of Zion’s Gate to weigh in on these guys.

Here’s a good track off the new album:

Party starts… NOW!

posted by on May 31 at 1:13 PM


Yeah, I know Memorial Day weekend is the official “unofficial start of summer,” but all your Sasquatches and Folklifes were just a warmup for the real kick-off of the summer freak-out, fuck-up, party season. That’s tonight. The Columbia City Theater is kicking out the jams with an all-ages, ass-shaking blow-out featuring No-Fi Soul Rebellion, Coconut Coolouts, Partman Parthorse and Natalie Portman’s Shaved mother-fucking Head! I know—take a moment to catch your breath.

I first saw Partman Parthorse (pictured above) at the (Very Reverend) Blue Moon Tavern a couple months back and I instantly fell in love. Sexy girls and boys; tweaky, angular spuzz-rock; and an idiot-savant love-commander on mic and moves exhorting the crowd to get it on and on and on. I had a “new favorite local band.”

Then a few weeks later I saw Coconut Coolouts destroy the house at Pho Bang. A six-(wo)man party in a box, the Coolouts bring the bounce with garage-built rhythm-n-booze party jams, two stand-up drummers, and a fucking bass-playing banana! I don’t remember much of their set (this was Pho Bang, remember), but I do recall it was some of the biggest fun I ever had. I had a new “new favorite local band.”

And though I’ve never seen Bellingham’s hottest couple No-Fi Soul Rebellion, from the reports I’ve heard (and pictures I’ve seen of their sweat-soaked revival shows) they may usurp Parthorse and the Coolouts to become my even newer “new favorite local band.” I think my heart just might explode.

Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head kicks it all off with ABBA-meets-Kraftwerk electro jams.

The Columbia City Theater has been home to recent all-ages shows put on by the local promotions duo Emerald City Outlaws. Located—where else—in the heart of groovy Columbia City (I hear Phil Ek calls the neighborhood home… HOT!) the building is Seattle’s oldest vaudeville theater still in existence. Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Bruce Lee and Blake Lewis have all performed there. Let’s hope it’s still standing after tonight.

Columbia City Theater
4916 Rainier Ave S
Show at 8
all ages

Hip to be Unconscious

posted by on May 31 at 12:58 PM

In the last three days I’ve received records from two bands that both feature the word “coma” in their name—Girl in a Coma and the Comas. The Comas have released three records already, but Girl in a Coma is new to the scene. tells me there are already a bunch of other coma bands too: Coma King, Coma Star, Love Coma, Sugar Coma, Coma Lilies, and about four or five bands simply-named Coma.

Looks like “coma” is the new “horse.”

The Wah-Wah

posted by on May 31 at 12:46 PM

103985.jpgToday, my people of audible grazing, we are with the Wah-Wah pedal. I have made you an icy beverage concoction. Sit back, deep in the leather sofa folds, sip, get lowly toned and easy. Shadows off the candle throw shapes on the wall that make go-go like movements. Let us undulate, or perhaps even hover. I’ll put some Jimi on.

Maybe you play guitar, or bass, and use a Wah.

What Wah-Wah do you use and why? The industry standard Dunlop Crybaby?

What are your favorite Wah-Wah songs or players or albums?

Where would sex be without the Wah?

Guitar players usually step on them, or maybe you adjust the amplitude of your signal automatically with an Auto-Wah. However your Wah is used, the stance of your sound shows a new face. The Wah takes it under water with love.

A Wah cuts one frequency while accentuating another. Toe down position is more treble, heel back is more bass.

Pg. 32 of Analog Man’s Guide to Vintage Effects says:

The Wah is really a type of bandpass or lowpass filter. The typical Wah uses a ferrite core inductor to create a resonant peak in the frequency of the signal, which can then be swept up and down by rocking the pedal back and forth. A gear attached to the pedal engages a potentiometer that changes a frequency of the resonant peak.

Dan Rapport, of Big World Breaks, and Red Eye Flight spoke:

I use a Budda Bud-Wah. I like it cause it’s true bypass. When you click out, you don’t lose top end off your signal. It’s completely out of your signal chain and is smooth and warm.

I had a vintage Mu-Tron Wah for a while and really liked that one. They only made like a thousand of them. Santana and Thurston Moore are Mu-Tron users. It’s controlled optically, so it never wears out. It uses a photo resistor and a light bulb. Moving the pedal controls the light, which controls the amount of effect.

Camillo Estrada, bass player for Gabriel Teodros, Blue Scholars, and Big World Breaks uses a Dunlop Bass Wah. He says:

I think it’s the best Wah for bass. There’s not as wide an array of choices for bass specific Wah’s. Don’t forget us bass players, we use Wah’s too.

History of the Wah is somewhat vague.

Del Casher, a Vox employee, supposedly took a mid range boost circuit from a Vox amp and put it into a foot pedal. Then there was Chet Atkins in 1961 on a song called, “Boo Boo Stick Beat”, but they say that’s a tone control pedal.

In the 1930’s, a 19 year old trumpet player named, Clyde McCoy, messing with his mute to get a vocal sound out of his trumpet is really where the Wah was born. He got that “Wah wah wah” sound, and the earth was never the same again.

Leopard Print and Bad Tattoos

posted by on May 31 at 11:41 AM

photo yoinked from Idolator

Why is it that every time I look at Amy Winehouse I just see an aged Ballard hipster?

The Rentals Return to Seattle!

posted by on May 31 at 11:20 AM


How did I miss this in yesterday’s Rentals post?

The Rentals are playing Seattle on 08/04 at Neumo’s! (It’s not on their website, but hot-tipper Sam pointed it out to me in the Neumo’s print ad.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Winner of the Sub Pop Loser Scholarship Announced!

posted by on May 30 at 4:53 PM

If you’ll remember, Sub Pop had prepared a scholarship of $5750 for some lucky kid who loved music and their community. All you had to do was write a convincing letter, because, after all, it was the Loser Scholarship.
And look who won!

Kyle Raquipiso is our dude, he is a senior in Kennewick Washington, part of the well known trifecta of turd towns known as the Tri-Cities. Kyle submitted a killer witty essay wherein he told us about putting on shows in Kennewick, designing 7” covers, and he described the arts music community in Tri-Cities as mainly consisting of “burnouts drawing pictures of pot leaves and mushrooms”—but as exciting as those drug drawings sound Kyle’s art had something different to offer.

Sounds like a great kid. Too bad the whole world now knows he’s a loser!

Temple of the Dog Fans Still Going Hungry

posted by on May 30 at 4:48 PM


The secret Temple of the Dog reunion show scheduled for June 15 at the Crocodile is officially not happening.

Crocodile music booker Eli Anderson says via email: “Temple of the Dog are NOT PLAYING A SECRET REUNION show here. Not…at all…i’m serious. The calls need to stop.”

Chris Cornell didn’t return calls for comment, as didn’t Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, Mike McCreedy, Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron, or Cameron Crow.

The Crocodile’s website reports that the un-secret Sweet Water reunion show WILL be happening on June 15, and June 16 as well. The Croc’s phone number is (206) 441-5611. But don’t call.

Get Thrashed - A Documentary

posted by on May 30 at 2:49 PM

main-image.jpgGet Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal shows in Seatte at STIFF.

The makers of the documentary (site here) are proud to announce the Washington premiere will be held on Saturday, June 2nd at 2 PM in the Seattle Art Museum.

Tickets are $8.00 and are available through as part of the Seattle True Independent Film Festival.

Get Thrashed: The Story Of Thrash Metal is the story of bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax and how they, and others, pioneered a new form of heavy metal in the early 1980s.

There were drugs, drinking, fights, deaths, mosh pits, leather jackets, long hair and most of all - new music. Eventually, the scene fell apart, but the seeds these bands planted gave rise to the new breed of extreme heavy metal we see and hear today.

Get Thrashed features the music of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, Kreator, Suicidal Tendencies, Pantera, and many more, plus interviews with members of over 30 bands from old school (Lars Ulrich, Dave Mustaine, Kerry King, Gary Holt etc) to new school (Lamb of God, Hatebreed, Shadows Fall, Chimaira).

The film is produced by Saigon1515 Productions in association with Kundrat Productions. Get Thrashed was directed by Rick Ernst and the documentary’s Associate Producer is Rat Skates, former drummer of the legendary thrash band Overkill.

Continue reading "Get Thrashed - A Documentary" »

Watch Ol’ Bandit Run

posted by on May 30 at 2:39 PM


Having grown up in a midsized hick town with a CB in our family truck, country music on the radio, and The Dukes of Hazzard on TV, I find it amazing that I had not seen Smokey and the Bandit until this past Sunday.

I loved it.

But, what I loved even more, and am now obsessed with, is the theme song, “East Bound and Down” by Jerry Reed, who costars in the film as the Bandit’s sidekick, Snowman.

An extended version of “East Bound and Down” plays many times throughout the movie, and its catchy beat got in my head. Coincidentally, my sister had left a CD with that song on it at my house a week or so ago—mislabeled as Waylon Jennings—and right after the movie, I proceeded to listen to it repeatedly for at least a half hour. Then I listened to it some more later that night. And the next day. And I’ll listen to it more when I get home tonight. Sure, it’s got that ’70s-country sound, but it makes up for it with the requisite chase-scene banjo, a fast beat, some sweet guitar work, and trucker lingo throughout. It is the ultimate chase song—and the ultimate getting-shit-done song (you know, like housework). It might just tie with Iron Maiden’s “Hallowed Be Thy Name” as my favorite workout song.

I was lucky enough to find a video of the song on YouTube—featuring many awesome scenes from Smokey and the Bandit. (Unfortunately there’s no trace of Snowman running his big rig over those asshole bikers’ motorcycles. Give ’em hell, Snowman!) Enjoy.

So who exactly is this Jerry Reed fella? It turns out he’s a renowned guitarist with over 30 albums (he’s known in the country-music world as “The Guitar Man” and was highly praised by Chet Atkins, who produced some of Reed’s music); a prolific songwriter and former rockabilly (he wrote Gene Vincent’s “Crazy Legs”); a popular session player (Elvis often requested his presence in the studio); and an actor and frequent costar of Burt Reynolds. I don’t know if the rest of his music is good—the quality of country music from the late ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s is usually questionable—but here he is looking cool:


The Rentals’ L.A. Residency

posted by on May 30 at 2:29 PM


Matt Sharp’s post-Weezer synth-pop supergroup, the Rentals, have announced a monthlong Saturday-night residency at L.A.’s Spaceland. The dates are July 7, 14, 21, and 28. The band are currently at work on their long-awaited follow-up to 1999’s criminally underrated Seven More Minutes.

Now How Will I Learn To Play “Come As You Are?”

posted by on May 30 at 1:47 PM

The Online Guitar Archive (OLGA) has been shut down over alleged copyright infringement for hosting individuals’ transcribed interpretations of popular songs. The BBC covered the run-up to this sort of action here and here.

On the one side, the US Music Publishers Association’s Lauren Keiser:

“The Xerox machine was the big usurper of our potential income…But now the internet is taking more of a bite out of sheet music and printed music sales so we’re taking a more proactive stance.”

On the other, OLGA’s Cathal Woods:

“[The lawyers] say we’re making money out of these sites but I’ve never been paid for it. It’s a hobby. I’ve got a full-time job.”

It’s not file sharing, and it’s not internet radio, but for guitar hobbyists and aspiring musicians, this is kind of a big deal.

Surprise! This Post is 100% Self-Indulgent

posted by on May 30 at 1:05 PM

But really, what posts of mine aren’t?

Sooo… It’s my birthday! And I’m absurdly giddy today, because I love birthdays. So I’m listening to a lot of absurdly happy music to match my absurdly happy mood. And I invite you to be absurdly happy with me by enjoying the following songs and videos that are upbeat and bright just like today. It’s my present to you. I want Seattle to be happy. Absurdly happy.

Mates of State - “Goods” (via Polyvinyl Records)

Sicko - “Believe” (via

Superchunk - “Hyper Enough” (via

The Get Up Kids - “Holiday” (via Vagrant Records)

Ted Leo + the Pharmacists - “Sons of Cain” (via Pitchfork)

Mr. T Experience - “She’s Coming Over Tonight”” (via, clearly I’m a fan of pop punk on sunny days)

And here’s a video of the Smoking Popes playing two of my favorite SP songs, “Need You Around” and “Pretty Pathetic.”

And finally, in honor of their upcoming last show ever (June 9th, Neumo’s), Pretty Girls Make Graves - “Speakers Push the Air”:

Secret Chiefs 3 @ Neumo’s

posted by on May 30 at 12:34 PM


It was a pretty crowded house last night for the esoteric post-Persian trance-thrash of Secret Chiefs 3, Neumo’s main floor about 3/4 full. Bandleader Trey Spruance, decked out like a druid in a pointy-hooded black cloak, first took the stage with his narrow-necked Turkish guitar (called a saz) with a bassist and a drummer, to bang out a herky-jerky, oddly-timed instrumental. Another four players took the stage afterwards—percussion, guitar, keys, and Eyvind Kang on filtered violin—and the full band continued with the jarring time signatures and loose, swirling jazz-jam-Casbah rock.

Even a non-musician could discern the difficulty of the tempos they were playing, hardly your standard 4/4 rock ‘n’ roll heartbeat. This stuff was intentionally, sensually obtuse, rarely yeilding a discernable, head-nodding rhythm, though Spruance headbanged on time in his black cloak like a punk-rock Jawa. These was clearly unfamiliar scales and tempos, Eastern-oriented music played at very Western volumes.

At one point, someone in the crowd yelled, “It’s too loud!” between songs, which it was, but nobody else seemed to mind. There was a surprising number of fist-pumps and head-bangs for a sound so difficult to follow. The band would inject some forehead-vein-swelling guitar violence into the finale of some songs, or would sway into more meditative, seaside surf jazz, with wild percussion and Kang’s mewling violin taking lead.

They made the mistake of taking a set break, before which Spruance whipped out a standard guitar for one of the groovier, more accessible tunes of the night. But the break slowed the momentum they’d built, cracked the trance with the opportunity for a beer or a cigarette, which most people took. It was a short intermission, but even still, I found it much harder to get immersed in the music once it began again. Perhaps it was the instrumental, non-lyrical nature of it—the same thing happened with Do Make Say Think at Neumo’s, another epic/swirling/droning instrumental band—but even in its exoticism, the music began to sound repetitive. It struck me that to a Pakistani this stuff might not sound exotic at all, or it might be completely profane, Westerners pillaging traditional structures and modes for kicks. Even if—perhaps especially if—that’s the case, Secret Chiefs 3 offer a compelling sound and an enveloping mood, even if for just a single set.

“Electronic Nerd Music”

posted by on May 30 at 12:30 PM

Truckasauras, Copy, ER Don - Oscillate @ Baltic Room - 05/29/07

All the high-minded music critic jargon aside, the above is how I summed up last night’s bill at the Baltic Room when communicating via the economical language of text messaging. I mean it in a good way—I love nerds, electronics, and music.

I’ve covered Truckasauras pretty thoroughly here, so I’ll just add a couple thoughts. Last night’s show saw them playing to a slightly larger crowd than last time, but it was still a fairly insular bunch. It was also another birthday party, this time for their video artist, Dan Bordon—do these guys ever play anything but birthday parties? Bar mitzvahs, maybe? School dances? Their set was slightly more technically difficult than last time—their was some audible clipping and the video lost color at some points—but they also benefitted from an enthusiastic guest toasting from DJ Collage on “Hold On.” Finally, I somehow failed to mention the name of Truckasauras’ new album in my feature. It’s going to be called Tea Parties, Guns, and Valor, and it’s going to fucking rule!

Portland’s Copy (aka Marius Libman) goes all the way back to Kirkland with the Truckasauras guys (he’s also the older brother of Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head’s Shaun Libman), and the night had the air of a reunion to it, with parents and old high school pals mingling with Seattle’s techno boosters. Copy’s recordings are, like Truckasauras’, based on the the bright, grainy electro sounds of ’80s video games, but his live show is much more streamlined, with Libman playing a (totally sweet) black keytar along to pre-recorded tracks. He doesn’t break much of a sweat live—he plays relaxed, single-note progressions while his laptop handles the inhuman arpeggios—but his thick beats and old-school synths certainly gives the sound system a work out. If there had ever been a break-dancing game for the Nintendo Power Pad, Copy could have been the score.

Opener ER Don has been recording with the Truckasauras guys lately, straight from his Akai MPC to their analog tapes. If his set last night is any indication, that record will be full of brainy instrumentals built from jazzy loops, clean beats, odd beeps and gurgles, and subtle hints of orchestration. Live, the guy hunches over that MPC, tapping pads and triggering samples, pausing occasionally from his rhythmic swaying to scroll through his (imaginably vast) library of sounds. ER Don’s deeply musical compositions, and their constituent organic loops, kill that tired, old argument that all electronic producers do is push buttons, even if that’s what he does in the club (I have a theory that the main reason people shy away from electronic music is because they’re afraid of any sound they can’t see being made—so guitar strums and drum hits are fine, but triggered samples or drum machines are spooky; guitars run through too many pedals would presumably be a gray area—but that’s another post entirely).

Beasties, Björk, and the Money Mark Interview

posted by on May 30 at 11:05 AM

Man. While watching Björk, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell she does to stay looking so young. Seriously. She looked like she couldn’t be more than 20-years old. I wasn’t stoned either. And how about Ad-Rock? While Mike D and Adam Yauch are showing some age, Adam Horovitz still looks like a 20-year old too. What do they do? Carrot juice I.V.’s? Take a bath in Creme de La Mer every morning? Or maybe they just drink the blood of small children. Anyway. Here are some videos. Please enjoy!


Jealous, Girls?

posted by on May 30 at 9:00 AM


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Oscillate Moves To Thursdays at the Baltic Room

posted by on May 29 at 5:11 PM

Long-running electronic night Oscillate is moving from Tuesdays to Thursdays at the Baltic Room starting in June. This is good news for the night, as everyone knows that Thursday is the hip version of Friday.

Tonight, for its penultimate Tuesday edition, Oscillate plays host to Portland’s Copy and Seattle (“the new Berlin”)’s own Truckasauras (“the future of techno”).

Upcoming at Oscillate:

6/05 - Noise for the Needy Benefit showcase feat. Foscil (Fourthcity) & Theory of Everything (Exponential Music (TX)) {DOWNBEAT/IDM}


6/14 - Justin Byrnes (LIVE), Marshall Watson & Brian Go (DJ)

6/21 - 214 (Digital Distortions, Mikrolux), Jay (DJ)

6/28 - Kate Simko (LIVE - KUPEI MUSIKA), Rafael Anton Irisarri (DJ -

Article on Christopher DeLaurenti in the New York Times!

posted by on May 29 at 4:57 PM


Congratulations, Christopher!

Sasquatch Slideshow!

posted by on May 29 at 4:23 PM

Click the picture to watch our slideshow of pictures from Sasquatch!

Earlimart to Play with String Quartet at Georgetown Music Fest

posted by on May 29 at 4:15 PM

California’s Earlimart will be backed by a string quartet for their headlining spot at the Georgetown Music Festival this weekend. The Festival goes down this Saturday and Sunday on four stages centered at 6000 Airport Way South. Also recently added to the weekend’s dizzying lineup: Wallpaper, Little Champions, Eastern Grip, Pris, and Capitol Basement.

What the Heck Fest 2007 announced!

posted by on May 29 at 4:06 PM

And it’s totally worth bugging your friend to let you borrow their car. Anarcortes’ premier music festival always brings the weird, and this year is no exception. Also, I don’t get out in the woods enough and neither do you.

Here’s the lineup, in alphabetical order:

Adrian Orange, Al Larsen, Alyse Emdur, Be Gulls, Bryan Elliott Band, Calvin Johnson, D+, Dupond Et Dupont, Fanny Alger, Geneviève Castrée, Graves, Guy Blackman, Jason Anderson, Juice Team DJs, Karl Blau, Kickball, LAKE, Laura Veirs, Little Wings, Lloyd & Michael, Lucky Dragons, Marston, Mecca Normal, Mount Eerie, Mouseheart Factor, Nate Ashley, Old Time Relijun, PEACE, Privacy, Rich Jensen, Robert Arellano, Spoonshine, Tender Forever, The Blow, The Gift Machine, The Lonely Forest, The Oregon Donor, The Poison Dart, To Bad Catholics, To Spite Mike, Tom Blood, Valet, Vanessa Renwick, Watery Graves, Well Done Dragon, White Rainbow, YACHT, Your Heart Breaks

Hark, thee Water Runneth thicke by Singer/Songwriters! Fans of the Blow should definitely pay attention as the scheduling of YACHT guarantees Jona Bechtolt’s presence at the festival. Jona was absent at the Blow’s Showbox appearance and at Sasquatch last weekend, so maybe this time we can see them actually play together!
Anyhow, the festival takes place in Anacortes, WA, on July 19-22. Full weekend passes are available for $50 at

Kanye Mixtape Features Daft Punk, Peter Bjorn & John, Thom Yorke

posted by on May 29 at 3:40 PM


An “official” Kanye West mixtape, mixed by New York DJ Plain Pat, is available for download at Nahright, and a few tracks are available for streaming as well. “Stronger” slams over a heavy sample of Daft Punk’s “Harder Better Faster Stronger;” “Us Placers,” with Kanye, Lupe, and Pharrell, goes soft and bubbly over Thom Yorke’s “The Eraser;” and “Young Folks” features the whistled melody from the PB&J song of the same name.

Weird. It sorta works, too. Kanye’s Graduation album is slated for September release.

So You Missed Sasquatch?

posted by on May 29 at 11:03 AM

Demonstrative Fun: Jonathan Zwickel on the Saturday Knights and Two Gallants.

Dapper Slacking: Megan Seling on the Hold Steady, the Blow, and Mirah.

A Day of Magical Drinking: Eric Grandy on the Hold Steady, the Blow, Two Gallants, Electrelane, Ghostland Observatory, Mirah, Grizzly Bear, the Beastie Boys, Manu Chao, the Arcade Fire, and Björk.

Mas Sasquatch: Jonathan Zwickel on the Beastie Boys, God, and Citizen Cope.

Acid Brass: Terry Miller on the Dust Bin Roots of the Blow and Björk.

Love Connection: Jonathan Zwickel on the Black Angels, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Interpol, and the Beastie Boys.

Pics and video coming soon!

Folklife - The Cosmic Scheme

posted by on May 29 at 9:58 AM

Folklife Festival has fried foods and rides that spin you upside down. I got a Mr. T ass tattoo and played laser tag.

Behold, Flynt, the psychedelic man playing his butterfly guitar. A poof in the cosmic scheme of things.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Love Connection

posted by on May 28 at 1:50 PM

First a quick boast: For the official Stranger Sasquatch! guide, Megan put together a festival scavenger hunt, listing items to look for around the Gorge over the weekend. As unlikely as we thought they were (Michael Franti’s shoes, a tuft of Sarah Silverman’s arm hair), some of these items proved prescient. There was indeed a third Gallant in the form of lead tambourinist Cody Votolato. And then there was the Incredible Bongo Band record Mix Master Mike scratched during the Beastie Boys’ main stage set. Megan, you’re an oracle.

So how about that wind? The main stage was shut down for at least an hour yesterday, maybe more, blowing fans off the massive lawn and towards Sasquatch’s smaller stages. So the Wookie Stage was packed for the Black Angels’ heavy-duty psych, which was loud as fuck. The wind threw off my schedule as well as the festival’s—bouncing between interviews and stages, I only caught the tail end of the Angels, the Spree, Common Market, and Money Mark.

The literal whirlwind that blew through the Gorge carried the potential for disaster—temperatures plummeted, sets were delayed—but attendees and production both handled the chaos with resilience. Spearhead’s afternoon main stage set was moved to the Wookie Stage later at night, a good small-setting counterpoint to the Beastie Boys’ massive main stage production. Interpol went on pretty much on time on the wind-delayed main stage and for whatever reason, people seemed to like them. Me, I just don’t get it. I hear Interpol and all I hear is guitarguitarguitar and attitudeattitudeattitude, and not in a good way. Where’s the originality? Why do people like them? Why were they on the main stage?

Continue reading "A Love Connection" »

Sasquatch Reflections from the Dust Bin

posted by on May 28 at 1:34 PM

I went to Sasquatch reluctantly this year, my sole reasons were to see Bjork and The Arcade Fire. I honestly didn’t think I would like much else on the bill, though, so I was perfectly happy to sit back and accost people at The Stranger’s booth (Yeah, I was the one making all the cute boys take their shirts off!…and thanks to that wonderful girl who passed us the doobie, telling us she loved us…hope you enjoyed that Babeland gift bag!) and listen to bands playing the Wookie Stage all afternoon.

The Blow

Eric pulled me, somewhat reluctantly, to The Blow’s show at the Yeti Stage. The moment she started I turned to Eric and said, “Wow she’s like a funky Meryn Cadell!”

“I don’t know Meryn Cadell, but she’s definatley funky.” Eric replied.

Well this is Meryn Cadell.

Mind you, that song, from her Angel Food For Thought album, is nearly 15 years old now, but can you see what I mean? The sampled beats, the snarky, slightly ironic, but sweet nouveau-feminist storytelling. It’s all there.

Meryn Cadell release 3 albums inthe ‘90’s, then faded into obscurity. Her albums are back in print now however, and she’s recently come out as a female-to-male transexual as well. Taking all the ideas in her past work to completely different levels of meaning.

Bjork’s Brass Band

In 1997 my friend Jeremy Deller, got the idea that rave music was not that far removed from the music of the working class “company” brass bands that are familiar to many in Great Britain. He started working with one in particular,The Williams Fairey Brass Band, eventually putting out an album called Acid Brass.


In the liner notes to this album there’s a description of Bjork dancing in the front aisle of their concert, going crazy over the brass arrangements of the classic acid house tunes.

Below are two samples:

808 State - Pacific 202
Jeremy Deller Presents The Williams Fairey Brass Band - Pacific 202

The KLF - What Time Is Love?
Jeremy Deller Presents The Williams Fairey Brass Band - What Time Is Love?

This has got to be the historic genesis of the idea of putting a 16 piece brass band behind her in her current arrangements.

What do you think?

As for her concert as a whole, I thought the brass band ended up too much in the background during the first 30 minutes, but the second two-thirds of the show slayed me. Those lasers formed this weird fake roof over the concert which seemed to pull everyone in a little tighter and make the Gorge seem like a real tribal gathering. Absolutely brilliant.

Quick Note:

Things I Loved: Arcade Fire, Electrolane, Grizzly Bear, free PBR behind The Stranger booth, straight volunteer fire fighters from Idaho telling me to “never change that gay thing, dude! You’re awesome bro’!”

Things I Didn’t Like: Citizen Cope, Manu Chao, part-timers working Crowd Management, having no fresh air in a fucking open air venue, where the fuck was Sarah Silverman?, and that horrible comedian at the wookie stage: “Do you guys wanna here my rape jokes?” and “I used to hate MTV….” Yeah, right up until they started paying you for your crap-tastic show!

Oh My God, It’s Techno Music: DEMF Day 2

posted by on May 28 at 11:38 AM

Different World featuring Claude Young and Takasi Nakajima

The above picture is of Different World, the Tokyo-based duo featuring Detroit’s Claude Young and Takasi Nakajima. This year was Claude Young’s first official stop at the DEMF, and so far this act has made the entire trip worth it. Their festival appearance was good, but the afterparty they played is some of the best music I’ve heard all weekend. Things were opened up by FBK from Columbus, a laptopper who plays with all the enthusiasm you see from jocks like Donald Glaude. His tracks were both harder and faster than the overall feel of Archetype vs. XTrak, two producers from NYC who created a moving, constantly shifting set, danceable as all hell, detailed yet avoiding the micro-sound trap. Closing it out was Different World, who killed harder than they did at the festival. It’s a hard set to describe, but it reminded me of mashup in some ways, but with all the hipster irony replaced by stellar track selection. It was a trip through Detroit techno, with some non-techno tossed in there as well (Nitzer Ebb, N.E.R.D.). I long for a recording, but alas I don’t think one exists.

More on Day Two after the jump.

Continue reading "Oh My God, It's Techno Music: DEMF Day 2" »

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mas Squatch

posted by on May 27 at 6:38 PM

Eric Grandy, your Sasquatch! post was, like this festival itself, epic.

But I must take issue with your classifying of Citizen Cope as “hippy crap.” I know hippy crap, and hippy crap is far better than whatever the hell it is that Cope does.

Also, you and Cody V. (aka the Third Gallant) are dead wrong about the Beastie Boys. It sounds like you didn’t stick around for the full set, but it was stellar. If you’ve ever been a fan—and for me, that’s going back 20 years—you couldn’t not love their extended instrumental set last night. The banter between songs was priceless enough, but the songs themselves were energized, tight, and raucous. I’m psyched for their main stage set tonight. I just hope the wind lays down by showtime.

Surprise Headlining Act: God

posted by on May 27 at 6:07 PM

The main stage at Sasquatch! is currently shut down because of extreme winds.

Last year hail cut off Neko Case; this year 40-mph gusts cut short the Polyphonic Spree a half-hour into their set. One thing you can count on here at the Gorge: Mother Nature will make an appearance, and she will not be upstaged.

Before all that mess, Bad Brains played an inspired set on the main stage, sailing from sultry dub reggae into raging hardcore as if the two were meant for each other. They’re the only band who could make that leap, and it’s great having them back. It was awesome hearing classic tracks like “Supertouch” and “Banned in DC” coming from the legendary quartet, played with a passion and ease that suggested they are very real and very glad to be here. HR stood unmoving at the mic, raising an occasional fist but mostly crooning and crowing as the band thrashed in the background. It was the only reggae-fied vibe at Sasquatch! this year and the sound fully suited the setting.

Also fit for the sunshine: Money Mark’s soulful pop. Caught the last song he played over at the Wookie Stage and dug it more than I expected to. I’m a fan of his older, weirder keyboard experiments and his new album hasn’t really done it for me, but live his new material was as energetic and catchy as anything I’ve seen here.

Tokyo Police Club just finished up over there at the Wookie and Smoosh are playing the Yeti Stage as I type, sounding way more woman than girl. Spoon are supposed to be on the main stage but are in a holding pattern until the wind stops whipping. The massive lighting rigs above the stage were swaying like feeble tree branches. Nobody wants to stand underneath that potential disaster while they’re performing.

Great video interviews with Money Mark and Michael Franti coming as soon as possible. Franti played San Quentin State Prison just last weekend and had some heavy-duty tales to tell.

Working in the Offseason

posted by on May 27 at 2:43 PM

“So we went over the tapes from last night and realized there were some problems with our execution. And our defense could’ve been stronger but we’re gonna work on that. It was a tough game but we played hard.”

And so Mike D began the Beastie Boys’ press conference at Sasquatch!, the three Boys crammed with 15 sweaty journalists in a tiny trailer, set up behind a table and bullshitting. Horovitz said in our phone a couple weeks ago interview that the band is feeling themselves; judging from their demeanor (and last night’s “instrumental” set, which I’ll get to in a minute) they’re seriously feeling themselves.

Horovitz: “You know I’m a free agent, so I’m looking into making a trade after this season. The Arcade Fire, I was talking to them last night. I hear Bjork is looking to fill some positions.”

Yauch: “We’re looking into seeing how small we can get. We’re playing a show next week in my grandma’s living room, her and two friends sitting on a couch.”

Diamond: “The energy level will be different for that one. We’ll play our hits. We have a lot of hits.”

Yauch: “‘The Night Chicago Died,” “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” “Joy to the World.”

Horovitz: Jim Croce—“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”—he died in a plane crash in the ’70s. He was a Scientologist, wasn’t he? L. Ron Hubbard, Jim Croce, Clear Channel—google it. There’s a website.”

Yauch: “Forward-slash Horovitz-awkward-outburst.”

About their upcoming instrumental album The Mix-Up: Horovitz: It’s an interesting time to not say something. We’ve got the same fucked up situation as before, when we were saying something.”

About what to expect from their main stage set: “Bigger artillery. It’s a bigger stage, you gotta bring out bigger weapons. That’s pretty violent, isn’t it? How about this: Imagine a daisy…”

Yauch: “With a razor blade in it.”

The banter continued like this for 20 minutes, the Boys so damn sharp and clever— and yes, feeling themselves—that they almost—almost—shrouded their brilliance in ridiculous banter and wise-ass-itude. But that wise-ass-itude is their brilliance, and it was as evident in their super nonchalant demeanor inside a trailer as it was onstage last night. Their set, billed as instrumental, leading many to believe it would be sans vocals, which it entirely wasn’t, was phenomenal. They played instruments, yes (“Every band plays instruments, right?” said Yauch inside the trailer. “We weren’t sure what to call the set last night. We didn’t want to disappoint people.”) and they started with their instrumental numbers from Check Your Head, but they also played “Blue Nun” and “Jimmy James” and “Sure Shot,” vocal tracks usually played with samples and scratching, all done with renewed energy and musicality, thanks to the instruments. These were total reinterpretations of their best songs, and they sounded great.

Essentially the Beastie Boys are completely reborn. What they did last night guaranteed at least another 20 years of freshness, for themselves and for their fans. They sported a new-ish look, a sort of dapper undercover cop/Blues Brothers/Men in Black thing, and had Money Mark on keys and a percussionist—Mario Caldato, maybe. As a longtime fan, I was totally thrilled to see the new format, hear the new sound, and know that they’ve still got plenty of mileage in them.

OK I’m cutting this short I can hear Bad Brains wafting up from the main stage. Suffice to say Sasquatch! Day Two: Lovin’ it.

“Gonna Walk Around And Drink Some More”

posted by on May 27 at 1:30 PM

Sasquatch - Day One

Craig Finn of of the Hold Steady was singing “How am I supposed to know if you’re high if you won’t let me touch you/How am I supposed to know if you’re high if you won’t even dance” as I came over the crest and into the Gorge Amphitheater yesterday. He was a dot down there on the stage and about the size of a Youtube video on the jumbotron screens that flanked it. No one was dancing, no one was going to be touched by Finn, and I at least wasn’t high. So I started drinking.

I’d never been to the Gorge before yesterday, and I was kind of expecting it to be a nightmare. I’m not partial to big, festival crowds, and while I’d heard wonderful things about the Gorge itself, I’d heard my share of worrying anecdotes about Sasquatch. But you know what? Sasquatch was fucking awesome. I had a total blast, the weather was perfect, the place is as gorgeous as everyone says, bands were great, and I even warmed up to the crowd. There can be something pretty life-affirming about being surrounded by so many people all gathered for something artful and fun and all pretty much getting along. And no, I didn’t smoke any pot.

Continue reading ""Gonna Walk Around And Drink Some More"" »

Disappointment & Redemption: DEMF Day 1

posted by on May 27 at 12:07 PM

King Britt
It’s only been one day and the techno-fatigue is starting to set in here at the DEMF. Saturday was a day of heroes, both old and new, with Pier Bucci, Guido Schneider, and Claude vonStroke absolutely killing it on the Beatport stage. King Britt owned the main stage, working his way through acid, jackin’ house, disco, and closing it all out with the Best Song Ever (ever!), “I Love Music.” Seeing the ravers get down to that song is something special.

More on the night’s headliner Moodymann after the jump.

Continue reading "Disappointment & Redemption: DEMF Day 1" »