Blues Control: “Love’s a Rondo” (Video; touring)

This week, Queen’s experimental rock duo Blues Control released Valley Tangents, their latest LP via Drag City.

Check out album track “Iron Pigs.”

We also have a list of tour dates below (starting tonight in Baltimore). And, a special treat, a beautiful new video for album track “Love’s a Rondo,” featuring exquisite plastique movement from mime Tarik Davidson. Yes, File Under ? has finally done a post about mime!

“Love’s a Rondo.”

Directed by Tara Sinn. Filmed by William Strobeck.

Featuring Tarik Davidson aka Allstar the MTA Mime.

Valley Tangents

BLUES CONTROL TOUR DATES:

Thu. June 21 – Baltimore, MD @ Floristree Space

Fri. June 22 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA w/ Birds of Maya, Slow Tongued Beauty

Sat. June 23 – Brooklyn, NY @ 285 Kent w/ Purling Hiss, Tonstartssbandht, Jordan Redaelli, DJ Brian Turner, DJ Paul Major

Wed. July 25 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Gooski’s

Fri. July 27 – Chicago, IL @ Hideout w/ Chandeliers

Sat. July 28 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups w/ Pink Reason, Day Creeper

Sun. July 29 – Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog

Mon. July 30 – Rochester, NY @ The Bug Jar

Wed. Aug. 1 – Montreal, QC @ Il Motore

Thu. Aug. 2 – Burlington, VT @ Signal Kitchen

Fri. Aug. 3 – Allston, MA @ O’Brien’s Pub

All Songs Intern Rips the Idea of Buying Records?

"Don't want to buy limited edition green vinyl on Record Store Day? You are just the worst kind of person..."

This week, one of the topics being avidly discussed on the blogosphere is a  post written on the All Songs Considered blog by NPR intern Emily White (read here).  There have been a number of passionate replies to her suggestion that those in her age group simply are not buying music: they’re too accustomed to “appropriating” it. David Lowery (of the band Camper Van Beethoven) provided an in depth and thoughtful response (a must read at the Trichordist here).  One can also read Ben Sisario’s article for the NY Times here and Jonathan Coulton’s blog post here.

All caught up? Good.

I won’t go through all of the merits and moral quandaries associated with file-sharing and streaming services. Full disclosure: I use NML regularly in my work (we subscribe at Westminster Choir College) and also have a paid Spotify subscription. While I’m a big proponent of physical media, and also feel that streaming services must work to do a better job to compensate artists, I am pleased that these technological options are available, as they are invaluable references for scholars and music lovers.

Thus, I’m certainly not interested in piling on or, goodness forbid, admonishing Emily White. In some ways, I feel sorry for her: a DJ and station manager who doesn’t have a record collection strikes me as someone who’s missed out on a very fun part of that gig. Instead, let’s zero in on those records. In the various posts on the subject of apathetic interns there is an almost unmentioned other segment of the populace that should be introduced into this conversation about purchasing music: young people who, you know, purchase music.

I support lots of artists by buying their music, often in physical, sometimes esoteric, formats. I feel about LPs the way that former Senator Phil Gramm feels about firearms, about which he famously said, “I have more of ‘em than I need and less of ‘em than I want.”

But I’m not the only one with this penchant for owning a physical artifact instead of ripping a friend’s CD. Why is it whenever I go to a record store I’m surrounded by people, many approximately Emily White’s age, who are digging through the bins and buying vinyl? New vinyl – nice 180 gram pressings of current albums. That’s a lot of latte money!

Maybe, in the midst of all of the doom and gloom about the decline of CDs as a distribution model, we are overgeneralizing by taking the casual listener as the barometer for future music sales. The casual listener has long “stolen” or, at the very least, freely acquired, music: well before the advent of file sharing and mp3s. Mix tapes, listening to the radio in a restaurant that doesn’t pay royalties, borrowing music from libraries, friends, etc.

Yes, the arguments regarding “fair use” settled some of these issues, but it took lengthy court battles to do so. At the time, most teens remained blithely oblivious of the issues at hand, continuing to dupe their friends’ copies of whatever they couldn’t afford that week at Sam Goody. What’s sad is that Emily seems to fall into this group of casual consumers: one might hope that NPR would attract folks who get the point of supporting those who entertain, educate, and even move them.

Physical product continues to be viable in the digital age, even if it proves to be a more modest stream of revenue than it was for artists during the boom years of the CD era. The physical product that seems to be on the rise at the moment is the LP, with good reason: it’s a very fine artifact. The bigger format helps – you can actually read the liner notes and the artwork can better be appreciated. Many audiophiles (myself included) love ‘em.

That said, the industry should continue to explore other modes of distribution, new platforms that will help to keep them in business and recoup at least some of artists’ lost royalties. In no way am I suggesting that streaming media isn’t going to be the prevailing method of experiencing recorded music in the future. From an archival standpoint and one of accessibility, this is an exciting thing indeed. However, I can’t help but think that the lack of engagement with a record collection, except in the digital domain, divests the listening experience of some of its vitality.

Readers: what do you think? The comments section is open for civil discourse.

Improv Friday Pipes Down


Over at Sequenza 21 Editor Steve Layton’s Bandcamp page, is a free download of a comp he’s curated, titled ppp. Description and embed below.
“Between April 26th-28th 2012, twenty-five musicians from around the U.S. and the world gathered at the music-sharing website known as ImprovFriday.com. The suggested theme for our sharing was simply “ppp;” i.e., the music term for “extremely soft and quiet.” How each person interpreted this in their own performance was left to them. This CD documents mash-ups I made during the course of the weekend event, of all the different tracks coming in to the site from these musicians. Some tracks were heavily edited, but most were left close to their original state, and simply allowed to interact with the other tracks in an unforced way.”

Musicians: Günter Gläser, Kawol Samarkand, Roger Sundström, Peter Thörn, Glenn Smith, J.C. Combs, Lee Noyes, Kavin Allenson, Steve Moyes, Richard Sanderson, Paul Muller, Lydia Busler-Blais, Benjamin Smith, Jérôme Poirier, Fabio Keiner, Norbert Oldani, Chris Vaisvil, Steve Layton, Paulo Chagas, Steve Moshier, Bruce Hamilton, Shane Cadman, Jim Goodin.

released 29 April 2012




Playlist for “Reading Day” (RCRDLBL)




When it comes to studying, I don’t advocate “cramming.” I’m more of a fan of looking at the material throughout the semester and reviewing for final exams in an organized way over multiple sessions. But during finals week, even students with the best of study habits have to log a fair amount of hours preparing for exams. And, especially when burning the midnight oil, it’s important to have some tunes along for marathon study sessions.


The playlist below, courtesy of RCRDLBL, promises to keep things lively.


Out today: Creepy Crawlies’ debut LP (MP3)

From Easter to spring cleaning, now is the season in which many of us thing about getting unburied. Not so the duo Creepy Crawlies: the title of their debut self-released full length recording is Get Buried! But as you can hear from the MP3 below (shared via our Tumblr blog), they sure to make getting buried sound appealing, with a winsome yet wall-of-sound brand of indie pop.

Get Buried

The album is out today: help these comely Californians get a leg up in the dog eat dog environment of the record business by supporting it!