Monday, January 29, 2007

The Police To Play The Grammy Awards

The Police will play a surprise gig opening the Grammy Awards, and are expected to be announcing a full world tour shortly. The band will likely not be added to Coachella, Bonnaroo, or any other festival... Find some music here.


Band of the Week: Telograph

We are starting a new feature called IA's Band of the Week. Every week, we are going to pick a band that has a major event or release coming up in the region. What we do will probably be varied, but I will most likely sit down with them and conduct an interview as part of the feature. We'll see how it goes. For the first week, I choose DC's Telograph.

Telograph just released Little Bits of Plastic and are only hours removed from their arena debut. Next Saturday, they will have their official CD release party at the Black Cat with Two if by Sea and Cedars. Due to all of this, they seemed like the obvious choice for this week. Lead singer Andy Boliek was nice enough to talk with me for a few minutes…

IA: Thanks for taking the time to sit down and do this with me. I know that it has been crazy for you lately and I really appreciate it. For what it's worth, congrats on being our first ever Band of the Week.

AB: Thanks Joe, we really appreciate your interest in us and local music in general.

IA: We have a lot to talk about, but I wanted to start with your arena debut. It's only been a few hours since you got off of the stage at the Patriot Center. How did it go and how was the experience for you?

AB: It was an incredible experience.

We arrived at the venue around 2pm and spent most of the afternoon and evening preparing. The crew was nice enough to give us a pretty extensive sound check, which left us feeling very confident going into the night.

We hit the stage at 8pm, about an hour and a half after the doors opened. The place was pretty packed by this point. Playing in an arena like the Patriot Center with a powerful sound system, really gets you amped up. The kick drum and the bass sound enormous and the guitars, keyboards, and vocals fill the room. We opened with "Beneath Your Feet" and the crowd gave a very positive response. From there on out, we knew the rest of the set would be top notch.

Our set time was 25 minutes...but due to a production error, they had us come off stage one song too early. So we went back up on stage to play our last song and the crowd went crazy. It was like a mini encore.

All in all, it was an extremely positive experience. We hope to grace the stage again in the future. Oh yeah, and we have a live recording that will be surfacing soon.

Here is a link to some photos, including the one used for this piece.

IA: What aspects of that experience do you feel that you can apply to future shows at much smaller venues?

AB: The experience is much different when you play a large venue. You feel more detached because you are 5 feet off the ground and there is a wide pit in front of the stage, but the energy from the crowd is really really motivating. I'm not sure there's much that can be applied to future shows at smaller venues. However, we love playing regardless of the venue...our goal is simply to inspire the crowd and have fun.

IA: Hopefully some of that audience will come along too!

AB: I hope so! I was a bit unsure as to how O.A.R and Gomez fans would react to our music, but it was very positive. We sold a ton of CDs and t-shirts and we were approached by many people after the show asking about future shows.

IA: On Saturday, you will have your official CD release party at the Black Cat. You managed to put together an amazing bill with Two if by Sea and Cedars. How did that come about?

AB: We wanted to do our CD release show as an all local bill. Vicki at the Black Cat was nice enough to let us pick the bands. TibS and Cedars are friends of ours and we felt that it would be a fairly cohesive bill musically speaking.

IA: Do you have anything special in store for the audience at that show?

AB: You'll have to show up to find out! But yes, we do have something extra special planned. I will tell you this... it involves drum heads. And since others have decided to take over our kissing booth idea, Arash has decided to step it up a notch and give out "open mouth" kisses for $1.

IA: I wanted to talk a little bit about Little Bits of Plastic. As you know, I have had to CD for awhile. Whenever I read any press on it, everyone seems to mention "Eye For An Eye" and "Beneath Your Feet." I am guessing that those are the obvious singles?

AB: They have been noted as the catchiest songs on the CD, so we are promoting them as singles. We love all the songs equally. They're our babies and we don't pick favorites.

IA: Personally, I am a huge fan of "We Won't Settle Down." The build up and atmospheric qualities in that track are what get me.

AB: Glad you like it! We were lucky enough to have Benoit record the violin parts right before he left the band. The violin, synth pads, and guitar tracks give it the atmosphere. There's actually quite a bit of layering on this song that doesn't become obvious until you listen to it a few times.

IA: I am assuming that the EP title comes from the lyrics of "Beneath Your Feet?"

AB: Yes, "Little Bits of Plastic" is a lyric from Beneath Your Feet.

IA: What influences do you feel are apparent on this release?

AB: There are so many, but here are a few bands that we were listening to when these songs were written:

The Verve
The Stills
The Strokes
The Secret Machines
Echo and the Bunnymen
The Dears

IA: If I had recently been turned on to your music either through your show at The Patriot Center or through any of the press that you have been doing lately, how could I get a copy of Little Bits of Plastic? Where is it available digitally and physically?

AB: I would tell you to come to a show and buy it. Then we can hang out and we'll say really nice things about you and your friends.

If you can't make it to a show you can order the physical copy here:

Our webpage
CD Baby

Or you can get a digital copy at Amie Street.

We'll be on iTunes soon. We're just playing the waiting game right now.

IA: Where did the name Telograph come from?

AB: It's a secret

IA: I know that you have had some lineup changes recently. How has that changed the dynamic of the band?

AB: Benoit, our previous keyboard/violin player left the band in August to pursue a job in Montreal. It was quite a challenge to find someone to take his place... obviously, it would be difficult to find another keyboard/violin player. We played with a couple keyboardists in the months to follow, before we found JB who eventually became a full-time member.

He was a great addition to the band because of his multi-instrumental capabilities. He plays keyboard, guitar, and sings harmonies (which until now have been non-existent in a live setting). We are still secretly looking for a fifth member. If you play guitar and keyboard drop us a line at

IA: The DC music scene has been crazy lately. It seems like mere minutes until it explodes into the national conscience. What bands have been getting your attention?

AB: There are a lot of very talented bands in DC right now. Some of my personal favorites are Middle Distance Runner, Cedars, Army of Me, Paul Michel, and The Hard Tomorrows. I also really dig Lake Trout and Two if by Sea from Baltimore.

IA: What are your touring plans for the coming months? Also, how far are you planning on traveling to promote this release?

AB: In the next couple months, we are going to be doing several long weekends around the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. We are planning a larger scale tour for the end of Spring that will take us up the Northeast, into Canada and down through the Midwest. The objective is to play as many shows as humanly possible.

IA: Do you currently have any plans to return to the studio and put out another release?

AB: Yes. We are currently writing new material and aim to have a full-length album by this time next year. We are trying to find the right producer for our next record. Little Bits of Plastic was self-produced and we are very satisfied with the outcome, but it will be time to step it up a notch with the next album.

IA: Before we end, is there anything else that you would like to add?

AB: Come to The Black Cat this Saturday and there will be a 30% chance that you'll get a free CD and a 100% chance you will have the time of your life.

IA: Thanks again for taking the time to do this. I'll see you in a couple of weeks when you come to play in Pennsylvania.

AB: Look forward to seeing you. We're going to try to make it up the night before to catch some of our local favs.

That's it for our interview. If you would like to read more about Telograph, you can check out their piece from our 12 Bands of Christmas. I'll leave you with a couple of tracks to enjoy.

Eye For An Eye
We Won't Settle Down


Feb 10 @ the Chameleon Club

My friend Jake and I put together a little show on February 10. I am pretty excited about this lineup. Here's a little teaser, but I promise that more info will be coming soon. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to fire away.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

This Weekend

It is the last weekend in January and it's freaking cold out, but that can't stop us. There are some great things going on in the region this weekend that you should definitely check out.


There are a couple of really good shows happening in the DC area tonight.

The night starts with Kristen Hersh playing Crooked Beat Records at 6pm to support this week's release of her new album. If you want in on the action, get there as early as you can. They can only fit 30 or so people in the store.

IA favorites Telograph are making their arena debut at The Patriot Center in Fairfax. They will be supporting Gomez and O.A.R.

Over at the Black Cat, Washington Social Club will be playing the main stage with Federal Reserve members, These United States and Let's French.

Telograph - We Won't Settle Down
Gomez - How We Operate
Washington Social Club - Backed To The Future
These United States - So High So Low So Wide So Long
Let's French - Unpack the Suitcase
Kristen Hersh - SnoCat


In Baltimore, The Smiths tribute band Girlfriend in a Coma is playing The Ottobar. They will be supported by local favorites The Heavycoats in what will be a packed show.

Rock and Roll Hotel in DC has a huge show. Jette-Ives are having their CD release party. Jette knows how to work a crowd and she knows how to throw a party, so this should be a great one. DJ Buster and Soft Complex will be rounding out the strong bill.

Jette-Ives - Darker Than You
Soft Complex - Barcelona
The Smiths - Girlfriend in a Coma
The Heavycoats - Sea Song

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Bloc Party Black Session

Earlier this week, Bloc Party recorded a Black Session. This is a French radio show recorded in front of a live audience. So yeah, you will hear French in these recordings. Anyway, I found these legally on the net and wanted to share them with you. Thanks goes out to If you enjoy these, please purchase their new CD when it comes out in February.

1. Waiting For The 7:18
2. Positive Tension
3. Banquet
4. Hunting For Witches
5. This Modern Love
6. The Prayer
7. Uniform
8. I Still Remember
9. So Here We Are
10. Little Thoughts
11. Helicopter
12. Sunday

*Removed by request. Please visit for more on this show.*


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Throwback Thursday: Radiohead

Today's Throwback band needs no introduction. They are probably the most hyped band of the past 10 years. Today is the day that we listen to the requests and bring you Radiohead. This is a band that seemed poised to be a one hit wonder with "Creep." Then The Bends came out and everything changed. All of a sudden, they were everyone's favorite band. OK Computer only enhanced that and the rest is history. Let's skip the boring small talk and just get to the music. We stayed away from most of the more popular songs and tried to bring you a few hidden gems. If you don't have the albums, we highly recommend them. Anyway, I'm out. Go listen.

Pablo Honey (1993)
Stop Whispering

The Bends (1995)
The Bends
My Iron Lung

OK Computer (1997)
Let Down
Climbing Up The Walls

Kid A (2000)
Everything In Its Right Place
Kid A

Amnesiac (2001)
Pyramid Song
Knives Out

Hail To The Thief (2003)
2 + 2 = 5
Where I End And You Begin
There There

Talk Show Host
True Love Waits (Live)

Past Throwbacks:
1/18/07: The Police
1/11/07: Smashing Pumpkins
1/4/07: Ryan Adams
12/28/06: The Replacements
12/14/06: Talking Heads
12/07/06: Peter Gabriel
11/30/06: The Pixies
11/16/06: Prince
11/09/06: Ben Folds Five
11/02/06: Beastie Boys
10/26/06: Joy Division
10/19/06: They Might Be Giants
10/12/06: The Psychedelic Furs
10/05/06: The Clash
09/28/06: The Smiths
09/21/06: A Tribe Called Quest
09/14/06: R.E.M.
09/07/06: The Cure
08/31/06: Morphine
08/24/06: The Lemonheads
08/17/06: Depeche Mode
08/10/06: New Order

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Not So New Release Tuesday: Rage Against the Machine

It's fall of 1993. I'm a senior high school. Kurt Cobain is still alive. Beavis and Butthead rule MTV. Sega Genesis is the gaming system of choice. Zach de la Rocha is pissed off. My friends and I are filled with angst. We are a perfect match.

I'll never forget the first time that I heard Rage Against the Machine's debut album in full. Back then, a parental advisory sticker actually meant something. My friends and I were dying to get this CD. I was the first of us to turn 18, so I purchased about 5 copies as soon as I did. There weren't a lot of CD players in cars at that point, so I waited until I got home to put it on. I put it on in my room and cranked it up, not knowing that Bombtrack builds. Mike (yes the one that used to run the Austin side of this site) was in the next room and as soon as the song kicked in, he heard me scream. And I heard him laugh. While my ears may have hurt, I immediately fell in love. To this day, this CD can bring out the angst that I had believed to be long gone.

Know Your Enemy

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Live Arcade Fire

The Arcade Fire performed a secret show over the weekend at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Montreal. Somebody was able to record a bootleg and turn it rather quickly. We of course have the mp3s from the show zipped for you.

Here's the setlist and a couple of samples:
Black Mirror
Keep The Car Running
No Cars Go
Black Wave/Bad Vibrations
My Body Is A Cage
Ocean Of Noise
Rebellion (Lies)
(Antichrist Television Blues)
The Well and The Lighthouse

Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)

[ZIP] The Arcade Fire - Live @ St. Michael's, Montreal, 1/20/2007

Credit for the recording can be found here.


Bonnaroo 2007

Since Chris gave us the lineup for Coachella yesterday, I had to be fair. Bonnaroo is taking place in Manchester, TN from June 14-17. The official lineup is to be released on 1/31, but this just leaked.

The Police (headline), Bob Dylan (headline), Pearl Jam (headline), Tom Waits, Willie Nelson, Umphrey's McGee, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Modest Mouse, The Black Crowes, Ryan Adams, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, Keller Williams Band, Hot Chip, America, TV on the Radio, Fountains of Wayne, Les Claypool, The Shins, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Toots and the Maytals, The Roots, The Decemberists, Of Montreal, Cat Power, Ozomatli, Perpetual Groove, Band of Horses, John Butler Trio, Nickel Creek, Medeski Martin and Wood, Lily Allen, Neko Case, Keiren Hedben (Four Tet) & Steve Reid, The Hold Steady, Earl Scuggs, Charlie Louvin, Man Man, Grizzly Bear, Konono #1, The Slip, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Uncle Earl, Annuals, Beirut, M. Ward, Cold War Kids, Girl Talk

Which is better? You decide.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Coachella 2007

Holy. Crap.

Day one might be the best one day festival lineup that I've ever seen. Not to mention my excitement over the Rage Against the Machine reunion. Guess you'll find me in California this spring.

Day One:
Bjork, Interpol, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Arctic Monkeys,
Jarvis Cocker, Sonic Youth, Faithless, DJ Shadow, Peeping Tom,
Brazilian Girls, Peaches, Felix da Housecat, Rufus Wainwright, Stephen
Marley featuring Jr. Gong, Nickel Creek, We Are Scientists, Digitalism,
Tokyo Police Club, Comedians of Comedy, EL-P, Julieta Venegas, Gogol
Bordello, Circa Survive, Silversun Pickups, Gillian Welch, Tilly & The
Wall, Benny Benassi, Amy Winehouse, David Guetta, Noisettes, Evil Nine,
Busdriver, Brother Ali

Day Two:
Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Arcade Fire, Tiesto, The
Decemberists, The Good The Bad and the Queen, Travis, Kings of Leon,
Gotan Project, the Rapture, LCD Soundsystem, Blonde Redhead, the New
Pornographers, the Black Keys, !!!, Regina Spektor, Hot Chip, MSTRKRFT,
Ozomatli, Ghostface Killah, Fountains of Wayne, Jack's Mannequin, Peter
Bjorn & John, VNV Nation, Sparklehorse, The Night Watchmen, Roky
Erikson & The Explosives, Cornelius, CocoRosie, Andrew Bird, the
Frames, the Fratellis, Justice, Erol Alkan, Bojones, Pharoahe Monch,
Fields, the Cribs, Girl Talk, Mike Relm

Day Three:
Rage Against the Machine, Manu Chao, Happy Mondays, Air,
Willie Nelson, Paul Van Dyk, Placebo, Kaiser Chiefs, Damien Rice the
Roots, Crowded House, Explosions in the Sky, Konono No 1, Soulwax,
Richie Hawtin, Infected Mushroom, Amos Lee, Jose Gonzalez, Spank Rock,
Rodrigo y Gabriela, Against Me!, Ratatat, Junior Boys, the Feeling, The
Kooks, CSS, Klaxons, Tapes n Tapes, Teddybears, Lupe Fiasco, Mando
Diao, Grizzly Bear, Mika, The Coup, The Avett Bros, Anathallo, Fair to


Cedars on WOXY

On Friday, DC's Cedars recorded a Lounge Act on WOXY. The tracklisting was:

Black Book

You can download it here: Cedars Lounge Act 1/19/07

You can also get their first lounge act here: Cedars Lounge Act 5/20/2005

They were joined by their friends Shade from Pittsburgh. Like Cedars, Shade was also returning to the lounge. Shade was supporting their brand new disc and the song selection for the new session reflects that. Their shows are here:

Shade's Lounge Act 1/19/07
Shade's Lounge Act 8/26/05

Check out some great tunes and support both of these bands. They deserve it.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Attention New York: Middle Distance Runner Need Your Help

I just received a message from Ian of Middle Distance Runner. Since he knows that we have a lot of NYC readers, he wanted me to share this:

Hey guys .... most of you know about this already, but I wanted to share details in case anybody happened to come across any of this gear in a pawn shop or on craigslist or ebay or anything...

Yesterday, while parked in front of an elementary school in Brooklyn, sometime between 1:00pm and 5:00pm (the middle of the day), someone thought it would be nice to smash our van's side window, reach in and steal a bunch of our stuff. We lost 2 guitars, a bass, and all of our drum hardware. The drum hardware would be impossible to track down, and we are just considering that an immediate loss.

We're still holding out hope that the guitars will show up somewhere around town. Here is what's missing:

-Fender Jazzmaster 1962 re-issue (sunburst w/ tortoise pick guard)

-Fender American Telecaster (sunburst w/ white pick guard)

-Fender 5-string Jazz Bass, HM model (white w/ paint chipping off near pickups)

It's going to cost us well over $3,000 to replace this equipment. If you see someone walking around with these, please shoot them in the face with a machine gun and take the guitars and let us know, so we can arrange getting them back. Also stuff their dead bodies full of maggots and then throw them into the hudson... Thank you.

Please pass this message around to anyone else in the area that you know who regularly visits pawn shops ..

If you know or see anything, please pass along the info. It is greatly appreciated.

Since replacing everything is going to suck, help them out by purchasing their cd or catching a live show. Here is where they will be in the near future:

1/20/07: Black Cat, Washington, DC
2/02/07: Rocks, Richmond, VA
2/16/07: Molly Brannigans, Harrisburg, PA
2/17/07: Sweet Jane's, Hartford, CT
2/18/07: Trash Bar, Brooklyn, NY

For those of you who missed the last 200 times we posted about this band, here are a couple of tracks:

Out of Here
That's a Lie


Throwback Thursday: The Police

The Police were a British band that existed from 1977 to 1984. They are best known for their hybrid of rock and reggae.

I am just old enough to remember the early eighties height of their popularity. I was in elementary school. All I really recall is the Synchronicity era and the constant playing of those songs just about everywhere. I just wanted it to stop. Who else remembers the constant showings of the black and white video for "Every Breath You Take," back when MTV actually showed videos? Most of my younger readers probably know of them as the band that Sting was in before he became the weird new age meditation guy who sings music that makes you want to take a nap. That is certainly true.

The thing is this. When I got older, I heard some of their other music and it is actually pretty good. They aren't my favorite band, but I have been known to listen to them every now and then. I would even say that I am a fan of certain songs and I certainly understand that they had a definite influence on the music world.

Anyway, it is actually kind of ironic that someone requested this throwback. I just read last week, that they are planning a 2007 reunion tour. So there you go, timeliness from IA. Go figure... Now go listen to some tracks and get ready to shell out a ridiculous amount of money to check them out this summer.

Outlandos d'Amour (1978)
Can't Stand Losing You

Regatta de Blanc (1979)
Message in a Bottle
Walking On the Moon

Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)
Don't Stand So Close To Me
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da

Ghost in the Machine (1981)
Spirits in the Material World
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

Synchronicity (1983)
Every Breath You Take
King of Pain

Past Throwbacks:
1/11/07: Smashing Pumpkins
1/4/07: Ryan Adams
12/28/06: The Replacements
12/14/06: Talking Heads
12/07/06: Peter Gabriel
11/30/06: The Pixies
11/16/06: Prince
11/09/06: Ben Folds Five
11/02/06: Beastie Boys
10/26/06: Joy Division
10/19/06: They Might Be Giants
10/12/06: The Psychedelic Furs
10/05/06: The Clash
09/28/06: The Smiths
09/21/06: A Tribe Called Quest
09/14/06: R.E.M.
09/07/06: The Cure
08/31/06: Morphine
08/24/06: The Lemonheads
08/17/06: Depeche Mode
08/10/06: New Order

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bridges and Powerlines

Bridges and Powerlines are an indie pop band from NYC. They formed in the summer of 2005 and have built a loyal following ever since. They will be in DC on Friday night, playing The Red and The Black. For those of you in NYC, you can check them out at Mercury Lounge on Sunday. Either way, try to make it out. From the sound of "Carmen," you will not be dissapointed.

Bridges and Powerlines - Carmen


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New Page France

Baltimore's Page France will be releasing a new album on May 8. The album is called ...and the Family Telephone and it will be released by Suicide Squeeze. Starting in March, they will be touring in advance of the release. There is no word yet on a hometown show, but I will add it to the calendar when I find out. In the meantime, check out this new track.

Hat and Rabbit


Not So New Release Tuesday: Psychocandy

This week I decided to go with The Jesus and Mary Chain's 1985 classic, Psychocandy. This is one of those albums whose influence greatly outweighs the popularity that it had at the time. To this day, this album is one of those that I keep going back to. If you aren't familiar with this Scottish group, this is a nice way to become acquainted. Besides, a lot of music released in the past 20 years was influenced by them. They are credited as one of the creators of noise pop and they are considered the predecessors to 90's shoegaze. Enjoy!

Just Like Honey
Never Understand
You Trip Me Up

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Two if by Sea Radio Session Tonight

I wanted to let everyone know that IA favorites Two if by Sea will be doing a live radio session at 8pm tonight on WTMD. They will be interviewed and playing 4 or 5 tracks. If you are in the Baltimore area, tune to 89.7. If you aren't, you can listen here. I'l also see what I can do about getting some of the tracks.

In addition to tonight, they will be at Fletchers in Baltimore on 1/22 and Black Cat in DC and 2/3. Definitely check them out, because they are amazing live.

Report From Damage Control


Friday, January 12, 2007

Introducing Amie Street

So things have been quiet around here lately. Yeah, yeah... what's new, right? Even when it does not seem like it, I am always working on something. Today, I wanted to talk about one of my projects and a special deal that I negotiated for all of you.

Over the past couple of months, I have been sharing some ideas with an upstart digital music store. The site is called Amie Street. I believe so much in what they are doing, that I agreed to contribute to their site. I am writing some features for them and providing a weekly recap of the best indie tracks of the week. Chris is even going to pitch in when he gets the chance.

The thing about Amie Street, is that it isn't your normal music store. There are several things that set them apart.

To start off with, they are all about the underground. Most of their artists are unsigned or on labels that you have never heard of. To give you an idea, their best selling indie track of all time is "Naturally" by Middle Distance Runner. This is really cool, because they are promoting these bands and only these bands. The quality acts are being exposed on the main page, the way Justin Timberlake and Foo Fighters are exposed by iTunes. They cater to all genres as well.

The artists retain the rights to their music and they don't have to sign an exclusive contract. Amie Street keeps the first $5 a track makes and the artist gets 70% of all sales after that. They also offer special deals for the artists to extend to their fans, which also helps the artists gain stature on the site. The artists can put a couple of tracks up or their full body of work. It is entirely up to them and they can add more, whenever they desire. There is no waiting around for the music to post either, it's immediate. Even cooler, is the fact that they can reach fans all over the world.

You can test out new artists without it costing you very much. Every track starts out free and stays free, until it has been purchased 15 times. As the track continues to sell, it goes up in price. Each track maxes out at 98 cents, after 85 purchases.

It is actually possible for YOU to profit off of a song. When you purchase credits, you receive REC's. You use these to recommend your favorite tracks. If you recommend a track when it is free and it goes up to 98 cents, you can cash out and get 98 cents credited to your account. If you recommend a track when it is worth 5 cents and you cash out at 35 cents, 30 cents is credited to your account. How you do it, is entirely up to you.

When you purchase a track, it is yours. You can download it as often as your would like, wherever you would like. Plus all tracks are unprotected mp3s, so you can play them anywhere and on any device.

The system rewards good artists and fans with good taste. That sounds like all of you, right? Now the question is, do they have any good artists? The answer is yes. Just to start off, I will tell you that you can purchase music from IA favorites like Middle Distance Runner, Cedars, These United States, The Epochs, The Jaguar Club, The Payola Reserve and Saturna. The really cool thing, is that you will be buying their music for much less than you would pay anywhere else and they will receive most of the profits. If you catch it early enough, it's free.

Since I love my readers, I negotiated a deal for all of you. When you sign up, enter "instrumental" as your promo code. This will hook you up with free money and REC's, that will allow you to start exploring the site with zero risk. To make it easier on you, I am writing a weekly recap of my favorite songs. So check that out on their main page and you should be all set. I will be updating that early each week. If you are an artist, I'd love to see your music there. I love to access music as soon as I want it. Alright, I am done. Go explore. If you join, look Chris and I up and be our friends. Our user names are joepcas and chrisanalysis.

Questions? Comments? Fire away...

Tracks that you will find on Amie St.:
Middle Distance Runner - Naturally
Cedars - This Century
The Epochs - Mouths to Feed
The Jaguar Club - The Sirens
The Payola Reserve - Lay In Wait
Saturna - Blanket of Stars

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Throwback Thursday: The Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins are my favorite band of all time.

There, I said it. And I'll stick to it for the rest of my life. The Beatles come close, Radiohead comes close, but Corgan and Company take my personal title of favorite band of all time. And as 2007 dawns, I can say that the impending Pumpkins reunion album is what I anticipate the most about this year musically.

This tends to baffle people. Many folks remember the Smashing Pumpkins in one of two ways:
  1. The band fronted by the weird looking bald guy with the nasally voice and huge ego.
  2. The band that came after Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and was the biggest band in the world for a few years before Limp Bizkit came along.
These are both fair assessments - and true, for the most part. Some other statements tend to get thrown around with the Pumpkins - people levy criticisms at Corgan's lyricism (the "rat in a cage" line from "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" tends to draw particular ire), their strange image, and their penchant for the dramatic. So why do I rank the Pumpkins as the best ever? For a few reasons - some very personal, and some with a more musical contention.

I'll begin with the personal. The Pumpkins were the first band that were truly my own. I grew up in a house listening to classic rock and oldies; I was a bit too young and not quite rebellious enough to buy into grunge when it dropped after Nevermind. But by 1995, I was 12 years old and looking for something to call my own during my tumultuous junior high years. And thankfully, I found Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - a musical masterwork. This album changed my life; without it, I would never have become as involved and active in music as I am today.

And the musical contentions - there are quite a few:
  1. The Pumpkins are among the bravest bands I've ever encountered. With each and every album, the Pumpkins strove to break new musical ground, pushing their sound to new areas and levels that they had never explored before. No Smashing Pumpkins album sounds alike. Starting as a psychedelia influenced garage rock band that was emulating Black Sabbath, the Pumpkins became the best stadium band in the world for most of the early to mid 1990s. And then! After releasing the biggest album in the world with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the Pumpkins put out Adore - which is nothing short of a triumph. Critically lauded but largely overlooked, it was a band reinventing their entire being after kicking Jimmy Chamberlin out of the band - exploring drum machines, acoustics, keyboards and new guitar tones. Upon Chamberlin rejoining the band, the Pumpkins aimed to meld these two worlds - the moody atmospherics of Adore with the anthemic feel of the earlier records. While many contend MACHINA/the Machines of God was an average album, I see it as a band continuing to move forward - taking the lessons they've learned from making previous albums to keep developing new sounds.
  2. The Pumpkins are among the most dynamic bands that I have ever heard. Not only was the foursome capable of devastatingly loud, crushing guitar riffs, but they tempered it with the ability to scale back their sound - creating music that ebbed and flowed, making outstanding use of crescendo and decrescendo, and clean guitar against distorted guitar. They were just as capable of writing a heartbreakingly beautiful ballad as they were at writing the heaviest of rock tunes.
  3. Billy Corgan writes great songs. He is a versatile and exploratory songwriter who isn't afraid to tackle a variety of sounds, genres and emotions. His lyrics are honest without being obvious; introspective without being egocentric.
  4. Billy Corgan is one of the all time best guitar playing frontmen. Seriously - pick another lead guitarist from the modern era, who also sang lead vocals, that can play like Corgan. I have a very hard time thinking of anybody outside of the all time legends. If you don't believe me, go search YouTube for videos of the man playing live. Its just sick.
  5. Jimmy Chamberlin is the best drummer since John Bonham.
I could go on and on about this band, as I'm sure this post represents. I know people are going to disagree with me on perhaps just about everything regarding this post. Hit up the comments - I'd love to debate it with anyone. But for now, I leave you with the music. I've picked songs that aren't singles for the most part - tunes that show a side of the Pumpkins that most folks may have never heard.

It is my sincere hope that they resonate with some of you that never got into this band beyond what you heard on the radio. This band has done more for me than any other - so it is my absolute pleasure to share this with anyone who will listen.

Gish (1991)

Siamese Dream (1993)
Geek USA

Pisces Iscariot (1994)
La Dolly Vita

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995)

Adore (1998)
To Sheila
The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete
Apples + Oranjes

MACHINA/The Machines of God (2000)
This Time
Stand Inside Your Love

MACHINA II: The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music
~MACHINA II was released as a series of free downloads by the band. To obtain the full album, you can go here.

If There Is A God (piano/vox)
Let Me Give the World To You
Cash Car Star

Bootlegs and Rarities

1979 (Acoustic - Farewell Concert at the United Center, 11/29/2000)

features Jimmy Chamberlin on guitar and Matt Walker on drums

Muzzle (Acoustic - Farewell Concert at the United Center, 11/29/2000)

~the final Smashing Pumpkins single, released the night of their United Center farewell concert to Q101 radio in Chicago, and eventually placed on Rotten Apples, their greatest hits compilation.


For Martha (Live)

Cherub Rock (Live)

Tear (Live)

Fuck You (An Ode To No One) (Live)

Past Throwbacks
1/4/07: Ryan Adams
12/28/06: The Replacements
12/14/06: Talking Heads
12/07/06: Peter Gabriel
11/30/06: The Pixies
11/16/06: Prince
11/09/06: Ben Folds Five
11/02/06: Beastie Boys
10/26/06: Joy Division
10/19/06: They Might Be Giants
10/12/06: The Psychedelic Furs
10/05/06: The Clash
09/28/06: The Smiths
09/21/06: A Tribe Called Quest
09/14/06: R.E.M.
09/07/06: The Cure
08/31/06: Morphine
08/24/06: The Lemonheads
08/17/06: Depeche Mode
08/10/06: New Order

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Not So New Release Tuesday: Debut

I received a couple of requests for Björk, so I figured that this would be a good forum to fulfill them. After bring a fixture in The Sugarcubes, Björk went solo with the 1993 release of Debut. This release saw her gain a cult following in the States, winning audiences over with her penetrating dance beats and seductive voice.

Human Behaviour
Like Someone In Love
Big Time Sensuality

Bonus: Here is a circa 1983 track from her pre-Sugarcubes group, Tappi Tikarrass. Imagine a female fronting the R.E.M. of that era and you get the idea.

Tappi Tikarrass - Krid

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Faithless featuring Cat Power

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Catching Up With Saturna

Remember Saturna? Back in October, the rockers from the Pacific Northwest wrote our second Midweek Mutiny. During his recent trip to the Northeast, lead singer Ryan Carroll got in touch with me. We started talking about their EP and what they have in store for 2007. The following is the interview portion of our conversation. Enjoy!

Q - What are your best memories of 2006?

A - I have to say that putting out our EP ...All Night was a real highlight for me. We worked really hard on it and we got some really great reviews from all over the world. Seeing it in a couple of year end best of lists, really felt good.

Q - What's up your sleeve for 2007?

A - I am so excited about this year. We have a full length ready to go. We worked with some amazing people on it. Tony Lash (Dandy Warhols, Stars of Track and Field) and Brin Addison (Blur, Supergrass, Smashing Pumpkins) are doing some mixing for us and Justin Renney is doing the artwork. It's really turning out well and I can't wait to go on tour and play all of these songs live. We're even hoping to tour the UK in the fall. We're one of those bands that are always working, so expect to see a lot of us in 2007.

Q - I heard that you just played a big show. How did that go?

A - Yeah, we played the Reverb Holiday Party in Portland, OR. We played with The High Violets, Hypatia Lake and The Upsidedown. The place was packed and the bands rocked. Hypatia Lake is the most amazing psychedelic rock band around and The Upsidedown played an amazing set. The High Violets ended the night with a bunch of people jamming with them up on stage and the party didn't end until dawn. We prepared a couple of covers that we love and I heard rumors that somebody got it on video. I'm in NYC now, but I'll find out when I get back. If they did, it's going on youtube.

Q - What covers did you perform?

A - We performed Catherine Wheel's "I Want To Touch You" and one of my personal favorites, Ride's "Leave Them All Behind".

Q – Is there anything else going on with Saturna?

A – Our holiday break ends on January 5th and we start working to finish the album. In the next couple of weeks, it’s a whirlwind of photo shoots, final mixing and finalizing the artwork. After that, Eric leaves for a couple of weeks to Morocco and Spain on a humanitarian mission for Mercycorps. The rest of us will take a much needed break while we wait for the record to be duplicated. By the time that he returns, we should be ready to roll. We'll hit the west coast and then we’ll see everyone in Austin during SXSW.

Blanket of Stars


Throwback Thursday - Ryan Adams

This week's Throwback is by request. Love him or hate him, Ryan Adams has made a lot of music since the 1900's ended. 8 official releases and numerous bootlegs over 6 years is pretty prolific. Most amazing, is that most of it has been outstanding. Since he isn't anywhere near as old as most of the acts usually featured here, I decided to stick to his first 4 albums. Enjoy!

Heartbreaker (2000)
To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)
Oh My Sweet Carolina
Come Pick Me Up

Gold (2001)
Answering Bell
The Rescue Blues

Demolition (2002)
Cry On Demand
Dear Chicago

Rock N Roll (2003)
This Is It
So Alive
Burning Photographs

Past Throwbacks
12/28/06: The Replacements
12/14/06: Talking Heads
12/07/06: Peter Gabriel
11/30/06: The Pixies
11/16/06: Prince
11/09/06: Ben Folds Five
11/02/06: Beastie Boys
10/26/06: Joy Division
10/19/06: They Might Be Giants
10/12/06: The Psychedelic Furs
10/05/06: The Clash
09/28/06: The Smiths
09/21/06: A Tribe Called Quest
09/14/06: R.E.M.
09/07/06: The Cure
08/31/06: Morphine
08/24/06: The Lemonheads
08/17/06: Depeche Mode
08/10/06: New Order

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Chris's Favorite Songs of 2006, Part One

*Update: The Epochs Link Has Been Added*

So I've been M.I.A. for some time. I blame many things: holiday turkey, flights to and from Chicago, and marathons of Law & Order (seriously - can we make a rule that the USA network needs to stop with the eight hours of SVU? Please? For the sake of my productivity?)

But tonight (this morning?) marks my return! Yes, I am late on my "favorites" list, but I had hoped to share a few things that you may not have heard, and some that you probably have.

This past year, I listened to a lot of things that were from the Washington DC area - much more predominantly than I did things from around the country. However, this list is just a random smattering of things I really liked. Some of them I've mentioned before, and I'm going to build on this list as I have the time over the next week or two. So stay tuned - I'll post parts two, three, four....well, however many there end up being. They're alphabetical because I'm just going through my playlists and picking out favorites at random. Enjoy!

Angela Desveaux - Heartbeat

I wrote about this tune after seeing Angela play alongside locals Revival, and this stood out that show as the obvious single from her album Wandering Eyes. This isn't necessarily the most revolutionary or inventive song...its just really catchy, and has such a pitch-perfect melody. Natural and effortless - as any pop song should be. The country twinge is perfect for a winter evening.

The Bonapartes - Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

The Bonapartes are no longer; they were not terribly well known outside of our fair District of Columbia. This five piece was a DC band that did a few shows outside of the District, and split up earlier this year. However! They put out an EP in LATE 2005 (okay, I'm bending the rules) that really had some gems on it. While "Concentric" was the track that was hawked as the single, I think this one is a bit more catchy - albeit more straightforward. Mosey on over to their MySpace page to check out "Concentric" as well - but "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow" ultimately did more for me. They'll be missed.

Calexico - All Systems Red

This closing track from Calexico's Garden Ruin is just fantastic...I love the slow building crescendo, the subtly determined vocals at the helm of a cresting wave of instrumentation. When those drums fall in - if you don't get goosebumps, you're missing out. Just a wonderfully beautiful song from this seasoned band.

Cedars - Holiday for the City

Cedars put out a new EP this year titled Another Season, and it is such an amazing accomplishment for them that I can't help but include this song on my list - but I had a hard time choosing between "Holiday for the City" and "Lamb" (featuring Aloha vibraphone player TJ Lipple). As a triumph of songwriting and arrangement, this fantastic DC foursome has created an atmospheric sound that is distinctly American, yet echoes some of the best of sounds from across the pond. This is among the catchiest from the EP, and one of my favorite songs of the year. To hear the rest, head over to Amie Street.

Damone - Now is the Time

Guilty pleasure alert. Okay, its cheesy. But rocks. RAWKS. I stumbled across this band during South by Southwest last year - my friends in Exit Clov were playing on the same showcase (I have NO idea who put that bill together...). In any case, I loved this record. I played it over and over and over againagainagain. Honestly, the only reason I choose this song over the single, "Out Here All Night," is because of the way Noelle delivers the line "well then you can bet that I know who they are" at the end of the second verse. She sort of clips off the end of the phrase and makes it sound perfectly natural and yet injects it with this perfect "fuck you" attitude. Man, this rocks. RAWKS.

Deleted Scenes - Trying to Remember a Dream

So I reviewed Deleted Scenes for the last magazine that I wrote for, and I compared them to the Shins. I don't really like the Shins very much. But I do like this song quite a bit - its a quiet, catchy tune from this DC group - and shows a lot of promise for them. Its off their debut EP, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else they come up with as time goes on.

The Epochs - Mouths to Feed

Harmonies and more harmonies! And crazy rhythm changes! And pianos! And a fantastic arrangement! And weird percussion blips! WOO! And I'm sold. For more, check these guys out over at Amie Street.

Exit Clov - Violent Berries

Exit Clov are friends of mine, admittedly, but I greatly admire their songwriting and musicianship. Like Cedars, Exit Clov put out an EP this year that shows incredible growth - Respond Respond contains this beauty of a track that should make any indie rock playlist in the country. Simple, lush and quite wonderful, pay particular attention to the harmony breakdown in the bridge - the split vocal beginning when Susan and Emily sing "I play the game, and hope that the day won't fade away," is just stunning.

Faithless - Miss You Less, See You More

No Roots did not come out in 2006. It actually came out in 2004. But I don't care. I found this band this year, and wish I'd known about them for years. For dance music with a rock influence, I don't think there is anything better than Faithless. The album is a concept where every song is written in the same key (C), and thus flows together from track to track. Thus I had a little trouble isolating a personal favorite - but I think this one does quite nicely. DEFINITELY find this band if you haven't heard them before.

Forget Cassettes - Venison

Oh man...what would happen if you combined Sonic Youth with the Smashing Pumpkins, and invited Caithlin de Marrais of Rainer Maria to sing? Forget Cassettes would happen. And you'd have one of my new favorite bands. This opening track off of Salt is particularly demonstrative. Awesome.

Gnarls Barkley - The Last Time

Yes, "Crazy" is the single of the year. We all know it. Everybody and their mom has written about it. But actually...I might like this song just as much. The disco-neo-soul crafted here is just as catchy as the first single, and the "doo-doo" backing vocal is about perfect. As a closing to St. Elsewhere, it is a phenomenal cap to one of the best records of the year. If you haven't heard it yet, you should. Now.

Grand National - Talk Amongst Yourselves

I just love the way that this song is structured - the synth arpeggios that open the tune are fantastic, and I don't know that there is a better disco influenced rock epic from the past year. For some reason, I feel like strutting down 14th street like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever whenever I hear this one. Now if only I can find a white leisure suit...if any kind reader has one and wants to send it to me, email me...please.

That's it for part one. I'm sleepy. And posting these tunes takes awhile. I'll try and post more this week.

Oh! And if any of you make it out to the Soft Complex show this coming weekend, do say hello. We've got a number of them coming up in the next month - you can check our website for details. I'd be thrilled to meet anybody there and say hi.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Holiday Hangover Party

Going back to a normal work schedule kind of sucks, doesn't it? Well, we have a cure for you. On Saturday night, we are throwing a Holiday Hangover Party at Gullifty's in Harrisburg, PA. If you'll be around the area (Baltimore and Philly are both within 90 minutes), you should definitely check it out. The line-up features some fantastic bands and it's our first ever IA event.

DC's Soft Complex will be playing their premiere show in south central PA. They are a fantastic live band and they are definitely worth your time. If you are a fan of 80's alternative, you will not be disappointed. Hershey's excellent The April Skies, will also be featured on the bill. Rounding out the night, will be Harrisburg faves Parallax Project and The Thrives. Tickets are only $7 and drinks are half price from 9-11. If you need any additional information or plan on going, please drop us an e-mail. We hope to see you there.

Soft Complex - Barcelona
Soft Complex - Beat The Chill (ACE remix featuring Raw Poetic)
The April Skies - My Love Is In This House
The April Skies - Here Comes The Rush

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Not So New Release Tuesday: Laid

Today really doesn't feel like Tuesday, but apparantly it is. That said, it's time for a not so new release. This week, I am going with Laid by James. A friend of mine has been bugging me for months to put something by these guys on the site, so here you go.

I discovered this band and album while I was in high school and I played it quite a bit during those days. "Laid" is the song that everyone knows and loves. While it is a certainly a classic from 90's radio, I do not feel that it is the true gem on this CD. I would give that distinction to "Out To Get You." Regardless, enjoy this trip down memory land and if you are a sucker like me, welcome back to work.

Out To Get You

Bonus Track:
The Hourly Radio - Say Something

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Telograph Gives Us Little Bits of Plastic

It's a new year and that means new music. To kick off the year for regional releases, DC's Telograph released a new EP today. We keep telling anyone who will listen, that 2007 is going to be the year that DC hits the national conscious. If that is true, Little Bits of Plastic is certainly a nice way to start.

I received a digital copy of these songs right around Halloween and have been wanting to share them ever since. These are the kind of infectious tunes that will be stuck in your head for days. This EP also gives a hint of what the band is capable of and raises the bar for future releases. Telograph is going to be around for awhile and that is certainly a good thing for Washington, DC and music lovers in general.

Eye For An Eye
We Won't Settle Down