Monthly Archive for September, 2011

September 2011 mix

My monthly mix of all new music from 2011 is up. This one ended up a kind of odd mix of songs, but I like it. Stephen Malkmus to Snoop Dogg and everything in between. ­čÖé

- almostaghost

Life In Mixtape Form #22

SONGS!

- almostaghost

Amanda Palmer August 8 2008 Lakeshore Theater Chicago

In 2008, I was in Chicago for a conference. As the plane landed I was looking up shows in town for my week stay and was shocked to find Amanda Palmer was playing a solo gig the next night. And it was totally sold out. I had seen the Dresden Dolls before, but this Amanda solo thing was brand new. Apparently she had done a record, which had leaked just before I left for Chicago, but I hadn’t heard it yet.

After spending nearly my entire first 24 hours in town making calls to the venue, record stores, ticket agencies,  and even asking the hotel concierge if he could help, the evening was upon me and I was ticketless. I decided to head down and see if I could just find tickets waiting in line. When I got to the venue, the line was wrapped around the building. I started walking down the perimeter, and asked if anyone had extra tickets probably each batch of 5 people or so. I got to the end with no luck. So, I turned around and walked straight back up and asked again.

This repeated for about an hour. I had asked many of the same people, probably 5-6 times if they had tickets. The evil looks I was getting were almost enough to make me give up, but I decided to wait in line and see if maybe somehow by the time I got to the front my luck would change. I had taken to discussing the Dolls and AP (FYI: this was the pre-AFP era) with a couple that had driven all the way from Green Bay. They had seen the Dolls about a dozen times, and encouraged me to keep trying. Overhearing our conversation, other people waiting in line shared encouraging words and one girl even said “you were meant to get in this show.” I tended to agree!

When I was about 40 feet from the entrance, a bad falafel saved me. This girl came up to me with one ticket in hand. Her friend had eaten some bad falafel and was leaving. The ticket was mine. Victory was mine. I triumphantly proceeded inside and after checking out some wicked merch I couldn’t afford, I found my seat. And then I was introduced to Vermillion Lies.┬áThat could be a whole blog in of itself, but I reserve myself by relating to you that they ended their set with crowd holding hands, swaying, and singing along thusly.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/Hz-G9qE-r8w" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

Suffice it to say that the night was off to a great start, and it was about to get even better! The lights went down, the cheering started, and then came the following. I ask you stop here, watch the video, and then continue reading.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/XTXsoi603yU" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

Did you watch yet? If not, stop reading and play that video straight through. ┬áI’ll be waiting for you.

Done? Ok, so I will in no way make the implication that Amanda Palmer is Michael Jackson. But if she was, this was her Motown 25 moment. Ok, so I just took a break from writing and watched that performance of Billie Jean. I reiterate, Amanda Palmer is no Michael Jackson. Anyway, Amanda went on to play many songs from the forthcoming Who Killed Amanda Palmer record, mostly just blowing us away one song after another. There were also some Dresden Dolls songs, several covers, and two encores. The full setlist can be found here.  She closed out the night with her now famous ukulele rendition of Creep, joined by the sisters Vermillion. At the time, nobody had heard her do this before. It was so fucking special.

Of course, anyone who has seen Amanda before knows it ALWAYS feels that way. That, my dear readers, is because it ALWAYS is. What makes Amanda so special, is that she knows it’s all about the fans. She gives us everything she has to give, and thats why we always keep coming back for more. ┬áUnfortunately, this is the only video I could find of that closing number. However, despite the clipped audio, that crowd roaring pretty much captures the moment perfectly.

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If anyone reading this knows the girl who got sick on her falafel, or her friend who got me that ticket, please have her write me. I’d love to thank the both of you personally for having made possible one of my all time favorite concert experiences.

- breathmint

Stuck In A Groove: Laura Marling – unreleased songs

On Laura Marling’s wikipedia page, it mentioned that she has a small pile of unreleased songs that she sings live, and that most of them are on YouTube. I’m sure she has a lot more–the time I saw her live around 6 months ago, she sang a few songs that were not released yet (a few ended up on her new album this week). As I was hinting at in my last post, she’s an extremely talented songwriter. And any good songwriter will have songs stored away, songs tested and shelved, songs being worked on.

Anyway I compiled some of the ones I found here:

“Candlelight” (love this one)

“Soulless Child”

“It’s Only My Opinion”

“Karma”

“Is A Hope (Drinking Alone)” (wow)

- almostaghost

Life In Mixtape Form #21

A quick break from Laura Marling (another post later tonight or tomorrow) to share my LIMF mix. This one includes 2 artists I saw live last week, as well as my favorite Beatles song. ­čÖé Enjoy

- almostaghost

Stuck In A Groove: Laura Marling – an mp3 sampler

Laura Marling

sweet smelling Blackberry stone

A good choice for our first Stuck In A Groove artist, I first learned of Laura Marling on a recommendation from our blog host Breathmint around the time of her debut album 3 years ago. Her talent was immediately obvious:

Laura Marling – Night Terror

Marling’s first two albums (Alas I Cannot Swim & I Speak Because I Can) displayed her ability to write songs and melodies that sounded extremely natural, but were not necessarily simple. Only the best songwriters have that ability, and she was there right away. And her voice! Marling’s sound, while wrapped in an older folk music language, still felt like it was solely her own. She’s not the first folk musician to do these things, but somehow it feels like she is.

Laura Marling – Alpha Shallows

But to top all that off, she’s only 22. She’s still an artist learning, and presumably figuring things out. I was reading an interview with her earlier today and she described her songwriting as “vomiting emotion on to a melody.” But that has to underplay the depths she must go in order to get these songs? Doesn’t it?

But I won’t lie, as much as I enjoy her albums so far, I feel like Marling has yet to do her masterpiece. But anyone who writes songs as good as this one surely will eventually:

Laura Marling – Rambling Man

Her third album came out just this week and I’m still processing it so I won’t refer to it too much during my Stuck In A Groove posts, but I will say that it contains some subtle changes, and there are a few stunning tracks.

- almostaghost

Stuck In A Groove: Introduction

We are announcing a new feature here at NP: Stuck In A Groove.

Every so often, we will pick an artist, and we will then write or share whatever we feel like writing or sharing about that artist. There is no set schedule, no set template for what will be included. But the hope is that there will be 3 or 4 posts (at least) for each artist before we move on to another one. It is just a way to get us sharing more than just mixes, and to take a look at them with hopefully a bit of depth.

If anyone reading has any requests or suggestions of artists for us to take a look at, let us know. They can be old or new, popular or obscure. Me, I like the idea of checking out artists that I don’t know for this; or even artists I don’t particularly like and have to dig into and try to find something good to talk about. ­čÖé

The first SIAG artist will be: Laura Marling.

- almostaghost

Life In Mixtape Form #20

Ah number 20! I’m impressed with myself that I stuck it out this long without ever feeling like my choices are overly repetitive. I could easily pick a Bob Dylan song to symbolize every single day, but I try not to go there. Hehe

- almostaghost