WILCO w/Fleet Foxes (FREE MP3)

From wilcoworld.net:
Such tumultuous times. And in the spirit of giveaways that seem to be sweeping the nation, we've got something free for you. No it's not a pile of cash (sorry) but rather an audio postcard of sorts from a summer's night in Oregon with our friends the Fleet Foxes & a lovely Bob Dylan tune. All we ask is you check the "I pledge to vote in the 2008 Election" button below. If you can spare it, we also encourage you to consider a donation to Feeding America.

FREE MP3 from David Byrne & Brian Eno

I'm looking forward to catching David Byrne & Brian Eno at the Austin City Limits Festival this Friday, especially after reading some of David Byrne's Journal and listening to tracks from their new album, "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today."

In exchange for your email address, you can get a free copy of "Strange Overtones," the album's first single. I recommend it.

I'm streaming the album now and so far I really like what I hear.

"35 Places To Download Free, Legal MP3s - Sorry, RIAA!"

Great guide from downloadsquad:
In the interest of helping our readers stay out of jail and avoid massive fines, here are a bunch of places you can get tunes without fear of finding a summons in your mailbox. There's plenty of good, free, and legal music on the net for you to download.

FREE MP3 from The Verve

Everyone wants their music for free these days. So Richard Ashcroft and the boys are giving their fans what they want.

"Love is Noise," the first single off of the Verve's new album, "Forth," is now available as a FREE 256 kbps MP3 on Amazon.com.

And if that's not enough for you, you can listen to "Forth" in its entirety at Lala.com.

Incidentally, David Fricke gives "Forth" four stars in the latest issue of Rolling Stone.
Two of the best psychedelic rock shows I've ever seen were by this British band, in London and New York, in the summer of 1993, and most of the Verve's fourth record — their first after a decade apart — is a return to that whirlpool-guitar, shaman-song form.
I concur. Come on, now, go listen to it already!

Music Festival Stations on Pandora

I've been an avid Pandora listener since January 2006 when I created my first station, Julian Cope Radio. Just when I thought the site couldn't get any better, Pandora has gone and outdone themselves.

I have found Pandora to be invaluable for discovering new music. Now Pandora has created custom stations for some of this year's largest music festivals, including Coachella, Sasquatch, Wakarusa, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork, Lollapalooza, Bumbershoot and Austin City Limits.

I had tried creating stations like these on my own, seeding them with bands in a particular festival's lineup. But it never worked quite right, playing bands that sounded like those playing the festival, but not the bands themselves. These new stations "feature music only from the artists who appear on the bill for each of these destination festivals."

I've been listening to the ACL, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza stations and so far have heard great songs like "Oh No" by Gogol Bordello, "Where It's At" by Beck, "Gideon" by My Morning Jacket, "Angel Sigh" by Spiritualized, "Almost Always Never" by What Made Milwaukee Famous and "Alaska" by Dr. Dog.

I'm hooked. Thanks, Pandora!

My Morning Jacket Live at SXSW (Stream)

The highly anticipated new album from My Morning Jacket doesn't come out until next Wednesday, but you can hear eight songs from "Evil Urges" that were recorded during SXSW Music.

Here is the setlist
  • "Evil Urges"
  • "Off the Record"
  • "Gideon"
  • "Highly Suspicious" (this one is funky; as different from Z's material as Z's was from Tennessee Fire's)
  • "What a Wonderful Man"
  • "I'm Amazed"
  • "Thank You Too"
  • "Golden"
  • "Sec Walkin'"
  • "Wordless Chorus"
  • "Way He Sings"
  • "Aluminum Park"
  • "One Big Holiday"
  • "Run Thru"
  • "Smokin' From Shootin'"
  • "Touch Me Pt. 2"
  • "Steam Engine"
  • "Lay Low"
  • "Mahgeetas"
  • "Anytime"

FREE Counting Crows iTunes Download

I picked up two free iTunes download cards for "Washington Square" off the new Counting Crows album, "Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings." Since I already own the CD, I'm going to give these away to the first two people who send me an email at [dan at festivalfreak dot com] with the Subject Line "Counting Crows."

Korean Baby Sings "Hey Jude"

My sister sent this to me. What's more amazing, the fact that such a young child can sing a song so well, even when the words are not in its native tongue, or that the video has been viewed over 4 million times?

Elliott Smith Speaks From the Grave

I was camping up in Mendocino County this weekend and played the album that Elliott Smith was working on when he died, "From A Basement On The Hill." Someone asked, which album is this? I've never heard it. Another said, it's hard to believe he killed himself. I said, I thought he was murdered by his girlfriend.

One thing led to another and no one was certain of the details, so I made a mental note to look up the story when I returned to civilization. Its been over four years since Elliott Smith died and at least one journalist and a lot of fans, including myself, don't believe that Smith committed suicide. The details in Elliott Smith's autopsy suggest homicide. His girlfriend, Jennifer Chiba, who called police, seemed all too eager, at least by police accounts, to explain that Smith was suicidal and had a history of drug abuse. Of course, it didn't hurt that his music tended to be dark and introspective.

Who would stab himself in the chest, not once, but twice?

Why would someone misspell his name in his "suicide" note, or did the police just get that detail wrong?

It's easy to over analyze Smith's lyrics, especially on his last album, but I wonder if he's talking about Chiba in "Don't Go Down."
I met a girl/ Snowball in hell/ She was hard/ And as cracked as the liberty bell

And I got her to/ Come on and move in with me/ And I said I'll find a better place/ Where we can spend eternity

But don't go down/ Don't go down/ Stay with me, baby stay

She had a dream/ Woke up in shock/ She had seen/ Her own body outlined in chalk

And I split the scene, the globe's been spun/ And her ghost beamed down to kiss me/ With a message from the sun
As of last October, a judge denied Chiba's claim to Smith's estate. As far as I can tell, nothing else has come of the case.

Elliott, wherever you are, I hope you're resting in peace.

Note: You'll find live recordings of Elliott Smith -- 104 as of 1212/29/2010 -- on archive.org.

Flaming Lips' "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" in Kraft Commercial

I used to cringe whenever a TV commercial featured a song by one of my favorite artists. No longer. Now I smile, glad to know that the band I like will be heard by others, who may in turn wonder, what is that song? Who is that band? I must buy their new album!

I just saw a TV commercial for Kraft salad dressings that uses the Flaming Lips' "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song." It got my attention.

Note: A friend pointed out that The Flaming Lips have sold their songs for use in several other commercials, including ones for Sync by Microsoft, Land Rover and Dell.

She writes:
i guess i'm sort of a curmudgeon when it comes to the music that i hold dear to me...especially if it's something i've loved for a long time that was rather "obscure"...it makes me sad!! i'm getting better and better (because i sort of HAVE to :p) but, like, the beatles on target ads?? the rolling stones for chase visa?? i dunno...it kind of creeps me out.

strangely enough though, not so with the lips on commercials..maybe because they always have such a big multi-media aspect included in their shows-it doesn't feel as funny??

man, you should have seen how sad i was the ONE time i heard "mountain song" for coors back in the day. yuck!!!!!!!!!!!!

but by that same token, there's tons of music that i don't know that i look for when i hear it on t.v...right now in fact, the new audi commercial has something really kickass! i have to find it still...

have you heard supergrass for the r.v. ad yet??

Nine Inch Nails' "Ghosts": Free Download

Jonny Evans writes for MacWorld:
Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails made $1.6 million in a week through direct sales of the band's latest album, Ghosts I-IV.

The sales included free and paid downloads as well as orders made online for the slew of physical products the band has also made available, including boxed sets and vinyl. A special edition CD is set to ship in April in the UK.

Fans are being offered the first nine tracks taken from the album as DRM-free MP3 files at no charge. If they enjoy these they can also purchase all 36 album tracks in the DRM-free MP3 format for just $5.

Paul Weller's "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" on "The Wire"

Last night we watched the season four finale of "The Wire" and I was surprised and pleased to hear Paul Weller's version of "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" used in the final montage. (With all due respect to Dr. John, I prefer Weller's version to his original.)

If you don't watch "The Wire," you should. Its one of the finest shows I've ever seen and worth getting Netflix just to watch it from start to finish. If you already watch it, but haven't gotten to season four yet, don't watch this clip. Its full of the revealing little details that make "The Wire" such a rewarding show to watch.

God, Satan and...

From the Harper's Index, March issue:
Rank of "god" and "satan" among the top Google searches beginning with "who is": 1, 10

Rank of "buckethead": 6

"Hells Angels plotted to kill Mick Jagger"

Here is an excerpt from today's Telegraph:
The Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger was the target of an assassination attempt which only failed because the boat the would-be killers were using was swamped in a storm.

The attempt to kill Sir Mick was made by a group of Hells Angels after the infamous Altamont Speedway Free Concert in 1969, which the Rolling Stones had organised and for which the motorcycle gang reportedly provided security.

Meredith Hunter, a black 18-year-old member of the audience, was stabbed and kicked to death by a group of Hells Angels, in an attack captured on film cameras. As a result, Sir Mick allegedly refused to use their services again.

According to Mark Young, a former special agent, interviewed in BBC radio series The FBI at 100, which begins tomorrow, a boat of Hells Angels set out to take revenge on the singer at his holiday home in the Hamptons, Long Island, New York.

"The Hells Angels were so angered by Jagger's treatment of them that they decided to kill him," said Tom Mangold, who presents the series. "A group of them took a boat and were all tooled up and planned to attack him from the sea.

"They planned the attack from the sea so they could enter his property from the garden and avoid security at the front. The boat was hit by a storm and all of the men were thrown overboard. All survived and there was not said to have been any further attempt on Jagger's life."
Just imagine, had the Hell's Angels succeeded, the world would never have known such great albums as "Sticky Fingers" (1971), "Exile on Main St." (1972) and "Some Girls" (1978). Their 1969 masterpiece "Let it Bleed," might still have seen the light of day, but the title would have taken on an even more ominous meaning.

Radiohead to Headline New San Francisco Festival

This is great news for the Festival Freak!
The U.S. festival frenzy continues with today's announcement that Radiohead, Tom Petty and Jack Johnson will headline San Francisco's inaugural Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, to be held Aug. 22-24 at Golden Gate Park.

Additional acts for Outside Lands will be announced in the coming weeks, says Mayers, who promises a "strong and diverse" lineup of such musical genres as rock, blues, reggae, jazz, hip-hop, world, soul, Latin and electronic. The festival, which will boast five main performance stages, will also feature a number of local Bay Area artists.

Outside Lands will arrive approximately one month prior to San Francisco's Treasure Island Music Festival (Sept. 20-21) and several months ahead of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (April 25-27) in Indio, Calif. Despite the competition in California, not to mention other large-scale festivals throughout North America, Mayers is confident that Outside Lands will draw about 60,000 nationwide concertgoers per day.
The lineup will be announced on March 24 and tickets will go on sale March 30.

Supergrass & Sleepwalking (video)

I finally got around to buying Supergrass' 2005 release "Road to Rouen," only to learn that Supergrass' sixth studio album will be released this Spring.

You can catch a video of the first single on YouTube:

The first thing I noticed in the video was that Mick Quinn was missing! Has Supergrass become a two-piece, a la The White Stripes? No, it turns out that Mick had a freak accident:
The bass player and vocalist sleepwalked out of a first floor window of the villa where he was staying in the South of France.

Quinn was rushed to a specialist spinal unit in Toulouse where surgeons operated to repair two broken vertebrae as well as a smashed heel.

He is expected to make a full recovery, although it could take several months.
Weird, huh? Thank god he didn't kill himself. I was a somnambulist as a child, so I can empathize with Mick. One time I walked to the girl next door's house in my underwear. I awoke to find myself on the front porch with the girl's parents staring at me, not sure why I was at their door in the middle of the night. The last episode I know about was in boot camp. I was told by a friend that I got up out of bed and walked to the end of the barracks, ready to proceed downstairs. My friend asked me, "Where are you going?" I mumbled something and then he led me back to my bunk. He told me what happened a few days later and although I don't recall a thing, I trust that he was telling me the truth. Why did it come up? A few of us were talking about other recruits who were talking in their sleep. I was fortunate that he was a friend, otherwise I might have been discharged. Even luckier was that I didn't make it to the outdoor staircase -- our barracks were on the fourth floor.

"Yes We Can" (video)

How long does it take for a viral YouTube video to go from being launched to reaching me? Six days, apparently. I must not be one of the cool kids anymore.

From the Los Angeles Times, "Obama song resonates on the Internet":
The Barack Obama-boosting music video "Yes We Can" hit the Net on Friday and by Super Tuesday it had been streamed a staggering 10 million times on YouTube and the website www.yeswecansong.com.

Produced by multi-platinum-selling rapper-producer will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, the elegiac, reggae-tinged composition isn't a campaign commercial, per se.

"This is an ode to inspiration," will.i.am said. "Barack's speech inspired me. It changed my life as far as how I look at myself as an American. If that's what he does, the world could use some of that. It's about making people think about change and hope."

The video features clips of the presidential candidate in New Hampshire delivering his Jan. 8 "Yes We Can" stump speech, inter-cut against a cross-section of A-list actors, musicians and athletes: Scarlett Johansson, John Legend, Laker great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Herbie Hancock, rapper Common and Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls among them. In black and white, they sing, mouth and recite Obama's messages about hope, change and social uplift against a plain black backdrop.

will.i.am said he does not plan to sell downloads of the song, preferring to keep it free so that its core messages reach as many people as possible. And trying to come to grips with the video's out-of-nowhere impact, the normally loquacious rapper-singer-producer is for once at a loss for words.

"This is the nuttiest thing in the freaking world," he said. "It's not propaganda. It's not part of a campaign. There's no corporation behind it -- the record company couldn't get involved. I did it on my own. The only thing behind it is the people. And that's like, wow!"
I have no idea what it cost to produce this video, but its worth a million bucks.

CNET's Download.com (MP3)

I was looking for new music on eMusic and came across a link that led me to free downloads for American Music Club's classic 1991 album, "Everclear."

CNET's Download.com site has over 100,000 free MP3s! Here are a few of the bands I found on the site:

Band of Horses
Her Space Holiday
Super Furry Animals
Nada Surf
Death Cab for Cutie
Postal Service
Viva Voce
The Shins
The Apples in Stereo
Jens Lekman
Of Montreal

Enjoy the music!

Turn It Down!

If you've ever made a mix with music from different eras, you've noticed that music made in the iPod era is much louder than what was made in the vinyl, 8-track, and cassette eras. And that's not necessarily a good thing.

From The Seattle Times:
How much louder are recordings now? Engineer Charles Dye, co-founder of Turn Me Up with artist John Ralston, estimates that records today are 6 to 8 decibels louder than they were 15 years ago, the equivalent of about a quarter turn of a volume knob. Katz said some music that is heavily compressed has gone up almost 20 decibels in 20 years.

Advances in recording technology have allowed sound engineers and producers to raise recordings' overall volume by compressing the dynamics of the audio during the mixing process. The compression technique removes the peaks and valleys, making all parts of a song equally loud.

It's something the average person might not even notice, unless he/she listened to a recording from 1992 next to one made in 2007. People are used to being bombarded by sound, from movies and blaring TV commercials to their iPods cranked up to drown out background noise on the bus or street.

Compression has been used for years in television commercials — which are often louder than the program they are sponsoring — to catch people's attention with the loudness, sound engineers say. Now that songs are frequently bought as singles or heard on commercials rather than as part of an album, artists and labels feel the same pressure to grab listeners in a few seconds.


n. one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion

Coachella 2008

Have you seen the lineup for this year's Coachella Festival? I'm stoked!

You'll find more unofficial lineups here and here.

1/23 UPDATE: The 2008 Coachella lineup is now official, and no it doesn't include Mark Mark or Paula Abdul. It does include a lot of bands I hope will play ACL or Bonnaroo this year, especially The Verve, Portishead, Love & Rockets, My Morning Jacket and Spiritualized. Why am I hoping that these bands will play other festivals? I've been to Coachella three times -- 2001, 2004, 2005 -- but haven't seriously considered going back. Even if the tickets weren't getting more and more expensive, why spend a three-day weekend in the desert heat when you can see the same bands in Manchester, TN or Austin?

New Stuff on eMusic

Are you an eMusic subscriber yet? You should be. It's cheap -- less than $.25 a track for DRM-free, high bitrate music -- and eMusic has a great selection of music, including some you won't find on iTunes.

Not sure? Sign up for a trial membership by clicking on one of the links below. You'll get 50 downloads for free. Here are some albums worth downloading now.

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Blonde Redhead - 23
El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead
The Octopus Project - Hello Avalanche
The New Pornographers - Challengers
World Party - Best in Show

The Octopus Project (MP3s)

Somehow this band managed to escape my notice, even though its debut came out in 2001; the band is from Austin, which I called home for six years and still visit annually; the band has played festivals like Noise Pop, Wall of Sound, and SXSW, where the trio snagged the title of Best Experimental Band.

Thanks to my cousin, Douglas, for turning me on to The Octopus Project!

Here is what David Fricke had to say about The Octopus Project in Rolling Stone, which I also somehow missed:
Machines don’t make music — people do. And going by the bright action-packed gurgle, bam and squeak of their third album, the Octopus Project — a mostly instrumental analog-electronics dance band from Austin, Texas — are smart pop scientists and total party animals, like Stereolab with happy feet. And a stopwatch — the thirteen songs on Hello, Avalanche (Peek-A-Boo) are all tightly composed bundles of synthesized whoop and circus-calliope cheer, dotted with throaty Duane Eddy-treble guitar and powered by prancing-elephant drumming. The closest thing here to conventional club-remix electronica is the thumping near-techno of “MMAJ.” But for all of the willful yesterday in the Octopus Project’s discothèque blend of Switched-On Bach and Kraftwerk’s Autobahn, there is a delightful, disciplined modernism in the album’s brisk parade of hooks and the songs’ densely layered brevity. Compared to the purple-surf rock of “Bees Bein’ Strugglin’ ” and the mermaid-choir effect of Yvonne Lambert’s theremin in “I Saw the Bright Shinies,” the Prodigy are so 1997.
You'll find about a dozen great songs by The Octopus Project on their website. Enjoy!