adrian is rad


shins vs. MF

Filed under: — adrian @ 3:44 pm

stereogum has a nice live cover of the Magnetic Field’s “Strange Powers.”

project bandaloop

Filed under: — adrian @ 3:36 pm

I saw a talk by the founder and artistic director of Project Bandaloop on Thursday. It’s a “dance troupe” but they “dance” on the sides of buildings and cliffs and such. It’s a combination of rock climbing, gymnastic and dance. I was, to be honest, a little skeptical when I went in but I was astounded when I came out.

Depending on the situation there is different amounts of free rope and therefore different microgravities that they’re seeing in their orthoganol world. On the side of a building in Houston, they had something like 300 feet of free road and were doing something like 11 second jumps. That’s rediculous!

Because of the micro-gravity effect they can also do absolutely gorgeous poses like these hand stands (I actually saw a photo at the presentation of a similar thing but on the corners of the Space Needle.)

I highly recommend checking out the video gallery and the photo gallery.


Sufjan Illinois Mp3s

Filed under: — adrian @ 5:59 pm

Sufjan Stevens has a new album coming out called Illinois, the follow-up to his Michigan album. Only forty-eight states to go!

Anyway, because I’m just that cool, I’ve hunted down two of the 22 track on the world wide interweb.

Drop7 has “Chicago”.

And this guy has “Come On, Feel the Illinoise”. (via brooklynvegan).

They’re both good. Much more in the full orchestrated style of Michigan than the mostly banjo, non-state-album Seven Swans. And both are over six minutes long. I don’t think this’ll be the pattern for the album because twenty-two six minute tracks would be a two hour and twelve minute album!

(And we know that it’s one disc.)

(And I like how I spelled out the numbers in this post. Doesn’t it make it annoying to read?)

so, I like pittsburgh!

Filed under: — adrian @ 12:25 pm

Andyl the other day: “You must think your friends from high school are awesome… because they’re from Pittsburgh. “


college radio

Filed under: — adrian @ 5:30 pm

I just realized that I never linked to last week or the week before’s radio show playlist.

Reminder: I cohost with a guy named Tyler aka dj bedlam. He does melodic electronical and the like. It’s been interesting.

Last week’s playlist.

The week before’s playlist.

In Good Company, a new Iron and Wine Song

Filed under: — adrian @ 5:19 pm

I saw the movie In Good Company at Flicks at Stanford.

The 10pm shows at Flicks are fun: They put out newspapers and you ball it up and chuck it at people. Fun!

Quick plot summary: 26 year old up and comer ad exec, played by Topher Grace, become 51 year old old school ad exec, played by Dennis Quiad’s boss. Scarlet Johanssen plays the daughter of the old ad guy. She starts dating the young ad man without either telling the dad. Hijinx ensue!

I was surprised by actually how good it was. I didn’t expect it to be horrible, but I didn’t expect it to be good either. There were some moments that were genuinely very funny, mostly ones that were also very awkard. The story isn’t a break through story that no one has ever told, but it was good enough and only mostly predictable. The right people changed and the right people got their comeupance. I would say border-line theater material, but probably better as a rental.

The film has three songs by Iron and Wine on the soundtrack. Two were from the album Our Endless Numbered Days and one was brand new previously unreleased. It came on during the credits. Andyl and Dylan walked out and I just stood there and listened.

When I got home I found that it’s called “Trapeze Swinger” and it’s over nine minutes long in it’s full version. It’s also only available from iTune Music Store as part of the In Good Company Soundtrack. Well f that.

It turns out it’s available here. Read the comments to see how to actually download it (annoying! but worth it). It doesn’t sound like some of the other Iron and Wine songs (well sort of, it mostly does). It’s long; it has a loopy feel; the instrumentation builds; there are backwards loops in there (definitely not trad folk instrumentation there). Oh, and did I mention I’ve listened to it about fifteen times today because I like it a lot.

The first line of each verse just works so well. “Please remember me happily/ fondly/ at halloween etc.” Eh, just listen to it.


Street Angel w/ American Music Club

Filed under: — adrian @ 7:22 pm

Last night, as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival, I saw Street Angel with live musical accompaniement by American Music Club.

American Music Club is a pretty old indie band (started in 1983!) with Mark Eitzel (who’s done some good stuff as a solo artist) that’s recently reunited. AMC did a great job with the music. They didn’t follow many of the customs of silent movie accompaniement. For instance there was singing!

The movie was surprisingly nuanced and complex for a movie of that error. I’m used to watching some of the more facetious silent movies, like Buster Keaton movies (who’s completely awesome!). This movie was much darker but still with a happy ending.

If you’ve never seen a silent movie with live musical accompaniement, I’d recommend it highly. Most of the time it’s a piano or organ. The Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto has a Might Wurlitzer organ with silent movie Wednesdays during the summer.


Crooked Fingers at GAMH and the Album Leaf at the Independent

Filed under: — adrian @ 12:17 pm

This is a three concert week (well, eight days) for me. I saw the Crooked Fingers at the Great American Music Hall last Saturday and the Album Leaf at the Independent on Tuesday. It was my first time seeing both of these bands. On Saturday I’m going to see a silent movie accompanied by the American Music Club.

I’d only started listening to the Crooked Fingers after the tsunami benefit at GAMH in January where he, Jonathan Richman, Mark Kozelek and Ben Gibbard. And here was this guy who was the leader of the seminal indie rock band Archers of Loaf playing toned down americana sort of stuff. I checked out some records at the station and they were good.

It’d been a long time since I’d gone to an undersold show at GAMH. It was surprising that people weren’t packed together (and that I could sit down in the balcony).

They put on a good show. They did their songs well. There was enough energy but nothing really special. The best part of the show was during part of the encore when they took acoustic instruments (two acoustic guitars, an upright bass, a fluegelhorn, a flute, a snare and a high hat) and went right into the middle of the audience and played for everyone completely unmiced and unamplified.

According to my crappy Sidekick camera, it looked sort of like this:

The Album Leaf were good. One of the things that makes live performances different/better than the studio recording is energy. Nominally electronic music can’t really have more energy, but that is not a worry with the Album Leaf live show, as it turns out. Plenty of emotion and energy.

I guess that’s all I have to say about that.

Oh wait, I do have a little more to say. This was my first trip to the Independent. It’s layout is somewhere between the Paradise and TT the Bear’s (for the Boston music sceners out there). It’s got high ceilings but it’s a fairly small room. The crowd wasn’t giant (which I always like) and the vibe more down to earth than the usual San Francisco venues.


10 albums you may like if you liked that Postal Service album

Filed under: — adrian @ 5:19 pm

With the Postal Service’s music appearing in just about every commercial on TV or radio currently and Give Up selling over 500,000 copies, which is huge for an indie album (100,000 is big for an indie album, many indie bands hope to sell around 15,000 copies of an album), I decided name a few other albums that you may like if you liked Give Up. The two elements brought together by the Postal Service are the electronica (IDM)-ish stuff by DNTEL aka Jimmy Tamborello and the indie rock/ pop by Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie).

The obvious:

  • The Notwist Neon Golden This one is obvious because it is completely awesome. This was the first album that I heard that had electronic elements in it along with indie rock/ pop elements that I liked. If I didn’t like this, I might not have liked the rest of these (good albums have a tendency to open your ears and mind to more music). It is darker and has more depth, both lyrically and musically than Give Up (on which I only consider one song to have any real depth, “This Place is a Prison”, which is not to say I don’t like the album.) Neon Golden has many organic elements that have been sampled and twist: banjo, guitars, woodwinds (plenty of sax), voice, drums.
  • DNTEL Life is Full of Possibilites This is obvious because the music is (mostly) by the same guy and it even has the beginnings of the Postal Service on it. The collaboration between DNTEL and Ben Gibbard started on the song “(This is) the Dream of Evan and Chan,” which is a standout track on this album.
  • Styrofoam Nothing’s Lost Styrofoam has opened for the Postal Service, has collaborated/ remixed indie songs before (his version of Postman by American Analog Set is incredible), and on this, his latest album, he even includes vocals and guitars by Ben Gibbard on it. I tend to like Styrofoam’s stuff more than DNTEL’s solo stuff. He tends to be more melodic and glitchy while DNTEL tends to be more atmospheric and blippy.

The not-as-obivous:

  • Her Space Holiday Young Machines One guy making somewhat depressing, but poppy records. He does all the music production and singing himself. Unless you think Ben Gibbard is too whiny when he sings, you’ll probably not like HSH’s vocals as much— they don’t have the range or melodic sense of Gibbard’s; they’re not in any sense bad though. Mostly electronic sounds with some organic ones throw in.
  • ms john soda No P or D This would be in the “obvious” list if the album that were in question were Neon Golden. This band shares members with the Notwist. It’s somewhat hard to describe exactly the different in sound between them and the Notwist: I’d say more organic sounds and lighter/ less dark/ less experimental. Compared to the Postal Service, I’d say one of the main differences besides the use of organic sounds would be that Gibbard’s vocals are pretty warm whereas the vocals of Stefanie Boehm have a detached sound to them.
  • The Album Leaf In a Safe Place It’s hard to classify this band. They have vocals on a few songs but many are instrumental. There are many orangic sounds: most of the tracks are based on riffs on a Rhodes and have real drum and guitar parts. They also often have heavily processed violin sounds and synthesized sounds and plenty of glitchy beats. Some very emotive music. A great album. Note: the earlier albums of this band don’t have any electronic stuff to them so if that’s what you’re looking for, don’t get those.
  • V/A Monster’s of Morr Music A compliation/ sampler from the Berlin-based label with a few tracks each by B. Fleischmann, Lali Puna, Duo 505, the Go Find and Styrofoam. Rather than try to recommend an album by each of these groups, I’d just get this, listen and figure out which you’d want to persue more. B. Fleischmann is melodic electronica with few words. Duo 505 has him in it, but has some sweet nintendo-like samples and tends to be more rhythmic and driving than his solo stuff. Lali Puna is sort of electro-rock with solid guitar and bass and drums but with some electronic elements. The Go Find is guitar + electronic pop stuff and I’ve already talked about Styrofoam’s stuff.
  • Aqueduct I Sold Gold This is quirky, often dark, bedroom electro synth pop. His lyrics are about such things as the influence of Guns N Roses on him and “packing” heat. It’s fun stuff.
  • Four Tet Rounds This is not indie pop at all. This is purely computer produced. It does however have mostly organic sounds and is pretty melodic in nature. According to iTunes, I’ve played track four (“My Angel Rocks Back and Forth”) 90 times since August 1, 2003 and though I haven’t played it in a while, it’s still in my top 10 most played songs.
  • the One Am Radio A Name Writ in Water This is glitchy, dark singer-songwriter stuff. It’s not really, but that’s probably the most effective way to describe it. Lots of acoustic guitar, violin, amospheric sounds and very intimate vocals.

Note: these are just some albums you might like. You might not like all of them. In fact there may be some you hate. Many of these bands have songs on their websites that you can listen to and get a feel for their music. Otherwise there are various forms of downloading music, both legal (Epitonic!) and otherwise.


road trip USA

Filed under: — adrian @ 4:29 pm

Andy was tracing through our roadtrip route in Google Maps (which, incidentally, has a neat satellite photo option in the upper right corner if you haven’t noticed) so I decided to put my two road trip travel logs up on the web again.

Road Trip USA was July 13 – July 20, 2003. Andy Chadwick, Dave Franusich, Randy Oswald and myself covered 5600 miles from Pittsburgh to Santa Monica and back in a nutso crazy tour of our fine country. (If you haven’t read the Grand Canyon entry on this one yet, do so. It’s in the Wednesday entry.)

RoadTrip2 was June 13 – June 21, 2004, with andyl covering 4500 miles from Boston to Menlo Park through the American South.

I’m really glad I did these. I like reading through them again.

A quick note in this time of change in the Catholic hierarchy

Filed under: — adrian @ 2:56 pm

There is a lot of talking about Cardinals recently.

The correct form of a Cardinal’s name is first name Cardinal last name. Bernard Cardinal Law is correct; Cardinal Bernard Law is not. Cardinal Law is acceptable in short.

Just like you don’t say the name of the poet Lord Alfred Tennyson, but Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Please commence using the correct form. Newspapers can’t get it right.


greetings from johannesburg

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:42 am

I am not in South Africa; rather, I’m writing about my band with David Franusich entitled Greetings from Johannesburg.

The reason for writing is that it looks like we’ve finished the 6 song EP, finally. The mixes and mastering aren’t done but the writing and recording are.

MP3s of the songs are here if you’d like to listen.

The most recent changes were on the song Nashville, which I changed around on Saturday. On the other end of the spectrum, I haven’t touched Bitter in over a year and Thaw in over two.

You can comment on the songs, if you’d like. We also are looking for better titles for some of the songs and for the EP in general if you have ideas on those.

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