Thursday, June 28, 2012

NMS New York Music Festival eMusic Showcase June 19

With over 100 artists at 17 venues across four nights, the participants in New Music Seminar's new New York Music Festival had plenty to choose from -- on the website sixteen genres were featured plus "other" for everything else. It's certainly not easy to categorize music on the scene these days.  Looking through the list I saw a band I had been wanting to see anyway, and zeroed in immediately.  Hooray for Earth was featured in my New Music Summer 2011 Playlist so I was interested to finally see them play live. Well it was so loud and distorted I could hardly recognize that song, much less the rest of the set.  A darkened stage didn't help much either, even though Noel Heroux made a fine frontman.

Paul with Noel Heroux
A co-worker of Paul's knows him, so Paul went over before their set to say hello.  The band was in the middle of the eMusic showcase bill with Yellowdogs and Amanaguchi at a new venue in the Lower East Side with an historic name, Tammany Hall.  Official PopMatters
write up here and scan of full schedule after photos below.

The scene at Tammany Hall, new cool venue
As Hooray for Earth set up, sound guys kept an eye on the bball playoffs with a TV to the side...  HA!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

CBGB Festival Brings Spirit of the Place Back to New York City, July 5 – 8

Just when you need a break from family 4th of July holiday gatherings, here comes a new event to remind New Yorkers about the rich history that once existed in the Bowery.  CBGBs was a haven for breaking punk and new waves bands under the devoted tutelage of owner Hilly Kristal.  He launched the careers of such stalwarts as Television, the Patti Smith Group, Blondie, The B-52s, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and the Talking Heads.  The name stands for the genre Kristal had originally planned on booking for the club, Country, Bluegrass and Blues, and the addendum OMUG stood for "Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers."  Rather than food, Kristal had rabid music consumption in mind yet it became a bastion for the new music of the day. 

Seeking to rekindle this spirit and rejuvenate the brand that is CBGBs -- beyond T-shirts and the awning that exists in Cleveland at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- the festival will feature rock and roll film screenings, band showcases (300 artists in 30 venues), music business conferences and industry panel discussions.  To stamp an attitude on the proceedings, Nirvana’s Kris Novoselic will be the Keynote Speaker on noon, July 5.  Along with the usual music industry subjects of marketing and record deals, there will also be a panel on “CBGB – Tales From the Club.”  Film subjects include bands such as The Clash, The Replacements, and the Ramones, along with Wilco and Kurt Cobain.  Many screenings include Q & A sessions with those in the film or behind the scenes.  A few of the artists appearing during the festival are Superchunk, David Johansen, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Reggie Watts and The Virgins.  Saturday afternoon brings together Guided by Voices, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The War on Drugs and Cloud Nothings at the SummerStage at Central Park.  A Spirits Festival on Sunday, July 8 highlights artisan whiskey distilleries across town.

Pricing is on a sliding scale according to how many offerings are of interest. Pass categories are defined as Music Showcases, Film Screenings + Film Conference, Music Showcases + Music Conference, Music/Film Combo, and the Spirits Festival.  Costs range from $79 to $379 with increases for walk-up purchases after July 3rd. For further information, visit 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Matt and Kim Release New Single "Let's Go"

Matt and Kim (Photo courtesy of Fader)
Matt and Kim just released a single off their upcoming album, Lightning.  It's called "Let's Go," and in typical M&K style, it boasts an uptempo rollin' beat with Matt's cooing intro providing an underpinning for his yelping-with-a-smile vocals, plus a whacking drum solo by Kim. At their concert at Terminal 5 almost a year ago to the day, even their first song began with a blast of frenetic energy (was not easy for Paul to capture that video, check it out here). So it was with mixed feelings that I watched the video below, which has Matt and Kim sitting on the bleachers watching their friend Pat the Roc putting some streetball moves on a basketball court. (They met him during the 2011 Converse Band of Ballers when Matt and Kim were team captains -- their team won the championship!)

Last year I also jumped at the chance to interview Matt Johnson for PopMatters, being such a fan of the band. We discussed their method for songwriting and how their high energy is a natural state of everyday being. For this new album, Johnson says the two spent the winter locked in their place on Grand Street in Brooklyn.  “When not watching Game of Thrones or Downton Abbey, we were self-producing and recording our new album Lightning." Johnson explains. "We are SO proud of each and every one of these songs that we are going to roll out a few of them over the course of the summer. So here it is, the first song from Lightning, titled “Let’s Go”.  Just for us, put this on your iPod, get in the car, roll your windows down, and turn your stereo up!" Roger that.

Matt and Kim - LET'S GO - Official First Listen

Friday, June 22, 2012

New Music Playlists from 2009 - now

Here are all my playlists with links to Spotify for additional music consumption...

Follow me on Spotify @newmusicmatters

Current playlist: 

Past playlists: 

Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day 2024

Winter 2023 New Music Playlist

Spring 2022 New Music Playlist

Fall 2020 New Music Playlist

Spring 2020 New Music Playlist

Winter 2020 New Music Playlist

Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day 2020

Top 20+ Songs of 2019

Late Fall 2019 New Music Playlist

Fall 2019 New Music Playlist

Summer 2019 New Music Playlist

Spring 2019 New Music Playlist

Winter 2019 New Music Playlist

Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day 2019

Top 20+ Songs of 2018

Late Fall 2018 New Music Playlist

Fall 2018 New Music Playlist

Late Summer 2018 New Music Playlist

Summer 2018 New Music Playlist

Spring 2018 New Music Playlist

Winter 2018 New Music Playlist

Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day 2018

Top 20+ Songs of 2017

Late Fall 2017 New Music Playlist

Fall 2017 New Music Playlist

Summer 2017 New Music Playlist

Late Spring 2017 New Music Playlist

Spring 2017 New Music Playlist 

Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day 2017

Winter 2017 New Music Playlist 

Top 20+ Songs of 2016

Fall 2016 New Music Playlist

Late Summer 2016 New Music Playlist

Summer 2016 New Music Playlist

Late Spring 2016 New Music Playlist

Spring 2016 New Music Playlist 

Winter 2016 New Music Playlist

Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day 2016

Top 20+ Songs of 2015

Fall 2015 New Music Playlist

Late Summer New Music Playlist

Summer 2015 New Music Playlist

Late Spring 2015 New Music Playlist 

Spring 2015 New Music Playlis

Winter 2015 New Music Playlist 

Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day 2015

Top 20+ Songs of 2014

Fall 2014 New Music Playlist or on YouTube

Late Summer 2014 New Music Playlist or on YouTube

Summer 2014 New Music Playlist  or on YouTube

Spring 2014 New Music Playlist or on YouTube

Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day 2014 

Winter 2014 New Music Playlist or on YouTube

Top 20+ Songs of 2013

Late Fall 2013 New Music Playlist or on YouTube

Fall 2013 New Music Playlist or on YouTube

Late Summer 2013 New Music Playlist or on YouTube

Summer 2013 New Music Playlist or on YouTube

Early Summer 2013 New Music Playlist or on YouTube

Spring 2013 New Music Playlist or on YouTube

Winter 2013 New Music Playlist or on YouTube

Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day 2013

Top 20+ Songs of 2012

Late Fall 2012 New Music Playlist or on YouTube

Fall 2012 New Music Playlist

Summer 2012 New Music Playlist

Early Summer 2012 New Music Playlist

Spring 2012 New Music Playlist

Early Spring 2012 New Music Playlist

Winter 2012 New Music Playlist

Romantic Songs Playlist for Valentine's Day 2012

Top 20+ Songs of 2011

Late Fall 2011 New Music Playlist

Fall 2011 New Music Playlist

Late Summer 2011 New Music Playlist

Summer 2011 New Music Playlist

Late Spring 2011 New Music Playlist

Spring 2011 New Music Playlist

Winter 2011 New Music Playlist

Top 20+ Songs of 2010

Late Fall 2010 New Music Playlist

Fall 2010 New Music Playlist

Early Fall 2010 New Music Playlist

Summer 2010 New Music Playlist

Late Spring 2010 New Music Playlist

Spring 2010 New Music Playlist

Winter 2010 New Music Playlist

Top 20+ Songs of 2009

Late Fall 2009 New Music Playlist

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Music Seminar June 17 - 19

This year's New Music Seminar began in the dark yet hallowed halls of Webster Hall in NYC on a beautiful June afternoon, Father's Day even. It was strange to see the ballroom lined with rows plus a conference room set up on on the stage, podium and all.  I covered the 2011 New Music Seminar in L.A. , so I knew what to expect.  Speakers and panels representing various aspects of the biz in suits and half suits (jackets only) or studied casualness. In the crowd were individuals aspiring to cross over into these roles, or at least gain their attention -- fledgling artists in full costume even on a sunny afternoon.   As photos here attest, most of the panels featured presenters who were all GUYS,  representing how the music biz is unfortunately still run by a traditional boys network. I was certainly tempted to rush the stage during the one on music bloggers!  
Producer's Panel
Music Bloggers Panel
Me w/Tom Jackson
The Opening Night Party presented a full slate of performers across the genres from classically trained Evan Shimmers to hip hop YouTube sensation Hoodie Allen (videos below).  Then it was back to the scheduled seminars of presenters -- the real highlight was watching Tom Jackson work with a band on stage in rehearsal, putting into practice his principles of his workshop on live performance.  He was on a panel in L.A. commenting on bands via video but this time everyone could witness him in action as tepid stage presence was not tolerated.  Lord knows I've seen many bands who think if they play their music, fans should be grateful even though there's not even eye contact. Maybe it's my musical theatre background, but it's always nice to see some effort on stage to create a unique experience which can't be replicated -- Jackson call this creating 'moments' which fans crave. I met him afterwards and suggested a quick interview to expand on his new charity initiative linking non-profits with artists to raise big sums.  He couldn't have been nicer as we went around the corner for a quick lunch and chat which I recorded on my phone.  Turns out he's a bass player, should have known!  That cool, laid back vibe I know well from living with my husband/son...

Another highlight was the presentation by bass player Rick Goetz, "Everything You Need To Forget About the Music Business."  (Gotta wonder what's with all the bass players in my life -- the yin needed for my extreme yang?)  Goetz has a wide background from being in a band to a career at a major record label, as well as music supervision, band management and television producer.  Again, with that ubiquitous bass player cool, he offered practical DIY advice for creating marketing materials.  He listed the basics, from a "no apologies" four song recording that rocks, to a succinctly written bio/logo/website, a professional photo ("not the tired look of guys in front of a brick wall") and a live video "with a crowd" along with a presence on all the social media networks ("ensure all of the digital real estate is interconnected").  Goetz provided his own marketing tool,, to continue the discussion and a free educational resource for any up-and-comers.

After it was all over I stayed home in CT, escaping NYC's first heat wave with a notebook full of notes to decipher as I tackled my official write up for PopMatters -- posted here and interview with Tom Jackson over lunch can be found here.

Evan Shinners, NMS Opening Party 6/17/2012

Hoodie Allen, NMS Opening Party 6/17/2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Unknown Mortal Orchestra @ Glasslands June 8

The Unknown Mortal Orchestra song "Ffunny Ffriends" caught my ear last year as an amusing tune with this instant sing along chorus, starting simply with traditional la-la vowel sounds and ending with the title. (See official YouTube video below.) I thought how surely this was the work of a someone that doesn't take things too seriously,  which of course is part of the appeal.  A background check revealed how the music was created by New Zealand native Ruben Nielson from his Portland digs, and currently on the road. Investigating the rest of the self-titled debut release, there's such a mix in approach to each song as well as within each track -- influences of funk, psychedelic rock and punk. Since Neilson nor the band's two touring members were in their videos, the live show was basically an unknown.  In the tight quarters of Glasslands in Williamsburg, the trio was not only well rehearsed but veterans of the nuances of live performance. Plus, Nielson was quite the serious musician on guitar, allowing little room for any heartfelt off the cuff communication with the crowd between songs.  However, the room was packed and audience members clearly already knew most of the songs, which always makes for good energy at any concert.

Check out my photos and review on PopMatters here

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Vacationer Interview and Review @ Webster Hall May 18

People ask me how I learn about new music.  Besides my love of online public radio, I am now on the email distribution lists of record labels and publicity contacts, which I allow to accumulate until there's time to check things out if only for a quick listen.  But there's nothing like a good recommendation from one dedicated music fan to another in the spirit of shared discovery.  Along that vein, my son Jake sent me a link to a snowboarding video last spring noting a particular song on the soundtrack.  He said how the band had "the best sunny day spring album feel to them" -- perfect for the changing of the seasons. 

Luckily the music was tagged so it was easy to track down the group Vacationer and their song "Good As New."  Several songs off their debut release Gone, are getting good pick up and their first headlining show at The Studio at Webster Hall was packed with fans singing along.  We made it a family affair as Jake snapped the pics, Paul captured some videos and I scribbled notes for a write up.  The next week I was able to arrange a quick phoner with frontman Kenny Vasoli (link to PopMatters concert review and interview here). Concert photos and set list below...

Kenny Vasoli 
Vacationer on stage @ The Studio at Webster Hall
With my interview subject
Bass Players Unite!  Jake, Kenny & Paul

Kenny working the merch table...
gotta love that!
And even better, happily signing things for fans!

Vacationer Set List

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Music Seminar Sponsors Music Festival June 17 - 21

This time around the New Music Seminar (NMS) will present four nights of music June 17 - 20 at 17 locations around New York City.  The NMS New York Music Festival is enlisting partners BMI, eMusic, Filter Magazine, Folk Alliance, OurStage, ReverbNation and SESAC, to bring emerging acts to mid-sized venues such as Irving Plaza and Webster Hall as well as smaller clubs in the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  The full line-up of over 150 artists is available on the NMS website, with a handy function allowing anyone interested in the concerts to narrow results by day or one of 16 genres from folk to indie, R&B or simply singer-songwriter.  All NMS Festival shows (excluding the NMS Opening Night Party) are open to the public with tickets available for purchase in advance and at the door of each respective participating venue.

Many of the acts are part of the NMS Artist on the Verge (AOV) 2012 project, a list of emerging acts that are creating their own buzz.  By promoting these artists, the NMS committee provides a spotlight on more than just sales of pre-recorded music.  The AOV Top 100 are also chosen by promotional giveaways, touring history, merchandise sales, media hits as well as social media.  There is a compilation stream available or the AOV Top 100 YouTube Video Playlist (over six hours long!) to peruse the participants online.

Kicking things off will be an invite-only Opening Night Party at Webster Hall on June 17, featuring a dj set by Andy Rourke, former bass player for The Smiths.  The event includes a full night of live music along with a "very special surprise performance" plus the Cabo Wabo VIP Lounge.  Panels and speakers will address the rapidly changing music scene beginning that afternoon, continuing throughout the day Monday and Tuesday. For the entire schedule go to

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chairlift Interview & Review @ Webster Hall May 8

Caroline Polachek on stage at Webster Hall
When I responded to a PopMatters opportunity to interview Caroline Polochek of the Brooklyn-based indie outfit known as Chairlift, the band was over in Paris in the middle of a European tour.  Weeks went by before I heard from the publicist again, who wanted to schedule something while they were on the road on this continent.   There was a lot of back and forth in order to patch the phone call through from my land line hooked up to Audio Recorder on the Mac computer at my desk (which I'm always nervous about remembering to hit record to capture everything!)  Polachek got on the call as the group was crossing from Canada into the U.S. and the discussion began about location so I told her I was in the suburbs of Connecticut.  

With Caroline after the show
"Where? That's where I grew up," she explained.  Well it turns out we went to the same high school, though of course Polachek graduated long after I did.  But it was a great way to break the ice during a long distance introduction between two strangers and the discussion flowed easily after that.  When I chatted with Polachek after Chairlift's recent show at Webster Hall, she told me how "that was a really fun conversation actually."  I always enjoy meeting an interview subject in person and she was so sweet to say this...

Write up on PopMatters here and additional photo/video below.

Patrick Wemberly

Chairlift Set List

Chairlift "I Belong In Your Arms" @ Webster Hall 5/08/12

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hot Chip's New Release Available for a "First Listen" on NPR

Photo courtesy of the artist
NPR's "First Listen" program is featuring the fifth album from the U.K. synth pop band Hot Chip, In Our Heads.  I was eager to dig in and look for another fave song from the group, which would continue my love affair with their unabashed dance music which eagerly embraces a myriad of musical influences.  I was introduced to the group with the crazy fun of "Over and Over" from 2006's The Warning and "Ready for the Floor" off of 2008's Made in the Dark.  Their last release, One Life Stand, yielded another song bursting of pure pop pleasure by the same name. Its sweet sentiment that what happens on the dance floor continues off site in daily life together only made me love the band more.  

In Our Heads expands on that notion, with background sounds of a baby cooing, children chanting and playground noises filling out the music.  The opening track, "Motion Sickness" introduces the collection with a pulsing beat intro until vocal harmonies reminisce about "Remember when we first heard the wall of sound?" There's a dreamy spaced groove in "Look At Where We Are" and an enchanting swirl of synth layers for "Flutes."  "Night and Day"sets up electronic blips and pops around soulful vocals that reference "jibber jabber" while asking, "Do I look like a rapper?" While nothing immediately jumps out being as infectious as the three songs mentioned above, the eleven new ones are a welcome addition to any party playlist.

Listen to In Our Heads until June 11th at the link here and enjoy the videos from the others below.  Plus, I recently met the band's Al Doyle (also of the late great LCD Soundsystem, in photo above on the left) during a recent NYC stop with his new project, New Build.

Hot Chip - Over An