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Monday, Jun 15, 2009

In the past couple of years musicians who have decided to free themselves from the corporate structure of the music industry have come up with creative ways to finance their albums. One way they’ve done this is by offering their fans special deals in exchange for some help with funding. This has included exclusive meet-and-greets, autographed items, special concert seating, and even personalized house or backyard concerts for top donors.


Well, Erin McKeown has taken her house concert idea to someplace totally new: her house. Erin is offering up a series of concerts at her own house in Western Mass., and is inviting fans to join her over the Internet. In what she is calling Cabin Fever, Erin will play four shows from various places in her yard, all with different themes, and is asking people to pay $10 per show to stream it live on her site. A cost of $30 will get you all four shows. This is all to benefit the recording and release of her new album “Hundreds of Lions.”


She writes: “In the grand tradition of barn-raisings and house-rent parties, Erin McKeown is inviting you into her living room, onto her porch, into her river, into her yard and asking you to lend a hand… just as farmers needed their neighbors to help raise the roof and musicians have sung for their supper.”


Tagged as: erin mckeown
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Friday, Jun 12, 2009
by Robin Cook

In the Twin Cities, Lori Barbero is a legend.  She’s been a record label owner, a band manager, and, of course, the drummer for the legendary Babes in Toyland. Kat Bjelland may have provided the shrieks, but Barbero gave the band its tribal, often menacing pulse.


In person, Barbero is anything but menacing, as anyone who’s met her can attest. In a surprising move, she’s traded Minneapolis for balmy Austin, Texas. 



Tagged as: lori barbero, sxsw
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Thursday, Jun 11, 2009

Currently bouncing around the blogosphere: Subprime, the hypnotic new animated short by Wisconsin graphic designer Mike Winkelmann, which illustrates the progression of the housing crisis like, well, a Pixar flick about imperiled homeowners.


As if the eagle-eye view of a Lego Dubai wasn’t already cool enough, it also features a a killer score by Ratatatty electronica-rock duo NOBOT. The sound design and audio effects were also pored over by Nobot’s Kyle Vande Slunt; the resulting clicks and bloops are a pretty crucial part of the experience, so you might prefer the alternate version of the track that leaves them all intact. Funny noises make everything better, even catastrophic end-of-civilization crises.



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Thursday, Jun 11, 2009

Over the last three decades, not much has changed in the way of heavy metal music videos. While cutting-edge filmmakers like Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham, and Jonathan Glazer created innovative pieces in the pop, electronic, and indie rock realms, metal videos, on the other hand, have been merely content to stay the course, opting primarily to please the fans as opposed to trying to break new ground in the medium. There have been exceptions, of course, Tool being the most obvious, but for the most part, metal clips tend to fall into three categories: a deliberate showcase of a band’s latest stage show, a straightforward clip of a band performing among its rabid fans, and conceptual stories intercut with simple performance footage.


The latter category has yielded extraordinary results in the past, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a metal band embrace the music video quite like Mastodon has done this year in the wake of the release of their excellent album Crack the Skye. Enlisting director Roboshobo, the man behind last year’s spectacular clip for Metallica’s “All Nightmare Long”, Mastodon’s video for “Divinations” involved a caveman trapped in ice, a Yeti, and cannibalism, and the partnership’s follow-up “Oblivion” delves into far more cosmic territory. Typical of the band’s tendency towards rather outlandish, convoluted concepts, the storyline centers on the foursome on a space rescue mission, the sudden appearance of vegetation and butterflies outside of the craft, and the mysterious, blissful deaths of Troy Sanders’s crew. What it all specifically means is open to interpretation (goodness knows Mastodon’s explanations of their concepts tend to complicate things even further), but the joy with which the band throws themselves into the whole video making process, coupled with some actual major label bucks, makes for a terrific visual complement to one of the year’s better hard rock singles.



Tagged as: mastodon
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Thursday, Jun 4, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
The UK's Starsailor recently released their fourth album All the Plans and have been touring the new music. In between, lead singer James Walsh answered our 20 Questions.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
The last book that made me cry was My Friend Leonard by James Frey. It’s the follow up to Million Little Pieces. I really don’t care how much is fact and how much is fiction, it’s just an emotional read.


2. The fictional character most like you?
Barney Rubble from The Flintstones.


3. The greatest album, ever?
Revolver by The Beatles. You could pick any album really. Anyone who thinks they are not the best band ever is just being contrary.


4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
I prefer Star Wars to Star Trek.


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