• Music

    Whiskerman – Devil Bird

    Whiskerman, playing Devil Bird. The band is based in Oakland, playing with a ghostly violin, or, at times, a mean electric guitar. The Devil Bird, by the way, is a famous cryptid. Also, Ram’s head:  

  • Events,  Music

    Spirits of the Red City

    Spirits of the Red City played San Jose last night (8/14/2012), and are playing San Francisco tomorrow (8/16/2012). Then Berkeley on Saturday (8/18/2012). The band sits somewhere between the music playing in the hotel at the end of the world, and the angry shouting of a schizophrenic lost in the wilderness of Montana. They are almost certainly the soundtrack to a Denis Johnson book. Needless to say, it’s very good. .  

  • Music

    Bascom Lamar Lunsford, “Swannanoa Tunnel”

    The Swannanoa tunnel was built in North Carolina in 1879 and 1880 by convict labor. During the construction 125 people lost their lives. The song ghostly feeling to it. Violence sits shapeless in the air, in the sound of a bird or the growl of a dog. “That woman” is not a dream, though it isn’t so obvious that it doesn’t have to be said.

  • Music

    Classical Music vs. The Romantics

    From the Guardian, Martin Kettle worries that Mozart’s genius is not being appreciated. What leaps out from this and other concert schedules of the modern era is the total absence of Mozart’s symphonies. The Proms are still, after all, pre-eminently an orchestral music festival. The symphony is still the principal form of orchestral music. Mozart wrote 41 of them. They are among the most brilliant symphonic works ever written. Yet none of Mozart’s symphonies features in the 2012 Proms. Not one of them. Nor, crucially, is this year’s Mozart symphony famine a one-off omission. It is, on the contrary, entirely typical of recent years at the Proms. There was no…

  • Music

    Music for the Weekend: Eliza Rickman

    Eliza Rickman’s first full length CD just came out, and I recommend it to everyone. The album contains a mixture of compositions from her earlier EP, mostly composed on Toy Piano, and a number of newly recorded songs with full piano and strings backing. The latter songs are where the album really stands out, and one ends up wishing there was a lot more of it on the CD. Compositions such as “Devil’s Flesh and Bones,” “Through an Aquarium,” “Pretty Little Head,” and particularly the title track “Oh, You Sinners,” are surprisingly layered, only really exposing themselves after a third or fourth play through. Gothic themes permeate in the album,…

  • Music,  Uncategorized

    Music for the Weekend: Mamer and Iz

    Mamer is a Kazakh musician born in the Xinjiang province of Western China, and primarily residing in Beijing. His first album was fairly recognizable, if exceptional, world music. With his second album he became more experimental, mixing traditional Kazakh rhythms with experimental industrial music, prominently taking inspiration from Einsturzende Neubauten. Below is a song I recorded at the release party for his second CD in Beijing, followed by a televised recording of his earlier work.