Category Archives: Links

President Barack Obama: Soul Man

Let’s put politics aside for a moment and just appreciate that this guy is smooth. Years after Clinton squawking away on a sax and eight arduous years of Bush trying to dance (or whatever that is), we finally have a President with at least a hint of musical acumen.

Making the rounds this week is the President singing some Al Green, which is awesome enough. But it’s not the first time The Crooner in Chief has put his pipes to the test. Dig his repertoire.

Barack Obama Sings Al Green

VIA Rolling Stone 

Barack Obama sings Aretha Franklin

Barack Obama sings Dionne Warwick

Barack Obama Singing Happy Birthday

VIA Politico 


Happy Friday.

Horns, Hair and Hot Plates: On Tour With Avalanche, 1974

Even though I’ve spent my fair share of time in packed vans and cars driving to shows through snow and ice and overheated engines and speed-traps…I still love to read about other people’s experiences on the road. Throw in a healthy dose of frizzy hair and bell-bottoms and I’m hooked.

I stumbled across this gem of a story while watching talkingheads dissect the South Carolina GOP debates and thank God for it. Author Craig Morrison gives a hilarious and detailed account of his “jazz-rock show band’s” trek across Canada in 1974. This isn’t The Song Remains the Same, gang. This is the real story of a real working band scraping by to play shows in the Great White North. The groupies are few and the flatulence is many.

How can you not love details like this:

In the middle of the night after our farewell hometown gig at the Empress Hotel we spent four hours determining the most efficient way to pack the Hammond B-3 organ, Leslie speaker, two PA systems (one for vocals and one for the horn section), an upright bass (not for stage, just for practicing), guitars, amps, horns, drums (in cases), stage clothes, and a hot plate and a cooking pot. When we first unloaded, we drew a two-level diagram to make sure we could get it all back in. We also had two bicycles on a rack at the front of the van.

That, my friends, is what it’s really like to be on the road without tour support and/or roadies.

Read the whole story, which is an an edited version published in Goldmine magazine in 1994 as “Wild Times On Tour in Canada”

Paul Weller Welcomes Twins, Names Them After Fave Musicians

When I was a kid—and I mean, when I was eight or nine years old—I told anyone who would listen that if I ever had kids I would name them after The Beatles. And I meant all of The Beatles, even Ringo. But I was a kid and what did I know? I grew up and realized it was ridiculous to name my kids after my favorite band.

Paul Weller on the other hand is welcoming his twin sons Bowie and John Paul into the world this week. The 53 year old former frontman of The Jam announced their birth via his website.

Don’t get me wrong, I love music and understand how deeply our favorite artists can touch us. But isn’t it a bit childish to be so blatant about it? I mean, it’s not like I have a son named after a famous musician. Oh, wait…

VIA The New Music Express

30 Years of an Industry Fracturing

The Digital Music News blog has fascinating animated pie-charts showing the consolidation and eventual fracturing of media sales in the music industry. Compiled with US-based data, each pie represents 100% of total recording revenue. Click through to watch how the rise of CDs all but obliterated all media types a decade ago only to be beaten back by digital downloads, subscriptions (streaming), and mobile purchases.

Twitter Roundup #27

Tweet tweetBelow are the fascinating things we’ve posted to Twitter recently. In reverse chronological order, just like Twitter…

• Yes. RT @mathowie: ‘The Super Bowl halftime show is the Branson, Missouri of rock ‘n’ roll.’ — Feb 5, 2011 3:14pm

• RT @SoundOpinions: RT @pitchforkmedia: When something great is gone: LCD Soundsystem announce their farewell show. #lcdsoundsystem Feb 5, 2011 2:30pm

• Cool. RT @jesshopp: Hope this @JiniDellaccioDoc gets the $ it needs–she was early rock photog, shot Sonics, Neil Young Feb 5, 2011 2:25pm

• Wouldn’t it be great if instead of writing ‘First’ in comments, idiots started posting FREEBIRD? RT @colinmeloy: #MACOF Feb 4, 2011 9:00pm

• Srsly. RT @1000TimesYes: Why is Justin Bieber a better drummer than all the Pitchfork bands? Step your game up, clowns: Feb 4, 2011 5:16pm

Lots more below, and you might consider joining the 1,038 other people following us on Twitter so you can keep up with this important stuff as it happens…

Continue reading Twitter Roundup #27

Amos Lee Breaks Cake’s Record for Worst-Selling #1

Bill boredWell it looks like Cake didn’t get to hold onto their dubious record for very long. Just two weeks! Now Amos Lee holds the title for the lowest-selling No. 1 with only 40,000 copies. Craziness.

1. Amos Lee – “Mission Bell” – 40,000 (debut)

2. Iron and Wine – “Kiss Each Other Clean” – 39,000 (debut)

3. Nicki Minaj – “Pink Friday” – 38,000 (up 35%)

4. “2011 Grammy Nominees” – 38,000 (debut)

5. Bruno Mars – “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” – 33,000 (down 4%)

6. Mumford & Sons – “Sigh No More” – 31,000 (up 17%)

7. Taylor Swift – “Speak Now” – 31,000 (down <1%) 8. Wisin & Yandel - "Los Vaqueros: El Regreso" - 31,000 (debut) 9. "Kidz Bop 19" - 30,000 (down 57%) 10. Decemberists - "The King Is Dead" - 29,000 (down 69%) • Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Jan. 30) totaled 5.3 million units • Digital track sales this past week totaled 24.7 million downloads

Twitter Roundup #26

See? Beards are cool.

Below are the fascinating things we’ve posted to Twitter recently. In reverse chronological order, just like Twitter…

• Loggins (ft. Steve Perry) with @jeffsabatini #worstdeejay Jan 29, 2011 11:21pm

• Liz Phair continued to sneak great lyrics on whitechoc, comeandgetit ep, and funstyle. Believe it. @metrowheelman @jawnita Jan 29, 2011 2:52pm

• RT @ConanOBrien: First there was Kermit, then Cookie Monster, and now Steven Tyler. Thanks, Jim Henson! Jan 28, 2011 11:47pm

• Nice! RT @rivierasound: Nice write-up in the Portland Tribune: *Previewing tonight’s show (1/28) at Alberta Street Pub. Jan 28, 2011 3:43pm

• Hardass. RT @toddtotale: Went to teach the boy ‘Roadrunner’ on the guitar. Realized he needs to learn how to keep time first. Jan 28, 2011 11:25am

Lots more below, and you might consider joining the 1,030 other people following us on Twitter so you can keep up with this important stuff as it happens…

Continue reading Twitter Roundup #26

Decemberists Have the #1 Album

The Decemberists - The King Is DeadCongratulations to the Decemberists, whose major label debut is the best selling album in the country this week. Digital downloads account for 65% of its sales, and Billboard‘s Glenn Peoples points out that vinyl accounts for 3% (that’s about 2,800 records, for those of you who can’t find the caluclator on your computer).

1. The Decemberists – “The King Is Dead” – 94,000 (debut)

2. “Kidz Bop 19” – 70,000 (debut)

3. The Script – “Science & Faith” – 49,000 (debut)

4. Social Distortion – “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes” – 46,000 (debut)

5. Gregg Allman, – “Low Country Blues” – 36,000 (debut)

6. Bruno Mars’ “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” – 34,000 (up 6%)

7. Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” – 33,000 (up 42%)

8. Swift’s “Speak Now” – 31,000 (down 13%)

9. Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday” – 28,000 (down 11%)

10. Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” – 27,000 (up 2%)

Continue reading Decemberists Have the #1 Album