Friday Link Session


  • My favorite Cleveland band, mr. Gnome, have premiered their DIY video for “House of Circles” on NPR’s All Songs Considered blog. The song is rad, and the video is a tribute to the multiple talents of this band.
  • West African musician Bombino is raising funds to build a community rehearsal space in Niamey, Niger. As the fundraising page states, “Following the end of the Second Tuareg Rebellion in 2008 (during which guitars were banned) the music scene in Niger has been blossoming. However, in Niamey fully equipped rehearsal spaces are virtually non-existent and certainly not accessible to most musicians and would-be young musicians.”
  • The Elbo Room in San Francisco, California, will be hosting a Norton Records benefit concert on December 16. As many of you know, Norton’s warehouse was hit hard by Sandy and many rare recordings have been endangered.
  • Stupefaction has a very worthy John Lurie two-fer: First, a full concert from Lurie’s wonderful “fake jazz” band the Lounge Lizards, recorded in Berlin, Germany, in 1991. Then, a playlist of Lurie’s top 20 songs.
  • Steve Kilbey, most famously of Australian band the Church, has been Continue reading

My Chemical Romance: Conventional Weapons (to date)

The lost album is lost no more.

Conventional Weapons is composed of the 10 songs My Chemical Romance made – and shelved – in the space between The Black Parade and Danger Days. I titled this post “Conventional Weapons (to date)” because they’re eschewing a traditional album release and instead putting the songs two at a time over the course of several months, and so far only four have been released. Two more will emerge in mid-December, and the last four will surface in early January and February.

Not going to lie, this is maddening.

I want the whole thing, all of the songs, and I want it right now, so I can lie down on my kitchen floor with my iPod and crank it up and plunge in.

But I cannot have it, so I must be patient, and absorb them as they arrive.

So far my reaction is: This is very interesting.

The songs contains their evolution, as a band, and are an aural fork in the road, the point where The Black Parade finally shambled to a halt, and when it came time to choose their adventure, they walked briefly down a simpler (and so far, … Continue reading

An Electro Swing Sample Platter


Europeans looking in on this post are probably laughing at how behind-the-times the topic is, but living in the United States – a country so in love with its musical output that it will only embrace half of Britain’s musical export and a quarter of the musical export of our neighbor to the north, Canada – and being someone who doesn’t often warm up to electronic and dance music, being introduced to electro swing was a whole new thing for me. And I’m going to guess it’s a brand new thing for most of you reading this.

The discovery, for me, came by way of the video game-obsessive male who shares my apartment – i.e., my 18-year-old son. As a video game-obsessive, his musical intake centers mostly on – wait for it – music from video games. And he discovered his first electro swing artist via a fan-made video of Team Fortress 2 character, the Spy. The background music in the video was from Austrian DJ Parov Stelar, who spruces up old swing samples with effects and beats.

“Catgroove” – Parov Stelar


Through a dance music-savvy friend, my son then fell for French group Caravan Palace. … Continue reading

Wölfbait: Wölfbait

Wölfbait is a sonic sledgehammer-steamroller, heavy experimental noise that walks the fine but bright line between deeply satisfying and painful to listen to; and is for anyone who has ever listened to Metal Machine Music and thought This needs to be faster and should also have some echoey howling and shouting and more weird screeching noises.

Other notes: they do interesting things with feedback, and their drums are steady and powerful but not as pounding and punishing as some hardcore drums can be.
Gasp (Grey Earth) by Wölfbait
Aftertaste by Wölfbait

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The Dirty Nil: Little Metal Baby Fist

The Dirty Nil’s summary of themselves on bandcamp is The Dirty Nil play rock and roll, and, you guys, that’s an accurate statement. They sound like a dive bar: loud and a little dirty.

Little Metal Baby Fist is the A-side from their most recent single, which I picked because I can almost see the circle belling out and the pit forming before they even get through the first chord. I would totally wade into the fray and put my arms up to bounce sweaty dudes away from me while scream-singing along to this song.
Little Metal Baby Fist by The Dirty Nil
I can also recommend the B-side, Hate is a Stone (slightly heavier, sounds like stewing in self-loathing) and their cover of Moonage Daydream.

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A Good Read, a Good Listen, and a Good Drink: Mutts

Instagram Mutts


It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.


Earlier this month, I extolled the multi-flavored virtues of Chicago’s Mutts and their latest album Separation Anxiety. It’s a wily, skittering creature of an album, difficult to … Continue reading

Video: Tina Turner, What’s Love Got To Do With It

Tina Turner turned 73 yesterday, so this is both a belated birthday celebration and a general appreciation.

What’s Love Got To Do With It is from Private Dancer (1984); the song won three Grammys in 1985 and the original video got an MTV video award, also in 1985.

I’m pretty sure I became a Tina Turner fan in that year too, partially because of the music, and partially because she was Aunty Entity, Queen of Bartertown. If you haven’t watched Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, GO DO IT NOW.

Meanwhile, the video you are about to watch is from her last tour, in 2009. I can only hope to be as fierce as she is when I am her age.

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Old Gray Mule: Like a Apple on a Tree

Old Gray Mule


CR Humphrey, who is better known under his nom de musicien Old Gray Mule, is a hell of a good guy. It’s clear when you see him play live, when you hear the soulful licks he lays down on tape, when you chat with him, and when you read the notes for the latest Old Gray Mule album Like a Apple on a Tree: everything he does is imbued with lots of heart, humor, and flat-out joy. He gives the lie to the “tortured artist” myth – you rarely meet someone more satisfied with his lot in life, even through the struggles, than Humphrey. And it’s evident in all he does. Take for instance, what he wrote about the song “Thanksgiving ’12” from Like a Apple on a Tree.

“I wrote this song in 2008 the day I got home from the hospital after finding out my three week old son was going to live. He’d died in his sleep 5 days before, I found him in his crib, did CPR on him, got him back…and my … Continue reading

Video: Fall Out Boy, Sugar We’re Going Down

Fall Out Boy didn’t play Fueled by Ramen’s 15th anniversary shows last fall, but they were there in spirit, via the music between sets. At some point during night two, this song came on over the PA.

I was deep in the crowd, half listening, half trying to wriggle into a better spot, when I noticed a female voice in the chorus that I was pretty sure hadn’t been there before. I actually spent 30 seconds trying to remember if they had pulled someone in to guest vocals – Maja Ivarsson from The Sounds, maybe? – before the penny dropped.

It wasn’t Maja.

It was the room.

It was hundreds of girls – including me – singing along so loudly they had become one voice, soaring and swooping and almost drowning Patrick Stump out. And it remains one of my favorite concert memories.

This video is from 2006, and is a classic FOB dash of visual absurdity.


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Video: Little Jackie, 31 Flavors

The holiday season is upon us, and with it, long car trips in which my sister and I get to explore the contents of each others iPods. On our most recent voyage, I got a One Direction song stuck in her head, and she introduced me to Little Jackie, aka Imani Coppola (no relation to Francis Ford!) and Adam Pallin.

This song is from their second record, Made4TV. I love this video because it is beautifully shot, and the song because it is sexy and snarky at the same time. Coppola is also a solo artist, so if you like her voice be sure to grab all of her work!

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