Bits: The Black Keys apart & together, Carolina Chocolate Drops on Fresh Air, mr. Gnome 7″, various tour dates

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xOxHyTP91c]

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Bits: Twilight Singers in the studio, mr. Gnome tours, behind-the-scenes with Gil Scott-Heron, Bowerbirds video

  • Spin has a mini Q&A; with Greg Dulli, who is currently shaping up the next Twilight Singers album.
  • mr. Gnome go back on the road at the end of next month (with a warm-up gig in Akron this Saturday), and they promise a “b-side 7″ vinyl/digital very soon.”
  • Pitchfork has an 11-minute docu-vid on the making of Gil Scott-Heron’s magnificent album, I’m New Here, up until the end of the week. (Incidentally, I learned about the album when the Twilight Singers posted the video for “Me and the Devil” on their Facebook back in January.)
  • You can watch the Bowerbirds be adorable, nature-loving hippies in their brand new video for “Northern Lights” below.

http://assets.delvenetworks.com/player/loader.swf

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mr. Gnome: I Can See My Soul from Here

This is a good example of why I try to avoid saying “Artist X sounds like Artist Z” – aside from the fact that I have found many of those sorts of comparisons can project the wrong idea into a reader’s mind depending upon their relationship with Artist Z’s work – I would have to use three or four different artists to describe the sound of Cleveland duo mr. Gnome. Just within one song. Moving from gauzy dreamscapes to razor-sharp nightmares, sometimes within seconds of each other, mr. Gnome is the sort of band whose willingness to experiment with sound and whose ability to pull it off with confidence makes me proud to be a fellow Clevelander.

A couple of things you should know before listening to mr. Gnome: Nicole Barille will crush your head with her guitar. And if she can’t finish the job, Sam Meister will be right in to beat the pulp to liquid. But then they’ll sing a pretty lullaby and smile down at you just before you pass out.

Yes, Barille’s voice can sound childlike and pixieish (something … Continue reading

Festival Round-Up: The Lesser-Knowns

It’s festival line-up announcing season. NTSIB trusts that you can find your own way to the artist listings for Coachella, Bonnarroo, etc., because we’re going to focus on some lesser-known but just as worthy festivals and concert series.

Aside from Oxford, Mississippi’s annual Double Decker Arts Festival and Gulf Shores, Alabama’s first Hangout Music Festival, which we’ve mentioned previously, there is:

  • NoisePop, February 23-March 1 in San Francisco, California (taking place at various venues all over the city), will have the Magnetic Fields, Atlas Sound, the Mumlers, Thao Nguyen, Mark Eitzel, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Mark Kozelek and so many more
  • Pickathon, August 6-8 in Portland, Oregon, featuring Billy Joe Shaver, the Heartless Bastards, Bonnie Prince Billy & the Cairo Gang, Langhorne Slim, the Cave Singers, Megafaun and more
  • The Black Keys and Pavement will play New York’s SummerStage
  • The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, April 23-May 2, will feature so many huge acts that it would be an exercise in futility to try to list all the notable artists here
  • Jim Jarmusch, NTSIB’s favorite filmmaker, is guest-curating … Continue reading

Fellow Travellers: One new blog & one triumphant return

Duke Street Blog has the jump on NTSIB having launched their video-centric blog on January 2nd, and they are already loaded up with wonderful content. They have live clips, filmed up close and personal, of acts such as the Duke and the Dutchess, the Roadside Graves, NTSIB favorites the Bowerbirds and Dawes and, most recently, a couple of excellent videos from A.A. Bondy’s recent tour-closing show at Union Hall in Brooklyn.

Duke Street Blog

After becoming a bloody statistic in musicblogicide 2010, I Rock Cleveland has returned to the fold. It’s proving a little bit of a bumpy transition, so be gentle with him, folks.

I Rock Cleveland

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The Heartless Bastards: I’m Gonna See What Tomorrow Brings

I am guilty of misogyny in my listening practices. I am not the most girly of girls, and hearing twee and breathy vocals can turn me off to a song faster than mentions of pina coladas and getting caught in the rain or riding through the desert on a horse with no name. I find a great many female singers either sound alike to me or give me nothing I can connect to. This is one reason I am grateful for Erika Wennerstrom and her band the Heartless Bastards.

[Author’s note: In recent years, this line of misguided chatter has haunted me, and I feel shame whenever I think about it. I’d like to offer my apology for it. Women in music, women in general, people in general, deserve better.]

To say Erika Wennerstrom has a powerful voice is a bit like saying meteor showers are pretty. True as it is, it doesn’t get the whole idea across. By all accounts a diminutive woman, Wennerstrom can belt out vocals like she’s eight feet tall. Though her power is not just in volume, but also … Continue reading

Friday Fun: On the Day You Were Born

Inspired by a Facebook meme, of all things, I was reminded of the Billboard #1 hit at the time I was born. “Love Train” by the O’Jays. Note the presence of a slo-mo’ing Fred “Rerun” Berry at the 1:08 mark.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7MiG2fe8lE]

And because I can never hear the O’Jays without wanting to listen to my favorite O’Jays’ song: “Backstabbers”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzjziKqVp6k]

What was the Billboard #1 when you were born?

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Nicholas Megalis: 216 Reasons to Live

Two words come to mind when thinking how to describe Cleveland/NYC artist Nicholas Megalis: sassy and sexy. Some of his songs carry a mad carinval air, some are enveloped in warm industrial fuzz, but most of them will make you rotate your hips in an unseemly manner.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE0Q03vV38Q]

I discovered Megalis, or rather, he discovered me when he began following my personal account on Twitter a while back, perfectly illustrating how the internet has changed the whole game for music.

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