We caught this local band at a show on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center two weeks ago. C.J. and I really liked them. Martha seemed okay with their music (despite the usher admonishing me that it would be too loud for a baby), but she mostly dug the mid-century chandeliers.

You can download two of their two-song EPs here:

Here’s the full 52-minute video of their Kennedy Center show:

P.S.: thanks to the Kennedy Center for booking a rock show at an hour and venue that I can take my kids to. More, please.

In case you missed my New Year’s Eve tweets and facebook updates:

1.  “Mustang Ranch” by @blackjoelewis totally rocking beat and horns.

2.  “Don’t Care About Anything” by Alex Winston: vocals so bizarrely beautiful you’ll forget why trad. beauty matters.

3. “Eg Vetsje” by @razika. I support punk rocking in their native Norwegian but I wish I could find a translation!

4.  “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” by @beastieboys & @santigold. Great on your morning commute.

5.  “Go Outside” by @cultscultscults. Beautifully layered melody.

6. “Hard Work” by Smoove & Turrell ( @SmooveTurrell ) “I’m a singer, not a grafter, baby, so I’d rather do my thing in church.”

7.  “I Was A Burden” by @blindboys & @LeeAnnWomack. Contrasting, perfectly paired vocals, like caramel & sea salt.

8.  “Get Some” by @LykkeLiOfficial. If this doesn’t make you wanna shake your thang, your thang is a lost cause.

9. “Just Don’t” by @Raphael_Saadiq w/ Yukimi Nakano. It’s like Tony! Toni! Tone! grew up right along side me.

10.  “King of Diamonds” by @motopony Not since Bruce sang “but hey you’re alright” has being 2nd choice sounded so good.

11. “Little By Little” by @radiohead. They’re back and as haunting as ever.

12.  “Long Long Time Ago” by @JackConte. Awesome mythical lyrics & howling vocals.

13. “Pieces of Me” by @ledisi. Wow can she belt out some soulful r&b. Frequently causes me to sway on the bus.

14.  “No Sleep” by @realWizKhalifa. Kinda makes me wish my life included more debauchery.

15.  “Otis” by @kanyewest & @jayZ (w/ Otis Redding). This whole album is great. They really pushed each other.

16.  “Representing Memphis” by @BookerTJones Matt Berninger & @SharonLJones. Every city deserves a valentine like this.

17. “Santa Fe” by @BeirutBand. The lead singer has dimples when he plays trumpet…unexpectedly sexy.

18. “Second Chance” by @PeterBjornJohn. Recommended for all of your couch dancing sessions.

19. “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” by @TheRealVaccines. 81 seconds of pure punk rock bliss.

20. “Tenere Taqqim Tossam” by @TINARIWEN. Google this band’s badass bio & wonder what’s holding _you_ back.

21. “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” by @AmyWinehouse I thought Beverly Lee’s vocals were inimitable; Amy kills it.

1 | Everlasting Light | 3:24 | The Black Keys
2 | City With No Children | 3:12 | Arcade Fire
3 | 1977 | 3:22 | Ana Tijoux
4 | A Night Out With Kanye West | 4:01 | Aziz Ansari
5| Trapped In My Mind | 3:34 | Kid Cudi
6 | The Ghost Inside | 3:18 | Broken Bells
7 | All to All | 4:50 | Broken Social Scene
8 | Really Very Small | 2:44 | Esperanza Spalding
9 | It Takes a Muscle | 3:00 | M.I.A.
10 | Bring Me Home | 4:07 | Sade
11 | Thieves | 4:08 | She & Him
12 | Kangpe | 4:02 | Nneka (feat. Wesley Williams)
13 | Fall Hard | 4:15 | Shout Out Louds
14 | Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not | 3:10 | Thompson Square
15 | Bien o Mal | 2:57 | Julieta Venegas
16 | Shark In the Water | 3:06 | V.V. Brown
17 | Chinatown | 3:19 | Wild Nothing
18 | Diplomat’s Son | 6:01 | Vampire Weekend
19 | Over | 3:54 | Drake
20 | I Will Live On Islands | 3:04 | Josh Rouse

Last week, I wrote about my surprise at reading a pop-culture wise blogger who admitted that she didn’t know who Rick Astley was before Rickrolling. This week, Steve LaBate at Paste writes about his 20 favorite rap songs circa 1991 in “Return to Middle School.” LaBate appears to be exactly my age (except my school district had “Junior High School” instead of Middle School.) And his musical tastes from that era are exactly like mine were. I think I owned every song on his list except for the Kool Moe Dee song.

I especially appreciate his dedication to a bunch of his middle school friends:

“Here’s to indoor Nerf baseball, bumrushing the Atlanta suburbs in Starter jackets and Raiders ballcaps, and shoplifting cassettes from Tape World at Gwinnett Mall.”

So, I was reading Caroline McCarthy’s column on how Warner Music has pulled the audio from the keyboard cat/Hall&Oates video on youtube, and I was pretty much agreeing with her:

  • yes, record companies are curmudgeonly luddite in their fear of new distribution methods…
  • yes, it was lame to pull a video of a Hall & Oates song, as if people are otherwise streaming into their record store to buy that LP…
  • yes, keyboard cat is a hilarious internet meme…

But then I was sort of blindsided by McCarthy’s admission that she never knew who Rick Astley was until the rickrolling phenomenon.

McCarthy’s byline bio indicates that her experience prior to c-net “includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos,” so I’m gonna guess she’s in the 22-25 age range. I am totally impressed that someone who never knew Rick Astley the first time around could be so funny and aware about the history of these things.


Here’s a summer soundtrack I made and distributed to my family last weekend in Michigan:

1. Delirious | Vistoso Bosses (with Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em) 4:03
Classic summer hit recipe. I predict that at least once this summer, you will walk by someone playing this on a boombox, and then the kids working in the ice cream stand will be playing it, and then a car will drive by you playing it and you’ll be convinced that the song is just emanating from teenagers.

2. Campus | Vampire Weekend 2:56
Maybe it’s because these guys went to my college just a couple of years after me, but I feel like they capture a particular angst of my youth.

3. Lights Out | Santigold 3:12
This 2008 album is great, but she must also be really fun, because everyone wants to collaborate with her now.

4. Sleepyhead | Passion Pit 2:57
Normally, I hate falsetto male singers and oonce-oonce techno beats, but this group is unbelievably good. After listening to this song about three times, I found myself unexpectedly dancing along.

5. People Got a Lotta Nerve | Neko Case 2:31
She doesn’t hold back on these awesome vocals.

6. Money | N.A.S.A. (w/ David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge & Z-Trip) 4:16
This whole album is packed with huge beats, but I really adore the David Byrne intro here.

7. Priority | Mos Def 1:23
At 83 seconds, this is more of an interlude than a song, but it’s a shame to waste Mos Def’s huge rapping and arrangement on something so short.

8. Golden Phone | Micachu 2:44
Mica Levi, only 22 years old, was classically trained and has been commissioned by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She also invents and constructs her own instruments to create this weird, layered, noisy music with abstract lyrics. I guess she knows the rules well enough to break them.

9. Sick Muse | Metric 4:17
Great glam rock.

10. I’m Good, I’m Gone | Lykke Li 3:09
Although she’s Swedish, Lykke Li is the farthest thing ever from ABBA. This song rocks; the video is also amazing.

11. Quicksand | La Roux 3:06
La Roux reminds me of early Annie Lennox, before she got all schmaltzy.

12. Sex On Fire | Kings of Leon 3:23
These guys are three brothers and a cousin, raised by an itinerant evangelist minister father, and a mother who home-schooled them. They now epitomize the hard-drinking and –living ways of the rock industry, but their music has the chops to hang there. This song is about sex that is, well, on fire.

13. Miracles | Jeremy Messersmith 3:43
Very pretty arrangement. Would be good for a Sunday afternoon drive.

14. All My Life In the Ghetto| Jay Rock (w/Lil Wayne and 3:44
Awesome lyrics. I’m starting to think that Lil Wayne might edge out Jay-Z as the best rapper alive.

15. High Cost Of Living | Jamey Johnson 5:46
Powerful storytelling and a classic country music lyric-pun.

16. I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked | Ida Maria 3:12
Fun, flirtatious, Norwegian!

17. Take Off Your Sunglasses | Ezra Furman & The Harpoons 3:36
Funny situationist lyrics and good guitars.

18. Star (Crystal Light Mix) | Estelle 2:36
You needed a summer dance song? Here you go.

19. Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked | Cage the Elephant 2:55
Classic-rock sound.

20. Golden | Beth Jeans Houghton 3:22
She is from Newcastle, England. I’m not sure of “Something-Upon-Tyne” gives you as much street cred in the folk music scene as coming from the Appalachians, but the music speaks for itself.

21. Fitz and the Dizzyspells | Andrew Bird 3:37
Lovely arrangements, he has.

22. Make It Take It | Amanda Blank 2:26
Chick rap, and very, very good.

23. Djama | Amadou & Mariam 3:15
This blind couple from Mali found global acclaim when world music ingénue Manu Chao produced their 2004 album; it was great, but sounded like a Chao album with African singers. They seem to have re-found their sound.