While the long gaps between posts here may make it seem that I'm only an occasional blogger, a 'Sunday poster' as it were, they also hide all of the blogging I do elsewhere around the web. All in all, I contribute somewhat regularly to four different blogs (At Dusk, Shouting At Each Other, and MFDZ are the three others). I thought that today I would try a little experiment in bringing in some of that other content here for you to enjoy.
What follows are highlights from recent posts on the Music For Dozens blog. I write there about my favorite music that shows up on MFDZ. In these posts, I'll always link to the MFDZ pages of the artist I'm discussing as well as post a copy of our portable player so that you can listen to the song and I usually do my best to describe the music itself and add any other outside information I may have about the bands. Lately, I've been posting here a lot because people (many of them from Portland) have been uploading a ton of new music (if, impossibly, you're reading this and you have never heard of Music For Dozens, I should probably explain that it's a site for independent musicians to upload and sell their own songs, get feedback from listeners, and find tools to help in spreading their music around the web. I created it along with Chris and Jem; it's been in business since 2002).
So, without further ado, here are some recent highlights from the Music For Dozens blog:
Nephewredman's atmo-electro guitar pop
Hanging out in new uploads just now, I discovered some super cool music. Nephewredman combines electro beats and sounds with some catchy vibrato-ed electric guitar melodies to make songs that walk the tough line between being electro/atmospheric and pop-listenable. Here are two of my favorites:
Why So Many Ladybugs? is totally the breakout hit:
and also checkout In Transit It Is:
Note: One little complaint about our beloved MFDZ users I've been asked to pass on by many of my friends: Come on people, let's see some spacing and capitalization (and fewer numerics) in the artist and user names, you're freaking out the old-folks! You've got real names and you know some real words, I'm sure, what's so wrong with those?
Who Could So Rudely Smite Thee?
I'm always so impressed by people who have actual old-fashioned technical musical ability. I just spent the last hour recording my housemate Ethan singing a Bach hymn, Owelt, Ich Muss Dich Lassen. It's four part harmony and Ethan sang all of the parts himself (the tenor part was the hardest). I spend so much time immersed in music that is (or pretends or aspires to be) "naive", "direct", or "personal" in some way that it's amazing and refreshing to see someone with a real grasp on music as literature, as history, someone who can use the tools of reading and performing to make music from the past live now.
And, Ethan's using the recording as part of the process involved in getting this incredibly cool job working on an online Google ad campaign. He's (fingers-crossed) going to be part of a traveling quintet of brass-playing singers who'll travel the west coast serenading gMail users. I've been working on him to get a laptop and digital camera (not to mention a blog) to document the trip when it happens. I'll keep you updated on that, but in the meantime, here's the track:
Dragging An Ox Through Water
Last spring, while working on curating the PDX Pop Now! 2005 compilation, I was totally amazed by the amount of amazing music that's made in this town. The first year we'd gotten about 125 submissions for the thirty or so slots on the double disc compilation. Last year we got more than 400. Even after we filtered that down to around 150 on a first listen, the list was still overwhelming. Everyone involved ended up with a bunch of bands they'd never previously heard who now became new favorites. And, obviously, with only about twenty slots open after the great job our compilation team did soliciting tracks from bigger local bands like Slater-Kinney and The Decemberists, not all of these could make the final cut.
One of my favorites that didn't make it was a band called Dragging An Ox Through Water. The song they submitted was warm and buzzy pop with a great combination of lo-fi finger picked acoustic guitar, beautiful synth harmonies, and a great melody. So, I was thrilled this morning to see they'd uploaded a song to MFDZ. It's called Aces:
I look forward to more uploads from them (and maybe even from some of those other great Portland bands that are lurking out there).
Today's Portland Bands #2
The Beauty, another neat Portland band that uploaded today, couldn't really come from a more distant part of the Portland scene than Agents of Future without being from Seattle. On their Soundclick page, they describe themselves as the "house band" at Voodoo Doughnut, the crazy all-night doughnut shop in downtown Portland, which used to sell a Nyquil-filled doughnut before they got in trouble with the FDA. Shows there take place on the roof of the bathroom, about ten feet above whatever crowd has managed to squeeze into the tiny shop's very limited standing room.
The Beauty's music is like a combination of TV on the Radio's indie soul with Nine Inch Nails' industrial crunch. The song they uploaded, Weight in Gold, combines a distorted didgy beat that's often punctuated with shrill beeps and shreiks with harmonized vocals that range from sweetly pretty to gritty and throaty. It's a compelling mix: