Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

music

jul
06
2012

Airline to Heaven

My song of the day: Wilco’s cover of Woody Guthrie’s “Airline to Heaven,” performed at Farm Aid in 2005. I came across it this morning via the band’s Mermaid Avenue collaboration with Billy Bragg, on a later volume that I …

may
31
2012

Tiny Desk Concert: Patrick Watson

I missed Patrick Watson’s Tiny Desk performance, but I saw him later that night at the 9:30 Club, opening for Andrew Bird. Lovely lovely. The song “Words in the Fire,” from his most recent album “Adventures in Your Own Backyard,” …

apr
02
2012

You’re Listening To A Music Instrument Made Of Jell-O | Co.Design

Mark Wilson writes, “Noisy Jelly is a project by Raphaël Pluvinage and Marianne Cauvard, two students at L’Ensci Les Ateliers. They experiment with agar agar jellies, placed upon sensors that convert their vibrations into music with the help of arduino processing.” I love this, and I want my own kit.

mar
08
2012

Tiny Desk Concert: Laura Gibson

Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson of NPR’s All Songs Considered say they got the idea for Tiny Desk Concerts when they went to see singer Laura Gibson perform a few years ago. The patrons at the bar were loud, drowning …

feb
06
2012

Halftime Show

All the talk about Super Bowl halftime shows brought back memories of my all-time favorite: U2 in 2002. It was a strong performance made all the more powerful by the strong emotions of that time. It was perfect for that …

jan
06
2012

The Weight

Wilco, Nick Lowe & Mavis Staples rehearse “The Weight” backstage at the Civic Opera House in Chicago in December 2011. Filmed by Zoran Orlic. So very good.

dec
12
2011

On Composing for Kermit the Frog | NYTimes.com

Frogs can sing, penguins can’t and other lessons that Bret McKenzie, of the musical-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, learned while writing music for the Muppets.” I highly recommend the video that accompanies this story, in which Bret and Kermit perform “Life’s a Happy Song” from the new Muppets movie.

nov
17
2011

The Goat Rodeo Sessions

It was a real treat to be in the audience for this Tiny Desk Concert with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and Stuart Duncan, recorded on Halloween. And I love that they all seem to be having fun. I’ve …

oct
19
2011

Photo of the Day: Music Under the Dome

There’s a synagogue / cultural center down the street from my office that hosts the occasional concert. I was there last night to see singer Alexi Murdoch (and was impressed by opening artist Kishi Bashi). It’s a beautiful space.

oct
17
2011

Tiny Desk Concert: Wilco (The Video)

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the band Wilco played a Tiny Desk Concert at my office. The video’s up now on NPR.org.

oct
06
2011

Laura Marling, Live In Concert | NPR Music

Hear the British folk-rock musician perform a set full of rage, laughter and gorgeous, tear-jerking music, recorded live from Washington, D.C.’s Sixth and I Historic Synagogue.” I saw this concert in person last week; delighted to see that NPR Music recorded / archived it.

oct
03
2011

The Best Of World Cafe | NPR

After 20 years behind the mic, World Cafe host David Dye recounts his 20 favorite interviews and studio sessions, including visits from Adele, Sonny Rollins and Coldplay.” Uses a variation of the template we built for the 50 Great Voices project.

sep
30
2011

Tiny Desk Concert: Trombone Shorty

Happy weekend, folks.

sep
28
2011

Rambling Man

I clued into folk singer Laura Marling only recently, and I’ve had her 2010 album 'I Speak Because I Can' on heavy rotation ever since.

sep
24
2011

Tiny Desk Concert: Wilco

Wilco played a special Saturday Tiny Desk Concert today at NPR. So … that was awesome.

sep
21
2011

Tiny Desk Concert: Beirut

Beirut played one of my favorite Tiny Desk Concerts of this year.

aug
22
2011

Holocene

This video for Bon Iver's “Holocene” makes me want to visit Iceland. Immediately.

aug
15
2011

Iconic images illuminate a life | The Washington Post

An 18-year-old Mike Mitchell was at the Beatles’ first U.S. concert, snapping pictures with his 35mm Nikon with no flash. Those photos, which recently sold at auction, show a love of light and shadow that is reflected in his later work.” This series of concert photos was shot in 1964, but something about it — the shadow/light, or maybe the way certain shots are composed? — feels very modern.

jul
20
2011

The Fresh Air Interview: Gillian Welch & David Rawlings | NPR

Great interview / in-studio performance with two of my favorite folk singers. “Welch and Rawlings perform an in-studio concert featuring several songs from The Harrow and the Harvest, and talk about many of the lyrics they’ve written over the years.”

jun
13
2011

Tiny Desk Concert: The Decemberists

Sara Watkins, Colin Meloy and Chris Funk of The Decemberists (one of my favorite bands) just played a three-song Tiny Desk Concert just 10 feet away from me. This job does not suck.