Posted by: Ryan Allen on September 25, 2008 at 8:00 am

By Paul Serilla

Today, the world gets its first look at a product that some people who probably know little about “business” or “music” are calling, ahem, the “SAVIOR OF THE MUSIC BUSINESS” (dun-dun-du-dah!).

But in case you haven’t heard, we’ll fill you in: MySpace, partnering with Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group, is launching MySpace Music: an iTunes-esque music service that will offer DRM-free downloads, ringtones, concert tickets, t-shirts and other merchandise for us all to lap up with saliva-dripping tongues. And yes, that MySpace — the Fox/News Corp.-owned social networking phenom that is ironically part of the same Interweb that was, until recently, seen as only stabbing the music industry repeatedly in the face.

What MySpace is purporting to offer may sound familiar to users who frequent similarly minded services like Pandora, Last.FM, and subscription services like Rhapsody, but it also could end up being a fair step beyond those services in the evolution of music supported by advertising.

MySpace is, of course, already a big deal in popular music. To date, they have something in the neighborhood of 600,000 artists signed up, giving the tens-of-millions of MySpace users Read more

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Posted by: Ryan Allen on August 13, 2008 at 9:00 am

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American Mars, “Better Angels” (Gangplank, 2007)

What if you were a floating torso, and lost your legs? What if you were just a pair of stems, without a body to hold onto? These questions and more are explored in the new video for “Better Angels” from Detroit’s American Mars — stalwarts who champion Being There-era Wilco and the greater parts of the Ryan Adams collection better than just about anybody else out there; better, perhaps, than Being There-era Wilco and Ryan Adams themselves. We don’t want to give away any of the video’s secrets, but just know that there is a bike riding scene that rivals anything out of Rad and Breaking Away, albeit a bit more rustic. — Ryan Allen

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Posted by: Ryan Allen on August 6, 2008 at 9:00 am

By Paul Serilla

Much has been said about Lollapalooza, so we’ll save you a lot of sweaty (though fully enriched with electrolytes) details of set lists and stage banter. But we will say that it’s a pretty well oiled machine; logistically speaking it is something to behold. While it feels like a bare minimum that acts go on when scheduled, trash gets picked up, Porta Johns aren’t overwhelmed, decent food is available for $5 or $10, and the beer flows freely through manageable lines from open to close, it’s still impressive and adds immensely to any attempt to enjoy the festivities.

In a scant few years, it feels like Lollapalooza has taken on the persona of its permanent home in the Windy City of Chicago. Lolla has a pleasant pulse with Gen-X-er’s in Threadless shirts and punks mingling with a few of the NPR tote-bag set; folks who certainly could be their parents. If you were to raise a complaint, you’d probably point towards a shadow of the old Midwest homogeneity cast over the proceedings, but it’s not overwhelming.

Apart from the bro-on-bro violence/foreplay that reportedly caused Rage Against the Machine to halt their set in an attempt to get their fans to do what they told them, the festival was largely well mannered and free of the large scale distractions; ones that make for good war stories, but are pretty irritating in the moment of the heat.

While we weren’t as laid back as the festival-mandated hacky-sack players, we made little attempt to race from one end to the other just to notch yet another band on our belts. We were even accused by some fellow concertgoers via text of being on our couches back home. Of course, as our only contact with Read more

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Posted by: Ryan Allen on July 16, 2008 at 9:00 am

Tilly and the Wall, o (Team Love Records, 2008)

MP3: “Pot Kettle Black”

Remember when Jewel went slut-pop? Imagine Omaha’s Tilly and the Wall heading in the same direction, but not having to sell their soul in order to do so. Let us explain: Opener “Tall Tall Grass” be-bops its way in typical Tilly fashion — it’s twee, it’s poppy, and it sounds like another Omaha band with too much hype but not a whole lot of delivery (hey, take your pick). But as the album quickly progresses, old fans are in for a bit of a surprise, as the rest of the album switches things up to show that even twee-kitties like Tilly and the Wall like a little electro in their Meow Mix. Their classic glee-pop sound is still there, but o (yep, that’s the title) offers more electronic musings and heavier hooks this time around — and just like Jewel’s 2003 dance-pop head-scratcher 0304, the band ditches some of those acoustic guitars and over-earnestness for something a bit more new-wave and slick. Indeed, while a nice novelty, it seems band may have discovered that the tap-shoes-as-percussion thing that put them on the map may have not be the only trick’s up their sleeve (or pant leg, as it were). o‘s forays into more polished terrain shows that they’re capable of being a group of songwriters and performers, not just a boring mess of glitter, rainbows, and Gene Kelly clickity-clack. Stand-out track “Pot Kettle Black” is a happy-go-lucky “fuck you” anthem (and also a Wilco song, right?), possibly aimed at everyone who thought they were the one-dimensional group they seemed to be over the course of their past two full-lengths; we guess touring the world with dirt-bag dance phenoms CSS most likely do that to you. Next up: Judges on an awful “American Idol” for country fans and dating professional bull riders? Doubtful. But it’s fun to hear them mess with the formula, even if just for a little bit. Tap on, dudes. — Adam O’Connor

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Posted by: Ryan Allen on May 28, 2008 at 3:00 pm

>>> Did somebody say, “Fuck yeah!”? The Fuck Yeah! Festival — August 30-31, in downtown LA — just announced a tour in conjunction with their annual event, and boy is it fuckin’ sweet. Fucking awesome fucking bands like Matt & Kim (who are playing some other festival in June), the Death Set (hm, them too), the Circle Read more

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