Category: Miscellany

New Amsterdam Records launches relief drive in wake of Hurricane Sandy

One of my favorite discoveries of the past year has been New Amsterdam Records, a label specializing in music described as “alt-classical.”

Hurricane Sandy did a number of the label’s newly-minted headquarters in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. Despite all the precautions the staff took, Sandy destroyed 80 percent of the label’s stock as well as a furniture, musical equipment and personal items.

The label has started a fundraising drive to help rebuild. New Amsterdam pays out 80 percent of its sales to composers and artists, so they encourage people to send donations for hurricane relief directly. I’ll be donating when pay day rolls around next week.

Just to give you an idea of why I think it’s important to support New Amsterdam, I’m embedding a few my favorite releases from the label.

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SXSW 2011 game plan

The last time I bought a SXSW wristband was 2008, when I could really afford it which isn’t to say I can afford one this year either.

But when news broke that Duran Duran would be performing at the festival, I decided to cough up the cash. I know already my chances of getting into that show with a lowly wristband are slim, and if the band stops by Texas in support of All You Need Is Now, I might travel some distance to see them. (They are actually performing in Houston on April 6, but I’ll be out of town in San Francisco for a work conference.)

Duran Duran came to Austin in support of Red Carpet Massacre a few years back, but I didn’t go. Partly because I thought the album sucked, but mostly because they played at the Austin Music Hall, which sucks even more.

I have to admit — this year was the first I bought a wristband for a reason other than Japan Nite.

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Utada Hikaru goes on hiatus

On Monday, I posted on the Facebook page news of Utada Hikaru’s hiatus. I don’t follow any fan forums, but I can imagine lots of hand wringing and rending of clothing at the news.

Utada was interviewed by Time magazine back in 2001 or so, and she mentioned she would like to retire by 28, which would be next year. The blog post on the U3 Music site states this break is not a retirement, but it sure seems like a dress rehearsal for it.

I’d certainly miss Utada if she didn’t return from her break, and I would still love to see her localize her albums into English. But if this break reached Kate Bush or Sade proportions — it’s been five years since Bush released Aerial, by the way — it wouldn’t be so bad.

She’d be leaving at a creative high, and a break would insure that level would be maintained. I’m probably in the minority that thinks this news is good.

Shopping list for Waterloo Records storewide sale, April 8-11

Waterloo Records usually schedules its springtime storewide sale on the first weekend of April, but this time it was pushed to the second weekend. I wonder if Record Store Day the following weekend has anything to do with it? After having a somewhat disastrous Monday, I can’t wait for Thursday to get here so I may exercise some retail therapy.

Unfortunately, most of the albums I was anticipating for March have been rescheduled after the sale. I have to wait till May for those Duran Duran reissues? Well, I still have a shopping list.

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Leonard Bernstein, wow? Wow.

Sarah Baird of new music publisher Boosey & Hawkes mentions on Twitter:

“I want it…I want it…I WANT IT!!!!” John Adams posts Bernstein’s sexiest photo. Thoughts on emotion + music?

I was too distracted by the photo to read the blog post. That is some hotness right there.

Apropos of nothing, now that Ricky Martin has come out, do I have to pay attention to his music? Gay musicians are part of this site’s coverage, after all.

eMusic + Warner Music Group = win!

When eMusic announced it would carry titles from Sony labels, I wasn’t very impressed. Yes, I’ve downloaded quite a number of Sony titles since they became available, but most of the time, I would wish I could go crazy with the Nonesuch catalog.

Well, now I can.

eMusic has struck an agreement with Warner Music Group to carry about 10,000 titles from the label’s catalog. I would have posted this news sooner, but I was too busy filling up my "Save for Later" list.

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In lieu of a linklog, part the second, or Facebook is my Tumblr now

I mentioned before that I’m not much of a link collector. That has turned out to be untrue.

Thing is? Unless you follow me on teh Facebookz, you won’t see any of these links, and they all aren’t focused on music.

I’ve expounded elsewhere on why I prefer to share links in a closed system like Facebook than on a public blog like this one — factor: convenience — but in an effort to pad this final stretch of Holidailies entries, I’ll offer some of the links that caught my eye in the last few weeks.

  • The Decade in Music Genre Hype The Internet really is eroding a sense of mass culture. In order for popular music to be "popular", it needs to grow out of an underground culture before it crosses over, or so my pop studies professor posited back in college. The fact none of these mini-genres coalesced into a mass movement indicates how much the audience is splintering.
  • 40 Years Old, a Musical House Without Walls ECM has always struck me as a label I could get into, but so far, the only ECM album I own is Meredith Monk’s Book of Days. And this label first released music by Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt.
  • Cookin’ With Coolio This is not a joke. Shaka zulu!
  • Classical music bucks the trend Could the classical recording industry be the indicator of what will happen to the popular music industry? Smaller labels and artist-run ventures pick up where the major labels have abandoned. This reality is already in place in classical music but still only theorized in popular music.
  • Times Talks Vinyl with J&R, Best Buy; Downtown Record Store Owner Has a Different Take I remember when vinyl records were cheaper than CDs. The vinyl resurgence has made them more expensive. Huh? One word comes to mind for people fooled by this price gouging: suckers.
  • What’s Your Workout with Nathan Gunn It’s a Flash feature, so deep linking is not possible. (Suck.) The bottom navigation should have a link to Gunn’s profile. Needs more half nekkid pictures.
  • Rufus picks his gay icons As commented by, the picks themselves are unsurprising, but their descriptions are hilarious.
  • Music Retail: The Rise of Digital Big-ass info graphic

Year-end meme

I warned you all at the start of the Holidailies endeavor that I would be writing a bunch of filler entries, if the Japan entries weren’t proof enough. (Although given the focus of the site, those entries weren’t exactly off-topic.)

I usually fill out the following meme every two years, but now that we’re in the final stretch of Holidailies, I figure I may as well get lazy.

Yes, I have a whole bunch of stuff I could be reviewing, but I need a break too, you know?

We’ll get back to the regularly scheduled punditry tomorrow. Perhaps.

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Japan Nite 2010 line-up announced for SXSW

It’s odd I would actually break this news on Keikaku’s message boards before I would post it here. The reaction is pretty much the same as mine.

The line-up for Japan Nite 2010 has been announced, and it looks like it’s been downsized to one night, from the traditional two. Guess everyone is hurting in this economy.

The headlining act is Chatmonchy, a band of whom I’m not entirely curious. The remaining bands on the line-up represent a cross-section of Japanese rock styles, including one visual act. It’s actually pretty familiar stuff — a garage act, a girl-punk act, a crazy creative act, a best-selling act. It’s actually a bit too familiar.

LEO Imai and MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS aren’t interested?

Slightly tangentially related, but last year’s SXSW favorite, FLiP, is now signed to Sony Music Entertainment and will release its debut single, "Dear Girls", on Feb. 3