My Favorite Releases of 2011

A few caveats: A) The music industry, now in shambles, has made conversation about music fragmented, confusing and weird. B) A true Best Of list, liberated from genres, agendas and mission statements, reads like Spotify just threw up on your keyboard. C) Spotify did, in fact, throw up on my keyboard, sending me to the farthest reaches of recorded music, only a sliver of which was recorded in 2011. I was lucky to find these gems, and to see some of the bands live. Otherwise I hang on to so-called “common knowledge” only through limited familiarity with the Kardashians. (There are three, one more atrocious than the other.) Battles – Gloss Drop It seems perfectly normal to start an album review with praise for a video, especially when the (literally) trippy “My Machines” (feat. Gary Numan) provides all the gateway drugs required to hook into Battles catalog, live show and angular, restless aesthetic. Drummer John Stanier (ex-Helmet) is a force of nature, and on his foundation hangs a menagerie of Moogs and Marshalls that continue to blur the line between high-minded electronica and knuckle-dragging rock. Vocalists are guests (live, they are relegated to video wall projections), and the choice of ’80s synth pioneer Gary Numan speaks volumes. His disembodied delivery still sends chills, and the rhythm section brings heat. Radiohead – The King of Limbs Thom got…romantic. Or at least this is what I think it sounds like when androids get romantic. It’s lovely, really. All the emotion you’ve come to expect from human interaction, set to the stuttering digitalia you’ve come to expect from alien abduction. Boring choice?...

So Good: Space Videos

Dude. DUUUUDE. These are 18 time-lapse sequences of photos taken from the International Space Station. The flickers are lightning? The long strand of illuminated clouds are the Northern Lights? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Earth | Time Lapse View from Space | Fly Over | Nasa, ISS from Michael König on Vimeo. Edited by Michael Konig. But don’t pass him the bong. He’s clearly had...

Watch #BrandsConf LIVE

Interesting day, today. I’ll be speaking at a conference, and you can watch it live. My topic: “The Humanization of the Hit Song,” in which I’ll try to explain the relationship between mythology in music and the open-source environment of the Web. It’s a short speech, but I’m always a little edgy when the guitar isn’t in my hand. Here’s the info: Starting today at 9:00 AM EST / 1500 CET the second BrandsConf will be broadcast LIVE from the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Today we will be spending the day exploring “The Humanization of Brands” This event can be seen on UStream over at: http://www.ustream.tv/nyc140conf (subscribe to get notified when we are broadcasting) Hours: BrandsConf will be broadcast from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM EST today. This year we have 60+ speakers joining us in New York City at the conference. The hashtag for this conference is: #BrandsConf. I hope you can join in the online discussion about the event. You can track the BrandsConf schedule over at:...

Video: “You Shook Me All Night Long” (Live)

I’d played with Andy Zipf at IOTA in Arlington, VA earlier this year, so I knew there’d be talented people at the 9 Songwriter Series. I worked out a little arrangement…and it went like this: Filmed at City Winery, NYC, 10/17/11 FREE DOWNLOAD (email required): [wp_bandcamp_player type=”track” id=”1951267044″ size=”venti” bg_color=”#FFFFFF” link_color=”#4285BB”] From the 9 Songwriter Series Justin Trawick, Andy Zipf, Sierra Noble, Adam Levy, Matt Simons, Jesse Ruben, John Schmitt, Christine Hoberg “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC....