You Can Squeeze Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry Out of Jobs

Ok, I’m being a little bit dramatic here, but you mark my words, this is only the begining. Pretty Girls Make Graves, Matador Records, and YouTube are having a contest. They want you (yes, you) to go out and make a video for the song “Nocturnal House” off their upcoming album Elan Vital and the winner gets 1k and a trip to NYC to see the band play.

Let your creativity run wild! As long as you are a US resident.
pretty girls make graves video

Teenage Riot: Be Your Own Pet

I went to the Be Your Own Pet show at the Knitting Factory last Wednesday. Boy did I feel old watching teenagers play punk rock music alongside even more teenagers. Photo now. More later.

Here’s one of Jemina reading a note someone threw onto the stage. Turned out it was someone’s phone number, to which she said, “Too bad I don’t care!,” as she tossed it back into the audience. Ouuch!

be your own pet

More on Jenny Lewis’s Night of a Thousand (Indie Rock) Stars

So back on Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins playing the Angel Orensanz Foundation last night. After an entire line of freezing indie fans watched an attempted car-break in (and a chase down by the cops), they finally let the crowd into AOF. The space was filled with lovely warm colored lighting, rich purples , reds and oranges. Twinkling white stars were projected onto the ceiling. The doors were left open all the way until the show started around 8pm, leaving a mighty big chill in the venue, so everyone was sitting down huddled together in their winter coats.

The old temple, with its sky-high vaults and imposing altar humbled audience members into conversing in hushed voices and stunning them into dead silence as soon as the show began. Jenny commented during the show that it was “so quite” which she found “nice.”

J. Lew and the Watson Twins opened the show by singing an a capella harmony as they walked from the darkness of the back of the synagogue, down the center aisle, and finally making their way onto the stage. The effect was haunting and beautiful–a feeling that stayed with me throughout the entire performance.

I really have never listened to Rilo Kiley at all, but for some reason when I first heard that Jenny Lewis was putting out a solo album, I was immediately interested in hearing it, and much to my great surprise, I loved the pretty blend of folk and country on Rabbit Fur Coat. Despite being 30-years-old, when J. Lew sings, her voice sounds very whimsical and girlish…although I couldn’t help but notice sometimes she sounds like…Jewel and her song lyrics can sometimes be cheesy. But overall, her melodies are absolutely stunning and delightful, so I would recommend that anyone who likes straight-on “purty music” to listen to Jenny’s stuff.
During the live performance last night, all of the same subtle nuances of her recorded material were able to shine through during this very special concert. I seriously cannot imagine a better venue to hear devastatingly precious songs like “Melt Your Heart,” “It Wasn’t Me” (with M.Ward) and “Rabbit Fur Coat” being performed. It was absolutely magical.

Then when she and Johnathan came out and sang “Cold Jordan” together at the end of the set, I just about shat my pants because it was too much cuteness for me to handle. Johnathan and Jenny are SO my indierock Heath and Michelle. He would just kinda look at her as he strummed on his guitar, and she would nod her head to him as she sang. Adorable. Everyone read along to the song after being instructed by Jenny to turn to the last page of our songbooks.

(Yes, everyone was handed a coral-colored program with song lyrics as they entered the venue. The program looked almost exactly like the poster they were selling, except the poster seemed to be just an 11×17 photocopy of the program cover, with the addition of the tour date on it. I instructed people to just go home and make a photocopy themselves rather than by a kinda ridiculous poster that you can make on your home computer in about 5 minutes. I THINK JENNY LEWIS FANS WOULD BY BOTTLED “JENNY LEWIS AIR” IF GIVEN THE CHANCE. Just a hunch.)


Run Devil Run/ The Big Guns/ Happy/ You Are What You Love/ Melt Your Heart/ The Charging Sky/ Un-named “New” Song/ Paradise/ Rabbit Fur Coat/ Rise Up with Fists/ Born Secular

More takes on the show: NY Times, BV, The Fader, Two-Hundredth Couch

Read more about Jenny here.

jenny lewis

jenny lewis and the watson twins

jenny lewis and m.ward

Jenny Lewis’s Night of a Thousand (Indie Rock) Stars

Tonight Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins played the Angel Orensanz Foundation on the Lower East Side of NYC, and thanks to Nora, I got to go. The venue, which was originally built for use as a synagogue, had a beautiful, majestic feel–making it the spot to showcase the pretty song-styling talents of J.Lew.

M.Ward opened the show and brought on both Jim James (of My Morning Jacket) and Conor “Bright Eyes” Oberst to help him with some songs. During Jenny’s set, her boyfriend Johnathan Rice played guitar and she brought Matt Ward back on stage to sing with her.

MORE LATER…for now, photos.

jenny lewis

jenny lewis, johnathan rice, and the watson twins

jenny lewis

I Call Bullsh-t On “Pitchfork Effect”

As soon as the ’90s ended, music fans were like, ‘Fuck you!’ Now the young people are taking over and are like, ‘I don’t need you to tell me what to like and not to like anymore!’ Take the choices and give them back to the kids, I say.”

When I read this quote from Drew from Broken Social Scene about Pitchfork, I got so rilled up I started writing this comment:

You would think they’d be able to make their site more readable and get better navigation after all these years. Dear lord, going to their homepage is like getting ADD all of a sudden. Oh, and the reviews are pretentious. I think we’d all be foolish to say that their writers are writing totally impartial reviews. Everything that anyone writes is somehow going to be influenced by the writer’s preception of the world, the band, the people that manage the band, etc. Pitchfork just happens to be in the mindset of “we are probably not going to talk about anything your jock friends from high school or your mom would know about.” I think I’d fall off my chair if they liked something that was actually on the top 40.

On the whole idea that Pitchfork is somehow giving power back to “the kids,” that’s a load of bull crap. It’s the bible of people who are so desperate for an “alternative” opinion to established music authorities like Rolling Stone, but then they just end up having the same exact opinions as the other idiots who definitely know they just don’t want to have a “mainstream” opinion but don’t know how to think for themselves. How is Pitchfork any different than Rolling Stone nowadays? So instead of people finding out about bands from Rolling Stone, they are finding out about them from Pitchfork. What’s the difference between being influenced by a writer from RS who happens to really like mainstream pop music and some writer who only likes bands that no one else has heard of? Just because more people are listening to you doesn’t mean your opinions are right.

Granted, Pitchfork succeeds in talking about bands that aren’t covered in Rolling Stone, but one publication can’t possibly cover all the music that’s out there. It’s simply impossible. Pitchfork is just another outlet for people to learn about music if they haven’t already heard of the bands. It’s simply just more exposure. Don’t you think that one day some other site or magazine is going to come along and replace Pitchfork?

But honestly, the real power of music is the same as it has always been–going out and listening to the music yourself, looking for new bands yourself, discovering what you like–not just going along with what other people think is good. In case no one has noticed, you absolutely do NOT have to like a band that Rolling Stone OR Pitchfork like. It is YOUR CHOICE.

Pitchfork and RS are both the same in that they are just part of the individual conversations that people have when they talk about what they think is good or bad in music. Pitchfork is just a new place kids find the bands about which they will talk endlessly on their blogs, in their homes, on IM, etc. “Ohmigod! Did you see what Pitchfork had to say about Sufjan Steven’s latest EP? It’s a collection of ‘songs’ of him farting! They said it was like the equivalent of having an aural orgasm–they said that you’d have an ‘eargasm’ listening to it because of its sheer melodic brilliance. So great!”

And I suppose for many people, people talking about you and listening to your music just to see if it’s really any good is just as valuable as people actually liking your music. If you don’t like what people are saying about a group that you like, or you want to tell more people about a great act you saw, tell people yourself. Go start your own blog/podcast/whatever. Get on your cellphone, send those emails.

Whatever, man.

Ben Gibbard Totally Bummed Out about Apple Ripping Off Postal Service Video

As you may have heard already, the new Apple commercial talking about the inclusion of Intel chips is almost a shot-for-shot reproduction of The Postal Service video for “Such Great Heights.” It was shot by the same directors, but that is absolutely no excuse. I thought these kinds of negative press publicity stunts were only reserved for Tom Cruise and Lindsay Lohan.

The Gibbard himself is not pleased at all. See the note he posted on the offical Postal Service site:


A Note from Ben

It has recently come to our attention that Apple Computers’ new television commercial for the Intel chip features a shot-for-shot recreation of our video for ‘Such Great Heights’ made by the same filmmakers responsible for the original. We did not approve this commercialization and are extremely disappointed with both parties that this was executed without our consultation or consent. -Ben Gibbard, The Postal Service

Watch the side-by-side video and be amazed at the brazen duplication. Oh, and BTW, Apple is now heavily rotating in ads for the downloading of the Postal Service video–probably in an effort to make nice. But of course they have to do something jacked up, so they are serving up a censored version of the video. Everytime it’s supposed to say “Skyworks” the name is blurred out.

Japhy Grant “Fixes It” for Grizzly Bear

I’m always so happy to tell y’all about what some of my friends are doing. I know Japhy Grant from a friend in college. A couple years ago he moved out to LA to be all Hollywood and possibly to get natural highlights. But now he’s emerged onto the indie rock scene as the director of Grizzly Bear‘s new video for their song “Fix It.” Jim at Stereogum is diggin it as well. It’s harder to decide who’s more adorable, Grizzly Bear or Japhy.

Watch the video right here.

Japhy and Grizzly Bear