Savoir Faire Pre-Game Part IV:
Sammy Tunis

It is an impossible affair to comment publicly on a person with whom you share nearly everything. So I've offered this photo essay for Sammy.

Sammy is the lead singer of The Lisps
Here is some or her artwork

see them lisps at Savoir Faire


Boycott RIAA in March!!!!

Thanks to Gizmodo for this great idea. I'm pasting in the whole post...viva la revolución!

"Alright, we've been following the RIAA's increasingly frequent affronts to privacy and free speech lately, and it's about time we stopped merely bitching and moaning and did something about it. The RIAA has the power to shift public policy and to alter the direction of technology and the Internet for one reason and one reason alone: it's totally loaded. Without their millions of dollars to throw at lawyers, the RIAA is toothless. They get their money from us, the consumers, and if we don't like the way they're behaving, we can let them know with our wallets.

With that in mind, Gizmodo is declaring the month of March Boycott the RIAA month. We want to get the word out to as many people as humanly possible that we can all send a message by refusing to buy any album put out by an RIAA label. Am I saying you should start pirating music? Not at all. You can continue to support the artists you enjoy and respect in a number of ways.

Firstly, I encourage everyone to purchase music from unsigned bands and bands on independent record labels. There are tons of great artists out there, many of which you're probably already a fan of, that have nothing to do with the RIAA. Buy their records at eMusic, an online store that sells independent tunes in beautiful, DRM-free MP3 format.

Secondly, you can still support RIAA-signed bands without buying their music. Go see them live and buy their merchandise; they get a hell of a lot more money from that then they do from album sales. And hey, you could benefit from getting out more, couldn't you?

If you are unsure whether or not an album is put out by an RIAA label, the handy RIAA Radar will clear everything up for you. They have both a search engine and a great bookmarklet, so be sure to get yourself hooked up.

Let me just reiterate that we are not saying you should stop buying music and start pirating everything. We need to send a message with our wallets to the RIAA, and that message will only be stronger if we show support for musicians without your money making its way to the lawyer fund.

So come on, make next month one to remember. Let's stand together and let the RIAA know that yes, we are paying attention and no, we aren't going to put up with their unethical practices any longer."


Savoir Faire Pre-Game Part III:
Tyger Salazar

Hey Ms salazar its cesar. Can we do a text message interview? 1st question: If your music was a still life, what items would it contain?
Sent: 2/25/07 2:53

a broken lipstick, 4 pennies, a dear john letter, a beer bottle, and a gardenia.
From: Tyger Salazar 3:04pm 2/25/07

If your music was a competition between 2 towns, which towns would they be and what would be the prize?
Sent: 2/25/07 3:14pm

Topeka vs Grenada for a heartbreak elixir and an unlimited bus pass.
From: Tyger Salazar 5:05pm 2/25/07

And if your life was an old abandoned playhouse what would you fix first?
Sent: 2/25/07 6:00pm

In my youth I'd have said the curtains, but I'm older and wiser so I'd have to say the roof.
From: Tyger Salazar 6:10pm 2/25/07

Please complete the following sentences: La única cosa que me dejó mi madre fue (blank)
Sent: 2/25/07 6:27pm

Un hombre con musculos y lagrimas
From: Tyger Salazar 6:57pm 2/25/07

Youth is a (blank) that (blanks) our true pleasure and (blanks) our true pain.
Sent: 2/25/07 7:03pm

Youth is a plow that tills our true pleasure and unearths our true pain.
From: Tyger Salazar 7:47pm 2/25/07

Wow. Ok last one: Tyger Salazar is a (blank) and a (blank) with a deep understanding of (blank) and a secret desire for (blank. Without (blank) there is no (blank).
Sent: 2/25/07 9:51pm 2 pages

Tyger Salazar is a foul mouthed party guest and a good kisser with a deep understanding of the New York subway system and a secret desire for a helmet in the shape of a tiger's head. Without the bees there aint no honey.
From: Tyger Salazar 11:27pm 2/25/07

Tyger Salazar is the lead singer of The Subway Band.
Befriend them on Myspace

The Subway Band [mp3] - El Son Del Pilon

and come see them perform at Savoir Faire.


Savoir Faire Pre-Game Part II:
Leah Hayes
is a Scary Mansion

1. The thing about a real scary mansion is that it's terrifying, but ceaselessly intriguing.

2. If you ever actually visited the mansion, each room would be dimly lit. Strange but magnetic. There would be oddities and artifacts hanging on the walls and strewn about. Maybe they've been that way for decades. The stairways would be steep and the halls long and narrow, full of echo and must.

3. You might never actually work up the courage to visit the mansion but every time you drove by you'd slow down and imagine how scary it must be inside.

4. And though the mansion is up on the hill far away from your car, the mailbox is too close for comfort.

5. Maybe one night you drive by the mansion and see silhouettes of people dancing in the windows. Maybe they're just like everyone else. Or maybe they're just silhouettes?

Scary Mansion [mp3] - No Choice

6. Maybe you visit the mansion on a dare and you find the proprietor to be perfectly charming and well adjusted.

7. Maybe it looks like this.

Scary Mansion - Myspace
Leah Hayes - Website

Scary Mansion [Mp3] - captain
Scary Mansion [Mp3] - go to hell

Come see Leah and Savoir Faire March 1st
Albert Hammond Jr. on Melodica?

There's been some blogging going on about strokes guy Albert Hammond Jr. going solo. And truthfully this topic is not that interesting to me...but in my daily regimen of watching melodica videos on youTube I happened upon this piece. How often do you see a video of a blog buzzed hipster rock star with only 1372 views? (and playing melodica?!)

You also might be wondering why I'm so into melodicas. I'll explain later I promise. Now's just not the time.


Savoir Faire Pre-Game Part I: Bell

The first time I ever heard Olga Bell sing was at the sidewalk cafe a few months ago. I walked in half way into her rendition of Skee-Lo's "I wish" (yeah you know it...I wish I was little bit taller, I wish I was a baller I wish I had a girl who looked good I would call her I wish I had a rabbit in a hat..etc) I wasn't able to see who was on stage I could only hear the most unlikely voice wishing for a '64 Impala. Who would've thought that a Russian-born Alaska-grown conservatory trained Olga Bell was reviving the one skee-lo song everyone can relate to.

Bell is the quintessential 21st century rock star. She's got piano chops that can quite literally pay the bills, a back-story that includes both the fall of communism and the most bizarre state of america, formidable DIY production instincts, a powerful and versatile voice, and a great backing band to boot. Everyone of the songs on her myspace i would describe first and foremost as graceful. They peel off layer after layer revealing wonderful and diverse underpinnings. They never stop changing, and opening up into new sections and permutations. My only complaint is that there aren't more of them. We need more of them. Bell is one of those artists that once you hear you just can't get enough. And that is why, as long as she keeps doing what she's doing, Bell is going to be very successful.

Bell's myspace claims that she sounds like "Grace Kelly joins the Wu-Tang clan." Now I think her beats are a little more spit-shined and jittery than our Wu-friends, But I'll be damned if this girl doesn't look like her friend (Queen) Grace Kelly. Just look at these pictures of them I found online:

Grace and Olga at the Academy Awards:

Warhol's Little known Bell w/ Grace portrait:

Bell [mp3] - Echinacea
befriend/listen to Bell on Myspace

and come see her March 1st at Savoir Faire!
Summer is the Worst

Michael Leviton is New York's resident ukulele crooner. His delivery is sweetly mopey, and intensely charming. And all the mope is made up for in spades with a gentle kindness in lyrics, vocals and instrumentation. Really how can you not be charmed by a ukulele? A few days ago he posted his new video and I must admit it is quite a masterpiece. While watching him sing with puppets and make a valiant putt-putt effort is great fun, this new video is a compact morsel of brilliant cinematic heartbreak. I highly recommend the high resolution version, but I've posted the youtube version here:

Michael Leviton - Myspace - Website
Michael Leviton [mp3] - Summer's the Worst


Introducing: Savoir Faire
presented by MusicIsFreeNow and The Music Slut

The idea behind Savoir Faire is to bring together some of the more elegant music makers in New York. Those who exhibit "ease and dexterity in social and practical affairs." The inaugural Savoir Faire has a line up of 4 bands all of which are fronted by stunning and brilliantly talented songstresses. In the coming days I will profile each one: The Indescribable Tyger Salazar, The Ineffable Olga Bell, The Inexorable Leah Hayes, and the Incomparable Sammy Tunis.

For now I encourage you to take a long listen to the sweet sounds emanating from their respective interweb locales:

The Subway Band - Myspace

Bell - Myspace

The Lisps - Myspace - Website

Scary Mansion - Myspace - Website


Synthetic Zero Tonight

I'll be improvising with iPods tonight in Tribeca. Should be a good time.

Saturday, February 17th, 7pm-11pm

The next Synthetic Zero event will have experimental film, music, a live puppet show,
an "improvised cinema" performance, and visual art. The event is free
though optional donations will be accepted to cover the cost of food and drink.

Location: 104 Franklin St, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10013.

Imagination Explosion - live puppet show
César Alvarez - solo music performance using iPods
Potter-Belmar Labs presents Improvised Cinema

Experimental film:

Laura Napier - "Astor Place" - New York, NY
80Juan80 (Juan Kasari) - "Alku_E" - Helsinki, Finland
Courtney Hoskins - "Snow Flukes" - Boulder, CO
Josh Weinstein - "Cross-Examination" - Brooklyn, NY
Günter Puller - "Yellow Pages" - Vienna, Austria
Alyse Emdur - "Beginning Animal Communication" - Florida
Jones Downs (Jenny Doussan and Hailey Jones) - "Captain" - New York, NY and London, UK
Heather Willems - "Three Attempts at Seduction" - New York, NY
Elena Tejada-Herrera - "Holding the House Together" and "Paper Elephant"
Frank George Kanelos - "Scratching To Survive"
Mark Gallay - "Morning Process" - Brooklyn, NY
Noe Kidder and Mark Gallay - "White Hotel" - Brooklyn, NY
Sung-Hee Choi - "Nuclear Theater" - Brooklyn, NY
Charles Chadwick - "All About Fire" - Los Gatos, CA
Ian W. Lippincott - "Serial Krusher"
Mac McKean - "Cycle" - New York, NY
Meg Duguid - New York, NY

Visual Art:
Damali Abrams - collages - Queens, NY
Shadagga - photography - Queens, NY
Liam O'Brien - drawings - New York, NY
Alison Ward - collages from "Calendar Girl" series - Brooklyn, NY
Leela Accetta - visual art - New York, NY
Katharine Tillman - photography - New York, NY
Daniel Iliescu - New York, NY


So apparently Peru Ana Ana Peru found this in the trash...
And then I saw it here. And I like it.

click to enlarge
Belated: Can We Talk About Prince For a Second?

Though I have an imaginary band w/ Jeremy Hoevenaar called I Hate Sports I did break down and watch about 60% of the Superbowl last week. And the Prince half time show was truly amazing. Here are some thoughts:

1. If nothing else the Superbowl Halftime Show represents the frontier of spectacle. The extremity of the entertainment our civilization is capable of creating w/ 15 minutes and millions of dollars.
2. But what is usually so disappointing is that the spectacle is nearly always mired in mediocrity and consensus. (with an occasional rebellion)
3. That is what was so great about Prince's show is that it was completely far out. And even though the whole thing resembled a hard rock sci-fi space is the place orgiastic religious marching band group think ET phone home-o-rama, it fulfilled the most fundamental desires/expectations of mainstream America.
4. The whole thing seemed to me like it was thickly woven with secret signals symbolic gestures and cultural critique, like some sort of Arena Rock free mason music video. But if I stopped thinking too hard about it, the show turned back into innocuous entertainment.
5. Thanks Prince for being weird as crap and still making everyone love you.

For some detailed analysis check out what ickmusic had to say
Stevie J Does it Again.

photo cred

Steve Jobs posted a letter on the apple website this week expounding on the absurdity of copy protection/DRM (digital rights management) in online music distribution. He points the finger (rightfully so) at the big record companies, for being totally backwards on the whole issue. I can't help but thinking that it also represents a change in thinking at apple, but he plays it like they've been the good guys all along. I've never downloaded anything at iTunes but I might if there were no DRM.

read the whole thing here..

"In 2006, under 2 billion DRM-protected songs were sold worldwide by online stores, while over 20 billion songs were sold completely DRM-free and unprotected on CDs by the music companies themselves. The music companies sell the vast majority of their music DRM-free, and show no signs of changing this behavior, since the overwhelming majority of their revenues depend on selling CDs which must play in CD players that support no DRM system.

So if the music companies are selling over 90 percent of their music DRM-free, what benefits do they get from selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system? There appear to be none. If anything, the technical expertise and overhead required to create, operate and update a DRM system has limited the number of participants selling DRM protected music. If such requirements were removed, the music industry might experience an influx of new companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players. This can only be seen as a positive by the music companies.

Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries. Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free. For Europeans, two and a half of the big four music companies are located right in their backyard. The largest, Universal, is 100% owned by Vivendi, a French company. EMI is a British company, and Sony BMG is 50% owned by Bertelsmann, a German company. Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly."

update: Industry Responds as Expected to Jobs's Music Vision
(Via Seeking Alpha)


Mom countersues RIAA!!!!

1. Maybe the coolest mom ever?
2. If you are a massive association of multi-Billion dollar corporations and you are suing 11 YEAR OLDS you might want to take a step back. Take a deep breath and hunt for some adults that might be better targets.
3. RIAA says: "The record industry has suffered enormously due to piracy. That includes thousands of layoffs. We must protect our rights." At least they aren't blaming the impulse to take pre-teens to court on artists anymore.